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Joint Resolution declaring that the United States ought to coöperate
with, affording pecuniary Aid to any State which may adopt the gradual Abolishment of Slavery.
Be it resolved ... That the United States ought to coöperate with any State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.
No. 129. Act abolishing Slavery in the
District of Columbia
A BILL "for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia" was introduced in the Senate, December 16, 1861, by Henry Wilson of Massachusetts. The debate on the bill began March 12 and developed much opposition, but April 3, by a vote of 29 to 14, the bill passed. In the House a motion to reject the bill was lost, 45 to 93, and on the 11th the bill passed, the final vote being 85 to 40. In his message of approval Lincoln suggested that further time be allowed for the presentation of claims, and that provision be made for "minors, femmes covert, insane, or absent persons"; and a supplementary act was passed July 12 embodying these changes. The civil appropriation act of July 16 made an appropriation of $500,000 for the removal and colonization of the emancipated negroes, but this, as to the unexpended balance, together with section eleven of the act of April 16, was repealed by the civil appropriation act of July 2, 1864. Acts of May 20 and 21 provided for the education of colored children in the District.
REFERENCES. — Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XII., 376-378. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 37th Cong., ad Sess., and the Cong. Globe. Calvert's minority report, March 12, is House Report 58. For a report of the commissioners see House Exec. Doc. 42, 38th Cong., ist Sess.
An Act for the Release of certain Persons held to Service or Labor
in the District of Columbia. Be it enacted. That all persons held to service or labor within the District of Columbia by reason of African descent are hereby discharged and freed of and from all claim to such service
or labor; and from and after the passage of this act neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for crime, whereof the party shall be duly convicted, shall hereafter exist in said District.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That all persons loyal to the United States, holding claims to service or labor against persons discharged therefrom by this act, may, within ninety days from the passage thereof, but not thereafter, present to the commissioners hereinafter mentioned their respective statements or petitions in writing, verified by oath or affirmation, setting forth the names, ages, and personal description of such persons, the manner in which said petitioners acquired such claim, and any facts touching the value thereof, and declaring his allegiance to the Government of the United States, and that he has not borne arms against the United States during the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid or comfort thereto: Provided, That the oath of the party to the petition shall not be evidence of the facts therein stated.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint three commissioners, residents of the District of Columbia, . . . who shall receive the petitions above mentioned, and who shall investigate and determine the validity and value of the claims therein presented, as aforesaid, and appraise and apportion, under the proviso hereto annexed, the value in money of the several claims by them found to be valid: Provided, however, That the entire sum so appraised and apportioned shall not exceed in the aggregate an amount equal to three hundred dollars for each person shown to have been so held by lawful claim: And provided, further, That no claim shall be allowed for any slave or slaves brought into said District after the passage of this act, nor for any slave claimed by any person who has borne arms against the Government of the United States in the present rebellion, or in any way given aid or comfort thereto, or which originates in or by virtue of any transfer heretofore made, or which shall hereafter be made by any person who has in any manner aided or sustained the rebellion against the Government of the United States.
No. 130. Abolition of Slavery in the Ter
June 19, 1862 MARCH 24, 1862, Isaac N. Arnold of Illinois introduced in the House a bill “to render freedom national and slavery sectional.” Another bill with a similar title was introduced May 1 by Owen Lovejoy of Illinois. The latter bill, with amended title, was reported May 8 as a substitute for the Arnold bill, and on the 12th passed the House by a vote of 85 to 50. The Senate, June 9, amended the House bill by substituting the text of the act as passed, the vote being 28 to 10. On the 17th the House concurred in the Senate amendment, and on the 19th the act was approved. The prohibition of the act was incorporated in the later acts organizing the Territories of Arizona and Idaho.
REFERENCES. — Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XII., 432. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 37th Cong., ad Sess., and the Cong. Globe.
An Act to secure Freedom to all Persons within the Territories
of the United States.
Be it enacted ... , That from and after the passage of this act there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the Territories of the United States now existing, or which may at any time hereafter be formed or acquired by the United States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
No. 131. Oath of Office
July 2, 1862
By an act of August 6, 1861, all members of the civil departments of the government were required to take an oath of allegiance to the United States "against all enemies, domestic or foreign, ... any ordinance, resolution, or law of any State convention or legislature to the contrary notwithstanding." An act of May 20, 1862, required voters in Washington and Georgetown, if challenged for disloyalty, to take a similar oath, with the addition of a clause declaring that the subscriber had “always been loyal and true to the Government of the United States.” An act of June 17 imposed upon grand and
petit jurors in United States courts an oath declaring "that you have not without duress and constraint, taken up arms, or joined any insurrection or rebellion against the United States; that you have not adhered to any insurrection or rebellion, giving it aid and comfort; that you have not, directly or indirectly, given any assistance in money, or any other thing, to any person or persons whom you knew, or had good ground to believe, had joined, or was about to join, said insurrection and rebellion, or had resisted, or was about to resist, with force of arms, the execution of the laws of the United States; and that you have not counselled or advised any person or persons to join any rebellion against, or to resist with force of arms, the laws of the United States." The so-called “iron-clad” oath of July 2 had its origin in a bill introduced in the House, March 24, by James F. Wilson of Iowa, “declaring certain persons ineligible to office.” June 4 a substitute reported by the Committee on Judiciary, being a modified form of an amendment previously offered by Horace Maynard of Tennessee to a bill to free the slaves of rebels, was agreed to, and the bill passed, the vote being 78 to 47. The Senate, on motion of Garrett Davis of Kentucky, added an amendment excepting the Vice-President and Senators and Representatives, the amended bill passing the Senate on the 23d by a vote of 33 to 5. The House disagreeing, the Senate receded from so much of its amendment as excepted Senators and Representatives, and in this form the bill passed. The acts of June 17 and July 2 were repealed by an act of May 13, 1884.
REFERENCES. - Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XII., 502, 503. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 37th Cong., 2d Sess., and the Cong. Globe. On the loyalty of government employees see House Report 16, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. On the modification of the oath see House Exec. Doc. 81, 39th Cong., ist Sess., House Report, 51, ibid., Senate Exec. Doc. 38, ibid., and No. 159, post.
An Act to prescribe an Oath of Office, and for other Purposes.
Be it enacted ... That hereafter every person elected or appointed to any office of honor or profit under the government of the United States, either in the civil, military or naval departments of the public service, excepting the President of the United States, shall, before entering upon the duties of such office, and before being entitled to any of the salary or other emoluments thereof, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: “I, A. B., do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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 author
ity 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 (or affirm) 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;”.
No. 132. Confiscation Act
July 17, 1862 A BILL "to confiscate the property of rebels for the payment of the expenses of the present rebellion” was reported in the House, May 14, 1862, by Thomas D. Eliot of Massachusetts, from the select committee on the confiscation of rebel property, together with a bill to free the slaves of rebels. On the 26th a substitute for the two bills, offered by Morrill of Vermont on the 20th, was rejected by a vote of 25 to 122, and the bill passed, the vote being 82 to 68. The House bill was more stringent than the act finally passed, but a substitute agreed to by the Senate, June 28, by a vote of 28 to 13, was thought by the House too lenient, and by a vote of 8 to 123 the amendment of the Senate was disagreed to. The report of the conference committee, being the Senate substitute with amendments, was agreed to by the House, July 11, by a vote of 82 to 42, and by the Senate, July 12, by a vote of 28 to 13. President Lincoln had intended to veto the bill on the ground that under it offenders would be forever divested of title to their real estate, and punishment would thus be made to extend beyond the life of the guilty party. To obviate this objection, a joint resolution explanatory of the act was hurried through both houses July 17. Lincoln, in communicating to Congress his approval of the act and the resolution, transmitted also the veto message which he had already prepared. A proclamation under section 6 of the act was issued the same day that the act as approved, and December 8, 1863, a proclamation of amnesty (No. 137] under section 13. The latter section was repealed, with the purpose of restricting the pardoning power of the President, July 17, 1867.
REFERENCES. - Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XII., 589-592. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 37th Cong., ad Sess., and the Cong. Globe. The texts of all amendments and substitutes are in the Globe. The debates called out numerous formal speeches. On the seizure of lands