of Representatives for the past four days have shown a decided unwillingness to acquaint the public with their grave transactions.
At the appointed hour they convene, and to conform with rules laid down in the early days of the session, they open with prayer, and have the journal of the preceding day read by the good-natured clerk, to which few, if any, of the members give attention.
This form complied with, some honorable member moves a suspension of the rule requiring the call of the States for memorials, resolutions, &c, in order that the committees may be allowed an opportunity to report.
One or two insignificant and unimportant bills come from the committees, which are generally placed upon the calendar or laid on the table, when some gentleman conceives that the great interests of the country, of which he is one of the especial guardians, require a secret session, and forthwith he moves that the House
go into secret session, which only needs the second of a fellow member and the thing is accomplished.
Generally, one secret session a day suffices, but yesterday, on the heel of the session, the business was of a character so important that two were necessary.
What occurred in these secret sessions, it would, of course, be presumptuous in us to conjecture, and we have, therefore, to confine ourselves to what was done in open session.
Only one bill was passed which possessed any general interest, or which, so far as we are capable of deciding, can have any effect upon the public mind in this time of trial and national anxiety.
This was the bill entitled an act to provide for the safe and expeditions transportation of troops and munitions of war by railroads.
This bill subjects the railroads of the country to the power and central of the Government
, and whether for good or evil, the House
seemed scarcely disposed to inquire.
It provides for the appointment of a Military Chief
of Railroad Transportation
, who shall have the rank of Lieutenant Colonel
, and receive compensation at the rate of $5,000 a year, to be paid in quarterly instalments.
This is a very fair start, and a 1st.
position is thus provided for somebody.
This bill did not pass without some opposition.
offered a gallant resistance, and presented a tolerable substitute for the measure; but the present House of Representatives are opposed to substitutes.--With them the committee's report is quite sufficient, and although a bill may receive a committee sanction that is ‘"scarce half made up," ’ yet our wise and discreet legislators are not disposed ‘"to cheat if of its fair proportions"’ by amendments or substitutes.
Other features of the bill are scarcely less objectionable than the one alluded to, but as the bill is to pass the ordeal of the upper House or Senate, we reserve farther notice until it has received the consideration of that body.