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[519] White.1 But no sooner had McClellan's campaign against Richmond culminated in disaster and a requisition upon the loyal States for Six Hundred Thousand more recruits to our armies, rendering conscription in some localities unavoidable, than the barriers of caste began to give way.2 Thus, Mr. Wilson, of Mass., having reported3 to the Senate a bill to amend the act of 1795, prescribing the manner of calling forth the Militia to suppress insurrection, &c., Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, moved4 that henceforth there shall be no exemption from Military duty because of color. On the suggestion of Mr. Preston King, of N. Y., this proposition was so amended as to authorize the President to accept “persons of African descent, for the purpose of constructing intrenchments, or performing camp service, or any war service for which they may be found competent.” This, and the whole project, were vehemently opposed by Messrs. Saulsbury, of Del., G. Davis, of Ky., Carlile, of Va., and others of the Opposition. Mr. G. Davis endeavored to strike out the words last above quoted; but failed: Yeas, 11; Nays, 27. After much debate, the Senate decided, by close votes, to free, as a reward for services in the Union armies, the slaves of Rebels only, and not to free the wives and children even of these. In this shape, the bill passed5 the Senate: Yeas 28 (including Mr. Rice, of Minn.); Nays 9 (all the Opposition present and voting but Mr. Rice aforesaid). And the bill going thence to the House, Mr. Stevens, of Pa., at once demanded and obtained the Previous Question thereon; and an attempt to lay it on the table having failed (Yeas 30; Nays 77), it was passed,6 and signed next day by the President. By another act of like date and similar history, Congress prescribed that “the enrollment of the Militia shall in all cases include all able-bodied male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45.”

In the next Congress, the enrollment of the National forces being under consideration in the House, Mr. Stevens, of Pa.,7 moved to amend it by striking out the 27th section, and inserting instead the following:

And be it further enacted, That all able-bodied male persons of African descent, between the ages of 20 and 45. whether citizens or not, shall be enrolled and made a part of the National forces; and, when enrolled and drafted into the service, his master shall be entitled to receive $300, and the drafted man shall be free.

Mr. S. H. Boyd, of Mo., suggested that only loyal masters be entitled to the $300 bounty; which Mr. Stevens readily accepted; but, on motion of Mr. Webster, of Md., it was afterward decided--67 to 44--that any bounty accruing to a drafted man who is a slave shall be paid to his master. Mr. B. G. Harris, of Md., denied “that you have a right to enlist or enroll a slave.” Mr. Fernando Wood, of N. Y., denounced the measure as “clearly, palpably in violation of the Constitution.” Mr.

1 At an early stage of the war, a son of old John Brown influentially aided the enlistment of a regiment of volunteers in Northern New York; and, uniting zeal and ability with some military experience, was appointed a Lieutenant therein; but his brother officers evinced such dissatisfaction that he was obliged to resign.

2 “I have never,” said Mr. Broomall, of Pa., in the House (Feb. 11th, 1863), “found the most snaky constituent of mine, who, when he was drafted, refused to let the blackest negro in the district go as a substitute for him.”

3 July 8, 1862.

4 July 9.

5 July 15.

6 July 16.

7 Feb. 10, 1864.

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