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[87] into, the service of the United States. The resolution was referred to the Committee on Military Affairs and was, on the fourteenth, reported back to the Senate, which, on motion of Mr. Wilson, proceeded to the consideration of the resolution. Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, moved its reference to the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Wilkinson, of Minnesota, hoped it would not be referred “the resolution ought to be passed immediately.” Mr. Wilson hoped the resolution would not be referred to any committee. “The needs of the country,” he said, “more than justice or humanity, have weaponed the hand of the slave. Let us hasten the enactment of this beneficent measure, inspired by patriotism and hallowed by justice and humanity; so that, ere merry Christmas shall come, the intelligence shall be flashed over the land, to cheer the hearts of the nation's defenders, and arouse the manhood of the bondman, that on the forehead of the soldier's wife and the soldier's child no man can write slave.” Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, was “not able to see how, under the Constitution of the United States, Congress can free the servant who is held to service by the laws of a State.” Mr. Powell, of Kentucky thought the resolution was “palpably unconstitutional.”

On the twentieth, the Senate resumed the consideration of the resolution. Mr. Davis declared that “the great and principal effect of this resolution would be in Kentucky, and upon her people.”

The Senate, on the fifth of January, 1865, resumed the consideration, the pending question being the motion of Mr. Davis to refer it to the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Wilson demanded the yeas and nays, and they were ordered. Mr. Doolittle “would vote to refer it to the Judiciary Committee.” Mr. Saulsbury would “maintain the doctrine that not only have you not the power to decree the freedom of wives and children of negroes who volunteer in your army, if they are from States where slavery is recognized, but you cannot give permanent freedom to the negro volunteer if he be a slave.” “All must confess,” said Mr. Sumner, of Massachusetts, “the humanity of the proposition to enfranchise the families of colored persons who have borne arms for their country. There is no argument, whether of reason or of humanity for the enfranchisement of the soldier which does not plead equally for that of his family. Nay, more: I know not how we can expect a blessing on our arms while we fail to perform this duty.” The question was then taken on the motion to refer, and it was lost — yeas, fifteen; nays, nineteen.

On the ninth, the Senate proceeded to the consideration of the resolution, and Mr. Saulsbury made an elaborate speech against its passage. Mr. Davis moved to amend the resolution so as to make its operation prospective. Mr. Clark, of New-Hampshire, hoped Mr. Davis's amendment “would not be agreed to, and that we shall not only set free the wives and children of soldiers who may hereafter be enlisted, but the wives and children of those who have already gone into the service of the country.” “This is the first time,” said Mr. Davis, “I have ever ventured to utter a voice in the name of humanity in the Senate; but in the name of humanity — humanity to a degraded and helpless race of beings who are unable to support themselves — I protest that they shall not be deprived of the support which their masters and owners are bound by the laws to afford to them, and that they shall not be thrown helpless upon the world, without any means of supporting themselves.” “I have noticed,” said Mr. Pomeroy, of Kansas, “that men who are arguing in the interest of slavery always resist emancipation until the very last moment; and then, when the moment comes, they say it would be a great relief to the owners of this property to get rid of it; that it cannot take care of itself, and humanity comes in and pleads that some appropriation may be made to support this class of individuals, who are so helpless, and so inefficient, and so worthless. These people have a wonderful facility for taking care of themselves, and adapting themselves to any condition.”

Mr. Wade, of Ohio, followed in an earnest and effective speech in favor of the immediate passage of the measure. Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, could not vote for the resolution, because he was fully under the impression that Congress had no authority to pass it. Mr. Wilson said that Mr. Davis, when he declared that we should turn poor wives and children out on the world without support, “forgets that we clothe and feed the husband and father, and pay him sixteen dollars a month, and with that pay he can support his wife and his children. Make them free, and not only will his wages go to their support, but the labor of their own hands will go to their support.” The amendment moved by Mr. Davis was then rejected, without a count. Mr. Powell then moved: “That no slave shall be emancipated by virtue of this resolution, until the owner of the slave or slaves so emancipated shall be paid a just compensation.” Mr. Powell then addressed the Senate in favor of this amendment, and in opposition to the passage of the resolution in any form. He closed his speech by demanding the yeas and nays on his amendment, and they were ordered, and, being taken, resulted — yeas, seven; nays, thirty. Mr. Saulsbury then moved to amend the resolution by adding that its provisions “shall not apply to or be operative in any State that has not assumed to secede from the Union ;” but this amendment was rejected. The question on the passage of the resolution was then taken — yeas, twenty-seven; nays, ten; so the joint resolution to make free the wives and children of colored soldiers received the sanction of the Senate of the United States.

In the House of Representatives, the resolution was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On the twenty-second of February, Mr. Wilson, of Iowa, reported it without amendment. “Does the gentleman believe,” inquired Mr. Mallory, of Kentucky, “that Congress has the constitutional power to pass such a law?” “I have ”

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