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FORMATION OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON RECONSTRUCTION.
LACK OF EXCITEMENT-CAUSE–TAE RESOLUTION-DILATORY MOTIONS-YEAS
AND NAYS–PROPOSED AMENDMENTS IN THE SENATE-DEBATE IN THE SENATE-MR. HOWARD-MR. ANTHONY-MR. DOOLITTLE-MR. FESSENDEN MR. SAULSBURY-MR. HENDRICKS—MR. TRUMBULL-MR. GUTHRIE-PASSAGE OF THE RESOLUTION IN THE SENATE-YEAS AND NAYS-REMARKS OF MR. STEVENS ON THE AMENDMENTS OF THE SENATE-CONCURRENCE OF THE HOUSE—THE COMMITTEE APPOINTED.
INCE it was known throughout the country that members
elect from Tennessee and other States recently in rebellion
would appear at Washington on the opening of the Thirtyninth Congress, and demand recognition of their right to represent their constituents, all eyes were turned to observe the action which would be taken on the subject. It was anticipated that the question would be sprung at once, and that a season of storm and excitement would ensue, unparalleled in the political history of the nation. Since the American people are exceedingly fond of excitements and sensations, the expectation of trouble in Congress drew immense numbers to its galleries on the first day of the session. Lovers of sensation were doomed to disappointment. Correspondents and reporters for the press, who were prepared to furnish for the newspapers descriptions of an opening of Congress “dangerously boisterous," were compelled to describe it as "ex- . ceptionally quiet."
The cause of this unexpected state of things was the faet that the majority had previously come to the wise conclusion that it would not be well to pass upon the admission of Southern members in open session and amid the confusion of organization. As there was so much difference of opinion concerning the status of the communities recently in rebellion, and such a variety of considerations must be regarded in reaching wise conclusions, it was deemed advisable that the whole subject should be calmly and deliberately investigated by a select number of able and patriotic men from both Houses of Congress.
Accordingly, on the first day of the session, soon after the House was organized, Mr. Thaddeus Stevens offered the following important RESOLUTION:
"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled, that a joint committee of fifteen members shall be appointed, nine of whom shall be members of the House, and six members of the Senate, who shall inquire into the condition of the States which formed the so-called Confederate States of America, and report whether they or any of them are entitled to be represented in either House of Congress, with leave to report at any time by bill or otherwise; and until such report shall have been made, and finally acted upon by Congress, no member shall be received into either House from any of the said so-called "Confederate States; and all papers' relating to the representation of the said States shall be referred to the said committee without debate.”
To avoid the delay occasioned by a protracted debate, Mr. Stevens called the previous question. The minority perceived the impossibility of preventing the final passage of the resolution, yet deemed it their duty to put it off as far as possible by their only available means "dilatory motions." They first objected to the introduction of the resolution, under the rule that unanimous consent, must be given to permit a resolution to come before the House without notice given on a previous day. To meet this difficulty, Mr. Stevens moved to suspend the rules to enable him to introduce the resolution. On this motion the yeas and nays were demanded. To suspend the rules under such circumstances required a two-thirds' vote, which was given-one hundred and twenty-nine voting for, and thirty-five against the motion. The rules having been suspended, the resolution was regularly before the House. A motion was then made to lay the resolution on the table, and the yeas and nays demanded. Thirty-seven were in favor of the motion, and one hundred and thirty-three against it. Before a call for the previous question is available to cut off debate, it must, by the rules of the House, be seconded by onefifth of the members present. This having been done, the vote was taken by yeas and nays on the concurrent resolution submitted by Mr. Stevens. One hundred and thirty-three voted in favor of the resolution, and thirty-six against it, while thirteen were reported as "not voting." As this vote was on an important measure, and is significant as marking with considerable accuracy the political complexion of the House of Representatives, it should be given in detail.
The following are the names of those who voted “ Yea :">
Messrs. Alley, Allison, Ames, Anderson, Baker, Baldwin, Banks, Barker, Baxter, Beaman, Benjamin, Bidwell, Bingham, Blow, Boutwell, Brandagee, Bromwell, Broomall, Buckland, Bundy, Reader W. Clark, Sidney Clark, Cobb, Conkling, Cook, Cullom, Culver, Darling, Davis, Dawes, Defrees, Delano, Deming, Dixon, Donnelly, Driggs, Dumont, Eckley, Eggleston, Eliot, Farnsworth, Ferry, Garfield, Grinnell, Griswold, Hale, Abner C. Harding, Hart, Hayes, Henderson, Higby, Hill, Holmes, Hooper, Hotchkiss, Asabel W. Hubbard, John H. Hubbard, Chester D. Hubbard, Demas Hubbard, James R. Hubbell, Hulburd, James Humphrey, Ingersoll, Jenckes, Julian, Kasson, Kelley, Kelso, Ketchum, Kuykendall, Laflin, Latham, George V. Lawrence, William Lawrence, Loan, Longyear, Lynch, Marston, Marvin, McClurg, McIndoe, McKee, McRuer, Mercur, Miller, Moorhead, Morrill, Morris, Moulton, Myers, Newell, O'Neill, Orthe, Paine, Patterson, Perham, Phelps, Pike, Pomeroy, Price, William H. Randall, Raymond, Alexander H. Rice, John H. Rice, Rollins, Sawyer, Schenck, Scofield, Shellabarger, Smith, Spaulding, Starr, Stevens, Stillwell, Thayer, John L. Thomas, Trowbridge, Upson, Van Aernam, Burt Van Horn, Robert Van Horn, Ward, Warner, Elihu B. Washburne, Welker, Wentworth, Whaley, Williams, James F. Wilson, Windom, and Woodbridge.
The following members voted “Nay:"
Messrs. Ancona, Bergen, Boyer, Brooks, Chanler, Dawson, Denison, Eldridge, Finck, Glossbrenner, Goodyear, Grider, Aaron Harding, Hogan, James M. Humphrey, Johnson, Kerr, LeBlond, McCullough, Niblack, Nicholson, Noell, Radford, Samuel J. Randall, Ritter, Rogers, Ross, Shanklin, Sitgreaves, Strouse, Tabor, Taylor, Thornton, Trimble, Winfield, and Wright.
The following are reported as “not voting :" Messrs. Delos R. Ashley, James M. Ashley, Blaine, Farquhar, Harris, Edwin N. Hubbell, Jones, Marshall, Plants, Rousseau, Sloan, Francis Thomas, Voorhees, and William B. Washburn.
Thus the resolution passed the House. The immense size of this body required that, by stringent rule, debate should have limitation, and even sometimes be cut off altogether by the operation of previous question. This arrangement enabled skillful and resolute leaders to carry through this measure within an hour's time, whereas, in the Senate, a body of less than one-third the
size, it passed after a delay of several days, and at the end of a discussion of considerable length.
On the day following the passage of the resolution in the House of Representatives, it was read in the Senate. Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, objecting to its being considered on the day of its reception, under a regulation of the Senate it was postponed.
After the lapse of a week, on Tuesday, December 12, the resolution was taken up for consideration in the Senate. Mr. Anthony moved to amend the enacting clause so as to change it from a joint resolution to a concurrent resolution, since, under its original shape, it would require the President's approval.
This amendment having been made, Mr. Anthony moved to further amend the resolution by striking out all after the word “otherwise.” The following are the words proposed to be stricken out:
“And until such report shall have been made and finally acted on by Congress, no member shall be received into either house from any of the said so-called Confederate States; and all papers relating to the representation of said States shall be referred to the said committee without debate."
Mr. Howard, of Michigan, preferred the resolution as it came from the House of Representatives. “It contains within itself a pledge on the part of the two houses, that until the report of this important committee shall have been presented, we will not readmit any of the rebel States, either by the recognition of their Senators or their Representatives. I think the country expects nothing less than this at our hands. I think that portion of the loyal people of the United States who have sacrificed so much of blood and treasure in the prosecution of the war, and who secured to us the signal victory which we have achieved over the rebellion, have a right to at least this assurance at our hands, that neither house of Congress will recognize as States any one . of the rebel States until the event to which I have alluded.
“Sir, what is the present position and status of the rebel States ? In my judgment they are simply conquered communities, subjugated by the arms of the United States; communities in which the right of self-government does not now exist. Why? Because they have been for the last four years hostile, to the most surprising unanimity hostile, to the authority of the United States, and have, during that period, been waging a bloody war against that
authority. They are simply conquered communities, and we hold them, as we know well, as the world knows to-day, not by their own free will and consent as members of the Union, but solely by virtue of our military power, which is executed to that effect throughout the length and breadth of the rebel States. There is in those States no rightful authority, according to my view, at this time, but that of the United States; and every political act, every governmental act exercised within their limits, must necessarily be exercised and performed under the sanction and by the will of
“In short, sir, they are not to-day loyal States; their population are not willing to-day, if we are rightly informed, to perform peaceably, quietly, and efficiently the duties which pertain to the population of a State in the Union and of the Union; and for one I can not consent to recognize them, even indirectly, as entitled to be represented in either house of Congress at this time. The time has not yet come, in my judgment, to do this. I think that, under present circumstances, it is due to the country that we should give them the assurance that we will not thus hastily reädmit to seats in the legislative bodies here the representatives of constituencies who are still hostile to the authority of the United States. I think that such constituencies are not entitled to be represented here."
Mr. Anthony, of Rhode Island, said: “The amendment was proposed from no opposition to what I understand to be the purpose of the words stricken out. That purpose I understand to be that both houses shall act in concert in any measures which they may take for the reconstruction of the States lately in rebellion. I think that that object is eminently desirable, and not only that the two houses shall act in concert, but that Congress shall act in concert with the Executive; that all branches of the Government shall approach this great question in a spirit of comprehensive patriotism, with confidence in each other, with a conciliatory temper toward each other, and that each branch of the Government will be ready, if necessary, to concede something of their own views in order to meet the views of those who are equally charged with the responsibility of public affairs.
“The words proposed to be stricken out refer to the joint committee of the two houses of Congress matters which the Constitution confides to each house separately. Each house is made,