that no man who had recommended such a book as Helper
's ought to be chosen Speaker, and insisting on discussing the contents and bearings of that book at leisure; whilst several Republican members, instead of reprehending this discreditable interruption of the proper business of the House
, and demanding that the Clerk
should proceed to call the roll for another attempt to elect a Speaker, rose to deprecate, and explain, and apologize, and insist that, if they had
signed a recommendation of any such book, it was in total ignorance of its contents, which they utterly condemned and repudiated.
Thus, amid great confusion, Mr. Clark
carried the point he was aiming at; and the House
, after one more refusal — Yeas 113; Nays 115--consented to adjourn at a little past two o'clock, without taking a second ballot for Speaker.
In the Senate, also, Slavery agitation was commenced from the Democratic
side, even before that body had been fairly organized, by a resolve, introduced by Mr. Mason
, of Virginia
, calling for the most elaborate inquiry into the recent tragedy at Harper's Ferry
, and requiring the Select Committee
thereon to report “what legislation may, in their opinion, be necessary for the future preservation of the peace of the country,” etc.; and hereupon the Senate plunged into a discussion, which lasted several days.
, in like manner, resumed his dissertation on Helper
immediately on the assembling of the House
next morning, having all manner of documents read from the Clerk
's desk; and spinning out his remarks to the utmost length.
When he had, closed, Mr. John A. Gilmer
of N. C.
, moved a substitute, condemning all attempts at renewing Slavery agitation; whereupon Mr. Washburne
, of Ill.
, moved that the whole subject be laid on the table, which was defeated by a tie vote: Yeas 116; Nays 116: and the debate went on, simultaneously with that on John Brown
and his doings in the Senate.
A second ballot for Speaker was not obtained until the close of the third day's proceedings, when Mr. Sherman
received 107 votes; Mr. Bocock
88; Mr. Gilmer
22; and there were 14 scattering.
And still the two Houses continued to debate John Brown
, by way of discouraging Slavery agitation, interspersed with readings of the choicest and spiciest extracts from Helper
, and occasional ballots for Speaker--Mr. Sherman
's vote rising to 112, while 116 were necessary for a choice.
The total vote was diminished, after a few days, as members paired off and left Washington
; but Mr. Sherman
continued to lack from three to five of an election; until finally, after eight weeks had been thus spent, he peremptorily declined; and Mr. William Pennington
--ex-Governor of New Jersey
, and now, for the first time, a member of the House
— was presented in his stead.
was also withdrawn, and the entire pro-Slavery strength concentrated, so far as possible, on Mr. Wm. N. H. Smith
, “American,” of N. C. The next (fortieth) ballot gave Pennington
113; John G. Davis
, anti-Lecompton Dem., of Ind.
, 2; and there were 4 scattering: necessary to a choice 118.
Finally, on the forty-fourth ballot,2 Mr. Smith