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portly in his person, now entering on his second Congressional term-Charles H. Winfield-nominated James Brooks, of New York. Four members took their seats behind the Clerk to act as tellers. The responses were at length all given, and the numbers noted. Mr. Morrill, one of the tellers, announced the result—“Mr. Colfax, one hundred and thirty-nine; Mr. Brooks, thirty-six." The Clerk formally announced the result, and stepped aside; his work as presiding officer of the Thirty-ninth Congress was at an end.
In the place thus made vacant appeared the man but a moment before elected to the position by the largest political majority ever given to a Speaker of the House. A well-proportioned figure of medium size, a pleasing countenance often radiant with smiles, a style of movement quick and restless, yet calm and selfpossessed, were characteristic of him upon whom all eyes were turned. In the past a printer and editor in Indiana, now in Congress for the sixth term, and elected Speaker the second time, SCHUYLER COLFAX stood to take the oath of office, and enter upon the discharge of most difficult and responsible duties. He said :
“Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : The reässembling of Congress, marking as it does the procession of our national history, is always regarded with interest by the people for whom it is to legislate. But it is not unsafe to say that millions more than ever before, North, South, East, and West, are looking to the Congress which opens its session to-day with an earnestness and solicitude unequaled on similar occasions in the past. The Thirty-eighth Congress closed its constitutional existence , with the storm-cloud of war still lowering over us, and after nine months' absence, Congress resumes its legislative authority in these council halls, rejoicing that from shore to shore in our land there
“Its duties are as obvious as the sun's pathway in the heavens. Representing in its two branches the States and the people, its first and highest obligation is to guarantee to every State a republican form of government. The rebellion having overthrown constitutional State governments in many States, it is yours to mature and enact legislation which, with the concurrence of the Executive, shall establish them anew on such a basis of enduring justice as will guarantee all necessary safeguards to the people, and afford what our Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, proclaims is the chief object of government-protection to all men in their inalienable rights. The world should witness, in this great work, the most inflexible fidelity, the most earnest devotion to the principles of liberty and humanity, the truest patriotism and the wisest statesmanship.
“Heroic men, by hundreds of thousands, have died that the Republic might live. The emblems of mourning have darkened White House and cabin alike; but the fires of civil war have melted every fetter in the land, and proved the funeral pyre of slavery. It is for you, Representatives, to do your work as faithfully and as well as did the fearless saviors of the Union in their more dangerous arena of duty. Then we may hope to see the vacant and once abandoned seats around us gradually filling up, until this hall shall contain Representatives from every State and district; their hearts devoted to the Union for which they are to legislate, jealous of its honor, proud of its glory, watchful of its rights, and hostile to its enemies. And the stars on our banner, that paled when the States they represented arrayed themselves in arms against the nation, will shine with a more brilliant light of loyalty than ever before."
Mr. Colfax having finished his address, took the following oath, which stood as the most serious obstacle in the way of many elected to Congress from the Southern States :
“I do solemnly swear that I have never voluntarily borne arms against the United States since I have been a citizen thereof; that I have voluntarily given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto; that I have neither sought nor accepted nor attempted to exercise the functions of any office whatever, under any authority or pretended authority in hostility to the United States; that I have not yielded a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority, power, or constitution within the United States, hostile or inimical thereto. And I do further swear that, to the best of my knowledge and ability, I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.' So help me God!"
The subordinate officers were then elected by resolution, and the House of Representatives being organized, was ready to enter upon its work.
LOCATIONS OF THE MEMBERS AND CAST OF THE COMMITTEES.
IMPORTANCE OF SURROUNDINGS-MEMBERS SOMETIMES REFERRED TO BY THEIR
SEATS–SENATOR ANDREW JOHNSON-SEATING OF THE SENATORS-DRAWING IN THE HOUSE—THE SENATE-CHAMBER AS SEEN FROM THE GALLERY—DISTINGUISHED SENATORS—THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-SOME PROMINENT CHARACTERS--IMPORTANCE OF COMMITTEES-DIFFICULTY IN THEIR APPOINTMENT-IMPORTANT SENATE COMMITTEES-COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE.
THE localities and surroundings of men have an influence on
their actions and opinions. A matter which, to the casual
observer, seems so unimportant as the selection and arrangement of the seats of Senators and Representatives, has its influence upon the legislation of the country. Ever since parties have had an existence, it has been considered of vital moment that those of one political faith in a deliberative body should occupy, as nearly as possible, the same locality.
It is sometimes of service to a reader, in attempting to understand the reported proceedings of Congress, to know the localities of the members. Each seat has a sort of history of its own, and becomes in some way identified with its occupant. Members are frequently alluded to in connection with the seats they occupy. Sometimes it happens that, years after a man has gone from Congress, it is convenient and suggestive to refer to him by his old place in the chamber. As an illustration, Mr. Trumbull, in his speech on the veto of the Civil Rights Bill, desiring to quote Andrew Johnson, Senator, against Andrew Johnson, President, referred to "a speech delivered in this body by a Senator occupying, I think, the seat now occupied across the chamber by my friend from Oregon (Mr. Williams)."
A necessary and important part of the adjustment of the machinery, at the opening of each Congress, is the selection of seats. As the Senators serve for six years, and many of them have been reëlected more than once, there are comparatively few changes made at the opening of any Congress. The old members generally choose to retain their accustomed seats, and the small number that come in as new Senators choose among the vacant seats, as convenience or caprice may dictate.
In the House of Representatives the formality of drawing for seats is necessary. That this may be conveniently and fairly done, at the appointed time all the members retire to the antechambers, leaving the seats all unoccupied. The Clerk draws at random from a receptacle containing the names of all the members. As the members are called, one by one, they go in and occupy such seats as they may choose. The unlucky member whose name last turns up has little room for choice, and must be content to spend his Congressional days far from the Speaker, on the remote circumference, or to the right or left extreme.
There are in the Senate-chamber seventy seats, in three tiers of semi-circular arrangement. If all the old Southern States were represented by Senators on the floor, the seats would be more than full. As it was in the Thirty-ninth Congress, there were a number of vacant desks, all of them situated to the right and left of the presiding officer.
In a division of political parties nearly equal, the main aisle from the southern entrance would be the separating line. As it was, the Republican Senators occupied not only the eastern half of the chamber, but many of them were seated on the other side, the comparatively few Democratic Senators sitting still further to the west.
Seated in the gallery, the spectator has a favorable position to survey the grand historic scene which passes below. His eye is naturally first attracted to the chair which is constitutionally the seat of the second dignitary in the land—the Vice-President of the United States. That office, however, has no incumbent, since he who took oath a few months before to perform its duties was called to occupy a higher place, made vacant by a most atrocious crime. The event, however, cost the Senate little loss of dignity, since the chair is filled by a President pro tempore of great ability and excellence--Lafayette S. Foster, Senator from Connecticut.
The eye of the spectator naturally seeks out Charles Sumner, who sits away on the outer tier of seats, toward the south-east corner of the chamber; and near him, on the left, are seen the late Governors, now Senators, Morgan and Yates, of New York and Illinois. Immediately in front of them, on the middle tier of seats, is an assemblage of old and distinguished SenatorsTrumbull, Wilson, Wade, and Fessenden. To the right of the Vice-President's chair, and in the row of seats neares this desk, sits the venerable and learned lawyer, Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland. Just in his rear sits the youthful Sprague, of Rhode Island, to whose right is seen Sherman, of Ohio. To the rear of these Senators, in the outer segment of seats, sits, or perhaps stands, Garrett Davis, of Kentucky, the most garrulous of old men, continually out of temper with the majority, yet all the time marked by what he calls his “usual courtesy.” To the left of Davis, beyond Nesmith, of Oregon, and the other and more silent Senator from Kentucky, sits Saulsbury, of Delaware, unless he should be traversing the carpeted space in the rear of his seat, like a sentinel of the Senate.
Far different is the sight presented to the spectator who looks down from the galleries of the House of Representatives. The immense area below is supplied with two hundred and fifty-three seats, with desks arranged in semi-circular rows, having a point in front of the Speaker's desk as a focus. On the right of the spectator, as he looks from the gallery in front of the Speaker, is the Republican side of the House. But this prosperous organization has grown so rapidly since its birth, ten years ago, that it has overstepped all old and traditional party limitations. Onehalf of the House is not sufficient to afford its representatives adequate accommodations. Republican members have passed over the main aisle, and occupy half of the Democratic side, having pressed the thin ranks of their opponents to the extreme left.
As the spectator scans the House, his eye will rest on Thaddeus Stevens, whose brown wig and Roman cast of countenance mark the veteran of the House. He sits in the right place for a leader of the Republicans, about half-way back from the Speaker's desk, on the diagonal line which divides the western side of the House, where he can readily catch the Speaker's eye, and be easily heard by all his friends. Immediately in his rear is his