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Secession and revolution had not obtained more important admissions of first principles than came from these Southern leaders pending the discussion on Mr. Foster's resolution.
Those who wish for light on "Southern" philosophy, should consult the Globe report of Mason and Hunter's speeches. The resolution, on Tuesday, on motion of Simmons, of Rhode Island, was referred to the Judiciary Committee.
Senate, their seats have become
Both resolutions being objected to by Southern members, were laid over, to be called up on the succeeding day.
On Thursday Mason offered a resolution, calling on the Secretary of War to inform the Senate whether any portion of the DisOn Wednesday two im-trict of Columbia Militia, or any officers thereof, since the 1st of January, have been mustered into the service of the United States, and whether any duty has been imposed on them by the War Department; if so, whether they have received any, and what pay and allowances, the nature of the duties, for what time employed, and whether the same still continues to be performed, &c.
Interesting Resolu- portant resolutions were introduced. One by Mr. Douglas, of inquiry in regard to the Southern forts, arsenals, military operations, &c., was as follows:
“Resolved, That the Secretary of War be requested to inform the Senate what forts, arsenals, navyyards, and other public works within the limits of the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, are now
This, being objected to, laid over, when Mr. Douglas called up his resolution of the within the actual possession and occupation of the previous day. Mr. Fessenden, however, oh
United States, and by what number of men each is garrisoned and held, and whether reenforcements are necessary to retain the same; and if so, whether the Government has the power and means under existing laws to supply such reenforcements within such time as the exigencies and necessities of the case may demand, and whether the defence and protection of the United States and their interests make it necessary and wise to retain military possession of such forts, places, and other property, except at Key West and Tortugas, and to recapture and reoccupy such others as the United States have been deprived of by seizure or surrender for any other purpose, and with a view to any other end than the subjugation and occupation of those States which have assumed the right to secede from the Union, and within whose limits such forts and other public property are situated; and if such be the motives for recapturing and holding the forts and other public property, what military force, including regulars and volunteers, would be necessary to enable the United States to reduce the States aforesaid, and such others as are supposed to sympathize with them, to subjection and obedience to the laws of the Union, and to protect the Federal Capital."
The other resolution, offered by Mr. Fessenden, for the vacation of the seats of Southern Senators, was as follows:
“Resolved, That Messrs. Benjamin, of Louisiana; Brown and Davis, of Mississippi; Clay, of Alabama; Mallory, of Florida and Toombs, of Georgia, having announced that they are no longer members of the
jected to its consideration, on the ground that it was a matter on which the Senate could not act, as it required legislation, and they were here only as an Executive session. He therefore demanded the yeas and nays on the resolution.
Mr. Hunter hoped the resolution would be taken up. It interested very deeply the country, who want to know whether we are to have peace or war. He did not agree with the Senator from Maine, that the resolution was legislative in its character.
Mr. Clingman had prepared a resolution advising the President to make a treaty with the Seceded States relative to this very property. Whether this was proper or not, everybody admitted that the President and Senate are the treaty-making power, and that whatever they do in that capacity is final, without reference to the other House. He repeated, the true policy was for the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make such a treaty.
Mr. Douglas thought the majority ought to permit his resolution to be taken up, in order that he (Douglas) might explain his object in offering it, which was for the best of purposes.
Mr. Mason said that the resolution called for information of very great moment, and
if the majority refused to take it up, the in- | Fessenden accepted the verbal modification ference would be that they desired to suppress as suggested, when Bayard again opposed information affecting the question of peace
Mr. Fessenden had his objections to the resolution. His opinion was, that it would be unwise to pass it; hence he could not withdraw his objection.
The question was taken, and the Senate re- | fused to proceed to the consideration of the resolution by yeas 16, nays 24; all the Republicans voting in the negative.
Mr. Fessenden then called up his resolution declaring the seats of Southern Senators vacant. By a vote of twenty-six to thirteen, the Senate proceeded to its consideration, when Bayard, of Delaware, offered a substitute, viz.:
Bayard's Substitute fer Fessenden's Resolution.
"That Messrs. Albert G. Brown and Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi; Stephen R. Mallory, of Florida; Clement C. Clay, of Alabama; Robert Toombs, of Georgia; and Judah P. Benjamin, of Louisiana, having announced that, by the secession of their respective States, they were no longer members of the Senate, and withdrawn therefrom, the Secretary is directed to omit their names in calling the roll of the Senate."
In support of his resolution, Mr. Bayard denied that there had been any resignations. The persons named had withdrawn, because of the acts of secession of their because of the acts of secession of their States. As the majority of the Senate did not recognize the right of secession, it could not consider the gentlemen as legally or virtually out of their seats. Only their absence could be recognized, and the right to omit calling their names on the roll was all that could be exercised in the premises. He therefore assumed that the substitute was required.
Mason was perfectly satisfied the gentlemen named in the resolution were not
members of the Senate, and therefore was perfectly willing to vote for a resolution endorsing the fact. He took it for granted that Mr. Fessenden meant no discourtesy by calling in the resolution for their names to be stricken from the roll. He suggested the substitution of the word "omit." The resolution implied that seats were vacant from those States. For this he could not vote.
the resolution on the points which he already had raised, and advocated his substitute. Fessenden replied at some length. He said a Senator can vacate his seat at pleasure; as to how or when he may do it, with or without assigning reasons, whether these
Fessenden's Reply to
be good or insufficient, is a matter of the Senator's own choice-his own act. He agreed with Mr. Bayard in the remark that, after being elected, the Senator had power over himself, and might continue a member or not, according to his will or pleasure, except so far as he might be operated on by this body itself. It was not necessary that the resignation should be in writing. It depended on no form or words. With the reasons of those gentlemen who have withdrawn he had nothing to do. If they were satisfactory to them, they were satisfactory to him. They have declared they are no longer members of the Senate; and, having so declared, have withdrawn from the Senate, and carried out their purpose to remain no longer. He regarded that as a resignation of their seats. He had simply declared this in his resolution, they having made the announcement and carried it into operation. The result
was, their seats have become vacant, no others having been elected to take their places.
The seats were vacant, and to be filled. He differed with the Senator from Delaware. The seats were still at the disposal of these States, to be filled whenever they thought proper to do so. He, therefore, held to the original resolution, which expresses the fact in proper phraseology, and was opposed to Mr. Bayard's substitute, because it only proposed to correct the roll.
The vote being had, Bayard's substitute was rejected-12 to 26. Clark (of New Hampshire) offered a substitute, which Fessenden accepted, viz.:
Whereas, The seats occupied by Messrs. Brown and Davis, of Mississippi ; Mallory, of Florida; Clay, of Alabama; Toombs, of Georgia; and Benjamin, of Louisiana, as members of the Senate, have become
DOUGLAS ON THE POWER OF THE EXECUTIVE.
Mason proposed a gracious salutation for the "dear departed," by amending the resolution so as to make it include the words: "The gentlemen named have ceased to become members." The majority of the Senate were in doubt, apparently, as to the claim which the persons named had to the title of gentle-men, for the amendment of the Virginia Senator was rejected. Clark's substitute for the Fessenden Resolution was adopted-24 to 10. The seats of the seceded members were, therefore, finally declared vacated; the Senate had resented the long list of outrages upon its dignity by omitting the names of Toombs, Davis, Benjamin, and others of the arch-conspirators from its roll-call! Had the resolution read, "have become vacant through their disloyalty and treason," it would at least have proven the Senate to have possessed a consciousness that such a crime as treason had existence.
The Douglas Resolution of Inquiry.
Friday, Mr. Douglas called up his resolution regarding the southern forts, &c. [See page 37.] Its discussion consumed most of the day. Messrs. Douglas, Fessenden, and Wilson entered in the debate, which became quite personal, if not acrimonious. Clark moved an amendment to the resolution by omitting all after the words "United States," (seventh line.) Douglas refused the amendment, and proceeded to address the Senate at length. He deemed the information called for, if given, would quiet the mind of the country, now so deeply disturbed in apprehension of civil war. the apprehensions were allowed to ripen into a conviction that the Administration meditated a war policy to reduce to subjection the Seceded States, a terrific issue would be precipitated in a shorter time than any one could anticipate. He conceived the policy of the President to be one of peace; and to demonstrate that such was his policy, the resolution would call out such information as would clear up any doubts entertained as to his purposes. If the answer was as he (Douglas) anticipated, it would quiet the country, and cause rejoicing throughout the land.
If, on the contrary, the policy was war, it was due to the people that they be informed, in order that they might see whither
Douglas on the Powers of the Executive.
the country was drifting, and might say whether or not they were to be plunged into war without the sanction of Congress or their own consent. He then recurred to the want of power to collect the revenues off ship-board. By the laws of the land, the revenue must be collected at the ports of entry, and in the Custom-houses designated by special provision, and can only be collected elsewhere in specific cases specifically provided for in the law.
Mr. Douglas referred, at some length, to the law of 2d March, 1799, creating the three collective districts covering the coast of South Carolina, and proceeded to show that "ports of entry" were only so in the sense of a full compliance with the law which, in creating them, stipulated that the duties should be paid at the Custom-house-that the Collector should reside at the port, &c., &c. The exceptions to the requirements were only in cases where the vessel was ice-bound-in which event the goods were especially permitted to be landed otherwise than at the port of entry. That was the only exception.
The speaker took strong ground on the fact that the President could not order revenue-cutters to any harbor, that duties might be collected from their decks. He said:
"The law in this respect stands now just as it did when General Jackson, in 1832, called on Congress for additional legislation to enable him to collect revenue at the port of Charleston. Then General Jackson had no power to remove the Custom-house
from the city of Charleston to ship-board in the har
bor. He had no power to order the collection of revenue anywhere else than at the place designated by law as the port of entry. Congress passed the law known as the 'Force Bill,' March 2d, 1833, and the first and fifth sections, which gave authority to collect the revenue at any place in the harbor, and the power to use military force, expired at the end of the next session of Congress by express
Douglas on the Powers of the Executive.
Even if the 'Force Bill' were now in operation, it would not be possible to collect the revenue under it in the existing state of affairs, because the bill confined the right to collect the revenue within the port itself; whereas all the port is in possession of the Southern Confederacy, so that a ship cannot be anchored inside of the bar. *
What is true of Charleston in this respect is clearly correct of Savannah, Mobile, and New Orleans. *
Douglas on the Powers of the Executive.
You cannot, and dare not, place | Mr. Buchanan grounded his Message of Dea Collector of Customs at either cember 4th, [see pages 55-62.] His entire of these places, until you con- argument was that of the Attorney-General. quer the city where your Collector is to reside." As the President had said, in his Inaugural, that he was not going to appoint judges, marshals, &c., in the Seceded States, and as these were absolutely necessary for the enforcement of the laws, he could not conceive of any cause for apprehension, in that regard. He could only pursue a war policy by calling Congress together, and by having it clothe him with power and providing him with means.
He inferred, therefore, that there was no danger from a collision with the Confederate authorities, unless the President should violate the law, and also violate his oath of office by using force to do that which the law forbade him to do. He (Douglas) did not believe Mr. Lincoln was going to do any such thing.
Recurring to the question of blockade, he assumed that there was no more legal right This brought the speaker to the point: "Are to blockade the ports of Charleston or New we going to withold the means or not?" Orleans than that of Chicago or Boston. He assumed not, and cited as his reason the The President dare not obstruct commerce at fact that, notwithstanding the Republicans the ports of any city in the Seceded States had the control for six weeks, in both Houses, any more than he does to obstruct the ports they had conferred no power on the Execuof loyal States, from want of power. He tive for regaining possession of the property could only order revenue-cutters to overhaul seized-had given him no power to blockade a ship to see if her papers were correct, to ports, nor to collect the revenues. guard against smuggling, where smuggling was suspected; but he could do no more. The law gave him no power to prevent a vessel with correct papers from going into any port-no power to collect duties from such vessel other than at the regular Customhouse of the District.
Mr. Douglas then proceeded to a review of the question of the enforcement of laws in the Seceded States, and assumed the position that the President could use neither the army or navy, except as prescribed by law. If there was an insurrection in any State against its laws and authorities, the President could only use the military to suppress the insurrection when called upon by the State authorities. He cannot interfere except when requested. If the insurrection existed against the laws of the United States, then the President could only use the military as a posse comitatus to aid the Marshal. The military could then only be used to aid in the execution of a writ properly issued by civil process.
He cited the acts of 1795 and 1807 to show
This called out Fessenden, between whom and Mr. Douglas some warm words passed. Mr. Douglas continued to press his point, charging that, in the several stages of proceedings in both Houses, the Republicans had shrunk from all resolutions empowering the Executive and Departments with power to enforce their abrogated authority. He cited cases where such laws could have been passed as had been proposed by individual members, for arraigning traitors, punishing offenders, suppressing insurrection, &c., &c.; but, the fact that the majority had not committed itself to a course of coercion, proved that it did not dare to encounter the responsibility of such a proceeding.
Mr. Douglas was evidently for recognizing the independence of the Confederate States. He said:
"We certainly cannot justify the holding of forts there, Douglas for Southern (in the South,) much less the recapturing of those that have been taken, unless
we intend to reduce those States themselves into
that his point was well taken—that the mili-subjection. I take it for granted no man will deny tary power, whether of the navy, army, volunteers or militia-could only be used in aid of the civil authorities,—in this respect sustaining the position assumed by AttorneyGeneral Black, [see pages 66-69,] upon which
the proposition that whoever permanently holds Charleston and South Carolina is entitled to the possession of Fort Sumter. Whoever permanently holds Pensacola and Florida is entitled to the pos session of Fort Pickens. Whoever holds the States