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ceived, within the last two or three weeks, letters from gentlemen of the highest respectability in my State, asserting that combinations of returned rebel soldiers have been formed for the
express purpose of persecuting, beating most cruelly, and in some cases actually murdering the returned colored soldiers of the republic. In certain sections of my State, the civil law affords no remedy at all. It is impossible there to enforce against these people so violating the law the penalties which the law has prescribed for these offenses. It is, therefore, necessary, in my opinion, that this bill shall extend over the State of Maryland.”
Mr. Cowan, in the course of a speech on the bill, said: “Thank God! we are now rid of slavery; that is now gone." He also said: “Let the friends of the negro, and I am one, be satisfied to treat him as he is treated in Pennsylvania; as he is treated in Ohio; as he is treated every-where where people have maintained their sanity upon the question."
Mr. Wilson said: “The Senator from Pennsylvania tells us that he is the friend of the negro. What, sir, he the friend of the negro! Why, sir, there has hardly been a proposition before the Senate of the United States for the last five years, looking to the emancipation of the negro and the protection of his rights, that the Senator from Pennsylvania has not sturdily opposed. He has hardly ever uttered a word upon this floor the tendency of which was not to degrade and to belittle a weak and struggling
He comes here to-day and thanks God that they are free, when his vote and his voice for five years, with hardly an exception, have been against making them free. He thanks God, sir, that your work and mine, our work which has saved a country and emancipated a race, is secured; while from the word "go,' to this time, he has made himself the champion of how not to do it. If there be a man on the floor of the American Senate who has tortured the Constitution of the country to find powers to arrest the voice of this nation which was endeavoring to make a race free, the Senator from Pennsylvania is the man; and now he comes here and thanks God that a work which he has done his best to arrest, and which we have carried, is accomplished. I tell him to-day that we shall carry these other measures, whether he thanks God for them or not, whether he opposes them or not.” [Laughter and applaụse in the galleries.]
After an extended discussion, the Senate refused, by a vote of
thirty-three against eleven, to adopt the amendment proposed by Mr. Cowan.
The bill was further discussed during three successive days, Messrs. Saulsbury, Hendricks, Johnson, McDougall, and Davis speaking against the measure, and Messrs. Fessenden, Creswell, and Trumbull in favor of it. Mr. Garrett Davis addressed the Senate more than once on the subject, and on the last day of the discussion made a very long speech, which was answered by Mr. Trumbull. The Senator from Illinois, at the conclusion of his speech, remarked :
“What I have now said embraces, I believe, all the points of the long gentleman's speech except the sound and fury, and that I will not undertake to reply to.”
“You mean the short gentleman's long speech," interposed some Senator.
“Did I say short?" asked Mr. Trumbull. “If so, it was a great mistake to speak of any thing connected with the Senator from Kentucky as short.” [Laughter.]
“It is long enough to reach you,” responded Mr. Davis.
The vote was soon after taken on the passage of the bill, with the following result:
YEAS-Messrs. Anthony, Brown, Chandler, Clark, Conness, Cragin, Creswell, Dixon, Doolittle, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Harris, Henderson, Howard, Howe, Kirkwood, Lane of Indiana, Lane of Kansas, Morgan, Morrill, Norton, Nye, Poland, Pomeroy, Ramsey, Sherman, Sprague, Stewart, Sumner, Trumbull, Van Winkle, Wade, Williams, Wilson, and Yates-37.
Nays—Messrs. Buckalew, Davis, Guthrie, Hendricks, Johnson, McDougall, Riddle, Saulsbury, Stockton, and Wright-10.
ABSENT-Messrs. Cowan, Nesmith, and Willey—3.
The bill having passed, the question came up as to its title, which it was proposed to leave as reported by the committee: “A bill to enlarge the powers of the Freedmen's Bureau."
Mr. Davis moved to amend the title by substituting for it, “A bill to appropriate a portion of the public land in some of the Southern States and to authorize the United States Government to purchase lands to supply farms and build houses upon them for the freed negroes; to promote strife and conflict between the white and black races; and to invest the Freedmen's Bureau with unconstitutional powers to aid and assist the blacks, and to introduce military power to prevent the commissioner and other
officers of said bureau from being restrained or held responsible in civil courts for their illegal acts in rendering such aid and assistance to the blacks, and for other purposes."
The President pro tempore pronounced the amendment “not in order, inconsistent with the character of the bill, derogatory to the Senate, a reproach to its members."
Mr. McDougall declared the proposed amendment "an insult to the action of the Senate."
The unfortunate proposition was quietly abandoned by its author, and passed over without further notice by the Senate. By unanimous consent, the title of the bill remained as first reported. CHAPTER VII.
THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU BILL IN THE HOUSE.
THE BILL REPORTED TO THE HOUSE-Mr. Eliot's SPEECH-HISTORY--MR.
DAWSON VS. THE NEGRO-MR. GARFIELD—THE IDOL BROKEN-MR. TAYLOR COUNTS THE COST_MR. DONNELLY'S AMENDMENT—MR. KERR-MR. MARSHALL ON WHITE SLAVERY-MR. HUBBARD-MR. Moulton-OPPOSITION FROM KENTUCKY-MR. RITTER-MR. ROUSSEAU'S THREATMR. SHANKLIN'S GLOOMY PROSPECT—MR. TRIMBLE'S APPEAL-MR. MCKEE AN EXCEPTIONAL KENTUCKIAN MR. GRINNELL ON KENTUCKY-THE EXAMPLE OF RUSSIA-MR. PHELPS-MR. SHELLABARGER'S AMENDMENT—MR. CHANLER—MR. STEVENS' AMENDMENTS--MR. ELIOT CLOSES THE DISCUSSIONPASSAGE OF THE BILL-YEAS AND NAYS.
N the day succeeding the passage of the bill in the Senate, it was sent to the House of Representatives, and by them
referred to the Select Committee on the Freedmen. On the 30th of January, Mr. Eliot, Chairman of this committee, reported the bill to the House with amendments, mainly verbal alterations.
In a speech, advocating the passage of the bill, Mr. Eliot presented something of the history of legislation for the freedmen. He said: “On the 3d day of last March the bill establishing a Freedmen's Bureau became a law. It was novel legislation, without precedent in the history of any nation, rendered necessary by the rebellion of eleven slave States and the consequent liberation from slavery of four million persons whose unpaid labor had enriched the lands and impoverished the hearts of their relentless masters.
“At an early day, when the fortunes of war had shown alternate triumphs and defeats to loyal arms, and the timid feared and the disloyal hoped, it was my grateful office to introduce the first bill creating a bureau of emancipation. It was during the Thirty-seventh Congress. But, although the select committee to which the bill was referred was induced to agree that it should be reported to the House, it so happened that the distinguished Chairman, Judge White, of Indiana, did not succeed in reporting it for our action. At the beginning of the Thirtyeighth Congress it was again presented, and very soon was reported back to the House under the title of 'A bill to establish a Bureau of Freedmen's Affairs.' It was fully debated and passed by the House. The vote was sixty-nine in favor, and sixty-seven against the bill; but of the sixty-seven who opposed it, fifty-six had been counted against it, because of their political affinities. On the 1st of March, 1864, the bill went to the Senate. It came back to the House on the 30th of June, four days before the adjournment of Congress. To my great regret, , the Senate had passed an amendment in the nature of a substitute, attaching this bureau to the Treasury Department; but it was too late to take action upon it then, and the bill was postponed until December. At that time the House non-conconcurred with the Senate, and a committee of conference was chosen. The managers of the two houses could not agree as to whether the War Department or the Treasury should manage the affairs of the bureau. They therefore agreed upon a bill creating an independent department neither attached to the War nor Treasury, but communicating directly with the President, and resting for its support upon the arm of the War Department. That bill was also passed by the House but was defeated in the Senate. Another Conference Committee was chosen, and that committee, whose chairman in the House was the distinguished gentleman from Ohio, then and now at the head of the Military Committee, agreed upon a bill attaching the bureau to the War Department, and embracing refugees as well as freedmen in its terms. That bill is now the law.
“The law was approved on the 3d of March, 1865. Nine months have not yet elapsed since its organization. The order from the War Department under which the bureau was organized bears date on the 12th of May, 1865. General Howard, who was then in command of the Department of Tennessee, was assigned as commissioner of the bureau. The bill became a law so late in the session that it was impossible for Congress to legislate any appropriation for its support. It was necessary,