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