old one had ceased to exist, because a large portion of the Representatives
had not then been elected.
These reasons, however, produced no effect.
The President's special message1
was referred, two days after its date (10th January), by the House of Representatives to a special committee, of which Mr. Howard
, of Michigan
, was chairman.
Nothing was heard from this committee for the space of twenty days. They then, on the 30th January, through Mr. John H. Reynolds
, of New York, one of its members, reported a bill2
enabling the President
to call forth the militia or to accept the services of volunteers for the purpose of protecting the forts, magazines, arsenals, and other property of the United States
; and to ‘recover possession’ of such of these as ‘has been or may hereafter be unlawfully seized or taken possession of by any combination of persons whatever.’
Had this bill become a law, it would have been the duty of the President
at once to raise a volunteer or militia force to recapture the forts which.had been already seized.
But Congress was not then prepared to assume such a responsibility.
accordingly withdrew his bill from the consideration of the House
on the very day it was reported.
On his own motion it was recommitted, and thus killed as soon as it saw the light.
It was never heard of more.
Then, after another pause of nineteen days, and only a fortnight before the close of the session, the Committee
on Military Affairs, through Mr. Stanton
, of Ohio
, their chairman, on the 18th February reported another bill3
on the subject, but of a more limited character than that which had been withdrawn.
It is remarkable that it contains no provision touching the recovery of the forts and other property which had been already seized by the delinquent States.
It did no more than provide that the powers already possessed by the President
, under the Act of 1795, to employ the militia in suppressing insurrections against a State Government, should be ‘extended to the case of insurrections against the authority of the United States
,’ with the additional authority to ‘accept the services of such volunteers ’