75.-debate on the loan bill, in the House of Representatives, July 10, 1861.
moved that the House
resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on the State
of the Union
on the Loan Bill
, and that debate be concluded in one hour.
desired to know whether Mr. Stevens
intended to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion.
replied that he proposed to allow one hour for debate, because he knew some gentlemen on the other side wanted to make speeches.
) would be equally accommodating on some other bill.
' motion was agreed to.
.) was called to preside over the Committee
, (Rep., Pa.
,) from the Committee on Ways and Means, reported a bill for the support of the army for the fiscal year ending with June next, and for arrearages for the year ending 30th of June last; also a bill making appropriations for the navy for the same period.
Both referred to the Committee of the Whole on the State
of the Union
(Rep., Ill.) called up the bill reported by him yesterday, further to provide
for the collection of duties on imports and for other purposes, and asked that it be put on its passage.
) inquired whether the first section of this bill was not the same as reported last session by Mr. Bingham
was not prepared to answer, not having made a comparison.
said that in the Constitution
which we have sworn to support, and under which we are assembled here to-day, it is written that Congress, to which all legislative power is granted, shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, and that no Representative or Senator
shall be questioned for any speech made in Congress.
Holding up this shield of the Constitution
, and standing in the place and manhood of a representative of the people, he proposed to discuss the direct questions of this war, though with more decency of discussion, he trusted, than has sometimes been exhibited here.
The present war he knew to be a foregone conclusion; but there are questions connected with it about which he felt impelled to speak.
The President in his recent Message demands the enormous loan of $400,000,000, an amount nearly ten times greater than the entire public debt-State and Federal-at the close of the Revolution in 1783, and four times as much as the total indebtedness during the three years war with Great Britain
The Constitution — to which he gave his whole heart and utmost loyalty-gave to Congress alone the power to call for money, and to fix the purposes to which it shall be applied, and it expressly limits appropriations to the term of two years. Each Senator
and member therefore must judge for himself, upon his conscience and oath, and before God and the country, of the wisdom, and justice, and policy, of the President
Whenever this House
shall become a mere machine wherewith to register the decrees of the Executive
, it will be high time to abolish it.
He believed he had the right to say that, so far as the gentlemen upon this side of the House
are concerned, however they might suffer in other things, they are firm and united in the determination that their own rights as the representatives of the people shall be preserved in the spirit and the letter; and some are here present who are resolved to assert and exercise these rights with becoming decency and moderation, but at the same time fully, and regardless of consequences.
It is a wise and ancient practice of the English Commons
to precede all votes of supplies by an inquiry into the abuses and grievances, and especially if any infraction of the law by the Executive
Let us follow this wise precedent.
Availing himself of his right and duty, he would proceed to consider the state of the Union
, and to supply some few omissions from the President
The President had undertaken to give us his opinion of the state of the nation, and it was his duty as an honest Executive to make that information full, impartial, and complete, instead of spreading before us a labored vindication of his own course of policy, which has precipitated us into a bloody and terrible revolution.
He admits the fact.
He admits now we are in the midst of a general civil war; not a mere petty insurrection, to be suppressed in twenty days by a proclamation, the posse comitatus
, and three months militia.
It has been the misfortune of the President
, from the beginning, that he partially and wholly under-estimated the magnitude and character of this revolution; for surely he never would have ventured the hazardous experiment of plunging thirty millions of people into war without the authority of Congress.
But at last, when he found himself hemmed in by a revolution, which threatened this capital, he woke up — as his proclamation shows him to have done.
Why did he not forthwith assemble Congress and throw himself upon the wisdom of the representatives of the people, instead of assuming the powers which the Constitution
expressly conferred upon Congress?
powers which Congress repeatedly at the last session refused to exercise, or permit him to exercise.
The President in his Message has undertaken to give a summary of the causes which led to this revolution; but he has unfortunately utterly ignored the stronger causes contributed by the abolitionists and disunionists of the North
How could he have forgotten that the South
, with one single exception, chose first to come here and demand its solemn constitutional guarantees for their protection against the abuses of the tremendous powers of the Federal Government
, before resorting to Secession?
Did he not know that at the last session of Congress every substantial proposition for compromise, except the one offered by Mr. Kellogg
, of Illinois
-and all knew how that was received-came from the South
The Committee of Thirty-three was moved for by a gentleman from Virginia
, and received the vote of every Southern representative, except one from South Carolina
, who declined to vote.
In the Senate this Committee of Thirty-three was moved for by the Senator
, and received the silent acquiescence of every Southern Senator
proposition, too, was moved by another Senator
--a man venerable for his years, loved for his virtues, and revered for his patriotism, which for forty-four years of public life he has devoted to the Union
, and who, though he himself proved his courage fifty years ago upon the field of battle against a foreign foe, is still, thank God, for compromise.
The Border States' propositions were projected by a gentleman from Maryland
, and presented by a member from Tennessee
with Mr. Crittenden
's propositions, were repeatedly and severally rejected in this House
by the almost unanimous vote of the Republicans.
's Compromise, which received the vote of every Southern member upon this floor, excepting one from Arkansas
, never on any one occasion received one solitary vote from the Republicans in the Senate or House.
The so-called Adams
' Amendment, moderate as that was, was carried through this chamber by the bare majority of one, after a severe struggle.
Sixty-five Republicans voted to the last against it.
Up to twelve o'clock on the 4th of March, peace seemed to be the policy of all parties, when Mr. Lincoln
delivered his inaugural, and which left thirty millions of people in doubt whether it meant peace or war. Under this confidence in the restoration of peace, the prosperity of the country revived, Secession in the past languished, and Secession in the future was arrested by the course of Virginia
, North Carolina
, and Tennessee
, all of which declared for the old Union.
The national heart beat high with hope — the elections in Rhode Island
, in New York, and in the western States gave abundant evidence that the people were resolved on the most ample, satisfactory, constitutional guarantees as the price of the restoration of the Union
--then it was that a long and agonized howl came up from defeated and disappointed politicians.
The newspaper press teemed with appeals and threats to the President
; the mails groaned under the weight of letters demanding a change of policy, while a secret conclave of the Governors
of the States of Ohio, New York
and other States convened in this city and promised men and money to carry on the irrepressible conflict; and thus it was that a party in the pangs of dissolution, in the very hour and article of death, demanded vigorous measures which could restore it to life, but at the expense of civil war-and nothing else.
But there was yet another cause — the passage of the ill-digested and unstatesmanlike tariff bill, (Morrill
's.) About the same time the Confederate Congress adopted our tariff act of 1857--the result was inevitable.
The trade and commerce of the West
began to look to the South
, from which it had been directed years ago by the canals and railroads of Pennsylvania
and New York, at a heavy cost to the West
They threatened to resume their ancient and accustomed channels — the water-courses of the Ohio
, and political association and union, it is well known, must soon follow the direction of trade.
The city of New York
began then to clamor loudly for the repeal of the tariff act. Threatened thus with the loss of both political power and wealth, New England
--that land of peace — began now, too, to demand coercion and civil war as the price of the preservation of their wealth; began to demand the subjugation of the South-aye, the subjugation of the South
He spoke not to children, and not a man in sound of his voice but knew that the South
could not be restored to obedience to the Constitution
except through subjugation.
The subjugation of the South
and the closing up of her ports, first by force and then by law, was resolved upon, and when this policy was once established, the self-same motive of warning commerce and of threatening trade impelled the city of New York
to place herself first in the ranks of the uprising which swept over the North and West.
He would not now assert what subsequent acts of the Administration may make apparent, that its frequent infractions of the Constitution
, its high-handed usurpations of power, formed part of a conspiracy to overturn republican institutions and establish a strong consolidated government; but rather that, in the beginning, they rushed needlessly into acts which were designed to revive the fallen fortunes of a party, and the woeful consequences of which were not then foreseen.
Whatever may have been the purpose, he now asserted that every principal act of the Administration has been a glaring usurpation of power and a palpable and dangerous violation of the Constitution
, and every one of which acts might well have been postponed until the assembling of Congress.
The whole responsibility of the war has been boldly assumed by the Executive
, and all the powers deemed necessary for his purposes are boldly usurped, either from the States, the people, or Congress; while the judiciary, that last refuge of hope and liberty, was turned away from with contempt.
Now he comes and asks Congress to support the army he has raised in plain violation of the Constitution
, and to ratify his usurpation by a law ex post facto
, and thus to make ourselves parties to our own degradation, and to his infractions of the supreme law of the land.
Beginning with these wide breaches of the Constitution
, these enormous usurpations of the most dangerous of all powers, the power of the sword, the sanctity of the telegraph was invaded, though it turns out significantly enough that the only traitor discovered, so far, is one of the appointees and special pets of the Administration.
One step more will bring upon us search and seizure of the public mails, and finally, as in the days of the Russells and Sydneys of English martyrdom, the drawers and secretaries of the private citizen.
Though even these tyrants had the grace to look to the forms of the law, and the execution was then judicial murder, not military slaughter.
Rights of property having been wantonly violated, it needed but a little stretch of usurpation to violate the sanctity of the person, and a victim was not wanting.
A private citizen of Maryland
, not subject to the rules and articles of war, not in a case arising in the
land and naval forces, is seized in his own house — not by process of law, but by the arbitrary grasp of military power-and, torn from the side of his family, is borne to Fort McHenry
, over which it had been invoked by Key that the flag of the free forever should wave.
The aid of the highest privilege which freedom has yet conferred upon the citizen of a free country, was sought to vindicate the rights of Mr. Merryman
, and the Chief-Justice
of the United States
, the pure-hearted and high-minded Roger B. Taney
, issued the writ of habeas corpus
, requiring the prisoner to be brought before him. The result of his interference has already become historical.
The officer of the law found the portals of the fortress barred against him. He was denied admission, and it was told that the officer in command had suspended
the writ of habeas corpus
then entered into a history of the writ of habeas corpus
, which had been extorted, after six hundred years of toil and suffering, from venal judges and tyrant kings.
Granted to a wronged but spirited people at Runnymede
, it was again conceded by Charles II.
It was a right which neither English Minister, nor Judge
, nor English King
, would dare to disregard; and yet that inestimable right, that dear bulwark of the citizen's rights, had been subverted and trampled under foot by an American President, and only in the seventy-third year of American In-dependence; yet it was such acts of usurpation which Congress was called upon to He earnestly asserted that the cause which demanded such sacrifices could not be a just cause.
He recited the usurpations already practised by the Administration.
The quartering of troops in private houses without the consent of their owners — the censorship of the telegraph — the subversion of the rights of citizens of certain States to keep or to bear arms :--and said the next step — and it was but a narrow one--would be the violation of the freedom of the press, and of prayer — the sacred right of petition was even now tottering under the assaults upon it.
said he spoke freely and fearlessly as an American representative, and as an American citizen--one firmly resolved not to lose his own Constitutional liberties in the vain effort to impose those rights upon ten millions of unwilling people.
He drew a fine comparison between the meeting of Congress in December last, when it was composed of thirty-four independent States, and the present Congress, from which the representatives of eleven States are absent.
Their places are supplied by 75,000 soldiers, and the armed men crowding the walks and lawns of this beleaguered capital, and the sound of the drum, give frequent evidence that in times of war laws are silent.
He hoped that some years, some months hence, the present generation will demand to know the cause of all this; and some ages hence the grand and impartial tribunal of history will make solemn and diligent inquest of the authors of this terrible revolution.
.) asked Mr. Vallandigham
whether he was in favor of defending the integrity of the Union
, or of recognizing the so-called seceded States as a separate nationality?
replied by sending up a resolution, which was read, asserting that the Federal Government
is the agent of the people of the several States; that the Government
consists of three distinct Departments, the Executive
, Judicial, and Legislative; and that it is the duty of every one to sustain these departments with all the constitutional power which may be necessary and proper for the preservation of the Government
in its principles, vigor, and integrity, and to stand by the flag which represents the Government
, the Union
, and the country.
remarked, while the gentleman censures the Administration, he and his constituents were, he supposed, for its support now.
replied that he was responsible to his constituents for his public course, and not to the gentleman from Indiana
, at whose instance the Holman gag was yesterday adopted.
made no remarks, though the rules allowed him an hour to do so, but simply sanction.
moved that the Committee
rise, which motion prevailed.
The Loan bill was then passed:--Yeas, 149; Nays, 5, namely :--Messrs. Burnet
, and Wood