United States Congress.
It is necessary that we should go back a few days in the history of this body, in order for a connected narrative of its proceedings for the Dispatch.
Both Houses were organized on Monday.
In the Senate
, President pro tem.
), a number of bills were introduced for securing a "republican form" of government for the Southern States
, and for extending the right of suffrage to negroes, and otherwise expanding and protecting their immunities.
were very industrious in piling up the budget of these measures.
One bill, offered by Mr. Wilson
, proposes a fine not less than $500 nor more than $10,000, and imprisonment not less than six months nor more than five years, as the punishment for any man who shall institute a distinction of civil rights between the white
races by enforcing laws heretofore prevailing on the subject — this bill repealing all such laws.
In the House,
the first thing that came up was the question of admitting the delegates from the Southern States
, the Clerk
, declined to call the names of any delegates from the Southern States
, including even Tennessee
. Mr. Maynard
, from that State endeavored to get a hearing, but was choked down.
[If there is a man, North or South, who was entitled to a hearing in the Federal
House of Representatives, that man was Mr. Maynard
; but he was put down.] Mr. James Brooks
, of New York, essayed to present the claims of the Southern
delegates to admission; but he fared little better than Mr. Maynard
. He did succeed in uttering a few words — sufficient to characterize the course of the House
as despotic and tyrannical; and did propound a question to that amiable and merciful gentleman, Mr. Thaddeus Stevens
, of Pennsylvania
, as to what time the claims of those delegates were to be considered — and to which question the said Mr. Stevens
obligingly responded "at the proper time." [Applause from the majority.] But beyond this Mr. Brooks
had no success.
The previous question closed all openings for debate, and Mr. Colfax
） and Mr. Brooks
being in nomination for the Speaker
, (Mr. Brooks
nominated by the Democrats,) the former was elected by a vote of 139 to 35.
The usual messages and communication between the Houses
and the Executive
having taken place, the House
Before it adjourned Mr. Stevens
introduced a resolution relative to the rights of the Southern States
to representation; which resolution, under the operation of the previous question, was forced through--133 to 36.
This resolution appoints a committee of fifteen--six from the Senate and nine from the House
— to inquire into the condition of the "States which formed the so-called Confederate States,"
and report whether they, or any of them, are entitled to representation in either House of Congress.
Notice was given of measures to give rights of all sorts to blacks in the District of Columbia, and to apportion representation in Congress according to the number of legal voters in each district.
On Tuesday little was done in either House
besides reading the annual message of the Executive
In the Senate,
the credentials of Messrs. Alcorn
, from Mississippi
, were ordered to lie on the table for further action.
In the House,
a resolution was nearly unanimously adopted declaring that the public debt, with interest, should be promptly paid, and a committee of one from each State was ordered to prepare resolutions of Congressional respect for the late President
Wednesday, December 6.--In the Senate,
the standing committees were announced.
The chairmen of the principal are as follows:--Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sumner
; Finance, Mr. Fessenden
; Commerce, Mr. Chandler
; Military Affairs, Mr. Wilson
; Naval Affairs, Mr. Grimes
; Judiciary, Mr. Trumbull
; Territories, Mr. Wade
. [If Mr. Sumner
would confine himself to foreign affairs, a deal of trouble to the nation would be avoided.] Mr. Sumner
, taking both foreign and domestic affairs under his care, introduced a bill to regulate commerce among the States (something touching the negro, of course)! He wanted to know if there were not some persons in office who had not taken the oath; but his motion was laid over.
A committee was appointed to confer with the House
touching action in honor of the late President Lincoln
On Wednesday, in the House, Mr. Stevens
proposed a bill to pay Mrs. Lincoln
$25,000, which would have accrued to her husband had he not been assassinated.
objected, and suggested that he had a bill for the same object in another form, which he afterwards introduced.
introduced a proposition to reimburse to "loyal States" the expenditure they incurred in "putting down the rebellion."
touched upon the negro, and other things combined, by a proposition for amending the Constitution
so as to allow export duties, prohibit the payment of the "rebel debt," and secure everybody liberty and life.
The "freedmen's aid commission" was granted the use of the hall.
proposed that colored soldiers should have all the rights and privileges of citizens.
Both Houses adjourned to Monday.