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Confederate Congress

Senate. Monday, March 16, 1862.
In the Senate, after the reading of the Journal of Saturday, Mr.Stephens presented a letter from Mr. Dixon, which he requested to be read and referred to the Committee on Postal The communication referred to the transmission of melis on the Sabbath, and advocated that mail carriers be exempted from duty on Sunday.

Mr. Baker, of Florida, asked leave of absence for his colleague, Mr. Maxwell, who was obliged to leave for home on Saturday.

Mr. Douton of North Carolina, presented a claim from Wm. M. Johnson, for services rendered Government, and moved it be laid on the table.

Mr. Henry of Tenn., presented petition from $10 ladies of Tennessee, asking that a law may be passed to prevent the distillation of grain. It was referred to the Military Committee.

Mr. Barnwell, of South Carolina, reported back a bill from the Committee on Accounts, and desired that the committee be released from further consideration of it. The bill related to the proper method of auditing the accounts of Senators and the officers of the Senate. It was referred to the Committee on Finance.

Mr. Brown, of Miss., from the Committee on Naval Affairs, asked to be discharged from further consideration of the resolution inquiring as to the necessary increase of appropriations for war steamers, gunboats, and coast defenses, as the subject is before the committee in all its bearings. The request was granted.

Mr. Semmes of La., asked that the resolutions be taken up referring to the paying of census takers in the State of Louisiana.

Mr. Burnett, of Ky., stated that while the committee was satisfied of the equity of the claims, he did not think they ought to be paid until a treaty of peace was formed.--There are a vast number of persons who have Federal claims, and if we were to open an account at this time, it would necessitate the payment of millions of dollars. He did not think at this time it would be just or legal.

Mr. Sparrow, of La., said these were secular claims. When Louisiana was an independent State, and prior to her belonging to the Confederacy, the had collected from different soirees a large sum of money. This had been held for payment of the private claims of her citizens, and $10,000 had been given for the purpose. The money was then turned over to the Confederate States, leaving $3,000 still due. This deb;, he thought, ought to be assumed by the Government.

Mr. Burnett, of Ky., said his view of it was this: Virginia, Georgia, and other States, have claims as well as Louisiana. Not a single State has been paid, so far as he knew and his own State surely had not. If you pay one of these accounts, you must pay all. As far as the payment of this sum of money into the Treasury was concerned, he would say that other States had done so as well as Louisiana.--Virginia had, and South Carolina and Florida, both in property and money. It, then, you attempt to open such account, every army officer, who has had his pay by the United States, has some claim upon the Government. He would advocate that all these claims be left until a treaty of peace; then, if payment was not received from the United States he would go for paying them out of the Treasury.

Mr. Sparrow of La., thought it clear the claims presented here were exceptional The position taken by the member was not correct in his opinion. He urged that these claims were just and equitable, and must be adjudged accordingly. Out of the fund paid over to the Confederacy the just demands of her citizens should be paid. The State had disposed of this fund, and in her ardent desire to assist the Government had turned over the balance received.

A message was here received from the House announcing that several bills, whose titles have been already given, had been passed and signed.

Mr. Sparrow.--By the act of the 4th of March, this fund, known as the bullion fund, was transferred to the C S. Government. --The intent of the State was that this should be for the payment of her own citizens. From what has been stated, it is evident that the citizens of Louisiana, to whom the United States was indebted had a lien upon this fund. When this was transferred to the Confederate Government, he did not think the equitable lien could be done away with. The State of Louisiana, through her resolutions and through her representatives on this floor, declares that she still thinks the claims hold good. The question we should ask is this: Had those citizens an equitable lien on this fund under the State Government? No one double that. Then, they have now. She had turned over that large sum, and it seemed to him that--

Mr Burnett, of Ky.--Said he differed in toto with the gentleman, on this subject, and--

Mr. Sparrow--If the gentleman will allow me, I put it upon the ground that the citizens of the State have a just and equitable lien upon it.

Mr. Burnett could not are how the gentleman could make the point that those citizens had a lien upon this fund when they were Federal office-holders at the time, and never did a day a work for the Confederacy. The money was put in as a common fund for the benefit of the Government, and why should one man be entitled to its benefits more than another? To illustrate: many of the members of this body were in the old Congress, and when they left, or were turned out, their salaries were withheld; would not they, too, be entitled to indemnity?

Mr. Seemes of Louisiana, said — Let us ascertain the facts of the case, for I have the figures before me. The Confederate Government has received from the States--

In bullion, from North Carolina.$26,200
In bullion, from Louisiana457,560
In customs from Louisiana.147,875
In customs from Alabama.18,731
In customs from Georgia3,458
Bullion from Georgia23,760
Customs from North Carolina1,075

and so on. During the month Louisiana was independent the sum of $147,875 was received as customs. Out of the sum the Government received, about $600,000 was from Louisiana.

Here a message was received from the President, to be read in Executive session.

Mr. Semmes--We regard the bullion fund as the property of the United States. The State sized it and transferred it to the Confederate Government for the settlement of claims at some future day. So far as the $147,000 was concerned, it was a more act of liberality in giving it to the Government — Letters were continually received from Montgomery, during the early part of the Provisional Government, stating there was not a dollar in the Treasury, and none to pay the officers even; and therefore this fund was given. Other States had paid in property as loans; Alabama had given property or bonds, but Louisiana gave this as a bounty to the Confederacy, as an evidence of the liberality of the State Now, all that is asked out of the sum given to assist the Government in its hour of need, is the paltry sum of $5,000, to pay the balance of these consuls claims.

Mr. Burnett called for the question, and the proposition to take up the bill was negatived.

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