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Confederate States Congress.

The Senate met at 12 o'clock M., and was called to order by Mr. Hunter, of Va. The proceedings were opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Ryland, of the Baptist Church.

The bill heretofore presented, to limit the terms of office of the heads of the Executive Departments, was, on motion of Mr. Johnson, of Ark., taken up, considered, and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Baker, of Fla., presented joint resolutions of the Florida Legislature relative to the pay of soldiers of the C. S. army, requesting their Representatives in Congress to use their best endeavors to came the pay of the soldiers to be raised; and Mr. Baker also presented resolutions of the same body to exempt soldiers families not owning slaves from the operation of the tax in kind. The resolutions were appropriately referred.

Mr. Wigfall, of Texas, introduced a bill to provide additional remuneration for noncommissioned officers and privates serving in the army of the Confederate States. Referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.

Mr. Caperton, of Va., offered a resolution instructing the Committee of Finance to inquire into the expediency of authorizing a sale by the Collector of the tax in kind to the agents appointed by the county courts, in their several districts, to provide relief for the families of soldiers, such portion of the tithes as can be conveniently collected by the Government agents.

The bill to regulate the next meeting of Congress was then taken up. The bill was amended so as to fix the time of the meeting of the next Congress on the first Monday of May, 1864.

Mr. Johnson, of Ark., moved to reconsider the last vote and lay the bill upon the table.

The bill was reconsidered and laid upon the table, to be called up on a future day.

A message was received from the President transmitting copies of the correspondence of Major- General Whiting relative to the running of the blockade.

On motion of Mr. Sparrow, of La., the Senate went into secret session.

The House was opened with prayer by Rev. Dr. Duncan.

The Chair stated that, in compliance with a resolution of the House directing him to invite to seats in the hall Hon. I. G. Harris, of Tenn., and Gens. Robert E. Lee and Howell Cobb, he had in person waited upon Gen. Cobb and Mr. Harris, but being unable to ascertain the whereabouts of Gen. Lee, he had communicated the invitation to him in writing. Mr. Harris and Gen. Cobb had accepted the invitation, with their thanks. Gen. Lee had responded, by letter, as follows:

Richmond, Va., Dec. 16.

"Hon Thos. S. Bocock, Speaker of the House of Representatives:
I have received your communication of this date, informing me that the House of Representatives have invited me to a seat in their hall. I am deeply grateful for this undeserved honor, and should be much gratified to be able to avail myself of the privilege, and to enjoy the opportunity of paying my respects to the representatives of the people. But, called to Richmond on public business, my whole attention is occupied in its execution.

"With profound thanks for the honor extended to me by the House of Representatives, and sincerely grateful for the kind sentiments expressed by yourself,

"I am, most respectfully, "Your obedient servant,

"Robert E. Lee."

The Chair presented two messages from the President, the first transmitting a communication from the Secretary of War in relation to the exemption of mail contractors, and the other a communication from the Attorney-General concerning additional estimates for the departments of justice.

Mr. Read, of Ky., introduced a bill to provide rations of tobacco for the army and navy of the Confederate States, which was referred to the Military Committee.

Mr. Lyons, of Va., presented a petition of the clerks of the departments in Richmond praying an increase of compensation. Referred to the Committee on Claims.

The Judiciary Committee reported back the bill to secure responsibility on the part of certain public officers, and to guard against the continued mal-administration of public affairs in disregard of deliberate and well-ascertained public sentiment, and the bill was laid upon the table and the committee discharged.

Mr. Lyons, of Va., offered a resolution that the Committee on Military Affairs inquire whether fines have been illegally imposed on citizens not in the army, and the property of such persons illegally confiscated by Military Courts in the city of Richmond or elsewhere.

Mr. Staples, of Va., introduced a resolution that the Military Committee inquire into the expediency of reporting a bill placing in the army--1st, all principals whose substitutes have deserted; 2d, all principals whose substitutes have died, or who have been discharged from the army — but providing some equitable mode of remuneration to those whose substitutes have died in the service, or have been honorably discharged therefrom.

Mr. Chilton, of Ala., introduced a bill to refund to the State of Alabama the sum of $--, the balance due on account of the purchase of the steamer Florida, which was referred to the Committee on Claims.

Mr. Foster, of Ala., offered a resolution that the President be requested to inform the House if any steps have been taken by commanding officers to enforce the provisions of the act of Congress to prevent the absence of officers and soldiers without leave.

A bill was introduced by Mr. Welsh, of Miss., to place missionaries sent to our armies on the same footing with Chaplains, as to the right to transportation, and the purchase of supplies from the Quartermasters and Commissaries.

Mr. Smith, of N. C., introduced a bill for the relief of families of soldiers who have died, been disabled, or become diseased in the military service. Referred to the Military Committee.

After several other resolutions of inquiry had been offered and referred, the House, on motion of Mr. Swann, of Tenn., adjourned.

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