Federal Congress.Senate

Washington, May 23.
Mr. Lane, of Indiana, from the Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the resolution to inquire into the expediency of providing compensation to officers and soldiers of the 20th Indiana regiment, who sustained losses of baggage and other property at Platteras Inlet, reported that the loss was decasioned by no fault on their part, but for want of sufficient transportation, being out numbered and overpowered by the rebels, with a total loss of $1,723.29. The committee report a bill in accordance with this report.

Mr. Foster, of Connecticut, introduced a bill to provide for the relief of poor but unfortunate debtor, and the distribution of their property among their creditors, by the establishment of a uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States. Referred to the Judiciary Committee.

On motion of Mr. Foster, of Connecticut, the secretary of the Senate was directed to furnish printed copies of the rules of proceedings in cases of impeachment to the members, on the first day of the next session of the court, and to the managers, in the case of Judge Humphreys, and to the accused and his counsel.

On motion of Mr. Sumner, his resolution (submitted yesterday) directing the Committee on the District of Columbia to consider what legislation, if any, is needed to protect persons of African descent in Washington from unconstitutional seizure as fugitive slaves, or from seizure by disloyal persons, was taken up.

Mr. S. said we had all been shocked in the past few days by scenes in connection with slave catchers from adjoining neighborhoods attempting to carry off human beings. He referred to the fact that commissioners here had in the last few hour determined that cross-examination was not to be allowed in the great matter of human freedom. He held that as neither the act of Congress of 1798 nor that of 1850 said a word about the District of Columbia or any Territory, but spoke solely of delivering fugitives escaping from one State into another State, they did not, therefore, apply to the District of Columbia. His lessons at the bar had taught him that law was always to be construed in favor of liberty and humanity, and such was doubtless the proper construction of the fugitive slave law in this case. The courts of this District probably had power to dispose of this subject, but indicated distrust of their being so organized as to insure the proper constitutional construction in behalf of humanity.

Mr. Grimes (chairman of the District Committee) said that as the gentleman from Massachusetts evidently desired the investigation of what was a constitutional question, it was not proper to direct the resolution to the District Committee. He himself was not a lawyer, and there were others on the District Committee who were not. He suggested that the resolution be directed to the Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Sumner accepted the suggestion, and the resolution, as thus amended, was then passed.

Mr. Wilmot, of Pa. introduced a bill requiring an oath of allegiance in certain cases and for other purposes. [This bill requires all persons claiming fugitive slaves to take the oath of allegiance, and swear to their past loyalty; and on conviction of false swearing shall be punished with imprisonment not less than five years, and fined not less than five hundred dollars. It also allows blacks to testify in their own behalf]. It was referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia.

The consideration of the internal tax bill from the House was returned as the special order.

The committee amendments were generally agreed to as they were successively acted on, including that in the 68d section, which strikes out $100 for a general license for rectifiers of spirit us liquors, and substitutes $25 for every 500 barrels rectified. In the same section the license for coal oil distillers was increased from twenty to fifty dollars.

The committee's amendments to strike out the license of $10 for horse dealers, cattle brokers, and manufacturer, were rejected.

The committee's amendment of one cent per pound on ground or prepared coffee, or substitutes for coffee, in lieu of 3 mills, was also rejected.

When the amendment reducing the lax on sugar, candy, and all confectionary containing sugar, from two cents to one cent per pound was under consideration Mr. Sherman stated that there was 250,000,000 pounds of candy manufactured in the country per annum. The amendment was adopted.

The tax on manufactured tobacco, as recommended by the committee, was increased from 10 to 20 cents per pound, and snuff from 8 to 20 cents, and cigars to an average of 20 per cent on all qualities.

The three per cent on corn brooms, wooden ware, hate, caps and bonnets, and ready-made clothing, and hoop skirts and manufactured furs, was struck out.

The tax of five cents per gallon on native wines was also struck out.

The committee's proposition to strike out the tax of one cent per pound on raw cotton excited considerable discussion, and was finally laid aside without conclusion,

The Senate, at a quarter to five o'clock, adjourned until to-morrow.

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