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[660] in both houses. At times the public funds had been expended without discretion; at other times the governing rules of accountability had been violated. In these bargains and proposals some scandalous instances of corruption could be mentioned. Contractors, owing to protection too easily procured, had realized large fortunes at the expense of the nation. But it was difficult at first to place the responsibility of such acts where it belonged, and to distinguish the abuses that were inevitable under such circumstances and to which it was expedient to shut one's eyes, from those that were calculated to bring disgrace upon the administration or some of its agents. Personal influence controlled the action of Congressmen too much to admit of any impartial discussion of these questions. This led occasionally to the adoption of imprudent resolutions. Thus Mr. Cameron, who was Secretary of War up to January 14th, and had then been succeeded by Mr. Stanton, was censured by the House of Representatives on the 30th of April for having, during the early part of his administration, authorized military expenses outside of the department, without requiring the usual vouchers. To this resolution Mr. Lincoln replied by a message, in which he stated that the departments were full of clerks who betrayed the government, that under such circumstances irregular means could alone accomplish the desired object, and emphatically asserted his responsibility for the acts of his agent. The matter was then dropped.

We have already had occasion to speak of the committee appointed by both houses on the 9th of December, 1861, to inquire into the conduct of the war. This committee, composed of senators and representatives, comprised some of the most prominent and radical members of the Republican party, who assumed this delicate mission at the time when the inaction of McClellan and the disaster of Ball's Bluff entirely absorbed the popular mind. We shall meet them again from time to time in the course of our narrative, to the latest period of the war.

The laws passed during the extra session, however, seemed to be sufficient for the formation and support of the Federal armies. The call for five hundred thousand three-years volunteers had given the United States the armies of the Potomac, of the Ohio, of the Tennessee and of Missouri. Enlisted for a period which

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