Xii. Slavery and Emancipation in Congress.
- E. R. Potter on Emancipation by War -- Lincoln for colonizing the Blacks -- Congress forbids military officers returning fugitives from Slavery -- Abolishes Slavery in the District of Columbia -- Lincoln proposes, and Congress enacts, compensated Emancipation -- Prohibits Slavery in the Territories -- Confiscates the slaves of Rebels -- opens Diplomatic intercourse with Liberia and Hayti -- requires Equality in education and punishment between Whites and Blacks -- right of search on the African coast conceded -- fugitive Slave act repealed -- confinement of suspected slaves in Federal Jails forbidden -- coastwise Slave-trade forbidden -- color no impediment to giving testimony.
the XXXVIIth Congress, as we have seen1--while endeavoring to evade or to avert its eyes from the fact that it was Slavery which was waging deadly war on the Union-did yet give fair notice, through the guarded but decisive language of some of the more conservative Republicans, that, if the Rebellion were persisted in, it must inevitably result in the overthrow of Slavery. And the action of that Congress, even at the extra session, evinced a steadily growing consciousness — steadily growing in the legislative as well as the popular2 mind — that Slavery had closed with the Union in mortal strife — a struggle which both could not survive.3 Still, President Lincoln hesitated and held back; anxious that the Union should retain its hold on the Border Slave States, especially on Kentucky; and apparently hoping  that the alternative of conceded Disunion union or constrained Emancipation might yet be avoided. His first Annual Message4 cautiously avoided the subject; but proposed a systematic colonization — in some territory to be acquired outside of the present limits of our country — of those Blacks who had already, or might thereafter, become free in consequence of the war. He coolly added:
It might be well to consider, too, whether the free colored people already in the United States could not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in such colonization.Congress acceded to this, so far as to appropriate $100,000 in aid of the colonization as aforesaid of the freedmen of the District of Columbia; which sum, or most of it, was duly squandered — to the satisfaction of certain speculators, and the intense, protracted misery of a few deluded Blacks, who were taken to a wretched sand-spit, known as Cow Island, on the coast of Hayti, and kept there so long as they could be: and this was the practical finale of the Colonization project. The XXXVIIth Congress having convened5 for its second (or first regular) session, Gen. Wilson, of Mass., gave6 notice in Senate of a bill to punish officers and privates of our armies for arresting, detaining, or delivering persons claimed as fugitive slaves; and Mr. O. Lovejoy, of Ill., simultaneously introduced a bill of like tenor in the House. Mr. Wilson submitted his bill on the 23d; a resolve to the same effect having been submitted by Mr. Summer six days before; as one of like nature was this day laid before the House by Mr. James F Wilson, of Iowa. Mr. Wilson, of Mass., soon reported7 his bill; of which he pressed the consideration ten days afterward; but it was resisted with great ingenuity and carnestness by all the Opposition and by a few of the more conservative Administration Senators. Other bills having obtained precedence in the Senate, Mr. F. P. Blair reported8 to the House from its Military Committee, an additional Article of War, as follows:
All officers are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning fugitives from service or labor who may have escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be due. Any officer who shall be found guilty by courtmartial of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service.This bill was strenuously opposed by Messrs. Mallory and Wickliffe, of Kentucky, as also by Mr. Vallandigham, of Ohio, while ably advocated by Mr. Bingham, of Ohio; and passed by a (substantially) party vote: Yeas 83; Nays 44. Having been received by the Senate and referred to its Military Committee, it was duly reported9 therefrom by Mr. II. Wilson; vehemently opposed by Messrs. Garret Davis, of Ky., Carlile, of Va., Saulsbury, of Del., and supported by Messrs. Wilson, of Mass., Howard, of Michigan, Sherman, of Ohio, McDougall, of Cal., and Anthony, of R. I., and passed:10 Yeas 29; Nays 9--a party vote, save that Mr. McDougall, of Cal., voted Yea. The bill thus enacted was approved by the President, March 13th, 1862. Gen. Wilson, upon evidence that the above act was inadequate to restrain the negro-catching propensitives of some officers in the service, proposed11  further action to the same end; and the Senate considered12 his resolution of inquiry. Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, in supporting it made a statement as follows:
In the month of February last, an officer of the 3d regiment of Iowa infantry, stationed at a small town in Missouri. succeeded in capturing several Rebel bridgeburners, and sone recruiting officers be-longing to Price's army. The information that led to their capture was furnished by two or three remarkably shrewd and intelligent slaves, claimed by a Lt.-Colonel in tie Rebel army. Shortly afterward, the master dispatched an agent, with instructions to seize the slaves, and convey them within the Rebel lines: whereupon, tie Iowa officer seized them, and reported the circumstances to headquarters. The slaves. soon understanding the full import of Gen. Halleck's celebrated Order No. 3, two of them attempted an escape. This was regarded as an unpardonable sin. The Iowa officer was immediately placed under arrest; and a detachment of the Missouri State Militia--men in the pay of this Government, and under the command of Gen. Halleck--were sent in pursuit of the fugitives. The hunt was successful. The slaves were caught, and returned to their traitor master; but not until one of them had been shot by order of the soldier in command of the pursuing party.Mr. Sumner followed in an able speech in advocacy; butt the subject was overlaid by others deemed more urgent; and the bill was not conclusively acted on. At an early period13 of the session, Gen. Wilson had proposed a reference of all laws relating to persons of color in the District of Columbia, and to the arrest of fugitives from labor, to the Standing Committee on said District, with instructions that they consider the expediency of a compensated Abolition of Slavery therein; and he soon afterward introduced14 a bill of like purport; which was read twice and referred15 to the Committee aforesaid. Mr. Morrill, of Maine, duly reported16 from said Committee Gen. Wilson's bill; which provided for the Abolition of Slavery in the District, and the payment to the masters from the Treasury of an average compensation of $300 each for the slaves thus manumitted. The bill was so amended as to abolish also tile Black Laws of said District. Mr. G. Davis, of Ky., bitterly opposed the bill ; proposing so to amend it as to send out of the country all persons freed thereby; which was ardently supported by Mr. Saulsbury, of Del. Mr. Doolittle (Repub.), of Wise., favored colonizing the freedmen, but moved to add “with their own consent;” which prevailed — Yeas 23; Nays 16--and Mr. Davis's proposition, as thus amended, was lost by a tie vote--19 to 19; and the emancipating bill-after having been ably supported by Messrs. Wilmot, of Pa., Hale, of N. H., Pomeroy, of Kansas (against paying the masters), King, of N. Y., Wilson, of Mass., Harlan, of Iowa, Wilkinson, of Minn., Sumner, of Mass., Fessenden, of Maine, Browning, of Ill., and Morrill, of Maine, and further opposed by Messrs. Wright (Union), of Ind., Willey, of West Va. (who wished the question of Emancipation submitted to a popular vote of the District), Kennedy, of Md., McDougall, of Cal., and Bayard, of Del.--was passed :17 Yeas 29 ; Nays 14-as follows:
Yeas--Messrs. Anthony, Browning, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Fessenden, Foot. Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harlan, Harris, Howard, Howe, King, Lane, of Ind., Lane, of Kansas, Morrill, Pomeroy, Sherman. Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, Wilmot, and Wilson, of Mass.--29. Nays--Messrs. Bayard, Carlile, Davis, Henderson. Kennedy, Latham, McDougall, Nesmith, Powell, Saulsbury, Stark, Willey, Wilson, of Mo., and Wright--14. This bill having reached the House, Mr. Stevens, of Pa., in Committee of the Whole, moved18 the laying aside successively of each bill preceding it on the calendar, and thus reached this one; which was taken up and debated by Judge Thomas, of Mass., and Mr. Crittenden, of Ky., in opposition. Mr. Stevens tried to close the debate next day, but failed; and the bill was advocated by Messrs. F. P. Lair, of Mo., Bingham, Blake, Riddle, Ashley, and Hutchins, of Ohio, Rollins, of N. H., and Van Horn, of N. Y. Mr. Stevens at length induced the Committee to rise and report the bill; when the measure was further opposed by Messrs. H. B. Wright, of Pa., Wadsworth, Harding, Menzies, and Wickliffe, of Ky., and supported by Messrs. Hickman, of Pa., Train, of Mass., Lovejoy, of Ill., Dunn, of Ind., Cox and Vallandigham, of Ohio; and passed under the Previous Question: Yeas 92; Nays 39. [Messrs. G. H. Browne, of R. I., English, of Conn., Haight and Odell, of N. Y., Sheffield, of R. I., and B. F. Thomas, of Mass., voted Yea with the Republicans; while Messrs. J. B. Blair and Wm. G. Brown, of Va., James S. Rollins, of Mo., and Francis Thomas, of Md., voted Nay with the Democrats and Kentuckians.] The bill, thus passed on the 11th, was signed by the President on the 16th of April, 1862.19 President Lincoln made his first overt, yet cautious, demonstration against Slavery as the main cause of our subsisting troubles in a Special Message20 which proposed that the Houses of Congress should unite in adopting this joint resolution:
Resolved, That the United States, in order to cooperate with any State which may adopt gradual abolition of Slavery, give to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State, in its discretion, to compensate it for the inconvenience, public and private, produced by such change of system.This proposition he commended in these guarded and deferential terms:
If the proposition contained in tile resolution does not meet the approval of Congress and tile country, there is an end of it. But, if it does command such approval, l, I deem it of importance that the States and people immediately interested should be at once distinctly notified of the fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to accept or reject it. The Federal Government would find its highest interest in such a measure, as one of the most important means of self-preservation. Tile leaders of the existing Rebellion entertain the hope that this Government will ultimately be forced to acknowledge the independence of some part of the disaffected region, and that all the Slave States north of such part will then say, “The Union for which we have struggled being already gone, we now choose to go with the Southern section.” To deprive them of this hope substantially ends tile Rebellion; and the initiation of Emancipation deprives them of it, and of all the States initiating it. The point is not that all the States tolerating Slavery would very soon, if at all, initiate Emancipation; but, while the offer is equally made to all, tile more Northern shall, by such initiation, make it certain to the more Southern that in no event will the former ever join the latter in their proposed Confederacy. * * * While it is true that tile adoption of the proposed resolution would be merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it is recommended in the hope that it would soon lead to important practical results. In full view of my great responsibility to my God and to  my country, I earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the people to the subject.Mr. Stevens, of Pa., having moved and carried a reference of this Message by the House to a Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, and Mr. R. Conkling, of N. Y., having moved21 the resolve above recommended, a debate sprung up thereon; which is notable only as developing the repugnance of the Unionists of the Border Slave States, with that of the Democrats of all the States, to compensated or any other Emancipation. Messrs. Wadsworth, Mallory, Wickliffe, and Crittenden, of Ky., and Crisfield, of Md., spoke for the former; Messrs. Richardson, of Ill., Voorhees, of Ind., Biddle, of Pa., for the latter. All the Republicans who spoke supported the proposition; though Messrs. Stevens and Hickman, of Pa., characterized it as timid, temporizing, and of small account. It passed the House22 by 89 Yeas (Republicans, West Virginians, and a few others not strictly partisans) to 31 Nays (including Crisfield, Leary, and Francis Thomas, of Md., with Crittenden, Dunlap, Harding, Wadsworth, and Wickliffe, of Ky.--the rest Democrats). The resolve having reached the Senate and been duly referred, Mr. Trumbull, of Ill., reported23 it favorably from the Judiciary Committee ; when, on its coming up,24 it was fiercely assailed by Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, and more temperately opposed by Messrs. Willey, of Va., McDougall and Latham, of Cal., and Powell, of Ky. Mr. Henderson, of Mo., supported it, and thenceforward acted as an emancipationist. Messrs. Sherman, of Ohio, Doolittle, of Wise., Browning, of Ill., and Morrill, of Maine, also advocated the measure; and it passed25--Yeas 32 (including Davis, of Ky., Henderson, of Mo., Thomson [Dem.], of N. J., and Willey, of Pa.); Nays--Messrs. Bayard and Saulsbury, of Del., Kennedy, of Md., Carlile, of Va., Powell, of Ky., Wilson, of Mo., Wright, of N. J., Latham, of Cal., Nesmith and Stark, of Oregon. It is noteworthy that a majority of these Nays were the votes of Senator from Border States, to which it proffered compensation for their slaves, all whom have since been freed without compensation. The President of course approved26 the measure; bur no single Slave State ever claimed its benefits; and its only use inhered in its demonstration of the willingness of the Unionists to increase their already heavy burdens to pay for the saves of the Border States--a willingness which the infatuation of the ruling class in those States rendered abortive, save in its inevitable tendency to soften prejudice and reconcile the minds of loyal slaveholders to a social revolution fast becoming inevitable. Mr. Wilson, of Mass., having given notice27 of a joint resolve granting aid to the States of Delaware and Maryland to emancipate their slaves, Mr. Saulsbury, of Del., objected to its consideration ; and it lay over. When called up,28 he declared his inflexible hostility to it, and his purpose to interpose every available obstacle to its passage. It was introduced, however, and had its first reading; but was not again taken up. Soon, however, Mr. White, of Ind.,  proposed29 a more comprehensive measure; contemplating the gradual extinguishment, at the National cost, of Slavery in all the Border Slave States, and moved its reference to a Select Committee of nine. Mr. Mallory, of Ky., moved that this proposition do lie on the table; which failed: Yeas 51; Nays 68; and it there prevailed: Yeas 67; Nays 52. The Committee having been appointed,30 Mr. White reported31 there — from a bill offering $300 per head from tile Treasury for the legal emancipation of the slave of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, or either of them. The bill was committed, but not acted on; having been reported too near the close of the Session. Next winter, Mr. Henderson,32 in the Senate, and Mr. Noell,33 in the House. submitted bills of similar tenor, providing for compensated emancipation in Missouri alone. Each encountered a bitter opposition from the Democratic and most of the Border-State Members ; but Mr. Noell's finally passed34 the House — Yeas 73; Nays 45. The Senate acted on Mr. Henderson's bill, which provided only for very Gradual Emancipation — he declaring that if Congress should offer his State $10,000,000 for an act of Immediate Abolition, he would oppose its acceptance. The Senate debated hotly and tediously the rival advantages of Immediate and Gradual Emancipation: the Democrats opposing both, but inclining the scale in favor of the latter; which prevailed-26 to 11-and in this shape the bill passed:35 Yeas 23; Nays 18. On reaching the House, it was referred — Yeas 81; Nays 51-to the Select Committee aforesaid; which was only enabled to perfect it on the last36 day of the session; when the House refused-Yeas 63; Nays 57-to suspend the rules in favor of its immediate consideration, which required a vote of two-thirds. So perished the last effort to compensate the loyal States for the Emancipation of their Slaves — the Democrats and all the Border-State members who were not friends of the Administration unanimously resisting it in every shape and to the extent of their power. We have seen37 that the XXXVIth Congress, after it had become Republican through the withdrawal of the representatives of the Gulf States, organized the new Territories of Colorado, Nevada, and Dakotah, by acts which maintained a profound silence with regard to Slavery. The hope of thus winning a portion of the slaveholding interest to active loyalty in the approaching struggle having been disappointed, Mr. Arnold, of. Ill., submitted38 to the next House a bill abolishing and prohibiting Slavery in every Territory of the Union; which Mr. Lovejoy, of Ill., duly reported39 and pressed to a vote; ultimately modifying the bill so as to read as follows:
No measure of the session was more vehemently opposed, not only by the Democrats without exception, but by the Border-State Unionists with equal zeal and unanimity; even Mr. Fisher, of Del., denouncing it, though he did not vote on the final passage. Mr. Cox, of Ohio, stigmatized it in debate as “a bill for the benefit of Secession and Jeff. Davis.” Mr. Crisfield, of Md., characterized it as “a palpable violation of the rights of the States, and an unwarrantable interference with private property — a fraud upon the States which have made cessions of land to this Government, a violation of the Constitution, and a breach of the pledges which brought the dominant [Republican] party into power” --“a usurpation” --“destructive of the good of the country,” &c., &c. Judge Thomas, of Mass., held that Congress could not warrantably pass this act without providing compensation for slaveholders in the Territories. Messrs. Bingham, of Ohio, Stevens and Kelley, of Pa., R. Conkling and Diven, of N. Y., Arnold and Lovejoy, of 111., and others, defended the bill, and it passed,40 under the Previous Question: Yeas,85 (all Republicans but Sheffield, of R. I., and Judge Thomas, of Mass.--to meet whose objections the original bill had been modified): Nays, 50: composed of all the Democrats and Border-State Unionists who voted, including Messrs. Calvert, Crisfield, Leary, Francis Thomas, and Webster, of Md., J. B. Blair, Wm. G. Brown, and Segar, of Va., Casey, Crittenden, Dunlap, Grider, Harding, Mallory, Menzies, Wadsworth, and Wickliffe, of Ky., Clements and Maynard, of Tenn., Hall, Noell, and J. S. Phelps, of Mo.--22 of the 50 from Border Slave States. The bill having reached the Senate, it was reported41 by Mr. Browning, of Illinois, substituting for the terns above cited the following:
That, from and after the passage of this act, there shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the Territories of the United States now existing, or which may at any time hereafter be formed or acquired by the United States, otherwise than in punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.In this shape it passed :42 Yeas 28 (all Republicans); Nays 10 (all Opposition); and the House concurred43 in the Senate's amendment — Yeas 72; Nays 38--and the bill, being approved44 by the President, became henceforth and evermore the law of the land. The policy of confiscating or emancipating the slaves of those engaged in the Rebellion was very cautiously and timidly approached at the first45 or extra session of this Congress. Very early in the ensuing session, it was again suggested in the Senate by Mr. Trumbull,46 of Illinois, and in the House by Mr. Eliot,47 of Mass. At the former session, Congress had ventured only to direct the confiscation of the right or property of masters in such slaves as those masters permitted or directed to labor on fortifications or other works designed to aid the Rebellion; but now, a bolder and more sweeping measure was deemed requisite. Mr. Eliot's joint resolve-after disclaiming all right to interfere with the internal affairs and institutions of loyal States in peace-affirmed that the existing  war must be prosecuted according to the laws of war, and
That, therefore, we do hereby declare that the President, as the Commander-in-chief of our army, and the officers in command under him, have the right to emancipate all persons held as slaves in any military district in a state of insurrection against the National Government; and that we respectfully advise that such order of Emancipation be issued, whenever tile same will avail to weaken the power of the Rebels in arms, or to strengthen the military power of the loyal forces.Mr. Trumbull proposed to enact that the slaves of all persons who shall take up arms against the United States, or in any manner aid or abet the existing Rebellion, shall thereupon be discharged from service or labor, and become thenceforth forever free; any existing law to the contrary notwithstanding. These propositions, with various modifications, were vehemently discussed in either House, not continuously, but alternately with other measures, nearly to the end of that long and excited session. By friend and foe, they were debated as though their success or failure would decide the issue of Union or Disunion. By all the anti-Republicans, and by some of the more conservative Republicans, they were denounced as utterly, glaringly, in antagonism to the Federal Constitution, and as calculated to extinguish the last vestige of Unionism in the Slave States, but especially in those that had seceded. Said Senator Cowan,48 of Pennsylvania:
Pass this bill, and the same messenger who carries it to the South will come back to us with the news of their complete consolidation as one man. We shall then have done that which treason could not do: we ourselves shall then have dissolved the Union ; we shall have rent its sacred charter, and extinguished the last vestige of affection for it in the Slave States by our blind and passionate folly.In the same spirit, but more temperately, the bill was opposed by Messrs. Browning, of 111., Willey, of Va., Henderson, of Mo., and Collamer, of Vt. (the first and last Republicans; the others very decided Unionists), as well as more unsparingly by Messrs. Garret Davis and Powell, of Ky., Saulsbury, of Del., Carlile, of Va., and others of the Opposition; while it was supported by Messrs. Trumbull, of 111., Wilson and Sumner, of Mass., Howard, of Mich., Wade and Sherman, of Ohio, Morrill and Fessenden, of Maine, Clark and Hale, of N. H., and nearly all the more decided Republicans. So intense and formidable was the resistance that the Senate at length49 referred the bill to a Select Committee of seven--Mr. Clark, of N. H., chairman — who duly reported therefrom “A bill to suppress Insurrection, and punish Treason and Rebellion ;” which merely authorized the President, at his discretion, to proclaim free all slaves of persons who shall be found in arms against the United States thirty days after the issue of such proclamation. On this bill being taken up,50 Mr. Davis, of Ky., tried to have it so amended that the said slaves, instead of being freed, should be sold and the proceeds put into the Treasury; but only seven Senators were found sufficiently Democratic to sustain that proposition. lie next proposed that no slave should be emancipated Under this act, until he should be on his way to be colonized at some point outside of the United States: which proposition received but six votes. Here the Senate bill was dropped, in deference to the action  of the House; in which, after a long, arduous, doubtful struggle, during which Mr. Eliot's resolve was referred to the Judiciary Committee and reported against51 by Mr. Hickman, of Pa., its Chairman--“because the President has all power now” --it had been referred52 to a Select Committee of seven, whereof Mr. Sedgwick, of N. Y., was Chairman; whence Mr. Eliot, of Mass., reported53 two bills, one providing for confiscating the property, the other for emancipating the slaves, of persistent Rebels; whereupon debate was renewed and continued for days — every Democrat and nearly every Border-State member resisting Emancipation as ruinous to the National cause. Said Mr. W. S. Holman, of Ind. (one of the most loyal and non-partisan of those clected as Democrats):
I have supported, Sir, and will still support, every just measure of this Administration to restore the Union. No partisan interest shall control me when the Republic is in danger. I place the interest of my country far above every other interest. I will make any sacrifice to uphold the Government; but I will not be de erred from condemning, at this time, this or any other series of measures — the offspring of misguided zeal and passion, or of want of faith in our people — which tends to defeat the hope of a restoration of the Union. The citizen solider, stricken down in battle or worn out by the weary march, falls a willing sacrifice for the Constitution of his country and his dying eyes light up with hope as they catch the gleam of its starry symbol; while we deliberate on measures which would overthrow the one, and blot out the stars from the other.Said Judge Thomas (Conservative), of Massachusetts:
That the bills before the House are in violation of the law of nations, and of the Constitution, I can not — I say it with all deference to others — I can not entertain a doubt. My path of duty is plain. The duty of obedience to that Constitution was never more imperative than now. I am not disposed to deny that I have for it a superstitions reverence. I have “worshiped it from my forefathers.” In the school of rigid discipline by which we were prepared for it, in the struggles out of which it was born, the seven years of bitter conflict, and the seven darker years in which that conflict seemed to be fruitless of good; in the wisdom with which it was constructed and first administered and set in motion; in the beneficent Government it has secured for more than two generations; in the blessed influences it has exerted upon the cause of Freedom and Humanity the world over, I can not fail to recognize the hand of a guiding and loving Providence. But not for the blessed memories of the past only do I cling to it. He must be blinded “with excess of light,” or with the want of it, who does not see that to this nation, trembling on the verge of dissolution, it is the only possible bond of unity.Mr. Samuel S. Cox, of Ohio, asked:
Must these Northern fanatics be sated with negroes, taxes, and blood, with division North and devastation South and peril to constitutional liberty everywhere, before relief shall come? They will not halt until then darling schemes are consummated. History tells us that such zealots do not and can not go back ward.Said Mr. John Law, of Indiana:
The man who dreams of closing the present unhappy contest by reconstructing this Union upon any other basis than that prescribed by our fathers, in the compact formed by them, is a madman — ay, worse, a traitor — and should be hung as high as Haman. Sir, pass these acts, confiscate under these bills the property of these men, emancipate their negroes, place arms in the hands of these human gorillas, to murder their masters and violate their wives and daughters, and you will have a war such as was never witnessed in the worst days of the French Revolution, and horrors never exceeded in St. Domingo, for the balance of this century at least.Mr. Eliot closed the debate54 in an able speech for the bills; and the confiscation bill was passed — Yeas 82; Nays 63. The Emancipation bill was next taken up; when, after rejecting several amendments, the vote was taken on its passage, and it was defeated: Yeas 74 (all Republicans); Nays 78--fifteen members elected as Republicans  voting Nay, with all the Democrats and all the Border-State men. The Republicans voting Nay were Messrs. Dawes and Delano, of Mass., Diven, of N. Y., Dunn, of Ind., Fisher, of Del., Horton, of Ohio, Wm. Kellogg, of Ill., Killinger, of Pa., Mitchell, of Ind., Nixon, of N. J., Norton, of Ill., Porter, of Ind., A. H. Rice, of Mass., Stratton, of N. J., and Train, of Mass. Mr. Porter, of Ind., now moved55 a reconsideration; which narrowly escaped defeat, on a motion by Mr. Holman that it do lie on the table: Yeas 69; Nays 73. The reconsideration prevailed: Yeas 84; Nays 64: and the bill was recommitted, with instructions to report a substitute already proposed by Mr. P., which prevailed — Yeas 84; Nays 66: and Mr. Eliot again reported56 a bill emancipating the slaves of certain specified classes of prominent Rebels, and also of all persons who shall continue in armed rebellion sixty days after the President shall have issued his proclamation requiring them to desist therefrom. The bill thus modified passed the House: Yeas 82; Nays 54. The House Confiscation bill aforesaid was taken up in the Senate;57 and, after debate, so amended,58 on motion of Mr. Clark, of N. H., as to recombine Emancipation therewith; when it was passed: Yeas 23; Nays 13. The House non-concurred59 in this action: Yeas 8; Nays 124; where-upon, the Senate insisted, and asked a committee of conference; which was granted; and the Committee60 reported a bill which was in substance Mr. Clark's, providing for both Confiscation and Emancipation. Its purport is that all slaves of persons who shall give aid or comfort to the Rebellion, who shall take refuge within the lines of the army; all slaves captured from such persons, or deserted by them, and coming under the control of the Government; and all slaves of such persons found or being within any place occupied by Rebel forces, and afterward occupied by the forces of the United States--shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be for ever free, and not again held as slaves; that fugitive slaves shall not be surrendered to persons who have given aid and comfort to the Rebellion; that no person engaged in the military or naval service shall surrender fugitive slaves, on pain of being dismissed from the service; that the President may employ persons of African descent for the suppression of the Rebellion, and organize and use them in such manner as he may judge best for the public welfare. This bill passed the House by the decisive majority of 82 Yeas to 42 Nays; also the Senate, by 27 Yeas to 12 Nays; and, being approved by the President,61, became the law of the land. President Lincoln having recommended, in his first Annual Message,62 the establishment of Diplomatic intercourse with the republics of Hayti and Liberia, Mr. Sumner reported63 to the Senate, from its Committee on Foreign Relations, a bill for that purpose; which in due time was taken up,64 supported by its author, opposed65 by Mr. G. Davis, of Ky., who proclaimed his disgust at the continued “introduction  of the subject of slaves and Slavery into this chamber;” though no one but himself had mentioned either in connection with this measure. He drew a ludicrous picture of “a big negro follow,” fantastically arrayed, being presented as Minister from Hayti. Mr. Sumner rejoined; and Mr. Davis's substitute, providing for consular relations only with the republics aforesaid, was voted down-Yeas 8; Nays 31--and then the bill passed: Yeas 32; Nays 7. On reaching the House, it was referred to its Committee on Fereign Affairs; which Committee was discharged66 from its further consideration, on motion of Mr. Gooch, of Mass., who ably and temperately advocated its passage. Mr. Cox, of Olio, replied, à la Davis; and, after further debate by Messrs. Fessenden, of Maine, Eliot, of Mass., McKnight and Kelley, of Pa., and Maynard, of Tenn., in favor, and Messrs. Diddle, of Pa., and Crittenden, of Ky., in opposition, it was passed — Yeas 86; Nays 37--and, being signed67 by the President, became the law of the land. Previous to the triumph of Emancipation in the Federal District, there was no public provision for the education of the blacks, whether bond or free; and very few, even of the latter, received any schooling whatever. The great obstacle to improvement having been s wept away, Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, submitted68 to the Senate a bill providing f)r the education of colored children in the city of Washington ; prefacing it by a statement that, whereas the number of those children was in 1860 no less than 3,172, and while the Free Blacks of the District were taxed $36,000 per annum , whereof a tenth was appropriated to the support of schools, not one of their children was permitted to enter those schools or to receive any benefit whatever from the money thus wrested from them by law for the education of the children of the Whites, many of whom paid no tax whatever. His bill proposed simply that the city revenue raised for schools by the taxation of Blacks should be devoted to the education of their own children, and not those of the Whites. This bill having been referred to and reported69 from the District Committee, it was taken up,70 on motion of Mr. Grimes; and certain nonessential amendments of the Committee agreed to. Mr. Wilson, of Mass., then moved to add a new section, as follows:
That all persons of color in the District of Columbia, or within the corporate limits of the cities of Washington ad Georgetown, shall be subject and amenable to the same laws and ordinances to which free White persons are or may be subject or amenable; that they shall be tried for any offenses against the laws in the salle manner as free lite persons are or may be tried for the same offenses ; and that, upon being legally convicted of any crime or offense against any law or ordinance, such persons of color shall be liable to such penalty or punishment, and only such, as would be imposed or inflicted upon free White persons for tile same crime or offense: and all acts, or parts of acts, inconsistent with the provisions of this act, are hereby repealed.This important amendment prevailed ; and the bill, thus improved, passed :71 Yeas 29 ; Nays 7. Reaching the House, it was there referred to its District Committee ; reported72 therefrom without amendment, by Mr. Rollins, of N. H., and, on his motion, passed, under the Previous  Question, without a call of the Yeas and Nays. It received the President's signature on the 21st. Bills making further and better provision for the education of colored children were matured and enacted in the course of that and the two following sessions. A treaty between the Great Powers of Western Europe, intended to provide for the more effectual suppression of the African Slave-Trade, was matured and signed at Paris in 1841. It necessarily accorded a qualified reciprocal right to search suspected cruisers to the National vessels of the subscribing parties. Gen. Cass, then our Envoy at Paris, and a prospective candidate for President, resisted and defeated the accession of our Government to this most righteous and necessary increase of power to the international police of the ocean, and earned thereby the qualified approbation of the Slave Power; as was evinced in the Presidential election of 1848. A similar treaty was now negotiated between the United States and Great Britain; and a bill designed to give effect to its provisions was reported73 to the Senate by Mr. Sumner, considered, and passed:74 Yeas 34; Nays 4. The House concurred;75 and the bill became a law.76 The first proposition looking to a repeal of the Fugitive Slave act of 1850 by the XXXVIIth Congress was made77 by Mr. Howe, of Wisconsin, to the Senate; whereby it was read twice, referred to the Judiciary Committee, and reported78 against by Mr. Ten Eyck, of New Jersey. That report killed it. But Mr. Wilmot, of Pa., soon revived79 the proposition, by a bill which required every person, who should apply for the legal process required for the arrest of a fugitive slave, to take a stringent oath of loyalty. The bill further provided that each alleged fugitive shall have compulsory process against witnesses deemed essential to his defense, and that such witnesses should be sworn and heard, irrespective of their color. Mr. Wade promptly reported80 this bill; but it shared the fate of its predecessor. Mr. Wilson, of Mass., proposed81 to amend the bill of 1850 aforesaid, so as to secure to every one claimed as a fugitive slave a trial by jury; which, though once taken up82--Yeas 25; Nays 10--failed to command the attention of the Senate. Soon after the meeting of the next Congress, Mr. Stevens, of Pa., submitted83 to the House a bill contemplating an absolute repeal, not only of the act of 1850, but also of the Fugitive Slave act of 1793. Messrs. Ashley, of Ohio, and Julian, of Ind., introduced bills of like tenor. Mr. Julian further proposed that the Judiciary Committee be instructed to report a bill to repeal the most obnoxious provisions of the acts in question; but this was, on motion of Mr. Holman, of Ind., laid on the table: Yeas 82; Nays 73. In the Senate, Mr. Sumner next introduced84 a bill sweeping away all slave-catching by statute; which was referred to a Select Committee of seven, whereof he was Chairman, which had been raised to consider all propositions affecting Slavery. He  soon reported85his bill, with ample reasons for its passage--Mr. Buckalew, of Pa., making a minority report in opposition. Mr. Sumner persistently and successfully pressed the consideration of his bill, offering not to debate it; and, after some discussion, the Senate adopted86 an amendment proposed by Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, excepting the act of 1793 from the contemplated repeal: Yeas 21; Nays 17. The debate was still further continued; but no final action was had on the bill. Mr. Morris, of N. Y., reported87 from the Judiciary Committee a bill repealing all acts and parts of act3 contemplating the rendition of fugitive slaves ; which was debated with great spirit by a score of members--Messrs. Mallory, of Ky., Cox, of Ohio, and others, opposing it as equivalent to annulling the Constitution. Mr. Mallory observed that the majority had already crushed out the Unionism of the revolted States, and were now extending the process to that of the Border Slave States, and impressively warned the House to forbear. Finally, after having once moved and withdrawn the Previous Question, Mr. Morris moved it again;88 when it prevailed, and the bill passed under it: Yeas 83; Nays 57. Mr. Sumner demanded89 the consideration of this bill in Senate; and it was, after a fiery debate, ordered: Yeas 25; Nays 17. Mr. Johnson, of Md., endeavored to save the act of 1793; but the Senate refused: Yeas 17; Nays 22. The bill, after being laid over one day to enable Mr. Davis, of Ky., to make a speech against it, was passed :90 Yeas 27; Nays 12--Messrs. Cowan, of Pa., and Van Winkle and Willey, of West Va., voting with the Opposition. The President's signature, five days there-after, made it a law of the land, abolishing for ever the least creditable and most disagreeable function of the marshals of our Federal Courts. The District of Columbia had been governed mainly by the laws of the States which ceded it; and those laws were framed in the interest of slave-holding. They presumed every colored person a slave who could not produce White evidence of his freedom ; and there had grown up in Washington a practice, highly lucrative to her Federal Marshal, but most disgraceful to the city and Nation, of seizing Blacks on the streets, immuring them in the jail, advertising them, and waiting for masters to appear, prove property, pay charges, and take the human chattels away. Mr. Lincoln's Marshal, Col. Ward II. Lamon, came with him from Jllinois, but was a Virginian by birth, and did not revolt at the abundant and profitable custom brought to his shop by the practice just depicted. Gen. Wilson, of Mass., early91 called the attention of the Senate to this painful subject; saying that lie had “visited the jail; and such a scene of degradation and inhumanity lie had never witnessed. There were persons almost entirely naked ; some of them without a shirt. Some of those persons were free; most of them had run away from disloyal masters, or had been sent there by disloyal persons, for safe keeping until the war is over.” He thereupon proposed a discharge by joint resolve of all persons confined in the District jail  as fugitive slaves. In the debate which ensued, Mr. Wilson stated that the French legation had recently taken to that jail gentlemen who had traversed the world inspecting prisons, with a view to their improvement; and that, after examining this, they observed to the jailer that they had never before seen but one so bad; and that was in Austria. Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, remarked that he believed there was never a jail so bad as this, save the French Bastile, and some of the dungeons of Venice. When he visited it, a few days before, he found among the prisoners a boy who claimed to be free-born, yet who had been confined there thirteen months and four days on suspicion of being a runaway slave. He further stated that Marshal Lamon had forbidden Members of Congress access to the prison without his written permission. Messrs. Powell, of Kentucky, Pearce, of Maryland, and Carlile, of Virginia, opposed the resolve; but it was warmly supported and passed:92 Yeas 31; Nays 4. A similar resolve had already93 been submitted to the House. No action was taken, however, upon this, nor upon the Senate's kindred measure; because the President, through Secretary Seward, addressed94 an order to Marshal Lamon, directing limn not to receive into custody any persons caught up as fugitives from Slavery, but to discharge, ten days there-after, all such persons now in his jail. This put a stop to one of the most flagrant and glaring iniquities habitually perpetrated in a Christian and civilized community. A bill reported95 by Mr. Sumner, from the Select Committee on Slavery and Freedom, to prohibit the holding of slaves on National vessels, and also the coastwise Slave-Trade, was lost96--Yeas 13; Nays 20--but he again moved a prohibition of the coastwise Slave-Trade, and of all laws sanctioning and regulating the same, as an amendment to the Civil Appropriation bill; and it was adopted: Yeas 23; Nays 14. Thus fastened to a necessary measure, the proposition was duly enacted, and received the President's signature on the 21 of July, 1864. Mr. Sumner proposed97 another Amendment to this bill, providing that “in the Courts of the United States, there shall be no exclusion of any witness on account of color.” Mr. Buckalew moved to add, “or because lie is a party to or interested in the issue tried.” This was agreed to; and Mr. Sumner's amendment, thus amended, was adopted: Yeas 22; Nays 16; and the bill passed, as already stated; making it the law of the land that no person shall henceforth be precluded from giving testimony either because of his color or because lie is interested in the pending issue.