[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.
In some cases, part of the illustration's captions were illegible.]
By WILLIAM H. BARNES, A.M., AUTHOR OF "THE BODY POLITIC."
NEW YORK: HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, 327 TO 335 PEARL STREET. 1868.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by WILLIAM H. BARNES, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia.
The history of the Thirty-Ninth Congress is a sequel to that of the Rebellion. This having been overthrown, it remained for Congress to administer upon its effects. It depended upon the decisions of Congress whether the expected results of our victories should be realized or lost.
Now that the work of the Thirty-Ninth Congress stands forth complete, people naturally desire to know something of the manner in which the rough material was shaped into order, and the workmanship by which the whole was "fitly joined together." It can not be said of this fabric of legislation that it went up without "the sound of the hammer." The rap of the gavel was often heard enforcing order or limiting the length of speeches.
Discussion is the process by which legislation is achieved; hence no history of legislation would be complete without presenting the progress of debate preparatory to the adoption of important measures. The explanation of what our legislators did is found in what they said. Debates, as presented in the following pages, are by necessity much abridged. No attempt has been made to give a summary or synopsis of speeches. That which seemed to be the most striking or characteristic passage in a speech is given, in the words of the orator.
Many things said and done in the Thirty-Ninth Congress, of great importance to the nation, are by necessity omitted. The reader, in forming his opinion of Congressional character and ability, will bear in mind that those who speak most frequently are not always the most useful legislators. Men from whom no quotation is made, and to whom no measure is attributed in the following pages, may be among the foremost in watchfulness for their constituents, and faithfulness to the country.
If it should seem that one subject — the negro question — occupied too much of the time and attention of Congress, it must be borne in mind that this subject was thrust upon Congress and the country by the issue of the Rebellion, and must be definitely and finally settled before the nation can be at rest. "Unsettled questions have no pity on the repose of mankind."
No attempt has been made to present a journal of Congressional proceedings, giving a detail of what was said and done from day to day in the Senate and the House. There was always some great national question under consideration in one or the other House, forming an uninterrupted series of discussions and transactions. To present these in review is to give a history of the Thirty-Ninth Congress, since they distinguish it from all its predecessors, and make it historical.
CHAPTER I.—Opening Scenes.
Momentous Events of the Vacation — Opening of the Senate — Mr. Wade — Mr. Sumner — Mr. Wilson — Mr. Harris — Edward McPherson — As Clerk of the preceding Congress, he calls the House to order — Interruption of Roll-call by Mr. Maynard — Remarks by Mr. Brooks — His Colloquy with Mr. Stevens — Mr. Colfax elected Speaker — His Inaugural Address — The Test Oath.
CHAPTER II.—Locations of the Members and Cast of the Committees.
Importance of surroundings — Members sometimes referred to by their seats — Senator Andrew Johnson — Seating of the Senators — Drawing in the House — The Senate Chamber as seen from the Gallery — Distinguished Senators — The House of Representatives — Some prominent characters — Importance of Committees — Difficulty in their appointment — Important Senate Committees — Committees of the House.
CHAPTER III.—Formation of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction.
Lack of Excitement — Cause — The Resolution — Dilatory Motions — Yeas and Nays — Proposed Amendments in the Senate — Debate in the Senate — Mr. Howard — Mr. Anthony — Mr. Doolittle — Mr. Fessenden — Mr. Saulsbury — Mr. Hendricks — Mr. Trumbull — Mr. Guthrie — Passage of the Resolution in the Senate — Yeas and Nays — Remarks of Mr. Stevens on the Amendment of the Senate — Concurrence of the House — The Committee appointed.
CHAPTER IV.—Suffrage in the District of Columbia.
Duty of Congress to Legislate for the District of Columbia — Suffrage Bill introduced into the House — Speech by Mr. Wilson — Mr. Boyer — Mr. Schofield — Mr. Kelly — Mr. Rogers — Mr. Farnsworth — Mr. Davis — Mr. Chanler — Mr. Bingham — Mr. Grinnell — Mr. Kasson — Mr. Julian — Mr. Thomas — Mr. Darling — Mr. Hale's Amendment — Mr. Thayer — Mr. Van Horn — Mr. Clarke — Mr. Johnson — Mr. Boutwell.
CHAPTER V.—The Freedmen.
Necessities of the Freedmen — Committee in the House — Early Movement by the Senate in behalf of Freedmen — Senator Wilson's Bill — Occasion for it — Mr. Cowan Moves its reference — Mr. Reverdy Johnson advises deliberation — A Question of time With Mr. Sherman — Mr. Trumbull promises a more efficient Bill — Mr. Sumner presents proof of the bad condition of affairs in the South — Mr. Cowan and Mr. Stewart produce the President as a Witness for the Defense — Mr. Wilson on the Testimony — "Conservatism" — The Bill absorbed in greater measures.
CHAPTER VI.—The Freedmen's Bureau Bill in the Senate.
The Bill introduced and referred to Judiciary Committee — Its provisions — Argument of Mr. Hendricks against it — Reply of Mr. Trumbull — Mr. Cowan's Amendment — Mr. Guthrie wishes to relieve Kentucky from the operation of the bill — Mr. Creswell desires that Maryland may enjoy the benefits of the bill — Mr. Cowan's Gratitude to God and Friendship for the Negro — Remarks by Mr. Wilson — "The short gentleman's long speech" — Yeas and Nays — Insulting title.
CHAPTER VII.—The Freedmen's Bureau Bill in the House.
The Bill Reported To the House — Mr. Eliot's Speech — History — Mr. Dawson Vs. the Negro — Mr. Garfield — The Idol Broken — Mr. Taylor Counts the Cost — Mr. Donnelly's Amendment — Mr. Kerr — Mr. Marshall On White Slavery — Mr. Hubbard — Mr. Moulton — Opposition From Kentucky — Mr. Ritter — Mr. Rosseau's Threat — Mr. Shanklin's Gloomy Prospect — Mr. Trimble's Appeal — Mr. Mckee an Exceptional Kentuckian — Mr. Grinnell on Kentucky — The Example of Russia — Mr. Phelps — Mr. Shellabarger's Amendment — Mr. Chanler — Mr. Stevens' Amendments — Mr. Eliot Closes the Discussion — Passage of The Bill — Yeas and Nays.
CHAPTER VIII.—The Senate and the Veto Message.
Mr. Trumbull on the Amendments of the House — Mr. Guthrie exhibits feeling — Mr. Sherman's deliberate Conclusion — Mr. Henderson's sovereign remedy — Mr. Trumbull on patent medicines — Mr. Mcdougall a white Man — Mr. Reverdy Johnson on the power to pass the Bill — Concurrence of the House — The Veto Message — Mr. Lane, of Kansas — His efforts for delay — Mr. Garrett Davis — Mr. Trumbull's reply to the President — The Question taken — Yeas and Nays — Failure of passage.
CHAPTER IX.—The Civil Rights Bill in the Senate.
Duty of Congress consequent upon the Abolition of Slavery — Civil Rights Bill introduced — Reference to Judiciary Committee — Before the Senate — Speech By Mr. Trumbull — Mr. Saulsbury — Mr. van Winkle — Mr. Cowan — Mr. Howard — Mr. Johnson — Mr. Davis — Conversations with Mr. Trumbull and Mr. Clark — Reply of Mr. Johnson — Remarks by Mr. Morrill — Mr. Davis "wound Up" — Mr. Guthrie's Speech — Mr. Hendricks — Reply of Mr. Lane — Mr. Wilson — Mr. Trumbull's closing remarks — Yeas And Nays on the passage of the Bill.
CHAPTER X.—The Civil Rights Bill in the House of Representatives.
The Bill referred to the Judiciary Committee and reported back — Speech by the Chairman of the Committee — Mr. Rogers — Mr. Cook — Mr. Thayer — Mr. Eldridge — Mr. Thornton — Mr. Windom — Mr. Shellabarger — Mr. Broomall — Mr. Raymond — Mr. Delano — Mr. Kerr — Amendment by Mr. Bingham — His Speech — Reply by his Colleague — Discussion closed by Mr. Wilson — Yeas and Nays on the passage of the Bill — Mr. Le Blond's proposed title — Amendments of the House accepted by the Senate.
CHAPTER XI.—The Civil Rights Bill and the Veto.
Doubts as to the President's Decision — Suspense ended — The Veto Message — Mr. Trumbull's Answer — Mr. Reverdy Johnson defends the Message — Rejoinder — Remarks of Mr. Yates — Mr. Cowan appeals to the Country — Mr. Stewart shows how States may make the Law a Nullity — Mr. Wade — Mr. McDougall on Persian Mythology — Mr. J. H. Lane defends the President — Mr. Wade — The President's Collar — Mr. Brown — Mr. Doolittle — Mr. Garrett Davis — Mr. Saulsbury — Yeas And Nays in the Senate — Vote in the House — The Civil Rights Bill becomes a Law.
CHAPTER XII.—The Second Freedmen's Bureau Bill becomes a Law.
The Discovery of the Majority — The Senate Bill — The House Bill — Its Provisions — Passage of the Bill — Amendment and Passage in the Senate — Committee of Conference — The Amendments as Accepted — The Bill as Passed — The Veto — The Proposition of a Democrat accepted — Confusion in Leadership — Passage of the Bill over The Veto — It Becomes a Law.
CHAPTER XIII.—First Words on Reconstruction.
Responsibility of the Republican Party — Its Power and Position — Initiatory Step — Mr. Stevens speaks for himself — Condition of the Rebel States — Constitutional Authority under which Congress should act — Estoppel — What Constitutes Congress — The First Duty — Basis of Representation — Duty on exports — Two Important Principles — Mr. Raymond's Theory — Rebel States still in the Union — Consequences of the Radical Theory — Conditions to be required — State Sovereignty — Rebel Debt — Prohibition of Slavery — Two Policies contrasted — Reply of Mr. Jenckes — Difference in Terms, not in Substance — Logic of the Conservatives leads to the Results of the Radicals.
CHAPTER XIV.—The Basis of Representation in the House.
First work of the Joint Committee — The Joint Resolution proposing a Constitutional Amendment — Mr. Stevens' reasons for speedy action — Protracted Discussion Commenced — Objections to the Bill by Mr. Rogers — Defense by Mr. Conkling — Two other Modes — How States might Evade the Law — Not a Finality — Wisconsin and South Carolina — Amendment for Female Suffrage proposed — Orth on Indiana and Massachusetts — Obscuration of the Sun — More Radical Remedy desired — A Kentuckian gratified — Citations from the Census — Premium for Treason — White Slaves — Power to amend well-nigh exhausted — Objections to the Suffrage Basis — "Race" and "Color" ambiguous — Condition of the Question — Recommitted — Final Passage.
CHAPTER XV.—The Basis of Representation in the Senate.
The Joint Resolution goes to the Senate — Counter-proposition by Mr. Sumner — He Speaks Five Hours — Mr. Henderson's Amendment — Mr. Fessenden — Mr. Henry S. Lane — Mr. Johnson — Mr. Henderson — Mr. Clark's Historical Statements — Fred. Douglass' Memorial — Mr. Williams — Mr. Hendricks — Mr. Chandler's "blood-letting Letter" — Proposition of Mr. Yates — His Speech — Mr. Buckalew against New England — Mr. Pomeroy — Mr. Sumner's second Speech — Mr. Doolittle — Mr. Morrill — Mr. Fessenden meets Objections — Final Vote — The Amendment defeated.
CHAPTER XVI.—Representation of the Southern States.
Concurrent Resolution — A "Venomous Fight" — Passage in the House — The Resolution in the Senate — "A Political Wrangle" deprecated — Importance of the Question — "A Straw in a Storm" — Policy of the President — Conversation between two Senators — Mr. Nye's Advice to Rebels — "A Dangerous Power" — "Was Mr. Wade once a Secessionist?" — Garrett Davis' Programme for the President — "Useless yet Mischievous" — The Great Question Settled.
CHAPTER XVII.—The Reconstruction Amendment in the House.
A Constitutional Amendment proposed and postponed — Proposition by Mr. Stewart — The Reconstruction Amendment — Death of its Predecessor lamented — Opposition to the Disfranchisement of Rebels — "The Unrepentent Thirty-three" — Nine-tenths Reduced to One-twelfth — Advice to Congress — The Committee denounced — Democratic and Republican Policy compared — Authority without Power — A Variety of Opinions — An Earthquake predicted — The Joint Resolution passes the House.
CHAPTER XVIII.—The Reconstruction Amendment in the Senate.
Difference between Discussions in the House and in the Senate — Mr. Sumner proposes to postpone — Mr. Howard takes Charge of the Amendment — Substitutes proposed — The Republicans in Council — The Disfranchising Clause stricken out — Humorous Account by Mr. Hendricks — The Pain and Penalties of not holding Office — A Senator's Piety appealed to — Howe vs. Doolittle — Marketable Principles — Praise of the President — Mr. McDougall's Charity — Vote of the Senate — Concurrence in the House.
CHAPTER XIX.—Report of the Committee on Reconstruction.
An important State Paper — Work of the Committee — Difficulty of obtaining information — Theory of the President — Taxation and Representation — Disposition and doings of the Southern People — Conclusion of the Committee — Practical Recommendations.
CHAPTER XX.—Restoration of Tennessee.
Assembling of the Tennessee Legislature — Ratification of the Constitutional Amendment — Restoration of Tennessee proposed in Congress — The Government of Tennessee not Republican — Protest against the Preamble — Passage in the House — New Preamble proposed — The President's Opinion deprecated and disregarded — Passage in the Senate — The President's Approval and Protest — Admission of Tennessee Members — Mr. Patterson's Case.
CHAPTER XXI.—Negro Suffrage.
Review of the preceding action — Efforts of Mr. Yates for Unrestricted Suffrage — Davis's Amendment to Cuvier — The "Propitious Hour" — The Mayor's Remonstrance — Mr. Willey's Amendment — Mr. Cowan's Amendment for Female Suffrage — Attempt to out-radical the Radicals — Opinions for and against Female Suffrage — Reading and Writing as a Qualification — Passage of the Bill — Objections of the President — Two Senators on the Opinions of the People — The Suffrage Bill becomes a Law.
CHAPTER XXII.—The Military Reconstruction Act.
Proposition by Mr. Stevens — "Piratical Governments" not to be recognized — The Military Feature introduced — Mr. Schofield's Dog — The Only Hope of Mr. Hise — Conversation concerning the Reconstruction Committee — Censure of a Member — A Military Bill Reported — War Predicted — The "Blaine Amendment" — Bill passes the House — In the Senate — Proposition to Amend — Mr. McDougall desires Liberty of Speech — Mr. Doolittle pleads for the Life of the Republic — Mr. Sherman's Amendment — Passage in the Senate — Discussion and Non-concurrence in the House — The Senate unyielding — Qualified Concurrence of the House — The Veto — "The Funeral of the Nation" — The Act — Supplementary Legislation.
CHAPTER XXIII.—Other Important Acts.
Equalizing Bounties — The Army — The Department of Education — Southern Homesteads — The Bankrupt Law — The Tariff — Reduction of Taxes — Contracting the Currency — Issue of Three Per Cents. — Nebraska and Colorado — Tenure of Office.
CHAPTER XXIV.—The President and Congress.
The President's treatment of the South — First Annual Message — Mr. Sumner's Criticism — The President triumphant — He damages his Cause — Humor of Mr. Stevens — Vetoes Overridden — The Question submitted to the People — Their Verdict — Summary of Vetoes — Impeachment — Charges by Mr. Ashley — Report of the Committee.
Contested Seats — Mr. Stockton votes for Himself — New Jersey's Loss of two Senators — Losses of Vermont — Suicide of James H. Lane — Death in the House — General Scott — Lincoln's Eulogy and Statue — Mr. Sumner on Fine Arts in the Capitol — Censure of Mr. Chanler — Petition for the Expulsion of Garret Davis — Grinnell assaulted by Rousseau — The Action of the House — Leader of the House.
Biographical Sketches 577
LIST OF PORTRAITS.
PAGE 1.—Hon. Schuyler Colfax, Frontispiece.
2.—Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, 29
3.—Hon. William D. Kelley, 59
4.—Hon. Sidney Clarke, 89
5.—Hon. Thomas A. Hendricks, 109
6.—Hon. Henry Wilson, 135
7.—Hon. Samuel C. Pomeroy, 171
8.—Hon. Reverdy Johnson, 203
9.—Hon. James F. Wilson, 239
10.—Hon. William M. Stewart, 275
11.—Hon. Ebon C. Ingersoll, 307
12.—Hon. Robert C. Schenck, 353
13.—Hon. Richard Yates, 399
14.—Hon. Edwin D. Morgan, 453
15.—Hon. William B. Stokes, 481
16.—Hon. George H. Williams, 517
17.—Hon. John Conness, 541
18.—Hon. James M. Ashley, 567
By HON. SCHUYLER COLFAX,
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
The Congress that has just passed away has written a record that will be long remembered by the poor and friendless, whom it did not forget. Misrepresented or misunderstood by those who denounced it as enemies, harshly and unjustly criticised by some who should have been its friends, it proved itself more faithful to human progress and liberty than any of its predecessors. The outraged and oppressed found in these congressional halls champions and friends. Its key-note of policy was protection to the downtrodden. It quailed not before the mightiest, and neglected not the obscurest. It lifted the slave, whom the nation had freed, to the full stature of manhood. It placed on our statute-book the Civil Rights Bill as our nation's magna charta, grander than all the enactments that honor the American code; and in all the region whose civil governments had been destroyed by a vanquished rebellion, it declared as a guarantee of defense to the weakest that the freeman's hand should wield the freeman's ballot; and that none but loyal men should govern a land which loyal sacrifices had saved. Taught by inspiration that new wine could not be safely put in old bottles, it proclaimed that there could be no safe or loyal reconstruction on a foundation of unrepentant treason and disloyalty.
The first session of the Thirty-ninth Congress proposed, as their plan of Reconstruction, a Constitutional Amendment. It was a bond of public justice and public safety combined, to be embodied in our national Constitution, to show to our posterity that patriotism is a virtue and rebellion is a crime. These terms were more magnanimous than were ever offered in any country under like circumstances. They were kind, they were forbearing, they were less than we had a right to demand; but in our anxiety, in our desire to close up this question, we made the proposition. How was it received? They trampled upon it, they spat upon it, they repudiated it, and said they would have nothing to do with it. They were determined to have more power after the rebellion than they had before.
When this proposition was repudiated, we came together again, at the second session of the same Congress, to devise some other plan of reconstruction in place of the proffer that had been spurned. We put the basis of our reconstruction, first, upon every loyal man in the South, and then we gave the ballot also to every man who had only been a traitor. The persons we excluded, for the present, from suffrage in the South, were not the thousands who struggled in the rebel army, not the millions who had given their adhesion to it, but only those men who had sworn allegiance to the Constitution and then added to treason the crime of perjury.
Though we demand no indemnity for the past, no banishment, no confiscations, no penalties for the offended law, there is one thing we do demand, there is one thing we have the power to demand, and that is security for the future, and that we intend to have, not only in legislation, but imbedded in the imperishable bulwarks of our national Constitution, against which the waves of secession may dash in future but in vain. We intend to have those States reconstructed on such enduring corner-stones that posterity shall realize that our fallen heroes have not died in vain.
Momentous Events of the Vacation — Opening of the Senate — Mr. Wade — Mr. Sumner — Mr. Wilson — Mr. Harris — Edward McPherson — As Clerk of the preceding Congress, he calls the House to order — Interruption of Roll-call by Mr. Maynard — Remarks by Mr. Brooks — His Colloquy with Mr. Stevens — Mr. Colfax elected Speaker — His Inaugural Address — The Test Oath.
The Thirty-ninth Congress of the United States, convened in the Capitol at Washington on the fourth of December, 1865. Since the adjournment of the Thirty-eighth Congress, events of the greatest moment had transpired—events which invested its successor with responsibilities unparalleled in the history of any preceding legislative body.
Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, had been slain by the hand of the assassin. The crime had filled the land with horror. The loss of its illustrious victim had veiled the nation in unaffected grief.
By this great national calamity, Andrew Johnson, who on the fourth of March preceding had taken his seat simply to preside over the deliberations of the Senate, became President of the United States.
Meanwhile the civil war, which had been waged with such terrible violence and bloodshed for four years preceding, came to a sudden termination. The rebel armies, under Generals Lee and Johnston, had surrendered to the victorious soldiers of the United States, who in their generosity had granted to the vanquished terms so mild and easy as to excite universal surprise.
Jefferson Davis, Alexander H. Stephens, and some other leaders in the rebellion, had been captured and held for a time as State prisoners; but, at length, all save the "President of the Confederate States" were released on parole, and finally pardoned by the President.
The President had issued a proclamation granting amnesty and pardon to "all who directly or indirectly participated in the rebellion, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves," on condition of their subscribing to a prescribed oath. By the provisions of this proclamation, fourteen classes of persons were excepted from the benefits of the amnesty offered therein, and yet "any person belonging to the excepted classes" was encouraged to make special application to the President for pardon, to whom clemency, it was declared, would "be liberally extended." In compliance with this invitation, multitudes had obtained certificates of pardon from the President, some of whom were at once elected by the Southern people, to represent them, as Senators and Representatives, in the Thirty-ninth Congress.
The President had further carried on the work of reconstruction by appointing Provisional Governors for many of the States lately in rebellion. He had recognized and entered into communication with the Legislatures of these States, prescribing certain terms on which they might secure representation in Congress, and recognition of "all their rights under the Constitution."
By these and many other events which had transpired since the expiration of the preceding Congress, the legislation pertaining to reconstruction had become a work of vast complexity, involving principles more profound, and questions more difficult, than ever before presented for the consideration and solution of men assembled in a legislative capacity.
At twelve o'clock on the day designated in the Constitution for the meeting of Congress, the Senate assembled, and was called to order by Hon. Lafayette S. Foster, President pro tempore. Senators from twenty-five States were in their seats, and answered to their names. Rev. E. H. Gray, Chaplain of the Senate, invoked the blessing of Almighty God upon Congress, and prayed "that all their deliberations and enactments might be such as to secure the Divine approval, and insure the unanimous acquiescence of the people, and command the respect of the nations of the earth."
Soon after the preliminary formalities of opening the Senate had transpired, Benjamin F. Wade, Senator from Ohio, inaugurated the labors of the Thirty-ninth Congress, and significantly foreshadowed one of its most memorable acts by introducing "a bill to regulate the elective franchise in the District of Columbia."
The Senate signified its willingness to enter at once upon active duty by giving unanimous consent to Mr. Sumner, Senator from Massachusetts, to introduce a number of important bills. The measures thus brought before the Senate were clearly indicative of the line of policy which Congress would pursue. The bills introduced were designed "to carry out the principles of a republican form of government in the District of Columbia;" "to present an oath to maintain a republican form of government in the rebel States;" "to enforce the amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery;" "to enforce the guarantee of a republican form of government in certain States where governments have been usurped or overthrown."
Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, was not behind his distinguished colleague in his readiness to enter upon the most laborious legislation of the session. He introduced "a bill to maintain the freedom of the inhabitants in the States declared in insurrection by the proclamation of the President on the first of July, 1862."
Senator Harris, of New York, long known as one of the ablest jurists of his State, and recently an eminent member of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, directed attention to his favorite field of legislative labor by introducing "a bill to reoerganize the Judiciary of the United States."
While the Senate was thus actively entering upon the labors of the session, a somewhat different scene was transpiring in the other end of the Capitol.
Long before the hour for the assembling of Congress, the halls, the galleries, and corridors of the House of Representatives were thronged with such crowds as had never before been seen at the opening of a session. The absorbing interest felt throughout the entire country in the great questions to be decided by Congress had drawn great numbers to the Capitol from every quarter of the Union. Eligible positions, usually held in reserve for certain privileged or official persons, and rarely occupied by a spectator, were now filled to their utmost capacity. The Diplomatic Gallery was occupied by many unskilled in the mysteries of diplomacy; the Reporters' Gallery held many listeners and lookers on who had no connection with newspapers, save as readers. The "floor" was held not only by the "members," who made the hall vocal with their greetings and congratulations, but by a great crowd of pages, office-seekers, office-holders, and unambitious citizens, who thronged over the new carpet and among the desks.
The hour having arrived for the assembling of Congress, Edward McPherson, Clerk of the last House of Representatives, brought down the gavel on the Speaker's desk, and called the House to order. The members found their seats, and the crowd surged back up the aisles, and stood in a compact mass in the rear of the last row of desks.
Edward McPherson, who at that moment occupied the most prominent and responsible place in the nation, had come to his position through a series of steps, which afforded the country an opportunity of knowing his material and capacity. A graduate of Pennsylvania College in 1848, editor, author, twice a Congressman, and Clerk of the House of Representatives in the Thirty-eighth Congress, he had given evidence that he was reliable. Having shown himself a thoroughly conscientious man in the performance of all his public duties, the great interests of the nation were safe in his hands.
The country had been greatly concerned to know how the Clerk would make up the Roll of the House, and whether the names of members elect from the late rebellious States would be called at the opening of the session. If this should be done, the first step would be gained by the Representatives of those States toward holding seats in Congress to which the majority at the North considered them not entitled. It had even been intimated that the color of constitutionality which they would gain from recognition by the Clerk would be used to justify an assertion of their claims by force. What the Clerk would do, as master of the rolls and presiding officer of the House, was not long in doubt.
The Clerk proceeded to call the roll of Representatives elect, while the subordinates at the desk took note of the responses. He called the names of Congressmen from the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and so forth, in a certain order which had been customary time immemorial in naming the States. In this order Tennessee had place after Kentucky and before Indiana. When the name of the last Representative from Kentucky had been called, the decisive moment arrived. The delegation from Tennessee were on the floor, ready to answer to their names. The Clerk passed over Tennessee and went direct to Indiana. As soon as the first member from Indiana had responded, there arose a tall, black-haired, dark-faced figure, that every body recognized as Horace Maynard, of Tennessee. He shook his certificate of election at the Clerk, and began to speak, but the gavel came down with a sharp rap, and a firm, decided voice was heard from the desk, "The Clerk declines to have any interruption during the call of the roll." The roll-call then proceeded without further interference to the end. When, at last, the Clerk had finished his list of Representatives and Territorial Delegates, Mr. Maynard once more arose. "The Clerk can not be interrupted while ascertaining whether a quorum is present," says the presiding officer. The count of the assistants having been completed, the Clerk announced, "One hundred and seventy-six members having answered to their names, a quorum is present." Mr. Morrill immediately moved that the House proceed to the election of Speaker. "Before that motion is put," said Mr. Maynard, again arising. The Clerk was ready for the emergency, and before Mr. Maynard could complete his sentence, he uttered the imperative and conclusive words, "The Clerk can not recognize as entitled to the floor any gentleman whose name is not on this roll." A buzz of approbation greeted the discreet ruling of the Clerk. The difficult point was passed, and the whole subject of the admission of Southern Representatives was handed over intact, to be deliberately considered after the House should be fully organized for business.
Mr. Morrill, in moving to proceed to the election of a Speaker, had forgotten or neglected to demand the previous question, and thus cut off debate. Mr. James Brooks, most plausible in address, and most ready in talk on the side of the minority, saw the point left unguarded by his opponents, and resolved to enter. Born in Maine, now a citizen of New York, and editor of the "Express," Mr. Brooks was in Congress for the fourth time a champion of what he deemed the rights of the South, and not in accordance with the prevailing sentiments in his native and adopted States.
Mr. Brooks obtained the floor, and desired to amend the motion. He thought the roll should be completed before proceeding to the election of Speaker. "I trust," said he, "that we shall not proceed to any revolutionary, any step like that, without at least hearing from the honorable gentleman from Tennessee. If Tennessee is not in the Union, by what right does the President of the United States usurp his place in the White House when an alien and a foreigner, and not from a State in the Union?"
At this stage, a man of mark—five times a Representative in Congress, but now twelve years away from the capital and a new member—John Wentworth, of Chicago—elevated his tall and massive form, and with a stentorian voice called Mr. Brooks to order. The Clerk having fairly decided that gentleman entitled to the floor on the question of proceeding to the election of a Speaker, Mr. Wentworth sat down, and Mr. Brooks in resuming his remarks improved his chance to administer rebuke in a manner which provoked some mirth. "When the honorable gentleman from Illinois is better acquainted with me in this House," said Mr. Brooks, "he will learn that I always proceed in order, and never deviate from the rules." Mr. Brooks then returned to his championship of Mr. Maynard: "If he is not a loyal man, and is not from a State in this Union, what man, then, is loyal? In the darkest and most doubtful period of the war, when an exile from his own State, I heard his eloquent voice on the banks of the St. Lawrence arousing the people of my own State to discharge their duties to the country."
Mr. Brooks joined Virginia with Tennessee, and asked the Clerk to give his reasons for excluding the names of Representatives from these States from the roll. The Clerk replied that he had acted in accordance with his views of duty, and was willing to let the record stand; if it was the desire of the House to have his reasons, he would give them.
"It is not necessary," said Thaddeus Stevens; "we know all."
"I know," replied Mr. Brooks, "that it is known to all in one quarter, but that it is not known to many in other quarters in this House, why this exclusion has been made. I should know but little, if I had not the record before me of the resolution adopted by the Republican majority of this House, that Tennessee, Louisiana, and Virginia were to be excluded, and excluded without debate. Why without debate? Are gentlemen afraid to face debate? Are their reasons of such a character that they dare not present them to the country, and have to resort to the extraordinary step of sideway legislation, in a private caucus, to enact a joint resolution to be forced upon this House without debate, confirming that there are no reasons whatever to support this position except their absolute power, and authority, and control over this House? If the gentleman from Pennsylvania would but inform me at what period he intends to press this resolution, I would be happy to be informed."
"I propose to present it at the proper time," was the response of Mr. Stevens, provoking laughter and applause.
Mr. Brooks replied: "Talleyrand said that language was given to man to conceal ideas, and we all know the gentleman's ingenuity in the use of language. The proper time! When will that be?" Mr. Brooks then proceeded at some length to answer this question. He supposed the proper time would be as soon as the House was organized, and before the President's message could be heard and considered, that the action of the House might silence the Executive, and nullify the exposition which he might make, and become a quasi condemnation of the action of the President of the United States.
Mr. Brooks was at length ready to close, and sought to yield the floor to a Democratic member. The Republicans, however, were ready to meet the emergency, and objected to the floor being yielded in such a way as would cause delay without furthering the business of organizing the House. Points of order were raised, and efforts made to entangle the Clerk, but in vain. His rulings were prompt, decisive, and effectual. The moment a Republican fairly held the floor, the previous question was moved, the initial contest was over, and the House proceeded to elect a Speaker.
A stoop-shouldered, studious-looking gentleman, now for the sixth successive term a member of Congress—Justin S. Morrill, of Vermont—arose and nominated Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana. On the other side of the house, a gentleman from New York portly in his person, now entering on his second Congressional term—Charles H. Winfield—nominated James Brooks, of New York. Four members took their seats behind the Clerk to act as tellers. The responses were at length all given, and the numbers noted. Mr. Morrill, one of the tellers, announced the result—"Mr. Colfax, one hundred and thirty-nine; Mr. Brooks, thirty-six." The Clerk formally announced the result, and stepped aside; his work as presiding officer of the Thirty-ninth Congress was at an end.
In the place thus made vacant appeared the man but a moment before elected to the position by the largest political majority ever given to a Speaker of the House. A well-proportioned figure of medium size, a pleasing countenance often radiant with smiles, a style of movement quick and restless, yet calm and self-possessed, were characteristic of him upon whom all eyes were turned. In the past a printer and editor in Indiana, now in Congress for the sixth term and elected Speaker the second time, SCHUYLER COLFAX stood to take the oath of office, and enter upon the discharge of most difficult and responsible duties. He said:
"Gentlemen of the House of Representatives: The reaessembling of Congress, marking as it does the procession of our national history, is always regarded with interest by the people for whom it is to legislate. But it is not unsafe to say that millions more than ever before, North, South, East, and West, are looking to the Congress which opens its session to-day with an earnestness and solicitude unequaled on similar occasions in the past. The Thirty-eighth Congress closed its constitutional existence with the storm-cloud of war still lowering over us, and after nine months' absence, Congress resumes its legislative authority in these council halls, rejoicing that from shore to shore in our land there is peace.
"Its duties are as obvious as the sun's pathway in the heavens. Representing in its two branches the States and the people, its first and highest obligation is to guarantee to every State a republican form of government. The rebellion having overthrown constitutional State governments in many States, it is yours to mature and enact legislation which, with the concurrence of the Executive, shall establish them anew on such a basis of enduring justice as will guarantee all necessary safeguards to the people, and afford what our Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, proclaims is the chief object of government—protection to all men in their inalienable rights. The world should witness, in this great work, the most inflexible fidelity, the most earnest devotion to the principles of liberty and humanity, the truest patriotism and the wisest statesmanship.
"Heroic men, by hundreds of thousands, have died that the Republic might live. The emblems of mourning have darkened White House and cabin alike; but the fires of civil war have melted every fetter in the land, and proved the funeral pyre of slavery. It is for you, Representatives, to do your work as faithfully and as well as did the fearless saviors of the Union in their more dangerous arena of duty. Then we may hope to see the vacant and once abandoned seats around us gradually filling up, until this hall shall contain Representatives from every State and district; their hearts devoted to the Union for which they are to legislate, jealous of its honor, proud of its glory, watchful of its rights, and hostile to its enemies. And the stars on our banner, that paled when the States they represented arrayed themselves in arms against the nation, will shine with a more brilliant light of loyalty than ever before."
Mr. Colfax having finished his address, took the following oath, which stood as the most serious obstacle in the way of many elected to Congress from the Southern States:
"I do solemnly swear that I have never voluntarily borne arms against the United States since I have been a citizen thereof; that I have voluntarily given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto; that I have neither sought nor accepted nor attempted to exercise the functions of any office whatever, under any authority or pretended authority in hostility to the United States; that I have not yielded a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority, power, or constitution within the United States, hostile or inimical thereto. And I do further swear that, to the best of my knowledge and ability, I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God!"
The subordinate officers were then elected by resolution, and the House of Representatives being organized, was ready to enter upon its work.
LOCATIONS OF THE MEMBERS AND CAST OF THE COMMITTEES.
Importance of surroundings — Members sometimes referred to by their seats — Senator Andrew Johnson — Seating of the Senators — Drawing in the House — The Senate-chamber as seen from the Gallery — Distinguished Senators — The House of Representatives — Some prominent characters — Importance of Committees — Difficulty in their appointment — Important Senate Committees — Committees of the House.
The localities and surroundings of men have an influence on their actions and opinions. A matter which, to the casual observer, seems so unimportant as the selection and arrangement of the seats of Senators and Representatives, has its influence upon the legislation of the country. Ever since parties have had an existence, it has been considered of vital moment that those of one political faith in a deliberative body should occupy, as nearly as possible, the same locality.
It is sometimes of service to a reader, in attempting to understand the reported proceedings of Congress, to know the localities of the members. Each seat has a sort of history of its own, and becomes in some way identified with its occupant. Members are frequently alluded to in connection with the seats they occupy. Sometimes it happens that, years after a man has gone from Congress, it is convenient and suggestive to refer to him by his old place in the chamber. As an illustration, Mr. Trumbull, in his speech on the veto of the Civil Rights Bill, desiring to quote Andrew Johnson, Senator, against Andrew Johnson, President, referred to "a speech delivered in this body by a Senator occupying, I think, the seat now occupied across the chamber by my friend from Oregon (Mr. Williams)."
A necessary and important part of the adjustment of the machinery, at the opening of each Congress, is the selection of seats. As the Senators serve for six years, and many of them have been reelected more than once, there are comparatively few changes made at the opening of any Congress. The old members generally choose to retain their accustomed seats, and the small number that come in as new Senators choose among the vacant seats, as convenience or caprice may dictate.
In the House of Representatives the formality of drawing for seats is necessary. That this may be conveniently and fairly done, at the appointed time all the members retire to the antechambers, leaving the seats all unoccupied. The Clerk draws at random from a receptacle containing the names of all the members. As the members are called, one by one, they go in and occupy such seats as they may choose. The unlucky member whose name last turns up has little room for choice, and must be content to spend his Congressional days far from the Speaker, on the remote circumference, or to the right or left extreme.
There are in the Senate-chamber seventy seats, in three tiers of semi-circular arrangement. If all the old Southern States were represented by Senators on the floor, the seats would be more than full. As it was in the Thirty-ninth Congress, there were a number of vacant desks, all of them situated to the right and left of the presiding officer.
In a division of political parties nearly equal, the main aisle from the southern entrance would be the separating line. As it was, the Republican Senators occupied not only the eastern half of the chamber, but many of them were seated on the other side, the comparatively few Democratic Senators sitting still further to the west.
Seated in the gallery, the spectator has a favorable position to survey the grand historic scene which passes below. His eye is naturally first attracted to the chair which is constitutionally the seat of the second dignitary in the land—the Vice-President of the United States. That office, however, has no incumbent, since he who took oath a few months before to perform its duties was called to occupy a higher place, made vacant by a most atrocious crime. The event, however, cost the Senate little loss of dignity, since the chair is filled by a President pro tempore of great ability and excellence—Lafayette S. Foster, Senator from Connecticut.
The eye of the spectator naturally seeks out Charles Sumner, who sits away on the outer tier of seats, toward the south-east corner of the chamber; and near him, on the left, are seen the late Governors, now Senators, Morgan and Yates, of New York and Illinois. Immediately in front of them, on the middle tier of seats, is an assemblage of old and distinguished Senators—Trumbull, Wilson, Wade, and Fessenden. To the right of the Vice-President's chair, and in the row of seats neares this desk, sits the venerable and learned lawyer, Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland. Just in his rear sits the youthful Sprague, of Rhode Island, to whose right is seen Sherman, of Ohio. To the rear of these Senators, in the outer segment of seats, sits, or perhaps stands, Garrett Davis, of Kentucky, the most garrulous of old men, continually out of temper with the majority, yet all the time marked by what he calls his "usual courtesy." To the left of Davis, beyond Nesmith, of Oregon, and the other and more silent Senator from Kentucky, sits Saulsbury, of Delaware, unless he should be traversing the carpeted space in the rear of his seat, like a sentinel of the Senate.
Far different is the sight presented to the spectator who looks down from the galleries of the House of Representatives. The immense area below is supplied with two hundred and fifty-three seats, with desks arranged in semi-circular rows, having a point in front of the Speaker's desk as a focus. On the right of the spectator, as he looks from the gallery in front of the Speaker, is the Republican side of the House. But this prosperous organization has grown so rapidly since its birth, ten years ago, that it has overstepped all old and traditional party limitations. One-half of the House is not sufficient to afford its representatives adequate accommodations. Republican members have passed over the main aisle, and occupy half of the Democratic side, having pressed the thin ranks of their opponents to the extreme left.
As the spectator scans the House, his eye will rest on Thaddeus Stevens, whose brown wig and Roman cast of countenance mark the veteran of the House. He sits in the right place for a leader of the Republicans, about half-way back from the Speaker's desk, on the diagonal line which divides the western side of the House, where he can readily catch the Speaker's eye, and be easily heard by all his friends. Immediately in his rear is his successor in the chairmanship of the Committee of Ways and Means—Mr. Morrill, of Vermont. To the right, across the aisle, is Elihu B. Washburn, of Illinois, the oldest member in continuous service in the House; and to his rear is Henry J. Raymond, of the Times. To the right, and partly in the rear of Mr. Stevens, are a number of noteworthy men: among them are General Schenck, General Garfield, and "Long John" Wentworth, of Chicago. Far around to the right, and much nearer, the Speaker's desk, is seen a man distinguished in civil and military history, who once occupied the Speaker's chair—General Banks, of Massachusetts. In physical contrast with him, sits—in the adjoining desk, a tall, dark, bearded Californian—General John Bidwell, a new member of the House. On the opposite side of the House, among the Democrats, is the seat of John A. Bingham, who now returns to Congress after an absence of one term, whom his friends describe as the "best-natured and crossest-looking man in the House." James Brooks, most plausible and best-natured of Democrats, notwithstanding the inroads of the Republicans, sturdily keeps his seat near the main aisle. His seat, however, he is destined to lose before many months in favor of a contestant, who will occupy the other side of the chamber.
In looking down upon so large an assemblage, a large part of which is so distant, the eye of the spectator will weary in the attempt to discover and recognize individuals, however familiar, amidst the busy throng.
In preparing for the work of legislation, a matter of more importance than the arrangement of the seats is the cast of the committees. Most of the labor of legislative bodies is done by committees. As it is impossible for any one Congressman to give that minute and particular attention to all the numerous interests demanding legislation, essential to a wise determination as to what bills should be presented, and how they should be drawn in every case, the various subjects are parceled out among those whose opportunities, interests, or inclinations have led them to give particular attention to the matters committed to their charge. The perfection of legislation on particular subjects depends not more on the wisdom of the entire body of legislators than on the good sense of the committees that deliberate upon them. Much of the efficiency and success of the legislative acts of Congress will depend upon the structure of the committees that do the laborious work of preparing business for the body. Tracing the stream of legislative enactment still nearer to its source, it will be found that the work of a committee takes a decided tinge from the character of its chairman.
It consequently becomes a matter of great interest to the country, at the opening of each Congress, to know who constitute the committees. One of the most arduous and responsible duties of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is the selection of committees and filling their chairmanships. Fitness and special adaptation are supposed to constitute the rule by which choice is made. Many elements, however, enter into the work which are not a part of this philosophy. It is impossible that the presiding officer should know unerringly who is absolutely the fittest man for any position, and if he possessed such superhuman knowledge he would still be trammeled by long-established rules of precedence and promotion. There is often a regular gradation by which men arrive at positions which is not in direct ratio to their fitness for their places.
Notwithstanding all the errors which were unavoidable elements in the work, committees were never better constituted than those of the Thirty-ninth Congress.
The Senate being comparatively small in numbers, and, moreover, by usage, doing most of the details of this business in caucus, the announcement of the committees in this body was made on Wednesday, the third day of the session. On the other hand, the size of the House, the large proportion of new and unknown members appearing every term, the number and magnitude of the committees, and the fact that the duty of appointment devolved upon the Speaker, combined to render the reading out of committeemen in the latter body impossible before the following Monday, one week after the assembling of Congress.
Of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Charles Sumner was appointed chairman. This is a very important committee, being the direct channel of communication between the State Department and the Senate. It being the constitutional duty of the Senate to pass upon all treaties, and to decide upon qualifications of all persons nominated by the Executive to represent the United States in foreign countries, the labors of this committee are arduous and responsible. The chairmanship of this committee was filled by a Senator of most eminent fitness and ability. His literary culture, and attainments as a scholar, his general legal ability and familiarity with the laws of nations, his residence abroad for several years, and his long membership in the Senate, now of fourteen years' duration, all marked him as wisely chosen for his important position.
On account of the immense National debt accumulated in the war, and the complication of the financial affairs of the nation, the Committee on Finance has an important bearing upon the interests of the country, unknown until recent years. William P. Fessenden was the Senator chosen chairman of this committee. His success in his private business, his appointment, in 1864, as the head of the Treasury Department, and his service in the Senate since 1853 as member of the Finance Committee, and since 1859 as its chairman, all indicated the propriety of his continuance in this position. Second on the list of this committee stood Senator Sherman, of Ohio, who has been described as "au fait on National Banks, fond of figures, and in love with finances."
The Committee on Commerce was constituted with Senator Chandler, of Michigan, as its chairman. Himself most successful in commercial life, in which he had attained distinction before coming to the Senate, and representing a State having a greater extent of coast and better facilities for commerce than any other inland community in the world, Senator Chandler was eminently suitable as head of the Committee on Commerce. His associates being selected from Maine, New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Oregon, left unrepresented no important commercial interest in the nation.
The Committee on Manufactures was headed by William Sprague, Senator from Rhode Island, a State having the largest capital invested, and most persons employed in manufactures, in proportion to population, of any in the Union. Senator Sprague himself having been educated in the counting-room of a manufacturing establishment, and having control of one of the largest manufacturing interests in the country, was the appropriate person for such a position.
The agricultural States of Ohio, Kansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky furnished the members of the Committee on Agriculture, with Senator Sherman at its head.
Of the Committee on the Judiciary, a Senator has given a description. In a speech delivered in the Senate, December 12, 1865, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, said: "From its very organization the Senate designs to make that committee its constitutional adviser—not that its opinions are to be conclusive or controlling on the vote of any member of this body, like the opinion of the bench of Judges in the House of Lords; but its members are chosen in consideration of their high professional ability, their long experience, and well-known standing as jurists, in order that their report upon constitutional questions may be entitled to the highest consideration. And, sir, if you look into the organization of the Judiciary Committee appointed by the Senate at the present session, what is it? There is the Senator from Illinois, [Mr. Trumbull], for years Judge of the Supreme Court of that State before he entered this body, who, for ten years and more, has been a faithful, laborious, distinguished member of that committee, and for the last four years its chairman. And there sits my honorable friend from New York [Mr. Harris], for twenty years before he came here known and distinguished among the able jurists and judges of that great State. And there is the honorable Senator from Vermont [Mr. Poland]. He has, it is true, just entered this body, but his reputation as a jurist preceded his coming, and he comes here to fill the place in this chamber, and is put upon this Judiciary Committee to fill the place of him of whom I will say, without disparagement to any, that he was the ablest jurist of us all—the late distinguished Senator from Vermont [Mr. Collamer]. And there is the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Clark], from the far East, and the Senator from Nevada [Mr. Stewart], from the Pacific coast, and the Senator from Indiana [Mr. Hendricks], from the central region, each of whom stands eminent in the profession in the State which he represents, and all of whom are recognized here among the ablest jurists of this body."
Some of the great political questions destined to engage the attention of the Thirty-ninth Congress invested the Committee on the District of Columbia with a national interest, although its duties pertained chiefly to the local concerns of the immediate neighborhood of the capital. Its chairman, Mr. Morrill, of Maine, as well as its members, among whom were Wade, Sumner, and Yates, gave it character and ability, and afforded assurance that the great questions involved would be calmly met and honestly answered.
In the House of Representatives, the Committee of Ways and Means has ever been regarded of first importance, and its chairman has been considered leader of the House. Its duties, though of a somewhat miscellaneous character, relate chiefly to devising the ways and means of raising revenue. The fact that the Constitution provides that "all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives," gives the Committee of Ways and Means a sort of preeminence over all other committees, whether of the Senate or the House.
The work of the Committee of Ways and Means, as it had existed before the Thirty-ninth Congress, was, at the opening of this session, divided among three committees; one retaining the old name and still remaining the leading committee, a second on Appropriations, and a third on Banking and Currency.
Of the new Committee of Ways and Means, Justin S. Morrill, of Vermont, was appointed chairman—a Representative of ten years' experience in the House, who had seen several years of service on the same committee. While his abilities and habits, as a student and a thinker, well adapted him for the work of conducting his committee by wise deliberation to useful measures, yet they were not characteristics fitting him with readiest tact and most resolute will to "handle the House."
Thaddeus Stevens, the old chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, was appointed the head of the new Committee on Appropriations. His vigilance and integrity admirably fitted him for this position, while his age made it desirable that he should be relieved of the arduous labors of the Committee of Ways and Means. Of this committee he had been chairman in the two preceding Congresses, and had filled a large space in the public eye as leader of the House. His age—over seventy years—gave him the respect of members the majority of whom were born after he graduated at college—the more especially as these advanced years were not attended with any perceptible abatement of the intellectual vivacity or fire of youth. The evident honesty and patriotism with which he advanced over prostrate theories and policies toward the great ends at which he aimed, secured him multitudes of friends, while these same qualities contributed to make him many enemies. The timid became bold and the resolute were made stronger in seeing the bravery with which he maintained his principles. He had a habit of going straight to the issue, and a rugged manner of presenting his opinions, coupled with a cool assurance, which, one of his unfriendly critics once declared, "sometimes rose almost to the sublime." He alone, of all the members of the Pennsylvania Convention, in 1836, refused to sign the new State Constitution, because it robbed the negro of his vote. It was a fitting reward that he, in 1866, should stand in the United States House of Representatives, at the head of a majority of more than one hundred, declaring that the oppressed race should enjoy rights so long denied.
The Committee on Banking and Currency had as chairman Theodore M. Pomeroy, of New York, who had served four years in Congress. Perhaps its most important member was Samuel Hooper, a Boston merchant and financier, who, from the outset of his Congressional career, now entering upon the third term, had been on the Committee of Ways and Means, of which he still remained a member, the only Representative retaining connection with the old committee and holding a place in one of the new offshoots from it.
Hiram Price, of Iowa, was appointed chairman of the Committee on the Pacific Railroad. The Speaker of the House, in his recent visit to the Pacific coast, had been impressed with the importance of this work, and wisely chose as members of this committee Representatives from Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, Missouri, Kansas, California, and Oregon.
A committee of much importance to Congress and the country—that of Commerce—had for its chairman Elihu B. Washburn, of Illinois, who had been in the previous Congress the oldest member in continuous service, and hence was styled "Father of the House."
The Committee on Elections subsequently lost some of its importance in the public estimation by the creation of a special committee to consider subjects of reconstruction and the admission of Southern members; yet the interests confided to it demanded ability, which it had in its chairman, Henry L. Dawes, of Massachusetts, as well as in the Representatives that constituted its membership.
The legislation relative to our vast unoccupied domain, having to pass through the Committee on Public Lands, renders this committee one of much importance. The honesty and ability of its chairman, George W. Julian, of Indiana, together with his long experience in Congress, gave to the recommendations of this committee great character and weight.
Of the Committee on the Judiciary, James F. Wilson, of Iowa, was appointed for the second time as chairman. George S. Boutwell, of Massachusetts, and other Representatives of ability, were appointed as members of this committee. Since the duty devolved upon it of taking testimony in regard to the impeachment of the President, this committee attracted public attention to a degree never known before.
The interests of manufactures were not likely to suffer in the hands of a committee in which the first place was held by James K. Moorhead, tanner's apprentice, and pioneer of cotton manufactures in Pennsylvania, and the second by Oakes Ames, a leading manufacturer of Massachusetts.
Agriculture—the most gigantic material interest in America—was intrusted to a committee having John Bidwell, of California, as its chairman, and members chosen from Iowa, Indiana, Vermont, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York.
The chairmanship of the Committee on Military Affairs was bestowed upon a major-general of volunteers from Ohio, Robert C. Schenck; while membership on the committee was given to a Connecticut colonel, Henry C. Deming; a New Hampshire brigadier-general, Gilman Marston; a Kentucky major-general, Lovell H. Rousseau; a New York Colonel, John H. Ketchum, and four civilians.
Nathaniel P. Banks, Henry J. Raymond, and other men of much ability, were appointed on the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Special committees were appointed on the important subjects of Bankruptcy and the Freedmen. Of the committee on the former, Thomas A. Jenckes was appointed chairman. Thomas D. Eliot, of Massachusetts, was made chairman of the Committee on the Freedmen.
Many other committees were appointed whose labors were arduous and necessary to our legislation, yet, as they had to do with subjects of no great general interest, they need not be named.
There was another committee, however, of great importance whose members were not yet designated. The resolution by which it should be created, was yet to pass through the ordeal of discussion. The process by which this committee was created will be described in the following chapter.
FORMATION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON RECONSTRUCTION.
Lack of Excitement — Cause — The Resolution — Dilatory Motions — Yeas and Nays — Proposed Amendments in the Senate — Debate in the Senate — Mr. Howard — Mr. Anthony — Mr. Doolittle — Mr. Fessenden — Mr. Saulsbury — Mr. Hendricks — Mr. Trumbull — Mr. Guthrie — Passage of the Resolution in the Senate — Yeas and Nays — Remarks of Mr. Stevens on the Amendments of the Senate — Concurrence of the House — The Committee appointed.
Since it was known throughout the country that members-elect from Tennessee and other States recently in rebellion would appear at Washington on the opening of the Thirty-ninth Congress, and demand recognition of their right to represent their constituents, all eyes were turned to observe the action which would be taken on the subject. It was anticipated that the question would be sprung at once, and that a season of storm and excitement would ensue, unparalleled in the political history of the nation. Since the American people are exceedingly fond of excitements and sensations, the expectation of trouble in Congress drew immense numbers to its galleries on the first day of the session. Lovers of sensation were doomed to disappointment. Correspondents and reporters for the press, who were prepared to furnish for the newspapers descriptions of an opening of Congress "dangerously boisterous," were compelled to describe it as "exceptionally quiet."
The cause of this unexpected state of things was the fact that the majority had previously come to the wise conclusion that it would not be well to pass upon the admission of Southern members in open session and amid the confusion of organization. As there was so much difference of opinion concerning the status of the communities recently in rebellion, and such a variety of considerations must be regarded in reaching wise conclusions, it was deemed advisable that the whole subject should be calmly and deliberately investigated by a select number of able and patriotic men from both Houses of Congress.
Accordingly, on the first day of the session, soon after the House was organized, Mr. Thaddeus Stevens offered the following important RESOLUTION:
"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled, that a joint committee of fifteen members shall be appointed, nine of whom shall be members of the House, and six members of the Senate, who shall inquire into the condition of the States which formed the so-called Confederate States of America, and report whether they or any of them are entitled to be represented in either House of Congress, with leave to report at any time by bill or otherwise; and until such report shall have been made, and finally acted upon by Congress, no member shall be received into either House from any of the said so-called Confederate States; and all papers relating to the representation of the said States shall be referred to the said committee without debate."
To avoid the delay occasioned by a protracted debate, Mr. Stevens called the previous question. The minority perceived the impossibility of preventing the final passage of the resolution, yet deemed it their duty to put it off as far as possible by their only available means—"dilatory motions." They first objected to the introduction of the resolution, under the rule that unanimous consent must be given to permit a resolution to come before the House without notice given on a previous day. To meet this difficulty, Mr. Stevens moved to suspend the rules to enable him to introduce the resolution. On this motion the yeas and nays were demanded. To suspend the rules under such circumstances required a two-thirds' vote, which was given—one hundred and twenty-nine voting for, and thirty-five against the motion. The rules having been suspended, the resolution was regularly before the House. A motion was then made to lay the resolution on the table, and the yeas and nays demanded. Thirty-seven were in favor of the motion, and one hundred and thirty-three against it. Before a call for the previous question is available to cut off debate, it must, by the rules of the House, be seconded by one-fifth of the members present. This having been done, the vote was taken by yeas and nays on the concurrent resolution submitted by Mr. Stevens. One hundred and thirty-three voted in favor of the resolution, and thirty-six against it, while thirteen were reported as "not voting." As this vote was on an important measure, and is significant as marking with considerable accuracy the political complexion of the House of Representatives, it should be given in detail.
The following are the names of those who voted "Yea:"
Messrs. Alley, Allison, Ames, Anderson, Baker, Baldwin, Banks, Barker, Baxter, Beaman, Benjamin, Bidwell, Bingham, Blow, Boutwell, Brandegee, Bromwell, Broomall, Buckland, Bundy, Reader W. Clark, Sidney Clark, Cobb, Conkling, Cook, Cullom, Culver, Darling, Davis, Dawes, Defrees, Delano, Deming, Dixon, Donnelly, Driggs, Dumont, Eckley, Eggleston, Eliot, Farnsworth, Ferry, Garfield, Grinnell, Griswold, Hale, Abner C. Harding, Hart, Hayes, Henderson, Higby, Hill, Holmes, Hooper, Hotchkiss, Asahel W. Hubbard, John H. Hubbard, Chester D. Hubbard, Demas Hubbard, James R. Hubbell, Hulburd, James Humphrey, Ingersoll, Jenckes, Julian, Kasson, Kelley, Kelso, Ketchum, Kuykendall, Laflin, Latham, George V. Lawrence, William Lawrence, Loan, Longyear, Lynch, Marston, Marvin, McClurg, McIndoe, McKee, McRuer, Mercur, Miller, Moorhead, Morrill, Morris, Moulton, Myers, Newell, O'Neill, Orthe, Paine, Patterson, Perham, Phelps, Pike, Pomeroy, Price, William H. Randall, Raymond, Alexander H. Rice, John H. Rice, Rollins, Sawyer, Schenck, Scofield, Shellabarger, Smith, Spaulding, Starr, Stevens, Stilwell, Thayer, John L. Thomas, Trowbridge, Upson, Van Aernam, Burt Van Horn, Robert Van Horn, Ward, Warner, Elihu B. Washburne, Welker, Wentworth, Whaley, Williams, James F. Wilson, Windom, and Woodbridge.
The following members voted "Nay:"
Messrs. Ancona, Bergen, Boyer, Brooks, Chanler, Dawson, Denison, Eldridge, Finck, Glossbrenner, Goodyear, Grider, Aaron Harding, Hogan, James M. Humphrey, Johnson, Kerr, Le Blond, McCullough, Niblack, Nicholson, Noell, Radford, Samuel J. Randall, Ritter, Rogers, Ross, Shanklin, Sitgreaves, Strouse, Tabor, Taylor, Thornton, Trimble, Winfield, and Wright.
The following are reported as "not voting:"
Messrs. Delos R. Ashley, James M. Ashley, Blaine, Farquhar, Harris, Edwin N. Hubbell, Jones, Marshall, Plants, Rousseau, Sloan, Francis Thomas, Voorhees, and William B. Washburn.
Thus the resolution passed the House. The immense size of this body required that, by stringent rule, debate should have limitation, and even sometimes be cut off altogether by the operation of previous question. This arrangement enabled skillful and resolute leaders to carry through this measure within an hour's time, whereas, in the Senate, a body of less than one-third the size, it passed after a delay of several days, and at the end of a discussion of considerable length.
On the day following the passage of the resolution in the House of Representatives, it was read in the Senate. Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, objecting to its being considered on the day of its reception, under a regulation of the Senate it was postponed.
After the lapse of a week, on Tuesday, December 12, the resolution was taken up for consideration in the Senate. Mr. Anthony moved to amend the enacting clause so as to change it from a joint resolution to a concurrent resolution, since, under its original shape, it would require the President's approval.
This amendment having been made, Mr. Anthony moved to further amend the resolution by striking out all after the word "otherwise." The following are the words proposed to be stricken out:
"And until such report shall have been made and finally acted on by Congress, no member shall be received into either house from any of the said so-called Confederate States; and all papers relating to the representation of said States shall be referred to the said committee without debate."
Mr. Howard, of Michigan, preferred the resolution as it came from the House of Representatives. "It contains within itself a pledge on the part of the two houses, that until the report of this important committee shall have been presented, we will not reaedmit any of the rebel States, either by the recognition of their Senators or their Representatives. I think the country expects nothing less than this at our hands. I think that portion of the loyal people of the United States who have sacrificed so much of blood and treasure in the prosecution of the war, and who secured to us the signal victory which we have achieved over the rebellion, have a right to at least this assurance at our hands, that neither house of Congress will recognize as States any one of the rebel States until the event to which I have alluded.
"Sir, what is the present position and status of the rebel States? In my judgment they are simply conquered communities, subjugated by the arms of the United States; communities in which the right of self-government does not now exist. Why? Because they have been for the last four years hostile, to the most surprising unanimity hostile, to the authority of the United States, and have, during that period, been waging a bloody war against that authority. They are simply conquered communities, and we hold them, as we know well, as the world knows to-day, not by their own free will and consent as members of the Union, but solely by virtue of our military power, which is executed to that effect throughout the length and breadth of the rebel States. There is in those States no rightful authority, according to my view, at this time, but that of the United States; and every political act, every governmental act exercised within their limits, must necessarily be exercised and performed under the sanction and by the will of the conqueror.
"In short, sir, they are not to-day loyal States; their population are not willing to-day, if we are rightly informed, to perform peaceably, quietly, and efficiently the duties which pertain to the population of a State in the Union and of the Union; and for one I can not consent to recognize them, even indirectly, as entitled to be represented in either house of Congress at this time. The time has not yet come, in my judgment, to do this. I think that, under present circumstances, it is due to the country that we should give them the assurance that we will not thus hastily reaedmit to seats in the legislative bodies here the representatives of constituencies who are still hostile to the authority of the United States. I think that such constituencies are not entitled to be represented here."
Mr. Anthony, of Rhode Island, said: "The amendment was proposed from no opposition to what I understand to be the purpose of the words stricken out. That purpose I understand to be that both houses shall act in concert in any measures which they may take for the reconstruction of the States lately in rebellion. I think that that object is eminently desirable, and not only that the two houses shall act in concert, but that Congress shall act in concert with the Executive; that all branches of the Government shall approach this great question in a spirit of comprehensive patriotism, with confidence in each other, with a conciliatory temper toward each other, and that each branch of the Government will be ready, if necessary, to concede something of their own views in order to meet the views of those who are equally charged with the responsibility of public affairs.
"The words proposed to be stricken out refer to the joint committee of the two houses of Congress matters which the Constitution confides to each house separately. Each house is made, by the Constitution, the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members.
"There is one other reason why I move this amendment, and that is, that the resolution provides that papers shall be referred to this committee without debate. This is contrary to the practice of the Senate. The House of Representatives has found it necessary, for the orderly transaction of its business, to put limitations upon debate, hence the previous question and the hour rule; but the Senate has always resisted every proposition of this kind, and submitted to any inconvenience rather than check free discussion. Senators around me, who were here in the minority, felt that the right of debate was a very precious one to them at that time, and, as it was not taken from them, they are not disposed to take it from the minority now.
"The purpose of all that is stricken out can be effected by the separate action of the two houses, if they shall so elect. The House of Representatives, having passed this resolution by a great vote, will undoubtedly adopt, in a separate resolution, what is here stricken out; and, except so far as relates to the restriction upon debate, I shall, if this amendment be adopted and the resolution passed, offer a resolution substantially declaring it to be the opinion of the Senate that, until this committee reports—presuming that it will report in a reasonable time—no action should be taken upon the representation of the States lately in rebellion."
Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, said: "All of these great questions, concerning reconstruction, pacification, and restoration of civil government in the Southern States, representation in this body, or any thing which concerns of Federal relations with the several States, ought to be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. Such has been the practice of this Government from the beginning. Great questions of constitutional law, questions concerning the relations of the Union to the States and the States to the Union, and above all, and without any exception, all questions relating to representation in this body, to its membership, have always been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
"There is nothing in the history of the Senate, there is nothing in the constitution of this committee, which would send these great constitutional questions for advisement and consideration to any other committee than the Committee on the Judiciary. To place their consideration in the hands of a committee which is beyond the control of the Senate, is to distrust ourselves; and to vote to send their consideration to any other committee, is equivalent to a vote of want of confidence in the Judiciary Committee.
"I object to this resolution, because, upon these great questions which are to go to the joint committee, the Senate does not stand upon an equality with the House. This resolution provides that, of the joint committee of fifteen, nine shall be appointed by the House of Representatives, six only by the Senate, giving to the House portion of the committee a majority of three. We all know that in joint committees the members vote, not as the representatives of the two houses, but per capita. The vote of a member of the committee from the House weighs precisely the same as the vote of a member of the committee from the Senate; so that, to all intents and purposes, if we pass this concurrent resolution, which we can not repeal but by the concurrence of the other house, we place the consideration of these grave questions in the hands of a committee which we can not control, and in which we have no equal voice.
"Under the Constitution, upon all subjects of legislation but one, the two houses are equal and cooerdinate branches of Congress. That one relates to their representation in the bodies, to their membership, that which constitutes their existence, which is essential to their life and their independence. That is confided to each house, and to each house alone, to act for itself. It judges for itself upon the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members. It judges, it admits, it punishes, it expels. It can not share that responsibility with any other department of the Government. It can no more share it with the other house than it can share it with the Supreme Court or with the President. It is a matter over which its jurisdiction is exclusive of every other jurisdiction. It is a matter in which its decisions, right or wrong, are absolute and without appeal. In my opinion the Senate of the United States can not give to a committee beyond its control this question of the representation in this body, without a loss of its self-respect, its dignity, its independence; without an abandonment of its constitutional duty and a surrender of its constitutional powers.
"There is another provision in this resolution, as it stands, that we shall refer every paper to the committee without debate. Yes, sir, the Senate of the United States is to be led like a lamb to the slaughter, bound hand and foot, shorn of its constitutional power, and gagged, dumb; like the sheep brought to the block! Is this the condition to which the Senator from Michigan proposes to reduce the Senate of the United States by insisting upon such a provision as that contained in the resolution as it comes from the House of Representatives?
"There is a still graver objection to this resolution as it stands. The provision that 'until such report shall have been made and finally acted on by Congress, no member shall be received into either house from any of the so-called Confederate States,' is a provision which, by law, excludes those eleven States from their representation in the Union. Sir, pass that resolution as it stands, and let it receive the signature of the President, and you have accomplished what the rebellion could not accomplish, what the sacrifice of half a million men could not accomplish in warring against this Government—you have dissolved the Union by act of Congress. Sir, are we prepared to sanction that? I trust never.
"The Senator from Michigan talks about the status of these States. He may very properly raise the question whether they have any Legislatures that are capable of electing Senators to this body. That is a question of fact to be considered; but as to whether they are States, and States still within the Union, notwithstanding their civil form of government has been overturned by the rebellion, and their Legislatures have been disorganized, that they are still States in this Union is the most sacred truth and the dearest truth to every American heart, and it will be maintained by the American people against all opposition, come from what quarter it may. Sir, the flag that now floats on the top of this Capitol bears thirty-six stars. Every star represents a State in this Union. I ask the Senator from Michigan, does that flag, as it floats there, speak the nation's truth to our people and to the world, or is it a hypocritical, flaunting lie? That flag has been borne at the head of our conquering legions through the whole South, planted at Vicksburg, planted at Columbia, Savannah, Charleston, Sumter; the same old flag which came down before the rebellion at Sumter was raised up again, and it still bore the same glorious stars; 'not a star obscured,' not one.
"These people have been disorganized in their civil governments in consequence of the war; the rebels overturned civil government in the first place, and we entered with our armies and captured the rebellion; but did that destroy the States? Not at all. We entered the States to save them, not to destroy them. The guarantee of the Constitution is a guarantee to the States, and to every one of the States, and the obligation that rests upon us is to guarantee to South Carolina a republican form of government as a State in this Union, and not as a Territory. No State nor the people of any State had any power to withdraw from the Union. They could not do it peacefully; they undertook to do it by arms. We crushed the attempt; we trampled their armies under our feet; we captured the rebellion; the States are ours; and we entered them to save, and not to destroy.
"The Constitution of the United States requires the President, from time to time, to give to Congress information of the state of the Union. Who has any right to presume that the President will not furnish the information which his constitutional duty requires? He has at his control all the agencies which are necessary. There is the able Cabinet who surround him, with all the officers appointed under them: the post-masters under the Post-office Department, the treasury agents under the Treasury Department, and almost two hundred thousand men under the control of the War Department, in every part of this 'disaffected' region, who can bring to the President information from every quarter of all the transactions that exist there. That the President of the United States will be sustained, in the views which he takes in his message, by the people of this country, is as certain as the revolutions of the earth; and it is our duty to act harmoniously with him, to sustain him, to hold up his hands, to strengthen his heart, to speak to him words of faith, friendship, and courage.
"I know that in all these Southern States there are a thousand things to give us pain, sometimes alarm, but notwithstanding the bad appearance which from time to time presents itself in the midst of that boiling caldron of passion and excitement which the war has left still raging there, the real progress which we have made has been most wonderful. I am one of those who look forward with hope, for I believe God reigns and rules in the affairs of mankind. I look beyond the excitement of the hour and all the outbreaking passion which sometimes shows itself in the South, which leads them to make enactments in their Legislatures which are disgraceful to themselves, and can never be sanctioned by the people of this country, and also in spite of all the excitement of the North, I behold the future full of confidence and hope. We have only to come up like men, and stand as the real friends of the country and the Administration, and give to the policy of the President a fair and substantial trial, and all will be well."
Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, then remarked: "When this resolution was first promulgated in the newspapers as having been agreed upon, I approved it because I sympathized with its object and purpose. I did not examine it particularly; but, looking simply at what it was designed for, it met my approbation simply for this reason: that this question of the reaedmission of these Confederate States, so called, and all the questions connected with that subject, I conceived to be of infinite importance, requiring calm and serious consideration, and I believe that the appointment of a committee, carefully selected by the two houses, to take that subject into consideration, was not only wise in itself, but an imperative duty resting upon the representatives of the people in the two branches of Congress. For myself, I was not prepared to act upon that question at once. I am not one of those who pin their faith upon any body, however eminent in position, or conceive themselves obliged, on a question of great national importance, to follow out any body's opinions simply because he is in a position to make those opinions, perhaps, somewhat more imperative than any other citizen of the republic. Talk about the Administration! Sir, we are a part of the Administration, and a very important part of it. I have no idea of abandoning the prerogatives, the rights, and the duties of my position in favor of any body, however that person or any number of persons may desire it. In saying this, I am not about to express an opinion upon the subject any further than I have expressed it, and that is, that in questions of such infinite importance as this, involving the integrity and welfare of the republic in all future time, we are solemnly bound, and our constituents will demand of us that we examine them with care and fidelity, and act on our own convictions and not upon the convictions of others.
"I do not agree with the honorable Senator from Wisconsin, that by passing a simple resolution raising a committee of our own body, and referring to it certain papers, if we conclude to do so, we are infringing upon the rights of any body or making an intimation with regard to any policy that the President may have seen fit to adopt and recommend to the country. Sir, I trust there are no such things as exclusive friends of the President among us, or gentlemen who desire to be so considered. I have as much respect for the President of the United States probably as any man. I acted with him long, and I might express the favorable opinions which I entertain of him here, if they would not be out of place and in bad taste in this body. That I am disposed and ready to support him to the best of my ability, as every gentleman around me is, in good faith and with kind feeling in all that he may desire that is consistent with my views of duty to the country, giving him credit for intentions as good as mine, and with ability far greater, I am ready to asseverate.
"But, sir, I do not agree with the doctrine, and I desire to enter my dissent to it now and here, that, because a certain line of policy has been adopted by one branch of the Government, or certain views are entertained by one branch of the Government, therefore, for that reason alone and none other, that is to be tried, even if it is against my judgment; and I do not say that it is or is not. That is a question to be considered. I have a great respect, not for myself, perhaps, but for the position which I hold as a Senator of the United States; and no measure of Government, no policy of the President, or of the head of a department, shall pass me while I am a Senator, if I know it, until I have examined it and given my assent to it; not on account of the source from which it emanates, but on account of its own intrinsic merits, and because I believe it will result in the good of my country. That is my duty as a Senator, and I fear no misconstruction at home on this subject or any other.
"Now, therefore, sir, I hope that, laying aside all these matters, which are entirely foreign, we shall act upon this resolution simply as a matter of business. No one has a right to complain of it that we raise a committee for certain purposes of our own when we judge it to be necessary. It is an imputation upon nobody; it is an insult to nobody; it is not any thing which any sensible man could ever find fault with, or be disposed to do so. It is our judgment, our deliberate judgment, our friendly judgment—a course of action adopted from regard to the good of the community, and that good of the community comprehends the good of every individual in it."
Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, said: "This resolution is very objectionable to my mind. It is for the appointment of a committee of the two houses to determine and to report upon what? The right of representation of eleven States in this body. What determines the rights of those States to representation here? Is it the views of the members of the House of Representatives? Do we stand in need of any light, however bright it may be, that may come from that distinguished quarter? Are we going to ask them to illuminate us by wisdom, and report the fact to us whether those States are entitled to representation on this floor?
"Mr. President, on the first day of your assemblage after the battle of Manassas, you and they declared, by joint resolution, that the object for which the war was waged was for no purpose of conquest or subjugation, but it was to preserve the union of the States, and to maintain the rights, dignity, and equality of the several States unimpaired. While that war was being waged there was no action, either of this house or of the House of Representatives, declaring that, when it was over, the existence of those States should be ignored, or their right to representation in Congress denied. Throughout the whole contest the battle-cry was 'the preservation of the Union' and 'the Union of the States.' If there was a voice then raised that those States had ceased to have an existence in this body, it was so feeble as to be passed by and totally disregarded.
"Sir, suppose this committee should report that those States are not entitled to representation in this body, are you bound by their action? Is there not a higher law, the supreme law of the land, which says if they be States that they shall each be entitled to two Senators on this floor? And shall a report of a joint committee of the two houses override and overrule the fundamental law of the land? Sir, it is dangerous as a precedent, and I protest against it as an humble member of this body. If they be not States, then the object avowed for which the war was waged was false."
Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, said: "I shall vote against this resolution because it refers to a joint committee a subject which, according to my judgment, belongs exclusively to the Senate. I know that the resolution no longer provides in express terms that the Senate, pending the continuance of the investigation of this committee, will not consider the question of credentials from these States, but in effect it amounts to that. The question is to be referred to the committee, and according to usage, and it would seem to be the very purpose of reference that the body shall not consider the subject while the question is before them. I could not vote for a resolution that refers to a joint committee a subject that this body alone can decide. If there are credentials presented here, this body must decide the question whether the person presenting the credentials is entitled to a seat; and how can this body be influenced by any committee other than a committee that it shall raise itself?"