as fugitive slaves.
In the debate which ensued, Mr. Wilson
stated that the French
legation had recently taken to that jail gentlemen who had traversed the world inspecting prisons, with a view to their improvement; and that, after examining this, they observed to the jailer that they had never before seen but one so bad; and that was in Austria
, of Iowa
, remarked that he believed there was never a jail so bad as this, save the French Bastile
, and some of the dungeons of Venice
When he visited it, a few days before, he found among the prisoners a boy who claimed to be free-born, yet who had been confined there thirteen months and four days on suspicion of being a runaway slave.
He further stated that Marshal Lamon
had forbidden Members of Congress access to the prison without his written permission.
, of Kentucky
, of Maryland
, and Carlile
, of Virginia
, opposed the resolve; but it was warmly supported and passed:1
Yeas 31; Nays 4.
A similar resolve had already2
been submitted to the House
No action was taken, however, upon this, nor upon the Senate's kindred measure; because the President
, through Secretary Seward
an order to Marshal Lamon
, directing limn not to receive into custody any persons caught up as fugitives from Slavery, but to discharge, ten days there-after, all such persons now in his jail.
This put a stop to one of the most flagrant and glaring iniquities habitually perpetrated in a Christian and civilized community.
A bill reported4
by Mr. Sumner
, from the Select Committee
on Slavery and Freedom, to prohibit the holding of slaves on National vessels, and also the coastwise Slave-Trade, was lost5
--Yeas 13; Nays 20--but he again moved a prohibition of the coastwise Slave-Trade, and of all laws sanctioning and regulating the same, as an amendment to the Civil Appropriation
bill; and it was adopted: Yeas 23; Nays 14.
Thus fastened to a necessary measure, the proposition was duly enacted, and received the President
's signature on the 21 of July, 1864.
another Amendment to this bill, providing that “in the Courts
of the United States
, there shall be no exclusion of any witness on account of color.”
moved to add, “or because lie is a party to or interested in the issue tried.”
This was agreed to; and Mr. Sumner
's amendment, thus amended, was adopted: Yeas 22; Nays 16; and the bill passed, as already stated; making it the law of the land that no person shall henceforth be precluded from giving testimony either because of his color or because lie is interested in the pending issue.