June 15 1812: Senate Passes Third Reading of WAR Bill

On June 15, 1812, the United States Senate resumes consideration of a war bill.  The Senate first considers a motion by New York Senator Obadiah German to postpone any further dealing with the bill until the first Monday of November. Senator German is a strong opponent of  the war. On June 13, 1812, he had forcibly and presciently argued that the country was not ready for war. In particular, he had argued that the use of militia to prosecute the war would be disastrous. He argued "the evils of attending upon calling a large portion of the militia into actual service for any considerable time, is almost incalculable. After a short time, sickness, death, and many of the evils will teach you the impropriety of relying on them for carrying on the war."  Senator German's motion to postpone the further consideration of the war bill until first Monday in November is put to a vote and defeated. His motion is defeated, yeas 10 and nays 22. 

Senator Michael Leib of Pennsylvania then brings his motion to try and revive the more extensive amendments that had not passed during the Senate on June 13, 1812. His motion seeks to amend the war bill with nine sections that basically limit the hostilities to a naval war and create legal procedures for salvage rights. Leib also adds a new section nine that extends the naval war to "the Emperor of France and King of Italy or his subjects". Senator Anderson tries to strike out this ninth section but his motion is defeated, yeas 14 and nays 18. Leib's motion is then put to a vote. The question is whether to strike out the original bill after the word "that," and insert the new amendments. The motion is determined in the negative, yeas 15 and nays 17. 

One further motion is brought by Senator Lloyd, to amend the bill, by inserting, after the word "that," in the third line, the words "from and after the___ day of___next." The motion is also determined in the negative, yeas 13 and nays 19. This is another attempt to delay by leaving blank the date of any declaration of war. 

With the preliminary motions out of the way, the Senate next considers the main motion on the form of the bill that had passed on June 13 1812.  A fragile majority had coalesced around this form of the bill which, aside from some minor differences in language, is basically the same as the bill passed by the House. The Senate thus considers whether the House's war bill, as amended on June 13 1812, is to pass to a third reading. The vote is taken and determined in the affirmative, yeas 19 and nays 13. War is coming. The Senate adjourns to 11 o'clock tomorrow morning.

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