The force bill in Congress.
The following is the bill proposed by Mr. Stanton
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled,
That the provisions of an act approved the 28th February, in the year 1795, entitled ‘"An act to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union
, suppress insurrection, and repel invasions, and to repeal the act now in force for those purposes,"’ and of the act approved the 3d day of March, in the year 1807, entitled ‘"An act authorizing the employment of the land and naval forces of the United States
in case of insurrections,"’ are hereby extended to the case of insurrections against the authority of the United States
2. And be it further enacted,
That the President
, in any case in which it may be lawful to use either the militia or the military and naval force of the United States
for the purpose aforesaid, may accept the services of such volunteers as may offer their services, as cavalry, infantry, or artillery, organized in companies of the maximum standard, squadrons, and regiments, respectively, according to the mode prescribed for the organization of the respective arms in the military establishment of the United States
; and it shall be lawful for the President
to commission the officers of such companies, battalions, squadrons, and regiments, in their respective grades, to continue until discharged from the service of the United States
; and such volunteers, while in the service of the United States
, shall be subject to the rules and articles of war, and shall be entitled to the same pay and emoluments as officers and soldiers of the same grade in the regular service.
During the debate on it Thursday, Mr. Bocock
, of Virginia
, made a speech opposing it. He said that already, by the act of 1790, the President
had the power to employ the army and navy, and had a right to station as many of the regular troops of the country as he could concentrate here.
In addition to that, they had a local legislature, by whose authority he could call out the military in case they were threatened by an invasion of armed forces from other States.
Even if the military power of the country was called out to aid in the enforcement of the laws, it must be subordinate to the civil power.
But when they called out the power to bear directly on the execution of the laws, it was making war, and would be so considered by the country; and so every force bill reported to this House
was a war measure, and indeed, whether or not it should be so regarded, it must, in the necessity of the case, result in war.
If that, then, be so, he stood there clothed with no authority to say what any State of the Union
would do; but he knew that Virginia
stood committed by her declarations, stood committed in honor and interest, to resist at all hazards a war of aggression upon the Southern States
of this Confederacy.
And she must do it. Why must she do it?
The very hand that would aid in striking down South Carolina
, strengthened by Virginia
, might, at any moment, be uplifted to crush the other States--crippled and crushed by the very subjugation of these Southern States.
Whether they made a declaration of war or not, all the Border States
, within three months time, with one or two exceptions, will be found side by side with the seceding States of the Union
He would ask was it likely that Virginia
would hold a position in which they would be liable to have their militia called out — they, perhaps, being nearest the scene of action — to aid in making war upon South Carolina
No, they would not do it. They would much prefer to throw off the yoke of the Government
, and do what they could to repel the attacks of the Army and Navy, and to crush the power of the Government
If he was not much mistaken, this would be the natural result of any of these measures.
The question was asked what must we do?
what must the North
He would answer.
Give the South
guarantees and secure them from all attacks on their rights.
He would ask, if war comes — which God in his mercy avert — what reason would they give to the world for precipitating it on the country?
The gentlemen on this side of the floor who were most eager in pressing on war measures, and making war measures, would be the very ones to lag behind in the brunt of the battle.
And their own people would call them to account why this was so, as well as the country and the world and their own consciences.
And what answer could they (the Republicans) give?
‘"And,"’ said the speaker, ‘"I here this day, in the conclusion of my remarks, denounce the measure with all the power I can bring to bear upon the occasion.
In the name of the Constitution
it violates, I denounce it. In the name of my constituents, whom it injures, and is likely to attack, I denounce it.--In the name of our common country whose peace it is likely to disturb, and whose peace if once disturbed can never be restored, I denounce it. In the name of that humanity to which we all belong, but which too many of us ignore, with redoubled energy and in deeper accents, I denounce and execrate it."’ [Applause.]
, of Michigan
, characterized the remarks of Mr. Bocock
as mere clap-trap.--The appeal of the gentleman from Virginia
was designed for his State, so that it might operate on the minds of the delegates to their Convention, which was now in session.
He was not willing to let the seceding States go peaceably.
He was unwilling to give any guarantee, or to make any compromise.
On motion of Mr. Stanton
, the bill was made the order of the day for Tuesday next.