The last day of the U. S. Congress.
The Thirty-sixth and last Congress of the United States of America
closed its session on Monday.
The members assembled in the morning, there being thirty-two seats in the House
and fourteen in the Senate made vacant by the secession of seven States since the commencement of the session.
In the House
, after some time spent in signing bills, a motion was made to adjourn.
The Speaker rose, amidst marked silence, and delivered the following address:
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:
We have now arrived at the close of the Thirty-sixth Congress.
During its progress scenes of an extraordinary character have been witnessed.
Several States have seceded and all their members, with one exception, have left the hall.
No lover of his country can witness such an exhibition without feelings of the deepest anxiety.
I have not felt it my duty to deviate from the established practice by entering into discussion on the floor.
Indeed the demands upon the time of the Chair are sufficient, in its view, without it. And it is wise.
The Speaker should not be entangled in the conflicts of debate.
You will permit me, therefore, before parting, to say publicly what is well known to many, if not all of you, that I have ever been and am now, and I trust ever shall remain, a devoted friend of the Union
of these States, and favorable to any just and liberal compromise.
The report of the Committee
of Thirty-three, of the House
, met with my cordial approval, and I have never hesitated to declare my belief that a Convention of all the States, to consider actual or supposed grievances, was the proper and most available remedy.
As a member of the Union
, I declare my conviction that no tenable ground has been assigned for a dissolution of the ties which bind every American citizen to his country, and impartial history will so decide.
My confidence in the American
people is such that I believe no just complaint can long exist without a redress at their hands.
There is always a remedy in the Union
With this view, I still declare my willingness to join in measures of compromise.
I would do so because of the ancient ties that have bound us together under institutions framed by our fathers and under a Constitution signed by the immortal Washington
I would do so for the national honor committed to the experiment of free institutions.
I would do so for the love I bear my countrymen in all parts of our beloved land, and especially so for the sake of the noble band of patriots in the Border States
, who, in the midst of great opposition, have stood firm like rocks in the ocean for the peace and perpetuity of the Union
But, gentlemen, I may not further dwell on these general subjects.
For the discharge of the duties of this station, to which I was called by your kindness.
I can only say that it has been my purpose to do all in my power to promote your comfort as members — to deal impartially with all, and to advance the best interests of my country.
So far as any success has attended my administration in the chair, it is to be ascribed very much to the kindness and forbearance of the members of the House
I claim for myself only the merit of good intentions and honest purposes.
The resolution you have been pleased to adopt is truly gratifying, and will be among my most agreeable recollections of this place.
I thank you, gentlemen, for this mark of your approbation.
I could not fail to remark that this resolution was presented by the oldest member of the House
, by whom I was sworn into office, and one whose devoted character is acknowledged by us all.
I believe that no former Speaker ever received more kindness at the hands of this House, than has fallen to my lot. Amid all the conflicts of opinion on questions continually arising, you have never overruled any decision I have made.
I do not infer from this that I was always right; but I do infer that if wrong, the House
believed it was through misapprehension and not by design, and that it was your magnanimity which led you to sustain the Chair.
You will permit me, I hope, to say that I am under great obligations to the officers of the House
for their assistance and devotion to my comfort.
I return them all my very warmest thanks.
And now, gentlemen and friends, it only remains that I take my leave of you. The parting hour is an honest hour.
When I first came among you, I declared myself a National man. I am so still, I trust, and shall ever so remain.
Often, in retired moments, I shall think of you and the many scenes through which we have passed.
My prayer to Heaven for you is, that you may have that blessing which cometh from above, and that the Great Ruler of Nations in whose hands are the destinies of us all, may restore peace to our country, bring order out of confusion, and union to its present distracted elements.
Gentlemen, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
During the delivery of his address, he was frequently applauded.
He concluded by announcing that the House
was adjourned sine die.
With much good humor, the members quickly separated.
In the Senate, at 11 ½ o'clock, a message was received from the House
stating that having finished the business before it, it was ready to adjourn.
At half past 11 o'clock a message from the House
was received, stating that having finished the business before them they were ready to adjourn.
said it was a struggle of an overgrown company, so powerful that it could get Senators
to come here and talk the bill down at the close of the session.
Twelve o'clock having arrived, the Vice President
called the Senate to order, and said:
— In taking my final leave of this position, I shall ask a few moments in which to tender my grateful acknowledgments for the resolution declaring your approval of the manner in which I have discharged its duties, and to express a deep sense of the uniform courtesy which, as presiding officers, I have received from the members of this body.
If I have committed errors, your generous forbearance refused to rebuke them, and during the whole period of my services I have never appealed in vain to your justice and charity.
The memory of these acts will be ever cherished among the most grateful recollections of my life.
For my successor I can express no better wish than that he may enjoy those relations of mutual confidence which have so happily marked our intercourse.
Now, gentlemen of the Senate and officers of the Senate, from whom I have received so many kind offices, accept my gratitude and cordial wished for your prosperity and welfare.
, the Vice President elect
, then stepped forward and said:
— An experience of several years in this body has taught me something of the duties of its presiding officer.
And, with a stern, inflexible purpose to discharge these duties faithfully, relying upon the courtesy and co-operation of Senators
, and invoking the aid of Divine Providence, I am now ready to take the oath required by the Constitution
, and enter upon the discharge of the official duties assigned me by the confidence of a generous people.
Vice President Hamlin
then took the oath of office prescribed by the Constitution
, as follows:
"I, Hannibal Hamlin
, do solemnly swear to support the Constitution of the United States
then said — Having arrived at the termination of this Congress, I now declare the Senate adjourned without day.
Vice President Hamlin
then took the Chair, and the proclamation calling the extra session of the Senate was read.