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Title: Abridgement of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856, Vol. I (of 16)
Author: Benton, Thomas Hart, 1782-1858
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Abridgement of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856, Vol. I (of 16)" ***



FROM 1789 TO 1856.






S. C. GRIGGS & CO., 111 LAKE ST.


ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New


The title-page discloses the sources from which this abridgment is made,
and shows them all to be authentic, and reliable,--well known to the
public, and sanctioned by resolves of Congress. Of the latter of these
authorities--"Gales and Seaton's Register of Debates," "The
Congressional Globe and Appendix, by Blair and Rives," and the same
afterwards by "John C. Rives"--it is not necessary to speak, further
than to remind the reader, that they are original reports, made either
by the publishers or their special reporters, and revised by the
speakers, and accepted as authority by Congress; and therefore needing
no historical elucidation to show their correctness. But of the
first--"The Annals of Congress by Gales and Seaton"--being a
compilation, a special, but brief notice is necessary to show the credit
to which they are entitled. And first, of the qualifications of the
compilers for their work. To education and talent, and a particular turn
for political disquisition and history, they added, at the time, more
than forty years' personal connection with the Debates of Congress, as
reporters and publishers of the speeches and proceedings in that body.
Both of these gentlemen reported, on extraordinary occasions; and both
with great aptitude and capacity for the business, and Mr. Gales
especially, (under whose particular care the compilation of the Annals
was made,)--of whom Mr. Randolph, a most competent judge, was accustomed
to say, that he was the most perfect reporter he had ever known--a
perfection which resulted not merely from manual facility in noting
down what was said, but from quickness and clearness of apprehension,
and a full knowledge of the subject spoken upon.[1] To this capacity for
the work, these gentlemen added peculiar advantages for knowing and
reaching the sources of information. The father of one of them, and the
father-in-law of the other,--(Mr. Joseph Gales, Senior,)--had been an
early reporter of the Debates of Congress;--in the time of Washington
and the first Mr. Adams,--and, of course, a collector and preserver of
all contemporary reports. These came into their hands, with ample
knowledge of all the sources from which further collections could be
made. To these capabilities and advantages, were added the pride of
character which exults in producing a perfect work;--and they spared
neither pains nor cost to produce such a work--and succeeded. The
following extracts from a letter of the late Mr. Justice Story, of the
Supreme Court of the United States, dated January 14th, 1837--and from
one from Mr. Justice McLean, still of that high court, dated 24th of
February, 1843--sufficiently attest the value of the Compilation, and
the excellence of its execution. Mr. Justice Story says:

"I have examined these volumes with great attention, and I am entirely
satisfied with the plan and execution of them. I have, for many years,
deemed the publication of the Debates in Congress, interwoven as they
should be, and as they are in your plan, with the proceedings
explanatory of them, one of the most important and valuable enterprises
for public patronage. In an historical view, it will reflect the
strongest and best lights upon the nature and operations of the
Government itself, its powers, its duties, and its policy. As a means of
expounding and interpreting the Constitution itself, it can scarcely be
over-estimated. When I was employed in the task of preparing my
Commentaries on the Constitution I constantly had recourse to this
source of information in all cases within my reach. I had occasion then
deeply to regret, however, that many of my researches terminated in
disappointment from there not being any complete collection of the
debates in print, or at least none in any one repository, or without
large chasms, which it was difficult if not impossible to supply. If
any such collection had existed, I am satisfied that it would have
enabled me to make my own work far more accurate, full, and satisfactory
than it now is. The Parliamentary Debates of England have been long
since published, and constitute, in a political and historical view,
some of the most authentic and useful documents for statesmen and
jurists which have ever issued from the press. They are an indispensable
part of the library of every real British statesman. A similar
publication of all the Debates in Congress would be, if possible, of
more permanent and extensive value to us, since questions of
constitutional law and general public policy are more frequent topics of
public debate here than in England. Indeed, I do not well see how
American statesmen, seeking a profound knowledge of the nature and
operations of our Government, can well do without them. At all events,
if published, they would and ought to be found in the library of every
American statesman, lawyer, and judge, who should aspire to an exact or
thorough knowledge of our Constitution, laws, or national policy."

Mr. Justice McLean says:

"I have read with much interest your proposal to publish the Debates in
Congress from the adoption of the Constitution. This is an undertaking
of great magnitude, and will require large expenditures: but the work
will embody a mass of information in regard to the history and policy of
the Government, which can be found nowhere else. There is no subject
within the action of the Government, which will not be found discussed
in these volumes. They will contain materials rich in facts and talent
for the writer of history, and will reward the researches of all who may
wish to acquire a thorough knowledge of our system of government. This
work when completed will become, I think, more interesting and valuable
to this country, than are the Parliamentary Debates in England. The
questions considered, (from the nature of our Government, and especially
in regard to our domestic relations,) are more diversified than the
Debates in Parliament; and I have no doubt, that the general ability
displayed in the American Congress, will not suffer in comparison with
that of the British Parliament. Our statesmen and jurists will find in
these Debates much to guide them in the performance of their public
duties; for it is from the history of that time that knowledge is
acquired for an enlightened public action. If our Government is to be
handed down to those who come after us, these volumes will increase in
value with the progress of time, and will be one of the richest
memorials of our early enterprise and patriotism, and the best evidence
of our national advancement."

And to these opinions of these two eminent jurists of the value of these
Annals, and the qualifications of the publishers for their task, and the
merits of their work, is to be added the encouraging opinion of Mr.
Madison, given at the commencement of the enterprise, in the year
1818,--near forty years ago,--when, in a letter to _Messrs._ Gales and
Seaton, he said:

"The work to which you have turned your thoughts, is one which justly
claims for it _my_ favorable wishes. A legislative history of our
country is of too much interest not to be at some day undertaken; and
the longer it is postponed, the more difficult and deficient the
execution becomes. In the event of your engaging in it, I shall
cheerfully contribute any suggestions in my power as to the sources from
which materials may be drawn; but I am not aware, at present, of any not
likely to occur to yourselves."

Such is the value which these eminent men place upon these annals of our
earlier Congresses, and these annals embrace the whole period during
which our Government was presided over by those who helped to make
it--the whole period from Washington to Monroe inclusive--a period of
thirty-five years, and covering more than half the time that our
Government has existed. The two Justices of the Supreme Court who gave
their opinion of the work, and who were then (as one of them still is)
in the actual discharge of great public duties, have declared the
personal benefit which they derived from the compilation--one of them
(Mr. Justice Story) going so far as to say that his own work--the
Commentaries upon the Constitution--(deemed faultless by others)--would
have been "more accurate, full and satisfactory," if the Annals had been
published before them. With such opinions in favor of the Annals, no
more need be said to show their value to the rising generations; and in
abridging them, the author feels that he is only making accessible to
the community what is now inaccessible to it, on account of quantity and
price; and useless (nearly), if accessible, on account of the obsolete
or irrelevant matter which overlays and buries the useful. As late as
the year 1840, the publishers of the Annals say, in a Memorial to
Congress, that they had sold to individuals but twenty sets of their
work; and the present enterprising and faithful publisher of the
Congress Debates, (Mr. John C. Rives,) says he sells but some three or
four sets a year of his valuable and voluminous work;--and these, not to
individuals, but to institutions. It is the Congress subscription alone,
that has enabled the publishers of all these works to bring them out;
and no public money was ever more worthily applied: but still Congress
cannot supply the community.

Mr. Madison, in his letter of characteristic modesty to _Messrs._ Gales
and Seaton, speaks of their (then) intended work, as one which justly
claimed _his_ favorable wishes. And well it might! for nowhere, in all
the just and impressive eulogiums which have been pronounced upon him,
does he appear to such advantage as in his own modest, temperate,
luminous, and patriotic speeches during his service in Congress--putting
that new Government into operation, of which he was one of the founders,
and giving to all its machinery, a smooth, clean, and harmonious
working. And so of innumerable others--illustrious men, and his
compatriots--national reputations in their day, but contracting into
local names under the progress of time, for want of a record of their
patriotic labors, of national circulation, and popular accessibility. Of
that character, it is the desire of the author to make this Abridgment.
It is to him a labor of love and of pride--resuscitating the patriotic
dead, putting them in scene again, passing them in long procession over
an extended domain--no one skipped, and each in his place, with the best
of his works in his hand. It is a work of justice to them, and may be of
advantage to the present age, and to posterity, by reproducing for study
and imitation, the words and conduct of the wise, just, modest,
patriotic, intelligent, and disinterested men, who carried their country
through a momentous revolution--moulded that country into one brotherly
Union--and then put the Government they had formed into operation, in
the same fraternal spirit of "_amity, mutual deference and concession_,"
in which they had made it.


The debates of Congress have been accruing for near seventy years, and
fill more than an hundred volumes, and cannot be purchased for less than
$500, nor advantageously used, on account of the quantity of superfluous
matter which they contain. They are printed in full by Congress, and
ought to be so, and a small distribution is made among the members; but
this distribution cannot reach the community, and would be nearly
useless if it did, from the quantity of obsolete, local and transient
matter which overloads them. In the mean time, these debates contain the
history of the working of our Government from its foundation--preserve
and hand down to posterity the wisdom of ages--show what has been done,
and how it was done--and shed light upon the study of all impending
questions; for there is not a question of the day, and will not be while
the Government continues, which will not be illustrated by something
previously said in these debates.

All works consisting of periodical accumulations require periodical
abridgment, in which, being relieved of what is superfluous, the
residuum becomes more valuable from the disencumbrance--of easier use to
the reader--and more accessible to the community, from the diminution of
price and quantity. Even the reports of the Supreme Court of the United
States, though comparatively free from redundant or obsolete matter,
have undergone abridgment--three volumes reduced to one--and become more
valuable from the reduction. The same may be done with these debates,
and with a far greater license of reduction, from the very nature of
popular debating. Some fifteen or sixteen octavo volumes, double
columns, are expected to contain all that retains a surviving interest
in the (more than) one hundred volumes, now surcharged with the full

The abridgment will not be restricted to the speeches of the celebrated
orators, but extend to those of the business men, and to the plainest
speakers--who are often the members who give the most useful
information. Full speeches are not expected to be given, there being
none, after a short time, which do not contain much matter that has lost
its interest. Many entire heads of reported proceedings and discussions
would be omitted: as--The morning presentation of petitions, often the
same for ten or twenty years, and presented in both Houses at the same
time: discussion on private bills, which have no general interest: mere
personalities: the endless repetition of yeas and nays, sometimes
recorded an hundred times in contests about the same bill, when three or
four sets would be sufficient to show the opinion of every member upon
every material point: repetitions of speeches, for it is impossible that
a member speaking for ten or twenty sessions on the same subject,
(tariff, internal improvement, national bank, &c.) should not repeat the
same thing over and over again.

The work is intended to be national, such as would commend itself to the
study, and come within the reach, of all who aspire to a share in the
public affairs, either State or Federal; or who wish to understand the
history and working of their own Government. It is the only way in which
the wisdom of the earlier generation of our statesmen who put the
Government into operation--the Madisons, Gallatins, John Marshalls,
William B. Giles, the Fisher Ames, Roger Shermans, &c.--can be made
known to the present or future ages; and it is the best way in which the
speeches of those who have lived in our own day, even the most eminent,
can be diffused. For the speeches of no one, published in mass and
alone, can have more than a local circulation; while judicious
selections from a whole debate, enlivened by the vivacity of contention,
going into a general work of this kind, must have a general circulation,
and carry the name of the speaker, and the best of his speaking, into
every part of the Union.

Some notes, or commentaries, will be added by the author, discriminated
from the text, to mark great starting, or turning points, in our
legislative history, with a view to assist the reader in making the
practical applications which give utility to knowledge. For example: At
the beginning of the first tariff debate in the first session of the
first Congress, he will show that Mr. Madison compressed into twenty-two
short lines, of eight or nine words each, all the principles of impost
and tonnage duties which have governed all wise legislation upon the two
subjects from that time to the present--namely: Specific duties the
rule--_ad valorems_ the exception: revenue the object--incidental
encouragement to home industry the incident: specifics on all the
leading and staple articles--_ad valorems_ on the inferior remainder:
discrimination between articles of luxury and necessity, so as to put
the burthen on the former--and between articles made, or not made, at
home, so as to give encouragement to the home article: and all these
duties moderate, so as not to shackle trade or agriculture. These were
his principles on impost duties. Those on tonnage consisted of
discriminations in favor of our own ships, and in favor of nations
having treaties of commerce with us, so as to encourage our own
ship-building and navigation, and also to stimulate all nations to make
commercial treaties with us. And thus, every object of impost
legislation was provided for:--revenue for the Government, encouragement
to home industry, exemption from burthen to trade and agriculture.

Then, at the end of that debate, (which began in April, and ended in
May,) it will be shown that a rate of duties was established,
corresponding with these principles--all moderate, and adapted each to
its object: five per centum on the lowest class of _ad valorems_, seven
and a half on the next, and fifteen for the highest, and it of luxuries.
The specific duties, applicable to the mass of the importations, at the
same low rate; and this low rate, on the small importation of that time,
and with the economy of that time, producing seven times the amount of
revenue necessary for the "_support_" of the Government! leaving six
sevenths to go to the public debt and Indian wars. The same rates of
duty, with the same economy, ought to be equally sufficient now upon a
sevenfold importation of dutiable goods.

The Emperor Justinian, in compiling his Institutes, commended their
study to the liberal-minded youth of the empire who aspired to
employment in the government; for that emperor, although a great and
victorious general, yet placed the arts of peace and government above
the exploits of war, and wished to see law and order, more than arms,
studied and cultivated in his dominion. The great Emperor Napoleon had
the same appreciation of legal and civil studies; and hence the Four
Codes, at the digest of which he personally assisted, and the
conception and execution of which do so much honor to his memory. In our
own government the career of public employment is open to all, and
should be prepared for by all who aspire to enter it. Of elementary
political works we have many, and excellent; but most of them only teach
principles, and that abstractly, without practice. Practical works are
wanted to complete the study, and of these the most ample and least
ungrateful may be a well-considered and impartial abridgment of the
Debates of Congress.

And here the Author discharges an obligation of gratitude and justice to
the earlier generation of our statesmen. He owes what he is to them. His
political principles were learnt in their school--his knowledge obtained
from their works--his patriotism confirmed by their example--his love of
the Union exalted by their teaching.

                                  THE AUTHOR.

                                  WASHINGTON CITY, May, 1856.





WEDNESDAY, March 4, 1789.

This being the day for the meeting of the new Congress, the following
members of the Senate appeared and took their seats:[3]


From Massachusetts, CALEB STRONG.



From Georgia, WILLIAM FEW.

The members present not being a quorum, they adjourned from day to day,

WEDNESDAY, March 11.

When the same members being present as on the 4th instant, it was agreed
that a circular should be written to the absent members, requesting
their immediate attendance.

THURSDAY, March 12.

No additional members appearing, the members present adjourned from day
to day, until

WEDNESDAY, March 18.

When no additional members appearing, it was agreed that another
circular should be written to eight of the nearest absent members,
particularly desiring their attendance, in order to form a quorum.

THURSDAY, March 19.

WILLIAM PATERSON, from New Jersey, appeared and took his seat.

FRIDAY, March 20.

No additional member appeared.

SATURDAY, March 21.

RICHARD BASSETT, from Delaware, appeared and took his seat.

A sufficient number of members to form a quorum not appearing, the
members present adjourned from day to day, until

SATURDAY, March 28.

JONATHAN ELMER, from New Jersey, appeared and took his seat.

No other member appearing, an adjournment took place from day to day,

MONDAY, April 6.

RICHARD HENRY LEE, from Virginia, then appearing, took his seat and
formed a quorum of the whole Senators of the United States.

The credentials of the members present being read and ordered to be
filed, the Senate proceeded, by ballot, to the choice of a President for
the sole purpose of opening and counting the votes for President of the
United States.

JOHN LANGDON was elected.

_Ordered_, That Mr. ELLSWORTH inform the House of Representatives that a
quorum of the Senate is formed; that a President is elected for the sole
purpose of opening the certificates, and counting the votes of the
electors of the several States, in the choice of a President and Vice
President of the United States; and that the Senate is now ready, in the
Senate Chamber, to proceed in the presence of the House, to discharge
that duty; and that the Senate have appointed one of their members to
sit at the clerk's table, to make a list of the votes as they shall be
declared; submitting it to the wisdom of the House to appoint one or
more of their members for the like purpose.

Mr. ELLSWORTH reported that he had delivered the message; and Mr.
BOUDINOT, from the House of Representatives, informed the Senate that
the House is ready forthwith to meet them, to attend the opening and
counting of the votes of the electors of the President and Vice
President of the United States.

The Speaker and the members of the House of Representatives attended in
the Senate Chamber; and the President elected for the purpose of
counting the votes, declared that the Senate and House of
Representatives had met, and that he, in their presence, had opened and
counted the votes of the electors for President and Vice President of
the United States, which were as follows:

[Transcriber's Note: Legend Created to make table fit.]

A = George Washington, Esq.
B = John Adams, Esq.
C = Samuel Huntingdon, Esq.
D = John Jay, Esq.
E = John Hancock, Esq.
F = Robert H. Harrison, Esq.
G = George Clinton, Esq.
H = John Rutledge, Esq.
I = John Milton, Esq.
J = James Armstrong, Esq.
K = Edward Telfair, Esq.
L = Benjamin Lincoln, Esq.


                     A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L
New Hampshire,       5    5
Massachusetts,      10   10
Connecticut,         7    5    2
New Jersey,          6    1   ..    5
Pennsylvania,       10    8   ..   ..    2
Delaware,            3   ..   ..    3
Maryland,            6   ..   ..   ..   ..    6
Virginia,           10    5   ..    1    1   ..    3
South Carolina,      7   ..   ..   ..    1   ..   ..    6
Georgia,             5   ..   ..   ..   ..   ..   ..   ..    2    1    1    1

    Total,          69   34    2    9    4    6    3    6    2    1    1    1

Whereby it appeared that GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq. was elected President,
and JOHN ADAMS, Esq. Vice President of the United States of America.

Mr. MADISON, from the House of Representatives, thus addressed the

      MR. PRESIDENT: I am directed by the House of
      Representatives to inform the Senate, that the House have
      agreed that the notifications of the election of the
      President and of the Vice President of the United States,
      should be made by such persons, and in such manner, as the
      Senate shall be pleased to direct.

And he withdrew.

Whereupon, the Senate appointed CHARLES THOMSON, Esq. to notify GEORGE
WASHINGTON, Esq. of his election to the office of President of the
United States of America, and Mr. SYLVANUS BOURN, to notify JOHN ADAMS,
Esq. of his election to the office of Vice President of the said United

A letter was received from James Duane, Esq. enclosing resolutions of
the mayor, aldermen, and commonalty, of the city of New York, tendering
to Congress the use of the City Hall.

James Mathews was elected doorkeeper.

TUESDAY, April 7.

WINGATE, were appointed a committee to bring in a bill for organizing
the Judiciary of the United States.

Messrs. ELLSWORTH, LEE, STRONG, MACLAY, and BASSETT, were appointed a
committee to prepare rules for the government of the two Houses in cases
of conference, and to take under consideration the manner of electing
chaplains, and to confer thereupon with a committee of the House of

The same committee were also to prepare rules for conducting the
business of the Senate.


The Senate proceeded to ballot for a Secretary, and SAMUEL ALYNE OTIS,
Esq. was elected.

Cornelius Maxwell was appointed messenger.

THURSDAY, April 9.

Messrs. LANGDON, JOHNSON, and FEW, were appointed a committee to make
arrangements for receiving the President, and were empowered to confer
with any committee of the House of Representatives that may be appointed
for that purpose.

MONDAY, April 13.

RALPH IZARD, from South Carolina, CHARLES CARROLL, from Maryland, and
GEORGE REED, from Delaware, appeared and took their seats.

The report of the committee to prepare rules for conducting the business
of the Senate was read, and ordered to lie for consideration.

Messrs. JOHNSON, IZARD, and MACLAY, were appointed a committee to confer
with any committee appointed on the part of the House of
Representatives, upon the future disposition of the papers in the office
of the late Secretary of Congress, and report thereon.

The committee appointed to make arrangements for receiving the
President, were directed to settle the manner of receiving the Vice
President also.

Mr. CARROLL and Mr. IZARD were added to the Judiciary Committee.

TUESDAY, April 14.

TRISTRAM DALTON, from Massachusetts, appeared and took his seat.

A letter was written to the mayor of the city of New York, by the
President of the Senate, acknowledging the respect shown to the
Government, and accepting of the offer made by him of the City Hall for
the use of Congress.

MONDAY, April 20.

JOHN HENRY, from Maryland, and JAMES GUNN, from Georgia, appeared and
took their seats.

Messrs. STRONG and IZARD were appointed a committee to wait on the Vice
President, and conduct him to the Senate Chamber.

TUESDAY, April 21.

The committee appointed to conduct the Vice President to the Senate
Chamber, executed their commission, and Mr. LANGDON, the Vice President
_pro tempore_, meeting the Vice President on the floor of the Senate
Chamber, addressed him as follows.

      SIR: I have it in charge from the Senate, to introduce you
      to the chair of this House; and, also, to congratulate you
      on your appointment to the office of Vice President of the
      United States of America.

[After which Mr. Langdon conducted the Vice President to the chair, when
the Vice President addressed the Senate in a speech of congratulation on
the successful formation of the Federal Union, the adoption of the
Federal Constitution, and the auspicious circumstances under which the
new government came into operation, under the presidency of him who had
led the American armies to victory, and conducted by those who had
contributed to achieve Independence.]

FRIDAY, April 24.

On motion, to reconsider the commission of the committee appointed the
23d instant, to report what titles shall be annexed to the offices of
President and Vice President. Passed in the affirmative.

On motion, that the following words, "What titles it will be proper to
annex to the offices of President and of Vice President of the United
States; if any other than those given in the Constitution," be struck
out. Passed in the negative.

On motion, that the words "style or" before the word "title," be added.
Passed in the affirmative.

SATURDAY, April 25.

The Right Reverend SAMUEL PROVOST was elected Chaplain.

A letter from CHARLES THOMSON, Esq., dated the 24th of April, 1789,
directed to the President of the Senate, purporting his having delivered
to General WASHINGTON the certificate of his being elected President of
the United States, was read, and ordered to be filed.

The committee appointed to consider of the time, place, and manner, in
which, and of the person by whom, the oath prescribed by the
Constitution shall be administered to the President of the United
States, and to confer with a committee of the House appointed for that
purpose, report:

      That the President hath been pleased to signify to them,
      that at any time or place which both Houses may think
      proper to appoint, and any manner which shall appear most
      eligible to them, will be convenient and acceptable to
      him; that requisite preparations cannot probably be made
      before Thursday next; that the President be on that day
      formally received by both Houses in the Senate Chamber;
      that the Representatives' Chamber being capable of
      receiving the greater number of persons, that, therefore,
      the President do take the oath in that place, and in the
      presence of both Houses.

      That, after the formal reception of the President in the
      Senate Chamber, he be attended by both Houses to the
      Representatives' Chamber, and that the oath be administered
      by the Chancellor of the State of New York.

      The committee farther report it as their opinion, that it
      will be proper that a committee of both Houses be appointed
      to take order for conducting the business. Read and

Whereupon, Mr. LEE, Mr. IZARD, and Mr. DALTON, on the part of the
Senate, together with a committee that may be appointed on the part of
the House of Representatives, were empowered to take order for
conducting the business.

An order of the House of Representatives, concurring in the appointment
of a committee on their part to confer with a committee appointed on the
24th instant, on the part of the Senate, to consider and report, "what
style, &c., it will be proper to annex to the offices of President and
Vice President," was read, by which it appeared, that Mr. BENSON, Mr.
AMES, Mr. MADISON, Mr. CARROLL, and Mr. SHERMAN, were appointed on the
part of the House.

MONDAY, April 27.

The committee appointed to take order for conducting the ceremonial of
the formal reception, &c., of the President, reported:

      That it appears to them more eligible that the oath should
      be administered to the President in the outer gallery
      adjoining the Senate Chamber, than in the Representatives'
      Chamber, and therefore, submit to the respective Houses the
      propriety of authorizing their committee to take order as
      to the place where the oath shall be administered to the
      President, the resolution of Saturday assigning the
      Representatives' Chamber as the place, notwithstanding.
      Read and accepted.

      _Resolved_, That after the oath shall have been
      administered to the President, he, attended by the Vice
      President, and members of the Senate, and House of
      Representatives, proceed to St. Paul's Chapel, to hear
      divine service, to be performed by the Chaplain of Congress
      already appointed. Sent to the House of Representatives for

TUESDAY, April 28.

Received from the House of Representatives, the report of a joint
committee on the ceremonial to be observed in administering the oath,
&c., to the President; and a bill to regulate the time and manner of
administering certain oaths. The report was read and ordered to lie on
the table; and the bill received its first reading.

THURSDAY, April 30.

Mr. LEE, in behalf of the committee appointed to take order for
conducting the ceremonial of the formal reception, &c., of the President
of the United States, having informed the Senate that the same was
adjusted, the House of Representatives were notified that the Senate
were ready to receive them in the Senate Chamber, to attend the
President of the United States, while taking the oath required by the
Constitution. Whereupon, the House of Representatives, preceded by their
Speaker, came into the Senate Chamber, and took the seats assigned them,
and the joint committee, preceded by their chairman, agreeably to order,
introduced the President of the United States to the Senate Chamber,
where he was received by the Vice President, who conducted him to the
chair, when the Vice President informed him, that "the Senate, and House
of Representatives of the United States, were ready to attend him to
take the oath required by the Constitution, and that it would be
administered by the Chancellor of the State of New York." To which the
President replied, he was ready to proceed; and being attended to the
gallery in front of the Senate Chamber, by the Vice President and
Senators, the Speaker and Representatives, and the other public
characters present, the oath was administered. After which, the
Chancellor proclaimed, "_Long live George Washington, President of the
United States_."

The PRESIDENT, having returned to his seat, after a short pause arose,
and addressed the Senate and House of Representatives as follows:[4]

      _Fellow-Citizens of the Senate, and of the House of

      Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could
      have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which
      the notification was transmitted by your order, and
      received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one
      hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never
      hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I
      had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my
      flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum
      of my declining years: a retreat which was rendered every
      day more necessary, as well as more dear to me, by the
      addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent
      interruptions in my health, to the gradual waste committed
      on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and
      difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country
      called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and
      most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny
      into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with
      despondence one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from
      nature, and unpractised in the duties of civil
      administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own
      deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver
      is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty
      from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it
      might be effected. All I dare hope is that if, in executing
      this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful
      remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate
      sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of
      my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my
      incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and
      untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the
      motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by
      my country, with some share of the partiality in which they

             *       *       *       *       *

      To the preceding observations I have one to add, which will
      be most properly addressed to the House of Representatives.
      It concerns myself, and will, therefore, be as brief as
      possible. When I was first honored with a call into the
      service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous
      struggle for its liberties, the light in which I
      contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every
      pecuniary compensation. From this resolution I have in no
      instance departed. And being still under the impressions
      which, produced it, I must decline, as inapplicable to
      myself, any share in the personal emoluments which may be
      indispensably included in a permanent provision for the
      executive department; and must accordingly pray that the
      pecuniary estimates for the station in which I am placed
      may, during my continuance in it, be limited to such actual
      expenditures as the public good may be thought to require.

      Having thus imparted to you my sentiments, as they have
      been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I
      shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once
      more to the benign Parent of the human race, in humble
      supplication, that since He has been pleased to favor the
      American people with opportunities for deliberating in
      perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding with
      unparalleled unanimity on a form of Government for the
      security of their union, and the advancement of their
      happiness, so his divine blessing may be equally
      conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate
      consultations, and the wise measures, on which the success
      of this Government must depend.

                                  G. WASHINGTON.

      _April 30, 1789._

The President, the Vice President, the Senate, and House of
Representatives, &c., then proceeded to St. Paul's Chapel, where divine
service was performed by the chaplain of Congress, after which the
President was reconducted to his house by the committee appointed for
that purpose.

The Vice President and Senate returned to the Senate Chamber; and,

Upon motion, unanimously agreed, That a committee of three should be
appointed to prepare an answer to the President's speech. Mr. JOHNSON,
Mr. PATERSON, and Mr. CARROLL, were elected.


The committee appointed to confer with such committee as might be
appointed on the part of the House of Representatives, to report what
style or titles it will be proper to annex to the offices of President
and of Vice President of the United States, if any other than those
given in the Constitution, reported.

Which report was ordered to lie for consideration.

The committee appointed to prepare an answer to the President's speech,
delivered to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States, reported as follows:

      SIR: We, the Senate of the United States, return you our
      sincere thanks for your excellent speech delivered to both
      Houses of Congress; congratulate you on the complete
      organization of the Federal Government; and felicitate
      ourselves and our fellow-citizens on your elevation to the
      office of President; an office highly important by the
      powers constitutionally annexed to it, and extremely
      honorable from the manner in which the appointment is made.
      The unanimous suffrage of the elective body in your favor,
      is peculiarly expressive of the gratitude, confidence, and
      affection of the citizens of America, and is the highest
      testimonial at once of your merit and their esteem. We are
      sensible, sir, that nothing but the voice of your
      fellow-citizens could have called you from a retreat,
      chosen with the fondest predilection, endeared by habit,
      and consecrated to the repose of declining years. We
      rejoice, and with us all America, that, in obedience to the
      call of our common country, you have returned once more to
      public life. In you all parties confide; in you all
      interests unite; and we have no doubt that your past
      services, great as they have been, will be equalled by your
      future exertions; and that your prudence and sagacity as a
      statesman will tend to avert the dangers to which we are
      exposed, to give stability to the present Government, and
      dignity and splendor to that country, which your skill and
      valor, as a soldier, so eminently contributed to raise to
      independence and empire.

      When we contemplate the coincidence of circumstances, and
      wonderful combination of causes, which gradually prepared
      the people of this country for independence; when we
      contemplate the rise, progress, and termination of the late
      war, which gave them a name among the nations of the earth;
      we are, with you, unavoidably led to acknowledge and adore
      the great Arbiter of the universe, by whom empires rise and
      fall. A review of the many signal instances of divine
      interposition in favor of this country claims our most
      pious gratitude; and permit us, sir, to observe, that,
      among the great events which have led to the formation and
      establishment of a Federal Government, we esteem your
      acceptance of the office of President as one of the most
      propitious and important.

      In the execution of the trust reposed in us, we shall
      endeavor to pursue that enlarged and liberal policy to
      which your speech so happily directs. We are conscious that
      the prosperity of each State is inseparably connected with
      the welfare of all, and that, in promoting the latter, we
      shall effectually advance the former. In full persuasion of
      this truth, it shall be our invariable aim to divest
      ourselves of local prejudices and attachments, and to view
      the great assemblage of communities and interests committed
      to our charge with an equal eye. We feel, sir, the force,
      and acknowledge the justness of the observation, that the
      foundation of our national policy should be laid in private
      morality. If individuals be not influenced by moral
      principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue; it is,
      therefore, the duty of legislators to enforce, both by
      precept and example, the utility, as well as the necessity,
      of a strict adherence to the rules of distributive justice.
      We beg you to be assured that the Senate will, at all
      times, cheerfully co-operate in every measure which may
      strengthen the Union, conduce to the happiness, or secure
      and perpetuate the liberties of this great confederated

      We commend you, sir, to the protection of Almighty God,
      earnestly beseeching him long to preserve a life so
      valuable and dear to the people of the United States; and
      that your administration may be prosperous to the nation,
      and glorious to yourself.

      Read and accepted; and

      _Ordered_, That the Vice President should affix his
      signature to the address, in behalf of the Senate.

FRIDAY, May 8.

The report of the committee appointed to determine "What style or title
it will be proper to annex to the offices of President and Vice
President of the United States, if any other than those given in the
Constitution;" and to confer with a committee of the House of
Representatives appointed for the same purpose, was considered, and
disagreed to.

The question was taken, "Whether the President of the United States
shall be addressed by the title of _His Excellency_?" and it passed in
the negative.

On motion that a committee of three be appointed to consider and report
under what title it will be proper for the Senate to address the
President of the United States, Mr. LEE, Mr. ELLSWORTH, and Mr. JOHNSON,
were elected.


A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
they had accepted the report of the committee appointed to consider what
style or title it will be proper to annex to the offices of President
and Vice President of the United States, if any other than those given
in the Constitution.

      _Ordered_, That Mr. FEW, Mr. MACLAY, and Mr. STRONG, be a
      committee to view the apartments in the City Hall, and to
      confer with any committee that may be appointed by the
      House of Representatives for that purpose, and report how
      the same shall be appropriated.

The committee appointed to consider under what title it will be proper
for the Senate to address the President of the United States, reported;
the consideration of which was postponed until Monday next.

The Secretary was charged with a message to the House of
Representatives, with the order of Senate passed the 7th instant, on the
mode adopted by the Senate in receiving communications from that House.

      _Ordered_, That Mr. LEE, Mr. ELLSWORTH, and Mr. JOHNSON, be
      a committee to confer with any committee to be appointed by
      the House of Representatives, on the difference of opinion
      now subsisting between the two Houses, respecting the title
      of the President of the United States; and, on motion for
      reconsideration, the instruction to the committee was
      agreed to, as follows:

      "That they consider and report under what title it will be
      proper for the President of the United States in future to
      be addressed, and confer thereon with such committee as the
      House of Representatives may appoint for that purpose."

The Secretary carried to the House of Representatives the appointment of
a committee, on the part of the Senate, to view the rooms in the City
Hall, and to confer upon their appropriation;

The rejection of the report of the committee appointed to consider what
style, &c., it will be proper to annex to the offices of President and
of Vice President;

And the appointment of a committee on the part of the Senate to confer
on a title under which it will be proper to address the President of the
United States.

MONDAY, May 11.

      _Ordered_, That the consideration of the report of the
      committee upon "the title by which it will be proper for
      the Senate to address the President," be postponed until
      Tuesday next.

TUESDAY, May 12.

      _Ordered_, That the committee appointed the 9th of May, to
      consider "by what title it will be proper for the Senate to
      address the President of the United States", be instructed
      to confer with the committee of the House of
      Representatives, agreeably to the proposition in their
      message of this day.

      A motion for the committee, appointed to address the
      President, to proceed, was postponed to Thursday next.


The committee, appointed the 9th instant, to determine "under what title
it will be proper for the Senate to address the President," and to
confer with a committee of the House of Representatives "upon the
disagreeing votes of the Senate and House," informed the Senate that
they had conferred with a committee of the House of Representatives, but
could not agree upon a report.

The committee appointed the 9th instant, "to consider and report under
what title it will be proper for the Senate to address the President of
the United States of America," reported:

      That, in the opinion of the committee, it will be proper
      thus to address the President: "_His Highness, the
      President of the United States of America, and Protector of
      their Liberties_."

Which report was postponed; and the following resolve was agreed to, to

      From a decent respect for the opinion and practice of
      civilized nations, whether under monarchical or republican
      forms of Government, whose custom is to annex titles of
      respectability to the office of their Chief Magistrate; and
      that, on intercourse with foreign nations, a due respect
      for the majesty of the people of the United States may not
      be hazarded by an appearance of singularity, the Senate
      have been induced to be of opinion, that it would be proper
      to annex a respectable title to the office of President of
      the United States; but, the Senate, desirous of preserving
      harmony with the House of Representatives, where the
      practice lately observed in presenting an address to the
      President was without the addition of titles, think it
      proper, for the present, to act in conformity with the
      practice of that House: therefore,

      _Resolved_, That the present address be "_To the President
      of the United States_," without addition of title.

A motion was made to strike out the preamble as far as the words "but
the Senate;" which passed in the negative:

And on motion for the main question, it passed in the affirmative.

The committee appointed to consider and report a mode of carrying into
effect the provision in the second clause of the third section of the
first article of the Constitution, reported;


      _Resolved_, That the Senators be divided into three

      The first to consist of Mr. Langdon, Mr. Johnson, Mr.
      Morris, Mr. Henry, Mr. Izard, and Mr. Gunn;

      The second of Mr. Wingate, Mr. Strong, Mr. Paterson, Mr.
      Bassett, Mr. Lee, Mr. Butler, and Mr. Few;

      And the third of Mr. Dalton, Mr. Ellsworth, Mr. Elmer, Mr.
      Maclay, Mr. Read, Mr. Carroll, and Mr. Grayson.

      That three papers of an equal size, numbered 1, 2, and 3,
      be, by the Secretary, rolled up and put into a box, and
      drawn by Mr. Langdon, Mr. Wingate, and Mr. Dalton, in
      behalf of the respective classes, in which each of them are
      placed; and that the classes shall vacate their seats in
      the Senate, according to the order of numbers drawn for
      them, beginning with No. 1.

      And that, when Senators shall take their seats from States
      that have not yet appointed Senators, they shall be placed
      by lot in the foregoing classes, but in such manner as
      shall keep the classes as nearly equal as may be in

The committee appointed to confer with a committee of the House of
Representatives, in preparing proper rules to be established for the
enrolment, &c. of the acts of Congress, reported; which report was
ordered to lie for consideration.

      _Ordered_, That the committee appointed to draft an answer
      to the President's speech, wait on him, and request him to
      appoint the time when it will be agreeable to receive the
      address of the Senate, at his own house.

FRIDAY, May 15.

The committee appointed to draft an answer to the President's speech
further reported; whereupon it was

      _Agreed_, That the Senate should wait on the President at
      his own house on Monday next, at a quarter after 11
      o'clock, and that the Vice President then present the
      address of the Senate, as agreed to on the 7th instant.

The Senate proceeded to determine the classes, agreeably to the resolve
of yesterday, on the mode of carrying into effect the provision of the
second clause of the third section of the first article of the
Constitution; and the numbers being drawn, the classes were determined
as follows:

Lot No. 1, drawn by Mr. Dalton, contained Mr. Dalton, Mr. Ellsworth, Mr.
Elmer, Mr. Maclay, Mr. Read, Mr. Carroll, and Mr. Grayson; whose seats
shall, accordingly, be vacated in the Senate at the expiration of the
second year.

Lot No. 2. drawn by Mr. Wingate, contained Mr. Wingate, Mr. Strong, Mr.
Paterson, Mr. Bassett, Mr. Lee, Mr. Butler, and Mr. Few; whose seats
shall, accordingly, be vacated in the Senate at the expiration of the
fourth year.

Lot No. 3, drawn by Mr. Langdon, contained Mr. Langdon, Mr. Johnson, Mr.
Morris, Mr. Henry, Mr. Izard, and Mr. Gunn; whose seats shall,
accordingly, be vacated in the Senate at the expiration of the sixth

MONDAY, May 18.

Agreeably to the order of the 15th instant, the Senate waited on the
President of the United States at his own house, when the Vice
President, in their name, delivered to the President the address agreed
to on the 7th instant. To which the President of the United States was
pleased to make the following reply:

      GENTLEMEN: I thank you for your address, in which the most
      affectionate sentiments are expressed in the most obliging
      terms. The coincidence of circumstances which led to this
      auspicious crisis, the confidence reposed in me by my
      fellow-citizens, and the assistance I may expect from
      counsels which will be dictated by an enlarged and liberal
      policy, seem to presage a more prosperous issue to my
      administration than a diffidence of my abilities had taught
      me to anticipate. I now feel myself inexpressibly happy in
      a belief that Heaven, which has done so much for our infant
      nation, will not withdraw its providential influence before
      our political felicity shall have been completed, and in a
      conviction that the Senate will at all times co-operate in
      every measure which may tend to promote the welfare of this
      confederated republic. Thus supported by a firm trust in
      the great Arbiter of the universe, aided by the collective
      wisdom of the Union, and imploring the divine benediction
      on our joint exertions in the service of our country, I
      readily engage with you in the arduous but pleasing task of
      attempting to make a nation happy.

                                  G. WASHINGTON.


WILLIAM GRAYSON, from Virginia, appeared and took his seat.

      _Resolved_, That all bills on a second reading shall be
      considered by the Senate in the same manner as if the
      Senate were in a committee of the whole, before they shall
      be taken up and proceeded on by the Senate, agreeably to
      the standing rules, unless otherwise ordered.

MONDAY, May 25.

The Senate to-day, for the first time, entered upon executive business,
having received from the President of the United States a communication
covering a report from the Secretary of War, on the negotiations of the
Governor of the Western Territory with certain northern and
north-western Indians, and the treaties made in consequence thereof at
Fort Harmar, on the 9th of January, 1789, which was read, and ordered to
lie on the table.


The Senate proceeded in the consideration of the bill for laying a duty
on goods, wares and merchandises imported into the United States; and,
after debate, adjourned.


_Ordered_, That Mr. LANGDON administer the oath to the Vice President;
which was done accordingly.

And the Vice President administered the oath according to law, to the
following members: to Messrs. LANGDON, WINGATE, STRONG, DALTON, JOHNSON,

The same oath was, by the Vice President, administered to the Secretary,
together with the oath of office.

MONDAY, June 8.

PIERCE BUTLER, from South Carolina, appeared and took his seat.

The Vice President administered the oath to Mr. Butler.

TUESDAY, June 16.

The Senate entered on executive business. A communication from the
President informed them that Mr. JEFFERSON wished to return home, and he
proposed WILLIAM SHORT, Esq. to take his place as minister to France.
Laid on the table.


The Senate went into executive business. They examined into the fitness
of Mr. SHORT to supply the place of Mr. JEFFERSON, but came to no

THURSDAY, June 18.

The Senate went into executive business, and confirmed the appointment
of Mr. SHORT to take charge of our affairs at the court of France,
during the absence of the minister.

THURSDAY, June 25.

The Senate proceeded to the consideration of the bill for establishing
an Executive Department, to be denominated the Department of Foreign
Affairs; which was read the first time, and ordered to lie for

FRIDAY, July 17.

On motion, that, on the final question upon a bill or resolve, any
member shall have a right to enter his protest or dissent on the
journal, with reasons in support of such dissent, provided the same be
offered within two days after the determination on such final question:

Passed in the negative.

TUESDAY, July 21.

The Senate entered on executive business, and

_Ordered_, That the Secretary of Foreign Affairs attend the Senate
to-morrow, and bring with him such papers as are requisite to give full
information relative to the consular convention between France and the
United States.


The Senate were to-day mostly engaged in executive business. The
Secretary of Foreign Affairs attended, agreeably to order, and made the
necessary explanations; and the following resolution was entered

SATURDAY, July 25.

RUFUS KING, from New York, appeared, and took his seat.

MONDAY, July 27.

PHILIP SCHUYLER, from New York, appeared, and took his seat.

TUESDAY, July 28.

On motion, the Senators from the State of New York proceeded to draw
lots for their classes, in conformity to the resolve of the 14th of May;
and two lots, No. 3, and a blank, being, by the Secretary, rolled up and
put into the box, Mr. SCHUYLER drew blank; and Mr. KING having drawn No.
3, his seat shall accordingly be vacated in the Senate at the expiration
of the sixth year.

The Secretary proceeded to put two other lots into the box, marked Nos.
1 and 2; and Mr. SCHUYLER having drawn lot No. 1, his seat shall
accordingly be vacated in the Senate at the expiration of the second

MONDAY, August 3.

The Senate entered on executive business. The President communicated to
them a list of about one hundred appointments as collectors, naval
officers, and surveyors. The Senate advised and consented to about
one-half the list; the rest lay till to-morrow.

TUESDAY, August 4.

A message from the House of Representatives brought up a bill for making
compensation to the President and Vice President of the United States,
and desired the concurrence of the Senate therein;

Together with the appointment of Messrs. WADSWORTH, CARROLL, and
HARTLEY, a committee, to join with a committee of the Senate to be
appointed for the purpose, "to consider of and report when it will be
convenient and proper that an adjournment of the present session of
Congress should take place; and to consider and report such business,
now before Congress, necessary to be finished before the adjournment,
and such as may be conveniently postponed to the next session; and,
also, to consider and report such matters, not now before Congress, but
which it will be necessary should be considered and determined by
Congress before an adjournment."

The Senate again entered on executive business, and advised and
confirmed all the remainder of the list of appointments presented
yesterday, one excepted.

FRIDAY, August 7.

The Senate, in the absence of the Vice President, proceeded to elect a
President _pro tempore_; and the votes being collected and counted, the
Honorable JOHN LANGDON was unanimously appointed.

A message from the President of the United States, by General Knox:

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      The business which has hitherto been under the
      consideration of Congress has been of so much importance,
      that I was unwilling to draw their attention from it to any
      other subject. But the disputes which exist between some of
      the United States and several powerful tribes of Indians,
      within the limits of the Union, and the hostilities which
      have, in several instances, been committed on the
      frontiers, seem to require the immediate interposition of
      the General Government.

      I have, therefore, directed the several statements and
      papers which have been submitted to me on this subject, by
      General Knox, to be laid before you for your information.

      While the measures of Government ought to be calculated to
      protect its citizens from all injury and violence, a due
      regard should be extended to those Indian tribes whose
      happiness, in the course of events, so materially depends
      on the national justice and humanity of the United States.

      If it should be the judgment of Congress that it would be
      most expedient to terminate all differences in the southern
      district, and to lay the foundation for future confidence,
      by an amicable treaty with the Indian tribes in that
      quarter, I think proper to suggest the consideration of the
      expediency of instituting a temporary commission for that
      purpose, to consist of three persons, whose authority
      should expire with the occasion. How far such a measure,
      unassisted by posts, would be competent to the
      establishment and preservation of peace and tranquillity on
      the frontiers, is also a matter which merits your serious

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      NEW YORK, _August 7, 1789_.

The above message was ordered to lie for consideration.[6]

Mr. MORRIS, in behalf of the committee on the bill for allowing a
compensation to the President and Vice President of the United States,
reported an amendment, to wit:

      To expunge, in the provision for the Vice President, "five
      thousand dollars," and insert "six thousand dollars."

On motion to reduce the provision for the President of the United
States, from "twenty-five thousand" to "twenty thousand dollars:"

Passed in the negative.

On motion to make the provision for the Vice President eight thousand
dollars, instead of five thousand dollars:

Passed in the negative.

The Senate entered on executive business.

The following message from the President was laid before them:

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      My nomination of Benjamin Fishbourn for the place of naval
      officer of the port of Savannah not having met with your
      concurrence, I now nominate Lachlan McIntosh for that

      Whatever may have been the reasons which induced your
      dissent, I am persuaded they were such as you deemed
      sufficient. Permit me to submit to your consideration
      whether, on occasions where the propriety of nominations
      appears questionable to you, it would not be expedient to
      communicate that circumstance to me, and thereby avail
      yourselves of the information which led me to make them,
      and which I would with pleasure lay before you. Probably my
      reasons for nominating Mr. Fishbourn may tend to show that
      such a mode of proceeding, in such cases, might be useful.
      I will, therefore, detail them.

      First. While Colonel Fishbourn was an officer, in actual
      service, and chiefly under my own eye, his conduct appeared
      to me irreproachable; nor did I ever hear any thing
      injurious to his reputation as an officer or a gentleman.
      At the storming of Stony Point, his behavior was
      represented to have been active and brave, and he was
      charged by his General to bring the account of that
      success to the head quarters of the army.

      Secondly. Since his residence in Georgia, he has been
      repeatedly elected to the Assembly as a representative of
      the county of Chatham, in which the port of Savannah is
      situated, and sometimes of the counties of Glynn and
      Camden; he has been chosen a member of the executive
      council of the State, and has lately been president of the
      same; he has been elected by the officers of the militia,
      in the county of Chatham, lieutenant-colonel of the militia
      in that district; and, on a very recent occasion, to wit,
      in the month of May last, he has been appointed by the
      council (on the suspension of the late collector) to an
      office in the port of Savannah, nearly similar to that for
      which I nominated him; which office he actually holds at
      this time. To these reasons for nominating Mr. Fishbourn, I
      might add that I received private letters of
      recommendation, and oral testimonials in his favor, from
      some of the most respectable characters in that State; but
      as they were secondary considerations with me, I do not
      think it necessary to communicate them to you.

      It appeared, therefore, to me, that Mr. Fishbourn must have
      enjoyed the _confidence_ of the militia officers, in order
      to have been elected to a military rank; the _confidence_
      of the freemen, to have been elected to the Assembly; the
      _confidence_ of the Assembly, to have been selected for the
      council; and the _confidence_ of the council, to have been
      appointed collector of the port of Savannah.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      NEW YORK, _August 6, 1789_.

FRIDAY, August 21.

The Senate entered on executive business. They proceeded to consider the
report made by Mr. IZARD, yesterday, as follows:

The committee appointed to wait on the President of the United States,
and confer with him on the mode of communication proper to be pursued
between him and the Senate, in the formation of treaties, and making
appointments to offices, reported:

Which report was agreed to. Whereupon,

      _Resolved_, That when nominations shall be made in writing
      by the President of the United States to the Senate, a
      future day shall be assigned, unless the Senate unanimously
      direct otherwise, for taking them into consideration; that
      when the President of the United States shall meet the
      Senate in the Senate Chamber, the President of the Senate
      shall have a chair on the floor, be considered as at the
      head of the Senate, and his chair shall be assigned to the
      President of the United States; that when the Senate shall
      be convened by the President of the United States to any
      other place, the President of the Senate and Senators shall
      attend at the place appointed. The Secretary of the Senate
      shall also attend to take the minutes of the Senate.

      That all questions shall be put by the President of the
      Senate, either in the presence or absence of the President
      of the United States; and the Senators shall signify their
      assent or dissent by answering _viva voce_, aye or no.[8]

Another message was received from the President, viz:

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      The President of the United States will meet the Senate, in
      the Senate Chamber, at half-past eleven o'clock to-morrow,
      to advise with them on the terms of the treaty to be
      negotiated with the Southern Indians.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      NEW YORK, _August 21, 1789_.

SATURDAY, August 22.

The Senate again entered on executive business.

The President of the United States came into the Senate Chamber,
attended by General Knox, and laid before the Senate the following
statement of facts, with the questions thereto annexed, for their advice
and consent:

      [Here follows the statement of facts, and the questions
      thereto annexed, and the answer of the Senate to each

MONDAY, August 24.

The Senate was to-day wholly engaged in executive business.

The President of the United States being present in the Senate Chamber,
attended by General Knox,

The Senate resumed the consideration of the state of facts and questions
thereto annexed, laid before them by the President of the United States,
on Saturday last. And the first question, viz: "In the present state of
affairs between North Carolina and the United States, will it be proper
to take any other measures for redressing the injuries of the Cherokees
than the one herein suggested?" being put, was answered in the

The third question, viz: "If the commissioners shall adjudge that the
Creek nation was fully represented at the three treaties with Georgia,
and that the cessions of land were obtained with the full understanding
and free consent of the acknowledged proprietors, and that the said
treaties ought to be considered as just and equitable: in this case,
shall the commissioners be instructed to insist on a formal renewal and
confirmation thereof? and, in case of a refusal, shall they be
instructed to inform the Creeks that the arms of the Union shall be
employed to compel them to acknowledge the justice of the said
cessions?" was wholly answered in the affirmative.

The fourth question, and its four subdivisions, viz: "But if the
commissioners shall adjudge that the said treaties were formed with an
inadequate or unauthorized representation of the Creek nation, or that
the treaties were held under circumstances of constraint or unfairness
of any sort, so that the United States could not, with justice and
dignity, request or urge a confirmation thereof: in this case, shall the
commissioners, considering the importance of the Oconee lands to
Georgia, be instructed to use their highest exertions to obtain a
cession of said lands? If so, shall the commissioners be instructed, if
they cannot obtain the said cessions on better terms, to offer for the
same, and for the further great object of attaching the Creeks to the
Government of the United States, the following conditions:

"1st. A compensation in money or goods, to the amount of ---- dollars;
the said amount to be stipulated to be paid by Georgia at the period
which shall be fixed, or in failure thereof, by the United States.

"2d. A secure port on the Altamaha or on St. Mary's river, or at any
other place between the same, as may be mutually agreed to by the
commissioners and the Creeks.

"3d. Certain pecuniary considerations to some, and honorary military
distinctions to other influential chiefs, on their taking oaths of
allegiance to the United States.

"4th. A solemn guarantee by the United States to the Creeks of their
remaining territory, and to maintain the same, if necessary, by a line
of military posts," was wholly answered in the affirmative. The blank to
be filled at the discretion of the President of the United States.

The fifth question, viz: "But if all offers should fail to induce the
Creeks to make the desired cessions to Georgia, shall the commissioners
make it an ultimatum?" was answered in the negative.

The sixth question being divided, the first part, containing as follows,
viz: "If the said cessions shall not be made an ultimatum, shall the
commissioners proceed and make a treaty, and include the disputed lands
within the limits which shall be assigned to the Creeks?" was answered
in the negative.

The remainder, viz: "If not, shall a temporary boundary be marked,
making the Oconee the line, and the other parts of the treaty be

"In this case, shall a secure port be stipulated, and the pecuniary and
honorary considerations granted?"

"In other general objects shall the treaties formed at Hopewell, with
the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws, be the basis of a treaty with
the Creeks?" were all answered in the affirmative.

On the seventh question, viz: "Shall the sum of twenty thousand dollars,
appropriated to Indian expenses and treaties, be wholly applied, if
necessary, to a treaty with the Creeks? if not, what proportion?" It was
agreed to advise and consent to appropriate the whole sum, if necessary,
at the discretion of the President of the United States.

The President of the United States withdrew from the Senate Chamber, and
the Vice President put the question of adjournment; to which the Senate

WEDNESDAY, September 16.

The following message from the President of the United States was
received by the Secretary of War.

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      The Governor of the Western Territory has made a statement
      to me of the reciprocal hostilities of the Wabash Indians,
      and the people inhabiting the frontiers bordering on the
      river Ohio, which I herewith lay before Congress.

      The United States, in Congress assembled, by their acts of
      the 21st day of July, 1787, and of the 12th August, 1788,
      made a provisional arrangement for calling forth the
      militia of Virginia and Pennsylvania in the proportions
      therein specified.

      As the circumstances which occasioned the said arrangement
      continue nearly the same, I think proper to suggest to your
      consideration the expediency of making some temporary
      provision for calling forth the militia of the United
      States for the purposes stated in the constitution, which
      would embrace the cases apprehended by the Governor of the
      Western Territory.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      _September_ 16, 1789.

THURSDAY, September 17.

The Senate entered on executive business.

The following message was received from the President of the United

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      It doubtless is important that all treaties and compacts
      formed by the United States with other nations, whether
      civilized or not, should be made with caution and executed
      with fidelity.

      It is said to be the general understanding and practice of
      nations, as a check on the mistakes and indiscretions of
      ministers or commissioners, not to consider any treaty
      negotiated and signed by such officers as final and
      conclusive, until ratified by the sovereign or government
      from whom they derive their powers. This practice has been
      adopted by the United States respecting their treaties with
      European nations, and I am inclined to think it would be
      advisable to observe it in the conduct of our treaties with
      the Indians; for though such treaties being, on their part,
      made by their chiefs or rulers, need not be ratified by
      them, yet, being formed on our part by the agency of
      subordinate officers, it seems to be both prudent and
      reasonable that their acts should not be binding on the
      nation until approved and ratified by the Government. It
      strikes me that this point should be well considered and
      settled, so that our national proceedings, in this respect,
      may become uniform, and be directed by fixed and stable

      The treaties with certain Indian nations, which were laid
      before you with my message of the 25th May last, suggested
      two questions to my mind, viz: 1st, Whether those treaties
      were to be considered as perfected, and, consequently, as
      obligatory, without being ratified? If not, then, 2dly,
      Whether both, or either, and which of them, ought to be
      ratified? On these questions I request your opinion and

      You have, indeed, advised me "_to execute and enjoin an
      observance of_" the treaty with the Wyandots, &c. You,
      gentlemen, doubtless intended to be clear and explicit; and
      yet, without further explanation, I fear I may
      misunderstand your meaning: for if by my _executing_ that
      treaty you mean that I should make it (in a more particular
      and immediate manner than it now is) the act of Government,
      then it follows that I am to ratify it. If you mean by my
      _executing it_ that I am to see that it be carried into
      effect and operation, then I am led to conclude, either
      that you consider it as being perfect and obligatory in its
      present state, and therefore to be executed and observed;
      or that you consider it to derive its completion and
      obligation from the silent approbation and ratification
      which my proclamation may be construed to imply. Although I
      am inclined to think that the latter is your intention, yet
      it certainly is best that all doubts respecting it be

      Permit me to observe, that it will be proper for me to be
      informed of your sentiments relative to the treaty with the
      Six Nations, previous to the departure of the Governor of
      the Western Territory; and therefore I recommend it to
      your early consideration.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      _September_ 17, 1789.

      _Ordered_, That the President's message be committed to
      Messrs. CARROLL, KING, and READ.

FRIDAY, September 18.

The Senate entered on executive business.

Mr. CARROLL, on behalf of the committee appointed yesterday, reported as

The committee, to whom was referred a message from the President of the
United States of the 17th September, 1789, report:

      That the signature of treaties with the Indian nations has
      ever been considered as a full completion thereof, and that
      such treaties have never been solemnly ratified by either
      of the contracting parties, as hath been commonly practised
      among the civilized nations of Europe: wherefore the
      committee are of opinion that the formal ratification of
      the treaty concluded at Fort Harmar on the 9th day of
      January, 1789, between Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the
      Western Territory, on the part of the United States, and
      the sachems and warriors of the Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa,
      Chippewa, Pattiwattima, and Sac Nations, is not expedient
      or necessary; and that the resolve of the Senate of the 8th
      September, 1789, respecting the said treaty, authorizes the
      President of the United States to enjoin a due observance

TUESDAY, September 29.

The following communications from the President were received by Mr.

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      His Most Christian Majesty, by a letter dated the 7th of
      June last, addressed to the President and members of the
      General Congress of the United States of North America,
      announces the much lamented death of his son, the Dauphin.
      The generous conduct of the French monarch and nation
      towards this country renders every event that may affect
      his or their prosperity interesting to us; and I shall take
      care to assure him of the sensibility with which the United
      States participate in the affliction which a loss so much
      to be regretted must have occasioned, both to him and to

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      _September_ 29.

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      Having been yesterday informed by a joint committee of both
      Houses of Congress, that they had agreed to a recess, to
      commence this day, and to continue until the first Monday
      of January next, I take the earliest opportunity of
      acquainting you that, considering how long and laborious
      this session has been, and the reasons which, I presume,
      have produced this resolution, it does not appear to me
      expedient to recommend any measures to their consideration
      at present, or now to call your attention, gentlemen, to
      any of those matters in my department which require your
      advice and consent, and yet remain to be despatched.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      _September_ 29, 1789.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the
House of Representatives had finished the business of the session, and
were ready to adjourn, agreeably to the order of the two Houses of

The business of the session being brought to a close, the Vice
President, agreeably to the resolve of the two Houses on the 26th
instant, adjourned the Senate to the first Monday in January next, then
to meet at the City Hall in New York.



_New Hampshire._--John Langdon, Paine Wingate.

_Massachusetts._--Caleb Strong, Tristram Dalton.

_Connecticut._--William S. Johnson, Oliver Ellsworth.

_New York._--Rufus King, Philip Schuyler.

_New Jersey._--William Paterson, Jonathan Elmer.

_Pennsylvania._--William Maclay, Robert Morris.

_Delaware._--Richard Bassett, George Reed.

_Maryland._--Charles Carroll, John Henry.

_Virginia._--Richard Henry Lee, William Grayson.

_South Carolina._--Ralph Izard, Pierce Butler.

_Georgia._--William Few, James Gunn.

_North Carolina._[10]--Benjamin Hawkins, Samuel Johnston.

_Rhode Island._[11]--Joseph Stanton, jr., Theodore Foster.


_New Hampshire._--Nicholas Gilman, Samuel Livermore, Abiel Foster.

_Massachusetts._--George Thatcher, Fisher Ames, George Leonard, Elbridge
Gerry, Jonathan Grout, Benjamin Goodhue, Theodore Sedgwick, George

_Connecticut._--Benjamin Huntington, Jonathan Trumbull, Jeremiah
Wadsworth, Roger Sherman, Jonathan Sturges.

_New York._--John Lawrence, Egbert Benson, William Floyd, Peter
Sylvester, John Hathorn, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer.

_New Jersey._--Elias Boudinot, James Schureman, Lambert Cadwalader,
Thomas Sinnickson.

_Pennsylvania._--Henry Wynkoop, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Daniel
Heister, Thomas Scott, George Clymer, Thomas Fitzsimons, Thomas Hartley,
Peter Muhlenberg.

_Delaware._--John Vining.

_Maryland._--William Smith, George Gale, Daniel Carroll, Joshua Seney,
Michael Jenifer Stone, Benjamin Contee.

_Virginia._--Alexander White, James Madison, jr., John Page, Richard
Bland Lee, Samuel Griffin, Andrew Moore, Josiah Parker, Theodorick
Bland,[12] Isaac Coles, John Brown.

_South Carolina._--Thomas Tudor Tucker, Edanus Burke, Daniel Huger,
William Smith, Thomas Sumter.

_Georgia._--Abraham Baldwin, James Jackson, George Mathews.

_North Carolina._[13]--John Steele, Timothy Bloodworth, Hugh Williamson,
John Baptist Ashe, John Sevier.

_Rhode Island._[14]--Benjamin Bourn.





WEDNESDAY, March 4, 1789.

This being the day fixed for the meeting of the new Congress, the
following members of the House of Representatives appeared and took
their seats, viz:[15]




_From Virginia_, ALEXANDER WHITE.

_From South Carolina_, THOMAS TUDOR TUCKER.

A quorum of the members not being present, the House adjourned until
to-morrow at eleven o'clock.

THURSDAY, March 5.

Several other members attended, viz: from New Hampshire, NICHOLAS
GILMAN; from Massachusetts, BENJAMIN GOODHUE; from Connecticut, ROGER
SHERMAN and JONATHAN STURGES; and from Pennsylvania, HENRY WYNKOOP; and
no other members arriving, a quorum not being present, the House
adjourned, from day to day, until the 14th instant.

SATURDAY, March 14.

The following members took their seats, to wit: JAMES MADISON, junior,
JOHN PAGE, and RICHARD BLAND LEE, from Virginia.

A quorum not being yet present, the House adjourned, from day to day,
until the 17th instant.

TUESDAY, March 17.

SAMUEL GRIFFIN, from Virginia, took his seat.

WEDNESDAY, March 18.

ANDREW MOORE, from Virginia, took his seat.

No other member appearing, the House adjourned, from day to day, until
the 23d instant.

MONDAY, March 23.

The following members appeared, to wit:--

From New Jersey, ELIAS BOUDINOT; and from Maryland, WILLIAM SMITH.

No additional member appeared on the 24th.

WEDNESDAY, March 25.

JONATHAN PARKER, from Virginia, appeared and took his seat.

No additional member arrived until the 30th instant.

MONDAY, March 30.

GEORGE GALE, from Maryland, and THEODORICK BLAND, from Virginia,
appeared and took their seats.

No additional member on the 31st instant.


Two other members appeared, to wit: JAMES SCHUREMAN, from New Jersey,
and THOMAS SCOTT, from Pennsylvania, who, forming a quorum of the whole
body, it was, on motion,

      _Resolved_, That this House will proceed to the choice of a
      Speaker by ballot.

The House accordingly proceeded to ballot for a Speaker, when it was
found that a majority of the votes were in favor of FREDERICK AUGUSTUS
MUHLENBERG, one of the Representatives from Pennsylvania. Whereupon Mr.
MUHLENBERG was conducted to the chair, from whence he made his
acknowledgments to the House for so distinguished an honor.

The House then proceeded in the same manner to the appointment of a
Clerk, when it was found that Mr. JOHN BECKLEY was elected.

On motion,

_Ordered_, That the members do severally deliver in their credentials at
the Clerk's table.

THURSDAY, April 2.

LAMBERT CADWALADER, from New Jersey, appeared and took his seat.

FRIDAY, April 3.

GEORGE CLYMER, from Pennsylvania, appeared and took his seat.

SATURDAY, April 4.

GEORGE PARTRIDGE, from Massachusetts, appeared and took his seat.

The House proceeded to the election of a doorkeeper, and assistant
doorkeeper; when Gifford Dudley was chosen to the former, and Thomas
Claxton to the latter office.

MONDAY, April 6.

DANIEL CARROLL, from Maryland, appeared and took his seat.

_Ordered_, That leave be given to bring in a bill to regulate the taking
the oath or affirmation prescribed by the sixth article of the
Constitution; and that Messrs. WHITE, MADISON, TRUMBULL, GILMAN, and
CADWALADER, do prepare and bring in the same.

On motion,

      _Resolved_, That the form of the oath to be taken by the
      members of this House, as required by the third clause of
      the sixth article of the Constitution of Government of the
      United States, be as followeth, to wit: "I, A B, a
      Representative of the United States in the Congress
      thereof, do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be)
      in the presence of Almighty GOD, that I will support the
      Constitution of the United States. So help me God."

A message from the Senate, by Mr. ELLSWORTH.

      Mr. SPEAKER: I am charged by the Senate to inform this
      House, that a quorum of the Senate is now formed; that a
      President is elected for the sole purpose of opening the
      certificates and counting the votes of the electors of the
      several States, in the choice of a President and Vice
      President of the United States; and that the Senate is now
      ready in the Senate Chamber, to proceed, in presence of
      this House, to discharge that duty. I have it also in
      further charge to inform this House that the Senate has
      appointed one of its members to sit at the Clerk's table to
      make a list of the votes as they shall be declared,
      submitting it to the wisdom of this House to appoint one or
      more of its members for the like purpose.

On motion,

      _Resolved_, That Mr. Speaker, attended by the House, do now
      withdraw to the Senate Chamber, for the purpose expressed
      in the message from the Senate; and that Mr. PARKER and Mr.
      HEISTER be appointed on the part of this House, to sit at
      the Clerk's table with the member of the Senate, and make a
      list; of the votes, as the same shall be declared.

Mr. Speaker accordingly left the chair, and attended by the House,
withdrew to the Senate Chamber, and after some time returned to the

Mr. Speaker resumed the chair.

Mr. PARKER and Mr. HEISTER then delivered in at the Clerk's table a list
of the votes of the electors of the several States in the choice of a
President and Vice President of the United States, as the same were
declared by the President of the Senate, in the presence of the Senate
and of this House, which was ordered to be entered on the Journal.[16]


Two other members, to wit: JNO. LAWRENCE, from New York, and THOMAS
FITZSIMONS, from Pennsylvania, appeared and took their seats.

_Duties on Imports._

On motion, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on
the state of the Union, Mr. PAGE in the chair.

Mr. MADISON.--I take the liberty, Mr. Chairman, at this early stage of
the business, to introduce to the committee a subject, which appears to
me to be of the greatest magnitude; a subject, sir, that requires our
first attention, and our united exertions.

No gentleman here can be unacquainted with the numerous claims upon our
justice; nor with the impotency which prevented the late Congress of the
United States from carrying into effect the dictates of gratitude and

The union, by the establishment of a more effective government, having
recovered from the state of imbecility that heretofore prevented a
performance of its duty, ought, in its first act, to revive those
principles of honor and honesty that have too long lain dormant.

The deficiency in our Treasury has been too notorious to make it
necessary for me to animadvert upon that subject. Let us content
ourselves with endeavoring to remedy the evil. To do this a national
revenue must be obtained; but the system must be such a one, that, while
it secures the object of revenue, it shall not be oppressive to our
constituents. Happy it is for us that such a system is within our power;
for I apprehend that both these objects may be obtained from an impost
on articles imported into the United States.

In pursuing this measure, I know that two points occur for our
consideration. The first respects the general regulation of commerce;
which, in my opinion, ought to be as free as the policy of nations will
admit. The second relates to revenue alone; and this is the point I mean
more particularly to bring into the view of the committee.

Not being at present possessed of sufficient materials for fully
elucidating these points, and our situation admitting of no delay, I
shall propose such articles of regulations only as are likely to
occasion the least difficulty.

The propositions made on this subject by Congress in 1783, having
received, generally, the approbation of the several States of the Union,
in some form or other, seem well calculated to become the basis of the
temporary system, which I wish the committee to adopt.[17] I am well
aware that the changes which have taken place in many of the States, and
in our public circumstances, since that period, will require, in some
degree, a deviation from the scale of duties then affixed: nevertheless,
for the sake of that expedition which is necessary, in order to embrace
the spring importations, I should recommend a _general_ adherence to the

This, sir, with the addition of a clause or two on the subject of
tonnage, I will now read, and, with leave, submit it to the committee,
hoping it may meet their approbation, as an expedient rendered eligible
by the urgent occasion there is for the speedy supplies of the federal
treasury, and a speedy rescue of our trade from its present anarchy.

      _Resolved_, As the opinion of this committee, that the
      following duties ought to be levied on goods, wares, and
      merchandise, imported into the United States, viz:

On rum, per gallon, ---- of a dollar; on all other spirituous liquors
----; on molasses ----; on Madeira wine ----; on all other wines ----;
on common bohea teas per lb. ----; on all other teas ----; on pepper
----; on brown sugar ----; on loaf sugar ----; on all other sugars ----;
on cocoa and coffee ----; on all other articles ---- per cent. on their
value at the time and place of importation.

That there ought, moreover, to be levied on all vessels in which goods,
wares, or merchandises shall be imported, the duties following, viz: On
all vessels built within the United States, and belonging wholly to
citizens thereof, at the rate of ---- per ton.

On all vessels belonging wholly to the subjects of Powers with whom the
United States have formed treaties, or partly to the subjects of such
Powers, and partly to citizens of the said States, at the rate of ----.

On all vessels belonging wholly or in part to the subjects of other
Powers, at the rate of ----.[18]

Mr. BOUDINOT.--The necessity of adopting some measure, like the one
proposed by the honorable gentleman from Virginia, is too apparent to
need any argument in its support. The plan which he has submitted to the
committee appears to be simple and sufficiently complete for the present
purpose; I shall, therefore, for my own part, be content with it, and
shall move you, sir, that the blanks be filled up in the manner they
were recommended to be charged by Congress in 1783. My reason for this
is, that those sums have been approved by the Legislatures of every
State represented on this floor, and of consequence must have been
agreeable to the sense of our constituents at that time; and, I believe,
nothing since has intervened to give us reason to believe they have made
an alteration in their sentiments.

Mr. WHITE.--I wish filling up the blanks may be deferred until the
business is more matured; nor will this be attended with a loss of time,
because the forms necessary to complete a bill will require so much as
to give gentlemen leisure to consider the proper quantum of impost to be
laid, as well on the enumerated articles as on the common mass of
merchandise rated _ad valorem_; for, as was hinted by my colleague,
something may have occurred to render an alteration in the sums
recommended in 1783 in some degree necessary; and if so, time will be
given to consider the subject with more attention in the progress of the
bill, and no unnecessary delay can arise; wherefore, I move you, sir,
that the committee now rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit

Mr. MADISON.--I do not consider it at this moment necessary to fill up
the blanks, nor had I it in contemplation at the time I offered the
propositions. I supposed that most of the gentlemen would wish time to
think upon the principles generally, and upon the articles particularly;
while others, who, from their situation and advantages in life, are more
conversant on this subject, may be induced to turn their particular
attention to a subject they are well able to do justice to, and to
assist the committee with their knowledge and information; unless such
gentlemen are now prepared and disposed to proceed in filling up the
blanks, I shall second the motion for the committee's rising.

THURSDAY, April 9.

EGBERT BENSON, from New York, and ISAAC COLES, from Virginia, appeared
and took their seats.

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
state of the Union, Mr. PAGE in the chair.

Mr. LAWRENCE.--The subject of the proposition laid before the committee
by the honorable gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. MADISON,) will now, I
presume, Mr. Chairman, recur for our deliberation. I imagine it to be of
considerable importance, not only to the United States, but to every
individual of the Union. The object of the revenue alone would place it
in this situation, and in this light I mean now to consider it. If I am
not mistaken, the honorable mover of the plan viewed it as a temporary
system, particularly calculated to embrace the spring importations;
therefore, in order to discover whether the mode laid before you is well
calculated to answer this end, it will be proper to consider its
operation. The plan consists of certain distinct propositions; one part
is intended to lay a specific sum on enumerated articles, the other a
certain per cent. _ad valorem_: perhaps simplifying the system may be
productive of happy consequences, and it strikes me that confusion and
perplexity will be best avoided by such a measure; hence, it may be
proper to lay a duty at a certain rate per cent. on the value of all
articles, without attempting an enumeration of any; because, if we
attempt to specify every article, it will expose us to a question which
must require more time than can be spared, to obtain the object that
appears to be in the view of the committee. A question, I say, sir, will
arise, whether the enumeration embraces every article that will bear a
duty, and whether the duty to be affixed is the proper sum the article
is able to bear. On this head, sir, I believe that the committee have
not materials sufficient to form even the basis of the system, beside
being wholly incompetent to determine the rate most advantageous to the
article of revenue, and most agreeable to the interest and convenience
of our constituents. Knowledge on these points can only be obtained by
experience; but hitherto we have had none, at least of a general nature.
The partial regulations made by the States, throw but little light on
the subject, and its magnitude ought to induce us to use the greatest
degree of caution.

A system of the nature which I hinted at, will, in my opinion, be not
only less complex and difficult in its formation, but likewise easier
and more certain in its operation; because the more simple a plan of
revenue is, the easier it becomes understood and executed: and it is,
sir, an earnest wish of mine, that all our acts should partake of this
nature. Moreover, by adopting the plan I have mentioned, you will
embrace the spring importation and give time for digesting and maturing
one upon more perfect principles; and, as the proposed system is
intended to be but a temporary one, _that_ I esteem to be best which
requires the least time to form it.

With great deference I have submitted these sentiments to the committee,
as what occurred to me to be the better plan of the two; though, I must
own, it is a subject on which I am not so fully informed as I wish to
be, and therefore hope the indulgence of the committee in considering

Mr. FITZSIMONS.--I observe, Mr. Chairman, by what the gentlemen have
said, who have spoken on the subject before you, that the proposed plan
of revenue is viewed by them as a temporary system, to be continued only
until proper materials are brought forward and arranged in more perfect
form. I confess, sir, that I carry my views on this subject much
further; that I earnestly wish such a one which, in its operation, will
be some way adequate to our present situation, as it respects our
agriculture, our manufactures, and our commerce.

An honorable gentleman (Mr. LAWRENCE) has expressed an opinion that an
enumeration of articles will operate to confuse the business. So far am
I from seeing it in this point of view, that, on the contrary, I
conceive it will tend to facilitate it. Does not every gentleman
discover that, when a particular article is offered to the consideration
of the committee, he will be better able to give his opinion upon it
than on an aggregate question? because the partial and convenient impost
laid on such article by individual States is more or less known to every
member in the committee. It is also well known that the amount of such
revenue is more accurately calculated and better to be relied on,
because of the certainty of collection, less being left to the officers
employed in bringing it forward to the public treasury. It being my
opinion that an enumeration of articles will tend to clear away
difficulties, I wish as many to be selected as possible; for this reason
I have prepared myself with an additional number, which I wish subjoined
to those already mentioned in the motion on your table; among these are
some calculated to encourage the productions of our country, and protect
our infant manufactures; besides others tending to operate as sumptuary
restrictions upon articles which are often termed those of luxury. The
amendment I mean to offer is in these words: I shall read it in my
place, and, if I am seconded, hand it to you for the consideration of
the committee.

      _Resolved_, As the opinion of this committee, that the
      following duties ought to be laid on goods, wares, and
      merchandise imported into the United States, to wit:

[The articles enumerated for duty were beer, ale, and porter; beef,
pork, butter, candles, cheese, soap, cider, boots, steel, cables,
cordage, twine or pack thread, malt, nails, spikes, tacks, or brads;
salt, tobacco, snuff, blank books, writing, printing, and wrapping
paper; pasteboard, cabinet ware; buttons, saddles, gloves, hats,
millinery, castings of iron, slit, or rolled iron; leather, shoes,
slippers, and golo shoes; coach, chariot, and other four wheel
carriages; chaise, solo, or other two wheel carriages; nutmegs,
cinnamon, cloves, raisins, figs, currants, almonds.]

This motion was seconded by Mr. SCHUREMAN.

Mr. WHITE.--I shall not pretend to say that there ought not to be
specific duties laid upon every one of the articles enumerated in the
amendment just offered; but I am inclined to think, that entering so
minutely into the detail, will consume too much of our time, and thereby
lose us a greater sum than the additional impost on the last-mentioned
articles will bring in; because there may be doubts whether many of them
are capable of bearing an increased duty; but this, sir, is not the case
with those mentioned in the motion of my colleague: for I believe it
will be readily admitted on all sides, that such articles as rum, wines,
and sugar, have the capacity of bearing an additional duty besides a per
cent. _ad valorem_. His system appears to be simple, and its principles
I conceive, are such as gentlemen are agreed upon, consequently a bill
founded thereupon would pass this House in a few days; the operation of
the law would commence early, and the treasury be furnished with money
to answer the demands upon it. This law would continue until mature
deliberation, ample discussion, and full information, enabled us to
complete a perfect system of revenue: for, in order to charge specified
articles of manufacture, so as to encourage our domestic ones, it will
be necessary to examine the present state of each throughout the Union.
This will certainly be a work of labor and time, and will perhaps
require more of each than the committee have now in their power. Let us,
therefore, act upon the principles which are admitted, and take in the
most material and productive articles, leaving to a period of more
leisure and information a plan to embrace the whole.

Mr. TUCKER.--In common with the other gentlemen on this floor, I
consider the subject which engages our present deliberations as of very
great importance as it relates to our agriculture, manufactures, and
commerce; I also consider it of consequence that we should give full
satisfaction to our constituents by our decision, be that whatever it
may; and I think this most likely to be effected by establishing a
permanent regulation, although in the interim, a temporary system may be

I have no objection, sir, to go so far into the matter as to pass a law
to collect an impost _ad valorem_, whilst it is understood to be but a
temporary system; and likewise to lay a duty on such enumerated articles
of importation as have been heretofore considered as proper ones by the
Congress of 1783. So far, sir, the matter may be plain to us, and we run
no hazard of doing any thing which may give dissatisfaction to any State
in the Union. The duties proposed by the Congress of 1783 were, I
believe, five per cent. on the value of all goods imported, and an
additional duty on a few enumerated articles.[19] This recommendation of
Congress has been so universally received by the several States, that I
think we run no risk of giving umbrage to any by adopting the plan; but
the other articles which have just been offered, are, I apprehend, to
many of us so novel, and, at the same time, so important, as to make it
hard to determine the propriety of taxing them in a few hours, or even
in a few days.

In order to preserve the peace and tranquillity of the Union, it will
become necessary that mutual deference and accommodation should take
place on subjects so important as the one I have first touched upon.
And, in order that this may take place, it is proper that gentlemen
deliver their sentiments with freedom and candor. I have done this in a
manner which I conceived it my duty to do, and shall just repeat that I
wish to confine the question to that part of the motion made by the
honorable gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. MADISON,) which respects laying
a general impost on the value of all goods imported, and the small
enumeration which precedes it: if it is in contemplation to do
otherwise, I shall be under the necessity of moving for a division of
the question. If I should lose this, and a high tonnage duty be insisted
on, I shall be obliged to vote against the measure altogether; when, if
the business is conducted on principles of moderation, I shall give my
vote for it to a certain degree.

Mr. HARTLEY.--If we consult the history of the ancient world, we shall
see that they have thought proper, for a long time past, to give great
encouragement to the establishment of manufactures, by laying such
partial duties on the importation of foreign goods, as to give the home
manufactures a considerable advantage in the price when brought to
market. It is also well known to this committee, that there are many
articles that will bear a higher duty than others, which are to remain
in the common mass, and be taxed with a certain impost _ad valorem_.
From this view of the subject I think it both politic and just that the
fostering hand of the General Government should extend to all those
manufactures which will tend to national utility. I am therefore sorry
that gentlemen seem to fix their mind to so early a period as 1783; for
we very well know our circumstances are much changed since that time: we
had then but few manufactures among us, and the vast quantities of goods
that flowed in upon us from Europe, at the conclusion of the war,
rendered those few almost useless; since then we have been forced by
necessity, and various other causes, to increase our domestic
manufactures to such a degree as to be able to furnish some in
sufficient quantity to answer the consumption of the whole Union, while
others are daily growing into importance. Our stock of materials is, in
many instances, equal to the greatest demand, and our artisans
sufficient to work them up even for exportation. In these cases, I take
it to be the policy of every enlightened nation to give their
manufactures that degree of encouragement necessary to perfect them,
without oppressing the other parts of the community; and under this
encouragement, the industry of the manufacturer will be employed to add
to the wealth of the nation.

Mr. MADISON.--From what has been suggested by the gentlemen that have
spoken on the subject before us, I am led to apprehend we shall be under
the necessity of travelling further into an investigation of principles
than what I supposed would be necessary, or had in contemplation when I
offered the propositions before you.

I am sensible that there is great weight in the observation that fell
from the honorable gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. TUCKER,) that it
will be necessary, on the one hand, to weigh and regard the sentiments
of the gentlemen from the different parts of the United States; but, on
the other hand, we must limit our consideration on this head, and,
notwithstanding all the deference and respect we pay to those
sentiments, we must consider the general interest of the Union; for this
is as much every gentleman's duty to consider as is the local or State
interest--and any system of impost that this committee may adopt must be
founded on the principles of mutual concession.

Gentlemen will be pleased to recollect, that those parts of the Union
which contribute more under one system than the other, are also those
parts more thinly planted, and consequently stand most in need of
national protection; therefore they will have less reason to complain of
unequal burthens.

There is another consideration; the States that are most advanced in
population, and ripe for manufactures, ought to have their particular
interests attended to in some degree. While these States retained the
power of making regulations of trade, they had the power to protect and
cherish such institutions; by adopting the present constitution, they
have thrown the exercise of this power into other hands: they must have
done this with an expectation that those interests would not be
neglected here.

In my opinion, it would be proper also for gentlemen to consider the
means of encouraging the great staple of America, I mean agriculture;
which I think may justly be styled the staple of the United States, from
the spontaneous productions which nature furnishes, and the manifest
advantage it has over every other object of emolument in this country.
If we compare the cheapness of our land with that of other nations, we
see so decided an advantage in that cheapness, as to have full
confidence of being unrivalled. With respect to the object of
manufactures, other countries may and do rival us; but we may be said to
have a monopoly in agriculture; the possession of the soil, and the
lowness of its price, give us as much a monopoly in this case, as any
nation or other parts of the world have in the monopoly of any article
whatever; but, with this advantage to us, that it cannot be shared nor
injured by rivalship.

If my general principle is a good one, that commerce ought to be free,
and labor and industry left at large to find its proper object, the only
thing which remains will be to discover the exceptions that do not come
within the rule I have laid down. I agree with the gentleman from
Pennsylvania, that there are exceptions, important in themselves, and
which claim the particular attention of the committee. Although the
freedom of commerce would be advantageous to the world, yet, in some
particulars, one nation might suffer to benefit others, and this ought
to be for the general good of society.

The next exception that occurs, is one on which great stress is laid by
some well informed men, and this with great plausibility. That each
nation should have within itself the means of defence, independent of
foreign supplies: that in whatever relates to the operations of war, no
State ought to depend upon a precarious supply from any part of the
world. There may be some truth in this remark, and therefore it is
proper for legislative attention. I am, though, well persuaded that the
reasoning on this subject has been carried too far. The difficulties we
experienced a few years ago, of obtaining military supplies, ought not
to furnish too much in favor of an establishment which would be
difficult and expensive; because our national character is now
established and recognized throughout the world, and the laws of war
favor national exertion more than intestine commotion, so that there is
good reason to believe that when it becomes necessary, we may obtain
supplies from abroad as readily as any other nation whatsoever. I have
mentioned this, because I think I see something among the enumerated
articles that seems to favor such a policy.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--I believe that it will not be disputed, that the best and
easiest way of supplying the public wants, is by raising a revenue on
the importation of goods by way of impost, though the manner in which it
should be done, I confess, is a subject on which I stand greatly in need
of information. I should, therefore, most cordially comply with the
request of the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. TUCKER,) in order to
obtain time for consideration, and to wait the arrival of the absent
gentlemen, in order that we may have that assistance which is to be
derived from them. Did I consider the question on the present motion
final, I should be at a loss how to act; but this, I take it, is not the
case. I presume it is intended by the mover only to lay his motion on
the table, with the original propositions open for debate and
consideration, till the committee are possessed of sufficient
information to proceed. I also confess, that, in general, I am in favor
of specific duties on enumerated articles. I shall therefore vote for
the amendment; but, in doing this, I shall not consider myself as bound
to support the whole, nor, indeed, any particular article which, upon
due consideration, I may deem either impolitic or unjust; for I cannot
conceive, that, by adopting the amendment, we tie up our hands, or
prevent future discussion. No, sir, that is not the case; and as I trust
we all have the same object in view, namely, the public good of the
United States, so I hope that a willing ear will be lent to every
proposition likely to promote this end; nor do I doubt but gentlemen are
mutually inclined to sacrifice local advantages for the accomplishment
of this great purpose.

On motion of Mr. LEE, the committee rose and reported progress, and the
House adjourned.

SATURDAY, April 11.

Mr. CLYMER submitted it to the consideration of the committee, how far
it was best to bring propositions forward in this way. Not that he
objected to this mode of encouraging manufactures and obtaining revenue,
by combining the two objects in one bill. He was satisfied that a
political necessity existed for both the one and the other, and it would
not be amiss to do it in this way, but perhaps the business would be
more speedily accomplished by entering upon it systematically.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--It appears to me that this business of raising revenue
points out two questions, of great importance, demanding much
information. The first is, what articles are proper objects of taxation,
and the probable amount of revenue from each. The second is, the proper
mode of collecting the money arising from this fund, when the object and
its amount are ascertained. There are three sources from which we may
gain information on the first question, namely, from the revenue laws of
the different States, for I believe a partial revenue has been raised
almost in every State by an impost. The second source of information,
and a very natural one, is the great body of merchants spread throughout
the United States; this is a very respectable and well-informed body of
our fellow-citizens, and great deference ought to be paid to their
communications--they are in a peculiar situation under the present
constitution, to which they are generally esteemed sincere friends--they
are also more immediately interested in the event of the proposed
measure, than any other class of men. To this Government they look for
protection and support, and for such regulations as are beneficial to
commerce; for these reasons, I think they deserve our confidence, and we
ought to obtain from them such information as will enable the Congress
to proceed to a general permanent system on more solid principles.

There are gentlemen on this floor well calculated to represent the
mercantile interests of this country, and in whose integrity and
abilities I have the highest confidence; but it is the duty of the
members of this body to see that the principles upon which we act, are
those calculated to promote the general good, and not confined to the
local interests of a few individuals, or even individual States, so that
they will decline trusting alone to this species of information, when
another is attainable.

Mr. FITZSIMONS thought it best to make the system as perfect as possible
before the committee determined its duration.

Mr. MADISON, that the subject which was under consideration divided
itself, as had been observed by the honorable gentlemen from Jersey,
into two parts; and hence he concluded that they might very properly be
provided for by two separate bills; and while the Committee of the Whole
are selecting articles and taxing them, another committee can be
employed in devising the mode of collection. This method he thought more
likely to reconcile the opinions of the committee than any he had heard

Mr. SHERMAN gave it as his opinion, that in fixing the duties on
particular articles, if they could not ascertain the exact quantum, it
would be better to run the risk of erring in setting low duties than
high ones, because it was less injurious to commerce to raise them than
to lower them; but nevertheless, he was for laying on duties which some
gentlemen might think high, as he thought it better to derive revenue
from impost than from direct taxation, or any other method in their
power. He moved that the article of rum should be charged with fifteen
cents per gallon--he used the term cents because it was a denomination
of national coin, fixed by the late Congress, ten of which make a _dime_
and ten _dimes_ one dollar.

Mr. SMITH was apprehensive fifteen cents would be too high, and
therefore moved ten cents, which he thought would raise more revenue
than the other.

Mr. MADISON advised and moved for the rising of the committee, in order
to give gentlemen time to make up their minds respecting the quantum of
impost to be laid on each article.

MONDAY, April 13.

from South Carolina, appeared and took their seats.

On motion,

_Ordered_, That Mr. BENSON, Mr. PETER MUHLENBERG, and Mr. GRIFFIN, be a
committee to consider of and report to the House respecting the
ceremonial of receiving the President, and that they be authorized to
confer with a committee of the Senate for the purpose.

TUESDAY, April 14.

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
state of the Union; Mr. PAGE in the chair.

Mr. BLAND, from Virginia, thought the committee not prepared to enter on
the business of impost in the accurate manner which the form of the
propositions seemed to imply. No gentleman on the floor could be more
desirous than he was to go into the measure of a permanent system; but
he could not agree to proceed at this time, for want of information.
When he looked at the list of articles, he saw some calculated to give
encouragement to home manufactures. This might be in some degree proper;
but it was a well-known fact, that the manufacturing arts in America
were only in their infancy, and far from being able to answer the
demands of the country; then certainly you lay a tax upon the whole
community, in order to put the money in the pockets of a few, whenever
you burthen the importation with a heavy impost.

Mr. SCOTT.--The subject before us naturally divides itself into two
heads. First, what article shall be the subject of a particular tax, and
what shall remain in the common mass liable to an impost _ad valorem_?
The second, what the sum is that is proper for the article we select?
For both these points will be necessary, because it can hardly be
supposed that all articles can be enumerated, while some certainly
ought. This being the case, it leads us to inquire what rule or
principle shall be laid down in order to make a proper discrimination;
for surely some reason should be assigned for this distinction. I
presume the particular article which is to be subjected to an
extraordinary duty must either come at so cheap a rate, according to its
intrinsic value, as to bear a greater impost without being unreasonably
expensive, or it must be one which we do not stand in need of at all,
and only used for the purposes of luxury. If an article does not come
within one of these descriptions, I see no reason why it should be taxed
in an extraordinary manner.

On motion of Mr. GALE, the word _rum_ was changed into distilled spirits
of Jamaica proof.

Mr. LAWRENCE proposed to lay twelve cents on this article, saying, I
believe, Mr. Chairman, it will be necessary to consider, when we are
about to lay a duty on any article, how far it is likely to be
collected, especially if our main object is to obtain revenue by our
impost. I trust it does not require much illustration to prove to the
satisfaction of the committee, that if you lay your duties too high, it
will be a temptation to smuggling; for, in the proportion which that sum
bears to the value of the article, will be the risk run in every attempt
to introduce it in a clandestine manner, and, if this temptation is made
too strong, the article will furnish no revenue. I believe, if the
committee shall impose a duty of fifteen cents, as proposed by the
gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. SHERMAN,) it will be so strong a
temptation for smuggling, that we shall lose our revenue altogether, or
be compelled to use a mode of collection probably different from what we
have been accustomed to--a mode so expensive as to absorb the whole
produce of the tax.

I wish to lay as large a sum on this article as good policy may deem
expedient; it is an article of great consumption, and though it cannot
be reckoned a necessary of life, yet it is in such general use, that it
may be expected to pay a very considerable sum into your treasury, when
others may not with so much certainty be relied upon. But, when we
consider the relative proportion of the first cost of it, and the
fifteen cents duty, we shall find it about one third. This, I cannot
help thinking, is too high, as the risk of a total loss may be ventured
in order to save so great a sum; it is surely a great temptation, and I
dread its consequences on more accounts than one.

Mr. MADISON.--I would tax this article with as high a duty as can be
collected, and I am sure, if we judge from what we have heard and seen
in the several parts of the Union, that it is the sense of the people of
America that this article should have a duty imposed upon it weighty
indeed. The duty proposed by the gentleman from New York (Mr. LAWRENCE)
very little exceeds what is laid in this State, and very little what is
laid in some other States, while some have thought it expedient to
impose an excise superior. The question then is, whether the highest sum
can be collected? I am of opinion that higher duties may generally be
collected under the government of the Union than could be under that of
the particular States, because it has been the policy of some, not only
to decline going hand in hand together, but actually to oppose
regulations made in a neighboring State. Being persuaded, likewise, that
the highest sum will not exceed the power of the law to enforce the
collection of, I shall vote for it.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--I am in favor of taxing this article as high as there is
a probability of collecting the duty. I think our doing so will answer
two or three good purposes. The present object of the committee is to
raise a revenue, and no article on the list before you is more likely to
be productive than this one; but a high duty may also discourage the use
of ardent spirits; if not, it may discourage the West Indies from
turning their molasses into rum. This being the case, they have no other
market for molasses than this country, and our own distilleries, with
the advantages arising therefrom, will be able to rival them in the
manufacture of that article; so far it may tend to the benefit of the
country. I conceive it might be proper, on these accounts, to lay a much
higher duty than has been proposed, were it not for the considerations
mentioned by the gentleman from New York, that we run a risk of losing
all by grasping at too much.

Mr. LAWRENCE.--The sum proposed is higher than the duty collected in
this State, which is about eight cents; I fear, therefore, that it
cannot be collected. If we are to reason and act as moralists on this
point, I am certain it is the wish of every member to prevent the use of
ardent spirits altogether, for their influence on the morals of the
people is of the most pernicious kind. Nor does the mischief terminate
here, as I apprehend it is equally destructive to the health; but we are
not to deliberate and determine on this subject as moralists, but as
politicians, and endeavor to draw (if I may use the expression) from the
vices of mankind, that revenue which our citizens must, in one form or
other, contribute. The question is, what shall be the duty on any
particular article? To accomplish this purpose, we must determine by the
circumstances of that article. Now, if we lay a high duty on Jamaica
rum, it is supposed it will prevent the consumption; but then the
purpose we have in view is frustrated, either because we cannot collect
the tax, or the object of it is no longer imported. The consequence in
this latter case would be, that the morals of our citizens are not
impaired; yet it does not appear to me that this consequence would
certainly flow from a system of high duties. I rather fear it would lead
no further than to set men on schemes to evade the duty; and none of us
are ignorant of the ingenuity and invention which can be exercised, when
interest prompts mankind to an evasion of the law. We know the situation
of the different States; the coast disposed by its prodigious extent to
favor every means of illicit trade. A cargo of rum could be landed in
Jersey, and the whole, reshipped in small vessels, might soon be brought
into this city. If this should be the effect of our law, we have no
other way to correct the operation, but by adopting a mode of collection
odious to all, on account of the numerous train of officers it would
require in its execution. But there would also be a danger of vessels
running into creeks and small inlets, for the purpose of landing their
cargoes, as well as on the sea-shore. Hence a necessity would arise of
employing a number of vessels to check and correct such abuses, and the
probable event would be, that all the impost collected would go to
defray the expense of getting it into the treasury.

The committee now agreed to tax ardent spirits, of Jamaica proof,
fifteen cents; and all other spirituous liquors twelve cents.

On filling up the blank on molasses:

Mr. MADISON.--It is agreed, I presume, that spirits of every kind are
proper objects of taxation, but whether we shall tax spirits in the case
before us, or whether we shall tax the article from which it comes, is a
question worthy of the consideration of the committee for several
reasons. I believe it will be best to lay our hands on the duty, by
charging this article on its importation, to avoid a more disagreeable
measure. I would, therefore, lay such a duty on molasses, as is
proportioned to what we have affixed upon rum, making an allowance in
favor of our own manufacture. I think eight cents per gallon will allow
a sufficient advantage to them, but of this I am not positive, and,
therefore, shall not pertinaciously adhere to that sum, if it be
thought too high; but I presume I am right in the principle upon which I
contend, that we ought to collect the duty on the importation of
molasses, in preference to any other way.

Mr. FITZSIMONS.--I think the duty on this article depends, in a great
measure, upon what has been already agreed to. If the tax of West India
and country rum is not well proportioned, it may be destructive of the
end we have in contemplation. If, agreeably to the idea of the gentleman
from New York, we affix a low duty, a great deal more rum will, in all
probability, be distilled and used, than heretofore; of course, it will
effectually rival the Jamaica rum, and the Union will lose the revenue
which we calculate upon. Eight cents, I apprehend, is as well
proportioned to the other taxes as can be devised.

Mr. GOODHUE considered molasses as a raw material, essentially requisite
for the well-being of a very extensive and valuable manufacture. It
ought likewise to be considered (as was truly stated) a necessary of
life. In the Eastern States it entered into the diet of the poorer
classes of people, who were, from the decay of trade and other
adventitious circumstances, totally unable to sustain such a weight as a
tax of eight cents would be upon them. Moreover, the tax was upon
particular States as well as individuals, for it was a fact of public
notoriety, that Massachusetts imported more molasses than all the other
States together. She imports from 30,000 to 40,000 hogsheads annually.
He would make one observation more. It had been the policy of Great
Britain, as he well remembered, to encumber and depress the distillation
of molasses. To do this, at one time they laid a duty of three pence
sterling per gallon. It was conceived to be an oppressive measure, but
it had little other effect than to cause heart-burnings and enmity. It
produced no revenue, and the Parliament were forced to reduce the duty
to a penny. From experience, therefore, as well as from the arguments
before urged, he was inclined to believe that the committee would be
satisfied with fixing a lower sum. He could not consent to allow more
than two cents.

Mr. THATCHER.--It appears to me, that for the want of a certain and
fixed principle to act upon, there is a great danger of making some
improper establishments. It is for this reason that I wish not to hurry
on the business with so much precipitation. Did gentlemen consider, when
they agreed to a high duty on ardent spirits, that it would be a pretext
for increasing the duties on a necessary of life. I presume a principal
reason why a high tax on spirits was admitted, was in order to
discourage the use of it among ourselves. If this was the intention of
the committee, I have no objection to the burthen; but, even here, I
fear difficulties will arise. Did we judiciously examine whether the
spirit of the law accords with the habits and manners of the people? and
did we assure ourselves of the full execution of the law? If we did
not, the act becomes impolitic, because a law which cannot be executed
tends to make the Government less respectable.

Mr. AMES.--I have not had the advantage of hearing all the arguments in
support of the eight cents proposed; but those I have heard I am not
satisfied with. The principles on which this tax is founded, I
understand to be this: that it is an article of luxury, and of pretty
general consumption, so that the duty is expected to fall equally upon
all; but that it will not operate in this manner, I think is easily
demonstrable. Can a duty of fifty per cent. _ad valorem_, paid, as it
were, in an exclusive manner, by the State of Massachusetts, be equal?
No, sir. But taking it as a part of the general system, can it be equal
unless a proportionable duty, equal to fifty per cent., is laid upon
articles consumed in other parts of the Union? No, sir; and is it in the
contemplation of gentlemen to lay duties so high as to produce this
equality? I trust it is not; because such duties could never be
collected. Is not, therefore, eight cents disproportioned to the rates
fixed, or intended to be imposed on other articles? I think it is; and,
if to these considerations we add what has been said before, relative to
its being a raw material important to a considerable manufacture, we
cannot hesitate to reject it.

However gentlemen may think the use of this article dangerous to the
health and morals of our fellow-citizens--I would also beg them to
consider, that it is no more so than every other kind of spirituous
liquors; that it will grow into an article for exportation; and although
I admit we could export it even encumbered with the duty proposed, yet
by it we run the risk of having the manufacture totally ruined, for it
can hardly now stand a competition at home with the West India rum, much
less can it do so abroad. If the manufacturers of country rum are to be
devoted to certain ruin, to mend the morals of others, let them be
admonished that they prepare themselves for the event: but in the way we
are about to take, destruction comes on so sudden, they have not time to
seek refuge in any other employment whatsoever. If their situation will
not operate to restrain the hand of iron policy, consider how
immediately they are connected with the most essential interests of the
Union, and then let me ask if it is wise, if it is reconcilable to
national prudence, to take measures subversive of your very existence?
For I do contend, that the very existence of the Eastern States depends
upon the encouragement of their navigation and fishery, which receive a
deadly wound by an excessive impost on the article before us.

I would concur in any measure calculated to exterminate the poison
covered under the form of ardent spirits, from our country; but it
should be without violence. I approve as much as any gentleman the
introduction of malt liquors, believing them not so pernicious as the
one in common use; but before we restrain ourselves to the use of them,
we ought to be certain that we have malt and hops, as well as
brew-houses for the manufacture. Now, I deny that we have these in
sufficient abundance to the eastward; but if we had, they are not taxed.
Then why should the poor of Massachusetts be taxed for the beverage they
use of spruce, molasses and water? It surely is unreasonable. I hope
gentlemen will not adopt the motion for eight cents until they are
furnished with some better evidence of its propriety and policy than any
that has yet been given, or as I suspect that can be given.

Mr. FITZSIMONS was pleased that gentlemen went so fully into a
discussion of a subject which they conceived of great importance, but he
begged them not to lose sight of an observation that had already been
made, that whenever a particular duty was supposed to bear hard on any
one member of the Union, it ought to be regarded as a part only of a
system bearing equally upon all. He was a friend to commerce, it was his
particular profession, and what he had principally devoted his attention
to; and therefore it might justly be imagined he was unwilling to fetter
it with restraints; but as a member of this body, he considered it
proper to forego a pertinacious adhesion to that system, when its
interest came in competition with the general welfare.

The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Ames) has represented the proposed
regulation as tending eventually to the ruin of the commerce, fisheries,
and manufactures of that State. I do not believe (added he) such a
consequence would result from a duty of eight cents on a gallon of
molasses; if I did, I would be one of the last to advocate the measure;
but to understand this circumstance more fully, let us proceed to an
inquiry of the ground on which we stand. The State of Massachusetts
imports a greater proportion of this article than any other in the
Union; she will have therefore (say the opponents of the measure) to pay
exclusively all the impost upon it. Let us examine this. Some part of
the molasses is consumed in the substance, but all the remainder is
distilled: this must either be consumed in the State, or exported from
it; in the latter case, I would propose that all the rum shipped to
foreign nations should draw back the duties it had paid as molasses.
This would obviate all that was said relative to the competition between
this State and other nations at a foreign market. As to what is
exported, but consumed in some other parts of the United States, it is
but proper that a duty should be paid, and although it may be advanced
in the first instance by the people of Massachusetts, yet it will be
ultimately paid by the consumers in other parts.

What is consumed within the State itself, gentlemen surely do not mean
to have excluded from a duty. If they consume more country rum than West
India, they pay a less duty than those States which consume a greater
proportion of the latter. As to what is used in its raw, unmanufactured
state, it will be sufficient to observe, that as it is generally a
substitute for sugar, the consumers will therefore avoid the tax on that
article, and pay it on the other. In Pennsylvania they mostly use sugar;
now, if the people there pay a tax on that article, it is but
distributive justice that the people of Massachusetts pay one on the
article they use for the same purpose.

Mr. GOODHUE.--Fifteen cents, the sum laid on Jamaica spirits, is about
one-third part of its value; now eight cents on molasses is considerably
more: the former is an article of luxury, as was observed when it was
under consideration, therefore that duty might not be improper; but the
latter cannot be said to partake of that quality in the substance, and
when manufactured into rum, it is no more a luxury than Jamaica spirits.
I cannot see, therefore, why molasses ought to be taxed forty or fifty
per cent. when the other pays but thirty-three. Surely the substance
ought not to pay at this rate--then what good reason can be offered for
the measure?

Mr. BOUDINOT had attended to the arguments of the gentlemen on both
sides of the question, and was led to believe the proportion was not
properly observed. By the resolution of Congress in 1783, the molasses
was fixed upon due consideration at one penny, and West India rum at
fourpence. The proposed proportion was two-thirds of what is charged on
West India rum. He thought this too high, as it would be an encumbrance
on a considerable manufacture; six cents were therefore a more equitable
rate than eight cents were; he believed also, that it was as much as the
article would bear, especially if it was considered that the whole of
the article was not manufactured into rum, but a large proportion
consumed in substance. This might also be near what is intended to be
charged on sugar; by fixing it at this rate, the necessity of lowering
the duty at some future day would be avoided, which he thought an object
worthy of the committee's consideration.

Mr. BOUDINOT wished the gentleman to consider the difference in the
price; if he did that, he would allow it to be reduced to six cents; if
this principle could now be fixed, it would carry them through the

Mr. PARTRIDGE allowed, if all the molasses was distilled into rum, that
a small duty might be proper; but when it was considered as an article
of sustenance to the poor, and as a requisite to the support of the
fisheries and navigation, he hoped the committee would allow but a very
small one indeed. He wished it was possible to discriminate between what
was manufactured into rum, and what was consumed in the raw state,
because a higher duty might be collected in the former case than in the

Mr. FITZSIMONS stated, that there were 327,000 gallons of rum imported
into Pennsylvania in 1785, which would tend to show how great a part
was consumed by the citizens of the Union; a demand in one State so
great as this, proved how likely it was for New England rum to rival the
West India. He thought the prices of the two articles gave the country
rum a very considerable advantage, and therefore a duty of seven cents
could not be very injurious to the manufacture.

The question was put on seven cents and lost.

And it was agreed to fill the blank with six cents.

On filling up the blank on Madeira wine,

Mr. SHERMAN moved fifteen cents.

Mr. GILMAN moved twenty cents, and

Mr. HARTLEY moved thirty cents, in order (as he observed) to make it
correspond with the rate per cent. on the value; as the principle of
proportion seemed to be admitted by the committee.

Mr. SHERMAN said, it appeared to him to be pretty well proportioned;
because those who accustomed themselves to drink wine, consumed two or
three times as much as those who used spirits, and consequently paid a
due proportion.

Mr. FITZSIMONS.--I shall move you, sir, that the blank be filled with
fifty cents. I observed some gentlemen, in their arguments on the last
article, laid great stress upon the impropriety of taxing the
necessaries of life that were principally consumed by the poorer class
of citizens. I do not think any of the members of this committee
consider the article of Madeira wine a necessary of life, at least to
those whose incomes are only sufficient for a temperate subsistence;
therefore no objection of this kind can be made on the present occasion.
The propriety of a high tax on wines, I apprehend, is self-evident,
whether we consider the price of the article, or the ability of the
people to pay who consume it. The value of a pipe of Madeira wine, I
believe, is about two hundred dollars, a hogshead of rum is worth about
forty dollars. The ability of those who consume the one and the other
are, I suppose, in nearly the same ratio. I do not pretend to know what
are the intentions of gentlemen on this subject, but my wish is, to
raise so considerable a revenue from imposts as to render it unnecessary
to apply to any other mode. If this be the wish of the committee also,
they will be inclined to raise a great part of it from the consumption
of those people who are best able to pay, among whom we may, with great
propriety, reckon the consumers of Madeira wine.

Mr. P. MUHLENBERG thought his colleague's observations were very
judicious, and said they met exactly his ideas; he therefore seconded
the motion for fifty cents.

Mr. BLAND.--I am not against laying any sum on this article which there
is a probability of collecting; but I am afraid we are running wild in
the business, and although we appear to be in search of revenue, we are
pursuing a track that will lead us wide of our mark. I am really
suspicious, if we lay a duty of fifty cents upon Madeira wine, we shall
not have a single gallon entered in any port of the United States, and
we shall fully verify to the world the truth of an old maxim, that two
and two, in finance, do not make four. I would therefore suggest to the
committee, the propriety of considering well, whether they can, or
cannot, collect the high duty proposed. If they are well convinced that
it can be done, and will satisfy me only that there is a probability of
its being the case, I shall cheerfully concur in the motion; but at
present, I am of opinion we shall not be able to obtain any revenue
whatsoever if the tax is laid so high.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--I agree entirely with the principle of laying duties
according to their relative value, and hope the committee will keep up
the line of proportion as near as possible. It is only in the
application of this principle on the present occasion, that I differ
with the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, for whose opinions I
have the highest respect. I confess, too, that he is much better able to
ascertain the price of foreign articles than I am; but I believe, with
regard to this one of Madeira wine, I have it in my power to ascertain
it pretty well. I take it, that a pipe of wine usually costs at Madeira
from twenty-five to thirty pounds sterling; but then I would wish the
committee to take into consideration that this wine is paid for there in
our own produce at a very advantageous rate, which reduces the nominal
sterling sum down in value to a like sum of our currency. I therefore
look upon it, that we may calculate the cost of a gallon of Madeira wine
at one dollar; for I cannot conceive that any gentleman entertains an
idea of taxing the risk the merchant runs in importing the wine, or the
increased value it obtains during the time it takes to ripen for sale.
In laying our duties we ought to apportion it to the value of the
article at the time and place of importation, without taking advantage
of such adventitious circumstances. Beside, there is a considerable loss
attends keeping Madeira. The storage is no inconsiderable expense, and
the evaporation is an actual loss in quantity, which the merchant is
obliged to replace by filling up the cask. Under these considerations, I
think it may be admitted, that twenty or twenty-five cents per gallon is
a sufficient tax. Moreover, it may be easily demonstrated, that such a
duty would be more productive than fifty cents; because it would be with
greater certainty collected. There is another reason that induces me to
think twenty cents more proper; fifty cents for a gallon of wine is a
large sum for a merchant to lay down in duties; it must abridge his
mercantile operations, and consequently tend to discourage the Madeira
trade, which, in my humble opinion, is one of the most advantageous
America has left to her, from the selfish policy that actuates some
foreign Powers; therefore we ought not to burthen it to so great a
degree as the proposed duty seems to have in contemplation.

Mr. FITZSIMONS withdrew his motion for fifty cents, and moved
thirty-three and one-third cents.

The question was put upon thirty-three and one-third cents as the
highest sum, and agreed to, being twenty-one votes for it, and nineteen
against it.

The next article "on all other wines," presented itself in order for the
consideration of the committee.

Mr. HEISTER observed, there were a great variety of wines included in
that general expression, the prices of which were very different; some
worth even more than Madeira, and others less; he submitted, therefore,
to the committee the propriety of discriminating and taxing them
according to their value.

Mr. BOUDINOT acquiesced in the remark.

Mr. FITZSIMONS did not think it worth while, at this time, to engage the
committee in making such a discrimination. The rich wines were imported
in no very considerable quantities, and if the duty was laid pretty
high, it would tend to exclude the most inferior and low wines from
being introduced.

It was thereupon agreed to lay twenty cents on all other wines.

The next article on the list was "bohea tea," on which

Mr. FITZSIMONS observed, that he meant this article not only as a
revenue, but as a regulation of a commerce highly advantageous to the
United States. The merchants of this country have, from a variety of
circumstances, and finding their trade restrained and embarrassed, been
under the necessity of exploring channels to which they were heretofore
unaccustomed. At length they have succeeded in discovering one that bids
fair to increase our national importance and prosperity, while at the
same time it is lucrative to the persons engaged in its prosecution. I
mean, sir, the trade to China and the East Indies. I have no doubt but
what it will receive the encouragement of the Federal Government for
some time to come. There is scarcely any direct intercourse of this
nature, but what requires some assistance in the beginning; it is
peculiarly necessary in our case, from the jealousy subsisting in Europe
of this infant branch of commerce. It has been thought proper, under
some of the State governments, to foster and protect a direct
communication with India. I hope the Government of the United States has
an equal disposition to give this trade their encouragement.

I wish, therefore, the committee would pass over the article for the
present, and permit it to come in at another place in the list, where I
mean to move a discrimination in the duty on teas, according as they are
imported, directly from China in our own ships, or in any ships from

The articles of teas and pepper were passed over for the present.

Mr. BOUDINOT proposed one cent per pound on sugar.

Two cents were afterwards proposed, when

Mr. FITZSIMONS remarked, that one gallon of molasses weighed eight
pounds; that at six cents it did not pay a cent per pound; could it,
therefore, be called anywise equal to such a tax on sugar? Moreover,
sugar is an article of as general consumption as molasses, and when it
is of this inferior quality, it enters as much or more into the
consumption of the poor as the other, while, at the same time, molasses
will sweeten more, according to its weight, than even the best sugar;
from which considerations, I think gentlemen will be satisfied by
putting it on an equality with molasses; therefore I do not oppose the
one cent.

On the question, the committee agreed to tax it but one cent per pound,
and loaf sugar three cents per pound. All other sugars one and a half
cent per pound. On coffee two and a half cents per pound.

On motion of Mr. BLAND, the committee rose and reported progress.

WEDNESDAY, April 15.

A petition of David Ramsay, of the State of South Carolina, was
presented to the House and read, setting forth that Mr. William Smith, a
member returned to serve in this House as one of the representatives for
the State of South Carolina, was, at the time of his election,
ineligible thereto, and came within the disqualification of the third
paragraph of the constitution, which declares, "that no person shall be
a representative who shall not have been seven years a citizen of the
United States," and praying that these allegations may be inquired by
the House.

Referred to the Committee on Elections.

Mr. BENSON, from the committee to whom it was referred to consider of
and report to the House respecting the ceremonial of receiving the
President, and to whom was also referred a letter from the Chairman of a
Committee of the Senate to the SPEAKER, communicating an instruction
from that House to a committee thereof, to report if any, and what,
arrangements are necessary for the reception of the President, made the
following report:

      "That Mr. Osgood, the proprietor of the house lately
      occupied by the President of Congress, be requested to put
      the same, and the furniture therein, in proper condition
      for the residence and use of the President of the United
      States, to provide for his temporary accommodation.

      "That it will be most eligible, in the first instance, that
      a committee of three members from the Senate, and five from
      the House of Representatives, to be appointed by the Houses
      respectively, to attend to receive the President at such
      place as he shall embark from New Jersey for this city, and
      conduct him without form to the house lately occupied by
      the President of Congress, and that at such time
      thereafter, as the President shall signify it will be
      convenient for him, he be formally received by both Houses.

      "That a committee of two members from the Senate, and three
      members from the House of Representatives, to be appointed
      by the Houses respectively, wait on the Vice President of
      the United States, as soon as he shall come to this city,
      and, in the name of the Congress of the United States,
      congratulate him on his arrival."

And a committee of five was balloted for and chosen accordingly, for the
purpose of waiting on the President.

Another committee of three was appointed to wait on the Vice President.

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
state of the Union, Mr. PAGE in the chair; the question being on
inserting, in the list of dutiable articles, beer, ale, and porter--

Mr. FITZSIMONS meant to make an alteration in this article, by
distinguishing beer, ale, and porter, imported in casks, from what was
imported in bottles. He thought this manufacture one highly deserving of
encouragement. If the morals of the people were to be improved by what
entered into their diet, it would be prudent in the national Legislature
to encourage the manufacture of malt liquors. The small protecting
duties laid in Pennsylvania had a great effect towards the establishment
of breweries; they no longer imported this article, but, on the
contrary, exported considerable quantities, and, in two or three years,
with the fostering aid of Government, would be able to furnish enough
for the whole consumption of the United States. He moved nine cents per

Mr. LAWRENCE seconded the motion. He would have this duty so high as to
give a decided preference to American beer; it would tend also to
encourage agriculture, because the malt and hops consumed in the
manufacture were the produce of our own grounds.

Mr. SMITH (of Maryland) was opposed to such high duties as seemed to be
in the contemplation of some members of the committee. He thought enough
might be raised if the tax was lowered. He formed this opinion from some
calculations he had made with respect to the imports at Baltimore. He
stated them to amount for the last year, at the rate now proposed, to
£258,163; to this, if he added five other districts in Maryland, the
probable amount of which, on the same principle, would be £185,537;
then, these two sums multiplied by twelve, the supposed proportion that
Maryland ought to bear of the national debt, would produce £5,324,400, a
sum exceeding very considerably what the wants of the Union required.

Mr. GALE thought a duty of nine cents would operate as a prohibition
upon the importation of beer and porter. He remarked the advantages
which America possessed in growing malt and hops for the manufacture of
these articles. In addition to this, the risk and expense of bringing it
from Europe was to be considered. Upon the whole, he concluded so high a
duty as nine cents would give the brewers here a monopoly, defeat the
purpose of obtaining revenue, enhance the price to the consumer, and
thereby establish the use of spirituous liquors. For these
considerations he was against that sum.

Mr. SINNICKSON declared himself a friend to this manufacture, and
thought if the duty was laid high enough to effect a prohibition, the
manufacture would increase, and, of consequence, the price be lessened.
He considered it of importance, inasmuch as the materials were produced
in the country, and tended to advance the agricultural interest.

Mr. MADISON moved to lay an impost of eight cents on all beer imported.
He did not think this sum would give a monopoly, but hoped it would be
such an encouragement as to induce the manufacture to take deep root in
every State in the Union; in this case, it would produce the collateral
good hinted at by the gentleman from New Jersey, which, in his opinion,
was an object well worthy of being attended to. He observed, that, in
the State of New York, the article paid a duty equal to six cents on
importation, and if brought in foreign vessels, it amounted to eight
cents; and yet quantities of it were still imported, which proved that
eight cents would not amount to a prohibition.

The committee agreed hereupon to charge it at eight cents.

On all beer, ale, or porter, imported in bottles, per dozen, twenty-five
cents. Agreed to without debate.

On every barrel of beef it was moved to lay a duty of a dollar per

Mr. BLAND thought that very little revenue was likely to be collected on
this article, let the duty be more or less; and as it was to be had in
sufficient quantities within the United States, perhaps a tax amounting
to a prohibition would be proper.

Mr. THATCHER admitted that there was beef enough to be got in every part
of the country, but it was fresh beef. Some States, from local
circumstances, were unable to salt and preserve it, therefore a tax on
this article would operate as a partial tax upon those States. If there
is a sufficient quantity in the other States to answer their own
consumption, they will feel no part of the burthen; but it appeared
unnecessary to him to lay this restriction, because he found some States
capable of exporting beef on terms as reasonably low as any other
country could, and it could not, therefore, be contended for as a
requisite encouragement to this branch of the agricultural interest.

Mr. GOODHUE did not contend that it was necessary to lay a particular
duty on beef, although it was among the enumerated articles admitted by
the committee. He was satisfied of the fact, that meat could be put up
here cheaper than in Europe, and afforded at a less price, so there was
little to apprehend from rivalship.

Mr. MADISON thought that almost every State in the Union had more of
this article than was necessary for its own consumption, and
consequently there was no danger of its being imported, unless the
quality of the foreign beef was superior. He would not object to
gentlemen gratifying themselves with this meat, especially as the
consumption was neither so great nor general as to affect the revenue,
and therefore he judged it might be struck out.

Mr. TUCKER thought with the gentleman from Virginia, that the regulation
was unnecessary, and that it would be better to throw it into the common
mass, taxable at a certain rate per cent. He therefore moved to have it
struck out.

Upon these considerations the articles of beef, pork, and butter, were
all struck out.

Mr. FITZSIMONS moved to lay a duty of two cents on all candles of tallow
per pound.

Mr. TUCKER observed, that some States were under the necessity of
importing considerable quantities of this article also, while others had
enough, and more than enough, for their own consumption, therefore the
burthen would be partially borne by such States. As the committee had
just rejected some articles upon this principle, he would move that this
be struck out likewise.

Mr. FITZSIMONS.--I am not for striking out, sir. Every article imported
into the State that gentleman represents, from which revenue is to be
raised, he moves to have struck out; but I wish the committee to
consider a moment before they join in sentiments with him. The
manufacture of candles is an important manufacture, and far advanced
towards perfection. I have no doubt but, in a few years, we shall be
able to furnish sufficient to supply the consumption of every part of
the continent. In Pennsylvania we have a duty of two pence per pound,
and under the operation of this small encouragement the manufacture has
gained considerable strength. We no longer import candles from Ireland
or England, of whom a few years ago we took considerable quantities; the
necessity of continuing those encouragements which the State
Legislatures have deemed proper, exists in a considerable degree;
therefore it will be politic in the Government of the United States to
continue such duties till their object is accomplished.

Mr. TUCKER would be glad to know what article it was that South Carolina
would not contribute her full proportion of tax upon--he saw none; on
the contrary, so far as the enumeration went, the impost would bear
unequally upon her, and he feared many others in the list would increase
the imposition. He thought it the duty of the committee to guard against
an unequal distribution of the public burthen in every case, and
therefore wished the duty on this article to be a moderate one; not
because it affected the State he represented, for it did not do this to
any degree, as wax candies were there principally consumed, the material
for which was the production of the Southern States, but because other
States, not having this advantage, might be oppressed.

Mr. BOUDINOT apprehended most States imported considerable quantities of
this article from Russia and Ireland; he expected they would be made
cheaper than they could be imported, if a small encouragement was held
out by the Government, as the materials were to be had in abundance in
our country.

Mr. LAWRENCE thought that if candles were an object of considerable
importation, they ought to be taxed for the sake of obtaining revenue,
and if they were not imported in considerable quantities, the burthen
upon the consumer would be small, while it tended to cherish a valuable
manufacture. He seconded Mr. FITZSIMON's motion for two cents: which was
carried in the affirmative upon the question being put.

      On all candles of wax or spermaceti, per lb. six cents;
      cheese, four cents; soap, two cents; boots, per pair, fifty
      cents; on all shoes, slippers, or goloshes made of leather,
      ten cents; on all shoes or slippers, made of silk or stuff,
      ten cents; on all steel unwrought, per 112 lbs.,----

Mr. LEE moved to strike out this last article, observing that the
consumption of steel was very great, and essentially necessary to
agricultural improvements. He did not believe any gentleman would
contend, that enough of this article to answer consumption could be
fabricated in any part of the Union: hence it would operate as an
oppressive, though indirect tax upon agriculture, and any tax, whether
direct or indirect, upon this interest, at this juncture, would be
unwise and impolitic.

Mr. TUCKER joined the gentleman in his opinion, observing that it was
impossible for some States to get it but by importation from foreign
countries. He conceived it more deserving a bounty to increase the
quantity, than an impost which would lessen the consumption and make it
dearer also.

Mr. CLYMER replied, that the manufacture of steel in America was rather
in its infancy; but as all the materials necessary to make it were the
produce of almost every State in the Union, and as the manufacture was
already established, and attended with considerable success, he deemed
it prudent to emancipate our country from the manacles in which she was
held by foreign manufactures. A furnace in Philadelphia, with a very
small aid from the Legislature of Pennsylvania, made three hundred tons
in two years, and now makes at the rate of two hundred and thirty tons
annually, and with a little further encouragement would supply enough
for the consumption of the Union. He hoped, therefore, gentlemen would
be disposed, under these considerations, to extend a degree of patronage
to a manufacture, which a moment's reflection would convince them was
highly deserving protection.

Mr. MADISON thought the object of selecting this article to be solely
the encouragement of the manufacture, and not revenue, for on any other
consideration it would be more proper, as observed by the gentleman from
Carolina, (Mr. TUCKER) to give a bounty on the importation. It was so
materially connected with the improvement of agriculture and other
manufactures, that he questioned its propriety even on that score. A
duty would tend to depress many mechanic arts in the proportion that it
protected this; he thought it best to reserve this article to the
non-enumerated ones, where it would be subject to a five per cent. _ad.

Mr. TUCKER considered the smallest tax on this article to be a burthen
on agriculture, which ought to be considered an interest most deserving
protection and encouragement; on this is our principal reliance, on it
also our safety and happiness depend. When he considered the state of it
in that part of the country which he represented on this floor, and in
some other parts of the Union, he was really at a loss to imagine with
what propriety any gentleman could propose a measure big with
oppression, and tending to burthen particular States. The situation of
South Carolina was melancholy; while the inhabitants were deeply in
debt, the produce of the State was daily falling in price. Rice and
indigo were become so low, as to be considered by many not objects
worthy of cultivation; and gentlemen will consider, that it is not an
easy thing for a planter to change his whole system of husbandry in a
moment; but accumulated burthens will drive to this, and add to their
embarrassments. He thought an impost of five per cent. as great an
encouragement as ought to be granted, and would not oppose that being
laid. He called upon gentlemen to exercise liberality and moderation in
what they proposed, if they wished to give satisfaction and do justice
to their constituents.

Mr. FITZSIMONS thought, if gentlemen did not get rid of local
considerations, the committee would make little progress. Every State
will feel itself oppressed by a duty on particular articles, but when
the whole system is perfected, the burthen will be equal on all. He did
not desire, for his part, to obtain exclusive advantages for
Pennsylvania; he would contend, and undertake to prove, that by the
duties already agreed to, that State sacrificed as much as any other.
Indeed, if he had said more, he believed himself capable of proving the
position. Being of this opinion he hoped the committee would agree to
grant her an advantage which would revert back upon the other parts of
the Union, without operating even for the present, to the material
disadvantage of any. Some States were, from local circumstances, better
situated to carry on the manufacture than others, and would derive some
little advantage on this account in the commencement of the business.
The Eastern States were so situated, perhaps some of the Middle ones
also; but will it therefore be insisted upon, that the Southern States
pay more of the impost on foreign goods than these? For his part, he
never could conceive, that the consumption of those articles by the
negroes of South Carolina would contribute to the revenue as much as
that of the white inhabitants of the Eastern States. But laying aside
local distinctions, what operates to the benefit of one part in
establishing useful institutions, will eventually operate to the
advantage of the whole. With these considerations, he cheerfully
submitted the article to the discretion of the committee, moving to fill
the blank with sixty-six cents.

Mr. BLAND considered a tax of sixty-six cents a very heavy duty on
agriculture and the mechanic arts, and was averse to granting it.

Mr. BOUDINOT moved fifty-six cents, which motion was agreed to.

      On nails and spikes, it was agreed to lay one cent per
      pound; on tarred cordage, fifty cents per 112 pounds; on
      untarred cordage, sixty cents per 112 pounds; on twine or
      pack-thread, one hundred cents per 112 pounds.

Mr. MADISON said, that he was not clear as to the policy of taxing
cordage. He thought ship-building an object worthy of legislative
attention, and questioned the propriety of raising the price of any
article that entered so materially into the structure of vessels. But if
it was politic to lay an impost on cordage, would it not be the same
with regard to hemp? He thought it would, and therefore moved it.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--Hemp is a raw material, necessary for an important
manufacture, and therefore ought not to be subject to a heavy duty. If
it was the product of the country in general, a duty might be proper,
but this he believed was not the case.

Mr. MADISON.--I said before, I very much doubted the propriety of laying
a duty on such articles as entered into ship-building; but if it is
necessary to lay a duty on cordage for the purpose of encouraging the
manufacture, and making us independent of the world as to that article,
it is also politic to endeavor to make us alike independent for the raw
material; a great proportion of the land in the Western country is
peculiarly adapted to the growth of hemp, and it might be there
cultivated to advantage, if the labors of the husbandman were protected
by the Government.

Mr. BOUDINOT thought the soil of this country ill adapted to the
cultivation of hemp; even the strong low lands which are fit for it,
soon became exhausted; it impoverished the lands wherever it grew, and
destroyed the agricultural stamina. If he was not mistaken in this
opinion, he thought the committee would, with him, disagree to the

Mr. PARTRIDGE thought a duty on hemp would tend to discourage the
American navigation, her trade, and fisheries, without any good
resulting to warrant such an injury. It was not ascertained whether hemp
could be furnished in any tolerable quantities to answer the demand, and
if upon experience, it should be found that the quantity was
insufficient, what a stab this would prove to all concerned in

Mr. AMES expressed a doubt of the policy of taxing either cordage or
hemp, because while it tended to encourage the agriculture or
manufacture, it discouraged the maritime interest, and therefore the
discouragement, in the event, would reflect back upon those interests it
was intended to cherish.

Mr. MOORE declared the Southern States well calculated for the
cultivation of hemp, and, from certain circumstances, well inclined
thereto. He conceived it the duty of the committee to pay as much
respect to the encouragement and protection of husbandry (the most
important of all interests in the United States) as they did to

Mr. FITZSIMONS thought there was a clear distinction between taxing
manufactures and raw materials, well known to every enlightened country.
He had no doubt but hemp enough could be raised for the home
consumption, nay for exportation also, and why it was not done he could
not say. He recollected that before the revolution, very little was
imported; now, considerable quantities are brought from England. When
such a bulky article is capable of paying double freight, first from
Russia and then from England, besides its first cost, he conceived that
what was produced in America had a very considerable advantage. It could
not be urged that the people are unacquainted with the cultivation,
because it had been carried to very great perfection in former years. If
eight dollars a hundred is not a sufficient inducement to farmers to
raise hemp, it is a proof that they direct their labors to more
profitable productions, and why should legislative authority be
exercised to divide their attention? Or for this purpose, why should
navigation and ship-building be necessarily burthened. He concluded with
declaring, that no duty which the Congress would agree to lay, could
give encouragement to the cultivation of hemp, if the present price of
that article was insufficient.

Mr. SCOTT stated a fact or two, being perhaps as well acquainted with
the Western country as any member of the committee. The lands along the
frontiers, he could assure the committee, were well calculated for the
cultivation of this plant; it is a production that will bear carriage by
land better than any other, tobacco not excepted. He believed an
encouragement of the kind now moved for would bring, in a year or two,
vast quantities from that country, at little expense, to Philadelphia,
even from the waters of the Ohio; the inhabitants expect some
encourgement, and will be grateful for it. Although a gentleman has
called it a bulky article, yet as much can be packed upon a horse as a
horse can carry, or in a wagon as four horses can draw; so that its bulk
will not prevent our countrymen from seeking a market on the waters of
the Atlantic.

The committee rose and reported, and

The House adjourned.

THURSDAY, April 16.

The House proceeded, by ballot, to the appointment of a committee of
five, to attend, with a committee from the Senate, to receive the
President of the United States at such place as he shall embark at from
New Jersey for this city.

The members elected were Messrs. BOUDINOT, BLAND, TUCKER, BENSON, and

On motion,

_Ordered_, That Messrs. GILMAN, AMES, and GALE, be a committee, in
conjunction with a committee from the Senate, to wait upon the Vice
President of the United States upon his arrival in this city, and to
congratulate him thereupon in the name of the Congress of the United

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
State of the Union, Mr. PAGE in the chair.

Mr. MOORE thought it good policy to encourage the manufacture of
cordage, but was not convinced that it was bad policy to encourage
likewise the growth of the raw material in America, so that we might
become as independent of all the world for this article, as we are
already for every other used in the structure of vessels. He believed it
would be difficult to persuade the farmer that his interest ought to be
neglected to encourage particular artisans: he therefore begged the
committee to do as much for them as was in their power, believing that
the event of such policy would mutually benefit the manufacturer and

Mr. HEISTER remarked, that a heavy duty on hemp would not encourage the
raising of it this year, because the time was elapsed for commencing the
cultivation; but a duty to take place at some future time, would no
doubt be beneficial. He assured the committee of the ability of the land
in America to grow hemp equal to any part of the world; and, therefore,
joined heartily in giving it legislative encouragement, in order to
induce the people to turn their attention more particularly to the
subject, but would recommend the duty to be laid so as to commence its
operation at a distant day.

Mr. WHITE remarked, what was good policy in England might be the
contrary in America. England was a maritime nation, and therefore she
gave a bounty on such articles as were requisite to support her maritime
importance--America was an agricultural country, and therefore ought to
attend to the encouragement of that interest. If the Legislature take no
notice of this article, the people will be led to believe it is not an
object worthy of encouragement, and the spirit of cultivation will be
damped; whereas, if a small duty only was laid, it might point out to
them that it was desirable, and would induce an increase of the
quantity. Our lands are capable of bearing this plant many years without
being exhausted. He could not say exactly what sum would be proper to
fill the blank with, but mentioned seventy-five cents for the
consideration of the committee.

Mr. PARTRIDGE admitted the propriety of encouraging agriculture, but it
ought not to be done at the expense of the ship-builders, especially as
the good would not balance the evil. He told the committee that hemp had
risen, within three or four years, forty per cent. in Russia, owing,
perhaps, to the increased demand which the present northern war
occasioned. This naturally operated to encourage the cultivation in
America, and perhaps was sufficient, without the aid now intended to be
given. If gentlemen were desirous of having it stand among the selected
articles, he should not object, but hoped the duty would not exceed five
per cent. Forty cents were about equal to that rate, and he moved to
fill the blank with that sum.

Mr. WHITE thought with the gentleman from Pennsylvania, that the United
States would furnish this article in sufficient abundance, not only for
home consumption, but for exportation. The maritime powers of Europe do
not raise the article, but obtain it principally from Russia--these
powers are as well disposed to take it from us as from Russia. Our back
lands are extremely well adapted to its cultivation; a road to bring it
to market is opening; the Potomac extends her now navigable waters into
the interior country, and a communication will be established with the
river Ohio and the western waters. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr.
HARTLEY) had hinted at the propriety of settling the western territory;
it was his opinion that every encouragement ought to be given them to
engage their affection; that the administration of the Government ought
to be such as to give satisfaction to all parts of the Union, but it is
peculiarly our interest to render that country advantageous; her fertile
lands, and streams easy of descent, would pour into the Atlantic States,
through the channels he had mentioned, a profusion of wealth, and hemp
in abundance. The Shenandoah river disembogues into the Potomac, the
South Branch communicates with it also, and a number of other rivers
whose lands will produce immense quantities. He considered that this, in
a short time, would do more towards encouraging ship-building than a
bounty, as had been mentioned by some gentlemen.

Mr. BURKE thought it proper to suggest to the committee what might be
the probable effect of the proposed measure in the State he represented,
(South Carolina,) and the adjoining one (Georgia.) The staple products
of that part of the Union were hardly worth cultivation, on account of
their fall in price; the planters are, therefore, disposed to pursue
some other. The lands are certainly well adapted to the growth of hemp,
and he had no doubt but its culture would be practised with attention.
Cotton is likewise in contemplation among them, and if good seed could
be procured, he hoped it might succeed. But the low, strong, rice lands,
would produce hemp in abundance--many thousand tons even this year, if
it was not so late in the season. He liked the idea of laying a low
duty now, and encouraging it against the time when a supply might be had
from our own cultivation.

Mr. MADISON feared seventy-five cents was too high; he was doubtful
whether it would not have been as well to have left out cordage; for if
a duty on hemp was impolitic because it burthened navigation, so also
was that on cordage. He by no means approved of measures injurious to
ship-building, which he considered in a threefold view: first, as it
related to vessels employed in the coasting trade; second, as it
respected those employed in those channels of trade, the stream of which
depends upon the policy of foreign nations; and third, as it was
connected with vessels built for sale. With respect to the first, no
doubt but we can prevent any discouragement from the operation of the
duty, because we can make such discrimination as will prevent a
rivalship; but, in relation to the two other points, and particularly
the last, he was sensible that every penny laid upon cordage would enter
into the price of the vessel, and, by raising the price, drive the
purchasers to seek a better bargain at other hands. Fearful therefore of
injuring this interest, he should vote for a small duty at present, in
hopes of being able to see, in a little time, sufficient quantities of
hemp brought to market, as predicted, at even a less price than is given
now for the imported.

Mr. SMITH agreed to forty cents, provided the committee would make it
one dollar at the end of two years.

Mr. MADISON could not judge of the alteration in the circumstances of
this country two years hence, and therefore did not like the kind of
provision mentioned. He preferred making it a positive sum, and moved
fifty cents; which was agreed to.

On malt.

Mr. SHERMAN thought this might be struck out, on the same principle that
beef and pork had been, there was none imported.

Mr. FITZSIMONS replied, that there had been considerable and recent
importations of this article into the United States--30,000 bushels in
one year; certainly this interferes with the products of the country. He
moved ten cents per bushel, and it was agreed to.

On motion of Mr. AMES, barley was taxed six cents, and lime one hundred
cents. He just stated that these articles were imported in considerable
quantities from a neighboring State that had not yet adopted the
constitution; and, perhaps, said he, our political situation is such as
to make some regulation on this head necessary.

On nails, spikes, tacks, and brads.

Mr. LEE did not think we were ripe for such extensive manufactures as
some gentlemen seemed desirous of encouraging; but this was particularly
objectionable, because it was a tax upon the improvement of estates,
unless the articles could be furnished as cheap and abundantly at home
as they were by foreign nations. He moved to strike it out.

Mr. MADISON conceived this, like a tax on hemp, would increase the price
on ship-building; spikes and nails were necessary for the construction
of vessels.

Mr. BLAND thought a duty on nails an unequal tax, burthening the
Southern States, but not felt by the Northern, who made only enough for
their own consumption; he opposed it also on account of its being an
article of indispensable necessity.

Mr. GOODHUE informed the gentlemen who were opposed to a duty on nails,
that great quantities of them were manufactured for exportation in
Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and he believed some other States; and,
in a little time, enough might be made to supply all North America.

Mr. TUCKER judged, from what was said of the little expense and great
facility of manufacturing nails, that it stood in no need of legislative
assistance. Why lay a duty on foreign nails, when they cannot rival you
if you make them as good and as cheap? Will not the five per cent. duty,
with freight and shipping charges, be sufficient encouragement? He
thought it would, and therefore was averse to any other duty. He
observed also, that it would burthen ship-building, and was,
consequently against those employed in that business.

Mr. FITZSIMONS was not very solicitous about the duty. He thought the
manufacturer would have but little to apprehend if the Legislature
should decide against them; for, the fact was, that nails were at this
moment made cheaper and, in the opinion of some judges, better than
those coming from England. Before the revolution, the people in America
were not permitted to erect slitting mills. They now have several, and
are independent of all the world for the materials necessary for
carrying on the business in the most extensive manner. So far as the
duty respected the manufacture in Pennsylvania, it was his opinion that
refusing it would do no material injury, and he believed it would draw
but little money into the treasury; yet, nevertheless, he was willing to
allow a small one, because it conformed to the policy of the States, who
thought it proper, in this manner, to protect their manufactures. He
believed neither spikes nor nails for ship-building were imported; they
were generally large and heavy, and were made in the country, according
to the builder's orders.

On the motion, nails and spikes were taxed one cent per pound, but tacks
and brads were struck out.

On salt, per bushel.

Mr. BURKE.--I need not observe to the committee that this article is a
necessary of life, nor that black cattle, sheep, and horses do not
thrive without it; on these considerations alone I should oppose it; but
I know likewise that it is a tax particularly odious to the inhabitants
of South Carolina and Georgia, to whom the price is already
oppressively great. The back parts of that State are obliged to haul all
they consume, two, three, or four hundred miles in wagons, for which
they pay about seven shillings sterling. Add this to the first cost,
which is about one shilling, though sometimes more, and you will find
the burthen sustained by those who live remote from the sea-shore
sufficiently unequal. I hope, therefore, the committee will not agree to

Mr. LAWRENCE hoped a duty would be laid on the article; it was in
general use, and the consumption so regular, that it was much to be
depended upon as a source of revenue; but the duty ought not to be so
high as to make it oppressive. He moved to impose a duty of six cents
per bushel.

Mr. TUCKER felt an aversion to laying a duty on salt for several
motives. It would bear harder upon the poor than upon the rich. The true
principle of taxation is, that every man contribute to the public
burthens in proportion to the value of his property. But a poor man
consumes as much salt as a rich man. In this point of view, it operates
as a poll-tax, the most odious of all taxes; it does not operate simply
as a poll-tax, but is heavier on the poor than on the rich, because the
poor consume greater quantities of salted provisions than the rich. Nor
does it bear equally upon every part of the country; for it is consumed
in a greater proportion by cattle at a distance, than by those near the
sea shores. Moreover, the duty collected on the importation will enter
into the price of the article, and the countryman will pay the retailer
a profit on the tax, perhaps of four times its amount. For which
reasons, he was more averse to this article being taxed than any other

Mr. SCOTT declared himself decisively against the duty, although he
admitted a most certain revenue could be drawn from it, on account of
its universal demand and utility. But he did not think these
considerations alone amounted to a sufficient reason why this necessary
article should be taxed; if they did, the argument would prove too much,
it would extend to the use of water and common air. He presumed the old
arguments often urged by gentlemen in favor of manufactures did not
apply, because no encouragement would be sufficient to establish it.

From the nearest part of the Atlantic coast, where salt can be obtained,
to the next nearest in the Western territory, is a distance of eight
hundred or one thousand miles; all the intermediate space must be
supplied from one or the other; over the mountains it must be carried on
pack-horses. This of itself is a sufficient tax upon the consumer; how
oppressive then must it be to increase the burthen.

Mr. MOORE observed upon the inequality, as it respected the consumption
of the article by cattle: some States raised more than others,
consequently they consumed more; some parts of the same State were in a
like situation. The people on the sea-coast pursued merchandise; those
in the back parts raised cattle, which he was bold to say consumed five
times as much salt as the lower country, and would pay the tax in the
same proportion. It has been said, that if they pay more on salt, they
pay less on other articles--agreed to. But there are a number more which
may perhaps unequally affect them; yet it is an argument of small weight
to say, because we in large commercial cities are regulated in a
sumptuary manner for indulging in luxuries, you who are obliged to
retrench them shall pay a tax upon the necessaries of life. In short,
the tax appeared to him not only unpopular, but unjust likewise, and he
would not agree to it.

Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina.)--If any further arguments were necessary
to convince the committee of the impropriety of the present measure,
more might be urged, though what has been said is certainly sufficient
to demonstrate that it will be attended with a great deal of
dissatisfaction, and in proportion to that dissatisfaction will be the
danger of having your laws contemned, opposed, or neglected in the
execution. It is well known, that however small the duty, it will
furnish a pretext to the seller to extort a much greater sum from the
consumer. Another observation. It is believed that the inhabitants of
the interior part of South Carolina are opposed to the new Government;
it will be a melancholy circumstance to entangle ourselves, at this
time, among the shoals of discontent; yet no stronger impulse could be
given for opposition than the proposed tax; conceiving it in this light,
he was against the measure.

Mr. SCOTT added, that the price of salt where he lived was four dollars
a bushel, the country was settled three or four hundred miles beyond
him, and he supposed the price there to be greater.

Mr. LAWRENCE thought it would be better for the committee to take time
to examine what had been urged against the tax, and as it was the usual
time for adjourning, the committee might rise and defer their decision
till to-morrow.

Whereupon the committee rose, and the House adjourned.

FRIDAY, April 17.

BENJAMIN CONTEE, from Maryland, appeared and took his seat.

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
state of the Union, Mr. PAGE in the chair; the question of laying a duty
on salt recurred.

Mr. LAWRENCE.--I had the honor yesterday of delivering my sentiments in
favor of this duty; but observations were made by gentlemen from
different parts of the House against the measure. The principal
objection was, that the tax was an odious one. It was admitted by a
worthy gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SCOTT) that all taxes are
odious; this is certainly true, for the people are not pleased with
paying them; nothing but necessity will induce a Government to have
recourse to them. It is also true, that some are more odious than
others. From what has been said, it may be seen that a tax on salt is
not so in general, but only in particular parts of the Union; the remote
inhabitants, it is said, will be dissatisfied, because it increases the
price of the commodity, and they use more of it than others. It is
mentioned as partaking of the nature of a capitation tax, but this kind
of tax is odious, more from its manner of operation than its nature. We
find in some States where it is in use, the people live easy under it;
for example, it is not complained of in some of the Eastern States. We
have not much to apprehend from a tax on salt in this State; the people
are satisfied with it; at least the complaints are neither so loud nor
so general, as to make us apprehensive for the existence of the
Government we live under. Its operations, though the contrary was
predicted, go on with as much ease since an impost has been laid, as
they did before. I believe, likewise, we have only to try the
experiment, to be convinced it would have a similar effect throughout
the continent; for I cannot persuade myself that it is generally looked
upon in so odious a light as some gentlemen imagine. It was also said,
that the tax would be unequal, and the objects of inequality were two.
The poor man would pay as much as the rich; but this is not the case;
the rich are generally more profuse in their consumption than the poor;
they have more servants and dependents also to consume it; consequently
the whole amount of their consumption must be in a proportionable ratio.
The other inequality was its different operation in different States,
and even different parts of the same State. On examination, this
objection also may be obviated. Gentlemen tell you the high price of
this article at three or four hundred miles distance; is it not hence
presumable that there they consume as little as possible, while along
the sea-coasts they use it with a liberal hand? But whether it be
consumed on the sea-coast, or on the western waters, the tax is the
same, or but inconsiderably augmented; for I take it the great addition
which is made is in consequence of the charge of carriage. I cannot,
therefore, see by what magic gentlemen will prove to you that it is
increased four or five fold. We must also take into contemplation the
number of persons who consume it; here it will appear, that the weight
of population is much greater on the sea-coast than in the western parts
of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Carolina, consequently the consumption
must be greater. It was said, the argument I urged was not a good one,
because it proved too much, that an article of general consumption was
not the best article for taxation; now, I believe the maxim is just, and
when examined it will be found so. Taxes, to be just, should affect all,
and equally affect them, and not be left to fall partially upon a few.
This is more the case with salt than any other article which has yet
been taxed, and I believe is the only tax which will get at the pockets
of those to whom it is said to be obnoxious. But how comes it, if the
other articles are equally consumed in the back countries, that
gentlemen did not urge the argument of expense on transportation, and
the pretext that a tax would furnish the seller to extort from the

Mr. MADISON.--From the nature of the arguments made use of on this
occasion, it is necessary to proceed with some circumspection, though
not to depart from that policy which can be justified by reason and
experience. I am willing to trust a great deal to the good sense,
justice, and penetration of our fellow-citizens for support; and though
I think it might be just to lay a considerable duty generally on
imported articles, yet it would not be prudent or politic, at this time,
to do so. Let us now proceed to consider the subject before us, on the
principles of justice and principles of policy. In the first point of
view, we may consider the effect it will have on the different
descriptions of people throughout the United States, I mean different
descriptions, as they relate to property. I readily agree that, in
itself, a tax would be unjust and oppressive that did not fall on the
citizens according to their degree of property and ability to pay it;
were it, therefore, this single article which we are about to tax, I
should think it indispensable that it should operate equally, agreeably
to the principle I have just mentioned. But in order to determine
whether a tax on salt is just or unjust, we must consider it as part of
a system, and judge of the operation of this system as if it was but a
single article; if this is found to be unequal, it is also unjust. Now,
examine the preceding articles, and consider how they affect the rich,
and it will be found that they bear more than a just proportion
according to their ability to pay; by adding this article, we shall
rather equalize the disproportion than increase it, if it is true, as
has been often mentioned, that the poor will contribute more of this tax
than the rich. When we consider the tax as it operates on the different
parts of the United States, dividing the whole into the northern,
middle, and southern districts, it will be found that they contribute
also in proportion to their numbers and ability to pay. If there be any
distinction in this respect, it will be perceived to be in favor of the
southern division, because the species of property there consists of
mouths that consume salt in the same proportion as the whites; but they
have not this property in the middle and northern districts to pay taxes
for. The most important objection is, that the western part of our
country uses more salt than any other; this makes it unequal; but,
considered as a part of a system, the equilibrium is restored, when you
find this almost the only tax they will have to pay. Will they
contribute any thing by consuming imported spirits? Very little. Yet,
this is a principal source of revenue; they will subsist upon what they
procure at home; and will they submit to a direct tax, if they murmur at
so light a one on salt? Will they submit to an excise? If they would, I
trust it is not in the contemplation of gentlemen to propose it.

Mr. WHITE, after some doubts, had made up his mind against the article
being taxed. We ought to pass no law that is unjust or oppressive in its
nature, or which the people may consider as unjust or oppressive; a duty
on salt would be considered in that light by a great number. Our
constituents expect some ease and relief, particularly the poorer sort
of people. It seems to be granted, from all that has been said, that it
will affect them in a manner which no other tax can, though, it is said,
they will not be affected beyond their proportion, as they pay nothing
for the consumption of wine, spirits, &c. because they use none. One
reason which influenced the committee to tax those articles, was to
abolish the use of them altogether, or prevent the excesses they
occasioned. Now will you urge in argument for taxing the poor, that they
already practise that temperance which you desire to bring universally
about? All taxes, it is admitted, are odious, and some merely from
opinion; but if they are odious from opinion, they ought to be carefully
guarded against, especially if the Government depends upon opinion for

Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, said, they collected eight cents in his State,
and it caused no complaint that he knew of.

The question on imposing six cents on salt was put and carried, as was a
motion for a drawback on salted provisions and fish.

On manufactured tobacco.

Mr. SHERMAN moved six cents, as he thought the duty ought to amount to a
prohibition. This was agreed to.

On snuff, ten cents per pound.

Mr. CARROLL moved to insert window and other glass. A manufacture of
this article was begun in Maryland, and attended with considerable
success; if the Legislature were to grant a small encouragement, it
would be permanently established; the materials were to be found in the
country in sufficient quantities to answer the most extensive demand.

A desultory conversation arose in the committee respecting the propriety
of receiving the motion at this time, when it was agreed to add on all
window and other glass, except black quart bottles, ten per cent. _ad

Mr. CLYMER informed the House of the state of the paper mills in
Pennsylvania; they were so numerous as to be able to supply a very
extensive demand in that and the neighboring States; they annually
produce about 70,000 reams of various kinds, which is sold as cheap as
it can be imported. This manufacture certainly is an important one; and
having grown up under legislative encouragement, it will be wise to
continue it. Thereupon it was agreed to lay an impost of seven and a
half per cent. _ad valorem_ on blank books, writing, printing, and
wrapping paper, and pasteboard; the same, without debate, was laid upon
canes, walking-sticks, whips, clothing ready made, on gold, silver, and
plated ware, and on jewelry and paste work; upon cabinet ware, buttons
of metal, saddles, gloves of leather, all hats of beaver, fur, wool, or
mixture of either, all millinery, castings of iron, or slit or rolled
iron, all leather tanned or tawed, or manufactures thereof, except such
as are otherwise rated.

On every coach, chariot, or other four wheel carriage, and on every
chaise, solo, or other two wheel carriage, or parts thereof, fifteen per
cent. _ad valorem_.

SATURDAY, April 18.

Mr. WHITE, from the Committee of Elections, reported that the committee
had examined the certificates and other credentials of the members
returned to serve in this House, and found them entitled to take their
seats; which report was concurred with.

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
state of the Union, Mr. PAGE in the chair.

On motion of Mr. GOODHUE, anchors at seven and a half per cent. _ad
valorem_, was added.

On motion of Mr. SHERMAN, nutmegs, cinnamon, raisins, figs, currants,
and almonds, were struck out.

Mr. AMES introduced wool cards, with observing that they were
manufactured to the eastward as good and as cheap as the imported ones.

Mr. CLYMER mentioned, that in the State of Pennsylvania, the manufacture
was carried to great perfection, and enough could be furnished to supply
the demand. A duty of fifty cents per dozen was imposed on wool cards.

On wrought tin ware, seven and a half per centum _ad valorem_; on every
quintal of fish, fifty cents; and on every barrel of pickled fish,
seventy-five cents.

Mr. FITZSIMONS moved the following: On all teas imported from China or
India, in ships built in the United States, and belonging wholly to a
citizen or citizens thereof, as follows: on bohea tea, per pound, six
cents; on all souchong and other black teas, ten cents; on superior
green teas, twenty cents; on all other teas, ten cents.

On all teas imported from any other country, or from China or India, in
ships which are not the property of the United States, as follows: on
bohea tea, per pound, ten cents; souchong, and other black teas, fifteen
cents; on superior green teas, thirty cents; on all other green teas,
eighteen cents per pound.

Mr. FITZSIMONS supported the motion, by observing that one effect of the
late glorious revolution was, to deprive the merchants of America of
most of the channels of commerce which they had before pursued. This
circumstance obliged them to search for other sources to employ their
vessels in. It had been discovered that a pretty lucrative trade could
be carried on with the countries in the east; the merchants have gone
largely into it, and it at present gives employment to some thousand
tons of American shipping and seamen; our success has been so great, as
to excite the jealousy of Europe, and nothing is left undone to cramp or
prevent our commercial operations in that quarter. The Legislature of
Pennsylvania, impressed with the importance of the subject, had granted
it aid by discriminating in the manner he proposed to the committee; and
with the like aid from the Government of the United States, the
merchants may no longer fear the machinations of the opulent companies
in Europe, who are unwilling to let us partake of a trade they so long
have had a monopoly of. Already the trade to India has had a very happy
effect in favor of our inhabitants, by reducing commodities brought from
thence to one half of their former price, and yet a sufficient profit is
left to enable those concerned to carry it on with advantage.

Mr. MADISON felt a reluctance in being obliged to state his reasons why
he doubted the policy of the proposed measure. What, said he, is its
object? It is not to add to the revenue, for it will in fact tend to
diminish it, in that proportion which the importation from China lessens
that from other parts; it is not to increase our commerce, for long
voyages are unfriendly to it; it is not to increase the importation of
necessary articles, for India goods are mostly articles of luxury; it is
not to carry off our superfluities, for these articles are paid for
principally, if not altogether, in solid coin. If the trade is
beneficial at all to the United States, it must be in this single point
of view, that the articles can be imported cheaper through that channel
than any other; and, if so, that it is the interest of the people to be
supplied as cheap as possible. There are no collateral good purposes to
claim our attention in this case. It is not in the nature of things that
we should derive any other advantage than the one I have mentioned,
without it is that of raising our India commerce from its weak and
infant state to strength and vigor; to enable it to continue supplies at
a cheaper rate than they could otherwise be obtained.

Mr. GOODHUE replied to Mr. MADISON's observations, respecting the mode
of paying for India goods, by informing the committee that very
considerable quantities of ginseng, naval stores, lumber, and
provisions, were shipped; other articles were sent also, and disposed of
at ports on this side of China, in order to procure the most suitable
cargo; so that we do not pay principally for their commodities in solid
coin, but send off superfluities to a considerable amount, much more
than if we were to procure our teas and nankeens from any part of

Mr. MADISON had not made the objection merely because the specie was
exported, but to show that it did not bring in an equivalent, as the
goods were mostly of that kind which are termed luxuries.

Mr. BOUDINOT declared himself a friend to the Indian commerce. He
thought it encouraged the employment of shipping, and increased our
seamen; he knew its advantages to agriculture. The gentleman from
Virginia (Mr. MADISON) supposed but little of our productions were sent
in exchange for India goods; but our beef, pork, flour, and wheat, were
shipped for this purpose, not to China, yet to ports where proper
cargoes were taken in to answer the trade. Encouragement and protection
were necessary to prevent the large companies in Europe from
underselling our merchants, which they would readily do, at considerable
loss, if they could, in consequence, put a stop to our trade. He hoped,
therefore, the committee would not hesitate in adopting the motion.

The motion was adopted accordingly.

On coal per bushel ---- cents.

Mr. BLAND informed the committee, that there were mines opened in
Virginia capable of supplying the whole of the United States, and, if
some restraint was laid on the importation of foreign coal, those mines
might be worked to advantage. He thought it needless to insist upon the
advantages resulting from a colliery, as a supply for culinary and
mechanical purposes, and as a nursery to train up seamen for a navy. He
moved three cents a bushel.

Mr. HARTLEY was willing to admit a moderate duty, but thought three
cents would be a great discouragement to those manufactures which
necessarily consume large quantities of fuel. He moved one cent.

Mr. PARKER said, that a less sum than three cents would not answer the
purpose intended. Coal came from England as ballast, and was sold so
low, as almost to prevent the working of their mines in Virginia. He
hoped, if the committee were disposed to encourage them, they would
proportion the means to the end; a duty of one cent would be void;
nothing under what was moved by his colleague (Mr. BLAND) could answer
the purpose. He hoped, therefore, the committee would agree to three

On the question, there appeared a majority in favor of three cents.
After which the committee rose, and the House adjourned.

MONDAY, April 20.

ABRAHAM BALDWIN and JAMES JACKSON, from Georgia, appeared and took their

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
state of the Union, Mr. PAGE in the chair.

The following clause of the bill was agreed to, viz: "On all other
articles, five per cent. on their value at the time and place of
importation, except tin in pigs, tin plates, lead, old pewter, brass,
iron or brass wire, copper in plates, wool, dying woods and dying drugs,
(other than indigo,) raw hides, beaver, and all other furs, and deer

Mr. FITZSIMONS proposed a drawback of six cents per gallon on all rum
distilled in the United States, exported without the limits of the same.

Mr. MADISON asked if the quantity of rum so exported was very
considerable? He believed it was not; and he would not, for the sake of
encouraging that branch of trade, open a door by which frauds on the
revenue could be committed equal to the whole duty collected.

Mr. FITZSIMONS could not say what quantity of rum was exported in that
way; but he feared, unless a drawback was allowed, it would be a great
injury to the manufacture. At the time the duty of six cents on molasses
was laid, he thought it was understood, the committee would allow a
drawback on the rum exported. There seems to be an apprehension that the
system of drawbacks will operate to the disadvantage of the revenue; but
he believed a mode could be devised to prevent frauds, in this case,
fully as effectually as on the importation. If this was not done, it
would be time enough for gentlemen to oppose it; they would have this
opportunity, because a bill, regulating the manner of collection, he
presumed, would pass at the same time with the one for levying the
duties. If drawbacks were not allowed, it would be a very considerable
restraint on commerce, particularly on the India trade, which he
believed was likely to be considerably extended. He was sorry the
gentlemen from Massachusetts were not there in their places,[20] to give
information to the committee respecting the quantity exported from that
State; from Pennsylvania the quantity was but small.

Mr. FITZSIMONS contended for drawbacks generally, but on this article it
was particular injustice to omit it. The manufacture of rum was of
considerable importance in the Eastern States, but it would not be able
to stand a successful competition with West India rum in foreign
countries, while loaded with a duty of six cents per gallon. The tax on
molasses was that sum, and he looked upon it to be the same thing as if
it had been paid on the rum at distillation; one gallon of the former
yielding but one of the latter.

Mr. MADISON thought there were very few cases in which drawbacks ought
to be allowed, perhaps none but what related to the East India trade.
The small proportion of distilled rum exported did not justify so great
a risk; but of the small proportion which went abroad, the greatest part
went to the coast of Africa. He feared this trade was inconsistent with
the good of mankind, and ought to be reprobated instead of encouraged.

Mr. BLAND said the committee had spent several days in encouraging
manufactures, by selecting articles for revenue, and were now extending
their views to the encouragement of commerce. He thought there was some
impropriety in combining the clause proposed in this part of the bill,
and even doubted if it was in order; therefore would vote against it.

The question was put on the motion for a drawback on country rum, and

Mr. FITZSIMONS had another clause upon the same subject, only on more
general principles; he hoped gentlemen would consider well before they
doomed it to share the fate of the former. It was to this purpose: that
all the duties paid, or secured to be paid, upon goods imported, shall
be returned or discharged upon such of the said goods, as shall within
---- months be exported to any country without the limits of the United
States, except so much as shall be necessary to defray the expense that
may have accrued by the entry and the safe keeping thereof. The subjects
of duties and drawbacks are so connected by their nature, that he did
not see how they were to be separated. Gentlemen did not imagine that
what had been done tended to favor commerce; it certainly did not. Every
impost which is paid is a disadvantage to the person concerned in trade,
and nothing but necessity could induce a submission to it. The interest
of the landholder is undoubtedly blended with the commercial interest;
if the latter receive an injury, the former will have to sustain his
proportion of it; if drawbacks are not allowed, the operations of trade
will be considerably shackled; merchants will be obliged, in the first
instance, to send their cargoes to the place of consumption, and lose
the advantage of a circuitous freight, which alone is a profit of no
small magnitude.

Mr. HARTLEY expressed his sorrow for the last decision of the committee;
he wished the question had not been put in the absence of the gentlemen
from Massachusetts, who were on a business in some degree of a public
nature. The present motion was only just brought in; he submitted,
therefore, to the committee, if it were not best to pass it over for the
present, in order to give time for consideration.

TUESDAY, April 21.

Mr. HARTLEY asked and obtained leave of absence.

WEDNESDAY, April 22.

PETER SYLVESTER, from New York, appeared and took his seat.

THURSDAY, April 23.

JOHN HATHORN, from New York, appeared and took his seat.

FRIDAY, April 24.

Mr. BOUDINOT reported, from the committee appointed to attend with a
committee from the Senate, to receive the President of the United
States, at the place of his embarkation from New Jersey, that the
committee did, according to order, together with a committee from the
Senate, attend at Elizabethtown, in New Jersey, on the 23d instant, at
which place the two committees met the President, and thence embarked
for this city, where they arrived about three o'clock in the afternoon
of the same day, and conducted him to the house appointed for his

The Speaker laid before the House a letter from the Vice President of
the United States, enclosing a resolution of the Senate, appointing a
committee to consider and report what style or titles it will be proper
to annex to the office of President and Vice President of the United
States, if any other than those given in the constitution; also to
consider of the time, place, and manner in which, and the person by
whom, the oath prescribed by the constitution, shall be administered to
the President, and to confer thereon with such committee as this House
should appoint for that purpose; whereupon,

_Ordered_, That a committee, to consist of five members, be appointed
for the purpose expressed in the resolution of the Senate.

The members elected were Messrs. BENSON, AMES, MADISON, CARROLL, and

_Duties on Imports._

The House then proceeded to consider the resolutions reported by the
Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union.

Mr. BOUDINOT complained that the articles were generally taxed too high,
not too high for the article to bear, but too high for the due
collection of the revenue. Every thing we tax should be considered as it
relates to the interest of the importer, as well as other circumstances;
now, if it is discovered that the duties are so great as to make it a
beneficial trade to the merchant to run his goods, he will do so, and
injure the revenue.

Mr. MADISON was sensible that high duties had a tendency to promote
smuggling, and in case those kinds of frauds were successfully practised
the revenue must be diminished; yet he believed the sum proposed on
spirits was not so high as to produce those effects to any considerable
degree. If any article is capable of paying a heavy duty, it is this; if
the duty on any article is capable of being collected with certainty, it
is this; if a duty on any article is consonant with the sentiment of the
people of America, it is this; why then should not the article be made
as tributary as possible to the wants of Government? But, besides these
favorable circumstances, I think the combination of the merchants will
come in aid of the law; the people will also lend their aid. These
circumstances would do much toward insuring the due collection of the

Mr. JACKSON seconded Mr. BOUDINOT's motion for reducing the duties,
because he was well convinced they were too high even to be well
collected, unless we establish custom-houses every ten or twelve miles,
like watch-towers, along the sea-coast. When trade is so unproductive,
the Legislature ought to be careful how they make it more worth a man's
while to live by committing frauds upon the revenue than by practising
honest commerce.

There is another consideration which particularly regarded the Georgia
trade. That country, abounding with lumber of the most luxurious growth,
could only exchange it for rum; and a very considerable commerce grew
out of this intercourse favorable to Georgia. This would be affected by
the imposition of heavy duties; but commercial considerations, we shall
be told, form only a secondary object in this business. There is another
proposition in which he acquiesced; it would be more convenient, and
more to the honor of the House, to make their first essay with low
duties; because, if they persisted in laying them high, they would be
compelled to an inglorious retreat, and the Government would be
insulted. In the State he represented, it was next to impossible to
collect the revenue, the country was so intersected with navigable
creeks and rivers, if the people were disposed to evade the payment of
it; and there was no more certain way to produce this disposition than
by making it their interest to defraud you.

Mr. BOUDINOT was not ashamed to confess that he wanted the advantages of
commercial knowledge on a question where the principles of trade were
interwoven; but he opposed high duties on a conviction in his own mind
that they could not be collected. He repeated some few of his former
arguments to show why he held this opinion; but it was not the
particular article of rum that he was opposed to, it was the high scale
on which the duties were laid generally, and that only from an idea that
greater revenue might be obtained from less duties.

Mr. TUCKER wished the duties to be lowered, and proposed to the
committee to strike off seven cents from the fifteen; by varying his
motion in this manner, he expected the sense of the House could be taken
on his proposition first, notwithstanding the rule that "the question
shall be put on the highest sum first." He joined in the opinion that
high duties were productive of smuggling; that notwithstanding the
powers and vigilance of custom-house officers, and the whole Executive,
contraband trade is carried on in every nation where the duties are so
high; the facility with which it could be done in America ought to show
a prudent Legislature the degree of probability; unless this can be
guarded against, what will the law avail? It can avail nothing. Besides,
the higher the duty is laid, the more you expose the officer to the
temptation of being corrupted; when that is done, the revenue will be
very unproductive.

Mr. BLAND would second the gentleman last up, but thought it was not in
order to have the question taken first on the lowest sum.

Mr. FITZSIMONS observed to the House, that the decision of the present
question, in his mind, involved some very important alterations in the
present measure; the consequences resulting from which ought to be well
considered. In order, therefore, to gain time for this purpose, he would
move an adjournment; whereupon the House adjourned.

SATURDAY, April 25.

Mr. BENSON, from the committee appointed to consider of the time, place,
and manner in which, and of the person by whom the oath prescribed by
the constitution shall be administered to the President of the United
States, and to confer with a committee of the Senate for the purpose,
reported as followeth:

      That the President hath been pleased to signify to them
      that any time or place which both Houses may think proper
      to appoint, and any manner which shall appear most eligible
      to them, will be acceptable to him: that requisite
      preparations cannot probably be made before Thursday next:
      that the President be on that day formally received by both
      Houses in the Senate Chamber: that the Representatives'
      Chamber being capable of receiving the greater number of
      persons, that therefore the President do take the oath in
      that place, and in the presence of both Houses: that after
      the formal reception of the President in the Senate
      Chamber, he be attended by both Houses to the
      Representatives' Chamber, and that the oath be administered
      by the Chancellor of this State.

      The committee further report it as their opinion, that it
      will be proper that a committee of both Houses be appointed
      to take order for further conducting the ceremonial.

The said report was twice read; and, on the question put thereupon,
agreed to by the House.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. BENSON, AMES, and CARROLL be a committee on the
part of this House, pursuant to the said report.

MONDAY, April 27.

The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from the Vice President of
the United States, enclosing certain proceedings of the Senate, touching
the ceremonial of the formal reception of the President of the United
States, by both Houses, which were read, and ordered to lie on the

Mr. BENSON, from the committee of both Houses, appointed to take order
for conducting the ceremonial of the formal reception of the President
of the United States, reported as followeth:

      "That it appears to the committee more eligible that the
      oath should be administered to the President in the outer
      gallery adjoining the Senate Chamber, than in the
      Representatives' Chamber, and therefore submit to the
      respective Houses the propriety of authorizing their
      committees to take order as to the place where the oath
      shall be administered to the President, the resolutions of
      Saturday, assigning the Representatives' Chamber as the
      place, notwithstanding."

The said report being twice read,

      _Resolved_, That this House doth concur in the said report,
      and authorize the committee to take order for the change of
      place thereby proposed.

The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from the Vice President of
the United States, enclosing two orders of the Senate, one of the 13th
instant, appointing a committee to confer with any committee to be
appointed on the part of this House, respecting the future disposition
of the papers, &c. in the office of the late Secretary of the United
States: the other of the 27th instant, for the attendance of both
Houses, with the President of the United States, after the oath shall be
administered to him, to hear divine service at St. Paul's Chapel: which
was read, and ordered to lie on the table.

TUESDAY, April 28.

Mr. RICHARD BLAND LEE, from the committee to whom was recommitted the
report respecting the mode of communicating papers, bills, and messages,
between the two Houses, reported as followth:

      "When a message shall be sent from the Senate to the House
      of Representatives, it shall be announced at the door of
      the House by the doorkeeper, and shall be respectfully
      communicated to the Chair, by the person by whom it may be

      "The same ceremony shall be observed when a message shall
      be sent from the House of Representatives to the Senate.

      "Messages shall be sent by such persons as a sense of
      propriety in each House may determine to be proper."

The said report was twice read, and, on the question put thereupon,
agreed to by the House.

A letter from Matthias Ogden, of New Jersey, referring to sundry
petitions from citizens of that State, complaining of illegality in the
late election of Representatives for that State to this House was read
and ordered to lie on the table.

The order of the Senate of the 13th instant was read, appointing a
committee to confer with any committee to be appointed on the part of
this House, respecting the future disposition of the papers in the
office of the late Secretary of the United States; whereupon

_Ordered_, That Messrs. TRUMBULL, CADWALADER, and JACKSON, be a
committee for that purpose.

WEDNESDAY, April 29.

The House proceeded to consider the report from the Committee of
Elections (which lay on the table) on the petition of David Ramsay, of
the State of South Carolina, suggesting that William Smith, returned a
member of this House, as elected within that State, was, at the time of
his election, ineligible; and the said report being amended to read as

      That in this case it will be sufficient in the first
      instance, that a committee take such proofs as can be
      obtained in this city respecting the facts stated in the
      petition, and report the same to the House--That Mr. Smith
      be permitted to be present from time to time when such
      proofs are taken, to examine the witnesses, and to offer
      counter-proofs, which shall also be received by the
      committee, and reported to the House--That if the proofs so
      to be reported shall be declared by the House insufficient
      to verify the material facts stated in the petition, or
      such other facts as the House shall deem proper to be
      inquired into, it will then be necessary for the House to
      direct a further inquiry, and especially the procuring
      whatever additional testimony may be supposed to be in
      South Carolina, as the case may require--That all questions
      arising on the proofs be decided by the House, without any
      previous opinion thereon reported by a committee.

      _Resolved_, That this House doth agree to the said report,
      and that it be an instruction to the Committee of Elections
      to proceed accordingly.

On motion,

_Ordered_, That a committee be appointed to prepare and report an
estimate of the supplies requisite for the present year, and of the net
produce of the impost as agreed to by the House, and that Messrs. GERRY,
SMITH, (of Maryland,) and PARKER, be of the said committee.

The House proceeded to consider the following resolution of the Senate,
to wit:

      "In Senate, April 27.

      "_Resolved_, That after the oath shall have been
      administered to the President, he, attended by the Vice
      President, and the members of the Senate and House of
      Representatives, proceed to St. Paul's Chapel to hear
      divine service, to be performed by the Chaplains to
      Congress already appointed:" Whereupon,

      _Resolved_, That this House doth concur with the Senate in
      the said resolution: amended to read as followeth, to wit:

      "That after the oath shall have been administered to the
      President, the Vice President and members of the Senate,
      the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives,
      will accompany him to St. Paul's Chapel, to hear divine
      service performed by the Chaplains of Congress."

_Ordered_, That the Clerk of this House do carry the said resolution to
the Senate, and desire their concurrence.--Adjourned.

THURSDAY, April 30.

JONATHAN GROUT, from Massachusetts, appeared and took his seat.

This being the day on which the President of the United States was
inaugurated, no other business, of course, was attended to. The
President's address to both Houses appears in the proceedings of the

FRIDAY, May 1.

The SPEAKER laid before the House a copy of the speech of the President
of the United States, to both Houses of Congress, delivered yesterday in
the Senate Chamber, immediately after his inauguration, which being

On motion,

      _Resolved_, That the said speech be committed to a
      Committee of the whole House.

The House accordingly resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, Mr.
PAGE in the chair. And after adopting the following resolution, the
committee rose, and reported it to the House, which agreed to it.

      _Resolved_, That it is the opinion of this committee, that
      an address to the President ought to be prepared,
      expressing the congratulations of the House of
      Representatives, on the distinguished proof given him of
      the affection and confidence of his fellow-citizens, by the
      unanimous suffrage which has appointed him to the high
      station which he fills; the approbation felt by the House
      of the patriotic sentiments and enlightened policy
      recommended by his speech; and assuring him of their
      disposition to concur in giving effect to every measure
      which may tend to secure the liberties, promote the
      harmony, and advance the happiness and prosperity of their

_Ordered_, That a committee to consist of five members be appointed to
prepare an address pursuant to the said resolution. The members elected

A motion was made that the House do come to the following resolution:

      _Resolved_, That ---- per annum be the compensation to be
      allowed to the President of the United States, during the
      term for which he is to be elected.

The said resolution being read, was committed to a Committee of the
whole House.

The House then proceeded by ballot to the appointment of a Chaplain to
Congress on the part of this House. Upon examining the ballots, it
appeared that the Rev. WILLIAM LINN was elected.

SAMUEL LIVERMORE, from New Hampshire, appeared and took his seat.


Mr. BENSON, from the committee appointed to consider of, and report what
style or titles it will be proper to annex to the office of President
and Vice President of the United States, if any other than those given
in the Constitution, and to confer with a committee of the Senate
appointed for the same purpose, reported as followeth:

"That it is not proper to annex any style or title to the respective
styles or titles of office expressed in the Constitution."

And the said report being twice read at the Clerk's table, was, on the
question put thereupon, agreed to by the House.

_Ordered_, that the Clerk of this House do acquaint the Senate

Mr. MADISON, from the committee appointed to prepare an address on the
part of this House to the President of the United States, in answer to
his speech to both Houses of Congress, reported as followeth:

      _The Address of the House of Representatives to George
      Washington, President of the United States._

      SIR: The Representatives of the People of the United States
      present their congratulations on the event by which your
      fellow-citizens have attested the pre-eminence of your
      merit. You have long held the first place in their esteem.
      You have often received tokens of their affection. You now
      possess the only proof that remained of their gratitude for
      your services, of their reverence for your wisdom, and of
      their confidence in your virtues. You enjoy the highest,
      because the truest honor, of being the First Magistrate, by
      the unanimous choice of the freest people on the face of
      the earth.

      We well know the anxieties with which you must have obeyed
      a summons from the repose reserved for your declining
      years, into public scenes, of which you had taken your
      leave for ever. But the obedience was due to the occasion.
      It is already applauded by the universal joy which welcomes
      you to your station. And we cannot doubt that it will be
      rewarded with all the satisfaction with which an ardent
      love for your fellow-citizens must review successful
      efforts to promote their happiness.

      This anticipation is not justified merely by the past
      experience of your signal services. It is particularly
      suggested by the pious impressions under which you mean to
      commence your administration, and the enlightened maxims by
      which you mean to conduct it. We feel with you the
      strongest obligations to adore the invisible hand which has
      led the American people through so many difficulties, to
      cherish a conscious responsibility for the destiny of
      republican liberty; and to seek the only sure means of
      preserving and recommending the precious deposit in a
      system of legislation founded on the principles of an
      honest policy, and directed by the spirit of a diffusive

      The question arising out of the fifth article of the
      Constitution will receive all the attention demanded by its
      importance; and will, we trust, be decided, under the
      influence of all the considerations to which you allude.

      In forming the pecuniary provisions for the Executive
      Department, we shall not lose sight of a wish resulting
      from motives which give it a peculiar claim to our regard.
      Your resolution, in a moment critical to the liberties of
      your country, to renounce all personal emolument, was among
      the many presages of your patriotic services, which have
      been amply fulfilled; and your scrupulous adherence now to
      the law then imposed on yourself, cannot fail to
      demonstrate the purity, whilst it increases the lustre of a
      character which has so many titles to admiration.

      Such are the sentiments which we have thought fit to
      address to you. They flow from our own hearts, and we
      verily believe that, among the millions we represent,
      there is not a virtuous citizen whose heart will disown

      All that remains is, that we join in your fervent
      supplications for the blessings of heaven on our country;
      and that we add our own for the choicest of these blessings
      on the most beloved of our citizens.

Said address was committed to a Committee of the Whole; and the House
immediately resolved itself into a committee, Mr. PAGE in the chair. The
committee proposing no amendment thereto, rose and reported the address,
and the House agreed to it, and resolved that the Speaker, attended by
the members of this House, do present the said address to the President.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. SINNICKSON, COLES, and SMITH (of South
Carolina), be a committee to wait on the President to know when it will
be convenient for him to receive the same.

Mr. CLYMER, from the committee appointed for the purpose, reported a
bill for laying a duty on goods, wares, and merchandise, imported into
the United States, which passed its first reading.

_Amendment of the Constitution._

      [Mr. BLAND presented the application of the Legislature of
      Virginia, to have a convention called of deputies from all
      the States, to consider the defects of the Constitution and
      report amendments; and moved to refer the application to
      the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union.]

Mr. BOUDINOT.--According to the terms of the Constitution, the business
cannot be taken up until a certain number of States have concurred in
similar applications; certainly the House is disposed to pay a proper
attention to the application of so respectable a State as Virginia, but
if it is a business which we cannot interfere with in a constitutional
manner, we had better let it remain on the files of the House until the
proper number of applications come forward.

Mr. BLAND thought there could be no impropriety in referring any subject
to a committee; but surely this deserved the serious and solemn
consideration of Congress. He hoped no gentleman would oppose the
compliment of referring it to a Committee of the Whole; beside, it would
be a guide to the deliberations of the committee on the subject of
amendments, which would shortly come before the House.

Mr. MADISON said, he had no doubt but the House was inclined to treat
the present application with respect, but he doubted the propriety of
committing it, because it would seem to imply that the House had a right
to deliberate upon the subject. This, he believed, was not the case
until two-thirds of the State Legislatures concurred in such
application, and then it is out of the power of Congress to decline
complying, the words of the Constitution being express and positive
relative to the agency Congress may have in case of applications of this
nature. "The Congress, wherever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it
necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution; or, on the
application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States,
shall call a convention for proposing amendments." From hence it must
appear that Congress have no deliberative power on this occasion. The
most respectful and constitutional mode of performing our duty will be,
to let it be entered on the minutes, and remain upon the files of the
House until similar applications come to hand from two-thirds of the

Mr. BOUDINOT hoped the gentleman who desired the commitment of the
application would not suppose him wanting in respect to the State of
Virginia. He entertained the most profound respect for her--but it was
on a principle of respect to order and propriety that he opposed the
commitment; enough had been said to convince gentlemen that it was
improper to commit--for what purpose can it be done? what can the
committee report? The application is to call a new convention. Now, in
this case, there is nothing left for us to do, but to call one when
two-thirds of the State Legislatures apply for that purpose. He hoped
the gentleman would withdraw his motion for commitment.

Mr. BLAND.--The application now before the committee contains a number
of reasons why it is necessary to call a convention. By the fifth
article of the Constitution, Congress are obliged to order this
convention when two-thirds of the Legislatures apply for it; but how can
these reasons be properly weighed, unless it be done in committee?
Therefore, I hope the House will agree to refer it.

Mr. HUNTINGTON thought it proper to let the application remain on the
table, it can be called up with others when enough are presented to make
two-thirds of the whole States. There would be an evident impropriety in
committing, because it would argue a right in the House to deliberate,
and, consequently, a power to procrastinate the measure applied for.

Mr. TUCKER thought it not right to disregard the application of any
State, and inferred, that the House had a right to consider every
application that was made; if two-thirds had not applied, the subject
might be taken into consideration, but if two-thirds had applied, it
precluded deliberation on the part of the House. He hoped the present
application would be properly noticed.

Mr. GERRY.--The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MADISON) told us yesterday,
that he meant to move the consideration of amendments on the fourth
Monday of this month; he did not make such motion then, and may be
prevented by accident, or some other cause, from carrying his intention
into execution when the time he mentioned shall arrive. I think the
subject however is introduced to the House, and, perhaps, it may consist
with order to let the present application lie on the table until the
business is taken up generally.

Mr. PAGE thought it the best way to enter the application at large upon
the Journals, and do the same by all that came in, until sufficient were
made to obtain their object, and let the original be deposited in the
archives of Congress. He deemed this the proper mode of disposing of it,
and what is in itself proper can never be construed into disrespect.

Mr. BLAND acquiesced in this disposal of the application. Whereupon it
was ordered to be entered at length on the Journals, and the original to
be placed on the files of Congress.

_Duties on Tonnage._

The House then resumed the consideration of the Report of the Committee
of the Whole on the state of the Union, in relation to the duty on

Mr. JACKSON (from Georgia) moved to lower the tonnage duty from thirty
cents, as it stood in the report of the Committee on ships of nations in
alliance, and to insert twenty cents, with a view of reducing the
tonnage on the vessels of Powers not in alliance. In laying a higher
duty on foreign tonnage than on our own, I presume, said he, the
Legislature have three things in contemplation: 1st, The encouragement
of American shipping; 2ndly, Raising a revenue; and 3rdly, The support
of light-houses and beacons for the purposes of navigation. Now, for the
first object, namely, the encouragement of American shipping, I judge
twenty cents will be sufficient, the duty on our own being only six
cents; but if twenty cents are laid in this case, I conclude that a
higher rate will be imposed upon the vessels of nations not in alliance.
As these form the principal part of the foreign navigation, the duty
will be adequate to the end proposed. I take it, the idea of revenue
from this source is not much relied upon by the House; and surely twenty
cents is enough to answer all the purposes of erecting and supporting
the necessary light-houses. On a calculation of what will be paid in
Georgia, I find a sufficiency for these purposes; and I make no doubt
but enough will be collected in every State from this duty. The tonnage
employed in Georgia is about twenty thousand tons, fourteen thousand
tons are foreign; the duty on this quantity will amount to £466 13s. 4d.
Georgia currency. I do not take in the six cents upon American vessels,
yet this sum appears to be as much as can possibly be wanted for the
purpose of improving our navigation.

I shall just mention to the House one observation more, to show that the
produce of the Southern States cannot bear a high tonnage duty. The
value of rice, tobacco, and indigo has fallen so much in foreign
markets, that they are no longer worth the exportation. The merchants
complain that they lose by those remittances; and they have now got into
the practice of sending off specie; forty thousand dollars have been
sent in one vessel. This is a daily practice, and we shall shortly have
no specie left to pay our debts. The difficulty will be increased, as
no money will remain to pay for the duties imposed on the articles
imported. I hope the government will not insist upon our walking before
we are able to creep, or compel us to make bricks without straw. These
are my sentiments on the present question; if they have weight, the
House will agree with me in reducing the duty; but if the House persist
in continuing the high rates agreed to in committee, I shall content
myself with having done my duty by warning them of the danger.

Mr. AMES.--I hope the reduction moved for by the gentleman who has just
sat down will not be agreed to; for I trust the House is not satisfied
with the reasons offered in its support. A great deal has been now said
respecting the jealousy entertained of the advantages given by this
preference to some States; a great deal was also said before the
committee adopted the measure. I do not think this doctrine of jealousy
is natural to us. I know it has been cultivated by the British, and
disseminated through the United States; they had their particular views
in exciting such ideas; but I do not believe, that because we have
various we have opposite interests. Upon examination there will be found
but few of our interests that clash with each other so much as to admit
a well grounded jealousy. Nature has so arranged our circumstances, that
the people of the several States pursue various employments which
support each other. If one end of the continent is employed in
manufactures and commerce, the other is attentive to agriculture; so far
are they, therefore, from being rivals, that, both in a natural and
political sense, they mutually are necessary and beneficial to each
other's interests. I wish gentlemen, before they insist upon this
jealousy, would point out the causes of its existence. So far from this
being the case, I believe the individual interest of each part is
compatible with the general interest; and that the public opinion is the
same, is clearly demonstrated by the attachment professed by every part
to remain in union--it is acknowledged, that on this principle our
existence as a nation depends.

This being the case, I do not listen with any great degree of concern to
arguments founded on that cause. So far from surveying the affluence or
ease of my Southern brethren with the jaundiced eye of jealousy, I
contemplate their prosperity with ineffable satisfaction. I look with an
equal eye upon the success of every State through the whole extent of
United America. I wish their interests to be equally consulted; and if I
may judge of the feelings of the people, by those of their
representatives on this floor, I may venture to say there was never less
reason to apprehend discord or envy than at this time. I believe the
fact is so, because I feel it. I appeal with confidence to the gentlemen
round me, whether they have not found the disposition of those who were
suspected most to favor navigation, ready to concede what was asked for
the encouragement of every other interest? Whether a like conciliatory
conduct has not been observed by the advocates of manufactures? I ask
gentlemen, whether the language they have heard from the several parts
of this House has not been much more congenial to their sentiments than
they expected, and the measures pursued more coincident to their
feelings than what they looked for? I believe, at the moment I am making
this observation, the breasts of gentlemen beat in concert with it; I am
sure my feelings accord most cordially in the sentiment.

I believe the encouragement of our navigation is looked upon to be
indispensably necessary; its importance has never been denied. Now, I
ask if gentlemen are inclined to support and extend our navigation,
whether they are not willing to proportion the mean to the end, and
adopt measures tending to increase the quantity of American shipping? It
has been often justly remarked, that the Constitution, under which we
deliberate, originated in commercial necessity. The mercantile part of
our fellow-citizens, who are the firm friends to an equal and energetic
government, hope the improvement of our navigation may obtain the
attention of Congress; it is but justice that it be early attended to,
and it will give general satisfaction to find it considered as an
important object by the General Government. The most liberal of the
friends of American commerce only wish for such regulations as may put
our navigation on a footing with foreigners. If other nations have
restricted our navigation by regulations or charges, we must restrict
them by a tonnage, or some other duty, so as to restore an equality; but
this will not be found to be the case in the present instance. The
moderate and inconsiderable duty of thirty cents on foreigners in
treaty, and fifty cents on others not in treaty, will not enable our
vessels to go abroad with as much advantage as foreigners can come here;
so that the proposed encouragement may perhaps fall short of procuring
us a maritime strength equal to our national security.

The observations of gentlemen tending to show that one end of the
continent will suffer more by the regulation contemplated by the House
than the other, are, I conceive, not well founded. The price of freight
will equalize itself. If the people of Carolina or Georgia pay a high
freight in consequence of the tonnage duty, the State of Massachusetts
must pay the same, or her vessels will go to the southward in search of
freight, so that the Eastern States have no peculiar interest in the
measure. It has been suggested, that because Massachusetts has foreign
vessels in her employ, she cannot transport produce for
others--Massachusetts, by reason of that influence which Britain has, is
obliged to receive some of her supplies in foreign bottoms, but this is
only a proof that the evil requires a remedy. I might here easily draw a
picture of the distress to which the Eastern country is subjected for
want of a protecting hand: her shipwrights are glad to work for two
shillings and sixpence a day, or less, and less will not maintain them
and their families. Their lumber is of no value, it lies rotting in the
forests, for want of encouragement to frame it into ships; the other
artisans are clamorous for employment, and without a speedy relief they
will have to desert the country. I believe if this relief is extended to
them, it will give a spring to their industry, and a little time will
render them serviceable to their fellow-citizens in the South. They will
find markets for their tobacco, which is now rotting, and their valuable
productions will be transported to all parts of the globe. From these
circumstances, I am led to beg gentlemen to consider, that the
improvement and extension of our navigation is one of the most important
objects that can come before the Legislature; that there are abundant
proofs that a regulation in favor of American shipping is absolutely
necessary to restore them to an equality with foreigners; and if they
are convinced with me of its importance and necessity, they will not
think the sums agreed to in committee too high for the purpose of
protecting the navigation of the United States.

Mr. BURKE.--Something has been said relative to a jealousy subsisting in
the Southern States respecting the navigation interest; I shall,
therefore, make an observation or two on that subject. So far as my own
knowledge of that country goes, I believe the citizens look with
indignation at the power which foreigners have over their commerce. So
far from being jealous of the Eastern States, they look forward to some
future day when their navigation will be secured to that part of the
Union. They know that it possesses superior maritime advantages, and
expect they will hereafter afford security to them. They know, that from
the spirit and industry of the people of New England, they may derive
commercial and agricultural benefits. This is also my own judgment on
the point. I know they cannot now supply us with vessels to transport
our produce, but I hope the time will shortly come when they will have
the ability; in the mean time, when I consider how much the Southern
staples are fallen in price, and the great debts due in that country, I
must say, that I fear a heavy tonnage will be attended with very
dangerous consequences. There are very few foreigners but British come
among us, and a high duty laid upon their ships will fall severely upon
the planters. The Southern people are willing to render any assistance
to increase the maritime importance of the Eastern States, as soon as
they are able; if, therefore, a distant period is fixed for the
commencement of the high duties, I shall be in favor of them; but if
they are to take place immediately, I fear they will do a great deal of
injury in the present deranged and calamitous situation of our country.

Mr. GOODHUE was glad to hear from the several parts of the House, that
there was a disposition to give a preference to American shipping. This
principle being fixed, it only remained for the House to ascertain the
proper degree of encouragement to be given; the rate agreed to in the
committee was not more than good policy required. The gentleman from
Georgia fears that the people of his State will suffer for want of
vessels, or pay a higher freight than their neighbors; but a high duty
is not contended for in the first instance, it is only such a degree of
encouragement as will enable us to enter into a competition with
foreigners in our own carrying trade. The same gentleman has said,
Massachusetts has not vessels enough for her own commerce, and,
therefore, cannot furnish any for others; although Massachusetts employs
7 or 8,000 tons of foreign shipping; yet it is supposed she supplies the
other States with 30,000 tons. The circumstance of 5,000 hogsheads of
tobacco lying to rot for want of vessels, when some thousand tons of
ours are idle for want of employment, does not prove the want of
shipping, so much as that the price of the article is too high for a
foreign market. If the produce is held so high as not to bear the
expense of transportation, the merchants who import will be obliged to
send off money in payment. In order to remedy these inconveniences in
future, it will be necessary to hold out sufficient encouragement for
the construction of vessels. Perhaps it may be good policy to allow a
moderate tonnage duty at this time, to be increased hereafter.

Mr. MADISON.--I believe every gentleman who hears the observations from
the different quarters of this House, discovers great reason for every
friend of the United States to congratulate himself upon the evident
disposition which has been displayed to conduct our business with
harmony and concert.

We have evinced a disposition different from what was expected to arise
from the different interests of the several parts of the Union. I am
persuaded, that less contrariety of sentiment has taken place than was
supposed by gentlemen, who did not choose to magnify the causes of
variance; every thing we have hitherto done, tends to make this evident.
The importance of the Union is justly estimated by all its parts; this
being founded upon a perfect accordance of interest, it may become
perpetual. I know that the point before us has often been selected as a
proof that there was an incompatibility of interest in the United
States. On this opinion I beg leave to remark, that the difference in
point of capacity in the several States to build ships, and furnish
seamen, is much less than has generally been supposed. From the
extremity of the Northern States until we reach South Carolina,
materials of all sorts for ship-building can be obtained in abundance
from the bounty of nature; even Georgia abounds with materials of
superior quality; although their population disqualifies them for
ship-building at present, yet their advantages are such as to enable
them in a short time to rival the most prosperous State. In the next
place, I may remark, that so far as the encouragement of our own
shipping will be given at the expense of the people of the United
States, it will diffuse and equalize its operations in every part. The
ships belonging to one place will, like the people, seek employment in
another where better wages are obtained, and this, in its operations,
will level any inequalities supposed to arise from legislative


JOHN VINING, from Delaware, appeared and took his seat.

The bill for laying a duty on goods, wares, and merchandises imported
into the United States, was read a second time, and ordered to be
committed to a Committee of the whole House to-morrow.

On motion of Mr. SHERMAN, the House entered upon the consideration of
the amendments of the Senate to the bill for regulating the time and
manner of administering certain oaths.

The following amendments being before them, to wit:

      "That the members of the several State Legislatures, and
      all executive and judicial officers of the several States,
      who have been heretofore chosen or appointed, or who shall
      be chosen or appointed before the first day of August next,
      and who shall then be in office, shall, within one month
      thereafter, take the same oath or affirmation, except where
      they shall have taken it before; which may be administered
      by any person authorized by the law of the State in which
      such office shall be holden to administer oaths. And the
      members of the several State Legislatures, and all
      executive and judicial officers of the several States, who
      shall be chosen or appointed after the said first day of
      August, shall, before they proceed to execute the duties of
      their respective offices, take the foregoing oath or
      affirmation, which shall be administered by the person or
      persons who by the law of the State shall be authorized to
      administer the oath of office; and the person or persons so
      administering the oath hereby required to be taken shall
      cause a record or certificate thereof to be made, in the
      same manner as, by the law of the State, he or they shall
      be directed to record or certify the oath of office."

Mr. GERRY said, he did not discover what part of the constitution gave
to Congress the power of making this provision, except so much of it as
respects the form of the oath; it is not expressly given by any clause
of the constitution; and if it does exist, must arise from the sweeping
clause, as it is frequently termed, in the eighth section of the first
article of the constitution, which authorizes Congress "to make all laws
which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the
foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in
the Government of the United States, or in any department or office
thereof." To this clause there seems to be no limitation, so far as it
applies to the extension of the powers vested by the constitution; but
even this clause gives no legislative authority to Congress to carry
into effect any power not expressly vested by the constitution. In the
constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, provision is made,
that the members of the Legislatures of the several States, and all
executive and judicial officers thereof, shall be bound by oath to
support the constitution. But there is no provision for empowering the
Government of the United States, or any officer or department thereof,
to pass a law obligatory on the members of the Legislatures of the
several States, and other officers thereof, to take this oath. This is
made their duty already by the constitution, and no such law of Congress
can add force to the obligation; but, on the other hand, if it is
admitted that such a law is necessary, it tends to weaken the
constitution which requires such aid; neither is any law, other than to
prescribe the form of the oath, necessary or proper to carry this part
of the constitution into effect; for the oath required by the
constitution being a necessary qualification for the State officers
mentioned, cannot be dispensed with by any authority whatever other than
the people, and the judicial power of the United States, extending to
all cases arising in law or equity under this constitution. The Judges
of the United States, who are bound to support the constitution, may, in
all cases within their jurisdiction, annul the official acts of State
officers, and even the acts of the members of the State Legislatures, if
such members and officers were disqualified to do or pass such acts, by
neglecting or refusing to take this oath. He concluded his observations,
by submitting to the House the propriety of appointing a Committee of
Conference, to state to the Senate the doubts of the House upon this

Mr. BLAND had no doubt respecting the powers of Congress on this
subject. The evident meaning of the words of the constitution implied,
that Congress should have the power to pass a law, directing the time
and manner of taking the oath prescribed for supporting the
constitution. There can be no hesitation respecting the power to direct
their own officers, and the constituent parts of Congress; besides, if
the State Legislatures were to be left to arrange and direct this
business, they would pass different laws, and the officers might be
bound in different degrees to support the constitution. He not only
thought Congress had the power to do what was proposed by the Senate,
but he judged it expedient also, and therefore should agree to the

Mr. JACKSON.--I believe this House, and the other branch of the
Legislature, have the power, by the constitution, to pass a law,
obliging the officers of the State Governments to take the oath required
by the constitution that their States have adopted, and which has become
the supreme law of the land. I believe the general opinion of the House
inclines to favor this sentiment. It then only remains to examine the
measure on the principle of policy. Here I must give my opinion. I
believe, sir, that it is not time to bring it forward, that it is not
expedient at present, because some jealousies exist respecting the
jurisdiction of the Federal and State Governments. The States had better
be left to regulate this matter among themselves, for an oath that is
not voluntary is seldom held sacred. Compelling people to swear to
support the constitution, will be like the attempts of Britain, during
the late revolution, to secure the fidelity of those who fell within the
influence of her arms, and, like those attempts, they will be
frustrated; the moment the party could get from under her wings, the
oath of allegiance was disregarded. If the State officers will not
willingly pay this testimony of their attachment to the constitution,
what is extorted from them against their inclination is not much to be
relied on. Besides, it argues a jealousy in the National Government,
which can have no foundation. Can any thing show more friendly to the
Union than adopting the constitution, and sending us here to administer
it? If we judge from these circumstances, there is good reason to
believe that the State Governments will pay a proper attention to the
duty enjoined upon them by the constitution. I shall readily agree, if
they do not pay this attention, that the National Legislature ought to
exercise its powers to compel them; but they know the necessity there is
for conforming to what the constitution orders; if they neglect it, it
becomes in some degree a relinquishment of their power in government. No
State Legislature can pass an act that will have the efficacy of a law.
Suppose a judge on the bench were to condemn a criminal to die for an
offence; the sentence could not be carried into execution, if the judge
had omitted to qualify himself for the discharge of the duties of his
office. In short, there would be a total stagnation of the Government,
its vital powers would be suspended, until they were revived by the
action of the constitution. Besides, the constitution partakes of the
nature of a compact; it guaranties to the State Governments the
principles of a republican government, conditionally, that the States
conform themselves to what is declared in the constitution; they must
therefore take the oath directed by the constitution, or infringe the
compact; in which case I apprehend, the guaranty is virtually withdrawn;
this is another inducement for the States to perform their duty.

Mr. LAWRENCE.--I believe, Mr. Speaker, if there is any thing improper in
making provision that the officers shall take an oath to support the
Government, the fault cannot properly be charged upon us, because the
provision is already made, and adopted by our constituents; and we are
to suppose that some beneficial effects were intended by it; while we
are reprobating the measure, let us take care we do not fall under the
censure, which the observation of the gentleman last up brought to our
view, of taking an oath, and neglecting to fulfil the duties enjoined by
it. I believe, sir, that the persons who are to take this oath in
conformity to the constitution, will conceive themselves, after having
taken such oath, under an obligation to support the constitution. It has
been said by one gentleman, that Congress have not the power to carry
this regulation into effect. Only a few words will be necessary to
convince gentlemen that Congress have this power. It is declared by the
constitution, that its ordinances shall be the supreme law of the land.
If the constitution is the supreme law of the land, every part of it
must partake of this supremacy; consequently, every general declaration
it contains is the supreme law. But then these general declarations
cannot be carried into effect, without particular regulations adapted to
the circumstances. These particular regulations are to be made by
Congress, who, by the constitution, have power to make all laws
necessary or proper to carry the declarations of the constitution into
effect. The constitution likewise declares, that the members of the
State Legislatures, and all officers, executive and judicial, shall take
an oath to support the constitution. This declaration is general, and it
lies with the supreme Legislature to detail and regulate it. The law is
to supply the necessary means of executing the principle laid down; for
how can it be carried into effect in any other manner? This explanation,
I trust, convinces gentlemen that the power of enacting such a law
exists in Congress. But whether it is good policy or not to do it,
depends upon a variety of circumstances; for my own part, I think it
prudent to make the necessary regulations for carrying into effect this
part of the constitution.

Mr. SYLVESTER.--I am an advocate for supporting the dignity of the
House, and to me it appears somewhat inconsistent that we should change
our sentiments in order to conform to the amendment of the Senate,
without knowing the reason upon which they have founded the proposed
measure. No doubt but sufficient reasons have occurred to them, but none
have appeared to this House. If we are to follow the Senate in all the
alterations they propose, without hearing reasons to induce a change,
our time in deliberation is taken up unnecessarily. With respect to any
member of this House who has not taken the oath, I concur that they are
to pay obedience to what the authority of the Legislature may order on
this head. Nay, I am equally clear that the power to regulate the
members of the State Governments in taking the oath, is either lodged
with the Congress of the United States, or nowhere. But, it appears to
me, that the State Legislatures have a concurrent power with Congress in
this regulation, for the officers of the General Government and State
Governments are called upon in the same manner: "The Senators and
Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State
Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the
United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath, or
affirmation, to support the constitution." These are the words of that
instrument. The question, then, is reduced to its expediency, whether
it is good policy to exercise the power or not? I am afraid, Mr.
Speaker, if we exercise this power, it may be considered an interference
with the State Governments. I would rather leave them to their
discretion, trusting they would come forward and take the oath; it is
unnecessary for us to intermeddle, if they will conform to what is
directed by the constitution. It appears to me most prudent, that, till
we see a disposition in the State Governments to neglect this duty, we
do not, by law, oblige them to perform it. I wish the Government to go
on gradually in administering the constitution, and not give umbrage
even to its enemies, by a compulsory act, when there appears no
necessity for it.

I could not concur in the amendment proposed by the Senate, even if I
considered it not inconsistent in the House to adopt a measure they had
previously rejected, unless some good reasons were offered to show its
propriety; not but if I have been mistaken, I am always ready to retract
my error, upon better information.

Mr. SHERMAN was not afraid of being charged with inconsistency. He had
voted against a similar clause when the bill was before the House, but
he was convinced now of its propriety; he thought it more eligible to
have a general provision for taking the oath, than particular ones. It
also appeared necessary to point out the oath itself, as well as the
time and manner of taking it. No other Legislature is competent to all
these purposes; but, if they were, there is a propriety in the supreme
Legislature's doing it. At the same time, if the State Legislatures take
it up, it cannot operate disagreeably upon them, to find all their
neighboring States obliged to join them in supporting a measure they
approve. What a State Legislature may do, will be good as far as it
goes; on the same principle, the constitution will apply to each
individual of the State officers--they may go, without the direction of
the State Legislature, to a justice, and take the oath voluntarily.
This, I suppose, would be binding upon them. But this is not
satisfactory; the Government ought to know that the oath has been
properly taken, and this can only be done by a general regulation. If it
is in the discretion of the State Legislatures to make laws to carry the
declaration of the constitution into execution, they have the power of
refusing, and may avoid the positive injunctions of the constitution. As
our power in this particular extends over the whole Union, it is most
proper for us to take the subject up, and make the proper provision for
carrying it into execution, according to the intention of the

Mr. BOUDINOT wished to remove the gentleman's objections arising from
inconsistency. The clause that was rejected by the Committee of the
Whole on this bill, contained a penalty for the neglect of taking the
oath as prescribed; but the amendment of the Senate was not
objectionable on that account, because it contained no such provision.

As to the policy or expediency of the messure, he entertained not the
least doubt respecting it. The constitution said only that the officers
of Government should be bound by oath, leaving to Congress to say what
oath. In short it was the duty of the House, as had been well said by
the gentleman from New York, (Mr. LAWRENCE,) to detail the general
principles laid down in the constitution, and reduce them to practice.

He would enforce the expediency of the measure with one further remark.
Several of the State Legislatures were sitting at this time, and had
expressed a wish or expectation that such a regulation would be made by
the General Government; if from principles of false policy the measure
did not take place, the State Legislatures might neglect it also, and it
was well known that their officers cannot act without it; hence the
legality of their acts may be called in question, and give cause to a
great deal of uneasiness and confusion.

The question on concurring with the Senate in their amendments to the
bill was carried, with an amendment, that the members of the State
Legislatures be directed to take the oath at their next session

The bill was, by order of the House, returned to the Senate as amended.


Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, from the committee appointed to wait on
the President of the United States, to know when it will be convenient
for him to receive the address of this House, reported:

That the committee had, according to order, waited on the President, and
that he signified to them that it would be convenient to him to receive
the said address at 12 o'clock on Friday, at such place as the House
shall be pleased to appoint: Whereupon,

      _Resolved_, That as the Chamber designed for the
      President's receiving the respective Houses is not yet
      prepared, this House will wait on the President to present
      their address, in the room adjacent to the Representatives'

_Duties on Tonnage._

The House resumed the consideration of the report of the Committee of
the Whole on the duty on tonnage. The proposition was to lay a duty of
fifty cents per ton, on all vessels belonging wholly or in part to the
subjects of all other Powers.

Mr. MADISON moved to reduce it to forty cents, and at the end of the
year 1790, to increase it to seventy-five cents. He was satisfied to go
as far as seventy-five, because he expected, under such encouragement, a
sufficient number of vessels for the whole commerce of America might be
constructed. If he was not too sanguine in this expectation, the measure
would be both safe and expedient.

Mr. SMITH, (of Maryland.)--Both in Virginia and Maryland, British ships
pay a higher duty than what is proposed; yet they continue to carry on
an extensive trade in those States, which, in my opinion, proves those
sums to be too low. American shipping derives considerable advantages
from the regulations made in this respect by those two States. If that
protection is withdrawn from them by the General Government, it will
subject our commerce to very great inconveniences and absolute distress.
I shall therefore be opposed to the reduction.

Mr. AMES.--The gentlemen from the southward, who suppose their States
most likely to be affected by a discrimination in the tonnage duty, have
concluded their arguments with a candor, which I conceive does honor to
their patriotism. They declare themselves willing to encourage American
shipping and commerce, though they do not join with us in the sum we
think necessary to be laid on foreign tonnage to accomplish so important
an object. If sufficient encouragement is given, and by our regulation
American vessels are put on a footing with foreigners, I think we may
flatter ourselves with the prospect of seeing our navigation immediately
flourish. We have reason to expect a very considerable addition to our
shipping in the course of one year. Experience has convinced us, that
25,000 tons can be built within double that period, by the town of
Boston alone. The other ports in Massachusetts can furnish 37,000 tons,
New Hampshire a considerable quantity, and if the other States furnish
their proportion, we shall soon find ourselves independent of European
nations for the transportation of our products. If forty cents at
present, and the seventy-five cents in expectation, are thought a
sufficient encouragement for the purpose, I shall not object to the

Mr. FITZSIMONS.--If it is intended to increase the duty at the
expiration of two years, it is certainly proper to reduce it in the
interim; but I very much question such policy. The business of
ship-building, I conceive, stands at this moment in want of the greatest
encouragement in our power to give. If sufficient encouragement is
given, at this time, to produce a quantity of shipping adequate to the
demand, when we once are in possession of them, the business will stand
in need of no further encouragement. If the citizens of the United
States were now in possession of a sufficient quantity of shipping, and
had the ability to employ them, I conceive they would not stand in need
of any encouragement whatever. But this is not the case, and therefore
an encouragement is requisite. At the conclusion of the last war we were
left without shipping, and from our inability to carry on commerce, by
reason of the oppression we were subjected to by foreign powers, the
building of vessels has made but slow progress in the several States.
Hence it becomes necessary to give encouragement sufficient to induce
merchants to vest a greater proportion of their capital in this way. The
proposed encouragement is not very high, and even under it, I should not
expect a quantity of shipping would be furnished equal to the demand, in
less than four or five years. It would be brought forward by slow and
gradual degrees; they will continue, year by year, to increase them,
until the number is competent to the demand. The business of
ship-building being so relaxed, persons of that occupation have turned
to other avocations, and some sensible advantage must appear, to induce
them to return to their original profession. A proof of this is
evidenced by the situation of Philadelphia. Before the Revolution, 5,000
tons of shipping were annually built in that city; last year, the whole
tonnage was but 1,300, so much has it declined there. If it revives from
its present languishing condition, it must be by great fostering care
and protection, and by slow and gradual degrees. It does not appear to
me, that fifty cents are more than necessary for its immediate
encouragement. Gentlemen will be pleased to recollect that it is always
in the power of Congress to increase it.

Gentlemen will recollect, on the article of hemp, immediate
encouragement was contended for. It was not opposed by the commercial
gentlemen in this House. But without encouragement is given to building
and fitting out ships, the demand for hemp will be small; for very
little advantage will arise from exporting it: the great market must be
furnished by ourselves. Upon the whole, I conclude against the motion,
believing our ship-building to need encouragement more at this time than
it will at any subsequent period.

Mr. JACKSON.--The gentlemen from Massachusetts have, I must own, behaved
with liberality. One is willing to reduce the duty to forty cents,
another gentleman is more liberal still--he is willing to go lower; but
not so the gentlemen from Pennsylvania and Maryland; they are actuated
by other principles. They call to my mind a passage of scripture, where
a king, by the advice of inexperienced counsellors, declared to his
people, "my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, but I will add to
your burthens." A steady pursuit of this counsel brought about the
separation of his kingdom. These gentlemen want us even to go further.
They bring forward calculations upon the moment, and pass them for
information,--the mere calculations of yesterday,--and demonstrate
thereby the propriety of their measures. They may consider some States
of less importance than others, because they do not contribute the same
quantity of revenue; but let them remember, the widow's mite is as good
as the rich man's coffers; so the mite of Georgia is equal to the
revenue of Pennsylvania.

Mr. BURKE.--It has been observed, in the former part of the debate, that
the people of the Southern States might buy ships, if they did not
build them. There are none owned in Carolina: we are destitute both of
ships and seamen, and unable to procure them; it would be folly in us,
therefore, to burthen them with duties. Though it is true, that there
are men there who live in affluence, are rich in lands and servants, yet
I believe they are universally in debt. This may be fairly inferred from
the laws they have made to favor debtors. It would take twelve years to
enable people there to pay their State and private debts; they are
therefore very unable to sustain any new burthens, especially when their
produce is so fallen in price as not to pay the expense of cultivation.
I do not say this is to be attributed to the want of vessels to carry it
off, though there may probably be a great want in this respect; and if
there is, gentlemen tell you they are unable to make up the deficiency.
If this be the case, they ought to be contented with a moderate duty for
the present; and as my mind is strongly impressed with the importance of
encouraging the American navigation, I shall join them in doing
something that may be productive of that effect.

Mr. MADISON.--As there is a great diversity of sentiment respecting the
policy of the duty, I am very happy to find it is not prescribed by the
geographical situation of our country. This evinces that it is merely
difference of opinion, and not difference of interest. Gentlemen of the
same State differ as much as gentlemen from the extremes of the
continent. As no objection is made to giving some encouragement, we
ought to endeavor to harmonize upon the quantum. I doubt very much if
any proposition that can now be brought forward will coincide with the
sentiments of this body more than the one that is before us. I am not
anxious to reduce the encouragement too low, nor to throw to a very
distant day the advanced rate intended by my modification of the
measure; so gentlemen need not apprehend any evil to arise from its

Gentlemen who are opposed to giving sufficient encouragement to
ship-building, ought to recollect an argument that was considered of
weight in the case of encouraging manufactures. It is certain that
manufactures have been reared up by the fostering care of the State
Legislatures, displayed in the shape of protecting duties; but the
people, by the adoption of this constitution, have put it out of their
power to continue them. The provision for the support of navigation,
made by the several States, ought to induce us to suppose even a higher
tonnage duty pleasing to them, at least in those States where a higher
tonnage duty has been laid. Those States not being able to continue
their encouragement, expect that we will attend to their policy, and
protect their citizens in the property they were led to acquire under
the State regulations. If we disappoint them, they will suffer more than
is consistent with good policy. I am not apprehensive that forty cents
will be so low as to occasion any discontent.

Mr. SMITH, (of South Carolina.)--Gentlemen have endeavored to persuade
us, that a high tonnage duty will be beneficial to the Union; but I
would as soon be persuaded to throw myself out of a two-story window, as
to believe a high tonnage duty was favorable to South Carolina.
Gentlemen tell us we are in great want of shipping and a navy--that
sufficient encouragement for ship-building must be given before we can
expect it; but I think, let the encouragement be what it may, many years
will elapse before we have sufficient for the export of our commodities.
I know Massachusetts cannot furnish us, because there are adventitious
causes to prevent it. The course of the stream in which our navigation
has so long flowed, cannot be altered in a day. The debts due from the
merchants of that country to the British, will be an insuperable bar.
Suppose they should send ships to transport our produce to a foreign
market, they have no connections abroad to transact their business, no
house in a commercial line to employ in the sales. What are they to
bring back in return? They must come in ballast: and will the mere
transportation of our crop be a sufficient inducement to engage them to
come here? If they had more shipping than they wanted, we should still
labor under the same difficulty, and employ foreigners; because the
business is unchangeably in their hands, and the very moment the tonnage
duty is increased, it will be an inducement to them to raise the price
of freight.

Mr. LAWRENCE.--There have been circumstances mentioned in the course of
this debate, which I think may be useful in ascertaining whether the
proposed duty of fifty cents on tonnage be too high or not. It appears
that there is a duty in Georgia equal to 1s. 8d. sterling; in South
Carolina, 1s. 3d. besides something on goods imported in foreign
bottoms; in Virginia and Maryland it is much greater. How, then, can
gentlemen from those States contend that the proposed duty is so much
too high as to occasion the fatal consequences they foretell? When we
consider the valuable produce of the Southern States, we are led to
believe that the difference of ten cents per ton can make no material
difference in the price. Will it materially affect the price of rice or
tobacco? Neither of these articles would pay more than five cents per
cask, if the duty should be reduced.

The duty, therefore, cannot be fairly said to be too high for the
Southern States; it is not contended to be too high for the middle ones;
it is not too high for us.

If we consider the subject as it relates to revenue, it will form a
material object for our attention; if the duty be considered as a bounty
to the maritime States, it will be admitted that it is our interest to
increase our navigation.

The regulation proposed by the gentleman from Virginia, to increase the
duty to seventy-five cents at the end of two years, may never take
effect; before that period arrives, a treaty may be formed with the
nation that is our great commercial rival. I am, therefore, in favor of
a permanent regulation, rather than one holding out an encouragement
that will never take place.

Mr. JACKSON.--The gentleman last up thinks the reduction of ten cents
will not materially affect the Southern States, yet he supposes it will
injure ship-building: how it can hurt one interest by being reduced, and
not wound the other by its increase, I do not clearly understand; for my
part, I do not see the weight of such arguments.

Mr. LAWRENCE.--I consider the difference of ten cents to be too small
for contention; the arguments of the gentlemen in opposition go as much
against a duty of forty cents as against fifty.

Mr. PAGE.--I have heard all the arguments now brought against this
measure, urged over and over again, when a tonnage duty was contended
against in the same manner in Virginia. It was then merely a trial, but
now we have the arguments resulting from experience in our favor. We
find the British shipping still crowding our ports, although the tonnage
duty is twice as great as is now proposed; and although the price of
produce has fallen within that time, yet I am persuaded it must be
attributed to other causes than this. Let the experiment be made with
firmness, and I venture to say, it will turn out the same in other
States as in ours. I acknowledge the gentlemen's arguments have weight,
but they go against any tax whatsoever being laid on tonnage. But
experience has demonstrated to us, that such a duty is attended with
advantages; it will encourage ship-building, and render us independent
for the transportation of our produce. Let, therefore, no suggestions of
the kind that have been offered deter us from pursuing, with firmness
and decision, the plan adopted by the committee.

Mr. WADSWORTH.--If the gentleman who has brought forward this
proposition had proposed thirty cents instead of forty, I should have
agreed to the motion, because it would have destroyed the discrimination
between the vessels of nations in treaty, and those not in treaty with
us; but in every other point of view, I should be against a reduction.
Foreign vessels will be better circumstanced under a duty of fifty
cents, than American free of duty. The charges on foreign bottoms in our
ports are very small; there is not, I believe, a vessel of ours that
goes to Europe, that does not pay, in light money and other charges,
more than fifty cents per ton.

Mr. MADISON.--The subject of discrimination is not now within our view;
it has been decided by a great majority; I think there were not more
than nine members against it. I do not mean, by the arguments that I
have urged, to prove that the increase of tonnage has a tendency to
raise the price of freight: all my object has been to quiet the
apprehensions of gentlemen who hold that opinion. I do not think it will
keep away foreign vessels from visiting us, nor increase the burthen on
our Southern commerce, so much as has been calculated; and even if it
did, the extension of our navigation would be an adequate compensation.
The price of freight before the late revolution was higher than it is at
present; perhaps it may be lower when ships are furnished in larger

Mr. TUCKER.--I fear the gentlemen who look for a sufficient quantity of
shipping to answer the demands of our commerce in so short a space as
two years, will find themselves deceived. I think, therefore, it would
be improper to lay a high tonnage duty, commencing at that period; if it
appears expedient, a future Legislature may give such encouragement, but
they are not bound to perform our engagement. After they have seen the
effect of the present regulation, they will be better able to judge of
what is right in this particular than we can do. I am doubtful whether
the measure would place the United States in a better or worse situation
than a duty of fifty cents; a commutation of this kind, in order to save
ten cents for two years, and admit an addition of twenty-five cents for
ever afterwards, appears a doubtful policy. At any rate, the Congress
might feel themselves, in some degree, bound to raise the duty to
seventy-five cents, when their judgments might tell them it was
inexpedient--they will then have cause to complain of our anticipation.
I should, I think, rather be in favor of fixing a certain tonnage duty
at present, and leave it to the consideration of a future Legislature,
whether to increase it or not, according to the circumstances of the
case. I think thirty cents as much as can be given, with propriety, at
this time; considering the interest of the State I have the honor to
represent, I believe it will bear harder on some States than on others,
acting partially and not generally. When I speak of the State I
represent, I would not be thought actuated by improper motives; I think
every gentleman is bound to support, in a proper manner, the interest he
is well acquainted with, and believes to be conducive to the general
welfare. A great deal has been said respecting the duties that have been
laid on tonnage in the Southern States. I begged the attention of the
House, on a former occasion, to a striking difference there is in duties
imposed by the State, for its own particular advantage, and what are
about to be laid for the benefit of the United States. Every duty
imposed, I consider as a tax on the inhabitants of South Carolina. If
that tax is to bear harder on them than on other States, I pronounce it
unequal and unjust. I consider the tax on tonnage in this light; but as
I am willing to give encouragement to our navigation, so I shall not
oppose a moderate duty on foreign vessels; as I also conceive a
discrimination proper between those nations in alliance with us and
those with whom we have no treaties subsisting, I am disposed to admit a
larger sum than thirty cents: I would propose thirty-five, upon the
express condition of reducing the duty already agreed to, to twenty or
twenty-five, when a bill shall come forward founded upon the principles
now agreed to.

The question was here put on Mr. MADISON's motion and lost.

The House then decided upon the original proposition, which being agreed
to, it was

      _Resolved_, That there ought to be levied on all vessels
      entered or cleared in the United States, the duties
      following, to wit:

      On all vessels built within the United States, and
      belonging wholly to citizens thereof, at the rate of nine
      cents per ton.

      On all vessels not built within the United States, but now
      belonging wholly to citizens thereof, at the rate of six
      cents per ton.

      On all vessels belonging wholly to the subjects of Powers
      with whom the United States have formed treaties, or partly
      to the subjects of such Powers, and partly to citizens of
      the said States, at the rate of thirty cents per ton.

      On all vessels belonging wholly or in part to subjects of
      other Powers, at the rate of fifty cents per ton.

      _Provided_, That no vessel built within the United States,
      and belonging to a citizen or citizens thereof, whilst
      employed in the coasting trade, or in the fisheries, shall
      pay tonnage more than once in any one year; nor shall any
      ship or vessel built within the United States pay tonnage
      on her first voyage.

      _Provided also_, That no vessel be employed in the
      transportation of the produce or manufactures of the United
      States or any of them, coastwise, except such vessels shall
      be built within the United States, and the property of a
      citizen or citizens thereof.

The same was, on a question put thereupon, agreed to by the House.

_Ordered_, That a bill or bills be brought in pursuant to the said
resolution, and that Mr. WADSWORTH, Mr. HEISTER, and Mr. SENEY, do
prepare and bring in the same.[22]

FRIDAY, May 8.

The Speaker, attended by the members of the House, withdrew to the room
adjoining the Representatives' Chamber, and there presented to the
President of the United States the address agreed to on Tuesday last, to
which he returned the following answer:


      Your very affectionate address produces emotions which I
      know not how to express. I feel that my past endeavors in
      the service of my country are far overpaid by its goodness;
      and I fear much that my future ones may not fulfil your
      kind anticipation. All that I can promise is, that they
      will be invariably directed by an honest and an ardent
      zeal; of this resource my heart assures me. For all
      beyond, I rely on the wisdom and patriotism of those with
      whom I am to co-operate, and a continuance of the blessings
      of Heaven on our beloved country.

The Speaker and members being returned into the House:

Mr. GERRY, from the committee appointed, presented, according to order,
a bill for collecting duties on goods, wares, and merchandises imported
into the United States; and the same was received and read the first

_Ordered_, That the Clerk of this House do procure one hundred copies of
the said bill to be printed for the use of the members of this House.

On motion,

_Ordered_, That the committee appointed on the 29th ultimo, to report an
estimate of the supplies requisite for the present year, and of the net
produce of the impost, as agreed to by the House, be authorized and
instructed to collect early and authentic statements of the particular
articles of foreign produce and manufactures annually imported into, and
of all the articles exported from, the several States, and the value of
such imports and exports; also, the number of vessels, both foreign and
domestic, entered and cleared during that time, specifying their
tonnage, and the nations to which they respectively belong; specifying,
also, the exact numbers of each particular description of vessels of
each nation, and the amount of tonnage of each particular vessel.

_Duties on Imports._

The House, according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a
Committee of the whole House on the bill for laying a duty on goods,
wares, and merchandises imported into the United States.

Mr. PAGE in the chair.

Mr. TUCKER.--As I am desirous of beginning with moderate duties, I deem
it proper, at this stage of the business, to offer my reasons in support
of this opinion, that if it be the opinion of the committee, we may go
uniformly through the list, and make the necessary reduction. I am
opposed to high duties, particularly for two reasons: First, because
they will tend to introduce and establish a system of smuggling; and,
Secondly, because they tend to the oppression of certain citizens and
States, in order to promote the benefit of other States and other
classes of citizens. I cannot say I have a peculiar aversion to a high
duty on distilled spirits; I may, therefore, be suspected of
inconsistency in moving to reduce it; but I do it on the principle of a
general reduction. If I do not succeed on the first article, I shall
despair of succeeding on the others.

It appears to me that if we lay high duties on the importation of goods,
a system of smuggling will be adopted before we can possibly make the
necessary provision to prevent it. I take it, sir, that proper
regulations respecting the collection is all our security against
illicit trade. From a variety of circumstances, it appears to me, we
shall not only be a long time in completing such a system, but, for want
of experience, many of the regulations will be of a dubious propriety.
Gentlemen will recollect we have an extensive sea-coast, accessible at a
thousand points, and upon all this coast there are but few custom-houses
where officers can be stationed to guard the collection of the duties;
therefore, we labor under considerably greater disadvantages than a
thicker settled country is liable to. I apprehend, if we consider the
present state of our population, we shall conclude it impracticable to
establish a sufficient number of custom-houses on those parts of the
coast most assailable, to render us perfectly secure in the collection
of our duties. If it were practicable, the expense would be a formidable
objection; it would require more revenue to support such a system than
all we shall derive from the impost. But we know in Great Britain where
the duties are high, no expense is spared in the collection, yet
smuggling is carried on to a very considerable amount; the risk run by
this class of people is very great, the penalties are very severe, and
the vigilance of the officers renders detection not very improbable. As
this is the case, under the administration of a very powerful
Government, I apprehend ours, which is only in its infancy, will be
unable to prevent it taking place, otherwise than by a system of
moderate duties. If we begin with laying them high, there will be an
immediate temptation to engage in a system of smuggling, a system of
which may soon be formed, so as to render our future efforts
ineffectual; it is better to avoid the temptation, than to punish the
evil. A man that is disposed to trade fairly, will be brought under the
necessity of falling into the same practice, or giving up his business;
for the higher the duty, the greater the advantage the smuggler has over
the fair trader, being compelled by necessity to engage in a contraband
trade, or to forego the means of a livelihood. Smuggling will be no
longer dishonorable, no longer difficult, and none will be found
opposing the practice; repeated efforts to corrupt will be successful
among even the officers of your customs; they at first may resist the
temptation, but when they find the practice general, their vigilance
will wink at a contraband trade, and smuggling will be considered as a
matter of course. They will consider the reward given them for being out
of the way as a benefit to which they are entitled. For these reasons, I
shall be against a system of high duties, and because I fear there is
danger of a system of smuggling being introduced before proper
arrangements are made to prevent it; or if we had time to make such
arrangements, they must inevitably be ineffectual.

I would observe further, that a high duty not only tends to the
encouragement of smuggling, but it likewise raises, in my mind, a
scruple respecting the allowance of a drawback, as I conceive every
drawback becomes an additional encouragement to smuggling. In many
instances, I fear it may be found, that the drawback will amount to more
than all the duties paid in the States which are entitled to it.
Considering the situation of the States of North Carolina and Rhode
Island, which are not in the Union, their contiguity to the other States
will increase the facility with which smuggling can be carried on; it
will be easy to import articles from Europe and the West Indies into
their ports, and send them by land, or even water to the adjacent
States. When these are smuggled into the United States, they may be
re-exported and entitled to receive a drawback, although the revenue was
not collected upon the importation. If we agree to moderate duties it
will be much easier to regulate our system on this head; if our revenue
is found not to be quite so productive as gentlemen calculate upon a
system of higher duties, which, by the by, appears to me to be very
unlikely, we shall be better able to judge what we can do after a trial,
than we can possibly at present; at any rate, it will be but a small
loss; whereas, by a large scale, we may throw the whole Union into
confusion, and there will be no remedy by which we can recover what we
have now in our power; for a reduction of duties, when they are once
laid, is productive of the most serious consequences. Having, therefore,
a strong impression upon my mind, that we hazard a great deal in
imposing high duties in the first instance, I should not have been
satisfied with having done my duty, if I had not stated my doubts and
difficulties to the committee; but having done this, I shall content
myself with their decision, be it what it may.

On motion, the further reading of the bill was postponed--adjourned.


JEREMIAH VAN RENSSELAER, from New York, appeared and took his seat.

The following communications were received from the Senate by Mr. Otis,
their Secretary:

Mr. SPEAKER: The Senate have disagreed to the report of a committee
appointed to determine what style or titles it will be proper to annex
to the office of President and Vice President of the United States, if
any other than those given in the constitution; and have appointed a
committee to consider and report under what title it will be proper for
the President of the United States in future to be addressed, and confer
thereon with such committee as this House may appoint for that purpose.
The Senate have also appointed a committee to view and report how the
rooms in the City Hall shall be appropriated, and to confer with any
committee this House may appoint for that purpose.

_Duties on Imports._

The House, according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a
Committee of the whole House on the bill for laying a duty on goods,
wares, and merchandises imported into the United States. Mr. PAGE in the

Mr. TUCKER.--The observations I made yesterday were intended to apply
generally against a system of high duties. As to the particular article
of spirits, I have no objection to a high duty being laid upon it,
provided it can be strictly collected; for I do not wish to give
encouragement to the consumption of that article, though, I fear, no
duty we can lay will tend much to discourage it. I thought that if it
was the general opinion of the House to lessen the duties, it would be a
saving of time to discuss it on a motion to reduce the first article. I
repeat the observation, that high duties are improper, because they are
impolitic, and likely to defeat the object of revenue: less will be
collected on them than on moderate ones. If it be considered as an
encouragement to manufactures to lay heavy duties on enumerated
articles, it is a tax on one part for the emolument of another. Five per
cent. upon all articles imported would raise a considerable revenue, and
be a sufficient encouragement to manufactures, especially if we add to
this five per cent. the expense of freight and other charges of
importation on foreign goods. The five per cent. in the bill is to be
collected on the value of the goods at the time and place of
importation; the value of goods within the United States is twenty-five
per cent. more than they cost in Europe; adding this therefore to the
other advantages, and it will be a considerable encouragement; but,
besides all this, there are many articles made here as cheap, and
cheaper than they can be imported. Gentlemen, who have given us this
information, know the fact to be so in their respective States; in them,
therefore, the operation of the measure would be just and politic, but
it does not apply with the same force as it respects South Carolina and
some other States. Although in Boston and Philadelphia they can
manufacture certain wares cheaper than they can import them, yet they
are not brought at the same price to Charleston: hence the operation is
unequal and a partial tax upon us. Another thing to be considered is,
even if these articles could be furnished us at home as cheap as we get
them from abroad, whether we should have equal advantages? If a cargo of
nails were to be sent to Carolina, I would be glad to know how we are to
purchase it? Would the makers of shoes be content to go there and retail
them? If they would, they might be brought there; but I apprehend, if
they have not established connections in that country, they could never
be disposed of. Can they expect the planters to come in a body, and take
off their goods upon their arrival? It is not even expected that they
could; it must be left to them to judge, whether they do not purchase
them in a better way, by taking them upon credit, and paying for them in
their crop. Gentlemen will not pretend to say that we do not know our
own interest, and therefore they will teach us. These reasons will not
go down with the people; they will take to themselves the right of
judging what is most conducive to their interests. Gentlemen cannot
argue from the fact, that we do not consume the articles made within
their States, as readily and willingly, as those imported from abroad,
merely because we do not wish to encourage them. Facts prove the direct
contrary: we have shown a disposition to encourage articles from their
States which can be made in our State in great abundance. I will mention
a few of them, although it may appear disgraceful for South Carolina to
take from any country what she can furnish herself. We have imported to
the city of Charleston vegetables for table use, which we can raise as
well as any part of the world; yet no complaint was made by the
agricultural interest of that State, that we imported foreign
productions to their prejudice; no duty was imposed to discourage the
use of them; all we considered was, whether they came cheaper when
brought from abroad than when raised at home, concluding the cheapest to
be the best.

On the same principles that are now urged, our citizens might have
contended that we should impose a duty on all articles which could be
produced at home. No imposition on the importation was laid in order to
encourage the productions of our country; the same principle ought to
have induced us to lay a duty on the importation of flour. We make but
little of that; our constituents consume rice in place of it. It might
have been said that a heavy duty should have been laid in order to
prevent the interference with our staple commodity. The planters should
have said, we will compel you to eat rice, and after being some time in
the habit you will find you will like it as well as we; indeed, this
argument might be extended to a measure calculated to oblige the other
States to use rice in their daily food. It might be said, that it was
necessary in order to give encouragement to the productions of the
Southern States, but I believe such arguments would have had no weight
if they had been used; yet they are similar to what have been brought
forward by gentlemen for the encouragement of domestic manufactures.

Mr. Speaker, if gentlemen are content with moderate duties, we are
willing to agree to them and give every reasonable encouragement in our
power, but we cannot consent to very great oppression. I once more wish
that gentlemen will consider great duties as imposing a heavier burthen
upon the Southern States, as they import more, the other less; and the
sum we pay towards the revenue must be in proportion to our importation.
I therefore move, in order to begin with the first article, that
distilled spirits be reduced six cents per gallon.

Mr. JACKSON seconded this motion, and would assign his reasons for it,
but they had been so fully stated by the honorable mover.

Mr. AMES.--I wish the committee may consider, with the attention the
subject demands, whether the duties are too high or not? It is hardly
possible, I own, to contemplate this subject as a practical question.
We shall find it necessary to consider attentively, before we proceed
any further, what the objects of our Government are; and, having
discovered them, we are to consider whether the proposed measure will
answer the purposes intended. I believe in every point of view that we
can possibly consider it, the subject of revenue will be thought to be
one of the primary objects to which the power of Government extends. It
has long been apprehended, that an ill administration of the new
constitution was more to be feared, as inimical to the liberties of the
people, than any hostility from the principles of the constitution. Of
all the operations of Government, those which concern taxation are the
most delicate as well as the most important. This observation applies to
all governments. Revenue is the soul of Government, and if such a soul
had not been breathed into our body politic it would have been a
lifeless carcass, fit only to be buried. I would wish this soul might be
actuated by rational principles, that, in establishing a revenue system,
we might go on a superior principle to that which has heretofore been
the governing principle in the United States; that we might consider
what was most adequate to the object. The nature of the revenue system
in this Government is to the last degree important; for want of the
soul, the late Government was found utterly incapable of invigorating
and protecting industry, or securing the Union; therefore these seem to
be the great objects which we are to accomplish. I consider the present
question as a direct application to the principles of the constitution;
it will either support or destroy them. If the revenue system should
fall with oppressive weight on the people, if it shall injure some in
their dearest interests, it will shake the foundation of the Government.
However the newspapers may stand your friends, and trumpet forth
panegyrics on the new constitution, if your administration does not give
satisfaction, you will find all ineffectual that they can do, whilst the
people are against you. This being admitted, the Government will not
push their regulations too far; they will consider the weaknesses and
prejudices of the individual members of the Union. When they lay a tax,
they will consider how far it is agreeable to them, and how far the
measure is wise in itself. If it is said the article to be taxed is a
luxury, and the Government is zealous to correct the vice, they will be
careful they do not do it in too severe a manner; the principle would be
capable of great expansion: all the enjoyments of social life are
luxuries, and, as objects of revenue, we ought to set a price on the
enjoyment, without suppressing their use altogether. Neither ought we to
consider what the article in this point of view is able to pay, so much
as what we may reasonably expect to collect from it.

Mr. MADISON.--The right understanding of this subject is of great
importance. The discussion has been drawn out to a very considerable
length on former occasions. The chain of ideas on which the subject is
suspended, is not very long, nor consists of many links. The present
constitution was framed to supply the defects of the one that has
preceded it. The great and material defects of it are well known to have
arisen from its inability to provide for the demands of justice and
security of the Union. To supply those defects, we are bound to fulfil
the public engagements; expectation is anxiously waiting the result of
our deliberations; it cannot be satisfied without a sufficient revenue
to accomplish its purposes. We cannot obtain the money any other way but
by taxation. Among the various objects of this nature, an impost on
merchandise imported is preferable to all others, and among the long
list of articles included in the bill, there is not one more proper for
the purpose than the article under consideration. The public sentiment
has strongly pointed it out as an object of revenue. I conceive,
therefore, that it will be our duty to draw from this source all the
money that it is capable of yielding. I am sure that it will not exceed
our wants, nor extend to the injury of our commerce. How far the powers
of Government are capable of going on this occasion, is matter of
opinion; we have had no direct experiment of what can be done under the
energy and popularity of the new system; we must recur to other sources
for information, and then, unless the circumstances are alike, the
comparison may not be true. We have been referred to the experience of
other nations; if that is to guide us on this subject, I am sure we
shall find precedents for going much farther than is now proposed. If I
do not mistake the calculations that I have seen of duties on
importation, they amount to more on an average than fifteen per cent.;
the duty on ardent spirits in all nations exceeds what is in
contemplation to be laid in the United States. I am sensible that the
means which are used by those nations to insure the collection, would be
odious and improper in this country; but I believe the means which this
country is capable of using, without exciting complaint or incurring too
much expense, would be as adequate to secure a duty of fifteen per cent.
as the powers of any other nation could be to obtain ninety or one
hundred per cent. I pay great respect to the opinions of mercantile
gentlemen, and am willing to concede much to them, so far as their
opinions are regulated by experience; but if I am to be guided by this
information, it will not lead me to agree to the reduction of the duties
in the manner contended for. It is said, that if we reduce at all, we
must go through the whole. Now I doubt whether the duty on the article
of rum exceeds that proportion which pervades the long list before us.
It does not amount to more than thirty per cent., while some other
articles stand at forty; some articles again that are not enumerated,
but which fall within the general mass at five per cent., are more
likely to be introduced clandestinely than this article, if it stood at
fifty per cent. I am sure, if we reduce the whole system in the manner
now proposed, all the duty we shall be able to collect will be very
incompetent to what the public necessities demand. We must turn our
eyes, then, to some other source that will fill up the deficiency. There
are but two objects to which in this dilemma we can have
recourse--direct taxation and excises. Direct taxation is not
contemplated by any gentleman on this floor, nor are our constituents
prepared for such a system of revenue; they expect it will not be
applied to, until it is found that sufficient funds cannot be obtained
in any other way. Excises would give particular disgust in some States,
therefore gentlemen will not make up the deficiency from that quarter. I
think, upon the whole, it is better to try what will be produced by a
plan which is favored by the public sentiment. This will give a support
to our laws equal to the greatest energy of a strong execution. The
citizens of America know that their individual interest is connected
with the public. We shall then have the strong motive of interest acting
in favor of the Government in a peculiar manner. But I am not inclined
to trust too much to this security. I would take in the aid of the best
regulations in our power to provide; these acting in concert, would give
a moral certainty to the faithful collection of the revenue. But if
gentlemen, notwithstanding, will persist in contending against such a
system, and cannot offer us a substitute, we must fail of the primary
object for which the Government was created. If upon experience we find
that the duties cannot be safely collected, it may be proper to reduce
them; but if we set them too low in the first instance, and they do not
yield a sufficiency to answer the just demands of the public creditors
and the expenses of Government, the public reputation must suffer.

Mr. BLAND.--I join with the gentlemen who are disposed to lower the
duties. Although I feel the necessity we are under of raising revenue as
much as any other gentleman possibly can, yet I think we ought to
deliberate fully upon the means before we adopt them. It is
demonstrable, nay it is self-evident, that laying high duties, in the
first instance, will beget smuggling, and I fear our regulations,
respecting the collection, will prove the impracticability of defeating
the practice. But when we come to consider the subject in another point
of view, I trust such a system will be found unnecessary. The enumerated
articles in this bill are very numerous; they are taxed from fifty per
cent. downwards; the general mass pays five per cent. The calculations
made by the late Congress, who no doubt maturely considered the subject,
found a list of eight articles only, and those at one-fourth or
one-fifth of the rate now proposed, would produce a revenue of nine
hundred and fifteen thousand six hundred and fifty-six dollars annually.

When we add to this calculation a circumstance of notoriety, the
increase of our importation, we shall find that we levy, or mean to
levy, greater sums than the public necessities require. There will not
be found specie enough within the United States to pay the duties: four
times the rate of what the former Congress recommended, will produce
three millions six hundred thousand dollars. The enumeration is four
times as great also; hence we may infer, that the amount will reach
thirteen or fourteen millions. At least we shall be convinced that we
are upon too high a scale. But where is the necessity of raising the
impost to this degree? There are other means of revenue, and such as
will not give disgust. We have already proposed a duty on tonnage; there
is the post-office, and some other things which the ingenuity of
Government can devise and is entitled to, for the purpose of revenue; if
it is therefore unnecessary to levy such oppressive taxes, what other
pretext can be set up for adopting the system? Independent of every
other consideration, this ought to induce us to lower them. But there
are other and weighty considerations; but as they have been well urged
by the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. AMES,) I shall not touch upon
them. It is said, that it is merely matter of opinion whether they are
too high or not; if so, let us be careful not to venture too far on such
ground. It will be much better to reduce it in the manner proposed by
the gentleman from South Carolina, and increase it hereafter, than
strain the measure too high at present.

Mr. SHERMAN.--After this subject had been debated in a Committee of the
Whole, and then in the House upon the report, and every argument that
could be thought of had been urged, both on the general and particular
amount of the duties proposed, and the probable effects of a deduction,
I did not expect to have heard the same debate take place again.
Gentlemen have a large field to display their abilities in, but I do not
think it contains any new matter that will induce a single gentleman to
alter his opinion on the subject. The great object is to raise a sum of
money adequate to supply our wants; and let us dispute as we will about
the mode, the fact is it must be raised. The people have sent their
representatives here for this purpose; it is for their benefit that we
raise the money, and not for any peculiar advantage to ourselves; the
objects are to pay the debts, and to provide for the general welfare of
the community. The first of these objects I take to be, that we pay our
debts. There are very many meritorious characters who furnished us with
essentials in the hour of imminent danger, who, from the imbecility of
our former Government, have not been able to get even the interest of
what they loaned us. I believe it is the first wish of the people
throughout the United States to do justice to the public creditors, and
to do it in such a manner, that each may contribute an equal part
according to his abilities. We have very considerable arrearages due on
this account, upon not only the domestic but foreign debt; there are
several instalments not yet discharged, and considerable of the interest
not yet paid. No statement can be made of the expenses of Government, so
as to ascertain what quantity of revenue will be demanded on that head,
but saying that they will be much the same under this Government as the
former, and we shall have occasion for a very considerable sum to defray
the expenses. I believe we are not able to make a very accurate
calculation of what the system, proposed in the bill, will yield. The
late Congress contemplated a million of dollars from this source, which,
in aid of the requisition, they supposed sufficient for the purpose of
paying the instalments of the national debt and interest; but that sum
alone will now be found very short of what is wanted without the aid of
direct taxes. It is very material that we lay the burthen as equal as
possible, in whatever mode we pursue to obtain revenue: a great deal of
care has been taken in distributing the proportion with equity; I
apprehend, therefore, that we shall not be able to make it much more
equitable by any alteration than it is at present. I think, also, that
the people will pay more freely a duty of this nature than they will in
direct taxes. If gentlemen prevail in getting the duties lowered to what
the late Congress proposed, they will find themselves obliged to have
recourse to direct taxation for a million and a half, or two millions of
dollars. It then only remains for us to consider, whether it will be
more agreeable to the people to reduce the impost in this manner, and
raise the deficiency by direct taxes. If these duties are to be
considered as a tax on the trading part of the community alone, they are
improper; but this I believe is not the case; the consumer pays them
eventually, and they pay no more than they choose, because they have it
in their power to determine the quantity of taxable articles they will
use. A tax left to be paid at discretion must be more agreeable than any
other. The merchant considers that part of his capital applied to the
payment of the duties the same as if employed in trade, and gets the
same profit upon it as on the original cost of the commodity.

Mr. WHITE.--When this system first came before the committee, I was
opposed to enter into an enumeration, because I supposed much time would
be taken up in the discussion, which would be an absolute loss of
revenue, perhaps to a greater amount than the difference between the
duties of such a system and the one proposed by the late Congress; but
as it was thought proper by the committee to proceed in the way that we
have done, it would be presumption in me to say, that the duty on every
article has been perfectly digested and properly laid, but I believe
every article stands as well as can be upon the information we are in
possession of. I believe very few, if any, of the articles can be
disapproved of.

Mr. AMES.--The gentleman from Pennsylvania set out with informing us
that nothing new had or could be offered on the subject, yet you found,
Mr. Chairman, the gentleman had a good deal to say, which I thought new
and much to the purpose. As to applying the observation to myself, in
common with the advocates for low duties, I shall decline it, only
noting that the long discussion which the subject has had, would
restrain me from rising on this occasion, more than any remarks of the
nature made by the gentlemen from Pennsylvania and Connecticut; but I am
actuated by higher motives than a regard to my own feelings, otherwise I
should come reluctantly forward to press arguments which the committee
may be fatigued with listening to. But I feel such strong impressions on
my mind, with regard to the effects our impost law is likely to produce,
that I cannot pass it over with a silent vote. I must admonish
gentlemen, that the events which may result from our present measures
are of the most alarming nature. When I was up before, I endeavored to
show the degree of power the Government could exercise without being
charged with an ill administration. I shall now proceed briefly to
consider the arguments used in reply to what has been advanced by the
advocates for moderate duties. I believe it is a good rule to judge of
the strength of a cause by the arguments used to defend it; and here I
must take the liberty of saying, that the gentlemen on the other side of
the question have adduced not one to support their opinion that has
carried conviction to my mind. I consider that, by a decision of this
question, the good which the new Government is expected to produce may
be rendered problematical. Though I am fully impressed with the
necessity there is for revenue to supply the public expenses, yet I
cannot believe we are likely to obtain more by heavy duties than by
temperate ones, and it is to this point that my arguments tend. I do not
believe that in either case we shall procure fully sufficient to supply
the public demands. If we have to procure 8,000,000 dollars, I venture
to say, not near the half could be raised by an impost system; but
admitting that it could by a high scale of duties for the first year, it
could not be done in the subsequent ones. Now I regard this as a
permanent system of revenue, rather than a productive one; if it is laid
high, you will find your collection annually diminish. Now, will any
Government take such measures in gathering in its harvest, as to ruin
the soil? Will they rack-rent their tenants in such a manner as to
deprive them of the means of improving the estate? Such can never be the
policy of this enlightened country. We know, from the fundamental
principles of republics, that public opinion gives the tone to every
action of the Government--the laws ought to correspond with the habits
and manners, nay, I may almost add, wishes of the people. Well, Mr.
Chairman, we are told a tax upon rum is popular; I will agree with the
gentlemen; but still a high duty will induce people to run it, and
though the consumer may pay the tax without complaining, yet it will go
into the pockets of individuals who defraud your revenue. Gentlemen have
complained that we do not offer a substitute for what we find fault
with. I will endeavor to explain a system I would place in the room of
this. I would reduce the duties generally so low as to hold out no
encouragement to smuggling; in this case, it is more than probable, the
amount of the impost, at the end of one year, would exceed the
collection under the present rate. By giving this proof of moderation
and wisdom, we should obtain the public favor and confidence; the
Government would be acquiring strength, its movements would be more
certain, and we could in every subsequent year extend the system, and
make the whole productive; then it would be in the power of Government,
by aids, to improve our agriculture, manufactures, and commerce. Our
imports are now very great; by the increase of our commerce, we shall
probably find our revenue produce twice as much seven years hence as it
can be expected to do at present.

Mr. MADISON.--Let us compare the probable amount of the revenue proposed
to be raised by this system, with what is raised in Great Britain, and
we shall be apt to infer that they are not so oppressive as gentlemen
seem to insinuate. Taking the highest estimate that I have heard
mentioned, and it will not produce three millions of dollars. The
population of the United States exceeds three millions of souls, hence
the tax does not amount to one dollar per head. Great Britain, on the
highest estimation, does not contain eight millions of inhabitants, and
has an annual revenue to provide of thirteen millions sterling. It is
true, she has recourse to other means besides an impost for the purpose
of obtaining such a revenue; but those other means are certainly more
objectionable in that country, and would be much more so here. Each
individual of that kingdom pays eight times as much as is required by
the United States; now, where is the propriety of making a comparison
between them?

Mr. BALDWIN asked if the Government of the United States of America was
four or five times worse to be administered than the Governments in
Europe? Whether the public opinion was four or five times more
unfavorable to such an administration? If these questions are answered
in the affirmative, then the inferences which gentlemen have drawn, of
the impracticability of collecting the duties laid in the bill, are
just. But this is not allowing the General Government the common chance
of executing its laws. If it were the worst Government on earth, it
might be allowed a chance of doing one quarter of what others perform.
If we find by experience, that we are too weak to execute a system which
is so much easier than other nations have adopted, it may be proper to
alter it. We shall be better able to judge how far we are likely to
succeed, when the bill for the collection of the revenue is brought
forward. Such a bill is now in the hands of a committee, and it is to
be hoped, when they report it, it will be found sufficient to insure the
collection; till then, it will be best to continue the rate as it

Mr. BOUDINOT.--When we consider the arguments of gentlemen on both sides
of this question, we shall find they do not differ so much as, on a
superficial view, gentlemen may be led to imagine. It is agreed, that a
revenue must be obtained adequate to our wants; but some gentlemen think
we shall not receive a greater sum, because we lay a high duty; in this
opinion I am with them. I think the present is a favorable time to lay
an impost duty, and expect very considerable aid from the public spirit;
but I am in favor of a low duty, because I would do nothing to check
that spirit. If we lay high duties, and a man finds smuggling the most
profitable business he can follow, we shall have to contend with private
interest. If we lay a light duty of thirty or forty per cent., the
temptation will be too strong for resistance, and the sum collected may
not amount to ten per cent. on the whole importation; whereas, if we lay
twenty or fifteen per cent. the whole may probably be collected, and the
treasury be better filled, because it does not hold out so strong an
inducement to evade the payment of the duties.

Another objection has been stated, which is of great weight: a system of
high duties will necessarily engage us in a system of drawbacks. If we
are forced into this measure, it will be a great injury to the revenue.

We ought also to consider the inconvenience to which high duties will
subject our merchants. It is a common case in America, that our
mercantile capitals are limited. Gentlemen engaged in commerce can ill
spare so large a proportion in the payment of duties.

It has been mentioned by gentlemen, that Great Britain collects four
shillings sterling per gallon on rum; yet she is exposed to great
difficulties in obtaining it. But I ask gentlemen, whether Great Britain
ever laid such a high duty in the first instance, as we are about to
impose? I believe they did not: they began, I apprehend, with moderate
duties, and increased them as circumstances authorized, when the people
became habituated to the imposition. This is the very principle I wish
to adopt, and show the world that our conduct is founded in wisdom,
propriety, and experience. If we shall discover our mistake in laying
high duties, and are driven by necessity to reduce them, such measures
will operate to the injury of the fair trader; whereas, if we increase
them by degrees, it will be rather favorable to their interest than
otherwise; at all events, it will injure none.

If a sense of the committee could be obtained on a general reduction of
ten or fifteen per cent. on the rate the articles now stand at, I should
be glad to vote in favor of such a motion; but I could not approve of
reducing the article of rum alone, because I do not think it charged out
of proportion with the others.

Mr. JACKSON differed from his colleague, (Mr. BALDWIN.) He thought,
although the British laid four shillings on rum, they did not collect
it; and that their custom-house establishments were so expensive, as to
leave a mere trifle for the net produce of the impost duty. If America
employed such a host of revenue officers as to secure the payment of
high duties, there would be very little left, after compensating their
services, to supply the federal treasury.

Mr. WADSWORTH desired gentlemen to consider, that the citizens of the
United States owned vessels as well calculated for smuggling, as any
that were employed between the Netherlands and England; therefore, they
had little more security against smuggling than Great Britain.

Mr. JACKSON.--It was well observed by the honorable gentleman from
Connecticut, (Mr. WADSWORTH,) that America has vessels well adapted for
smuggling: I can declare it, from my own knowledge, to be the fact. It
is not, Mr. Chairman, the large vessels coming off long voyages that we
are to apprehend danger from; it is our coasters, small vessels
constantly coming in and going out; these can run goods from foreign
ports adjacent to the United States; they are best acquainted with the
unfrequented parts, where they can deposit their cargoes with safety,
and will make use of these advantages to defraud your revenue.

With regard to the equity of the impost system, I conceive direct
taxation will be more equitable. We, in the Southern States, shall then
pay in proportion to our numbers; but under this law we shall contribute
much more.

Gentlemen talk of improving the morals of the people by taxation. For my
part, I conceive revenue has nothing to do with the morals of the
people; therefore, such considerations have no weight on my mind. All
that I contemplate is, drawing as much money as we can with equity; and
here I believe more can be obtained by a less impost than by a greater;
therefore, I am in favor of reducing the duties. It will likewise be
more honorable to the Government to begin gradually and win the
affections of the people, rather than disgust them by oppressive
measures; for if we lose their confidence, we lose our power and

Mr. GERRY.--It appears to me, that gentlemen place their arguments on
the name of high duties, rather than on principle; for if they were
certain that the energy of Government would effect all they aspire at,
then it would follow, that we have nothing more to do than to name the
sum we want. But if these ideas are not well supported, the
superstructure they have raised upon them must fall to the ground. The
energy of your Government depends upon the approbation of the people. No
doubt the citizens of the United States will support the Government
they have adopted, so long as they approve the measures it pursues, but
no longer. Gentlemen trust much, on this occasion, to the co-operation
which they expect from their constituents; but I would wish them to
examine this argument. These duties are to be collected from the several
States into which certain goods are imported. If the people of
Massachusetts shall conceive any particular duty peculiarly oppressive
on them, they will seek to evade it. This opens a door for smuggling all
the other articles.

I conceive gentlemen to be mistaken with respect to the effects which
high duties will produce on the mercantile interest. I think there
cannot be a doubt but they will be obliged to smuggle; if they mean to
continue their business, their capital will be insufficient for the
purposes of commerce and the payment of high duties. Gentlemen will not
draw knowledge from the experience of Great Britain; therefore, it is
unnecessary to adduce her example. But let us see what we are taught by
the practice of our own States. Massachusetts drew a very considerable
revenue from an impost; she lately tried to increase it by doubling the
duties; but, instead of doing so, they found the revenue lessened, and
they were obliged to alter what they had so injudiciously attempted. I
am willing to suppose with gentlemen, that the Government is invested by
the constitution with sufficient energy to carry any regulation of this
kind into effect; but is this the time to try the energy of your
Government, when your commerce is struggling with every kind of
difficulty and embarrassment? Formerly our merchants were able to extend
their operations by the means of an established credit in Britain; but
unfortunately this is no longer the case. How, then, is it possible they
can continue their trade, when you lop off another part of their
capital? Besides, as was said by the worthy gentleman from Virginia (Mr.
BLAND), there is not money enough in the United States to pay the
duties. I believe it is well known, that our commerce is greatly
distressed by the universal want of specie; there has not been less in
circulation for many years than there is at this time. Gentlemen who
have property cannot convert it into money; then how will the merchant
be able to raise cash for the payment of duties equal to thirty or forty
per cent. on his capital? These are serious and alarming circumstances,
and such as prove to my mind that the commerce was never less able to
bear a high impost than at present, nor ever stood in greater need of
the fostering hand of Government for its support. If gentlemen are
convinced of the truth of these observations, and they are so notorious
that they cannot have escaped the knowledge of any one, they will see
the necessity of turning their attention to the encouragement of
navigation and trade, rather than think of drawing an oppressive revenue
from them.

Mr. MADISON submitted, whether the burthen would not operate more on the
Southern States than the Northern. The duties could be collected in the
Middle States--this was proved by the experience of some years; for they
had collected in those States, in many instances, duties nearly equal to
what were proposed. In the Eastern States, it was the interest of the
manufacturers to see the duties were well collected; they had been
imposed to favor their interests. The distillers would exert themselves
in aiding the Government to collect the duty on foreign rum, because it
particularly interfered with country rum; from hence he concluded that
the impost could be collected with tolerable certainty even in that
country most convenient for carrying on a clandestine trade.

Mr. AMES contended that it would be the particular interest of one set
of men to evade the payment of the duties. As mankind was governed by
interest, it required all the attention of the Government to prevent a
breach of the law; because, when the banks and bulwarks of defence were
once broken down, the full tide of clandestine commerce would overflow
the country. Gentlemen recollected the circumstances which attended the
depreciation of the late continental money. Some persons, from motives
of interest or necessity, first made a distinction between it and
specie, and although every exertion was made by the patriotic among our
citizens to prevent the alarming evil, yet every thing was insufficient;
they were at length obliged to acquiesce in measures they could not
prevent. This was the case on that occasion, and will be the case
whenever our laws or regulations run counter to private interest.

Mr. SHERMAN.--The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. AMES) has said, that
because we cannot raise the whole sum necessary to supply our wants, we
should be content to stop half way. I know we shall not be able to
obtain money enough by the impost to pay off our whole debt, but then I
wish to raise as much as possible in this way. I believe the people are
able to pay as much as the necessities of the Government require; if
they are not, we shall never restore the public credit, which is one of
the chief ends of our appointment. I believe they are not only able but
willing to contribute sufficient for this purpose. The resources of this
country are very great, if they are properly called into action; and
although they may not be so great as those of Britain, yet it should be
remembered, that nation has occasion for twelve times as much revenue as
the United States.

Gentlemen have had recourse to popular opinion in support of their
arguments. Popular opinion is founded in justice, and the only way to
know if the popular opinion is in favor of a measure, is to examine
whether the measure is just and right in itself. I think whatever is
proper and right, the people will judge of and comply with. The people
wish that the Government may derive respect from the justice of its
measures; they have given it their support on this account. I believe
the popular opinion is in favor of raising a revenue to pay our debts,
and if we do right, they will not neglect their duty; therefore, the
arguments that are urged in favor of a low duty will prove that the
people are contented with what the bill proposes. The people at this
time pay a higher duty on imported rum than what is proposed in this
system, even in Massachusetts; it is true, it is partly laid by way of
excise, but I can see no reason against doing it in this way as well as
the other.

Mr. LAWRENCE.--It has been intimated by gentlemen in favor of high
duties, that it will limit the consumption of foreign articles; if this
be the case, the quantity imported will be lessened; if it is our object
to raise revenue, it is certainly unwise to destroy the object from
which the revenue is to be collected. It is supposed the amount of the
duties will be insufficient to answer the public wants; and yet the
public creditors have great expectations from this resource. Let us
therefore be careful how we destroy it; if revenue is our primary
object, and the other considerations but secondary, we should do nothing
to operate against that principle.

Mr. MADISON.--It does not follow, because it will in some degree limit
the consumption, that we ought not to lay a high duty on rum; if it has
that effect, it will be an ample compensation for the loss of revenue;
but probably, as we extinguish our debt, we shall have the less occasion
for the revenue itself.

Mr. GOODHUE.--The object of the committee is to raise revenue, I take
it. This would, perhaps, be best done by reducing the duty, but I am not
inclined to reduce it so low as some gentlemen seem to desire; it may be
reduced a few cents, and therefore I move to insert ten instead of

The question was taken for striking out the twelve cents, as it stood in
the bill, on all spirits of Jamaica proof, imported from the dominions
of nations in alliance with the United States, in order to leave it
blank, to be filled up hereafter.

The House divided on the question; 19 in favor of the motion, and 26
against it.

So it passed in the negative.


MONDAY, May 11.

_On Titles._

The House took into consideration the message from the Senate,
communicated on Saturday last, respecting the disagreement of the Senate
to the report of a joint committee, on the subject of annexing titles to
the offices of President and Vice President.

Mr. PARKER moved a resolution to the following effect:

      _Resolved_, That this House having, on Tuesday last,
      adopted the report of their committee appointed to confer
      with a committee of the Senate, stating, "That it is not
      proper to annex any style or title to the respective
      styles or titles of office expressed in the constitution;"
      and having, in their address to the President of the United
      States on Friday last, proceeded to act pursuant thereto,
      deem it improper to accede to the proposition made by the
      Senate, as communicated by their order of the 9th instant,
      for appointing a committee to confer with a committee of
      this House, in considering and reporting under what title
      it will be proper for the President of the United States in
      future to be addressed.

Mr. PAGE seconded the motion, observing, that in his opinion, the House
had no right to interfere in the business: the constitution expressly
prescribed the power of Congress as to bestowing titles. He did not
conceive the real honor or dignity of either of those situations to
consist in high sounding titles. The House had, on a former occasion,
expressed their disapprobation of any title being annexed to their own
members, and very justly too. After having so fully and explicitly
declared their sentiments against such measures, he thought it behooved
them to be explicit with the Senate. Indeed, he felt himself a good deal
hurt, that gentlemen on this floor, after having refused their
permission to the Clerk to enter any more than their plain names on the
journal, should be standing up and addressing one another by the title
of "the honorable gentlemen." He wished the practice could be got over,
because it added neither to the honor nor dignity of the House.

Mr. LEE approved of the appointment of a committee to confer with a
committee of the Senate, as to the mode due to the occasion; but he was
against adding any title.

Mr. TUCKER.--When this business was first brought before the House, I
objected to the appointment of a committee to confer with a committee of
the Senate, because I thought it a subject which this House had no right
to take into consideration. I then stood single and unsupported in my
opinion, but have had the pleasure to find since, that some gentlemen on
this floor agree that I was right. If I was then right, I shall, from
stronger reasoning, be right now in opposing the appointment of another
committee on the same subject. The joint committee reported that no
titles ought to be given; we agreed to the report, and I was in hopes we
should have heard no more of the matter. The Senate rejected the report,
and have now sent us a resolution, expressive of a determination to give
a title, to which they desire our concurrence. I am still of the opinion
that we were wrong in appointing the first committee, and think that we
shall be guilty of greater impropriety if we now appoint another. What,
sir, is the intention of this business? Will it not alarm our
fellow-citizens? Will it not give them just cause of alarm? Will they
not say, that they have been deceived by the convention that framed the
constitution? That it has been contrived with a view to lead them on by
degrees to that kind of government which they have thrown off with
abhorrence? Shall we not justify the fears of those who were opposed to
the constitution, because they considered it as insidious and hostile to
the liberties of the people? One of its warmest advocates, one of the
framers of it, (Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania,) has recommended it by
calling it a pure democracy. Does this look like a democracy, when one
of the first acts of the two branches of the Legislature is to confer
titles? Surely not. To give dignity to our government, we must give a
lofty title to our chief magistrate. Does the dignity of a nation
consist in the distance between the first magistrate and his citizens?
Does it consist in the exaltation of one man, and the humiliation of the
rest? If so, the most despotic government is the most dignified; and to
make our dignity complete, we must give a high title, an embroidered
robe, a princely equipage, and, finally, a crown and hereditary
succession. Let us, sir, establish tranquillity and good order at home,
and wealth, strength, and national dignity will be the infallible
result. The aggregate of dignity will be the same whether it be divided
among all, or centred in one. And whom, sir, do we mean to gratify? Is
it our present President? Certainly, if we expect to please him, we
shall be greatly disappointed. He has a real dignity of character, and
is above such little vanities. We shall give him infinite pain; we shall
do him an essential injury. We shall place him in a most delicate and
disagreeable situation; we shall reduce him to the necessity of evincing
to the world his disapprobation of our measures, or of risking some
diminution of that high reputation for disinterested patriotism which he
has so justly acquired. It is not for his gratification; for whose,
then, are we to do this? Where is the man among us who has the
presumption and vanity to expect it? Who is it that shall say--for my
aggrandizement three millions of people have entered into a calamitous
war; they have persevered in it for eight long years; they have
sacrificed their property, they have spilt their blood, they have
rendered thousands of families wretched by the loss of their only
protectors and means of support? This spirit of imitation, sir, this
spirit of mimicry and apery will be the ruin of our country. Instead of
giving us dignity in the eye of foreigners, it will expose us to be
laughed at as apes. They gave us credit for our exertions in effecting
the revolution, but they will say that we want independence of spirit to
render it a blessing to us.

Mr. TRUMBULL moved for the appointment of a Committee of Conference, to
consider on the difference which appeared in the votes of the two Houses
upon the report of the joint committee.

Mr. BURKE hoped the House would express their decided disapprobation of
bestowing titles in any shape whatever; it would be an indignity in the
House to countenance any measures of this nature. Perhaps some gentlemen
might think the subject was a matter of indifference; but it did not
appear to him in that light. The introduction of two words which he
could mention into the titles of these officers, would alter the
constitution itself; but he would forbear to say any thing further, as
he had a well-grounded expectation that the House would take no further
notice of the business.

Mr. GOODHUE thought the conference unnecessary, because the House had
not only adopted the report of their committee, but proceeded to act in
pursuance thereof.

Mr. SENEY joined the last gentleman in sentiment, and thought it an
unnecessary waste of time to give the subject any longer discussion.

Mr. MADISON.--I may be well disposed to concur in opinion with gentlemen
that we ought not to recede from our former vote on this subject, yet at
the same time I may wish to proceed with due respect to the Senate, and
give dignity and weight to our own opinion, so far as it contradicts
theirs, by the deliberate and decent manner in which we decide. For my
part, Mr. Speaker, I do not conceive titles to be so pregnant with
danger as some gentlemen apprehend. I believe a President of the United
States, clothed with all the powers given in the constitution, would not
be a dangerous person to the liberties of America, if you were to load
him with all the titles of Europe or Asia. We have seen superb and
august titles given, without conferring power and influence, or without
even obtaining respect. One of the most impotent sovereigns in Europe
has assumed a title as high as human invention can devise; for example,
what words can imply a greater magnitude of power and strength than that
of High Mightiness? This title seems to border almost upon impiety; it
is assuming the pre-eminence and omnipotence of the Deity; yet this
title, and many others cast in the same mould, have obtained a long time
in Europe, but have they conferred power? Does experience sanction such
an opinion? Look at the republic I have alluded to, and say if their
present state warrants the idea.

I am not afraid of titles, because I fear the danger of any power they
could confer, but I am against them because they are not very
reconcilable with the nature of our Government or the genius of the
people. Even if they were proper in themselves, they are not so at this
juncture of time. But my strongest objection is founded in principle;
instead of increasing, they diminish the true dignity and importance of
a republic, and would in particular, on this occasion, diminish the true
dignity of the first magistrate himself. If we give titles, we must
either borrow or invent them. If we have recourse to the fertile fields
of luxuriant fancy, and deck out an airy being of our own creation, it
is a great chance but its fantastic properties would render the empty
phantom ridiculous and absurd. If we borrow, the servile imitation will
be odious, not to say ridiculous also; we must copy from the pompous
sovereigns of the East, or follow the inferior potentates of Europe; in
either case, the splendid tinsel or gorgeous robe would disgrace the
manly shoulders of our chief. The more truly honorable shall we be, by
showing a total neglect and disregard to things of this nature; the more
simple, the more republican we are in our manners, the more rational
dignity we shall acquire; therefore, I am better pleased with the report
adopted by the House, than I should have been with any other whatsoever.

The Senate, no doubt, entertain different sentiments on this subject. I
would wish, therefore, to treat their opinion with respect and
attention. I would desire to justify the reasonable and republican
decision of this House to the other branch of Congress in order to
prevent a misunderstanding. But that the motion of my worthy colleague
(Mr. PARKER) has possession of the House, I would move a more temperate
proposition, and I think it deserves some pains to bring about that good
will and urbanity, which for the despatch of public business ought to be
kept up between the two Houses. I do not think it would be a sacrifice
of dignity to appoint a Committee of Conference, but imagine it would
tend to cement that harmony which has hitherto been preserved between
the Senate and this House; therefore, while I concur with the gentlemen
who express, in such decided terms, their disapprobation of bestowing
titles, I concur also with those who are for the appointment of a
Committee of Conference, not apprehending they will depart from the
principles adopted and acted upon by the House.

Mr. WHITE did not approve of a Committee of Conference, because the
House had already determined the question by unanimously adopting the
report of the joint committee. He did not think that it was worth while
having the subject longer contested; he was satisfied both the spirit of
the constitution and the spirit of the people disapproved of titles.

Mr. BLAND would be careful of giving umbrage to the Senate, because he
wished that the unanimity and moderation which subsisted between the two
Houses might continue. He considered the present as a very proper
opportunity for the appointment of a Committee of Conference. The two
Houses had disagreed on the report of their committees; it was proper,
therefore, that they should mutually assign their reasons, in order to
bring about an agreement to the same resolution. He hoped, therefore,
that such a committee would be appointed, though he had no expectation
that the House would give up an opinion they so justly and decidedly
entertained respecting titles.

Mr. PARKER wanted to know what was the object of gentlemen in the
appointment of a Committee of Conference? The committee could only say
that the House had refused their consent to annexing any titles whatever
to the President and Vice President; for certainly the committee would
not descend into the merits of a question already established by the
House. For his part, he could not see what purpose was to be answered
by the appointment of such a committee. He wished to have done with the
subject, because while it remained a question in the House, the people's
minds would be much agitated; it was impossible that a true republican
spirit could remain unconcerned when a principle was under
consideration, so repugnant to the principles of equal liberty.

Mr. SHERMAN thought it was pretty plain that the House could not comply
with the proposition of the Senate. The appointment of a committee, on
the part of the House, to consider and determine what style or title
will be proper to annex to the President and Vice President, would imply
that the House meant that some style or title should be given. Now this
they never could intend, because they have decided that no style or
title ought to be given; it will be sufficient to adduce this reason for
not complying with the request of the Senate.

Mr. JACKSON wondered what title the Senate had in contemplation to add
dignity or lustre to the person that filled the presidential chair. For
his part, he could conceive none. Would it add to his fame to be called
after the petty and insignificant princes of Europe? Would styling him
His Serene Highness, His Grace, or Mightiness, add one tittle to the
solid properties he possessed? He thought it would not; and therefore
conceived the proposition to be trifling with the dignity of the
Government. As a difference had taken place between the two Houses, he
had no objection to a conference taking place. He hoped it might be
productive of good consequences, and that the Senate might be induced to
follow the laudable example of the House.

Mr. MADISON was of opinion, that the House might appoint a Committee of
Conference without being supposed to countenance the measure. The
standing rule of the House declared, that, in case of disagreeing votes,
a Committee of Conference should be appointed. Now, as the case provided
for in the rule had actually happened, he inferred that it was proper to
proceed in the manner directed by the rules of the House. The subject
was still open to discussion, but there was little probability that the
House would rescind their adoption of the report. I presume gentlemen do
not intend to compel the Senate into their measures; they should
recollect that the Senate stand upon independent ground, and will do
nothing but what they are convinced of the propriety of; it would be
better, therefore, to treat them with delicacy, and offer some reasons
to induce them to come into our measure. He expected this would be the
result of a conference, and therefore was in favor of such a motion.

Mr. SENEY intended nothing disrespectful to the Senate, but he
conceived, after having adopted the report of the committee, it would
derogate from their own dignity to rescind a unanimous resolution; and
for what other purpose could a conference be appointed by the House?
They must certainly suppose that there might be ground for changing
their opinion. Nothing of this kind appeared to him, and therefore he
was of opinion, it would be a useless consumption to waste any more time
about it.

Mr. CLYMER thought that there was little occasion to add any title to
either the President or Vice President. He was very well convinced, by
experience, that titles did not confer power; on the contrary, they
frequently made their possessors ridiculous. The most impotent
potentates, the most insignificant powers, generally assumed the highest
and most lofty titles. That they do not indicate power and prerogative,
is very observable in the English history; for when the chief magistrate
of that nation bore the simple style of His Grace or Highness, his
prerogatives were much more extensive than since he has become His Most
Sacred Majesty.

Titular distinctions are said to be unpopular in the United States; yet
a person would be led to think otherwise, from the vast number of
honorable gentlemen we have in America. As soon as a man is selected for
the public service, his fellow-citizens, with liberal hand, shower down
titles on him--either excellency or honorable. He would venture to
affirm, there were more honorable esquires in the United States than in
all the world besides. He wished to check a propensity so notoriously
evidenced in favor of distinctions, and hoped the example of the House
might prevail to extinguish that predilection which appeared in favor of

Mr. PAGE.--If I thought the motion made by my colleague in the least
degree disrespectful, I should not have seconded it. I would be the last
man on this floor to treat that worthy body with disrespect; but I
believe it cannot be construed to have such a meaning. If we were to let
the resolution lie on the table, it would not be disrespectful. But what
is the object of the motion? Simply to inform the Senate that we cannot
rescind a resolution adopted in consequence of the report of a joint
committee. If the conduct of either House is in the least degree
disrespectful, (though I do not conceive it is,) the body who declined
adopting the report, after knowing the sense of the other to be in its
favor, is the most so.

But on what are a committee to confer? Not upon what title shall be
bestowed, because we have no right to enter on the subject; and here I
must tell gentlemen I differ from them, when they think titles can do no
harm. Titles, sir, I say, may do harm, and have done harm. If we contend
now for a right to confer titles, I apprehend the time will come when we
shall form a reservoir for honor, and make our President the fountain of
it. In such case, may not titles do an injury to the Union? They have
been the occasion of an eternal faction in the kingdom we were formerly
connected with, and may beget like inquietude in America; for I contend,
if you give the title, you must follow it with the robe and the diadem,
and then the principles of your government are subverted.

Mr. LEE moved the previous question, as the best mode of getting rid of
the motion before the House: he was supported by a sufficient number.
And on the question, Shall the main question be now put? it passed in
the negative; and so the motion was lost.

On motion, it was

      _Resolved_, That a committee be appointed, to join with
      such committee as the Senate may appoint, to confer on the
      disagreeing votes of the two Houses, upon the report of
      their joint committee, appointed to consider what titles
      shall be given to the President and Vice President of the
      United States, if any other than those given in the

Messrs. MADISON, PAGE, BENSON, TRUMBULL, and SHERMAN were the committee

_Impost Bill._

The House then went into a Committee of the Whole on the bill for laying
a duty on goods, wares, and merchandises imported into the United
States. Mr. PAGE in the chair.

The question on laying a duty on molasses being under consideration:

Mr. TUCKER.--Notwithstanding I am anxious for a reduction of the duties
on all the articles in the bill, yet my vote on molasses will be
regulated by what the committee shall determine in other cases, as I do
not conceive it to be out of proportion. If a general reduction takes
place on the other articles, I shall be disposed to make a reduction on
this article; but as mine is but a single vote, gentlemen may not be
inclined to favor my proposition for a general reduction in order to
gain my assent to a reduction on this particular article.

Mr. GOODHUE was of opinion that the duties were too high for collection;
but he did not agree with the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. TUCKER)
that the duty on molasses was rated in proportion to the other articles,
and therefore the question, whether molasses shall be reduced or not,
did not depend on a general reduction, but on its own bottom; if it was
rated too high for collection and proportion, the committee would agree
to reduce it.

Mr. FITZSIMONS expected the gentleman from South Carolina would vote in
the manner he had pledged himself; he had promised to vote for reducing
the duty on molasses if the committee reduced the duty on other
articles; now, as they had decided against a reduction, he hoped the
gentleman would be in favor of the duty on molasses, as it stood in the
bill, and not vote in the manner he had promised.

Mr. TUCKER.--The gentleman last up has certainly misunderstood me. I
made no promise. I said my vote would depend upon the reduction of the
other articles, but I was indifferent as to rum; I did not consider the
State I represented as being either particularly benefited or injured by
a duty on rum; and therefore did not urge any arguments in favor of
reducing that article, more than I thought it might be proper to
preserve the ratio, as fixed by the House, between the several articles.
If gentlemen think rum can bear a high duty, and be safely collected, I
have no objection to letting it remain. But there are some articles that
bear heavily and unequally upon South Carolina; now, I think it my duty
to vote in such a manner as to prevent her from bearing an undue
proportion of the tax to be collected; I am, consequently, obliged to
vote for a high tax on articles used in other States, (if my State is
highly taxed,) however unequally it may fall. I shall therefore vote so
as to endeavor to oblige other States to bear their true proportion of
the aggregate sum. I wish to defer any determination on the article of
molasses until we have gone through the other articles, that I may know
how to vote on this. If gentlemen think my single vote of no
consequence, they may proceed; but I may think the duty too high on
molasses, and may be disposed to make it five cents, or less, if a
reduction is made in the other articles; but I would not be understood
to pledge myself for any particular sum.

Mr. AMES thought the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. FITZSIMONS) had
misunderstood the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. TUCKER) respecting
his pledging himself to vote in favor of molasses. He believed the
gentleman from South Carolina incapable of making any improper
accommodation either on this or any other occasion; the subject had
never been mentioned to him, nor he believed to any body else, much less
could the gentleman's intention be the result of bargain or compromise.
For his own part, he would never consent to such a degradation of his
rights as a member of the House, as to stipulate for the exercise of his

Mr. TUCKER.--If the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. FITZSIMONS)
supposes that I have bargained to vote for or against any measure, he
does me wrong; and if he charges me with such actions, I desire he may
state his reasons and explain himself. I did not hear perfectly what he
said when he was up before, and therefore did not refute any improper
construction he might have put on my arguments.

Mr. FITZSIMONS had no difficulty in declaring his meaning. He understood
when the article of rum was under consideration, that the gentleman held
out a promise to vote for the reduction of the duty on molasses, if the
committee would agree with him in reducing generally. This promise was
not made in a private manner; it was made by the gentleman in his place.
He could not recite the particular expression of the gentleman, but he
understood from it that the gentleman pledged himself to reduce the duty
on molasses, if the gentlemen from the Eastern States would join him in
a general reduction.

Mr. TUCKER.--I expressed a wish for a general reduction to take place
throughout the whole system; but I never made a promise with regard to a
reduction of any particular article.

Mr. SENEY observed, that the discussion of molasses had been deferred
when the subject was last before the House, in order to give time for a
full investigation; but he conceived that no such reason now existed, in
favor of its lying over, and therefore hoped the House would proceed to
decide upon it.

Mr. AMES was willing to proceed to the consideration of that subject; he
did not wish it deferred to the end of the list, that it might be held
over them _in terrorem_. There were several articles in the list, which
he did not conceive to be taxed too high for collection, or out of
proportion with others, therefore it was likely they would not be
reduced. If this was the case, the reduction would not be general, and
the gentleman from South Carolina might not think it his duty to favor
the reduction of molasses. He wished every article to stand upon its own
bottom. If molasses was too high, the committee would lower it; if not,
they will continue it at the rate it is, and the business would be done
with. If the committee were disposed to proceed, he was ready to take up
the subject.

Mr. CARROLL saw no reason for postponing the business at this time. When
the subject was suspended on a former occasion, several gentlemen from
Massachusetts were absent on business, but it was surely unnecessary now
to have any delay. After the repeated discussions it had undergone, he
was satisfied gentlemen were prepared for a decision, and he hoped the
question might be taken, and the committee proceed to get through the
business. Gentlemen should consider the daily loss which the revenue
sustained by the delay of this bill; he cautioned them against
considering overmuch, and letting slip the opportunity they now had to
supply the public wants.

Mr. WADSWORTH would not go over the old ground, and enumerate all the
reasons why a reduction of the duty on this article should take place.
He satisfied himself with saying it was out of proportion, and too high
ever to be collected with certainty; he wished the committee to lower it
to three or four cents, and apply to an excise for the deficiency, not
conceiving an excise on distilled spirits to be inconvenient or

Mr. AMES was sensible that any further discussion of the present subject
was unpleasant, nay, it was painful to the committee; but he had such
impressions on his mind with regard to its importance, that he must
trespass on them again. On all subjects demonstration is desirable, but
there is only one science capable of complete demonstration. Many other
sciences admit of different degrees of demonstration; but of all the
sciences on earth, the science of politics is the least capable of
affording satisfactory conclusions, while it is the one that, from its
importance, requires the greatest degree of certainty; because when we
are to consider those things which relate to the welfare of nations, it
is of consequence, and nothing can be more desirable than that we adopt
just principles in order to come at proper conclusions. In this science
it is dangerous to adopt the visionary projects of speculators instead
of principle. We ought to be cautious, therefore, in selecting the
information upon which we form our system.

He trusted to make it appear in the course of his arguments, that the
propriety of the particular measure under discussion depended upon local
knowledge, and yet it would be found of national concern. He believed it
could be clearly proved to be as much the interest of one part as of
another to have the duty reduced.

It was laid down as a principle that all duties ought to be equal. He
believed, if gentlemen gave themselves time for consideration, they
would not contend this duty was equal. He said he had made some
calculations, which demonstrated the inequality to a very surprising
degree. The tax operated in two ways: first, as a tax on a raw material,
which increased the price of stock and narrowed the sale; and second, as
a tax on an article of consumption. It required the distillation and the
consumption to be equal in every part of the Union to render the duty
equal in its operation; but no gentleman contended that the consumption
or distillation was equal. The gentleman from Virginia said, on a former
occasion, that Massachusetts would not contribute her proportion of the
national revenue, because her exports were not equal to the Southern
States, and of consequence her imports are less; but if this fact is
examined, it will be found that she does export in full proportion with
the Southern States. Examine her custom-house books, and you will find
it; but Massachusetts is greatly concerned in navigation, and the wages
of her seamen ought to be added to the amount of the profits of her
industry. Then if we consider her consumption, we shall find it in
proportion also. Admitting the people of New England to live more
moderate than the opulent citizens of Virginia or Carolina, yet they
have not such a number of blacks among them, whose living is wretched;
consequently, the average consumption per head will be nearly the same.
The fact is, that all taxes of this nature will fall generally in
proportion to the ability to pay.

Laying a heavy duty on molasses incurs the necessity of allowing a
drawback on country rum. By this system, we may lose more revenue than
we gain; anyhow, it will render it very uncertain. It is a question of
some importance, whether it would not be beneficial to the United States
to establish a manufacture which would be very lucrative. But waiving
that consideration, he would ask gentlemen, if there was any propriety
in taxing molasses in its raw state, with a duty intended to be laid on
rum? Certainly this had better be by way of excise. In this mode the
revenue would escape fraud by smuggling, which would otherwise be
unavoidable. The tax was such a temptation, being thirty per cent. upon
its value, that no checks could prevent a clandestine trade being
carried on.

Without the molasses trade is continued, the fishery cannot be carried
on. They are so intimately connected, that the weapon which wounds the
one will stab the other. If by such measures as these we ruin one of the
most valuable interests of the United States, will not the people have a
right to complain that, instead of protecting, you injure and destroy
their pursuits? He did not mean to say that the people would form
unwarrantable combinations; but their exertions to support the
Government will be damped; they will look with chagrin on the
disappointment of their hopes; and it will add to their vexation that
they have been deceived under the most flattering appearances; for who
could conceive that a Government, constructed and adopted in the manner
this has been, could ever be administered to the destruction of that
welfare which it was formed to support?

He recommended experience as the best guide, and said, that it was
decidedly against high duties, particularly on molasses; and concluded
with appealing to the justice and wisdom of the committee for a
determination on this subject.

Mr. CARROLL would not take up the time of the committee with saying a
word on the main subject, but begged them to consider of how much
importance it was to the Union to get this bill into operation. If every
article was to be again debated in the manner it had already been, he
could see no end to the business. Unless gentlemen could advance some
new and weighty arguments, he thought the time misspent in
recapitulating those that had been unsuccessfully urged twice or three
times before.

Mr. MADISON thought the arguments against the duty were inconsistent. He
believed the gentlemen in opposition had not replied to an observation
he had made, and which was of great force on his mind. The gentlemen all
say that a heavy duty will ruin the distilleries and fisheries, and the
people concerned in them; yet they profess themselves willing to lay the
same duty, but in two forms instead of one. Now he would be glad to know
if the distilleries and fisheries would not be precisely in the same
situation, let which would take place?

On motion, the committee rose, and the House adjourned.

TUESDAY, May 12.

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, Mr. PAGE
in the chair, on the Impost Bill.

The article of molasses being still under consideration:

Mr. AMES wished to reply to the observation made yesterday by the
gentleman from Virginia. Does that gentleman, said he, recollect, if we
lay an excise, we prevent the burthen from being imposed upon the poor
for their subsistence, as molasses, in the raw state, will be lightly
taxed? In the next place, it is more favorable to the importers of that
article than the impost; it does not require so large a proportion of
their capital to be advanced in payment of duties, nor do they run the
risk of bad debts, because it may be so regulated that the retailer
shall secure the duty. Another reason is, it will save the expense of a
numerous host of custom-house officers, tide-waiters, &c. These
considerations proved, that if the excise was no better than an impost,
it was no worse; and as the duty would be better collected, and give
less reason for smuggling, which, above all things, was dangerous to the
revenue, it was sufficient to warrant the committee in giving the excise
duty a preference.

Mr. GOODHUE would not trouble the House long on the subject; but begged
leave to repeat the manner in which the molasses trade was connected
with the fisheries, and the fisheries with the navigation; that, if the
first is injured, the other two are wounded through its side. About
three-fifths of all the fish that are put up for that market, are of an
inferior quality, and would not sell elsewhere. The French would not
permit us to carry them there, but because we take their molasses in
exchange; they will not let their colonies send the molasses to France,
lest it interfere with their brandy. Now, any impediment to the
exportation of molasses, will prevent the exportation of fish; if we
cannot export the fish, for what purpose shall we continue our
fisheries? And if they are given up, how are we to form seamen to man
our future navy?

Mr. MADISON said his mind was incapable of discovering any plan that
would answer the purpose the committee have in view, and not produce
greater evils than the one under consideration. He thought an excise
very objectionable, but as no actual proposition for entering into such
a system was before the committee, he forbore to say any thing further
about it. He admitted an excise would obviate in part some of the
difficulties; but he did not think the answer given to his argument
altogether satisfactory; yet there was another argument he urged on a
former occasion remaining unanswered--it was, that, at this moment, the
fisheries, distilleries, and all their connections, were laboring under
heavier duties than what is now proposed; true, the duty is collected in
a different mode, but it affects the consumer in the same manner. The
gentlemen have said, to be sure, that the duty is evaded; but if half is
collected, it amounts to more than six cents per gallon.

It is said that a tax on molasses will be unpopular, but not more so
than a tax on salt. Can gentlemen state more serious apprehensions in
the former than the latter case? yet the committee did not forego a
productive fund, because the article was a necessary of life, and in
general consumption. If there is the disposition that is represented for
people to complain of the oppression of Government, have not the
citizens of the Southern States more just ground for complaint than
others? The system can only be acceptable to them, because it is
essentially necessary to be adopted for the public good.

Gentlemen argue, that a tax on molasses is unpopular, and prove it by
experience under the British Government. If this is to be adduced as a
proof of the popularity of a measure, what are we to say with respect to
a tax on tea? Gentlemen remembered, no doubt, how odious this kind of
tax was thought to be throughout America; yet the House had, without
hesitation, laid a considerable duty upon it. He did not imagine that a
duty on either of those articles was in itself objectionable; it was the
principle upon which the tax was laid that made them unpopular under the
British Government.

It is said that this tax is unjust; now, he had not a single idea of
justice, that did not contradict the position. If it be considered as it
relates to rum, he was certain the consumers of foreign rum paid a
larger proportion of revenue into the Treasury than the consumers of
country rum; they paid more than equal distributive justice required; if
it was considered as it respected molasses, there would appear no
injustice. Molasses was consumed in other States; but if it was not,
sugar was used in its stead, and subjected to a duty full as high as
that on molasses. But dismissing both these considerations, and even
admitting the whole weight to fall upon the Northern States, it would
not be disproportioned, because, in the long list of enumerated articles
subject to a high duty, they imported few or none; indeed, the articles
were pretty generally taxed for the benefit of the manufacturing part of
the northern community; see loaf sugar, candles, cheese, soap, &c. He
hoped gentlemen would not infer from this observation, that he thought
the encouragement held out by the bill to manufactures improper; far
from it; he was glad to see their growing consequences, and was disposed
to give them every aid in his power. From this view of the subject, he
was inclined to adhere to the bill, and not make any reduction.

Mr. GERRY hoped the committee would not consider the subject as finally
decided; he thought it deserving of further investigation, and expected
the committee would be satisfied of the propriety of making some
reduction. He felt a concern at being obliged to extend the discussion,
but his duty impelled him to oppose a measure he conceived injurious to
his country.

Gentlemen had contended, that a duty of six cents per gallon on molasses
was just and equal; for his part, he could not discover, with all the
exertions his mind was capable of making, how gentlemen prove this to be
the case; it appeared to him partial and oppressive.

The principle laid down in the constitution for an equal distribution of
taxes was, that they shall be apportioned among the several States,
according to their respective number of inhabitants. This principle is
made positive as it respects direct taxes; but he thought the equality
ought to extend itself to every possible case. The power possessed by
the House, with regard to revenue and the power of making all necessary
laws, enabled the General Government to exist independent of subordinate
associations; but if they were inclined to annihilate the State
Governments, yet it would be their interest to attend to the advantages
of the community, and administer their power so as not to make it
burthensome and oppressive. Now, he wished to know, what principle of
justice authorized the committee to lay a duty of six cents on molasses?
Unfortunately for Massachusetts, she imports a greater quantity than the
whole Union besides. This makes her interest stand alone, and her
representatives are left to labor the point, knowing the ill effect it
will have upon their constituents. Under these circumstances, it is
necessary to pay particular attention to the justice of the measure;
gentlemen should consider that, in such cases, there is danger of
interest prevailing over equity and policy. Certainly, if the measure is
pursued, we shall discover this effect in the end.

Gentlemen have considered the arguments brought against this duty as
standing upon local ground, advocating the local interest of
Massachusetts. He would examine this position. It is the interest of a
majority of the people of that State, that as much revenue should be
drawn from molasses as possible. I say it is the interest of the State,
for their interest is divided between the landed and commercial; the
landed interest predominates, and it was always supposed that the
commercial bore a greater share of the public burthen than it ought. The
conduct of the State of Massachusetts ought to be esteemed by us as the
best guide to discover how far our commercial regulations, as they
respect that State, are consistent with policy, if she furnishes the
best example. Can we find that she ever imposed a duty of six cents per
gallon on molasses? Not a single instance can be produced where she
raised revenue from this article. If they then never laid a duty upon
it, and they were disposed to get every thing in their power from
commerce, we must conclude that if it could have been laid they would
have done it. It is not the landed citizens, if he might use the term,
who consume molasses; it is the inhabitants of the sea-coast; the former
had the power, and they were interested to lay such a tax, it might
therefore be expected they would have done it, if they had not been
convinced it would have destroyed the fisheries and navigation of the

The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MADISON) cannot see how an impost on
molasses can affect the distilleries and fisheries. After having been
repeated over and over again, it would be unnecessary that he should
dwell on this point. But every one could see the connection; if we do
not import molasses, we cannot carry on our distilleries nor vend our
fish; and it will be impossible to import molasses under such heavy
duties; at least the future importation will be limited to two-thirds of
the present, because the demand will be in proportion to the increase of
price, and the merchant will not have capital to import more than
two-thirds of his usual quantity.

He would not reiterate the arguments respecting the fisheries; it was
well known to be the best nursery for seamen, the United States had no
other, and it never could be the intention of gentlemen to leave the
navigation of the Union to the mercy of foreign powers. It is of
necessity, then, that we lay the foundation of our maritime importance
as soon as may be, and this can be done only by encouraging our
fisheries. It is also well known that we have a number of rivals in this
business desirous of excluding us from the fishing banks altogether.
This consideration of itself is sufficient to induce a wise legislature
to extend every encouragement to so important a concern. In any
regulation they make, by which it can be effected, they ought to be sure
of the ground on which they go.

It appeared to him that six cents would have the most ruinous
consequences to the general interest; he therefore hoped gentlemen would
agree to reduce it, if not so as to place it among the _ad valorem_
articles, at least down to two cents. However, as the committee are not
prepared to say the particular sum proper to be laid, he hoped they
would agree to leave it a blank, to be filled up at some future stage of
the business.

The question was now taken on striking out six cents, and passed in the
affirmative: ayes 24, noes 22.

Propositions were severally made for filling up the blank with two,
three, four, and five cents; five being the highest was first put and
agreed to--ayes 25, noes 23.

The committee proceeded to consider the subsequent articles; but not
having time to go through the whole, they rose, and reported progress,
and the House adjourned.


The petition of John Fitch, of Pennsylvania, was presented, stating that
he is the original discoverer of the principle of applying steam-power
to the purposes of navigation, and has obtained an exclusive right
therein for a term of years, in the States of Virginia, Delaware,
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and praying that his rights may
be secured to him by law, so as to preclude subsequent improvers upon
his principle from participation therein, until the expiration of his
granted right. Referred to a committee, consisting of Messrs.
HUNTINGTON, CADWALADER, and CONTEE, to report thereon.

_Duties on Imports._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
Impost Bill, Mr. PAGE in the chair.


Mr. PARKER moved to insert a clause in the bill, imposing a duty on the
importation of slaves, of ten dollars each person. He was sorry that the
constitution prevented Congress from prohibiting the importation
altogether; he thought it a defect in that instrument that it allowed of
such a practice; it was contrary to the Revolution principles, and ought
not to be permitted; but as he could not do all the good he desired, he
was willing to do what lay in his power. He hoped such a duty as he
moved for would prevent, in some degree, this irrational and inhuman
traffic; if so, he should feel happy from the success of his motion.

Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, hoped that such an important and serious
proposition as this would not be hastily adopted. It was a very late
moment for the introduction of new subjects. He expected the committee
had got through the business, and would rise without discussing any
thing further. At least, if gentlemen were determined on considering the
present motion, he hoped they would delay it for a few days, in order to
give time for an examination of the subject. It was certainly a matter
big with the most serious consequences to the State he represented; he
did not think any one thing that had been discussed was so important to
them, and the welfare of the Union, as the question now brought forward;
but he was not prepared to enter on any argument, and therefore
requested the motion might either be withdrawn or laid on the table.

Mr. SHERMAN approved of the object of the motion, but he did not think
this bill was proper to embrace the subject. He could not reconcile
himself to the insertion of human beings as an article of duty, among
goods, wares, and merchandise. He hoped it would be withdrawn for the
present, and taken up hereafter as an independent subject.

Mr. JACKSON, observing the quarter from which this motion came, said it
did not surprise him, though it might have that effect upon others. He
recollected that Virginia was an old settled State, and had her
complement of slaves; so she was careless of recruiting her numbers by
this means; the natural increase of her imported blacks was sufficient
for their purpose; but he thought gentlemen ought to let their neighbors
get supplied, before they imposed such a burthen upon the importation.
He knew this business was viewed in an odious light to the eastward,
because the people were capable of doing their own work, and had no
occasion for slaves; but gentlemen will have some feeling for others;
they will not try to throw all the weight upon those who have assisted
in lightening their burthens; they do not wish to charge us for every
comfort and enjoyment of life, and at the same time take away the means
of procuring them; they do not wish to break us down at once.

He was convinced, from the inaptitude of the motion, and the want of
time to consider it, that the candor of the gentleman would induce him
to withdraw it for the present; and if ever it came forward again, he
hoped it would comprehend the white slaves as well as black, who were
imported from all the jails of Europe; wretches, convicted of the most
flagrant crimes, were brought in and sold without any duty whatever. He
thought that they ought to be taxed equally with the Africans, and had
no doubt but the constitutionality and propriety of such a measure was
equally apparent with the one proposed.

Mr. TUCKER thought it unfair to bring in such an important subject at a
time when debate was almost precluded. The committee had gone through
the impost bill, and the whole Union was impatiently expecting the
result of their deliberations; the public must be disappointed, and much
revenue lost, or this question cannot undergo that full discussion which
it deserves.

We have no right, said he, to consider whether the importation of slaves
is proper or not; the constitution gives us no power on that point; it
is left to the States to judge of that matter as they see fit. But if it
is a business the gentleman is determined to discourage, he ought to
have brought his motion forward sooner, and even then not have
introduced it without previous notice. He hoped the committee would
reject the motion, if it was not withdrawn. He was not speaking so much
for the State he represented as for Georgia; because the State of South
Carolina had a prohibitory law, which could be renewed when its
limitation expired.

Mr. PARKER had ventured to introduce the subject after full
deliberation, and did not like to withdraw it. Although the gentleman
from Connecticut (Mr. SHERMAN) had said, that they ought not to be
enumerated with goods, wares, and merchandise, he believed they were
looked upon by the African traders in this light. He knew it was
degrading the human species to annex that character to them; but he
would rather do this than continue the actual evil of importing slaves a
moment longer. He hoped Congress would do all that lay in their power to
restore to human nature its inherent privileges, and, if possible, wipe
off the stigma under which America labored. The inconsistency in our
principles, with which we are justly charged, should be done away, that
we may show, by our actions, the pure beneficence of the doctrine we
hold out to the world in our Declaration of Independence.

Mr. SHERMAN thought the principles of the motion, and the principles of
the bill, were inconsistent; the principle of the bill was to raise
revenue, the principle of the motion to correct a moral evil. Now,
considering it as an object of revenue, it would be unjust, because two
or three States would bear the whole burthen, while he believed they
bore their full proportion of all the rest. He was against receiving the
motion into this bill, though he had no objection to taking it up by
itself, on the principles of humanity and policy; and therefore would
vote against it if it was not withdrawn.

Mr. AMES joined the gentleman last up; no one could suppose him
favorable to slavery; he detested it from his soul; but he had some
doubts whether imposing a duty on the importation would not have the
appearance of countenancing the practice; it was certainly a subject of
some delicacy, and no one appeared to be prepared for the discussion. He
therefore hoped the motion would be withdrawn.

Mr. LIVERMORE was not against the principle of the motion; but in the
present case he conceived it improper. If negroes were goods, wares, or
merchandise, they came within the title of the bill; if they were not,
the bill would be inconsistent. But if they are goods, wares, or
merchandise, the five per cent. _ad valorem_ will embrace the
importation, and the duty of five per cent. is nearly equal to ten
dollars per head; so there is no occasion to add it even on the score of

Mr. JACKSON said, it was the fashion of the day to favor the liberty of
slaves. He would not go into a discussion of the subject; but he
believed it was capable of demonstration that they were better off in
their present situation than they would be if they were manumitted. What
are they to do if they are discharged? Work for a living? Experience has
shown us they will not. Examine what has become of those in Maryland;
many of them have been set free in that State. Did they turn themselves
to industry and useful pursuits? No, they turn out common pickpockets,
petty larceny villains. And is this mercy, forsooth, to turn them into a
way in which they must lose their lives; for when they are thrown upon
the world, void of property and connections, they cannot get their
living but by pilfering. What is to be done for compensation? Will
Virginia set all her negroes free? Will they give up the money they cost
them, and to whom? When this practice comes to be tried there, the sound
of liberty will lose those charms which make it grateful to the ravished
ear. But our slaves are not in a worse situation than they were on the
coast of Africa. It is not uncommon there for the parents to sell their
children in peace; and in war, the whole are taken and made slaves
together. In these cases, it is only a change of one slavery for
another; and are they not better here, where they have a master, bound
by the ties of interest and law, to provide for their support and
comfort in old age or infirmity, in which, if they were free, they would
sink under the pressure of woe for want of assistance?

He would say nothing of the partiality of such a tax; it was admitted by
the avowed friends of the measure; Georgia, in particular, would be
oppressed. On this account, it would be the most odious tax Congress
could impose.

Mr. SCHUREMAN hoped the gentleman would withdraw his motion, because the
present was not the time or place for introducing the business. He
thought it had better be brought forward in the House as a distinct
proposition. If the gentleman persisted in having the question
determined, he would move the previous question, if he was supported.

Mr. MADISON.--I cannot concur with gentlemen who think the present an
improper time or place to enter into a discussion of the proposed
motion. If it is taken up in a separate view, we shall do the same thing
at a greater expense of time. But gentlemen say that it is improper to
connect the two objects, because they do not come within the title of
the bill; but this objection may be obviated by accommodating the title
to the contents. There may be some inconsistency in combining the ideas
which gentlemen have expressed, that is, considering the human race as a
species of property; but the evil does not arise from adopting the
clause now proposed; it is from the importation to which it relates. Our
object in enumerating persons on paper with merchandise, is to prevent
the practice of actually treating them as such, by having them in future
forming part of the cargoes of goods, wares, and merchandise to be
imported into the United States. The motion is calculated to avoid the
very evil intimated by the gentleman.

It has been said that this tax will be partial and oppressive; but if a
fair view is taken of this subject, I think we may form a different
conclusion. But if it be partial or oppressive, are there not many
instances in which we have laid taxes of this nature? Yet are they not
thought to be justified by national policy? If any article is warranted
on this account, how much more are we authorized to proceed on this
occasion? The dictates of humanity, the principles of the people, the
national safety and happiness, and prudent policy require it of us. The
constitution has particularly called our attention to it; and of all the
articles contained in the bill before us, this is one of the last I
should be willing to make a concession upon, so far as I am at liberty
to go, according to the terms of the constitution or principles of
justice. I would not have it understood that my zeal would carry me to
disobey the inviolable commands of either.

I understood it had been intimated, that the motion was inconsistent or
unconstitutional. I believe, sir, my worthy colleague has formed the
words with a particular reference to the constitution; any how, so far
as the duty is expressed, it perfectly accords with that instrument. If
there are any inconsistencies in it, they may be rectified. I believe
the intention is well understood, but I am far from supposing the
diction improper. If the description of the persons does not accord with
the ideas of the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. JACKSON,) and his idea is
a proper one for the committee to adopt, I see no difficulty in changing
the phraseology.

I conceive the constitution, in this particular, was formed in order
that the Government, whilst it was restrained from laying a total
prohibition, might be able to give some testimony of the sense of
America with respect to the African trade. We have liberty to impose a
tax or duty upon the importation of such persons, as any of the States
now existing shall think proper to admit; and this liberty was granted,
I presume, upon two considerations. The first was, that until the time
arrived when they might abolish the importation of slaves, they might
have an opportunity of evidencing their sentiments on the policy and
humanity of such a trade. The other was, that they might be taxed in due
proportion with other articles imported; for if the possessor will
consider them as property, of course they are of value, and ought to be
paid for. If gentlemen are apprehensive of oppression from the weight of
the tax, let them make an estimate of its proportion, and they will find
that it very little exceeds five per cent. _ad valorem_; so that they
will gain very little by having them thrown into that mass of articles;
whilst, by selecting them in the manner proposed, we shall fulfil the
prevailing expectations of our fellow-citizens, and perform our duty in
executing the purposes of the constitution. It is to be hoped, that by
expressing a national disapprobation of this trade, we may destroy it,
and save ourselves from reproaches, and our posterity the imbecility
ever attendant on a country filled with slaves.

I do not wish to say any thing harsh to the hearing of gentlemen who
entertain different sentiments from me, or different sentiments from
those I represent; but if there is any one point in which it is clearly
the policy of this nation, so far as we constitutionally can, to vary
the practice obtaining under some of the State Governments, it is this.
But it is certain a majority of the States are opposed to this practice;
therefore, upon principle, we ought to discountenance it as far as is in
our power.

If I were not afraid of being told that the Representatives of the
several States are the best able to judge of what is proper and
conducive to their particular prosperity, I should venture to say that
it is as much the interest of Georgia and South Carolina as of any in
the Union. Every addition they receive to their number of slaves, tends
to weaken and render them less capable of self-defence. In case of
hostilities with foreign nations, they will be the means of inviting
attack, instead of repelling invasion. It is a necessary duty of the
General Government to protect every part of the empire against danger,
as well internal as external. Every thing, therefore, which tends to
increase this danger, though it may be a local affair, yet, if it
involves national expense or safety, becomes of concern to every part of
the Union, and is a proper subject for the consideration of those
charged with the general administration of the Government. I hope, in
making these observations, I shall not be understood to mean that a
proper attention ought not to be paid to the local opinions and
circumstances of any part of the United States, or that the particular
representatives are not best able to judge of the sense of their
immediate constituents.

If we examine the proposed measure by the agreement there is between it
and the existing State laws, it will show us that it is patronized by a
very respectable part of the Union. I am informed that South Carolina
has prohibited the importation of slaves for several years yet to come.
We have the satisfaction, then, of reflecting that we do nothing more
than their own laws do at this moment. This is not the case with one
State. I am sorry that her situation is such as to seem to require a
population of this nature; but it is impossible, in the nature of
things, to consult the national good, without doing what we do not wish
to do to some particular part.

Perhaps gentlemen contend against the introduction of the clause on too
slight grounds. If it does not comport with the title of the bill, alter
the latter. If it does not conform to the precise terms of the
constitution, amend it. But if it will tend to delay the whole bill,
that, perhaps, will be the best reason for making it the object of a
separate one. If this be the sense of the committee, I shall submit.

Mr. GERRY thought all duties ought to be laid as equal as possible. He
had endeavored to enforce this principle yesterday, but without the
success he wished for; he was bound by the principle of justice,
therefore, to vote for the proposition. But if the committee were
desirous of considering the subject fully by itself, he had no
objection; but he thought when gentlemen laid down a principle, they
ought to support it generally.

Mr. BURKE said, gentlemen were contending for nothing; that the value of
a slave averaged about eighty pounds, and the duty on that sum at five
per cent. would be ten dollars. As Congress could go no further than
that sum, he conceived it made no difference whether they were
enumerated or left in the common mass.

Mr. MADISON.--If we contend for nothing, the gentlemen who are opposed
to us do not contend for a great deal. But the question is, whether the
five per cent. _ad valorem_, on all articles imported, will have any
operation at all upon the introduction of slaves, unless we make a
particular enumeration on this account. The collector may mistake; for
he would not presume to apply the term goods, wares, and merchandise to
any person whatsoever. But if that general definition of goods, wares,
and merchandise, is supposed to include African slaves, why may we not
particularly enumerate them, and lay the duty pointed out by the
constitution, which, as gentlemen tell us, is no more than five per
cent. upon their value. This will not increase the burthen upon any; but
it will be that manifestation of our sense expected by our constituents,
and demanded by justice and humanity.

Mr. BLAND had no doubt of the propriety or good policy of this measure.
He had made up his mind upon it; he wished slaves had never been
introduced into America. But if it was impossible at this time to cure
the evil, he was very willing to join in any measures that would prevent
its extending further. He had some doubts whether the prohibitory laws
of the States were not in part repealed. Those who had endeavored to
discountenance this trade by laying a duty on the importation, were
prevented by the constitution from continuing such regulation, which
declares that no State shall lay any impost or duties on imports. If
this were the case, and he suspected pretty strongly that it was, the
necessity of adopting the proposition of his colleague was more

Mr. SHERMAN said the constitution does not consider these persons as
species of property; it speaks of them as persons, and says, that a tax
or duty may be imposed on the importation of them into any State which
shall permit the same, but they have no power to prohibit such
importation for twenty years. But Congress have power to declare upon
what terms persons coming into the United States shall be entitled to
citizenship; the rule of naturalization must, however, be uniform. He
was convinced there were others who ought to be regulated in this
particular, the importation of whom was of an evil tendency; he meant
convicts particularly. He thought that some regulation respecting them
was also proper; but it being a different subject, it ought to be taken
up in a different manner.

Mr. MADISON was led to believe, from the observation that had fallen
from the gentlemen, that it would be best to make this the subject of a
distinct bill: he, therefore, wished his colleague would withdraw his
motion, and move in the House for leave to bring in a bill on the same

Mr. PARKER consented to withdraw his motion, under a conviction that the
House was fully satisfied of its propriety. He knew very well that these
persons were neither goods nor wares, but they were treated as articles
of merchandise. Although he wished to get rid of this part of his
property, yet he should not consent to deprive other people of theirs by
any act of his, without their consent.

The committee rose, reported progress, and the House adjourned.

FRIDAY, May 15.

Mr. WHITE, one of the Representatives from Virginia, presented to the
House a resolve of the Legislature of that State, of the 27th of
December, 1788, offering to the acceptance of the Federal Government,
ten miles square of territory, or any lesser quantity, in any part of
that State, which Congress may choose, to be occupied and possessed by
the United States, as the seat of the Federal Government; which was
read, and ordered to lie on the table.

An engrossed bill for laying a duty on goods, wares, and merchandises,
imported into the United States, was read a third time, and, on a motion
made, ordered to be recommitted to a Committee of the whole House

The House, accordingly, resolved itself into the said committee; and,
after some time, the committee rose, and reported the bill with
amendments, which were agreed to by the House.

Mr. MADISON made a motion further to amend the said bill, by adding to
the end thereof a clause for limiting the time of its continuance.

Mr. AMES expressed a doubt of the propriety of the motion. He thought
the bill ought to be commensurate with the wants of Government.

Mr. FITZSIMONS.--For want of a proper knowledge of the true situation of
our affairs, we are unable to determine how far the present provision is
equal to the necessities of the Union, and this circumstance will tend
to add considerably to our embarrassment in limiting the duration. If we
make the time too short to supply the public wants, we shall not hold
out to the public creditors a sufficient security for the punctual
payment of their debts. If we should want to raise money by a loan, we
could only expect it according to the duration of the fund: this makes
the present motion a subject of serious consideration. Not that I object
to what the gentleman has in contemplation, but I wish such language to
be used, that shall designate the continuation of the law to be till the
wants are supplied and thereafter cease. I am not of opinion that it
should be for half a century, because I hope our national debt will be
extinguished in much less time; but really I must confess, at this
moment, I feel considerable embarrassment in determining in my mind the
period for which it should exist, whether an enumerated term of years,
or a general declaration during the continuance of the public wants.

Mr. LEE thought the operation of the law could not be well understood;
that it was a system of experiment, and ought to be temporary, in order
that a future Congress might make such amendments as time should
discover to be necessary. How perfect soever the theory might appear,
practice might prove it otherwise; he therefore wished its operation
limited for three or five years. He thought it would be wise in the
House to adopt the motion, in order to prevent any injustice which a
permanent and imperfect regulation might have on posterity. He expected
this would beget confidence in the Government, which was to him a very
desirable object.

Mr. WHITE.--The constitution having authorized the House of
Representatives alone to originate money bills, places an important
trust in our hands, which, as their protectors, we ought not to part
with. I do not mean to imply that the Senate are less to be trusted than
this House; but the constitution, no doubt for wise purposes, has given
the immediate Representatives of the People a control over the whole
Government in this particular, which for their interest they ought not
to let out of their hands. Besides, the constitution says further, that
no appropriation shall be for a longer term than two years, which of
consequence limits the duration of the revenue law to that period; when,
if it is found conducive to the public welfare, it may be continued by
the legislators appointed by the people, and who alone are authorized to
declare upon this question in the first instance.

Mr. LIVERMORE hoped but little time would be taken up in the discussion
of this subject; the people were anxiously waiting the result of their
deliberations; beside the impost was daily slipping away. He had no
doubt of the propriety of the motion, because from the acknowledged
imperfections of the bill, it would never do for a permanent system. If
the people, who consider themselves subjected to very high and very
unequal duties, find no termination of the grievance, they will
immediately adopt measures in their defence, to thwart the views of
Government; but if they understand the law as temporary, and only passed
in order to gain experience for forming a better system, they will be
induced to give it fair play, and bear the burthen without complaint,
trusting to the wisdom and justice of Congress for such alterations as
practice may show to be necessary.

Besides, the objects for which the revenue is now wanting, will decrease
annually; this will be an additional reason for limiting its duration.
He was not for a very short term; he thought five, seven, or ten years,
would be more eligible than two or three, but he was decidedly against
making it perpetual.

Mr. SINNICKSON had understood, that one of the objects of the bill was
the re-establishment of public credit; but it never could be imagined
that a law, limited to three or four years, could do this in any great
degree; nor could any advantage arise from loans negotiated and
terminated within such a short period. Under these impressions, he
conceived the motion struck at the credit of the new Government, which
the people had just established.

Mr. MADISON.--When he offered this amendment to the bill, he thought its
propriety was so obvious and striking, that it would meet no opposition.
To pass a bill, not limited in duration, which was to draw revenue from
the pockets of the people, appeared to be dangerous in the
administration of any Government; he hoped, therefore, the House would
not be less cautious in this particular than other nations are, who
profess to act upon sound principles. He imagined it might be considered
by their constituents as incompatible with the spirit of the
constitution, and dangerous to republican principles, to pass such a law
unlimited in its duration.

Besides the restoration of public credit, he thought the act had in view
the encouragement of a particular description of people, which might
lead them into enterprises of a peculiar nature, for the protection of
which the public faith seemed to be pledged. But would gentlemen infer
from hence, that no alteration ought to take place if the manufactures
were well established? The subject appeared to him in a twofold point of
view; first, to provide for the exigencies of Government, and second,
for the establishment of public credit; but he thought both these
objects could be obtained without making the bill perpetual. If the
Government showed a proper attention to the punctual performance of its
engagements, it would obtain the latter; the other would be secured by
making provision as the occasion demanded. If the bill was to be made
perpetual, it would be continued after the purpose for which it was
adopted had ceased; the error would in this case be irremediable;
whereas, if its limitation was determined, it would always be in the
power of the Government to make it commensurate with what the public
debts and contingencies required.

The constitution, as had already been observed, places the power in the
House of originating money bills. The principal reason why the
constitution had made this distinction was, because they were chosen by
the people, and supposed to be best acquainted with their interests and
ability. In order to make them more particularly acquainted with these
objects, the democratic branch of the Legislature consisted of a greater
number, and were chosen for a shorter period, so that they might revert
more frequently to the mass of the people. Now, if a revenue law was
made perpetual, however unequal its operation might be, it would be out
of the power of this House to effect an alteration; for if the President
chose to object to the measure, it would require two-thirds of both
Houses to carry it. Even if the House of Representatives were unanimous
in their opinion that the law ought to be repealed, they would not be
able to carry it, unless a great majority appeared in the Senate also.

Mr. BOUDINOT said, the time mentioned by the former Congress, and to
which they requested the concurrence of the several States, was, that
the impost duties might be continued for twenty-five years. This request
was made on full consideration, and they did not think it was more than
sufficient to discharge the principal and interest of the national debt.
He concluded, therefore, that it was better to let the law remain
without limitation; because when they found the purposes for which it
was intended were accomplished, it would be in the power of Congress to
repeal the law.

Mr. LAWRENCE thought the present was a subject of great importance, and
he lamented it was not brought forward at an earlier period, because he
feared the time would not allow that full discussion or deliberation
which ought to take place. He wished also that the House was acquainted
with the necessities of the United States, that so they might make
provision accordingly; but these two points were mere matter of
speculation as to their precise amount; yet he believed it was agreed on
all hands, that the ways and means provided in this bill for the support
of Government, the payment of interest and instalments of the foreign
and domestic debt, were, so far as agreed to, inadequate to the object.
If this be the case, the public debt must accumulate; and as we do not
know when the time may come for its extinguishment, the provision cannot
be limited; for every gentleman will agree, that if the demand for
revenue be increased, the fund ought to be commensurate to the object.
Is there any time when the civil list will cease its demand? If there is
not, there will be a perpetual call for revenue. He thought it
absolutely impossible to provide for the payment of the debts, if the
bill was limited to two, three, or four years; such a precarious
provision would never tend to the re-establishment of public credit. If
the bill was not limited, it would always be in the power of the
Legislature to lower the duties, or make such other alteration as might,
upon experience, be thought beneficial to the community; whereas if the
bill were limited, it would be thought improper to make any amendments
during the term for which it is enacted, although those amendments
appeared indispensably necessary. But why is this degree of caution
necessary? Will not the administration of public affairs be conducted in
future by representatives as good as ourselves? Will they have less
wisdom or virtue, to discover and pursue the good of their
fellow-citizens than we have?

Mr. BLAND.--Our public credit consists of two branches: first, as it
respects the evidences of our debt, in the hands of those from whom we
have had money or services; and secondly, as it respects our ability to
borrow in future. Now, the first branch of public credit depends upon
the punctuality with which the interest is paid; but this in foreign
nations, does not depend upon the limitation of the act. Do gentlemen
suppose our laws, like those of the Medes and Persians, unchangeable?
Can any person, who has read our constitution, believe that it is in our
power to pass a law without limitation? No, it is impossible. Every
person knows that a future Congress may repeal this and every other law
we pass, whenever they think proper. The constitution had particularly
intrusted the House of Representatives with the power of raising money;
great care was necessary to preserve this privilege inviolate; it was
one of the greatest securities the people had for their liberties under
this Government. Moreover, the importance of the House itself depended
upon holding the purse-strings; if they once part with this power, they
would become insignificant, and the other branch of the Legislature
might become altogether independent of them. For these reasons, he was
in favor of the motion of his honorable colleague, and hoped it would

Mr. GERRY.--There seems to be a great variety of opinions entertained
by gentlemen on this question. But he thought they would all agree on
these two points: first, that there were very great demands upon the
federal treasury; and, secondly, that they had no kind of documents to
show what they were, or what the revenue bill would produce. Under these
circumstances, gentlemen must agree, that there is danger of passing a
law that would operate oppressively, and without reason. There was also
danger of erring in the mode of collecting, for want of experience to
guide them. From these considerations, there was no doubt but the act
would require the reconsideration of the Legislature in a short time;
there may be applications from the people of all quarters to repeal a
part of it. But what are their immediate representatives to do, in case
the bill be made perpetual? They may be convinced that a repeal would be
just and necessary; but it may not be in their power to remedy the
grievances of their constituents, however desirous they may be of doing
so; for, although this House may originate and carry a bill unanimously
through for the repeal, yet it will be in the power of the President,
and the minority of the other branch of Congress, to prevent a repeal.

Mr. HUNTINGDON thought it easy to see the danger of making this bill
perpetual: besides parting with the power which the constitution gave to
the House of Representatives, in authorizing them solely to originate
money bills, there would be another inconvenience, which was, extending
the revenue beyond what the nature of the public debt required. The
foreign debt was payable by instalments; it was saying nothing to allege
that the debt would accumulate, because the United States must make
provision for the annual extinguishment of a part. If the revenue,
arising from the impost, be insufficient for this purpose, recourse must
be had to some other fund, which will enable us to perform the
engagements of the late Congress. It is true the debt is large, and will
take time to pay it off, but he had no doubt but it would be done
according to contract, and with honor to the Union. How, then, can
gentlemen suppose the revenue ought to be perpetual, in order to be
commensurate with the object? If they contemplated the contraction of
more debts in future, the supposition might be true; but he saw no
reason why gentlemen should extend their views so far. He thought if a
future war, or some other untoward circumstance, should increase the
national debt, it ought to be provided for by the Government who were
acquainted with the necessity. He thought the House ought to consider
seriously before they parted with their powers; it was easy for them to
pass a bill to give power, but it was difficult to recall it. He had
seen many instances of this kind; one in particular in the State from
which he came, where the Legislature had given the appointment of
sheriffs, and some other little matters, out of their hands, and had
been a long time endeavoring to get it back; but they had not been able
to obtain it. He had no suspicions of any character in the Senate, but
the constitution had made that body in some degree perpetual, to obtain
a permanency in the laws; if, therefore, this revenue bill had once
their approbation, they might be inclined to continue it, even against
the sentiments of the people and of the House. Though he was not against
trusting the gentlemen who now composed the Senate, he was against
trusting their successors.

Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, was also in favor of the clause; he
conceived the only reason of weight urged against it, related to the
restoration of public credit; but he thought every person possessed of
the stock or debt of the United States would have the same feelings and
reasoning as the House; they would know that their demands depended upon
a higher source than Congress, and might be sure that we would do our
duty in making particular provision. If Congress neglected this, one
part of the creditors would compel them. If it was found that the United
States were not disposed to pay their debts, foreigners would find the
means to make them. Taking it therefore for granted, that Congress would
always provide for these objects, he would proceed to consider what
effect might arise from a permanent or temporary provision. If the
latter were made, the creditors would honor us for our exertions, and
confide in our continuing to provide for them in the manner we should
find upon experience most convenient to the community. If the system was
declared to be a perpetual provision for the payment of their interest,
it would give no hope, in the first place, for the redemption of the
capital; and in the second, if Congress were to alter it, and which, in
all probability they shortly must, the security would be impaired, and
an essential injury done to the public credit, which we are so desirous
to revive.

Mr. AMES considered this as a very important question; and in order that
his own mind might be fully enlightened, he had listened with the most
unwearied attention to the arguments urged on both sides; but he was far
from being satisfied that the motion was necessary or proper for the
House to adopt.

Gentlemen tell us they are willing to make the revenue commensurate with
the debt. If they do this, all the inconveniences resulting from the
imperfection of the system will be entailed upon us for a number of
years. Other gentlemen mention a year or two for its limitation. Can the
House listen seriously to such a proposition? If we were to tell our
creditors that we are making provision for them for one year, would it
tend to inspire them with confidence in our wisdom or justice? Would our
foreign creditors believe we were scrupulously fulfilling our
engagements with them? No: nothing less than a fixed, permanent system,
can beget confidence or give security. An illusory system of one or two
years' duration would engender distrust; its very visage would make the
public suspect deception. If we do not mean to deceive, why not make the
provision commensurate to the occasion? His idea of a temporary act was
_pro hac vice_, by way of experiment: but he thought the House could not
make the experiment with this bill, because the public credit would not
admit of it. If this act be made for one year, will it not be a
considerable expense to the public by going over all the ground again,
which had taken the House such a length of time to discuss?

What has been the conduct of Great Britain, in relation to her funds?
What has carried the credit of that kingdom to a superior eminence, but
the attention she has paid to public credit? He considered these
advantages as having made that nation rich and powerful. He believed a
like conduct on our part would produce the same consequences, because
our Government is of such a nature as to give the public creditors the
greatest security they could wish. If the revenue is appropriated, and
the law for collecting it is without any limitation, the funds cannot be
taken away without a positive act of injustice, to which both Houses of
the Legislature must assent by a majority of two-thirds, or three
independent parties must unite. It was therefore three to one in favor
of the public creditor, that the funds appropriated to his use would not
be annihilated. Under these circumstances, Government might more safely
be trusted. This, he observed, was not the case under despotic princes;
their will alone could tear away the security of the subject. Under a
pure democracy, the case was almost as bad; no confidence could be
placed, because the caprice and whim of one body could dictate a change.

Mr. PAGE expressed his surprise to find gentlemen opposed to the
limitation of the bill, who had complained so much of its imperfections.
He thought a measure of the kind now proposed absolutely necessary to
reconcile these gentlemen to particular parts of the bill. For his own
part, he had objections to some articles, and for that reason, if there
was no other, he would be in favor of the limitation. It had been
frequently asserted that half the revenue would be lost by smuggling.
Can this, then, he would ask, be a bill proper to perpetuate, or fit for
the restoration of the credit of the United States? He asked gentlemen
whether they would lend a hand to rivet round the necks of their
fellow-citizens a regulation which experience had convinced them was
unjust, unequal, and oppressive? Yet the gentleman from Massachusetts
(Mr. AMES) had declared that experience had convinced him that at least
one particular article was subjected to a duty of this kind.

Mr. GERRY asked his colleague if he advocated carrying the taxes to such
an extent as to accumulate sums in the treasury for which the United
States had no particular use? Yet if this revenue law were made
perpetual, it would collect money into the public coffers after the
national debt was paid. This would be such a temptation to the Executive
to possess itself by force of the treasures of the nation, as he hoped
would never be put in its way. If our commerce and population increased,
this revenue would increase in the same proportion. He could not,
therefore, bear the idea of all this money being collected into one
spot, unless there was an absolute demand for it. He thought it
incompatible with the liberty and security of the people, and therefore
hoped the House would agree to a short limitation.

Mr. MADISON, for the sake of accommodation, would make another
proposition. He was extremely sorry to differ with gentlemen about
modes, when their object appeared to be the same. He thought the spirit
of the constitution and the structure of the Government rendered it
improper to pass a perpetual revenue law. The arguments had been clear
on this point; but as there was an evident propriety in making the means
commensurate to the occasion, he was inclined to give the bill such a
perpetuity as would answer the purpose of providing for the public debt
and restoring the national credit. He thought this might be done by
modifying his motion so as to refer to the collection bill; for he
hoped, before that passed, the House would be able to ascertain the
appropriation, and could limit it accordingly. The words he would
propose were, that this act should not continue and be in force longer
than the ---- day of ----, unless otherwise limited by the act providing
for the appropriation. As he had heard it intimated that the yeas and
nays would be called on this question, he was desirous of rendering the
clause as satisfactory as possible.

Mr. AMES could not bear to lie under the imputation of inconsistency,
with which he was charged, inasmuch as he contended against the
limitation of a bill he had opposed as oppressive in some of its parts.
He believed the amendment now offered was new to almost every gentleman.
For his part, he had always supposed it was intended as a permanent
system. He remembered many gentlemen made use of this expression,
through the various debates which had taken place in the several stages
of the bill. He had understood it in this light, and had therefore
combated, with some degree of energy, such parts as appeared to him
impolitic or unjust. He imagined the gentlemen on both sides had labored
to make the bill as perfect as possible, with a view of making an
equitable provision for the public exigencies, which should affect all
parts of the Union with the greatest degree of impartiality.

Mr. SHERMAN observed, that when Congress applied to the several States
for the five per cent. impost, they judged it would enable them to
extinguish the national debt in twenty-five years; but, in addition to
this fund, they expected to make annual requisitions on the States, for
one and a half million of dollars at least; so that gentlemen could not
expect the whole to be paid by this single fund in a short time. He
wished a limitation to the law in general terms, such as until the debt,
foreign and domestic, is discharged. He thought a short term would made
an unfavorable impression upon the minds of the public creditors, and
tend in a great measure to cloud the happy prospects that began to
brighten the political hemisphere of this country.

Mr. GERRY expressed an intention of calling the yeas and nays if he was
supported, because he thought it a question in which the essential
interests of the people were deeply involved.

Mr. LAWRENCE said, he held his present opinion upon the purest
principles of patriotism, and an ardent love for his country's
happiness. He had no objection to the yeas and nays being taken, as he
was not inclined to disguise his sentiments.

Mr. PAGE was glad the yeas and nays were called, as it would give
gentlemen an opportunity of showing to their constituents their
approbation of a measure calculated to secure the blessings of liberty
to themselves and posterity.

Several members rose to speak on this question, when Mr. AMES moved the
adjournment, fearing gentlemen would grow warm upon the question.

Whereupon, the House adjourned.


Mr. SENEY, from Maryland, presented to the House an act of the
Legislature of that State, offering to the acceptance of Congress ten
miles square of territory, in any part of the said State, for the seat
of the Federal Government, which was read and ordered to lie on the

_Duties on Imports._

The House resumed the consideration of the amendment proposed yesterday
to the bill for laying a duty on goods, wares, and merchandises imported
into the United States, and the said amendment read as follows: "And be
it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that this act shall be in
force until the ---- day of ----, and from thence until the end of the
next session of Congress which shall happen thereafter."

The question was called for, and Mr. LAWRENCE required the ayes and

Mr. JACKSON wished to say a few words on the bill. The ayes and noes
being called for, he conceived it his duty to state his reasons for his
vote. He declared himself to be in favor of the limitation, for the
reasons offered by honorable gentlemen yesterday. He said he had as
ardent a desire to re-establish public credit, and place it on a good
footing, as any member on that floor, yet he did not think making this
law perpetual would have that tendency. He had no doubt but every
subsequent Legislature would be equally desirous of doing justice to
the creditors of the Union, and he therefore felt no uneasiness in
leaving such provision to be made by them. If the next Legislature were
disposed to violate the public honor, would the law now under
consideration stand in their way? For his part, he could not conceive it
an insuperable bar. He believed there was not a member who liked every
part of the bill. Under these circumstances, what was to be expected but
complaints from the people, and a consequent repeal of the bill? He did
not wish to insinuate that the Senate would be so depraved as to oppose
the public voice, but they might misunderstand it; they were a permanent
body, and might be more inclined to support what they considered the
honor of the Government than the convenience of the people.

The House of Representatives appeared to him to be the body best
calculated to know and feel the interests of their immediate
constituents; they ought, therefore, to preserve the power of redressing
grievances, and not give too much into the hands of the Senate. He
acknowledged the claims which those that fought and bled for their
country had upon the justice of Congress; but he did not believe that
class of citizens would complain or murmur at this House for keeping the
purse strings in their hands, when it was considered necessary to the
security and happiness of the people.

Mr. WHITE did not see the necessity of calling the yeas and nays: he
thought the measure was intended to have one of these two objects,
either to show one part of the House had mistaken the interest of their
country, and ought to be held up to posterity, in order that their
memories may be charged with their want of knowledge; or that there is a
part of this House who think themselves more wise and patriotic than the
majority. He never called the yeas and nays in his life, nor believed he
ever should; but he was willing to have his vote appear, in all cases,
when gentlemen thought proper to perpetuate the decision of the House in
that way. On this occasion he would vote in favor of the amendment, and
would endeavor to answer the objections, which, if well founded, would
be a subject of great uneasiness in his mind, considering how he
intended to give his vote.

He would now proceed to examine, whether rendering this law perpetual
would be a wise and prudent measure. It had been well observed by the
gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. JACKSON,) that every part of the law would
bear harder on some States than on others; perhaps there was no State in
the Union which would not be in some degree dissatisfied. He could
perceive, by the sentiments of gentlemen in this House, that the
burthens would be peculiarly felt; under these impressions, gentlemen
have expressed themselves more warmly than perhaps they ought. There had
been predictions of the most dangerous consequences of high duties,
which he would not repeat; if these dangers were not imaginary, would it
be prudent in the House, to risk these consequences, and make these
dangers unavoidable by rendering the law perpetual.

Much pains had been taken to impose the burthens as equally as possible.
If the duty on molasses bears hard upon one State, the tonnage duty
would bear equally so upon others. But still it is probable, that there
are unequal pressures laid by the bill, which experience alone could
enable the Legislature to alter to the satisfaction of all parties. The
system was great, complex, and comprehensive; it embraces commerce,
manufactures, agriculture, finance, and, in short, every thing in which
a nation can be concerned. Will it be prudent, then, under our present
disadvantages, and without information, to enact a law affecting the
highest interests of the people, which can never be repealed but by the
consent of three independent bodies? Gentlemen have told us, that no
valuable purpose can be answered by making the law temporary; now, he
thought a valuable purpose could be answered by it. The two Houses of
Congress, with the qualified negative of the President, formed the
legislative power of the United States; they are distinct powers to be
exercised by both branches of the Legislature. The House had been told,
on a former occasion, that the Senate possessed greater powers than the
Representatives. He admitted that, in some instances, they had greater
powers; but with respect to revenue matters, they certainly had less,
and very properly so. Shall we then give up to a body, who has already a
superiority over us, those superior powers which we possess relative to
revenue? A perpetual system would give the Senate greater advantages
than constitutionally they ought to enjoy. He thought it of little
consequence for the House to possess the right of originating money
bills, if those money bills were made perpetual. The exercise of this
right would be lost, and he thought it necessary that every part of
Government should feel itself dependent upon the people. We have been
told, with truth, that the Senate are a virtuous body; they are so, and
he hoped would remain so, for ages yet to come, nay for ever; and, in
his legislative capacity, he would act upon no other supposition. But
still it ought to be remembered, that they would always be men, and
liable to all the errors, frailties, and infirmities, with the rest of
their fellow-mortals; besides, they were constituted in some measure for
purposes to which the other branch was incompetent; while this House was
constituted for purposes for which the Senate is unequal. It is a
well-grounded republican maxim, that taxation and representation should
depend each on the other. The people should be taxed only by
representatives chosen for that purpose. This principle was written in
the hearts of our British ancestors; it had been maintained by the best
blood of our citizens, and he hoped it would descend with the fullest
energy to our posterity. What, said he, are we about to do? A great
branch of revenue, indeed the only branch, to which an application is
now proper, or expected by the people, is about to be put out of our
hands for ever; for it would not be in the power of this House, or any
future House, to annihilate those funds without the consent of the
Senate and the concurrence of the President. Now, the Senate are not an
equal representation of the people; in that body the States have equal
numbers, while, in this House, the representation is proportioned to
their population. Delaware sends one, Georgia three, and Virginia ten.
Is it possible, in the nature of things, that two Senators can be as
well acquainted with the feelings and interest of the people of
Virginia, as ten men selected from among them, and taken from the
several parts of the State? Will the people be satisfied to have that
body able to continue a revenue system which their immediate
representatives think oppressive, or perhaps unnecessary? Certainly they
would not; whatever the wisdom and virtue of the Senate may be, he was
convinced they were not competent to those peculiar objects for which a
just representation was absolutely necessary. The Senate, it is true, is
not a House of Lords; they do not possess any properties materially
distinguishing them from the members of the House of Representatives;
but, though the distinction is not so striking in the one case as in the
other, yet it was nevertheless real. The House of Lords is created by
the King, and is a permanent body; the Senate is chosen by the State
Legislatures, and though the individuals have not a permanency in
office, yet the body never ceases to exist. These circumstances, in the
constitution of the Senate, afforded a powerful objection to the new
system of Government, and the people would never have adopted it, had
they supposed that the powers of this body were unlimited in continuing
a system of taxation, which had at any time met the approbation of their
particular representatives.[23]

Mr. TUCKER did not think it necessary to give his opinion otherwise than
by his vote, because gentlemen, who had yesterday delivered their
sentiments in favor of the clause, had anticipated what he had to say.
But as he found himself influenced by the call for the ayes and noes on
this question, he should be induced to state some of his reasons in
favor of the amendment. He said, he was glad the ayes and noes had been
called, and if it had not been done by any other gentleman, he should
have conceived himself bound to have done it; because he did not think
himself at liberty, but on very particular occasions, to make a law
perpetual. He wished to see a doctrine established, never to pass a law
without limitation, unless justified by some extraordinary
circumstances. Nothing, he thought, could ever justify such an act but
the immutability of the object, and the absolute necessity and
simplicity of every thing relating to it. If the House passed a
perpetual revenue law, which had not an immutable object, they would
abridge their own power, and destroy one of the great privileges of the
people. Every bill of this nature, more or less, narrows the powers of
this House, and throws it into the hands of the Executive and a minority
of the Senate; for it is to be considered, that whenever we pass a bill
on any subject, every matter in that bill contained is given up to the
Executive and one-third of the Senators, so much so that it is out of
the power of this House, even with a unanimous vote, to recover any part
of it.

Mr. SYLVESTER was in favor of the limitation clause. A good deal had
been said in the House respecting the jarring interests of the several
States. It had been confessed on all hands, that this was an
experimental law: he viewed it as such, and expected, in the course of a
few years, the Legislature would be able to discover the errors of this
day. But what advantage can result from their knowledge, if they have
not power to make the necessary alterations, or to build up a new system
more perfect than the old? He had examined the annals of history, but
was unable to discover that any nation had ever established a perpetual
revenue law. He imagined gentlemen would admit these reasons to be
sufficient to warrant the vote they were about to give.

Mr. SINNICKSON did not expect this was to be a perpetual law, incapable
of alteration; but he wished to see it a permanent system. The idea of a
temporary system was long ago said to be out of the contemplation of the
House. He should only observe, in addition to this, that our credit
depended essentially upon what should be done at this time. He thought
if the revenue existed merely upon the breath of the Legislature, for
one or two years at a time, we should never attain that object. He
thought that the public good required something substantial to be done
in favor of those who had lent the public money in the hour of distress.

Mr. BOUDINOT thought himself obliged to say a few words more, in order
to justify the part he should take in the division of the House on this
question. He conceived the manner in which the motion was brought before
the House, after the bill was supposed to be gone through, did not give
such opportunity for the members to consider the subject as its
importance seemed to require, and which might have been had if it had
been brought forward at an earlier period.

If, said he, we are to have the measures of the Parliament of Great
Britain hung about our necks in all our public proceedings, and
observations from their practice perpetually sounding in our ears, that
practice ought to be defined and established. He believed that in the
whole volumes of the statute law, there was not one single revenue act
to be found with a limitation. He believed that the revenue laws, passed
fifty, sixty, eighty, and near a hundred years ago, in that kingdom,
existed at the present moment. We have long seen and been convinced of
the infirmities of the former confederation, and shall we now rivet
those infirmities upon the present constitution? Are we never to stand
upon a certain and solid foundation? Is not our public credit totally
gone? Has not experience convinced us that the loss of it would have
been our total destruction, if the generous exertions we have lately
made had not revived some degree of confidence in our future measures?
Are we not so deeply in debt as to give us reason to believe that it
will require many years to emancipate ourselves? If this is the case,
will a revenue law for one or two years bring that relief which is
expected? Will this prevent an increase of the public debt? Will it
restore value to the evidences of that debt held by our creditors? He
would ask any man, whether, if the United States were in the situation
in which they were last war, he would be induced to lend money upon a
temporary and inadequate fund provided for two years? He believed the
answer would be in the negative.

Mr. MADISON withdrew his motion in order to introduce another, which he
hoped would reconcile both sides of the House. He joined those gentlemen
who opposed the clause in thinking that one or two years would be a
period insufficient to answer the purposes in contemplation. If the
House agree to the clause he would substitute for the one just
withdrawn, he would move to fill the blank with a more distant day. His
motion was, that this act shall not continue in force after the ---- day
of ---- unless otherwise provided in the act for the appropriation of
the revenue.

Mr. FITZSIMONS seconded the motion.

Mr. SHERMAN liked this motion better than the other. Although he was in
favor of leaving the law at large, he would vote for this clause, if the
blanks were filled up with a sufficient time to accomplish those objects
which the Government had in view in providing revenue.

Mr. AMES thought the question would recur when the appropriation or
collecting bill came before them; he would rather, for his own part,
decide the question at this moment, than consume the time of the House
with another debate. Besides the House was not in possession of an act
for appropriating the revenue; such a measure might never be agreed to;
therefore he hoped the decision would take place at this time rather
than be evaded.

Mr. FITZSIMONS was of opinion, that this revenue ought to be
appropriated to the payment of the public debts; what were the views of
other gentlemen he could not say. He was nevertheless in favor of
limiting the law, and that upon constitutional principles, though he
wished it commensurate to its object. Gentlemen had said a great deal
respecting the imperfection of the system, that it was the effect of
compromise; but nevertheless, he thought it as free from defects as it
was possible a revenue system could be formed with such materials as the
House possessed; but if it was imperfect, he did not see the
difficulties some gentlemen mentioned, in altering and amending it when
experience shall have pointed out its defects.

Mr. BOUDINOT acquiesced in the motion now brought forward for the sake
of accommodation, although he thought the bill would stand better
without any limitation clause whatever.

Mr. PAGE was against the latter part of this clause. It had been justly
said, that the bill would be oppressive; but, from the necessity of the
times, the people will submit to it. Shall we not let them see the end
of their burthen in the law itself? Are they to look into another bill
for that purpose? Perhaps after the Senate have agreed to this act, they
may oppose the limitation in the subsequent one; they may insist upon
having this in perpetuity, and then the object which the House have in
view will be defeated.

Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, moved a division of the question.

Mr. LEE wished to strike out that part of the motion which related to
the exception.

Mr. LIVERMORE seconded Mr. LEE.

The question was put, and that part of the clause lost.

The question now stood as originally introduced to the House.

The previous question was then demanded by five members: Shall the main
question be now put? And on the question, shall the main question be now
put? it was resolved in the affirmative.

And then the main question being put, that the House do agree to the
amendment proposed to the said bill, it was resolved in the
affirmative--ayes 41, noes 8.

The ayes and noes being called for by one-fifth of the members present:

Those who voted in the affirmative, are,

      Messrs. Abraham Baldwin, Egbert Benson, Theodorick Bland,
      Ædanus Burke, Daniel Carroll, Isaac Coles, Benjamin Contee,
      Thomas Fitzsimons, William Floyd, George Gale, Elbridge
      Gerry, Nicholas Gilman, Benjamin Goodhue, Samuel Griffin,
      Jonathan Grout, John Hathorn, Daniel Heister, Benjamin
      Huntington, James Jackson, Richard Bland Lee, George
      Leonard, Samuel Livermore, James Madison, junior, Andrew
      Moore, Peter Muhlenberg, John Page, Josiah Parker, George
      Partridge, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Joshua Seney, Thomas
      Scott, William Smith, William Smith, of South Carolina,
      Jonathan Sturgis, Peter Sylvester, Jonathan Trumbull, Thos.
      Tudor Tucker, John Vining, Jeremiah Wadsworth, Alexander
      White, and Henry Wynkoop.

Those who voted in the negative, are,

      Messrs. Fisher Ames, Elias Boudinot, Lambert Cadwalader,
      George Clymer, John Lawrence, Roger Sherman, Thomas
      Sinnickson, and George Thatcher.

The clause being added, it was agreed to fill the blank so as to read
the first day of June, 1796.

_Ordered_, That the said bill, with the amendments, be engrossed, and
read the third time to-day.[24]

MONDAY, May 18.

      _Resolved_, That leave be given to bring in a bill
      concerning the importation of certain persons into the
      United States, prior to the year 1808, and that Mr. PARKER,
      Mr. SINNICKSON, and Mr. MUHLENBERG, do prepare and bring in
      the same.

TUESDAY, May 19.

_Executive Departments._

On motion of Mr. BOUDINOT, the House resolved itself into a Committee of
the whole House on the state of the Union. Mr. TRUMBULL in the chair.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--I rise, Mr. Chairman, with diffidence, to introduce a
subject to the consideration of the committee, which I had hopes would
have been brought forward by an abler hand; the pressing necessity of it
must alone be my excuse. The great executive departments which were in
existence under the late confederation, are now at an end, at least so
far as not to be able to conduct the business of the United States. If
we take up the present constitution, we shall find it contemplates
departments of an executive nature in aid of the President: it then
remains for us to carry this intention into effect, which I take it will
be best done by settling principles for organizing them in this place,
and afterwards appoint a select committee to bring in a bill for the

I need say little to convince gentlemen of the necessity which presses
us into a pursuit of this measure. They know that our national debt is
considerable; the interest on our foreign loans, and the instalments
due, amount to two millions of dollars. This arrearage, together with
the domestic debt, is of great magnitude, and it will be attended with
the most dreadful consequences to let these affairs run into confusion
and ruin, for want of proper regulations to keep them in order.

I shall move the committee therefore to come to some such resolution as
this: That an officer be established for the management of the finances
of the United States, at the head of which shall be an officer to be
denominated the Secretary of Finance. I am not tenacious of the style,
perhaps some other may be proper, but the object I have in view is to
establish the department; after which we may go on to narrate the duties
of the officer, and accommodate the name to the acts he is to perform.
The departments under the late constitution are not to be models for us
to form ours upon by reason of the essential change which has taken
place in the Government, and the new distribution of legislative,
executive, and judicial powers.

If gentlemen then agree with me so far, I shall proceed to restrain the
Secretary of Finance, and all persons under him, from being concerned in
trade or commerce, and make it his duty to superintend the treasury and
the finances of the United States, examine the public debts and
engagements, inspect the collection and expenditure of the revenue, and
to form and digest plans for its improvement. There may be other duties
which gentlemen may add, as I do not pretend to have perfectly
enumerated them all. After this point is settled, we may then go to the
consideration of the War Department, and the Department of Foreign
Affairs; but, for the present, I would wish to confine ourselves to the
Department of Finance.

Mr. BENSON wished the committee to consider what he judged to be a
previous question, namely, how many departments there should be
established? He approved of the division mentioned by the gentleman; but
would, with his leave, move that there be established in aid of the
Chief Magistrate, three executive departments, to be severally
denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs, Treasury, and War. After
determining this question, if it was a proper division, the committee
might proceed to enumerate the duties which should be attached to each.

Mr. BOUDINOT said, he could apologize for not bringing the business on
in another way. It seemed to be a settled point in the House that a
Committee of the Whole was the proper place for determining principles
before they were sent elsewhere; he had therefore adopted that mode on
the present occasion, though his own judgment would incline him to
pursue that last mentioned by the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. BLAND.)
He conceived the necessity of having such an office was indisputable;
the Government could not be carried on without it; but there may be a
question with respect to the mode in which the business of the office
shall be conducted; there may also be a question respecting the
constitution of it, but none with respect to the establishment of either
of the three departments he had mentioned.

Mr. BENSON said, his motion was founded upon the constitutional division
of these powers; the constitution contemplated them, because it gave the
President the right of requiring the opinion of the principal officer in
each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the
duties of their respective offices. If gentlemen were inclined to waive
the determination for the present, he had no objection; it was certainly
a subject of great importance, and required time for consideration.

Mr. VINING thought the gentleman should have added another department,
viz: the Home Department. The territorial possessions of the United
States, and the domestic affairs, would be objects of the greatest
magnitude, and he suspected would render it essentially requisite to
establish such a one.

Mr. BOUDINOT wished to confine the question to the Department of

A motion was made by Mr. BLAND for the committee's rising.

Mr. MADISON hoped they would not rise until the principles were settled.
He thought it much better to determine the outlines of all business in a
Committee of the Whole. He was satisfied it would be found, on
experience, to shorten their deliberations. If the gentlemen who had
offered motions to the committee would withdraw them, he would offer one
which he judged likely to embrace the intentions of both gentlemen.

Mr. BENSON withdrew his motion, and Mr. MADISON moved, that it is the
opinion of this committee, that there shall be established an Executive
Department, to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs, at the
head of which there shall be an officer, to be called the Secretary to
the Department of Foreign Affairs, who shall be appointed by the
President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; and to be
removable by the President.

That there shall be a Treasury Department, &c.

That there shall be a War Department, &c.

Mr. VINING seconded the motion, and offered to amend it, by adding the
Domestic Department, _mutatis mutandis_. He said this department, in his
opinion, was of absolute necessity, more requisite than either of the
other three, except the Department of Finance; the present and
increasing duties of such a department will oblige them to make the

Mr. LIVERMORE was not prepared to decide on the question even as now
brought forward, nor did he see a reason why the Department of Foreign
Affairs was placed at the head of the list. He thought the Treasury
Department of more importance, and consequently deserved the precedence.

As to the Domestic Department just mentioned by the gentleman from
Delaware, he thought its duties might be blended with the others, and
thereby save the United States the expense of one grand department. If
the gentleman, therefore, would wait to see what were the duties
assigned to them severally, he would be able to judge respecting his
motion with greater propriety.

Mr. VINING withdrew his motion for the present.

And the committee agreed to the establishment of the Department of
Foreign Affairs, and placing at the head thereof an officer to be called
the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; but when they came to the mode of
appointing the officer,

Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina) moved to strike out the words "who shall
be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate." He conceived the words to be unnecessary; besides, it looked as
if they were conferring power, which was not the case, for the
constitution had expressly given the power of appointment in the words
there used. He also objected to the subsequent part of this paragraph,
because it declared the President alone to have the power of removal.

Mr. PAGE saw no impropriety in passing an act to carry into execution
the views of the constitution, and therefore had no objection to repeat
those words in the resolution. He thought if the committee stopped
there, they would be under no difficulty respecting the propriety of
their measure, but if they went further they might meet with
considerable embarrassment.

Mr. MADISON remarked, that as there was a discretionary power in the
Legislature to give the privilege to the President alone of appointing
inferior officers, there could be no injury in declaring in the
resolution the constitutional mode of appointing the heads of
departments; however, if gentlemen were uneasy, he would not object to
strike it out.

Mr. LEE thought this officer was an inferior officer; the President was
the great and responsible officer of the Government; this was only to
aid him in performing his executive duties; hence he conceived the power
of appointing to be in the gift of the Legislature, and therefore the
words were proper.

Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina.)--This officer is at the head of a
department, and one of those who are to advise the President; the
inferior officers mentioned in the constitution are clerks and other
subordinate persons. The words are only a repetition of the words in the
constitution, and are consequently superfluous.

The question was taken on striking out those words, and carried in the

The committee proceeded to the discussion of the power of the President
to remove this officer.

Mr. SMITH said, he had doubts whether the officer could be removed by
the President. He apprehended he could only be removed by an impeachment
before the Senate, and that, being once in office, he must remain there
until convicted upon impeachment. He wished gentlemen would consider
this point well before they decided it.

Mr. MADISON did not concur with the gentleman in his interpretation of
the constitution. What, said he, would be the consequence of such
construction? It would in effect establish every officer of the
Government on the firm tenure of good behavior; not the heads of
departments only, but all the inferior officers of those departments,
would hold their offices during good behavior, and that to be judged of
by one branch of the Legislature only on the impeachment of the other.
If the constitution means this by its declarations to be the case, we
must submit; but I should lament it as a fatal error interwoven in the
system, and one that would ultimately prove its destruction. I think the
inference would not arise from a fair construction of the words of that

It is very possible that an officer who may not incur the displeasure of
the President, may be guilty of actions that ought to forfeit his place.
The power of this House may reach him by the means of an impeachment,
and he may be removed even against the will of the President; so that
the declaration in the constitution was intended as a supplemental
security for the good behavior of the public officers. It is possible
the case I have stated may happen. Indeed, it may, perhaps, on some
occasion, be found necessary to impeach the President himself; surely,
therefore, it may happen to a subordinate officer, whose bad actions may
be connived at or overlooked by the President. Hence the people have an
additional security in this constitutional provision.

I think it absolutely necessary that the President should have the
power of removing from office; it will make him, in a peculiar manner,
responsible for their conduct, and subject him to impeachment himself,
if he suffers them to perpetrate with impunity high crimes or
misdemeanors against the United States, or neglects to superintend their
conduct, so as to check their excesses. On the constitutionality of the
declaration I have no manner of doubt.

Mr. BENSON.--If we refer to the constitution for light on this subject,
it will appear evident that the objection is not well founded. The
objection is this, that an officer ought not to be removed but by
impeachment; then every officer is appointed during good behavior. Now,
the constitution expressly declares, that the Judges, both of the
Supreme and Inferior Courts, shall hold their offices during good
behavior. If it is declared, that they are to hold their offices by this
particular tenure, it follows that the other officers of the Government
should hold them only at pleasure. He thought this an important
question, and one in which they were obliged to take the constitution by
construction. For although it detailed the mode of appointing to office,
it was not explicit as to the supersedure; this clause, therefore, would
be a mere declaration of the legislative construction on this point. He
thought the importance and necessity of making the declaration, that the
Chief Magistrate might supersede any civil officer was evident, and he
should therefore vote in favor of the clause as it stood.

Mr. VINING said, there were no negative words in the constitution to
preclude the President from the exercise of this power; but there was a
strong presumption that he was invested with it: because it was
declared, that all executive power should be vested in him, except in
cases where it is otherwise qualified; as, for example, he could not
fully exercise his executive power in making treaties, unless with the
advice and consent of the Senate--the same in appointing to office.

He viewed the power of removal, by impeachment, as a supplementary
security to the people against the continuance of improper persons in
office; but it did not consist with the nature of things, that this
should be the only mode of removal; it was attended with circumstances
that would render it insufficient to secure the public safety, which was
a primary object in every Government. Witness a transatlantic instance
of its incompetency--he meant the famous case of Mr. Hastings. With what
difficulty was that prosecution carried on! What a length of time did it
take to determine! What is to be done while the impeachment is
depending? For, according to the ideas of the gentleman from South
Carolina, (Mr. SMITH,) he cannot be removed but on conviction. If he
cannot be removed, I should suppose he cannot be suspended; and what
security have the people against the machinations of a bad man in
office? He had no doubt but the constitution gave this power to the
President; but if doubts were entertained, he thought it prudent to
make a legislative declaration of the sentiments of Congress on this
point. He was therefore in favor of the clause.

Mr. BLAND thought the power given by the constitution to the Senate,
respecting the appointment to office, would be rendered almost nugatory
if the President had the power of removal. If the first nomination of
the President should be disapproved by the Senate, and the second agreed
to, he had nothing to do but wait the adjournment of Congress, and then
fill the vacancy with his favorite; who, by thus getting into the
possession of the office, would have a considerable chance of permanency
in it. He thought it consistent with the nature of things, that the
power which appointed should remove; and would not object to a
declaration in the resolution, if the words were added, that the
President shall remove from office, by and with the advice and consent
of the Senate. He agreed that the removal by impeachment was a
supplementary aid favorable to the people; but he was clearly of
opinion, that the same power that appointed had, or ought to have, the
power of removal.

Mr. JACKSON wished the motion had been referred to a sub-committee to
digest: it seemed to him they were building the house before the plan
was drawn. He wished to see the system reduced to writing, that he might
leisurely judge of the necessity and propriety of each office and its
particular duties.

With respect to the question before the House he was of opinion that if
the House had the power of removal by the constitution, they could not
give it out of their hands; because every power recognized by the
constitution must remain where it was placed by that instrument. But the
words in the constitution declare, in positive terms, that all civil
officers shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction
of, high crimes and misdemeanors; and however long it may take to
decide, in this way it must be done. He did not think the case of Mr.
Hastings ought to be brought forward as a precedent for conducting such
business in the United States. He believed, whenever an impeachment was
brought before the Senate, they would proceed with all imaginable speed
to its termination. He should, in case of impeachment, be willing to go
so far as to give the power of suspension to the President, and he
thought this all the security which the public safety required; it would
prevent the party from doing further mischief. He agreed with the
gentleman in the general principle, that the body who appointed ought to
have the power of removal, as the body which enacts laws can repeal
them; but if the power is deposited in any particular department by the
constitution, it is out of the power of the House to alter it.

Mr. MADISON did not conceive it was a proper construction of the
constitution to say, that there was no other mode of removing from
office than that by impeachment; he believed this, as applied to the
Judges, might be the case, but he could never imagine it extended in the
manner which gentlemen contended for. He believed they would not assert,
that any part of the constitution declared, that the only way to remove
should be by impeachment; the contrary might be inferred, because
Congress may establish offices by law; therefore, most certainly, it is
in the discretion of the Legislature to say upon what terms the office
shall be held, either during good behavior or during pleasure. Under
this construction, the principles of the constitution would be
reconcilable in every part; but under that of the gentleman from South
Carolina, it would be incongruous and faulty. He wondered how the
gentleman from Georgia (Mr. JACKSON) would reconcile his principles so
far as to permit the President to suspend the officer. He begged his
colleague (Mr. BLAND) to consider the inconvenience his doctrine would
occasion, by keeping the Senate constantly sitting, in order to give
their assent to the removal of an officer; they might see there would be
a constant probability of the Senate being called upon to exercise this
power, consequently they could not be a moment absent. Now, he did not
believe the constitution imposed any such duty upon them; why, then,
said he, shall we enjoin it, especially at such an expense of the public

Mr. BOUDINOT would by no means infringe the constitution by any act of
his, for if he thought this motion would lead the committee beyond the
powers assigned to the Legislature, he would give it a decided negative;
but, on an impartial examination of that instrument, he could not see
the least foundation for such an objection; however, he was glad the
question had come forward, because he wished to give a legislative
construction to this part of the constitution.

The gentlemen who denied the power of the President to remove from
office, founded their opinion upon the fourth section of the second
article of the constitution, where it is declared, that all officers
shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of,
treason or bribery. If their construction is admissible, and no officer
whatever is to be removed in any other way than by impeachment, we shall
be in a deplorable situation indeed. Consider the extent of the United
States, and the difficulty of conducting a prosecution against an
officer, who, with the witnesses, resides a thousand miles from the seat
of Government. But suppose the officer should, by sickness, or some
other accident, be rendered incapable of performing the functions of the
office, must he be continued? And yet it is to be apprehended, that such
a disability would not furnish any good ground for impeachment; it could
not be laid as treason or bribery, nor perhaps as a high crime or
misdemeanor. Would gentlemen narrow the operation of the constitution in
this manner, and render it impossible to be executed?

Mr. WHITE thought no office under the Government was to be held during
pleasure, except those which are to be constituted by law; but all the
heads of departments are to be appointed by the President, by and with
the advice and consent of the Senate. He conceived that, in all cases,
the party who appointed ought to judge of the removal, except in those
cases which by the constitution are excepted; and in those cases
impeachment and conviction are the only mode by which they can be

Mr. THATCHER asked, why the Judges were particularly mentioned in the
constitution as holding their offices during good behavior, if it was
not supposed that, without this express declaration in their favor,
they, in common with all other officers not immediately chosen by the
State Legislatures and the people, would hold them during pleasure? The
clause respecting impeachments was particularly calculated for removing
unworthy officers of the other description. Holding this construction of
the constitution to be right, he was in favor of the clause as it stood.

Mr. SYLVESTER thought the constitution ought to have a liberal
construction, and therefore was of opinion that the clause relative to
the removal by impeachment was intended as a check upon the President,
as already mentioned by some gentlemen, and to secure to the people, by
means of their representatives, a constitutional mode of obtaining
justice against peculators and defaulters in office, who might be
protected by the persons appointing them. He apprehended the doctrine
held out by the gentleman from South Carolina would involve the
Government in great difficulties, if not in ruin, and he did not see it
was a necessary construction of the constitution. Why, then, should the
House search for a meaning, to make the constitution inconsistent with
itself, when a more rational one is at hand? He, however, inclined at
present to the sentiments of the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. BLAND,)
who thought the Senate ought to be joined with the President in the
removal, as they were joined by the constitution in the appointment to

Mr. GOODHUE was decidedly against combining the Senate in this business.
He wished to make the President as responsible as possible for the
conduct of the officers who were to execute the duties of his own branch
of the Government. If the removal and appointment were placed in the
hands of a numerous body, the responsibility would be lessened. He
admitted there was a propriety in allowing the Senate to advise the
President in the choice of officers; this the constitution had ordained
for wise purposes; but there could be no real advantage arising from the
concurrence of the Senate to the removal, but great disadvantages. It
might beget faction and party, which would prevent the Senate from
paying proper attention to the public business. Upon the whole, he
concluded the community would be served by the best men when the Senate
concurred with the President in the appointment; but if any oversight
was committed, it could best be corrected by the superintending agent.
It was the peculiar duty of the President to watch over the executive
officers; but of what avail would be his inspection, unless he had a
power to correct the abuses he might discover.

Mr. GERRY.--The constitution provides for the appointment of the public
officers in this manner: The President shall nominate, and by and with
the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other
public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other
officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein
otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law. Now, if
there be no other clause respecting the appointment, I shall be glad to
see how the heads of departments are to be removed by the President
alone. What clause is it that gives this power in express terms? I
believe there is none such. If there is a power of removal, besides that
by impeachment, it must vest somewhere. It must vest in the President,
or in the President and Senate, or in the President, Senate, and House
of Representatives. Now, there is no clause which expressly vests it in
the President. I believe no gentleman contends it is in this House,
because that would be that mingling of the executive and legislative
powers gentlemen deprecate. I presume, then, gentlemen will grant, that
if there is such a power, it vests with the President, by and with the
advice and consent of the Senate, who are the body that appoints. I
think we ought to be cautious how we step in between the President and
the Senate, to abridge the power of the one, or increase the other. If
the power of removal vests where I suppose, we, by this declaration,
undertake to transfer it to the President alone.

It has been mentioned, that it is proper to give this power to the
President, in order to make him more fully responsible for this officer.
I am for supporting the President to the utmost of my power, and making
him as responsible as possible. I would therefore vest every gift of
office, in the power of the Legislature, in the President alone; but I
cannot think we ought to attempt to give him authority to remove from
office, in cases where the constitution has placed it in other hands.

Mr. LIVERMORE considered this as a constitutional question, and was of
opinion, that the same power which appointed an officer, had the right
of removal also, unless it was restrained by an express declaration to
the contrary. As the President, by and with the advice and consent of
the Senate, is empowered to appoint ambassadors, certainly they have a
right to remove them and appoint others. In the case of the judges, they
must be appointed for life, or during good behavior. He had no idea,
that it could ever enter into the heart of any man living, that all
officers appointed under the constitution were to have a perpetuity in
office. The judges themselves would not have had this right, if it had
not been expressly given by the constitution, but would be removable in
like manner with ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls. He
took it, therefore, in the present case, that the President and the
Senate would have the power of removing the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs. The only question, therefore, which appears to be before the
committee is, whether we shall give this power to the President alone?
And with that he thought they had nothing to do. He supposed, if the
clause was left out, the President and the Senate would proceed, as
directed by the constitution, to appoint the officer; and hereafter, if
they judged it necessary, would remove him; but if they neglected to do
so, when it was necessary, by reason of his misdemeanors, this House
would impeach him, and so get rid of him on conviction.

Mr. BLAND.--It seems to be agreed on all hands, that there does exist a
power of removal; the contrary doctrine would be a solecism in
Government. If an officer embezzles the public money, or neglects or
refuses to do the duties of his appointment, can it be supposed there is
no way of getting rid of such a person? He was certain it was
essentially necessary such a power should be lodged somewhere, or it
would be impossible to carry the Government into execution. Their
inquiries were therefore reduced to this point: Does it reside,
agreeably to the constitution, in the President, or in the President and
the Senate? The constitution declares, that the President and the Senate
shall appoint, and it naturally follows, that the power which appoints
shall remove also. What would be the consequence of the removal by the
President alone, he had already mentioned, and need not repeat. A new
President might, by turning out the great officers, bring about a change
of the ministry, and throw the affairs of the Union into disorder: would
not this, in fact, make the President a monarch, and give him absolute
power over all the great departments of Government? It signifies nothing
that the Senate have a check over the appointment, because he can
remove, and tire out the good disposition of the Senate.

Mr. CLYMER said, the power of removal was an executive power, and as
such belonged to the President alone, by the express words of the
constitution: "the executive power shall be vested in a President of the
United States of America." The Senate were not an executive body; they
were a legislative one. It was true, in some instances, they held a
qualified check over the executive power, but that was in consequence of
an express declaration in the constitution; without such declaration,
they would not have been called upon for advice and consent in the case
of appointment. Why, then, shall we extend their power to control the
removal which is naturally in the Executive, unless it is likewise
expressly declared in the constitution?

The question on adding the words "by and with the advice and consent of
the Senate," as moved by Mr. BLAND, was put and lost.

The question was now taken, and carried by a considerable majority, in
favor of declaring the power of removal to be in the President.


_Treasury Department._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
state of the Union, Mr. TRUMBULL in the chair. The resolution for
establishing the Treasury Department being under consideration:

Mr. GERRY.--We are now called upon, Mr. Speaker, to deliberate, whether
we shall place this all-important department in the hands of a single
individual, or in a Board of Commissioners. I presume the gentleman, who
has brought forward this string of propositions, means, that this
officer shall have power to examine into the state of the public debt
and expenses, to receive and disburse the revenue, to devise plans for
its improvement and expansion, and, in short, to superintend and direct
the receipts and expenditure, and govern the finances of the United
States; having under him officers to do the subordinate business of
registering and recording his transactions, and a Comptroller to control
his operations with respect to the accounts and vouchers.

Before this committee proceed one step farther in this business, they
ought seriously to consider the situation of this country, and what will
be the consequence of appointing such an officer; consider how it will
affect the public in general, the revenue, and even the Government
itself. He is declared, in the list of duties assigned him in the paper
read yesterday by the gentleman from New York, (Mr. BENSON,) to have the
power to form and digest the accounts, and to control all the officers
of the department. It is evident, that we put his integrity to the
trial, by such an arrangement. If he is disposed to embezzle the public
money, it will be out of the power of the Executive itself to check or
control him in his nefarious practices. The extension of his business to
the collectors of at least fifty seaports, (over whom the naval officer
can have no control, with respect to the money received,) will furnish
abundant opportunities for peculation. In addition to the moneys arising
from the impost, he may have to do with large sums derived from other
quarters, from the sale of the vacant lands, the money of defaulters now
due to the United States, and the revenue arising from taxes and
excises. Admit these innumerable opportunities for defrauding the
revenue, without check or control, and it is next to impossible he
should remain unsullied in his reputation, or innoxious with respect to
misapplying his trust.

Other great opportunities may arise in case of an anticipation of the
public revenue; or, if it is necessary to prevent the injury which a
rapid depreciation of the securities would occasion to public credit, he
may be employed in purchasing them, in order to advance the credit of
the Union. But what is to prevent the greatest imposition in this
business? Charging them to the public at their nominal value, it is not
in the power of the Government to check this species of speculation;
what then is the situation of your officer? He must subject himself to
suspicion: indeed, it is as much as his reputation is worth to come into
a place of this kind; he can hardly preserve his integrity. His honor,
credit, and character, must inevitably be injured. He cannot prove
himself innocent of the suspicion, because it is the negative side of
the question. He can offer nothing more in his defence than a mere
denial of the crime.

There is another point which ought to be well considered: This officer
is to digest and form the accounts. He can consequently give the
business such complexity, as to render it impossible to detect his
impositions; and as the inferior officers, who might discover the fraud,
are to be appointed by the principal, will they not consequently be men
after his own heart?

Taking these circumstances together, it must be very disagreeable to the
person appointed, provided he is an honest, upright man; it will be
disagreeable also to the people of the Union, who will always have
reason to suspect, that a partiality is shown to the collectors, and
other officers of the State to which he belonged. This has absolutely
been the case, and was productive of very great dissatisfaction. I would
be glad to know of the gentlemen, who are for vesting these powers in a
single person, where they will find the man who is capable of performing
the duties of a financier? For it is not the mere calling him a
financier, and giving him a large salary, that will enable him to
perform his functions in such a manner as to give satisfaction. We had
once a gentleman who filled such a department, and I believe the only
one in the United States who had knowledge and abilities by any means
competent to the business; but that gentleman is now employed in another
branch of the Government, and cannot be called to this trust. During the
late war, Congress thinking it necessary to employ a financier, were led
to inquire for a proper character to fill such an office; but not being
able to discover such a one in this country, in whose abilities they had
sufficient confidence, they wrote to Doctor Price a letter, to induce
him to come to America, and accept of an appointment under them, for the
superintendence of their finances. He wrote, in answer, that he felt
with gratitude the honor which they had done him by their application,
and signified, that he was desirous of rendering every service in his
power to aid the glorious cause in which America was embarked; but, from
his advanced situation in life, and infirmities of body, he was under
the necessity of declining. This circumstance serves to show how
difficult it is to get a proper person for so arduous an undertaking.
But it appears to me, that if we could fix upon a person equal to the
office, involving him in forming accounts, and such trifling business,
would divert his attention from the more important duties he is called
upon to perform. The proper business of finance, I take it, ought to be
to consider of the means to improve the revenue, and introducing economy
into the expenditures; to recommend general systems of finance, without
having any thing to do with the actual administration of them, because,
if he engages in the executive business, we shall be deprived of his
talents in more important concerns. If it should be granted that there
is a person of abilities to be found, adequate to the duties of the
office, I want to know where the advantage arises of appointing him
alone in preference to a Board? If you have commissioners, you have an
opportunity of taking one from each grand division of the United States,
namely, the Eastern, the Middle, and Southern Districts. If this person
is a member of the Board, is it not evident you will have every
advantage from his abilities in such a situation, as you would if he
were placed in office without control? If he was possessed of such
genius, he could employ it more usefully as a Commissioner of the Board
of Treasury, than when left to perform all the drudgery of the executive
part; because while his fine imagination was busied in reducing a chaos
to a beautiful system, his colleagues might perform those parts which
required less elevation of thought; by dividing the burthen, the
business would be done with more regularity and facility. Surely no
advantage to the public would arise from giving him the sole management
of the business, but much inconvenience might; besides, it must
unavoidably, as I said before, subject him to suspicions unfavorable to
his reputation. This has absolutely been realized; it is not a mere
chimera, a matter of speculation. We have had a Board of Treasury, and
we have had a Financier. Have not express charges, as well as vague
rumors, been brought against him at the bar of the public? They may be
unfounded, it is true; but it shows that a man cannot serve in such a
station without exciting popular clamor. It is very well known, I dare
say, to many gentlemen in this House, that the noise and commotion were
such as obliged Congress once more to alter their Treasury Department,
and place it under the management of a Board of Commissioners. We have
seen speculations excited from this quarter against the Government
itself, and painful insinuations of design by his appointment to the
Senate. I mention these circumstances to exhibit to your view the
inconveniencies to which an officer is subjected by constituting an
office of this nature. If the gentleman I have alluded to had been a
member of the Board of Treasury, he would not have been subjected to the
charges which were brought against him. In such a situation, he could
have rendered the services his great abilities enabled him to do,
without exposing his character to be torn to pieces by malevolence or

I am desirous of supporting the President; but the Senate requires to be
supported also in their constitutional rights. To this body belongs the
confidence of the States; while the President rests his support upon
them he will be secure. They, with this House, can give him proper
information of what is for the public interest, and, by pursuing their
advice, he will continue to himself that good opinion which is justly
entertained of him. If we are to establish a number of such grand
officers as these, the consequences appear to me pretty plain. These
officers, bearing the titles of minister at war, minister of state,
minister for the finances, minister of foreign affairs, and how many
more ministers I cannot say, will be made necessary to the President. If
by this establishment we make them more respectable than the other
branches of the Government, the President will be induced to place more
confidence in them than in the Senate; the people will also be led to
consider them as more consequential persons. But all high officers of
this kind must have confidence placed in them; they will in fact be the
chancellors, the ministers of the nation. It will lead to the
establishment of a system of favoritism, and the principal magistrate
will be governed by these men. An oligarchy will be confirmed upon the
ruin of the democracy; a Government most hateful will descend to our
posterity, and all our exertions in the glorious cause of freedom will
be frustrated: we shall go on till we reduce the powers of the President
and Senate to nothing but a name. This surely, sir, does not comport
with the conduct of the House. We have been very tenacious of giving a
title to the President, lest it should be implied we desired to increase
his power. We would call him by no other appellation than merely
President of the United States. I confess I was not such a stickler
about titles as all this, because I did not consider that the liberties
of the people could be hurt by such means; but I am not clear that the
constitution authorizes us to bestow titles; it is not among the
enumerated powers of Congress. But if the constitution did authorize
it--[A call to order was made by some of the members, and Mr. GERRY was
desired to confine himself to the point; the subject of titles was not
before the House.][25] Mr. GERRY proceeded, and said the Senate were
constitutionally the highest officers of Government, except the
President and Vice President; that the House was about to supersede
them, and place over their heads a set of ministers who were to hold the
reins of Government, and all this to answer no good purpose whatever;
because the same services could be obtained from subordinate officers.

In short, a Board of Treasury would conduct the business of finance with
greater security and satisfaction than a single officer. He had a very
good opinion of the gentleman who formerly administered the finances of
the United States, and doubted if another of equal qualities could be
found; but it was impossible for any person to give satisfaction in such
a station. Jealousy would unavoidably be entertained; besides, no
inconvenience resulted from the present arrangement of that department;
therefore, there could be no good reason to induce a change. If the
House was truly republican and consistent, they would not admit
officers, with or without titles, to possess such amazing powers as
would eventually end in the ruin of the Government. Under these
impressions, he moved to amend the resolution so as to read, "there
shall be established a Treasury Department, at the head of which there
shall be three commissioners, to be denominated the Board of Treasury."

Mr. WADSWORTH.--My official duty has led me often to attend at the
treasury of the United States, and, from my experience, I venture to
pronounce that a Board of Treasury is the worst of all institutions.
They have doubled our national debt. (I do not mean by this observation
to censure any man who has been in that office: I presume they were
honest men, and did as well as could be done under such a system.) But I
do not remember a single instance, in any one board, that I found them
to have a system that would give even tolerable satisfaction; there
appeared a want of confidence in the members of them all: they seemed to
have no fixed principles to guide them, nor responsibility for their

I have had also transactions at the treasury whilst it was managed by a
Superintendent of Finance. As to what fell from the gentleman last up,
(though without intention, I dare say, to affect or prejudice the
character of that officer, it may possibly have such an effect,) I think
it necessary to state my sentiments, which are formed from my own
experience as well as from report. I had great transactions with him,
and must say that there did appear to be system in his management, and
responsibility in his negotiations. I dare risk my fortune and character
with him, because there was unity in the officer, and somebody in whom I
could confide. The nature of the office is better calculated to give
satisfaction than the other. I will not pretend to enumerate the savings
he made, by introducing economy throughout the whole departments under
Congress, because I do not know them all; but they were very
considerable. The administration of the finances was clear to the
meanest capacity. Receipts and expenditures were stated simply; they
were published to the world. The heads of the Treasury Department, the
Board of Commissioners, I do not believe have closed their accounts to
this very day. I do not say it is for want of ability, will, or honesty,
that this event has not taken place. I conceive it to be owing to their
want of system in conducting their business. I wish the committee had
before them the transactions of the board for one single month; they
would find what I have remarked to be too well founded. Instead of
system and responsibility, they would find nothing but confusion and
disorder, without a possibility of checking their accounts. I know I am
heard by one gentleman who is acquainted with these truths by

I beg leave to repeat once more, that under boards of treasury, there
never was a possibility of the public knowing their situation; there is
no possibility of getting on with the public accounts and closing them;
there have not been the transactions of more than one of the great
departments completely settled, owing to a radical defect in their
constitution; they cannot proceed with that unity and decision necessary
to insure justice. As to what the gentleman said, with respect to the
difficulty of getting a proper officer to fill the department, I will
just observe, that I do not believe it impossible, and am therefore
prepared to attempt it.

Mr. BENSON stated, that in the year 1781, from the very great
derangement of public affairs, Congress were induced to place the
Treasury Department under the superintendence of an individual. It is
true, after the conclusion of the war, in the latter end of 1783, or
beginning of 1784, Congress again changed their system, and placed the
department in the hands of three commissioners, to be taken, as the
gentleman has said, one from the Eastern, one from the Middle, and one
from the Southern district; which regulation I think induced above
twenty applications. Some gentlemen on this floor will doubtless
recollect an observation that was made at that time, that if this trust
had been to be reposed in one responsible individual, not perhaps more
than three of the candidates would have had confidence to come forward
as applicants for the office.

For his part, he conceived, that it required the same abilities in every
individual of the commissioners, as was necessary if a single person was
placed at the head of the department. If men competent to the
undertaking are so difficult to be found, you will increase the
embarrassment of the President threefold by making the arrangement the
gentleman contends for. The principle upon which the gentleman advocates
the appointment of a Board of Treasury, would apply in favor of a change
in the constitution, and we ought to have three Presidents of the United
States instead of one, because their business might be done with more
regularity and facility; but he did not think the argument to be well

Mr. BALDWIN thought that there were very few gentlemen who had much to
do with public business, but had turned their attention to this
question. He had employed his reflection upon the subject for some time,
and his sentiments were against the establishment of a Board of
Treasury. He was persuaded there was not so much responsibility in
boards as there was in individuals, nor is there such good ground for
the exercise of the talents of a financier in that way. Boards were
generally more destitute of energy than was an individual placed at the
head of a department. The observations of the gentleman from
Massachusetts were of great weight, so far as they inferred the
necessity of proper checks in the department having care of the public
money; if they had system, energy, and responsibility, he should be in
favor of them; but his experience had convinced him of the contrary. He
was not an advocate for an unlimited authority in this officer. He hoped
to see proper checks provided; a Comptroller, Auditors, Register, and
Treasurer. He would not suffer the Secretary to touch a farthing of the
public money beyond his salary. The settling of the accounts should be
in the Auditors and Comptroller; the registering them to be in another
officer, and the cash in the hands of one unconnected with either. He
was satisfied that in this way the treasury might be safe, and great
improvements made in the business of revenue.

Mr. MADISON had intended to have given his sentiments on this subject;
but he was anticipated in some things by the gentleman last up. He
wished, in all cases of an executive nature, that the committee should
consider the powers that were to be exercised, and where that power was
too great to be trusted to an individual, proper care should be taken so
to regulate and check the exercise, as would give indubitable security
for the perfect preservation of the public interest, and to prevent that
suspicion which men of integrity were ever desirous of avoiding. This
was his intention in the present case. If the committee agreed to his
proposition, he intended to introduce principles of caution, which he
supposed would give satisfaction on that point. As far as was
practicable, he would have the various business of this important branch
of the Government divided and modified, so as to lull at least the
jealousy expressed by the gentleman from Massachusetts; indeed, he
supposed, with the assistance of the committee, it might be formed so as
to give satisfaction. He had no doubt but that the offices might be so
constituted as to restrain and check each other; and unless an unbounded
combination took place, which he could by no means suppose was likely to
be the case, that the public would be safe and secure under the
administration. He would favor the arrangement mentioned by the worthy
gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. BALDWIN,) and after that was
separated from the Secretary's duties, he believed the officer would
find sufficient business to employ his time and talents in rendering
essential services to his country. This arrangement he considered would
answer most of the objections which had been urged.

If a board is established, the independent officers of Comptroller and
Auditor are unknown; you then give the aggregate of these powers to the
board, the members of which are equal; therefore you give more power to
each individual than is proposed to be trusted in the Secretary; and if
apprehensions are to be entertained of a combination, they apply as
forcibly in the case of two or three commissioners combining, as they do
in the case of the Secretary, Comptroller, and other officers. If
gentlemen permit these sentiments to have their full weight, and
consider the advantages arising from energy, system, and responsibility,
which were all in favor of his motion, he had no doubt of their
according with him on this question.

Mr. BOUDINOT considered the question to be, whether the department
should be under the direction of one or more officers. He was against
boards, because he was convinced by experience that they are liable to
all the objections which gentlemen had stated. He wished the committee
had it in their power to turn to the transactions of this department
since the revolution, to examine the expenditures under former boards of
treasury, and under the Superintendent of Finance; it would so confound
them, that he was sure no gentleman would offer another argument in
favor of boards. He was not acquainted with the management under the
present board. He had not been in the habit of doing business with them.
But between the administration of the former and the Superintendent of
Finance, there was an intolerable comparison. He was far from being
astonished at the jealousy and suspicion entertained of that valuable
officer; he rather wondered that the clamor was not more loud and
tremendous. He could not repeat all the causes there were for accusation
against him, but surely they were not inconsiderable. He remembered one
hundred and forty-six supernumerary officers were brushed off in one
day, who had long been sucking the vital blood and spirit of the nation.
Was it to be wondered at, if this swarm should raise a buzz about him?
The reform which daily took place made him no inconsiderable number of
enemies. The expenditures under the Board of Treasury had been enormous.
They were curtailed in the quartermasters, commissaries of provision and
military stores, in the hospital, and every great department established
by Congress; so that, besides those who were offended by a removal,
every one who was affected by this economy, or parsimony, if they will
call it so, were incensed against him. It was impossible to gain friends
among those people by a practice of this kind. He would state a
circumstance which might give the committee some small idea of what the
savings under the Superintendent were. The expenditure of hay at a
certain post was one hundred and forty tons; such was the estimate laid
before him; yet twelve tons carried the post through the year, and the
supply was abundant, and the post was as fully and usefully occupied as
it had ever been before.

The question on the amendment proposed by Mr. GERRY was taken and lost;
after which the resolutions respecting the Treasury and War Department,
as proposed by Mr. MADISON, were both agreed to.

Mr. VINING then proposed the establishment of the Domestic Department
upon the same principles; but, on motion of Mr. BOUDINOT, the committee
rose and reported the resolutions agreed to.--Adjourned.


_Executive Departments._

The House proceeded to consider the resolution reported yesterday from
the Committee of the whole House on the state of the Union, and the same
being amended to read as follows:

      _Resolved_, That it is the opinion of this committee that
      there ought to be established the following executive
      departments, viz: A Department of Foreign Affairs, at the
      head of which shall be an officer to be called Secretary to
      the United States for the Department of Foreign Affairs,
      removable by the President. A Treasury Department, at the
      head of which shall be an officer to be called Secretary to
      the United States for the Treasury Department, removable by
      the President. A Department of War, at the head of which
      shall be an officer to be called Secretary to the United
      States for the Department of War, removable by the

      _Resolved_, That this House doth concur with the committee
      in the said resolution; and that a committee, to consist of
      eleven members, be appointed to prepare and bring in a bill
      or bills pursuant thereto.

The members elected were, Mr. BALDWIN, Mr. VINING, Mr. LIVERMORE, Mr.

FRIDAY, May 22.

_Contested Election._[27]

The House resumed the consideration of the report on Mr. SMITH'S case.

After some desultory conversation on the recommitment and mode of
proceeding, it was agreed to examine the evidence in favor of Mr.
SMITH, the facts alleged by Doctor Ramsay, in proof that Mr. SMITH was
not seven years a citizen of the United States, being admitted.
Whereupon, it being moved and seconded, that the House do agree to the
following resolution:

      _Resolved_, That it appears to this House, upon full and
      mature consideration, that the said WILLIAM SMITH had been
      seven years a citizen of the United States, at the time of
      his election.

Mr. SMITH.--As the House are inclined to hear the observations I have to
make, I shall begin with admitting the facts stated in the memorial of
Doctor Ramsay, hoping the House will excuse the egotism into which I am
unavoidably drawn. I was born in Charleston, South Carolina, of a family
whose ancestors were among the first settlers of that colony, and was
sent to England for my education when I was but twelve years of age. In
1774, I was sent to Geneva, to pursue my studies, where I resided until
1778. In November, that year, I went to Paris, where I resided upwards
of two months in the character of an American gentleman. Immediately on
my arrival there, I waited on Doctor Franklin, Mr. Adams, and Mr. A.
Lee, the Commissioners from Congress to the court of France, as a
citizen of America, and was received as such by them. In January, 1779,
I left Paris for London, whither I went to procure the means of
embarking for America, from the gentleman who had been appointed my
guardian by my father when I was first sent to Europe in 1770, and from
whom alone I had any hope of obtaining such means. But in this endeavor,
I was disappointed, and remained some time in England, with the hope of
receiving remittances from Charleston. Here again my expectation was
defeated. The rapid depreciation of the continental money rendered the
negotiation of money transactions extremely difficult, and thus I
remained till the fall of Charleston. I took this opportunity of
studying the law, but could not be called to the bar, because I had not
taken the oath of allegiance to Great Britain, which is a necessary
qualification. After the surrender of Charleston, the whole State of
South Carolina fell into the hands of the enemy, and it was impossible
at that time to return. No sooner, however, did I acquire the means, and
an opportunity offered, than I prepared myself to go back to America. I
quitted London for that purpose, in October or November, 1782, not in a
vessel bound to Charleston, then a British garrison, and which I
certainly should have done, had I considered myself a British subject,
and which would have been most convenient, as there were vessels
constantly going from London to Charleston; but I travelled to Ostend,
and there embarked in a neutral vessel bound to St. Kitt's, from whence
it was my intention to proceed to a Danish island, and thence to some
American port in North Carolina or Georgia, from whence I could reach
the American camp. In the beginning of January, 1783, I sailed from
Ostend, but was detained a considerable time by contrary winds, and in
the middle of the month of February, was shipwrecked on the coast of
England, and was obliged to return to London in order to procure another
passage. These circumstances unavoidably prevented my return to
Charleston, until some time in November, 1783.

On my arrival at Charleston, I was received by my countrymen as a
citizen of the State of South Carolina, and elected by their free
suffrage a member of the Legislature in November, 1784. In the August
following I was chosen, by the Governor and Council, a member of the
Privy Council, and this election was confirmed by the Legislature the
October following. In September, the same year, I was elected one of the
Wardens of the City of Charleston. In November, 1786, I was again
elected into the Legislature; again in November, 1788; I was elected at
the same time that I was elected to the House of Representatives of the
United States, the September preceding having been chosen again a Warden
of the city.

After having stated these facts, he went on adverting to the laws
referred to in the report of the committee, which, he said, he conceived
to be applicable to the present case.

In September, 1779, a question was discussed in the Legislature of South
Carolina, respecting the young men who were sent abroad for their
education, and it was determined that it was most for the interest of
the State, that they should be allowed to continue in Europe till they
were twenty-two years of age; after which the law provided they should
be doubly taxed if they did not return. This law might fairly be
supposed to recognize the citizenship of all the young men in a similar
predicament with himself. It allowed them all to be absent until they
were twenty-two years of age; but even after that period it did not
deprive them of the right of citizenship; it only subjected them to the
penalty of a double tax. This he contended was a sort of compact with
him, that if he chose to be absent after that time, he should suffer a
certain penalty, which, in its own nature, implied that his citizenship
remained; but before he attained that age, South Carolina was in such a
situation that her best friends were compelled to be absent, and take
refuge in distant countries. It was not till some time after that the
friends of the American cause began to assemble in that State; the
absentee law, therefore, never operated on him, and he never was doubly

In February, 1782, the Legislature met at Jacksonburg, and discriminated
between friend and foe, between American and British subjects, by
disposing of the estates of the latter, and banishing them; from an
inspection of the law passed at that time, it would be evident in what
light they viewed him. He had landed property in the State, but was
himself in England; yet they did not attempt to confiscate his
property, or subject him to an amercement. The absentee law was his
safeguard, he had the permission of the State to be abroad.

If the Legislature in 1782 recognized as citizens some of those persons
whose estates were confiscated for adhering to Great Britain, and for
being disaffected to America _a fortiori_, did it not recognize as a
citizen one whose estate was not forfeited, who had not been deemed
worthy of punishment, and who had been absent under the sanction of the

By the constitution of South Carolina it appears, that no person was
eligible to a seat in the Legislature until he had resided three years,
nor to a seat in the Privy Council until he had resided five years in
the State. He had a seat in both those bodies before he had resided two
years in the State of South Carolina, and no objection was ever made on
that score. He could not have been qualified for either, had not the
people of South Carolina deemed his residence in that State, such a
residence as gained him a qualification; or had they not supposed the
qualification required in the constitution applied only to new comers
and new citizens, for whom that residence was necessary to wean them
from their local prejudices and national habits, and to attach them to
the commonwealth. Had they not, in short, supposed him to have been a
citizen during the revolution, and attached to his native State by every
tie which could bind an individual to any country. Three years'
residence was either not required of him, or his former residence was
deemed within the meaning of the constitution.

An act to confer the right of citizenship on aliens was passed March 26,
1784. For the purpose of possessing the subordinate rights of
citizenship, such as an exemption from the alien duty, a residence of
one year, and taking the oath of allegiance, was sufficient. To confer a
right of voting at elections, a person must have been admitted a citizen
two years prior to his voting; but for the higher privileges of a
citizen, being eligible to offices of trust, to a seat in the
Legislature and Privy Council, the alien must have been naturalized by
law. Now, in November, 1784, he was elected into the Legislature, and
took his seat without objection in January, 1785, and was elected into
the Privy Council, October, 1785; all without being naturalized by law.

In October, 1785, when he was elected to the Council, his election was
opposed, but the objection now brought forward was not then made; and
the memorialist himself, who was a member of the Legislature, voted in
favor of the choice; though, unquestionably, unless he was considered by
the Legislature as a citizen before he returned to Charleston, nothing
had afterwards occurred to make him so, and the alien act of 1784
positively required a naturalization by act of Assembly to give him a

The constitution of South Carolina is silent as to citizenship, but
allowed any person to vote at elections who had resided a year in the
State, and paid a certain tax; to be a member of the Assembly he must
have resided three, and to be a Privy Councillor five years previous to
his election, but nothing was said about citizenship. The act of 1784,
however, expressly defined who should and who should not be deemed
citizens; and, consequently, all persons who did not become citizens
must have been held to be aliens, and considered so, till they had
conformed to the alien act of 1784. Now, as he was admitted to offices
of trust, to which aliens were not admissible, and as he was admitted to
them without having the rights of citizenship conferred upon him, in
pursuance of that act, it followed clearly, that the people of South
Carolina and the Legislature acknowledged him to be a citizen by virtue
of the revolution.

He went on to observe, that, from the doctrine laid down by the
memorialist, it was difficult to ascertain when he did become a citizen
of South Carolina. When he was admitted to the bar in 1784, he did no
act which made him a citizen, the bare act of taking an oath of
qualification to an office could not convert an alien to a citizen. The
constitution seemed to imply a mere residence of a year, by giving a
right to vote, gave a right of citizenship; if that were the case, and
if his residence prior to the revolution was considered such a residence
as the constitution required, then he was a citizen, by virtue of the
constitution, after having resided a year in Carolina. Now, it was
clear, his residence prior to the war was deemed such a residence as the
constitution required; because he was admitted to vote and admitted to a
seat in the Legislature and Council by right of such residence, not
having had the requisite residence since the war, and yet being deemed
qualified. If, therefore, that part of the constitution which gave a
right of voting, in consequence of a year's residence and paying a
certain tax, virtually conferred citizenship, by giving a right to vote,
(and it appeared absurd that a right to vote should be given to persons
not citizens,) and if, also, his residence, prior to the revolution, was
deemed a sufficient residence, then he was a citizen by virtue of the

The points that seemed most to be relied upon by the memorialist were:

1st. That residence was actually necessary to confer citizenship, or, in
other words, that a person could not become a citizen of a country, till
he has resided in it.

2d. That a person could not become a citizen till he was of age to
choose his country.

In answer to the first, he denied that residence in the country was
absolutely necessary. Was it to be supposed, he asked, that when a man
sent his son into another country for his education and improvement, the
son was thereby to lose any political benefits which might, during such
temporary absence, accrue to his country? If his father had lived a few
years longer, would there have arisen any question on this subject?
Would he not, though absent, have acquired, according to the
petitioner's own positions, a right of citizenship? And should his
death, at such an early period, not be deemed a sufficient misfortune
for him, without using that as a pretence for making him an alien? Those
who represented him in Carolina as his guardians, who were _in loco
parentis_, were residents in Carolina at the declaration of

His property was in Carolina, his money in the treasury, assisting to
carry on the war. The declaration of independence affected him as much,
though at Geneva, as it did those in Carolina; his happiness, that of
his dearest connections, his property, were deeply interested in it: his
fate was so closely connected with that of Carolina, that any revolution
in Carolina was a revolution to him. Though a minor, as soon as he heard
of the independence of America, he considered himself an American

If a person could not become a citizen of a country without residing in
it, what should be said of those gentlemen who had been in Europe during
the war, and were now in high office in America? Several of them went to
Europe before the war, were there at the declaration of independence,
and did not return to America till after the war, or about the close of
it. When did their citizenship commence? According to the petitioner,
they could not become citizens of America until they returned to
America, and took an oath of allegiance to the States; but Congress
employed them in offices of great confidence, before they had returned
to America, or taken such oath. Congress, therefore, considered them
citizens, by virtue of the revolution.

It had been said, that Carolina had called on her young men to come to
her assistance. This was not the true state of the case. Carolina
thought that her young men who were abroad for their education, should
not be taken from their studies till they were twenty-two years of age,
and doubly taxed them after that. His guardian wrote to him that he had
permission of the Legislature to be absent till he was twenty-two, and
that he should be doubly taxed after that age.

It has been also said, that Carolina tendered an oath, to discover who
were friends, and who were enemies. In March, 1778, the Legislature of
South Carolina passed an act to oblige every free male inhabitant of
that State, above sixteen years of age, to take an oath of allegiance to
the State. As there were notoriously many persons then in the State who
were inimical to its liberties, such a step was necessary to give a
reasonable cause for obliging them to quit the country. With that view,
the oath was generally tendered only to those who were suspected or
known not to be friendly to the cause. He had been informed by several
persons, who were zealous partisans, and then in Carolina, that they had
never taken any oath of allegiance, and that it had not been required
of them on this occasion.

The act directed, that those who did not take it, should quit the State;
and, if they returned, should be dealt with as traitors, and suffer
death. Let us examine whether this act can, in any respect, apply to the
present question. 1st. It particularly mentioned "inhabitants of the
State of South Carolina." It could not, therefore, apply to persons who
were abroad. 2dly. It directed that the oath should be taken before a
justice of peace in Carolina; this could not, therefore, extend to a
person then at Geneva. 3dly. It was directed to be taken in one month
after the passing of the act; and it was not possible that I should hear
of the existence of such an act in less than three months. 4thly. It was
directed, that if the persons refused to take it, they should quit the
State; but I was already out of it. 5thly. Those who refused to take it,
were prevented from acquiring or conveying property, and rendered
incapable of exercising any profession. But on my return to Carolina, I
took peaceable possession of my estate, part of which consisted of lands
and houses, which had been mine since the year 1770; and I was
immediately admitted to the exercise of the profession for which I was
educated. 6thly. The act directed, that if any person returned to
Carolina, after having refused to take the oath, he should be put to
death as a traitor; and, yet, on my return, never having taken the oath,
I was elected a member of the Legislature, and a Privy Councillor; and,
instead of being deemed a criminal myself, I acted as Attorney General
to punish others; and yet the petitioner, in one of his late
publications, lays great stress on the applicability of this act.

2dly. There could be no doubt that a minor might be a citizen, from the
very words of the constitution, which admitted a person to be a member
of the House of Representatives at twenty-five, and yet required a
citizenship of seven years. This was of itself a sufficient refutation
of every thing contained in the petition on this head. The constitution
acknowledged that a person might be a citizen at eighteen; if so, there
was no reason why a person might not be one at sixteen or fourteen.

Mr. LEE said, the committee had now to determine, whether Mr. SMITH was
a citizen of South Carolina during his absence from home, or not. If the
laws of that State recognized him as such, the question was determined,
because this House could not dispute a fact of that kind. From the
reference that has been made to the constitution and laws of South
Carolina, and the circumstances which took place under them, with
respect to Mr. SMITH, it was convincing that he was acknowledged there
to be a citizen in consequence of the revolution.

Mr. MADISON.--I think the merit of the question is now to be decided,
whether the gentleman is eligible to a seat in this House or not; but
it will depend on the decision of a previous question, whether he has
been seven years a citizen of the United States or not.

From an attention to the facts which have been adduced, and from a
consideration of the principles established by the revolution, the
conclusion I have drawn is, that Mr. SMITH was, on the declaration of
independence, a citizen of the United States; and unless it appears that
he has forfeited his right, by some neglect or overt act, he had
continued a citizen until the day of his election to a seat in this
House. I take it to be a clear point, that we are to be guided, in our
decision, by the laws and constitution of South Carolina, so far as they
can guide us; and where the laws do not expressly guide us, we must be
guided by principles of a general nature, so far as they are applicable
to the present case.

It were to be wished, that we had some law adduced, more precisely
defining the qualities of a citizen or an alien; particular laws of this
kind have obtained in some of the States; if such a law existed in South
Carolina, it might have prevented this question from ever coming before
us; but since this has not been the case, let us settle some general
principle before we proceed to the presumptive proof arising from public
measures under the law, which tend to give support to the inference
drawn from such principles.

It is an established maxim, that birth is a criterion of allegiance.
Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes
from parentage; but, in general, place is the most certain criterion; it
is what applies in the United States; it will, therefore, be unnecessary
to investigate any other. Mr. SMITH founds his claim upon his
birthright; his ancestors were among the first settlers of that colony.

It is well known to many gentlemen on this floor, as well as to the
public, that the petitioner is a man of talents, one who would not
lightly hazard his reputation in support of visionary principles: yet I
cannot but think he has erred in one of the principles upon which he
grounds his charge. He supposes, when this country separated from Great
Britain, the tie of allegiance subsisted between the inhabitants of
America and the king of that nation, unless, by some adventitious
circumstance, the allegiance was transferred to one of the United
States. I think there is a distinction which will invalidate his
doctrine in this particular, a distinction between that primary
allegiance which we owe to that particular society of which we are
members, and the secondary allegiance we owe to the sovereign
established by that society. This distinction will be illustrated by the
doctrine established by the laws of Great Britain, which were the laws
of this country before the revolution. The sovereign cannot make a
citizen by any act of his own; he can confer denizenship; but this does
not make a man either a citizen or subject. In order to make a citizen
or subject, it is established, that allegiance shall first be due to
the whole nation; it is necessary that a national act should pass to
admit an individual member. In order to become a member of the British
Empire, where birth has not endowed the person with that privilege, he
must be naturalized by an act of Parliament.

What was the situation of the people of America, when the dissolution of
their allegiance took place by the declaration of independence? I
conceive that every person who owed this primary allegiance to the
particular community in which he was born, retained his right of birth,
as a member of a new community; that he was consequently absolved from
the secondary allegiance he had owed to the British sovereign. If he
were not a minor, he became bound, by his own act, as a member of the
society who separated with him from a submission to a foreign country.
If he were a minor, his consent was involved in the decision of that
society to which he belonged by the ties of nature. What was the
allegiance, as a citizen of South Carolina, he owed to the King of Great
Britain? He owed his allegiance to him as a king of that society to
which, as a society, he owed his primary allegiance. When that society
separated from Great Britain, he was bound by that act, and his
allegiance transferred to that society, or the sovereign which that
society should set up; because it was through his membership of the
society of South Carolina that he owed allegiance to Great Britain.

This reasoning will hold good, unless it is supposed that the separation
which took place between these States and Great Britain, not only
dissolved the union between those countries, but dissolved the union
among the citizens themselves: that the original compact, which made
them altogether one society, being dissolved, they could not fall into
pieces, each part making an independent society; but must individually
revert into a state of nature; but I do not conceive that this was, of
necessity, to be the case; I believe such a revolution did not
absolutely take place. But in supposing that this was the case, lies the
error of the memorialist. I conceive the colonies remained as a
political society, detached from their former connection with another
society, without dissolving into a state of nature; but capable of
substituting a new form of government in the place of the old one, which
they had, for special considerations, abolished. Suppose the State of
South Carolina should think proper to revise her constitution, abolish
that which now exists, and establish another form of government: surely
this would not dissolve the social compact. It would not throw them back
into a state of nature. It would not dissolve the union between the
individual members of that society. It would leave them in perfect
society, changing only the mode of action, which they are always at
liberty to arrange. Mr. SMITH being then, at the declaration of
independence, a minor, but being a member of that particular society,
he became, in my opinion, bound by the decision of the society, with
respect to the question of independence and change of Government; and if
afterwards he had taken part with the enemies of his country, he would
have been guilty of treason against that Government to which he owed
allegiance, and would have been liable to be prosecuted as a traitor.

So far as we can judge by the laws of Carolina, and the practice and
decision of that State, the principles I have adduced are supported; and
I must own, that I feel myself at liberty to decide, that Mr. SMITH was
a citizen at the declaration of independence, a citizen at the time of
his election, and, consequently, entitled to a seat in this Legislature.

Mr. JACKSON.--I differ widely from the gentleman from Virginia (Mr.
MADISON) on the subject of allegiance and the social compact, and hold
the principles advanced by him exceedingly dangerous to many of the
States, and in particular to the one I have the honor to represent. The
situation of America, at the time of the revolution, was not properly to
be compared to a people altering their mode or form of government. Nor
were there two allegiances due, one to the community here, another to
that of Great Britain. We were all on a footing; and I contend the
principle is right, in some degree, of a total reversion to a state of
nature amongst individuals, and to a mere parental or patriarchal
authority, where the heads had families dependent on them; the former,
or individual pursued that line which appeared right in his own eyes,
and the cause which he thought just; and, in the latter case, the
children followed the will of the father, who chose for them, as the
person who brought them into life, and whose fortunes they were to
inherit. I conceive the whole allegiance or compact to have been
dissolved. Many of the States were a considerable period without
establishing constitutions or forms of government, and during that
period we were in a little better state than that of nature; and then it
was that every man made his election for an original compact, or tie,
which, by his own act, or that of his father for him, he became bound to
submit to. And what, sir, would otherwise be the result? And if the
gentleman's doctrines of birth were to be supported, those minors, who,
with British bayonets, have plundered and ravaged, nay, cruelly
butchered their more virtuous neighbors--the sons of the most inveterate
traitors, whose names deservedly sounded in every bill of confiscation;
and the minors, sons of those who sheltered themselves under the shade
of the British King, and supported his armies, if not with arms, with
the resources of war, until the hour of danger was over--those, I say,
after the blood of thousands has been spilt in the establishment of our
government, can now come forward and sneer at the foolish patriots who
endured every hardship of a seven years' war, to secure to them the
freedom and property they had no hand in defending. Sir, did we fight
for this? Was it for this the soldier watched his numerous nights, and
braved the inclemency of the seasons? Will he submit, after having
gained his point at the expense of property and the loss of
constitution, to have those sentiments established? If he will, he has
fought to little purpose indeed.

Sir, I again contend, that when the revolution came on we were all alike
with respect to allegiances, and all under the same social tie. An
Englishman born did not conceive himself more liable to be condemned for
treason than an American, had the enemy succeeded; nor would there have
been any distinction in the laws on coming to a trial. But, sir, how
should this primary allegiance be known to belong to the less, or
American community, where the majority did not prevail. In Georgia, the
majority were opposed to American measures; agreeably to the gentleman's
reasoning, the minors must have been all on the British side; and yet
many of them, on arriving to years of discretion, behaved well and
valiantly with us. To corroborate this, sir, I will remark, that, for a
considerable period, we had no general or federal government, or form of
constitution, and yet were in arms. I would ask what state we were in
then? Neighbor was against neighbor, and brother against brother. But,
sir, the gentleman says the hardened minor will not return. Sir,
experience has proved the contrary. The Middle and Eastern States,
except Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, never had the enemy long
with them; there was not the same trial of men, and they knew not the
audacity of those villains. After having received their equivalent for,
in many cases, feigned losses, from the British crown, they are daily
returning and pushing into office. It is necessary we should guard
against them. Britain, although humiliated, yet has a longing eye upon
this country; she has yet posts in it. Although it is improbable that so
many of these people will get into Congress as to form a corrupt
majority, yet they have ambition and resentment enough to attempt it. At
this moment, sir, in Georgia, are some of the most daring, bringing
ejectments for estates which their fathers had deservedly forfeited,
although themselves had imbrued their hands in the blood of their

Now, to the present case: Highly as I regard the gentleman (Mr. SMITH)
as a valuable member, and esteem his abilities, I can only form my
opinion on the leave given him by the State to be absent. If that
principle is introduced into the resolution, I will vote in favor of Mr.
SMITH'S eligibility; but if not, I must decline voting.

Which he accordingly did when the question was put.

Mr. TUCKER hoped that the yeas and nays would be taken on this question,
not because he had any doubt in his own mind of Mr. SMITH'S right to a
seat, but because he had been solicited by Dr. Ramsay to have the yeas
and nays taken.

The yeas and nays were taken as follows:

      YEAS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Benson, Boudinot, Cadwalader,
      Carroll, Clymer, Coles, Contee, Fitzsimons, Floyd, Gilman,
      Goodhue, Heister, Huntington, Lawrence, Lee, Leonard,
      Livermore, Madison, Moore, Muhlenberg, Page, Van
      Rensselaer, Seney, Schureman, Scott, Sinnickson, Smith, (of
      Maryland,) Sturgis, Sylvester, Thatcher, Trumbull, Tucker,
      Vining, White, and Wynkoop.

      Jonathan Grout voted in the negative.

Adjourned until Monday.


_Western Lands._

The House, on motion of Mr. SCOTT, went into a Committee of the Whole on
the State of the Union, for the purpose of considering certain
resolutions he had prepared respecting the disposal of the land in the
Western Territory. Mr. TRUMBULL in the chair.

Mr. SCOTT presumed there was little need of argument to prove to the
Committee the necessity of taking speedy measures with respect to the
unsettled lands in the Western Territory. The dissolution of the Board
of Treasury, and the death of the late Geographer of the United States,
are adventitious circumstances, which tend to increase the necessity.
Gentlemen are acquainted with the number of sales which have been made
to some of the citizens of the United States; they consequently know
that the United States are under an obligation to complete the surveys
of those lands which they have made sale of. They know, also, that until
this is done, they cannot receive a farthing of the millions of dollars
due on those contracts; they will not only be unable to receive the
principal, but will be paying interest for the same. Besides this, there
are other considerations for putting the business on a new footing. The
mode hitherto pursued of selling lands has been very expensive to the
United States. Perhaps, on inquiry, we shall find, that the specie it
has cost us in getting the land surveyed and sales completed, would have
purchased as many certificates as we get for the sale of the land. The
lands are also proposed to be sold in too great quantities. It is very
difficult to form a company for the purchase of a million acres. It
ought to be sold in small quantities, to make the sales more certain and
numerous; and, consequently, increase the public income. On this
principle, it will be well to open a land office, and grant the soil in
such quantities as may suit the applications. By this means more may be
expected for the purchase, than when it is struck off, at a wholesale
price, by the million acres; and in this way the land office will be
conducted without expense, which will be fixed on the purchaser, so that
the whole money the lands may bring will come into the treasury without

There are other considerations why a land office should be opened for
the sale of that territory in the way just mentioned. There are, at this
moment, a great number of people on the ground, who are willing to
acquire by purchase a right to the soil they are seated upon. Allured by
its fertility, the agreeableness of the climate, and the prospect of
future ease to themselves and families, they would not seek a change.
Kentucky, already full, at least there are no more valuable lands to be
got there with a clear title, can receive no more emigrants. They,
therefore, turn their wishful eyes upon the lands of the Union. They
hope to get them of Congress upon as good terms as they can procure them
of the speculators. What will these men think, who have placed
themselves on a vacant spot, anxiously waiting its disposition by the
Government, to find their pre-emption right engrossed by the purchaser
of a million of acres? Will they expose themselves to be preyed upon by
these men? They might submit to this, but they have other offers.

There are seven thousand souls waiting for lands; they will have them
here or elsewhere; but there is some danger, if they cannot be
accommodated within the boundaries of the United States, they will do
one of two things: either move into the Spanish territory, where they
are not altogether uninvited, and become an accession of power to a
foreign nation, forming to us a dangerous frontier; or they will take
this course, move on the United States territory, and take possession
without your leave. What then will be the case? They will not pay you
money. Will you then raise a force to drive them off? That has been
tried: troops were raised, and sent under General Harmer, to effect that
purpose. They burnt the cabins, broke down the fences, and tore up the
potato patches; but three hours after the troops were gone, these people
returned again, repaired the damage, and are now settled upon the lands
in open defiance of the authority of the Union. But, nevertheless, they
are willing to pay an equitable price for those lands; and if they may
be indulged with a pre-emption to the purchase, no men will be better
friends to the Government. They went on the ground with an intention of
purchasing, and are kept there by a hope that the Government will see
their interest, and dispose of the land upon reasonable terms. But if
you do not listen to their request, if you neglect or despise their
offers, and they prove too weak to resist the omnipotent arm of
Government, they will have recourse to a neighboring Power for
protection. Hopes of that protection are now held out to them; it is my
duty to inform you of the fact. They will be led to think their interest
is separate from yours on the Atlantic shores. It will take prudent
management to prevent the fatal effects of a commotion in that country.
One of the most unhappy things we could do, would be to refuse selling
those lands in less quantities than by the million of acres: it would
certainly be a cause of disgust, if not of separation. If the object
was to prevent the settlement of the country, it would be another thing;
but that cannot be accomplished, it is not in the power of any force on
earth to prevent the increase of the population now begun; it is
therefore much better that we should incline them to friendship, than
oblige them to become our enemies. The emigrants who reach the Western
country will not stop until they find a place where they can securely
seat themselves. Your lands first offer: their fertility and
agreeableness will tempt them to pitch there; but to secure them, they
must have a well-grounded hope that the lands they cultivate may become
their own. To encourage this, you must open that territory to them, and
let them have lands for pay. You must go further, you must open the land
office in that country, because it will be impossible for the indigent
persons to travel for an office-right. You can then establish a
government among them, and derive advantages from them which are now
totally lost. They wish for your government and laws, and will be
gratified with the indulgence; but they wish also to acquire property
under them; they wish for your lands, and what good reason can be
offered to warrant a denial? If they cannot get your land, they must go
further, and obtain it of foreigners, who are desirous of having them at
any rate, who will give them lands without pay.

These observations are sufficient, no doubt, to evince the necessity of
doing something with respect to the Western territory, and something
different from what has hitherto been done. In order that the Committee
may have a full view of my ideas, I will read the plan I have in my
hand, upon which a law may be founded.

He here read a previous resolution, to be followed by the plan, which
was to this effect:

      _Resolved_, That it is the opinion of this committee, that
      an act of Congress ought to pass for establishing and
      regulating a land-office, for the sale of the vacant and
      unappropriated land in the Western territory.

      [Here, by way of separate resolutions, followed in detail
      the constituent parts of this office, and the routine in
      which the business should be conducted, directing the
      expense of the office to be supported by the fees payable
      before the warrants and patents were delivered.]

Mr. CLYMER did not believe the committee were prepared for a decision at
this time. He considered the subject to be as intricate and difficult as
it was interesting; and therefore hoped full time would be given for
investigation. Many persons had purchased large quantities of lands of
the late Congress, with a view to sell them out in small lots, to
accommodate the people who are inclined to settle upon them. If Congress
now open a land office for the sale of small quantities, it will no
doubt overcast the prospect of advantage which induced the former, and
may induce future purchasers to apply for large grants. These
observations, and others which would readily occur to every gentleman,
would satisfy the committee that they ought not to precipitate the
business. For this reason, he moved the rising of the committee.

Mr. MADISON had no objection to the rising of the committee, as the
means of obtaining information; but he thought the business deserving of
the earliest attention. The clear and full manner in which the gentleman
from Pennsylvania had opened the subject to the view of the committee,
left no doubt on his mind of the propriety of taking some early measures
to accomplish the business in the manner suggested by that gentleman.
The facts and intelligence mentioned were too important to be passed
lightly over. He should, for the present, agree to rise, but hoped the
subject would be resumed in the House.

The question was taken on the first resolution moved by Mr. SCOTT, and
passed in the affirmative; the others remaining on the table.

The committee then rose and reported progress.

FRIDAY, June 5.

_Admission of Rhode Island into the Union._

Mr. BENSON presented for consideration, the resolution which he
yesterday gave notice of his intention of introducing in relation to the
admission of Rhode Island into the Union, and moved that the House
immediately go into a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union,
for the purpose of discussing his proposition.

The resolution is in the following words:

      The Congress of the United States do resolve and declare it
      to be their most earnest desire, that the Legislature of
      the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do
      recommend to the people of that State to choose delegates
      to meet in convention and to whom the constitution of the
      United States is to be submitted, conformably to the
      unanimous resolution of the United States in Congress
      assembled, of the 28th of September, 1787.

Mr. PAGE.--I think of Rhode Island as the worthy gentleman from New York
does; but, as a member of Congress, I doubt the propriety of this body
interfering in the business. If I put myself, for a moment, into the
situation of a citizen of a State that has refused to accede to the
constitution of the United States, I must admit that I should watch your
actions with a jealous eye; I should be apprehensive of undue influence,
if I were to see you throw your weight into the scale. But what occasion
is there for adopting such a resolution? Are gentlemen afraid to leave
them to their own unbiased judgment? For my part I am not: it will
demonstrate the goodness of the constitution, if it be adopted upon
mature consideration, without any aid but its own intrinsic value. As to
amendments, when we come to consider of them, I dare say they will be
such as to make the constitution more agreeable; but, for the present, I
think it improper to have any thing to do with the gentleman's motion;
I hope he may be prevailed upon to withdraw it; he has done his duty by
bringing it forward; but if it does not meet the approbation of the
House, it will be a useless waste of time to give it any further
discussion. The gentleman has shown sufficiently his attachment to the
Federal Government, by the earnestness he shows to have it adopted
throughout the United States. But, in addition to this, let him consider
where such measures may lead us. Because the Legislature of Rhode Island
have neglected or refused to submit the consideration of the
constitution to a convention, we are to recommend it, and express a most
earnest desire that they will comply. But suppose they decline doing
what you require, what is next to be done? I hope gentlemen will
hesitate before they go any further. I think we should be employed more
in the line of our duty, by attending to the interests of our
constituents, and completing the organization of a Government they
ordered, than to spend our time about business which is not within our
powers. Why should we interfere with the concerns of our sister States
who have not yet joined the new Government? I trust the gentleman will
see the impropriety of his motion, and agree to withdraw it.

Mr. SMITH, (of South Carolina.)--I think we ought to go into committee,
and hear what the gentleman has to say on the subject. Though I must
acknowledge I am at present against the adoption of the resolution he
has proposed; yet it is possible, when he has stated his reasons, and
pointed out the necessity of it, that I may alter my opinion; but I
wonder why the gentleman has omitted North Carolina.

Mr. SHERMAN.--I think Rhode Island stands in a different situation from
North Carolina. When this constitution was formed in the convention,
North Carolina was represented there; she, as well as the adopting
States, submitted that instrument to a convention of the people; but not
having adopted it, she has again called a convention, and is proceeding
to reconsider it as fast as convenient; so that such a request as is now
proposed would be unnecessary with respect to them. As Rhode Island did
not send members to the first convention, there was a delicacy in
transmitting the proceedings to them, and Congress could not, perhaps,
apply to them with the same propriety as to another. But all we are now
to consider, I believe, is, that we invite the State of Rhode Island to
join our confederacy; what will be the effect of such a measure we
cannot tell till we try it.

Mr. MADISON.--I believe, Mr. Speaker, there are cases in which it is
prudent to avoid coming to a decision at all, and cases where it is
desirable to evade debate; if there were not cases of this kind, it
would be unnecessary to guard our discussions with the previous
question.[28] My idea on the subject now before the House is, that it
would be improper in this body to expose themselves to have such a
proposition rejected by the Legislature of the State of Rhode Island. It
would likewise be improper to express a desire on an occasion where a
free agency ought to be employed, which would carry with it all the
force of a command. How far this is contemplated on the present
occasion, I cannot tell; but I heartily wish that as little may be said
about it as possible. I conceive this to be one of the cases to which
the previous question is applicable; and, if the gentleman means to call
the House to a direct decision on this motion, I shall step between, and
interpose the previous question.

Mr. AMES.--I am against the previous question being taken, because I
wish the House to consider the motion made by the gentleman from New
York; it is admitted to be a question of considerable importance; if it
is, it ought to be considered; otherwise, we are shutting the door on
information, and putting it out of our power to ascertain the propriety
or impropriety of the motion.

I should be glad to know if any gentleman contemplates the State of
Rhode Island dissevered from the Union; a maritime State, situated in
the most convenient manner for the purpose of smuggling, and defrauding
our revenue. Surely, a moment's reflection will induce the House to take
measures to secure this object. Do gentlemen imagine that State will
join the Union? If they do, what is the injury arising from the adoption
of the resolution intended to be submitted to the committee? Is there
any impropriety in desiring them to consider a question which they have
not yet decided? It has been suggested by an honorable gentleman, that
this desire will operate as a demand. If a wish of Congress can bring
them into the Union, why should we decline to express such a wish?

The previous question being insisted upon, was put--"Shall the main
question be now put?" and it was determined in the negative. Adjourned.

MONDAY, June 8.

MICHAEL JENIFER STONE, from Maryland, appeared, and took his seat.

TUESDAY, June 16.

_Department of Foreign Affairs._

The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill
for establishing an executive department, to be denominated the
Department of Foreign Affairs. Mr. TRUMBULL in the chair.

The first clause, after recapitulating the title of the officer and his
duties, had these words: "To be removable from office by the President
of the United States."

Mr. WHITE.--The constitution gives the President the power of
nominating, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,
appointing to office. As I conceive the power of appointing and
dismissing to be united in their natures, and a principle that never was
called in question in any Government, I am averse to that part of the
clause which subjects the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to be removed at
the will of the President. In the constitution, special provision is
made for the removal of the judges; that I acknowledge to be a deviation
from my principle; but as it is a constitutional provision, it is to be
admitted. In all cases not otherwise provided for in the constitution, I
take it, that the principle I have laid down is the governing one. Now
the constitution has associated the Senate with the President in
appointing the heads of departments. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs is
the head of a department; for the words of the law declare, that there
shall be a department established, at the head of which shall be an
officer to be so denominated. If, then, the Senate are associated with
the President in the appointment, they ought also to be associated in
the dismission from office. Upon the justness of this construction, I
take the liberty of reviving the motion made in the Committee of the
Whole, for striking out these words: "to be removable from office by the
President of the United States."

Mr. SMITH, (of South Carolina.)--The gentleman has anticipated me in his
motion; I am clearly in sentiment with him that the words ought to go
out. It is in the recollection of the committee, that when the subject
was last before us, this power was excepted to; and although the words
were then allowed to stand, it was generally understood that it should
be further debated. I then was opposed to giving this power to the
President, and am still of opinion that we ought not to make this
declaration, even if he has the power by the constitution.

I would premise that one of these two ideas is just: either that the
constitution has given the President the power of removal, and therefore
it is nugatory to make the declaration here; or it has not given the
power to him, and therefore it is improper to make an attempt to confer
it upon him. If it is not given to him by the constitution, but belongs
conjointly to the President and Senate, we have no right to deprive the
Senate of their constitutional prerogative; and it has been the opinion
of sensible men that the power was lodged in this manner. A publication
of no inconsiderable eminence in the class of political writings on the
constitution, has advanced this sentiment. The author, or authors, (for
I have understood it to be the production of two gentlemen of great
information,) of the work published under the signature of _Publius_,
has these words:

"It has been mentioned as one of the advantages to be expected from the
co-operation of the Senate in the business of appointments, that it
would contribute to the stability of the administration. The consent of
that body would be necessary to displace as well as appoint. A change of
the Chief Magistrate, therefore, would not occasion so violent or so
general a revolution in the officers of the Government, as might be
expected if he were the sole disposer of offices. Where a man in any
station has given satisfactory evidence of his fitness for it, a new
President would be restrained from attempting a change in favor of a
person more agreeable to him, by the apprehension that the
discountenance of the Senate might frustrate the attempt, and bring some
degree of discredit upon himself. Those who can best estimate the value
of a steady administration, will be most disposed to prize a provision
which connects the official existence of public men with the approbation
or disapprobation of that body, which, from the greater permanency of
its own composition, will, in all probability, be less subject to
inconstancy than any other member of the Government."

Here this author lays it down, that there can be no doubt of the power
of the Senate in the business of removal. Let this be as it may, I am
clear that the President alone has not the power. Examine the
constitution; the powers of the several branches of Government are there
defined; the President has particular powers assigned him; the Judiciary
have in like manner powers assigned them; but you will find no such
power as removing from office given to the President. I call upon
gentlemen to show me where it is said that the President shall remove
from office. I know they cannot do it. Now, I infer from this, that, as
the constitution has not given the President the power of removability,
it meant that he should not have that power; and this inference is
supported by that clause in the constitution which provides that all
civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on
impeachment for, and on conviction of treason, bribery, or other high
crimes and misdemeanors. Here is a particular mode described for
removing; and if there is no other mode directed, I contend that the
constitution contemplated only this mode.

I imagine, sir, we are declaring a power in the President which may
hereafter be greatly abused; for we are not always to expect a Chief
Magistrate in whom such entire confidence can be placed as in the
present. Perhaps gentlemen are so much dazzled with the splendor of the
virtues of the present President, as not to be able to see into
futurity. The framers of the constitution did not confine their views to
the first person who was looked up to to fill the Presidential chair. If
they had, they might have omitted those checks and guards with which
the powers of the Executive are surrounded. They knew, from the course
of human events, that they could not expect to be so highly favored of
heaven as to have the blessing of his administration more than seven or
fourteen years; after which, they supposed a man might get into power,
who, it was possible, might misbehave. We ought to follow their example,
and contemplate this power in the hands of an ambitious man, who might
apply it to dangerous purposes. If we give this power to the President,
he may, from caprice, remove the most worthy men from office. His will
and pleasure will be the slight tenure by which an office is to be held,
and of consequence you render the officer the mere state-dependant, the
abject slave of a person who may be disposed to abuse the confidence his
fellow-citizens have placed in him.

Mr. HUNTINGTON.--I think the clause ought not to stand. It was well
observed that the constitution was silent respecting the removal,
otherwise than by impeachment. I would likewise add, that it mentions no
other cause of removal than treason, bribery, or other high crimes and
misdemeanors. It does not, I apprehend, extend to cases of infirmity or
incapacity. Indeed, it appears hard to me, that after an officer has
become old in an honorable service, he should be impeached for this
infirmity. The constitution, I think, must be the only rule to guide us
on this occasion; as it is silent with respect to the removal, Congress
ought to say nothing about it, because it implies that we have a right
to bestow it, and I believe this power is not to be found among the
enumerated powers delegated by the constitution to Congress.

Mr. SEDGWICK.--I wish the words to be struck out, because I conceive
them to be unnecessary in this place. I do conceive, Mr. Speaker, that
this officer will be the mere creature of the law; and that very little
need be said to prove to you that of necessity this ought to be the
case. I apprehend, likewise, that it requires but a small share of
abilities to point out certain causes for which a person ought to be
removed from office, without being guilty of treason, bribery, or
malfeasance; and the nature of things demands that it should be so.
Suppose, sir, a man becomes insane by the visitation of God, and is
likely to ruin our affairs, are the hands of Government to be confined
from warding off the evil? Suppose a person in office, not possessing
the talents he was judged to have at the time of the appointment, is the
error not to be corrected? Suppose he acquires vicious habits, an
incurable indolence, or total neglect of the duties of his office, which
forebode mischief to the public welfare, is there no way to arrest the
threatened danger? Suppose he becomes odious and unpopular by reason of
the measures which he pursues, (and this he may do without committing
any positive offence against the law,) must he preserve his office in
despite of the public will? Suppose him grasping at his own
aggrandizement, and the elevation of his connections, by every means
short of the treason defined by the constitution, hurrying your affairs
to the precipice of destruction, endangering your domestic tranquillity,
plundering you of the means of defence, by alienating the affections of
your allies, and promoting the spirit of discord; is there no way
suddenly to seize the worthless wretch, and hurl him from the pinnacle
of power? Must the tardy, tedious, desultory road, by way of
impeachment, be travelled to overtake the man who, barely confining
himself within the letter of the law, is employed in drawing off the
vital principle of the Government? Sir, the nature of things, the great
objects of society, the express objects of this constitution, require
that this thing should be otherwise. Well, sir, this is admitted by
gentlemen; but they say the Senate is to be united with the President in
the exercise of this power. I hope, sir, that is not the case; because
it would involve us in the most serious difficulty. Suppose a discovery
of any of those events which I have just enumerated were to take place
when the Senate is not in session, how is the remedy to be applied? This
is a serious consideration, and the evil could be avoided no other way
than by the Senate's sitting always. Surely no gentleman of this House
contemplates the necessity of incurring such an expense. I am sure it
will be very objectionable to our constituents; and yet this must be
done, or the public interest be endangered by keeping an unworthy
officer in place until that body shall be assembled from the extremes of
the Union. It has been said that there is a danger of this power being
abused if exercised by one man. Certainly the danger is as great with
respect to the Senate, who are assembled from various parts of the
continent, with different impressions and opinions. It appears to me
that such a body is more likely to misuse this power than the man whom
the united voice of America calls to the Presidential chair. As the
nature of the Government requires the power of removal, I think it is to
be exercised in this way by a hand capable of exerting itself with
effect, and, the power must be conferred upon the President by the
constitution, as the executive officer of the Government.

Mr. MADISON.--If the construction of the constitution is to be left to
its natural course with respect to the executive powers of this
Government, I own that the insertion of this sentiment in law may not be
of material importance, though, if it is nothing more than a mere
declaration of a clear grant made by the constitution, it can do no
harm; but if it relates to a doubtful part of the constitution, I
suppose an exposition of the constitution may come with as much
propriety from the Legislature, as any other department of the
Government. If the power naturally belongs to the Government, and the
constitution is undecided as to the body which is to exercise it, it is
likely that it is submitted to the discretion of the Legislature, and
the question will depend upon its own merits.

I am clearly of opinion with the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr.
SMITH,) that we ought in this, and every other case, to adhere to the
constitution, so far as it will serve as a guide to us, and that we
ought not to be swayed in our decisions by the splendor of the character
of the present Chief Magistrate, but to consider it with respect to the
merit of men who, in the ordinary course of things, may be supposed to
fill the chair. I believe the power here declared is a high one, and, in
some respects, a dangerous one; but, in order to come to a right
decision on this point, we must consider both sides of the question: the
possible abuses which may spring from the single will of the First
Magistrate, and the abuse which may spring from the combined will of the
Executive and the Senatorial disqualification.

When we consider that the First Magistrate is to be appointed at present
by the suffrages of three millions of people, and in all human
probability in a few years' time by double that number, it is not to be
presumed that a vicious or bad character will be selected. If the
Government of any country on the face of the earth was ever effectually
guarded against the election of ambitious or designing characters to the
first office of the State, I think it may with truth be said to be the
case under the constitution of the United States. With all the
infirmities incident to a popular election, corrected by the particular
mode of conducting it, as directed under the present system, I think we
may fairly calculate that the instances will be very rare in which an
unworthy man will receive that mark of the public confidence which is
required to designate the President of the United States. Where the
people are disposed to give so great an elevation to one of their
fellow-citizens, I own that I am not afraid to place my confidence in
him, especially when I know he is impeachable for any crime or
misdemeanor before the Senate, at all times; and that, at all events, he
is impeachable before the community at large every four years, and
liable to be displaced if his conduct shall have given umbrage during
the time he has been in office. Under these circumstances, although the
trust is a high one, and in some degree, perhaps, a dangerous one, I am
not sure but it will be safer here than placed where some gentlemen
suppose it ought to be.

Mr. VINING.--I hoped, Mr. Chairman, after the discussion this subject
had received on a former occasion, that it would have been unnecessary
to re-examine it. The arguments against the clause are reiterated: but,
I trust, without a chance of success. They were fully answered before;
and I expect the impressions made at that time are not already effaced.
The House, as well as the Committee of the Whole, have determined that
those words shall be inserted in the bill; the special committee could
therefore do no less than place them where they are; a deference is due
to the decision of the House.

The House has determined to make a declaration of their construction of
the constitution. I am perfectly in sentiment with the majority on this
occasion; and contend, that if this power is not in the President, it is
not vested in any body whatever. It cannot be within the legislative
power of the Senate, because it is of an adverse nature; it cannot be
within the executive power of the Senate, because they possess none but
what is expressly granted by the constitution. If gentlemen will point
out where the constitution confers this power upon the Senate, I will
read my recantation, and subscribe to the justness of their doctrine.

I am not satisfied that removability shall be acquired only by
impeachment. Were the advocates of this doctrine aware of its
consequences, when they advanced it? The Senate has the sole power of
trying impeachments; the President is here out of the question. If no
officer can be constitutionally removed but by impeachment, it applies
to subordinate officers as well as heads of departments. For the
constitution only gives power to Congress to establish officers by law,
and vests the appointment in the President. If these officers are not
removable but by impeachment, what is to become of our affairs, when any
of the accidents occur which were enumerated by the gentleman from
Massachusetts (Mr. SEDGWICK)? Are we to take the circuitous route of
impeachment? The dilatory and inefficient process by that mode, will not
apply the remedy to the evil till it is too late to be of advantage.
Experience has fixed an eternal stigma upon the system of impeachment;
witness the case I mentioned, the other day, of Warren Hastings before
the British Lords; what delays and uncertainty with the forms of trial,
details of evidence, arguments of counsel, and deliberate decision! I
ask gentlemen, can there be a greater evil than this in any Government?
Why, then, will gentlemen advocate a doctrine so obnoxious to the
principles of the constitution, when a more favorable construction is at

Mr. WHITE.--Mention has been made of impeachments, as the only mode of
removing an officer. I will explain my ideas on this point, in order
that the committee may be masters of my particular objections to the
clause. I consider impeachments necessary to be employed in cases
respecting an officer who is appointed during good behavior. Thus the
judges can only be removed by impeachment. The President and Vice
President hold their offices for the terms mentioned in the
constitution, not liable to be removed from office in any other way.
These circumstances are a deviation from my general principle; but have
nevertheless a proper ground to be supported on. The electors who
appoint the President, cannot assemble to exercise the authority which
would naturally be in them. With respect to the judges, it is found
necessary for the proper and uncorrupt administration of justice, and
the security of freedom, to have them independent in their stations, so
that they be not removable at pleasure. To them, therefore, the doctrine
of impeachment is peculiarly applicable. It may properly be extended
further, in cases where the President is desirous of retaining an
officer who ought not to be retained. This House has the power of
controlling him, and may impeach the officer before the Senate. In
either of these three cases impeachments are necessary.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--This is a question, Mr. Speaker, that requires full
consideration, and ought only to be settled on the most candid
discussion. It certainly involves the right of the Senate to a very
important power. At present, I am so impressed with the importance of
the subject, that I dare not absolutely decide on any principle,
although I am firmly persuaded we ought to retain the clause in the
bill; and, so far as it has been examined, I agree that it is a
legislative construction of the constitution, necessary to be settled
for the direction of your officers. But if it is a deviation from the
constitution, or in the least degree an infringement upon the authority
of the other branch of the Legislature, I shall most decidedly be
against it. But I think it will appear, on a full consideration of this
business, that we can do no otherwise than agree to this construction,
in order to preserve to each department the full exercise of its powers,
and to give this House security for the proper conduct of the officers
who are to execute the laws.

Mr. SMITH, (of South Carolina.)--I have attended to the arguments of the
gentlemen who oppose the motion for striking out, and I apprehend that
their reasoning is not perfectly consistent. The construction of some
gentlemen is, that the power of removal is given to the President by the
constitution. Others are of opinion that the constitution is silent; and
therefore the House ought to give it. To oppose these adverse arguments,
I must return to my strong ground on which my opponents dare not
venture. I state again, that if the constitution has given the power, it
is unnecessary to give it here; or if it has not given it, we have no
right to confer it, because it is not within the enumerated powers
delegated to Congress.

Gentlemen have said that it is proper to give a legislative construction
of the constitution. I differ with them on this point. I think it an
infringement of the powers of the Judiciary. It is said, we ought not to
blend the legislative, executive, or judiciary powers, further than is
done by the constitution; and yet the advocates for preserving each
department pure and untouched by the others, call upon this House to
exercise the powers of the judges in expounding the constitution. What
authority has this House to explain the law? But if it has this
privilege, the Senate is also invested with it as part of the
Legislature; and, in exercising it on the present question, we shall be
likely to differ. If the constitution is silent, and gentlemen admit
this, it is possible the Senate may view it with a favorable eye to
their own right, and reject the bill on account of this clause. A great
deal of mischief has arisen in the several States, by the Legislatures
undertaking to decide constitutional questions. Sir, it is the duty of
the Legislature to make laws; your judges are to expound them.

Mr. GERRY.--Some gentlemen consider this as a question of policy; but to
me it appears a question of constitutionality, and I presume it will be
determined on that point alone. The best arguments I have heard urged on
this occasion came from the honorable gentleman from Virginia, (Mr.
MADISON.) He says the constitution has vested the executive power in the
President; and that he has a right to exercise it under the
qualifications therein made. He lays it down as a maxim, that the
constitution vesting in the President the executive power, naturally
vests him with the power of appointment and removal. Now I would be glad
to know from that gentleman by what means we are to decide this
question. Is his maxim supported by precedent drawn from the practice of
the individual States? The direct contrary is established. In many cases
the Executives are not in particular vested with the power of
appointment; and do they exercise that power by virtue of their office?
It will be found that other branches of the Government make
appointments. How then can gentlemen assert that the powers of
appointment and removal are incident to the Executive Department of
Government? To me it appears at best but problematical. Neither is it
clear to me that the power that appoints naturally possesses the power
of removal. As we have no certainty on either of these points, I think
we must consider it as established by the constitution.

It appears very clear to me, that however this power may be distributed
by the constitution, the House of Representatives have nothing to do
with it. Why then should we interfere in the business? Are we afraid
that the President and Senate are not sufficiently informed to know
their respective duties? Our interposition argues that they want
judgment, and are not able to adjust their powers without the wisdom of
this House to assist them; to say the least on this point, it must be
deemed indelicate for us to intermeddle with them. If the fact is, as we
seem to suspect, that they do not understand the constitution, let it go
before the proper tribunal; the judges are the constitutional umpires on
such questions. Why, let me ask gentlemen, shall we commit an infraction
of the constitution for fear the Senate or President should not comply
with its directions?

Mr. AMES.--When this question was agitated at a former period, I took no
part in the debate. I believe it was then proposed, without any idea or
intention of drawing on a lengthy discussion, and to me it appeared to
be well understood and settled by the House; but since it has been
reiterated and contested again, I feel it my bounden duty to deliver the
reasons for voting in the manner I then did, and shall now do. Mr.
Chairman, I look upon every question which touches the constitution as
serious and important, and therefore worthy of the fullest discussion,
and the most solemn decision. I believe, on the present occasion, we may
come to something near certainty, by attending to the leading principles
of the constitution. In order that the good purposes of a Federal
Government should be answered, it was necessary to delegate considerable
powers; and the principle upon which the grant was made, intended to
give sufficient power to do all possible good, but to restrain the
rulers from doing mischief.

The constitution places all executive power in the hands of the
President, and could he personally execute all the laws, there would be
no occasion for establishing auxiliaries; but the circumscribed powers
of human nature in one man, demand the aid of others. When the objects
are widely stretched out, or greatly diversified, meandering through
such an extent of territory as that the United States possess, a
minister cannot see with his own eyes every transaction, or feel with
his hands the minutiæ that pass through his department. He must
therefore have assistants. But in order that he may be responsible to
his country, he must have a choice in selecting his assistants, a
control over them, with power to remove them when he finds the
qualifications which induced their appointment cease to exist. There are
officers under the constitution who hold their office by a different
tenure--your judges are appointed during good behavior; and from the
delicacy and peculiar nature of their trust, it is right it should be
so, in order that they may be independent and impartial in administering
justice between the Government and its citizens. But the removability of
the one class, or immovability of the other, is founded on the same
principle, the security of the people against the abuse of power. Does
any gentleman imagine that an officer is entitled to his office as to an
estate? Or does the Legislature establish them for the convenience of an
individual? For my part I conceive it intended to carry into effect the
purposes for which the constitution was intended.

The executive powers are delegated to the President, with a view to have
a responsible officer to superintend, control, inspect, and check the
officers necessarily employed in administering the laws. The only bond
between him and those he employs, is the confidence he has in their
integrity and talents; when that confidence ceases, the principal ought
to have power to remove those whom he can no longer trust with safety.
If an officer shall be guilty of neglect or infidelity, there can be no
doubt but he ought to be removed; yet there may be numerous causes for
removal which do not amount to a crime. He may propose to do a
mischief; but I believe the mere intention would not be cause of
impeachment. He may lose the confidence of the people upon suspicion, in
which case it would be improper to retain him in service; he ought to be
removed at any time, when, instead of doing the greatest possible good,
he is likely to do an injury to the public interest by being continued
in the administration.

I presume gentlemen will generally admit that officers ought to be
removed when they become obnoxious; but the question is, how shall this
power be exercised? It will not, I apprehend, be contended, that all
officers hold their offices during good behavior. If this be the case,
it is a most singular Government. I believe there is not another in the
universe that bears the least semblance to it in this particular; such a
principle, I take it, is contrary to the nature of things. But the
manner how to remove is the question. If the officer misbehaves, he can
be removed by impeachment; but in this case is impeachment the only mode
of removal? It would be found very inconvenient to have a man continued
in office after being impeached, and when all confidence in him was
suspended or lost. Would not the end of impeachment be defeated by this
means? If Mr. Hastings, who was mentioned by the gentleman from Delaware
(Mr. VINING) preserved his command in India, could he not defeat the
impeachment now pending in Great Britain? If that doctrine obtains in
America, we shall find impeachments come too late; while we are
preparing the process, the mischief will be perpetrated, and the
offender will escape. I apprehend it will be as frequently necessary to
prevent crimes as to punish them; and it may often happen that the only
prevention is by removal. The superintending power possessed by the
President, will perhaps enable him to discover a base intention before
it is ripe for execution. It may happen that the Treasurer may be
disposed to betray the public chest to the enemy, and so injure the
Government beyond the possibility of reparation; should the President be
restrained from removing so dangerous an officer, until the slow
formality of an impeachment was complied with, when the nature of the
case rendered the application of a sudden and decisive remedy

But it will, I say, be admitted, that an officer may be removed. The
question then is, by whom? Some gentlemen say by the President alone;
and others, by the President, by and with the advice of the Senate. By
the advocates of the latter mode, it is alleged, that the constitution
is in the way of the power of removal being by the President alone. If
this is absolutely the case, there is an end to all further inquiry. But
before we suffer this to be considered as an insuperable impediment, we
ought to be clear that the constitution prohibits him the exercise of
what, on a first view, appears to be a power incident to the executive
branch of the Government. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MADISON) has
made so many observations to evince the constitutionality of the clause,
that it is unnecessary to go over the ground again. I shall therefore
confine myself to answer only some remarks made by the gentleman from
South Carolina, (Mr. SMITH.) The powers of the President are defined in
the constitution; but it is said, that he is not expressly authorized to
remove from office. If the constitution is silent also with respect to
the Senate, the argument may be retorted. If this silence proves that
the power cannot be exercised by the President, it certainly proves that
it cannot be exercised by the President, by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate. The power of removal is incident to Government;
but not being distributed by the constitution, it will come before the
Legislature, and, like every other omitted case, must be supplied by

Mr. LIVERMORE.--I am for striking out this clause, Mr. Chairman, upon
the principles of the constitution, from which we are not at liberty to
deviate. The honorable gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. SEDGWICK,)
calls the Minister of Foreign Affairs the creature of the law, and that
very properly; because the law establishes the office, and has the power
of creating him in what shape the Legislature pleases. This being the
case, we have a right to create the office under such limitations and
restrictions as we think proper, provided we can obtain the consent of
the Senate; but it is very improper to draw as a conclusion, from having
the power of giving birth to a creature, that we should therefore bring
forth a monster, merely to show we had such power. I call that creature
a monster that has not the proper limbs and features of its species. I
think the creature we are forming is unnatural in its proportions. It
has been often said, that the constitution declares the President, by
and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint this
officer. This, to be sure, is very true, and so is the conclusion which
an honorable gentleman (Mr. WHITE) from Virginia drew from it, that an
officer must be discharged in the way he was appointed.

I believe, Mr. Chairman, this question depends upon a just construction
of a short clause in the constitution. "The President shall have power,
by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint
ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of Supreme
Court, and all other officers of the United States." Here is no
difference with respect to the power of the President to make treaties
and appoint officers, only it requires in the one case a larger majority
to concur than in the other. I will not by any means suppose that
gentlemen mean, when they argue in favor of removal by the President
alone, to contemplate the extension of the power to the repeal of
treaties; because, if they do, there will be little occasion for us to
sit here. But let me ask these gentlemen, as there is no real or
imaginary distinction between the appointment of ambassadors and
ministers, or Secretaries of Foreign Affairs, whether they mean that the
President should have the power of recalling or discarding ambassadors
and military officers, for the words in the constitution are "all other
officers," as well as he can remove your Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
To be sure, they cannot extend it to the judges; because they are
secured under a subsequent article, which declares they shall hold their
offices during good behavior; they have an inheritance which they cannot
be divested of, but on conviction of some crime. But I presume gentlemen
mean to apply it to all those who have not an inheritance in their
offices. In this case, it takes the whole power of the President and
Senate to create an officer, but half the power can uncreate him. Surely
a law passed by the whole Legislature cannot be repealed by one branch
of it; so I conceive, in the case of appointments, it requires the same
force to supersede an officer as to put him in office.

I acknowledge, that the clause relative to impeachment is for the
benefit of the people; it is intended to enable their representatives to
bring a bad officer to justice who is screened by the President; but I
do not conceive, with the honorable gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr.
SMITH,) that it by any means excludes the usual ways of superseding
officers. It is said in the constitution, that the House shall have the
power of choosing their own officers. We have chosen a clerk, and, I am
satisfied, a very capable one; but will any gentleman contend we may not
discharge him and choose another and another as often as we see cause?
And so it is in every other instance; where they have the power to make,
they have likewise the power to unmake. It will be said by gentlemen,
that the power to make does not imply the power of unmaking; but I
believe they will find very few exceptions in the United States.

Mr. SHERMAN.--I wish, Mr. Chairman, that the words may be left out of
the bill, without giving up the question either way as to the propriety
of the measure. Many of the honorable gentlemen who advocate this clause
have labored to show that the President has, constitutionally, the power
of removal. If this be a well-founded opinion, they ought not to let the
words remain in the bill, because they are of such a nature as to imply
that he had not the power before it was granted him by the law.

If gentlemen would consent to make a general law, declaring the proper
mode of removal, I think we should acquire a greater degree of
unanimity, which, on this occasion, must be better than carrying the
question against a large minority.

The call for the question being now very general, it was put, shall the
words "to be removable by the President," be struck out?

It was determined in the negative; being yeas 20, nays 34.


_Department of Foreign Affairs._

The engrossed bill "for establishing an Executive Department, to be
denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs," was read the third time.

Mr. SUMTER.--This bill appears to my mind so subversive of the
constitution, and in its consequences so destructive to the liberties of
the people, that I cannot consent to let it pass without expressing my
detestation of the principle it contains. I do it in this public manner,
in order to fulfil what I think to be my duty to my country, and to
discharge myself of any concern in a matter that I do not approve.

Mr. PAGE discovered the fate of the bill; he knew it must pass, but,
nevertheless, he would decidedly give it his negative, and he hoped the
respectable minority which he had the honor of voting with hitherto on
the question of removability, would unite with him firmly in their
opposition; and in order to record to their constituents the sentiments
they maintained, he moved to take the question by the yeas and nays.

One-fifth of the members present joined in requiring the yeas and nays;
whereupon they were taken, and are,

      YEAS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Boudinot, Brown, Burke,
      Cadwalader, Carroll, Clymer, Contee, Fitzsimons, Gilman,
      Goodhue, Griffin, Hartley, Heister, Huger, Lawrence, Lee,
      Madison, Moore, Muhlenberg, Schureman, Scott, Sedgwick,
      Seney, Sinnickson, Sylvester, Trumbull, and Vining.--29.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Coles, Gerry, Grout, Hathorn, Huntington,
      Jackson, Leonard, Livermore, Matthews, Page, Parker,
      Partridge, Van Rensselaer, Sherman, Smith, of Maryland,
      Smith, of South Carolina, Stone, Sturgis, Sumter, Thatcher,
      Tucker, and White.--22.

So the question was determined in the affirmative, and the clerk
directed to carry the bill to the Senate, and desire their concurrence.

_Department of War._

The House then went into a committee on the bill for establishing the
Department of War. Mr. TRUMBULL in the chair.

Mr. BENSON proposed, with respect to the Secretary's being removable by
the President, a similar amendment to that which had been obtained in
the bill establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. SHERMAN thought it unnecessary to load this bill with any words on
that subject; he conceived the gentleman ought to be satisfied with
having had the principle established in the other bill.

Mr. PAGE was of the same opinion, but further thought it argued a doubt,
even in the mind of the majority, of the truth of their principles, and
they wanted, by repetition, to force that upon the mind which was not
impressed by right reason. The question on the amendment was taken
without further debate, and carried in the affirmative, twenty-four to

Some other small alterations being made, the committee rose, and
reported the bill as amended; which being partly considered, the House

THURSDAY, June 25.

_Department of War._

The House resumed the consideration of the amendments reported by the
Committee of the Whole to the bill for establishing the War Department;
which being agreed to, the bill was ordered to be engrossed.

_Treasury Department._

The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill
for establishing the Treasury Department, Mr. TRUMBULL in the chair. The
second clause being under consideration,

Mr. PAGE objected to the words making it the duty of the Secretary to
"digest and report plans for the improvement and management of the
revenue, and the support of the public credit;" observing that it might
be well enough to enjoin upon him the duty of making out and preparing
estimates; but to go any further would be a dangerous innovation upon
the constitutional privilege of this House; it would create an undue
influence within these walls, because members might be led, by the
deference commonly paid to men of abilities, who give an opinion in a
case they have thoroughly studied, to support the minister's plan, even
against their own judgment. Nor would the mischief stop here; it would
establish a precedent which might be extended, until we admitted all the
ministers of the Government on the floor, to explain and support the
plans they have digested and reported: thus laying a foundation for an
aristocracy or a detestable monarchy.

Mr. TUCKER.--The objection made by the gentleman near me is,
undoubtedly, well founded. I think it proper to strike out all the words
alluded to, because the following are sufficient to answer every
valuable purpose, namely, "to prepare and report estimates of the public
revenue and public expenditures." If we authorize him to prepare and
report plans, it will create an interference of the executive with the
legislative powers; it will abridge the particular privilege of this
House; for the constitution expressly declares, that all bills for
raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. How can
the business originate in this House, if we have it reported to us by
the Minister of Finance? All the information that can be required, may
be called for, without adopting a clause that may undermine the
authority of this House, and the security of the people. The
constitution has pointed out the proper method of communication between
the executive and legislative departments; it is made the duty of the
President to give, from time to time, information to Congress of the
state of the Union, and to recommend to their consideration such
measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. If revenue plans
are to be prepared and reported to Congress, here is the proper person
to do it; he is responsible to the people for what he recommends, and
will be more cautious than any other person to whom a less degree of
responsibility is attached. Under this clause, you give the Secretary of
the Treasury a right to obtrude upon you plans, not only undigested, but
even improper to be taken up.

I hope the House is not already weary of executing and sustaining the
powers vested in them by the constitution; and yet it would argue that
we thought ourselves less adequate to determine than any individual what
burthens our constituents are equal to bear. This is not answering the
high expectations that were formed of our exertions for the general
good, or of our vigilance in guarding our own and the people's rights.
In short, Mr. Chairman, I can never agree to have money bills originated
and forced upon this House by a man destitute of legislative authority,
while the constitution gives such power solely to the House of
Representatives; for this reason, I cheerfully second the motion for
striking out the words.

Mr. BENSON.--If the proposed amendment prevail, the bill will be nearly
nugatory. The most important service that can be rendered by a gentleman
who is at the head of the Department of Finance, is that of digesting
and reporting plans for the improvement of the revenue, and supporting
public credit; and, for my part, I shall despair of ever seeing your
revenue improved, or the national credit supported, unless the business
is submitted into the hands of an able individual. I thought this
subject was well understood, from the debate on the original motion. It
was then insisted upon by an honorable gentleman, Mr. GERRY, who opposed
the appointment of a Secretary of the Treasury, that his important
duties ought to be "to consider of the means of improving the revenue,
and introducing economy into the expenditures, and to recommend general
systems of revenue." Now, what more than this is required by the clause?

For my part, I am at a loss to see how the privilege of the House is
infringed. Can any of the Secretary's plans be called bills? Will they
be reported in such a form even? But admitting they were, they do not
become bills, unless they are sanctioned by the House; much less is the
danger that they will pass into laws without full examination by both
Houses and the President. From this view of the subject, so far is the
clause from appearing dangerous, that I believe it discovers itself to
be not only perfectly safe, but essentially necessary; and without it is
retained, the great object of the bill will be defeated.

Mr. GOODHUE.--We certainly carry our dignity to the extreme, when we
refuse to receive information from any but ourselves. It must be
admitted, that the Secretary of the Treasury will, from the nature of
his office, be better acquainted with the subject of improving the
revenue or curtailing expense, than any other person; if he is thus
capable of affording useful information, shall we reckon it hazardous to
receive it? For my part, when I want to attain a particular object, I
never shut my ears against information likely to enable me to secure it.

Mr. PAGE.--I can never consent to establish, by law, this interference
of an executive officer in business of legislation; it may be well
enough in an absolute monarchy, for a minister to come to a Parliament
with his plans in his hands, and order them to be enregistered or
enacted; but this practice does not obtain even in a limited monarchy
like Britain. The minister there, who introduces his plans, must be a
member of the House of Commons. The man would be treated with
indignation, who should attempt in that country to bring his schemes
before Parliament in any other way. Now, why we, in the free republic of
the United States, should introduce such a novelty in legislation, I am
at a loss to conceive. The constitution expressly delegates to us the
business of the revenue; our constituents have confidence in us, because
they suppose us acquainted with their circumstances; they expect, in
consequence of this knowledge, we will not attempt to load them with
injudicious or oppressive taxes; but they have no such security, if we
are blindly to follow perhaps an unskilful minister. It does not answer
me, Mr. Chairman, to say the House has a right of deliberating and
deciding upon these plans, because we may be told, if you prune away
this part or that part of the system, you destroy its efficiency.
Therefore we must act with caution; we must either take or reject the
whole; but if we reject the whole, sir, we are to depend upon ourselves
for a substitute. How are we to form one? For my part, I should not
despair, that the united wisdom of this House could procure one; but if
we are to do this in the second instance, why cannot we attempt it in
the first? I have no objection to our calling upon this or any other
officer for information; but it is certainly improper to have him
authorized by law to intrude upon us whatever he may think proper. I
presume, sir, it is not supposed by the worthy gentleman from New York
(Mr. BENSON) that we shall be at a loss to conceive what information
would be useful or proper for us to require, that we must have this
officer to present us with what he chooses. When the President requires
an opinion of him, the constitution demands him to give it; so under the
law, let him send his opinion in here when it is asked for. If any
further power is given him, it will come to this at last: we, like the
Parliament of Paris, shall meet to register what he dictates. Either
these reports of the Secretary are to have weight, or they are not; if
they are to have weight, the House acts under a foreign influence, which
is altogether improper and impolitic; if they are to have no weight, we
impose a useless duty upon the officer, and such as is no mark of our

Mr. AMES hoped the subject might be treated with candor and liberality;
he supposed the objections were made on those principles, and therefore
required a serious answer. The worthy gentleman who first expressed his
aversion to the clause seemed to be apprehensive that the power of
reporting plans by the Secretary would be improper, because it appeared
to him to interfere with the legislative duty of the House, which the
House ought not to relinquish.

Whenever it is a question, Mr. Speaker, said he, whether this House
ought, or ought not, to establish offices to exercise a part of the
power of either branch of the Government, there are two points which I
take into consideration, in order to lead my mind to a just decision;
first, whether the proposed disposition is useful; and, second, whether
it can be safely guarded from abuse. Now I take it, sir, that the House
by their order for bringing in a bill to establish the Treasury
Department in this way, have determined the point of utility; or, have
they erred in adopting that opinion, I will slightly make an inquiry,
How does it tend to general utility? The Secretary is presumed to
acquire the best knowledge of the subject of finance of any member of
the community. Now, if this House is to act on the best knowledge of
circumstances, it seems to follow logically that the House must obtain
evidence from that officer; the best way of doing this will be publicly
from the officer himself, by making it his duty to furnish us with it.
It will not be denied, sir, that this officer will be better acquainted
with his business than other people can be. It lies within his
department to have a comprehensive view of the state of the public
revenues and expenditures. He will, by his superintending power over the
collection, be able to discover abuses, if any, in that department, and
to form the most eligible plan to remedy or prevent the evil. From his
information respecting money transactions, he may be able to point out
the best mode for supporting the public credit; indeed, these seem to me
to be the great objects of his appointment.

Mr. LIVERMORE.--I shall vote for striking out the clause, because I
conceive it essentially necessary so to do. The power of originating
money bills within these walls, I look upon as a sacred deposit which we
may neither violate nor divest ourselves of, although at first view it
may appear of little importance who shall form a plan for the
improvement of the revenue. Although every information tending to effect
this great object may be gratefully received by this House, yet it
behoves us to consider to what this clause may lead, and where it may
terminate. Might it not, by construction, be said that the Secretary of
the Treasury has the sole right of digesting and reporting plans for the
improvement of the revenue? This construction may appear a little
extraordinary, but it is not more so than some constructions heretofore
put upon other words; but however extraordinary it may be, it may take
place, and I think the best way to avoid it, will be to leave out the
words altogether. It is certainly improper that any person, not
expressly intrusted by our constituents with the privilege of taking
their money, should direct the quantum and the manner in which to take

Mr. SEDGWICK.--If the principle prevails for curtailing this part of the
Secretary's duty, we shall lose the advantages which the proposed system
was intended to acquire. The improvement and management of the revenue
is a subject that must be investigated by a man of abilities and
indefatigable industry, if we mean to have our business advantageously
done. If honorable gentlemen will for a moment consider the peculiar
circumstances of this country, the means of information attainable by
the individual members of this House, and compare them with the object
they have to pursue, they will plainly perceive the necessity of calling
to their aid the advantages resulting from an establishment like the one
contemplated in the bill; if they weigh these circumstances carefully,
their objections, I trust, will vanish.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--A proper jealousy for the liberty of the people is
commendable in those who are appointed and sworn to be its faithful
guardians; but when this spirit is carried so far as to lose sight of
its object, and instead of leading to avoid, urges on to the precipice
of ruin, we ought to be careful how we receive its impressions. So far
is the present measure from being injurious to liberty, that it is
consistent with the true interest and prosperity of the community. Are
gentlemen apprehensive we shall be led by this officer to adopt plans we
should otherwise reject? For my part, I have a better opinion of the
penetration of the representation of the people than to dread any such
visionary phantom.

Let us consider whether this power is essentially necessary to the
Government. I take it to be conceded by the gentlemen, that it is
absolutely so. They say they are willing to receive the information
because it may be serviceable, but do not choose to have it communicated
in this way. If the Secretary of the Treasury is the proper person to
give the information, I can see no other mode of obtaining it that would
be so useful. Do gentlemen mean that he shall give it piecemeal, by way
of question and answer? This will tend more to mislead than to inform
us. If we would judge upon any subject, it would be better to have it in
one clear and complete view, than to inspect it by detachments; we
should lose the great whole in the minutiæ, and, instead of a system,
should present our constituents with a structure composed of discordant
parts, counteracting and defeating the operation of each other's

Mr. HARTLEY rose to express his sentiments, as he did on every occasion,
with diffidence in his own abilities; but he looked upon the clause as
both unsafe and inconsistent with the constitution. He thought the
gentleman last up proved too much by his arguments; he proved that the
House of Representatives was, in fact, unnecessary and useless; that one
person could be a better judge of the means to improve and manage the
revenue, and support the national credit, than the whole body of
Congress. This kind of doctrine, Mr. Chairman, is indelicate in a
republic, and strikes at the root of all legislation founded upon the
great democratic principle of representation. It is true, mistakes, and
very injurious ones, have been made on the subject of finance by some
State Legislatures; but I would rather submit to this evil, than, by my
voice, establish tenets subversive of the liberties of my country.

Notwithstanding what I have said, I am clearly of opinion it is
necessary and useful to take measures for obtaining other information
than what members can acquire in their characters as citizens;
therefore, I am in favor of the present bill; but I think these words
too strong. If it was modified so as to oblige him to have his plans
ready for this House when they are asked for, I should be satisfied; but
to establish a legal right in an officer to obtrude his sentiments
perpetually on this body is disagreeable, and it is dangerous, inasmuch
as the right is conveyed in words of doubtful import, and conveying
powers exclusively vested by the constitution in this House.

Mr. GERRY expressed himself in favor of the object of the clause; that
was, to get all the information possible for the purpose of improving
the revenue, because he thought this information would be much required,
if he judged from the load of public debt, and the present inability of
the people to contribute largely towards its reduction.

He could not help observing, however, the great degree of importance
they were giving this, and the other executive officers. If the doctrine
of having prime and great ministers of state was once well established,
he did not doubt but we should soon see them distinguished by a green or
red ribbon, or other insignia of court favor and patronage. He wished
gentlemen were aware of what consequences these things lead to, that
they might exert a greater degree of caution.

The practice of Parliament in Britain is first to determine the sum they
will grant, and then refer the subject to a Committee of Ways and Means:
this might be a proper mode to be pursued in this House.

Do gentlemen, said he, consider the importance of the power they give
the officer by the clause? Is it not part of our legislative authority?
And does not the constitution expressly declare that the House solely
shall exercise the power of originating revenue bills? Now, what is
meant by reporting plans? It surely includes the idea of originating
money bills, that is, a bill for improving the revenue, or, in other
words, for bringing revenue into the treasury. For if he is to report
plans, they ought to be reported in a proper form, and complete. This
is giving an indirect voice in legislative business to an executive
officer. If this be not the meaning of the clause, let gentlemen say
what is, and to what extent it shall go; but if my construction is true,
we are giving up the most essential privilege vested in us by the
constitution. But what does this signify? The officer is responsible,
and we are secure. This responsibility is made an argument in favor of
every extension of power. I should be glad to understand the term.
Gentlemen say the Secretary of the Treasury is responsible for the
information he gives the House--in what manner does this responsibility
act? Suppose he reports a plan for improving the revenue, by a tax which
he thinks judicious, and one that will be agreeable to the people of the
United States; but he happens to be deceived in his opinion, that his
tax is obnoxious, and excites a popular clamor against the
minister--what is the advantage of his responsibility? Nothing. Few men
deserve punishment for the error of opinion; all that could be done
would be to repeal the law, and be more cautious in future in depending
implicitly on the judgment of a man who had led us into an impolitic
measure. Suppose the revenue should fall short of his estimate, is he
responsible for the balance? This will be carrying the idea further than
any Government hitherto has done. What then is the officer to be
responsible for, which should induce the House to vest in him such
extraordinary powers?

Mr. LAWRENCE.--I do not see consequences so dangerous as some gentlemen
seem to apprehend; nor did they appear to them, I believe, when the
subject was last under consideration. I recollect, Mr. Chairman, that
some difficulty was made about establishing this office, because it was
feared we could not find men of sufficient abilities to fill it. The
duties were then properly deemed of a high and important nature, and
enumerated as those proposed in the bill. It was supposed by an
honorable gentleman, that the powers here expressed might be lodged in a
board, because an individual was incompetent to undertake the whole. But
now we have the wonderful sagacity of discovering, that if an individual
is appointed, he will have capacity to form plans for improving the
revenue in such an advantageous manner, as to supersede the necessity of
having the representatives of the people consulted on the business: he
will not only perform the usual duties of a Treasury Board, but be
adequate to all purposes of legislation. I appeal to the gentleman for
his usual candor on this occasion, which will assure us that he has
wire-drawn his arguments.

Mr. MADISON.--After hearing and weighing the various observations of
gentlemen, I am at a loss to see where the danger lies. These are
precisely the words used by the former Congress, on two occasions, one
in 1783, the other in a subsequent ordinance, which established the
Revenue Board. The same power was also annexed to the office of
Superintendent of Finance, but I never yet heard that any inconvenience
or danger was experienced from the regulation; perhaps, if the power had
been more fully and frequently exercised, it might have contributed more
to the public good.

There is a small probability, though it is but small, that an officer
may derive a weight from this circumstance, and have some degree of
influence upon the deliberations of the Legislature; but compare the
danger likely to result from this clause, with the danger and
inconvenience of not having well-formed and digested plans, and we shall
find infinitely more to apprehend. Inconsistent, unproductive, and
expensive schemes, will be more injurious to our constituents than the
undue influence which the well-digested plans of a well-informed officer
can have. From a bad administration of the Government, more detriment
will arise than from any other source. The want of information has
occasioned much inconvenience and unnecessary burthens under some of the
State Governments. Let it be our care to avoid those rocks and shoals in
our political voyage, which have injured, and nearly proved fatal to,
many of our cotemporary navigators.

A gentleman has asked, what is meant by responsibility? I will answer
him. There will be responsibility in point of reputation, at least a
responsibility to the public opinion with respect to his abilities; and
supposing there is no personal responsibility, yet we know that men of
talents and ability take as much care for the preservation of their
reputation as any other species of property of which they are possessed.
If a superior degree of wisdom is expected to be displayed by them, they
take pains to give proofs that they possess it in the most unequivocal
manner; this of itself will ensure us no small degree of exertion.

With respect to originating money bills, the House has the sole right to
do it; but if the power of reporting plans can be construed to imply the
power of originating revenue bills, the constitution is inconsistent
with itself, in giving the President authority to recommend such
measures as he may think expedient or necessary; but the construction is
too unnatural to require further investigation.

I have admitted there is a small probability of a small inconvenience,
but I do not think it any more an argument against the clause, than it
would be an argument against having windows in a house, that it is
possible the wind and the rain may get in through the crevices.

Mr. STONE was not afraid of giving the officer the power of reporting
plans, because he was sure Congress would, in every case, decide upon
their own judgment. A future Congress would not pay such a deference,
even to their predecessors, as to follow in their footsteps, unless they
were convinced of the good policy of their measures. He thought if the
House wanted to make use of the information acquired by the Secretary,
they ought to give him notice of their intention; consequently,
something of this kind was proper in the bill.

Mr. SHERMAN thought the principle held up by the clause, was absolutely
necessary to be received. It was of such a nature as to force itself
upon them; therefore it was in vain to attempt to elude it by
subterfuge. It was owing to the great abilities of a financier, that
France had been able to make the exertions we were witnesses of a few
years ago, without embarrassing the nation. This able man, after
considerably improving the national revenue, was displaced; but such was
the importance of the officer, that he has been restored again.

Mr. _Baldwin_.--I do not see what we are guarding against by striking
out the words, unless gentlemen mean to go so far as to introduce a
prohibitory clause, and declare that the Secretary of the Treasury shall
be restrained from digesting or preparing plans for the improvement of
the revenue. If there is any evil in having him attend to this branch of
the business, I cannot see how to avoid it. Suppose the officer is a bad
man, and there are others like him in this House, (for this must be what
the gentlemen are afraid of;) and suppose he has prepared a scheme for
peculation, which he hopes to get adopted by making dupes of the honest
part; how are you to hinder it from being brought forward? Cannot his
friends introduce it as their own, by making and seconding a motion for
that purpose? Will you restrain him from having access to the members
out of doors? And cannot he infuse his dangerous and specious arguments
and information into them as well in the closet, as by a public and
official communication? But, Mr. Chairman, can this House, or if it can,
will it prevent any of their constituents from bringing before them
plans for the relief of grievances or oppressions? Every individual of
the community can bring business before us by petition, memorial, or
remonstrance, provided it be done in a decent manner. How then do you
propose to restrain the Secretary of the Treasury?

I think the clause is very well as it stands, and shall therefore be
against the amendment.

Mr. PAGE'S motion for striking out the clause being put and negatived:

The question on Mr. FITZSIMON'S motion to amend the bill, by striking
out the word report, and inserting prepare, was taken and carried by a
great majority.

After which the House adjourned.

FRIDAY, June 26.

A number of the members attending the interesting conference which
to-day took place with the Senate on the impost and tonnage bills, no
business was done in this House.

_Saturday_, June 27.

_Revenue Bill._

Mr. _Boudinot_, from the managers on the part of this House in the
conference with the Senate on the subject of the amendments to the
Impost Bill, reported that the conference had agreed to pass the bill as
amended by the Senate, with some additional amendments, viz: the duty on
distilled spirits of Jamaica proof, to be reduced from fifteen cents to
ten cents per gallon. The duty on all other spirits, to be reduced from
twelve to eight cents per gallon. The duty on beer, ale, porter, or
cider, imported in casks, from eight to five cents per gallon. The duty
on beer imported in bottles, from twenty-five to twenty cents per
gallon. The duty on coal, from three to two cents per bushel.

MONDAY, July 13.

_Western Lands._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the state of
the Union. Mr. BOUDINOT in the chair.

Mr. SCOTT requested that the report of the committee on the Western
Territory might be read, which was read accordingly, as follows:

      _Resolved_, That it is the opinion of this committee, that
      an act of Congress should pass for establishing a Land
      Office, and to regulate the terms of granting vacant and
      unappropriated lands in the Western Territory.

Mr. SCOTT.--In endeavoring, sir, to open the interesting subject now
before you, I shall avoid the repetition of those ideas which I threw
out on a former occasion, as far as my memory will serve me, and the
nature of the subject will permit.

This subject, sir, will appear of great magnitude in point of interest,
if we consider the extent of the territory; I think I shall not be far
beyond the mark, if I say it is one thousand miles long by five hundred
broad; nor if I say it is sufficient to contain two millions of farms;
nevertheless, for greater caution, say it will contain one million,
(which is notoriously and greatly within the real contents,) and that
each of these farms may be peopled by six souls, they will amount to six
millions of inhabitants, double the number of the present inhabitants of
the United States. From this view, it is an object of great concern. It
will appear also an object of concern, if we contemplate the climate,
the soil, and the waters of that country; consider that it lies in the
heart of the temperate zone; its soil infinitely more rich and more
fertile than any in the Atlantic States; its waters pure and good--in a
word, it is such a territory as must command inhabitants, and will be
peopled. Its situation in the middle of our continent, gives the climate
a salubrity that accommodates it to the emigrants from both Northern and
Southern States. It is meeting them on a middle ground, softening the
harsh restrictions of the rugged North, and breathing bland the zephyr
grateful to the sun-scorched South. In short, it is such as gives to all
who have seen it the utmost satisfaction--it is both healthy and

It may perhaps be objected, that the measure now proposed will lead or
tend to a depopulation of the Atlantic States, and therefore ought not
to be adopted. This is a circumstance I by no means wish. I am as far
from desiring a depopulation of the Atlantic shores, as I am from
fearing it on this ground. I am confident it will not operate in any
considerable degree to bring about that event; but if it should be
thought it would, that could be no solid objection against the measure.
Whilst the desire of emigration continues, and lands are to be procured,
settlers will find their way into that territory; nor is it in the power
of Congress to withhold lands altogether, because they are to be got of
others on better terms. There is superior encouragement held out to the
people settling on the other side of the river Mississippi, where the
soil is fertile, and the climate equally agreeable. In proof of this
assertion, I will read to the committee the translation of a kind of
proclamation issued by the Governor of the Spanish posts at the
Illinois. [This paper contains an invitation to all persons inclined to
settle in the Western country, offering as inducements, lands without
charge, exemptions from taxes, protection in civil and religious
liberties, besides provision and the implements of husbandry.] After
this, Mr. S. proceeded: Now, sir, if Congress fear to sell their lands
lest it tend to depopulate the Atlantic States, what must they apprehend
from propositions like these? They will certainly have all the effect
which encouragement from this quarter can have. It may be said, that
Americans will not venture to live under the Spanish Government, or
settle a Spanish colony. To this it may be replied, that when people,
from their necessities or inclinations, are determined to emigrate, in
order to mitigate their distresses, they think little of the form of
government; all they care for is relief from their present or
approaching wants and troubles.

Nobody will emigrate from the Atlantic States but a certain description
of men, and they will go whether you hold out this encouragement to them
or not; they will pay little regard to Congressional restrictions. And
here let me make one remark, drawn from my own observation. The forming
settlements in a wilderness upon the frontiers, between the savages and
the least populated of the civilized parts of the United States,
requires men of enterprising, violent, nay, discontented and turbulent
spirits. Such always are our first settlers in the ruthless and savage
wild; they serve as pioneers to clear the way for the more laborious and
careful farmer. These characters are already in that country by
thousands, and their number is daily increasing, and will continue to
increase; for congenial spirits will assimilate maugre all our endeavors
to the contrary. But how will you prevent them? I should be glad to see
a plan for hemming in the emigration to that territory; I think the
thing wholly impracticable, therefore it becomes the immediate interest
of Congress, to direct the emigration to a proper point; direct it to
their own territory, rather than be inactive spectators of its silent,
though rapid course to the Spanish and British dependencies; rather sell
your lands and get something for them, than let your citizens leave your
dominions. By improving a part, you add to the value of the remainder;
their population will produce a hardy race of husbandmen and warriors,
always at the command of the United States, to support and defend your
liberty and property. These being facts, I leave it to the wisdom of the
House to draw the inference.

I will make one further remark, with respect to the encouragement or
discouragement of emigration. Suppose it was in the power of Congress to
stop the course of the impetuous current, which has already won its way
through insuperable obstructions, and spread itself over the fertile
lands of the Ohio. I ask, with perfect security, if it is not such an
act of contumacy, and inconsistency with the fundamental principles of
the Government, that Congress could not adopt it? Consider that many of
your citizens are destitute of the comforts, nay, the common necessaries
of life, without a prospect of providing for the subsistence of
themselves and families: I ask, would Congress prevent the emigration of
such persons if they could? I think not; they would not act as kind
protecting fathers to their people if they did. I presume this would be
too serious an objection for any man to face, with a restraining
proposition. I question if any man would be hardy enough to point out a
class of citizens by name, that ought to be the servants of the
community; yet, unless that is done, to what class of the people could
you direct such a law? But if you passed such an act, it would be
tantamount to saying that there is some class which must remain here,
and by law must be obliged to serve the others, for such wages as they
please to give.

This being the case, let us make the best of liberty, our people, and
our land. Your citizens, I tell you, are already there by thousands;
they are going by thousands more, and are every hour growing up into
consequence. They never expect to return into the Atlantic States; plant
them in your soil, add this wealth of population to your own, and form
an empire illustrious as it is extended. Remember, ye sages of my
country, an historic truth recorded for your instruction, that empire
has been slowly, but invariably, moving from East to West; emigration
has uniformly receded in that direction, from the time that our common
parents quitted the garden of Eden, till the present hour; nor doubt but
it will continue to pursue that course, as long as there are lands to be

Much will depend upon the energy and force of the Government established
in that country; it ought to be such as will furnish sufficient power
for its own internal purposes, and also to secure it to the Union. But
that is not the only tie by which its union is held. That country is
attached to the Atlantic States by its natural situation. To be
convinced of this truth, nothing more is necessary than to look upon
the chart: all the commerce of that country must come through the States
upon the sea-coast. We know, at Pittsburg, that we are a thousand miles
nearer to the market than settlers at the mouth of the Ohio river. When
we export our produce by that and the Mississippi, we know we can get
easier home with our returns by the way of Philadelphia, than the others
can by turning up and stemming the current of the Mississippi.
Therefore, the imports for all that territory must come through the
United States. From these considerations, I conclude it would be madness
in the extreme for them to think of a separation, unless they were
driven to it by a fatal necessity; they will be too sensible of its ill
effects ever to attempt it.

But suppose, for a moment, that they break off from the Union, and even
become our enemies, it would be good policy in us to get as much as we
can from them first, especially as they are disposed to give it us; let
us make them extinguish part of our national debt before they leave us.
The soil and climate of that country, as I said before, will be great
inducements for emigrants to settle there. If they were to break off,
they would know how to get money enough from the sale of the territory
to support their Government, without any other resource whatever. If I,
as a resident in that country, had the remotest view of a separation
from the Atlantic States, I should be sorry to see Congress sell an acre
of that land; for selling it, in that case, would be neither more nor
less than preventing us from putting the money into our pockets when we
became independent. If they meditate independency, the most likely way
to make them so, will be to let their lands alone, in order to supply
them with funds sufficient to support them in the measure. If they are
sold, it will not be in their power.

I apprehend it will be found that a Land Office will effect these
objects better than any other plan that can be devised. If this should
be effectual, and no doubt can be entertained but it will, the
inhabitants of the United States cannot, with a good grace, be called
upon for heavy taxes in order to pay the interest on a debt which can be
so easily and properly extinguished. Every individual who contemplates
the subject, will see how much it is his interest to buy a few dollars
in certificates, and purchase a piece of land with them, which will
annihilate the debt, and prevent the demand for taxes to pay the
interest; besides, it will remain as a security to reimburse the
principal to the proprietor, as the population of the country extends;
but, at all events, it would be but advancing four or five years'
interest, and the whole debt would be absorbed.

If we mean to sell our lands for ready money, or mean to trust, we have
a superior advantage. It is more probable that the necessitous person
who wants the land for the subsistence of himself and family, will labor
harder to procure a property of this kind, and secure it for himself,
than the speculator who never means to pay a farthing until he has
received it from the sale of the land; besides, the necessitous person
is better able to buy of Government than of the speculator, because he
can get it cheaper. The purchasers of large tracts retail out their land
to this class of men, and certainly charge them something for their
trouble. But if we sell on credit, as under the Proprietary Government
was the practice in Pennsylvania, those who take out small quantities
get their land surveyed, and set themselves down; they cultivate the
ground, and erect buildings for their own accommodation. Land, in this
improved state, furnishes a better security to Government for any
arrearage of purchase money, than a large tract sold on speculation, and
which lies in the same state of nature as it did when it was disposed
of, perhaps adding thereto the expense of making the survey. If the land
must revert to Congress at last for default of payment, we get nothing
in the latter case; whereas, when sold in lots, if a man has settled
himself down, and paid for his warrant and survey, which costs the Union
nothing, but for the first price and interest thereon, it must strike
every gentleman's mind that it would be disagreeable, after a man had
made a settlement for three or four years, to have to turn out. Rather
than do this, he would make every exertion to discharge the price: if
his situation was so wretched as not to furnish the means, some of his
neighbors, on such security, might befriend him; but at any rate
Government would be secure. By this argument, I do not mean to insist
that Congress should sell their lands on trust; they may do so, or sell
for ready pay, as their wisdom may think eligible. I shall be satisfied
either way.

I think the convenience of the people is a subject not unworthy of being
taken into view. My plan proposes that they should be able to perfect
their titles on the spot. I fear not the objection which has been
raised. It may be said, the titles ought not to be completed until it
was done immediately under the eye of Congress. Let this be as it may, I
will make one remark: can we not have every tie, every check, and
security upon these officers that we have upon the collectors of the
revenue? I think there is as much room for confidence in the one case as
in the other. We can take care that the Secretary of the Land Office
shall send in his accounts of patents and warrants. I think we may
depend here upon a true return.

The Receiver of the office shall take nothing but public securities,
which are not quite so great a temptation to embezzlement or illicit
practices as money. The Surveyor will be a check upon both. I think the
gentlemen employed in this business cannot be of very trifling
character. In short, this department may be as well checked and balanced
as any other; the expense of it will be nothing, because the officer may
be supported out of the fees. This being the case, I shall conclude with
moving that the committee adopt the resolution reported by the
committee, and recommend it to the House to appoint a select committee
to bring in a bill accordingly.

Mr. FITZSIMONS asked if it would not be better to settle all the
principles of the bill first, that the select committee might not lose
their labor, as had been once or twice experienced, for want of this

He was in favor of some measure of this kind, though he had some doubts
of the necessity there was supposed to be of establishing a Land Office.

The question was now taken on the resolution, and agreed to.

_Compensation of the President, &c._

Mr. VINING wished to call the attention of the House to a business he
apprehended not very lengthy; it was the report of a committee on the
subject of compensation to be made to the President, Vice President, the
members of the Senate and House of Representatives, for their services;
he wished gentlemen to consider the situation of every one concerned in
this business, themselves, and the continent at large. He hoped they
would consent to take it up, and he flattered himself the discussion
would not last longer than a day.

Mr. WHITE wished to go into a Committee of the Whole on the business.

Mr. FITZSIMONS did not like to enter upon a lengthy discussion of a
point that was incapable of much elucidation by reasoning; he therefore
was against going into a committee at this stage of the business. He
observed, that the committee had reported something, and the members had
been pretty generally consulted on the same. He hoped the House would
despatch the business without delay or loss of time, if they were at all
inclined to take it up.

Mr. WHITE thought it necessary to go into a committee, because there
were a number of things mentioned, the reasons for which appeared to him
very uncertain.

Mr. VINING said it was a subject of considerable delicacy, and he
supposed very few gentlemen would be inclined to speak three or four
times on a point; yet this was all the advantage gained by going into a
committee. He was no more interested than others; every gentleman might
judge of his own case, but after it had been before a committee of
twelve, in order to get the fullest sense of the House upon the subject,
he was inclined to receive it without so much circumlocution. He
observed, that the business had originated in a Committee of the Whole,
and it was unusual to recommit it without showing some reasons why.

Mr. WHITE gave up his motion for a Committee of the Whole, and said,
before he consented to the report, he should be glad to know in what
style it was expected that the President would live. He observed there
was provision for the expenses of a house, furniture, secretaries,
clerks, carriages and horses. Perhaps the sum proposed might be too much
or too little. He should like to see an estimate of how much was
necessary for keeping the table, the equipage, &c. before he decided. He
hoped the committee would elucidate this subject.

There was another thing he wished to inquire of them. The Vice
President's salary was charged at five thousand dollars; he could not
conceive upon what principle that sum was reported. Did it bear a
proportion to his services, or was it in proportion to what the members
of the Senate and this House were to be allowed? There is nothing which
obliges him to be attentive to his business. No doubt but the gentleman
who holds that office at present will be regardful and diligent in
executing the business assigned him; yet there is nothing to prevent the
Vice President from residing at home and receiving his salary, without
coming within the walls of the Senate room. The Union is obliged to
support him; but I, said he, would make that support conditional; he
should have a liberal provision while in public life, but no longer. As
to delicacy, I know of none, sir, that ought to be used while we are in
pursuit of the public good. I speak therefore with candor what are my
sentiments on this subject. Other gentlemen, no doubt, do the same; but
I am clearly for examining into the principles before I agree to the

Mr. PAGE was sorry to see gentlemen spinning out the time to little
purpose; certainly, after having the subject under consideration for
nearly three months, they might be able to decide.

If this business was fixed, and gentlemen knew they were to have but
moderate salaries, it might perhaps tend to make them more expeditious;
but at all events, they ought to know the rate at which they attend, in
order to regulate their expenses. To some it might be a matter of no
concern, because they could bear every thing of this kind for a
twelvemonth, without inconvenience; but they ought to consider the
situation of others. We are, said he, keeping the President here without
any provision for his support; but in this we may think ourselves right,
because, in his patriotic ardor, his love for his country, he told us he
was willing to pursue that illustrious example which he set during the
period of our calamity; he refused compensation for his services. But
the constitution requires that he shall receive a compensation, and it
is our duty to provide it. We must also provide something for our own
expenses, or it may reduce gentlemen not better prepared than I am to
depend upon a friend for what the public ought to furnish.

Mr. VINING had said the subject was delicate, but he did not conceive
there was any indelicacy in asking or answering questions on this or any
other occasion, where the good of his country was concerned.

Mr. LAWRENCE did not know, whether the sum proposed was enough for the
President or not; but according to the terms of the constitution, it
ought to be granted as one sum, because he is to receive no other
emolument whatever from the United States, or either of them. Now, if it
is declared he shall receive twenty thousand dollars, and, exclusive of
that sum, we make him an allowance for furniture, horses, carriages,
&c., such an allowance is an emolument beyond the compensation
contemplated in the constitution; but I have no objection to blend these
sums together, declaring the whole to be the compensation required by
the constitution. Besides, if we establish salaries for his secretaries
and clerks, we establish them officers of the Government; this will be
improper, because it infringes his right to employ a confidential person
in the management of those concerns, for which the constitution has made
him responsible. For these reasons, Mr. L. moved to strike out all that
related to horses, carriages, furniture, &c.

Mr. SHERMAN thought it much better to give a net sum, because the
President would then have no accounts to settle with the United States.

Mr. SEDGWICK considered this a constitutional question, and therefore
thought it deserved serious investigation. The provision made in the
report, for paying the expenses of enumerated articles, does not leave
the President in the situation intended by the constitution, which was,
that he should be independent of the Legislature, during his continuance
in office; that he should have a compensation for his services, not to
be increased or diminished during that period; but there is nothing that
will prevent us from making further allowances, provided that the twenty
thousand dollars is all that is given as a compensation. By this
construction, one of the most salutary clauses in the constitution will
be rendered nugatory. From these considerations, he was led to believe
that the report was founded on unconstitutional principles.

Mr. BALDWIN said, the Committee of the Whole, when the business was
before them, had not determined any thing on this point; that,
consequently, the select committee were to frame a report upon such
principles as they judged proper. In order then to have every thing
distinct and accurate, they had brought their opinion forward in the
form it now appears. If it be deemed proper to grant an aggregate sum,
the House would no doubt add to the twenty thousand dollars, what it was
supposed these expenses would amount to.

However, he did not think the constitution was infringed; it was
intended that the compensation should not be increased or diminished,
during the President's continuance in office. Now it might be as well
fixed, by making the allowance in part money, and part furniture, &c. as
by declaring a precise sum; it will still be a stated compensation.

Mr. TUCKER thought furniture and plate ought always to be provided by
government, because, if it was necessary for every new President to buy
these articles, it might put him to great inconvenience, unless he
received a year's salary in advance; besides, when he retired from his
situation, they would not sell for half the first cost. He therefore
wished this part of the report to stand, together with the rent of a
house; but would join in striking out all the rest.

Mr. MADISON did not think the report interfered with either the spirit
or letter of the constitution, and therefore was opposed to any
alteration, especially with respect to the property of a fixed nature.
He was sure, if the furniture and plate, and house rent, could be
allowed, some of the other articles might also. The horses and carriages
will cost money, and sell for little, after being used for four years;
this will be a certain loss to the President, or his family; besides the
House have already undertaken to defray expenses of this kind, and so
set a precedent for the enumeration which had been reported.

Mr. WHITE said, if a certain sum was assigned for the expenses, the
report would be better; but as it now stood, there was no certainty in
it. One President might circumscribe it to a quarter part of the expense
another would; consequently, the compensation could not be fixed.

He admitted the propriety of paying the salary in advance for the first
year, as mentioned by the gentleman from South Carolina. He expected
this would be sufficient to defray the extra expenses, without
subjecting the President to any inconvenience.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--If the Legislature may provide the house and furniture,
they may go further on the same principle, and provide for the rest; he
was satisfied it should be so, because it could be no infringement on
the constitution.

Mr. LIVERMORE hoped the words would be struck out; indeed he was sorry
they had ever been put in. The clause in the constitution is intended to
tie down the Legislature, as well as the President; they shall make him
no compliments while in office, he shall receive nothing but a fixed
compensation for his services. Give him then this compensation, let it
be equal to his usefulness; but do not direct him to employ so much to
one use, and so much to another; it cannot be called a compensation when
you direct how it is to be expended; besides, it was wrong on another
account; why should we pretend to direct him in the style in which he
shall live? Let him have a salary, and expend it in the manner he shall
think proper.

Mr. PAGE was for striking out all the words, because he conceived it
would be against the spirit of the constitution. It would be much more
handsome to make one general provision, than to be thus particular in
enumerating the articles of expense. It has been hinted, that these
articles of expense would amount to half the sum mentioned in the report
to be given as a compensation; if so, he would propose to strike out all
that related to the subject, and so insert twenty-five or thirty
thousand, as the House shall deem most eligible.

Mr. STONE thought the President ought to be at liberty to live in any
style he thought proper, and that the House ought to give him such
compensation as they thought his services merited. If you furnish him
with a house, horses, and carriages, you declare that this is the house,
the horses, and the carriages which he shall use. There is certainly
some degree of indelicacy in this; if he was a private gentleman, he
would be at liberty to use such as he liked best. Suppose he dislikes
them, and will not have them, he is guilty of a breach of the law, is it
intended by the House to impeach him for it? I apprehend it is not, for
no part of the constitution gives us a right to dictate to him on this
head. He would rather let the President set the example how he ought to
live, than see the Legislature direct him. Economy is by no means
disadvantageous to the United States; if the President chooses to live
in an economical manner, we ought not to prevent him.

Mr. VINING thought, as the President was the representative of the
nation, that there ought to be a proper degree of dignity attached to
the office; he did not wish for splendor, but hoped to avoid the
appearance of penury. If he was right in this opinion, the House had a
right to show what they expected of the President, and, consequently,
had a right to enter into the enumeration proposed in the report, and
establish a uniform rule of conduct in the presidential chair.

With respect to its constitutionality, his mind was perfectly easy, the
constitution appeared to be silent; if so, the House had the right of
interfering. He wondered how gentlemen could agree to provide plate and
furniture, yet hesitate with respect to the clerks and secretary. Were
not the latter as necessary as the former? If so, they ought to be
equally provided for.

The question on Mr. LAWRENCE'S motion was now taken, and decided in the

Mr. PAGE now moved to strike out twenty thousand dollars, and insert
thirty thousand.

Mr. SMITH inquired whether it was the intention of the House to saddle
the President with the expense incurred, in consequence of their
resolution of the 15th April. He understood that near ten thousand
dollars had been laid out in purchasing furniture, and putting the house
in order for his reception; it might be disagreeable to the President to
take it. Perhaps he would be a considerable loser by such a bargain, and
many of the things might be of a nature he disliked. He thought the
House had been inconsistent with itself in ordering these things for the
President, and then refusing to let them be applied to his use.

Mr. SHERMAN thought the House need not be embarrassed on this point. The
expense is to be paid by the United States, and the furniture will be
their property, to do what they please with. Neither did he think the
House inconsistent, because it was the object of the Legislature, by
their former vote, to provide only for the temporary accommodation of
the President.

Mr. BENSON said, the business had been properly conducted. It was not in
contemplation to throw the furniture or any other expense upon the
President. He presumed the property belonged to the United States, but
they would sell to the President such part as he chose to purchase. As
to the house, the President was not confined to it; he might give it up
when he pleased, and take another if he thought proper.

The question on striking out twenty thousand and inserting thirty
thousand was divided, and the first part was agreed to, but the latter

It was now moved to strike out the words secretary and clerks.

Mr. MADISON thought the Executive Magistrate ought not to have the power
of creating officers; yet if he appointed his secretary and clerks, and
they were recognized, either with respect to salary or official acts,
they became officers of the Government.

Mr. BENSON did not think it necessary to recognize any such officers;
they were to be esteemed the mere instruments of the President, and not
as sharing in the administration.

The motion was put, and carried in the affirmative, and then the House

THURSDAY, July 16.

_Compensation of the President, &c._

The House resumed the consideration of the Report of the Committee on
the Compensation to the President, Vice President, and Members of

The blank occasioned by striking out on Monday last, was now proposed to
be filled.

Mr. LIVERMORE moved to fill it with 18,000 dollars.

Mr. BURKE said, there were some members of the committee in favor of
15,000 dollars; others indeed were for a much larger sum--he believed
they went so far as 70,000 dollars; that 20,000 dollars was an
accommodation, and as such he had agreed to it; but he was of opinion
that 15,000 dollars was sufficient; that 20,000 had been once agreed to,
but the expenses were added at a subsequent meeting of the committee;
now, as the House had concurred in striking out 20,000 dollars, and a
proposition was come forward more correspondent to his judgment, he
should give it support.

Mr. FITZSIMONS presumed it was not a question before the House what the
report of the committee had been, nor were the sentiments any gentleman
had there delivered to operate against the sense expressed by the
committee in their report; if any thing done in committee was to
influence the decision of the House, it must be the report, which spoke
the sense of the majority. He further presumed, that when the 20,000
dollars were struck out, after all the expense had been erased, it was
in the contemplation of the honorable mover to increase the sum so as to
include both articles. It was with this view he voted in favor of
striking out the 20,000 dollars.

Mr. TUCKER said it might happen, that the expenses a President would
incur at the first entering on the office would be so great as to injure
his private fortune and distress his family. A quarter's salary might be
insufficient to defray the expense; yet if the President continued but
three months in office, this sum would be all he was entitled to. He
thought it just and requisite to provide against accidents of this kind,
if it could be done consistently with the constitution. With this object
in view, he would propose that the President's compensation should be
26,000 dollars for the first year, and 16,000 dollars for every other
year; that 10,000 dollars should be paid him in advance, on his coming
to the chair, and the remainder in quarterly payments. Its amount, he
said, would be nearly what was proposed by the gentleman from New
Hampshire (Mr. LIVERMORE); and if the House was disposed to fix on that
sum, as a proper compensation, they might, without any material change,
admit his proposition; but if they meant to grant either a greater or a
less sum, he hoped they would accommodate it to his principle.

Mr. STONE said, that a sum of 25,000 dollars would be as small a sum as
would answer the purpose; and provided that amount should be agreed to,
the expense of the Executive would be less to the people than that of
any Government in the world. If it is considered that the unavoidable
expense will be great, and that the assistance of two or more
secretaries will be necessary for the President to discharge his high
and important trust, and that it cannot be expected that persons in such
a station should be in straitened or dependent circumstances, this sum
will not be found to exceed the absolute expense, with a moderate
compensation for the services of the President. It is also a maxim of
sound policy, that executive officers should be independent.

Mr. WHITE.--Sir, I do not say that 25,000 dollars will or will not be
sufficient; but in order to determine the necessary sum, I should wish
to know the style in which the President is expected to live. If a style
of magnificence and splendor is to be adopted, the sum is too small; and
if economy is pursued, it may be too much. Until this is known, it will
be extremely difficult to decide upon a proper sum; and when I give my
vote, I wish to give it on such information as will satisfy my mind with
respect to its propriety, and show my constituents the reasonableness of
the measure. Will he live in a more expensive style than the former
Presidents of Congress, or will he live nearly in the same? If so, what
was that expense, or what will be the probable increase? How was that
money applied, and what will now be necessary? If these questions can
be answered, gentlemen may decide with more precision than they can
while the subject is left afloat.

Mr. BALDWIN said, it was impossible to get the information the gentleman
required, the committee had made all the examination in their power with
respect to the actual expense of supporting the office. They found
former Presidents of Congress, whose office, by the by, was less
important, and whose assistants were less numerous, expended 7,000,
8,000, and so on to 13,000 dollars annually. From this, some gentlemen
were led to believe 17,000 dollars might be sufficient in this instance.
But we were, said he, left without any thing satisfactory on this
subject, and when the question was pressed on the committee, they varied
from 15,000 to 25,000 dollars; we were therefore obliged to average the

We were satisfied that it must be left to experiment to determine what
the allowance ought to be; and we were certain that the gentleman who
had to make the first experiment would do it in such a manner as to give
satisfaction to every body. He knows the way to blend dignity and
economy; and I would rather, on this account, make the allowance too
much than too little. I would, therefore, prefer making the experiment
at 25,000 dollars; a sum that, in the President's hands, will give
umbrage to no one.

Mr. BOUDINOT made some further observations respecting the examination
made by the committee, from which it appeared that the expenses of the
President of the United States would exceed the expenses of the late
President of Congress in a variety of cases. Two secretaries would be
wanting; they must be men of abilities and information; but the
committee conceived extra provision would be made for them by the House.
If the whole was to be comprehended in one grant to the President, he
would rather increase the sum reported by the committee than diminish
it. Originally he was in favor of allowing 16,000; but then he thought
the expense of secretaries, carriages, furniture, &c., was to be an
additional allowance. Since the House had determined otherwise, he
favored an addition to the 20,000 dollars.

Mr. JACKSON was disposed to move 30,000 dollars; but he was willing to
accommodate, and agree to 25,000 dollars.

Mr. VINING observed, that the committee had no documents whereby they
could form a judgment; they had no light to guide them. They could not
foresee what ambassadors and foreign ministers might be sent to this
country, nor the expenses the President must necessarily incur upon that
account, to support the honor and dignity of the United States. He
further remarked, that there are cases in which generosity is the best
economy, and no loss is ever sustained by a decent support of the
Magistrate. A certain appearance of parade and external dignity is
necessary to be supported. Did I, said he, represent a larger State, I
would speak with more confidence on the subject. We are haunted by the
ghost of poverty; we are stunned with the clamor of complaint throughout
the States. But under the auspices of an energetic Government, our funds
will be established and augmented, and, I make no doubt, will be found
sufficient to answer all the purposes of the Union. But our calculations
ought not to be confined to the present moment alone. If it should be
contended by any gentleman, that we have it not in our power to support
the Government in a proper style, then there is an end of the business.
We should remember that the present time is the season for organizing
the Government. A patient and mature deliberation is requisite to
investigate it, and by that means the amount of the civil list will be
increased; in future, the sessions will be short, and the load of
expense greatly diminished. He was opposed to any reduction of the sum,
as he had always thought it too small, and would rather propose to fill
the blank with 30,000 dollars.

Mr. PAGE mentioned that 30,000 dollars had been proposed; though he
thought the sum adequate, it was not sufficient to support pomp and
parade. Those, he said, were entirely out of the question. He had made a
calculation upon the probable necessary expenses, and found, that
exclusive of that dignity and pageantry talked of, this sum would
suffice. If he had contemplated the splendor and pageantry alluded to,
he should not have thought of 30,000 dollars, nor 40,000 dollars, for he
believed 100,000 dollars insufficient. But if the committee, upon
investigation, were convinced that 20,000 dollars would be a
compensation for his services, exclusive of an allowance for his
expenses, when the whole was taken together it must at least amount to
30,000 dollars; for this reason he moved to fill the blank with that

The question on 30,000 dollars was put, and rejected.

Mr. PAGE then moved 25,000 dollars, which was carried; affirmative 30,
negative 17.

The House then proceeded to the second part of the report, viz: "That
there be paid in like quarterly payments to the Vice President of the
United States, 5,000 dollars per annum."

Mr. WHITE.--I do not like the principle on which this provision is made
for the Vice President; there is nothing, I believe, in the constitution
which gives him a right to an annual sum; it fixes no duty upon him as
Vice President, requiring a constant attendance. He may be called upon
to act as President, and then I would give him the salary of the
President; at other times, he is to preside as President of the Senate,
then I would pay him for his services in that character. On this
principle, I shall move to strike out the clause; if that is agreed to,
I propose to offer one, allowing him the pay of President, when he acts
as President; and a daily pay during the time he acts as President of
the Senate.

Mr. PAGE would second the motion for striking out five thousand dollars,
but with a different view from what had been intended by his worthy
colleague. He wished it struck out, in order to introduce a larger sum.
His idea was, that a proper proportion was not observed between the
salary of the First and Second Magistrates. As to the utility of the
office, he had nothing to say. He had no hand in forming the
constitution; if he had, perhaps he should never have thought of such an
officer; but as we have got him, we must maintain him; and those
gentlemen who talk of respectability being attached to high offices,
must admit, in a comparative view, that he is not supported with
dignity, provided a situation derives its dignity from the money given
him by way of salary; for his part, he thought money, abstractedly
considered, could not bestow dignity. Real dignity of character proceeds
from a much nobler source; but he apprehended the people of the United
States, whose representative the Vice President was, would be displeased
to see so great a distinction made between the President and him.

Mr. SEDGWICK said, the arguments of the honorable gentleman from
Virginia (Mr. WHITE) did not strike him with any force, nor did he see
the impropriety spoken of. One reason why the pay of the members of the
Senate and House is per diem is, because they contemplate their being
together but a very inconsiderable part of their time; but I suppose,
said he, that every gentleman who has considered the subject, has
determined in his own mind that the Vice President ought to remain
constantly at the seat of Government; he must always be ready to take
the reins of Government when they shall fall out of the hands of the
President; hence it will be necessary that he should, for this cause, if
not for any other, preclude himself from every object of employment, and
devote his whole time to prepare himself for the great and important
charge for which he is a candidate. Under these circumstances, it is
necessary that he should be provided with a constant salary, to support
that rank which we contemplate for him to bear; I therefore conceive it
must be such a perpetual salary as the President is entitled to receive.
If the principles of the motion are inadmissible, it cannot be supported
by argument, because very little information can be obtained on which to
ground our reasoning.

Mr. SENEY said, that, according to the constitution, a compensation is
to be made for services performed. The Vice President may absent himself
the whole time. He proposed giving him a handsome allowance while
employed, but thought he ought to be paid per diem.

Mr. SHERMAN adverted to the circumstance of salaries being allowed to
Lieutenant Governors in the several States where such officers are
appointed; so that, according to this mode, the grant made to the Vice
President would correspond with the practice of the States
individually. It appeared also, he said, to be necessary, inasmuch as
this officer would be taken from all other business.

Mr. WHITE.--If I thought, sir, the attendance of the Vice President as
necessary as that of the President, I would not hesitate to allow him an
annual salary; but I do not conceive it to be so necessary; it is not
made so by the constitution. If he had been appointed Vice President as
a perpetual counsel for the President, it would have altered the case;
he would then have had services to render, for which we ought to
compensate him. The honorable gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr.
SEDGWICK) has intimated that he will be precluded from following any
other business; there is nothing in the constitution which precludes him
from following what profession he thinks proper. I am willing to pay him
a full and liberal allowance for all the services he renders; but I do
not think we are authorized to institute sinecures for any man.

It ought to be considered that the Vice President has personal
advantages from the appointment to that office; it holds him up as the
successor of the President; the voice of the people is shown to be
considerably in his favor; and if he be a deserving person, there will
be but little doubt of his succeeding to the presidential chair; not
that I would make this an argument to diminish his compensation. I would
pay him amply for all the services he renders, at least as amply as the
Government and circumstances of the people will admit. When performing
the duties of President, he should receive the salary as such.

The constitution has stipulated, that the President shall be compensated
for his services, that we shall ascertain it by law; but it has not said
one syllable with respect to the pay of the Vice President; hence I
consider it would be improper to pay him on any other principle than in
proportion to his services. If these require five thousand dollars a
year, it may be made to amount to that sum, at so much per diem.

As to the observations of the gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. SHERMAN,)
that Lieutenant Governors receive salaries in the several States, and
therefore it will be proper to grant one to the Vice President, in order
to comport with the practice of the States individually, I shall only
remark, that in some States they have no such officer; in others, where
they have such an officer, they give him no pay at all; in some, they
are paid according to their attendance on business, in the manner that I
propose to pay the Vice President. But admitting that every State had an
officer of this kind, and that they paid him a salary like that proposed
in the report, it would be no argument why the General Government should
pursue a practice inconsistent with that economy and sense of propriety
which it ought to be the study of the Representatives of the people of
the United States to preserve to their constituents.

Mr. MADISON.--I do not concur, Mr. Speaker, in sentiment, with my
colleague on this subject. I conceive, sir, if the constitution is
silent on this point, that it is left to the Legislature to decide
according to its nature and its merits. The nature of the office will
require that the Vice President shall always be in readiness to render
that service which contingencies may require; but I do not apprehend it
to be in our power to derive much advantage from any guides furnished by
the examples of the several States; because we shall find them
differently provided for by the different Governments. If we consider
that the Vice President may be taken from the extremity of the
continent, and be from the nature of his office obliged to reside at or
within the convenient reach of the seat of Government, to take upon him
the exercise of the President's functions, in case of any accident that
may deprive the Union of the services of their first officer, we must
see, I think, it will often happen that he will be obliged to be
constantly at the seat of Government. No officer under a State
Government can be so far removed as to make it inconvenient to be called
upon when his services are required; so that, if he serve without a
salary, it may be he can reside at home, and pursue his domestic
business; therefore the application in that case does not appear to me
to be conclusive.

My colleague says that he will derive advantages from being in the line
of appointment to the presidential chair. If he is to be considered as
the apparent successor of the President, to qualify himself the better
for that office, he must withdraw from his other avocations, and direct
his attention to the obtaining a perfect knowledge of his intended

The idea that a man ought to be paid only in proportion to his services,
holds good in some cases, but not in others. It holds good in
legislative business, but not in the executive or judicial departments.
A judge will be sometimes unemployed, as in the case of the Vice
President; yet it is found necessary to claim the whole of his time and
attention to the duties for which he is appointed. If the principle of
proportioning the allowance to the quantum of services performed
obtains, it will be found that the Judiciary will be as dependent on the
legislative authority, as if the Legislature was to declare what shall
be their salary for the succeeding year; because, by abridging their
services at every session, we could reduce them to such a degree, as to
require a very trifling compensation indeed. Neither do I, Mr. Speaker,
consider this as a sinecure; but that will appear from the reasons
already given. The office of a judge is liable, in some degree, to the
same objection; but these kinds of objections are levelled against the
institutions themselves. We are to consider his appointment as a part of
the constitution; and if we mean to carry the constitution into full
effect, we ought to make provision for his support, adequate to the
merits and nature of the office.

Mr. AMES said that the Vice President's acceptance of his appointment
was a renunciation of every other avocation. When a man is taken from
the mass of the people for a particular office, he is entitled to a
compensation from the public; during the time in which he is not
particularly employed, he is supposed to be engaged in political
researches for the benefit of his country.

Every man is eligible, by the constitution, to be chosen to this office;
but if a competent support is not allowed, the choice will be confined
to opulent characters. This is an aristocratic idea, and contravenes the
spirit of the constitution.

Mr. SENEY.--This, sir, is a subject of a delicate nature, and the
discussion of it rather disagreeable; but I think it my duty to declare
my sentiments freely upon it. No argument has been adduced to convince
me that the Vice President ought to receive an allowance any more than
the other members of the Legislature. He cannot be compelled to perform
any duty. This is an important subject, and ought to be maturely
considered, as a great deal depends on the decision which will now take

Mr. BURKE observed that the situation of our finances was so much
embarrassed, as to dis-empower us from giving such ample salaries as we
might, under different circumstances, think necessary; that it was but
reasonable the Vice President should receive a compensation adequate to
the second officer in the Government. He will be subject to extra
expenses by living at the seat of Government, and will be obliged to
maintain his dignity. Mr. B. further suggested that the sum might not be
fully sufficient, but in our present situation, it was as much as we
could afford.

Mr. AMES, in his reply to Mr. SENEY'S observations, pointed out the
difference of the situation of the Vice President and the members of the

Mr. SEDGWICK made some additional remarks of a similar nature, and
further observed, it would be necessary that the members of the House
should return and associate with their constituents, in order to learn
their sentiments and their feelings, and witness their situation and
wants, that they may consequently resume their former occupations: but
with respect to the Vice President, his acceptance must be considered as
an abandonment of every other pursuit; he must reside at the seat of
Government, and will necessarily incur extra expenses in consequence of
his office.

Mr. STONE.--I am for giving such salaries to the officers of this
Government, as will render them easy in their situation. But we are
confined by the constitution; salaries are to be given for services
performed; they are considered in no other light. The Vice President
cannot be viewed in any other light than that of the President of the
Senate. I am for his being paid per diem, but would allow him a
generous support. I do not think five thousand dollars are sufficient; I
would allow him a larger sum, which allowance, per diem, would amount to
what would be fully adequate.

Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, said, that by the constitution the Vice
President could not be considered as a Senator, and therefore could not,
with any propriety, be paid as such. Considering him as an officer in
the Government, next in dignity to the President, and particularly
designated by the constitution, he must support a correspondent dignity
in his style of living, and consequently ought to have a competent
allowance for that purpose. He did not think five thousand dollars would
be considered too much, and would vote for that sum. The idea of a daily
allowance must be given up, as inapplicable to the situation assigned
him by the constitution. He is there recognized as Vice President, and
as such ought to be provided for. A daily pay of twenty-five or thirty
dollars would appear a large compensation; yet if Congress sat but one
hundred days, which, in all probability, would be the length of their
future sessions, it would be insufficient for his support. But suppose
it one hundred and fifty days; this, at thirty dollars per day, would
come so near the proposed salary, that the saving would be an
inconsiderable trifle; but if the session was longer, it might amount to
more than is contemplated by any gentleman.

Mr. PAGE was clearly for making the allowance by annual salary, because
the office was permanent; a daily allowance could not be relied upon,
because if the Senate sat but a few days, it would be incompetent, even
at one hundred dollars per day; whereas, if the session was of long
continuance, that sum would be more than the services could require, if
they are to hold a comparison with those of the President. If the House
agreed to strike out the five thousand dollars he would propose eight
thousand, which was not one third of what was given to the President.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--The question seems to turn merely on this point, whether
the Vice President shall receive a per diem allowance, or an annual
salary? The constitution ought to serve as the ground on which to
determine it; therefore we are to consider the point of view in which
this office is placed by that instrument. The second article calls him
into view with the President; he is to be elected in the same manner as
the President, in order to obtain the second best character in the Union
to fill the place of the first, in case it should be vacated by any
unforeseen accident. The constitution considers him a respectable
officer; he is to supersede the President, when it shall happen that the
First Magistrate dies or is removed on impeachment and conviction. These
are the great objects of his appointment. His duty as President of the
Senate is only collateral; consequently he ought to be respected, and
provided for according to the dignity and importance of his principal
character. If still inferior duties were attached to him, would it be an
argument for reducing the compensation to an equality with what ought to
be granted, if he performed such inferior duties only? I apprehend it is
a principle of this nature which urges gentlemen on to press the
amendment. I cannot see any reason for differing with the constitution
on a point in which I think it ought to guide our decision.

I think there is an affinity between the duration of the office and the
compensation. The constitution establishes the office for four years;
the compensation ought to be made commensurate with that idea.

The question on Mr. WHITE'S motion was taken and lost, as was Mr. PAGE'S
motion for striking out 5,000 and inserting 8,000 dollars.

The proposition being then agreed to,

The House proceeded to consider the following: That the daily pay of the
members of the Senate, and House of Representatives, for their
attendance at the time appointed for the meeting of their respective
Houses, and for the time they shall be going to, and returning
therefrom, allowing the travel of twenty miles for each day, be six
dollars, and of the Speaker of the House of Representatives twelve

Mr. SEDGWICK moved to amend this proposition, so as to give to the
members of the Senate six dollars per day, and five to the members of
the House of Representatives. His reason for introducing this
distinction was, that the convention had made it in the constitution.
The Senators are required to be of an advanced age, and are elected for
six years. Now this term taken out of the life of a man, passed the
middle stage, may be fairly deemed equal to a whole life; for it was to
be expected, that few, if any, of the Senators could return to their
former occupations when the period for retirement arrived; indeed after
six years spent in other pursuits, it may be questioned whether a man
would be qualified to return with any prospect of success.

He did not say six dollars was more than a compensation for their
services and expenses; but as economy ought to be particularly studied
by the Legislature, he had moved to reduce it. He hoped gentlemen would
pay some deference to the public opinion, on the present occasion; this
he thought to be in favor of small salaries. Not but a different
sentiment might prevail in some of the States; perhaps different
circumstances might warrant the difference of opinion. It was probable
that five dollars laid out in that part of the Union from which he came,
would be more advantageous to the person, than a like sum laid out at
the other extremity of the continent; but he believed, nevertheless,
that something would be left to those gentlemen out of the five dollars
per day, after their expenses were paid; but even if a little
self-denial was the consequence of this reduction, it would do but
little harm; whereas the precedent might have a salutary influence upon
the future administration of the Government.

Mr. JACKSON.--I am opposed to this discrimination, because all have
alike abandoned their particular pursuits in life, and all have equally
engaged in the service of their common country. On what principle can
this distinction then be contended for? Is it expected that a Senator
shall eat more, or drink more costly liquors, than a member of the House
of Representatives? I presume it is not; their expenses must be nearly
equal. I can see but one reason that can be assigned for this
difference, which is, that the Senate may sit longer than the House; but
considering they are to receive pay accordingly, this reason is of no
weight. The duties of both Houses are equal, and the pay ought to be

I will submit to the gentleman who brought this motion forward, whether
it is not much worse to the personal interest of men in business to be
taken off in the prime of life, than after the successful pursuit of
some profession at an advanced age, when the natural and proper time of
retirement arrives; and if so, his argument falls to the ground. But if
the reverse is true, it will not support his motion, because, if we look
around, our senses will inform us that this House contains as venerable
and aged members as any within the walls of the Senate; thus again we
are upon a footing. Now, unless gentlemen mean that we should depress
ourselves, and thereby set the Senate above us, I cannot conceive what
foundation there will be for a discrimination.

Mr. LEE.--I am in favor of the motion for discriminating between the
Senate and this House, because the constitution has done it in a variety
of modes. The qualifications are superior; a Senator must be a man
advanced in life, and have been nine years a citizen of the United
States; while a younger man who has been but seven years a citizen, may
obtain a seat in this House.

The constitution has made a difference in the mode of election. The
Senators are selected with peculiar care; they are the purified choice
of the people, and the best men are likely to be preferred by such a
choice; those who have shown the fullest proofs of their attachment to
the public interest, and evinced to their countrymen their superior
abilities. In order to bring forth such characters to partake of our
public councils, I think every motive of honor and of interest ought to
be called into action. If men are not brought forth who will maintain
their own dignity, and promote the public interest by a firm and
independent conduct, regardless of every risk, regardless of the voice
of calumny or popular clamor, our Government will soon lose its
importance and its energy. I contemplate, Mr. Speaker, the Senate as a
barrier between the Executive and this branch of the Legislature,
shielding the people from any apprehension of being attacked by an
aspiring Magistracy on the one hand, and on the other from being
desolated by the anarchy often generated by a time-servingness to
veering popularity. We shall gain these desirable objects at a trifling
price, if we make a distinction of two or three dollars per day--a
trifling allowance indeed to our most worthy sages. But, said the
gentleman last up, there are as young men in the Senate as in this
House; although there be, the time will come when none but the most
venerable and respectable of our citizens, men whose hoary heads are
silvered over with the honors of an experienced old age, men illustrious
by their virtues and capacity, will have the public confidence ensured
to them by the purity and notoriety of their principles.

Now is the time to deliberate and view every future circumstance which
may arise from our decision; the importance of this principle hereafter,
is infinitely above every advantage which the present members may derive
from it. By it alone you may secure dignity and permanency to the
Government, and happiness under its administration.

It is with difficulty, Mr. Speaker, that you can draw forth men of age
and much experience to participate in the political concerns of their
country. Retirement and reflection are incident to that period of life;
they are sought for, and, when obtained, they are highly prized. The
wise and virtuous sage, who from the monitions of nature has discovered
that his remaining years will be but few, must be incited by every
motive that can operate on the human heart to continue those labors
which he seeks to bury the remembrance of in the deeps of solitude.
Honor may stimulate the ingenuous mind; but interest is a great reason
of action, and may be usefully employed to influence old age.

What I have now urged is in favor of the constitutional distinction; I
approve of the amendment, but I wish the sum had been left out, that the
provision might be determined according to the sense of the House, and
not affect the principal question of discrimination. I am satisfied,
sir, that there is no heart within these walls but beats with patriotic
ardor, and has determined to pursue the noblest object, the public good.
Nothing but the anxiety I feel for this, as connected with the present
question, could have induced me to trouble the House with a repetition
of what was dilated upon, on a former occasion. Let it then be
considered, that on our decision depend the dignity of the Legislature,
and the perpetuity of that Government, the glory and the hopes of the
people of America, which, if now disappointed, must be succeeded by
confusion and gloomy despair.

Mr. WHITE.--I object, sir, to a discrimination. I cannot perceive that
difference in the constitution alluded to by the gentlemen. Among the
Senators and the people in some of the ancient commonwealths, an
artificial and political distinction was established, which was the case
at Rome, in particular. There the Senators were considered as possessing
some degree of divinity, and the rest of the people were not admitted to
associate with them. Can it be supposed that the name of Senators will
render those members superior to their fellow-citizens? I cannot see any
difference in the general estimation between a Senator and a
Representative, however great their sentiments may vary in their
respective States; and cannot conceive why any discrimination should be
made in their allowances.

The independence of the members of this House may be injured by such a
distinction; and the Senate, at some future day, may have it in their
power to carry points, and be enabled to prolong the session, when it
may be of great inconvenience to the House.

Mr. MADISON was of opinion that a discrimination was necessary; he
observed, that it had been evidently contemplated by the constitution,
to distinguish in favor of the Senate, that men of abilities and firm
principles, whom the love and custom of a retired life might render
averse to the fatigues of a public one, may be induced to devote the
experience of years, and the acquisitions of study, to the service of
their country. And unless something of this kind is adopted, it may be
difficult to obtain proper characters to fill the Senate, as men of
enterprise and genius will naturally prefer a seat in the House,
considering it to be a more conspicuous situation.

Mr. MOORE did not see the propriety of the discrimination proposed; the
business of each House is equal, or if there is a difference in their
legislative concerns, it is in favor of the House. He had no idea of
giving the public money for such an idle purpose as the support of a
fanciful dignity and superiority. His idea of the business was, each
member ought to be compensated for his services, and nothing further.

Mr. VINING.--The arguments brought forward by my honorable friend from
Virginia, (Mr. LEE,) have not proved satisfactory to my mind, that his
favorite opinion with respect to discrimination is right. He has told us
that the sages of America will be selected, and placed in this
distinguished situation. True, sir, I expect venerable and respectable
characters will find their way into every branch of the Government; but
when I consider the mode in which the Senate is elected, I apprehend we
may have there men whose wealth has created them the influence necessary
to get in. If any thing is to be expected by this refined choice, it is
that men of rank and opulence will draw the regard of the small and
select circle of a State Legislature; while the Representatives in this
House, being the choice of their fellow-citizens, among whom rank and
dignity are rather unpopular, will consist of men in middling
circumstances. Now if any thing is to be drawn from arguments like
these, it is in favor of this House. But the whole of this is a subject
on which we are better able to decide from our feelings, than from our

I am against the motion for another reason, sir; it goes to reduce the
compensation, which I think is already set too low, to furnish good
security for the happy administration of the Government. In considering
this subject, there are two important objects necessary to engage the
attention of the Legislature. First, that the compensation be not made
an object for indigence to pursue; and second, that it be not so low as
to throw the business of legislation into the hands of rich and aspiring
nabobs, but such as to compensate a man in the middle grade of life.
These are generally men of business, who are fittest to conduct the
concerns of their fellow-citizens. Now, in compensating this class of
men, (for I would have the compensation proportioned to this class,) I
do not take into consideration the sacrifices they make, by dedicating
their time and abilities to the service of their country; but I confine
myself merely to a compensation for their time and services. If the
compensation is made an object for indigence, we shall have the sessions
protracted to an extreme length, and the expense will be increased; if
we make the reward barely commensurate with the services, you will have
men of abilities, who will despatch the public business, and return to
their private pursuits. If the business is done without pay, it may be
productive of the most enormous evils. Were every member of the British
House of Commons allowed a thousand guineas a year, they would be less
venal; we should not find them purchasing their seats, and selling their
votes, for places and pensions. The very money given in this way would
furnish a handsome compensation for every member, and add something
considerable, annually, to their sinking fund.

I apprehend, in establishing a compensation, we shall put it in the
power of gentlemen, while here, to live as independent as they can at
home. Perhaps I hazard a conjecture, when I say there is not a gentleman
on this floor, I am certain there are not many, but have found, from
experience, that six dollars per day is adequate to that object;
certainly it cannot be the wish of any man to make the public service
unpleasant, by rendering the situation of the members of Congress less
eligible than a solitary retirement from patriotic pursuits would be.
Any man who lives decently, will find six dollars a day not more than
sufficient to defray the expense of a casual residence in a splendid

The experiment has been made. If a gentleman keeps a servant and his
horses, and means to reciprocate the civilities he receives, I again
assert the compensation is inadequate. It is true, we may live for two
dollars a day; but how? There is a dignity attached to the situation of
a Representative, with respect to his country; and the compensation
might be seven or eight dollars per day, without granting the members
more than a bare compensation. From all these considerations, I am
induced to hope that gentlemen will indulge a little, and rather support
an increase, than a diminution of pay.

As to the discrimination, it has been once decided against by a
considerable majority; I have no doubt but it will now meet a similar
fate; but be the decision of the House what it may, with respect to the
quantum, or manner of compensation, I shall never fear to deliver my
sentiments. On the present occasion, I wish them known to my
constituents, and I am much mistaken if they are not coincident with
their own.

Mr. SENEY.--I am sorry, sir, that the question of discrimination has
been brought before the House. Can any reason be assigned for making
this distinction? Are the services of the Senate of more importance than
those of the Representatives? I think not. Gentlemen have brought
forward the constitution upon this occasion, but I conceive it to be
opposite to the very principle they mean to advocate. This will destroy
the independence of the several branches, which is to be strictly
observed. If a discrimination should be established in favor of the
Senate, will it not naturally tend to create a sense of inferiority in
the minds of the Representatives? And the time may come when they may
find it their interest to become subservient to the views of the Senate.
I feel so sensibly, sir, the impropriety and unconstitutionality of this
measure, that had I the most distant idea it would comport with the
sentiments of a majority of the members of this House, I should call for
the yeas and nays on a division of the House upon the question. But as I
do not conceive that to be the case, I shall waive the proposition for
the present.

Mr. SEDGWICK said, that whenever he had a motion to make before the
House, he endeavored to satisfy himself of the reasonableness and
propriety of it. If he thought it proper, he did not consider the mode
of decision that might be adopted of any material consequence; but in
determining the present question, he hoped the yeas and nays would not
be called. There is a principle in mankind which revolts at the idea of
inferiority; a proposition, for example, shall be made, that has for its
object the establishment of a superiority (howsoever necessary;) that
principle is alarmed and excited to opposition; to discuss such a
question as the present, we ought to be divested of every partiality and
prejudice, that might bias our judgment in deciding an affair that will
not bear the test of reason and experience. I conceive the precedence of
the Senate has been clearly pointed out by the Constitution. There are
grades in society which are necessary to their very existence. This is a
self-evident proposition; it is recognized by every civilized nation,
and by the House in the report before us. For what reason have we made a
difference between the President and Vice President? Is it not on
account of his superior station and his dignity? And between the Vice
President and the Senate? This distinction is likewise established by
the constitution in the difference of the terms for which the members of
the Senate and those of the House of Representatives are chosen. The
time for which the Senate is chosen, demonstrates the propriety of a
difference being made in the pay they ought to receive; the duties of
their office require they should renounce every other avocation; their
attention will be wholly taken up in the discharge of public business;
therefore they should have an adequate and an independent allowance. The
generality of the members being so far advanced in years, will drop
every idea of engaging any more in their several professions, after
having once engaged in the service of their country. Their age, wisdom,
and experience, all warrant this discrimination. He concluded by saying,
that the real dignity of the House was, he thought, so far from being
diminished by adopting the proposition, that he conceived it was
essentially connected with it.

Mr. STONE thought the House ought not to assist in elevating one branch
of the Government more above the other than the constitution had done.
This had given influence to the Senate by a negative in the cases of
treaties and appointments. It had given importance to the House, by
vesting them with the sole power of originating money bills. But both
these powers could be exercised without a discrimination being made in
the pay of the members; therefore he inferred that it was not
contemplated by the constitution to make any such distinction.

A discrimination may eventually operate to the public injury; the House
of Representatives may be desirous of terminating the session, but the
Senate, finding the compensation they receive quite agreeable, may be
inclined to protract it. He thought the true way of deciding on this
subject, was to make the same allowance to both, and let it be such as
not to induce them to protract the session on the one hand, or have a
tendency to hurry over the business on the other.

Mr. JACKSON said, in reply to the inquiry of Mr. SEDGWICK--"Why have we
made a difference between the President and the Vice President?" that
the whole of the President's time would be taken up in the duties of his
station; that the Vice President might retire to his farm whenever he
thought proper. We refer, said he, to the wisdom of the Senate; but how
is this superior wisdom to be discerned? If on this account a
distinction is to be made, it necessarily follows that a difference
should be made between the members of this House, and those of the
Senate. We cannot be too cautious how we establish an undue
pre-eminence, and give an influence and importance to one branch of the
Legislature over the other. All governments incline to despotism, as
naturally as rivers run into the sea. Despotism makes its way gradually,
by slow and imperceptible steps; despotic power is never established all
at once; we shall, ere we are aware, get beyond the gulf, and then we
shall be astonished how we reached there. The services of the Senate are
not more arduous than ours; their proper business is legislation, and I
will never consent to any discrimination. If I imagined the question
would be determined in favor of discrimination, I would call the yeas
and nays, and should it be determined in favor of it, I will still call
them on purpose that my constituents may see that I have voted against a
measure which I look upon as injurious to the Government.

Mr. PAGE.--If he thought the discrimination proposed would have the
tendency which some gentlemen apprehended, he would be the last man on
the floor to support it. He would be as careful as any man how he
extended the influence of any part of the Government, or gave it the
least inclination towards aristocracy. But he apprehended gentlemen were
deceived in their principle--he did not believe the doctrine that money
confers importance, and he wished to evince to the world, that money,
under this Government would have no such effect. The Senate having more
duties to perform, may require a larger pecuniary gratification; but
this will not add to their importance. It will require something of this
kind to stimulate gentlemen to undertake the service; for his part, he
might consent to come here for two years, in order to assist in public
business, but no inducement, hardly, could engage him to undertake it
for six years. On this consideration, he thought the Senate ought to
have annual salaries, and to such an amount as would render their
situation independent and eligible.

If gentlemen are afraid of an aristocracy, they ought to be careful not
to make the compensation too low, so as to exclude men of middling
fortunes; the men of rank and distinguished opulence might serve without
any pecuniary compensation; but the Government would not be safe, if it
was exclusively in such hands. He wished to discriminate in favor of the
Senate, but he would rather increase their pay to eight dollars, than
reduce that of the members of this House, while he considered it but a
moderate compensation.

The question on Mr. SEDGWICK'S motion was taken, and lost by a
considerable majority.

The House having now gone through the report, it was _Ordered_, that a
bill or bills be brought in, pursuant thereto, and that Messrs. BURKE,
STONE, and MOORE, be a committee to prepare and bring in the same: with
instructions to insert a clause or clauses, making provision for a
reasonable compensation to the Secretary of the Senate, and Clerk of the
House of Representatives, respectively, for their services.

After which the House adjourned.


_Western Lands._

The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House on
the state of the Union, Mr. BOUDINOT in the chair; and, after some time
spent therein, the committee rose and reported that they had had the
state of the Union under consideration, and come to a resolution
thereupon, which was read and then delivered in at the clerk's table,
where the same was twice read, and agreed to by the House, as follows:

      _Resolved_, That an act of Congress ought to pass for
      establishing a Land Office, and for regulating the terms
      and manner of granting vacant and unappropriated lands, the
      property of the United States; that the said office be
      under the superintendence of the Governor of the Western
      Territory; that the land to be disposed of be confined to
      the following limits, viz:

      That the tracts or parcels to be disposed of to any one
      person, shall not exceed ---- acres; that the price to be
      required for the same shall be ---- per acre; and that
      every person actually settled within the said limits shall
      be entitled to the pre-emption of a quantity not exceeding
      ---- acres, including his settlement.

_Ordered_, That a bill or bills be brought in, pursuant to the said
resolution, and that Mr. SCOTT, Mr. SYLVESTER, and Mr. MOORE, do prepare
and bring in the same.

THURSDAY, July 23.

_Home Department._

On motion of Mr. VINING, the House resolved itself into a Committee of
the Whole on the state of the Union, Mr. BOUDINOT in the chair.

Mr. VINING introduced a resolution for the adoption of the committee, by
which it is declared: That an Executive department ought to be
established, and to be denominated the Home Department; the head of
which to be called the Secretary of the United States for the Home
Department; whose duty it shall be to correspond with the several
States, and to see to the execution of the laws of the Union; to keep
the great seal, and affix the same to all public papers when necessary;
to keep the lesser seal, and to affix it to commissions, &c.; to make
out commissions, and enregister the same; to keep authentic copies of
all public acts, &c., and transmit the same to the several States; to
procure the acts of the several States, and report on the same when
contrary to the laws of the United States; to take into his custody the
archives of the late Congress; to report to the President plans for the
protection and improvement of manufactures, agriculture, and commerce;
to obtain a geographical account of the several States, their rivers,
towns, roads, &c.; to report what post-roads shall be established; to
receive and record the census; to receive reports respecting the Western
Territory; to receive the models and specimens presented by inventors
and authors; to enter all books for which patents are granted; to issue
patents, &c.; and, in general, to do and attend to all such matters and
things as he may be directed to do by the President.

Mr. BENSON objected to some of the duties mentioned in the resolution.
He thought the less the Government corresponded with particular States
the better, and there could be no necessity for an officer to see to
the execution of the laws of the United States, when there was a
Judiciary instituted with adequate powers.

Mr. WHITE was not convinced that there was a necessity for establishing
a separate department for all or any of the duties contained in the
resolution. The correspondence with the States belonged to the
Executive. To see to the execution of the laws was the duty of the
Judiciary. The great seal might be kept by the Secretary of Foreign
Affairs; the lesser seal might be deposited in the same hands.
Commissions might be made out by the departments to which the officer is
connected. The Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House might
transmit the public acts, and keep records thereof. What have Congress
to do with the acts of States? If they interfere with the constitutional
powers of the Government, the Judges will prevent their operation. The
papers of the late Congress may be distributed among the officers to
which they relate; the rest may be deposited with the officers of
Congress. The want of the reports on manufactures, agriculture, and
commerce, may be supplied by Congress. The post-roads may be left to the
Postmaster General. The census must be returned to Congress, and they
will preserve it among their files. And it can hardly be thought
necessary to establish a great department for the purpose of receiving
the models, specimens, and books presented by authors and inventors. If
none of these things are requisite to be done by a great department, why
should the United States incur the expense which such an arrangement
must necessarily draw along with it.

Mr. HUNTINGTON thought the Secretary of Foreign Affairs was not so much
overcharged with business but that he might attend to the major part of
the duties mentioned in the resolution.

Mr. VINING said, he had waited until the great Executive departments
were established; but none of those had embraced the duties contained in
his proposition, which he conceived to be of great importance; many of
the duties were as essential as those of any other department, except
the Treasury. As for their belonging to the Executive, as was said by
the gentleman from Virginia, he admitted it; but they were,
nevertheless, as proper to be put into the hands of a principal officer
under the President, as the War office, or office of Foreign Affairs;
the duties of these were especially within the Executive department of
the Government. He conceived that the President ought to be relieved
from the inferior duties of his station, by officers assigned to attend
to them under his inspection; he could then, with a mind free and
unembarrassed with the minutiæ of business, attend to the operations of
the whole machine.

If the office was admitted to be necessary, and he was certain the
performance of the duties were useful and essential, the expense could
be no solid objection, because the information it would furnish would
more than counterbalance that article.

The question he conceived to be reduced to this, whether a confidential
officer would not be more useful than any other, and whether the duties
could be distributed among the officers already instituted. For his
part, he conceived most of them foreign to either of those officers; and
that they could not be performed with advantage any other way than by an
officer appointed specially for the purpose. He thought every gentleman
would admit that the duties were important, and he assured them that his
only reason for bringing the motion forward was, to provide for the
public good. He had no personal motives in pressing it; he disclaimed
every idea of serving any particular man by the arrangement, and rested
it solely upon its merits.

Mr. SEDGWICK believed the honorable gentleman in his assertions, that he
had no personal motive in pressing this business. He believed that he
thought it essential, and if his sentiments were the same, he would join
the gentleman in supporting the motion; but after duly considering the
subject, he was inclined to believe that the office was unnecessary, and
that it would be squandering the public money, at a time when the
greatest economy is requisite. He thought the principal part of the
duties might be assigned to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and he
would, if the committee negatived the present motion, introduce another
for that purpose.

Mr. GERRY thought the burthens of the people would be sufficiently great
in providing the supplies absolutely necessary for the support of the
Government; therefore it would be improper to add expenses which might
possibly be avoided. The people are viewing the proceedings of Congress
with an attentive solicitude, and if they observe that we erect offices
for which there is no apparent necessity, they will be apt to think we
are providing sinecures for men whom we favor; they will reluctantly pay
what is extracted from their earnings to a Government which they think
is regardless of economy. They will suspect a further view in the change
of Government. They will suppose that we contemplate the establishment
of a monarchy, by raising round the Executive a phalanx of such men as
must be inclined to favor those of whom they hold their places.

Mr. VINING.--Why do gentlemen say that such an office is unnecessary,
when they are forced to admit that all the duties are essential? Or how
can they say it is more expensive to establish it in this way than in
another? Suppose these duties distributed in the manner which some
gentlemen have mentioned, is it not fairly to be presumed that the
departments to which any of them are attached, will require an extra pay
for these extra services? If so, will there be any economy in this mode
of procedure? All that is to be wished for, is to have a confidential
person employed, let his salary be what you please: if it is not worth
fifteen hundred dollars per annum, let it be five hundred. But it would
be better to have a principal to manage the business than to have it
consigned to clerks in the other departments.

Mr. LAWRENCE said that something was necessary to be done with respect
to the business brought forward by the honorable gentleman from
Delaware. He conceived that an officer of the rolls, or some inferior
officer, ought to be appointed to transact the business detailed in the
resolution; he did not insist upon making a great department.

Mr. SEDGWICK agreed with the gentleman from New York; but, he thought,
the business might be thrown into some other department, and save to the
Union the expense of the one which the gentleman from Delaware wished to
establish, by the name of the Home Department. He thought the resolution
proposed altogether so improper, that he hoped the committee would rise.

A desultory conversation arose, whether the committee should decide upon
the resolution or not; after which a question was taken on the rising of
the committee, and decided in the negative.

Then the question was put on the first part of Mr. VINING'S proposition,
viz: "That an Executive Department ought to be established, to be
denominated the Home Department;" and lost by a considerable majority.

FRIDAY, July 24.

_Committee of Ways and Means._

Mr. FITZSIMONS.--The finances of America have frequently been mentioned
in this House as being very inadequate to the demands. I have ever been
of a different opinion, and do believe that the funds of this country,
if properly drawn into operation, will be equal to every claim. The
estimate of supplies necessary for the current year appears very great
from a report on your table, and which report has found its way into the
public newspapers. I said on a former occasion, and I repeat it now,
notwithstanding what is set forth in the estimate, that a revenue of
three millions of dollars in specie, will enable us to provide every
supply necessary to support the Government, and pay the interest and
instalments on the foreign and domestic debt. If we wish to have more
particular information on these points, we ought to appoint a Committee
of Ways and Means, to whom, among other things, the estimate of supplies
may be referred, and this ought to be done speedily, if we mean to do it
this session.

Mr. GERRY said, the estimate reported by a committee was as accurate as
possible. From this it appeared, that eight millions of dollars would be
necessary for the support of Government, for the interest and
instalments becoming due, and for the arrearages already due. He
remarked, that we had been already dunned on this subject by foreigners,
and that Congress would have to make provision for their payment. If
three millions of dollars were employed to this use, it would only be
carrying the arrearages into another year; but, as they must be paid at
last, he recommended making an immediate exertion as a better way of
giving satisfaction than procrastination would be. He thought it best to
lay the real situation of this country before the House, and not
endeavor to make things appear better than they really are.

With respect to the publication of the estimate in the papers, he knew
nothing about it; he admitted that it was such a one as ought not to be
published by order of Congress. He approved of the idea of appointing a
Committee of Ways and Means, if it were only to ascertain what part of
the interest on the debt should be paid, and what of the principal
extinguished within the current year, from the funds already provided.

FRIDAY, July 31.

Mr. SCOTT, from the committee appointed for the purpose, brought in a
bill for establishing a Land Office for the Western Territory, which was
read and laid on the table.

On motion,

      _Resolved_, That a standing committee be appointed to
      examine the enrolled bills, and to present the same to the
      President for his approbation and signature.

Messrs. WHITE and PARTRIDGE were accordingly appointed.

Mr. WHITE, of the committee appointed to examine into the measures taken
by Congress and the State of Virginia, respecting the lands reserved for
the use of the officers and soldiers of said State, &c., brought in a
report, which was read and laid on the table.

The House then resumed the consideration of the amendments agreed upon
in Committee of the Whole, to the bill for registering and clearing
vessels; which being finished, the bill was ordered to be engrossed for
a third reading on Monday next.

A message from the Senate informed the House that they had passed the
bill for establishing the Treasury Department, with amendments; to which
they desired the concurrence of the House.

Mr. SEDGWICK, from the committee appointed for the purpose, brought in a
bill to provide for the safe keeping of the acts, records, and great
seal of the United States, for the publication, preservation, and
authentication of the acts of Congress, &c.; which was read and laid on
the table.

MONDAY, August 3.

A message from the Senate informed the House that they had passed the
bill for the establishment of light-houses, beacons, and buoys, with
several amendments; to which they desired the concurrence of this House.

The amendments of the Senate were immediately considered and agreed to.

The engrossed bill for regulating the coasting trade was read a third
time; and, on motion, recommitted to a Committee of the Whole, to be
taken up to-morrow.

The bill for establishing a Land Office for the Western Territory was
read a second time, and made the order of the day for Thursday.

The bill to provide for the safe keeping of the acts, records, great
seal, &c., was read, and made the order of the day for Friday.

The report of the committee on amendments to the constitution was, on
motion of Mr. MADISON, made the order of the day for Wednesday sennight.

Mr. BENSON made a motion as follows:

      _Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to join with a
      committee of the Senate to be appointed for the purpose, to
      consider of and report when it will be convenient and
      proper that an adjournment of the present session of
      Congress should take place; and to consider and report such
      business now before Congress, necessary to be finished
      before the adjournment, and such as may be conveniently
      postponed to the next session; and also to consider and
      report such matters not now before Congress, but which it
      will be necessary should be considered and determined by
      Congress before an adjournment.

TUESDAY, August 4.

_Compensation of Members._

Mr. BURKE, from the committee appointed for the purpose, brought in a
bill for allowing a compensation to the members of both Houses, and to
their respective officers; this bill provides that the compensation
shall be as follows, viz:

To each member of the Senate and House, six dollars per day.

The Speaker of the House, twelve dollars per day.

To the Secretary of the Senate, and Clerk of the House, each fifteen
hundred dollars a year, and two dollars a day each during the session of
the Legislature; one principal clerk to each, at three dollars a day
during the session; one engrossing clerk to each, at two dollars a day
during the session.

Serjeant-at-arms, three dollars a day during the session.

Doorkeeper to the House and Senate, each seven hundred and thirty
dollars a year.

Assistant doorkeepers, during the session, one dollar and fifty cents a
day each. This bill was laid on the table.

WEDNESDAY, August 5.

The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the
bill for allowing compensation to the members of the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States, and to the officers of both
Houses, Mr. BOUDINOT in the chair.

Mr. GOODHUE moved to strike out six dollars, as the pay of each member
per diem.

Mr. CARROLL inquired, if it was not out of order for the committee to
alter principles, after they had been settled by the House.

Mr. PAGE wanted to know whether the gentleman meant to increase or
diminish the sum, for he presumed it was not intended to be left a blank
altogether; but he hoped the House would do neither. It had been
settled, after mature deliberation, at six dollars; the House certainly
thought that sum enough, and if it was more, that it would be too much;
he was satisfied with this determination, and would adhere to it.
Perhaps the gentleman meant to strike out the six dollars, in order to
make a discrimination between the members of this House and the Senate;
if so, he had better move to increase the compensation of the Senators,
and here he would second him, because he thought their services required

He would once more mention his fears relative to a small sum. He dreaded
the abuse of economy, and was suspicious that a parsimonious provision
would throw the Government into the hands of bad men, by which the
people might lose every thing they now held dear. He thought few would
serve for a smaller sum than he would, and he was confident the
allowance was as moderate as any man could expect. Gentlemen who come a
great distance are put to considerable expense, and their domestic
arrangements destroyed: instead of laying up money by their attendance
here, it was almost certain they would spend part of their private

If it is meant that the republic should be provided with good and
wholesome laws, a proper provision should be made to bring into the
councils of the Union such men as are qualified to secure them well; it
is not to be expected that the spirit of patriotism will lead a man into
the perpetual habit of making such exertions and sacrifices as are too
often necessary in the hour of danger. No man ought to be called into
the services of his country, and receive less than will defray the
expenses he incurs by performing his duty. If he does, the public
affairs, in the time of tranquillity, will get exclusively into the
hands of nabobs and aspiring men, who will lay the foundation of
aristocracy, and reduce their equals to the capacity of menial servants
or slaves.

Mr. SEDGWICK seconded the motion for striking out. He had endeavored to
view this subject impartially, uninfluenced by any local considerations
or circumstances; and under these impressions, he was led to believe,
from all the information he had received, whether from abroad, or from
an examination in his own mind, of the effects it would produce, that it
would be expedient to establish the compensation at a lower sum. He
really did not see any solid ground for the apprehensions which his
worthy friend from Virginia (Mr. PAGE) had discovered. He had heard it
often said, that if salaries and allowances to public officers were
small, you would not be able to command the services of good men; but it
was contradicted by the fact. He would instance the late appointments,
and ask gentlemen whether they conceived better men could have been
procured, if the compensation had been doubled? If it was fair to
reason by experience and analogy, he should conclude there would be no
difficulty in procuring good and respectable men, to serve in this
House, at a less rate than six dollars per day. He had never yet
observed that men of small property shrunk from the expense of serving
in the councils of their country.

He thought the practice of the States was opposed to so high a
compensation; many of the State Legislatures allowed their members a
dollar and ten shillings a day, and yet they were served by good men.

He had been informed that it was thought by men of sense and
intelligence, that although six dollars might not be too great an
allowance for the services of the members of this House, yet,
considering the present circumstances of the people, it would be good
policy to reduce the same. He inclined to this opinion himself.

Impressed with these ideas, and knowing that it was generally the
opinion of the people, that six dollars was more than a moderate
compensation to the members of this House, he should support the motion
for striking out with a view to reduce the sum.

Mr. VINING said, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. CARROLL) had taken the
subject up in a proper point of view, by inquiring into the point of
order. He begged gentlemen to consider the manner in which the subject
had been discussed already--twice in the House, and twice in committee;
every decision had been the same; why should the point so often
determined be again agitated? It is contrary to all parliamentary
proceeding, and the House will never know when principles are settled.

He was certain that six dollars was but a moderate compensation, if a
member is to reside at the metropolis of the United States. He would
admit that they could live for less, in some more central part of the
country; but the gentlemen from the eastward should recollect that a
small allowance would be an argument for removing Congress from this
city, and when that time arrived, he should consent to a lower sum, but
not till then.

Mr. FITZSIMONS did not expect to hear the subject discussed again; he
thought it unnecessary, because he believed every gentleman would decide
more upon his own feelings than upon the arguments that could be
adduced; he would, however, just remind the committee, that six dollars
was about the average of what the members from the several States had
under the late confederation.

Mr. SEDGWICK.--According to the observation made by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania, it will be deemed insolent to reason on this subject: what
I offered before, I brought forward with candor; but shall we be
precluded from debate, because a subject has been once discussed? Sir,
when I moved, some days ago, to reduce the pay of the members to five
dollars, I was rather indifferent about it; but since then, I have been
so well convinced of the necessity there is for such a measure, that I
cannot decline pressing it once more upon the committee.

Mr. STONE thought the public mind would not be much influenced by the
trifling difference between five and six dollars. They pay greater
regard to the decisions of the House, on more important subjects. The
gentleman from Massachusetts says his correspondents inform him, that
the public mind is agitated on this subject; if we are to judge what is
the state of the public mind from what our friends say, I should be apt
to think the public mind quite unconcerned on the present question; for
among all my correspondents, not one has deigned to notice it.

The question was now taken on striking out, and there appeared sixteen
in favor of it, and thirty-five against it; so the motion passed in the

Mr. MADISON renewed the motion for making a difference in the pay of the
members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, which was also

Mr. GOODHUE moved to strike out twelve dollars, the pay assigned the
Speaker, and insert ten.

Mr. PAGE hoped his motion would share the fate of the two last; he was
certain that twelve dollars was not more than a compensation for the
Speaker's services; three times the sum would not induce him to accept
such a situation.

Mr. BURKE was against the motion, because he thought that twelve dollars
was not a reward for the Speaker's labor. The Speaker of the House of
Commons in England has an annual salary of £8000 sterling.

Mr. CARROLL thought the Chair of the House of Representatives was one of
the most important and dignified offices under the Government, and as
such ought to be provided for.

This motion was lost by a great majority.

The committee rose and reported progress.

THURSDAY, August 6.

_Compensation of Members._

The House then again went into a Committee of the Whole, on the bill for
allowing a compensation to the members of Congress; and after some time
spent therein, the committee rose and reported the bill as amended: then
the House proceeded to consider the same.

Mr. THATCHER moved to insert five dollars instead of six, as the pay of
the members.

Mr. PARTRIDGE observed, that money was more valuable now than it had
been some years past; if, therefore, six dollars was the average of what
the delegates received heretofore, five dollars was now equal to that
sum. In short, he was convinced that six dollars was too much, and in
justice to his constituents, and his own conscience, he would vote
against it, and perpetuate his vote by calling the yeas and nays upon
the question.

Mr. GERRY.--I was not present when this subject was last before the
House, therefore I cannot say what was understood on this point; but I
have seen some account of the debate in the papers, from which I am led
to believe, that gentlemen view this matter in a very narrow point of
light. It appears to me a question, in which one's popularity is more
concerned than any thing else. Gentlemen perhaps suppose that by voting
for five instead of six dollars, they will establish such a character
for economy and patriotism as will redound to their honor; but I can
easily conceive, that men of knowledge and sentiment, yes, our
constituents in general, will discover, in a glaring light, the ruinous
consequences of such a measure in a very short period. The difference of
pay, as it now stands in the bill, and what my colleague has moved for,
is one dollar a day, and on this important question the yeas and nays
are to be called. For my part, I shall deliver my sentiments freely; I
am willing to leave the question to the people to decide; I care not
about the pay, and I can assure them I never wish to have a seat in this
House again: but I wish to guard against the subversion of the public
liberty--against the introduction of pensions--against exposing the
Legislature to corruption.

I would have gentlemen consider the principles upon which they are to
pay the President, their Judges and themselves; the constitution says,
the members of this House and the Senate shall receive a compensation
for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the
Treasury of the United States. The President shall receive, at stated
times, a compensation for his services, neither to be increased nor
diminished; the Judges shall, at stated times, receive for their
services a compensation, not to be diminished during their continuance
in office; hence it appears that the provision for the three branches is
to be made on the same principle, namely a compensation for their
services. Now, though it is certainly a little embarrassing that we
should have to estimate the value of our own services, yet we are bound
to do it, and that upon a fixed principle. It has been said, that the
Parliament of Britain receive no pay. This may be the case, but if they
examine back, they will find that pay, of a mark per day, was regularly
established for them. If we consider the difference of the value of
money two or three centuries ago, we shall find this no inconsiderable
allowance. But the policy of the British ministry has been, of late, to
extend the influence of the Crown; the pay of members has dropped into
disuse; but every one knows by what means a majority in Parliament is
obtained and secured. Now, such is the extent of these means, that I
venture to say, two important members of the House of Commons receive
more per annum than the whole compensation given to the members of both
Houses of Congress. I leave it to the world to judge, whether the
people are likely to be better served by men who receive their wages of
the Monarch, and who own themselves the servants of the Crown, or by
those who are immediately paid by and dependent upon themselves. While
Britain had funds enough to support this plan, they did tolerably well;
but when the evil extended itself, and they feared they could no longer
continue it without having recourse to other means, they bethought
themselves of unconstitutional ones; they were desirous of obtaining a
revenue out of this country, and placing upon our establishment men whom
they could not provide for at home. This cause lost them America, and
this cause will lose them every dependency, where they attempt to play
the like game.

From this view, the importance of an independent Legislature may be
seen. Will gentlemen then say, that to gratify a thoughtless regard for
economy, they will risk the most invaluable part of the Government? If
gentlemen say it is justice to their constituents, I am willing to
appeal to their tribunal; let them know the reason upon which we act,
and I will abide by their determination; but I am against being
influenced by an apprehension that the people will disapprove our
conduct. I am not afraid of being left out, even if it were thought a
disgrace to be left out. I would risk that disgrace rather than agree to
an establishment which I am convinced would end in the ruin of the
liberties of my fellow-citizens. It would give my heart more
satisfaction to fall the victim of popular resentment, than to establish
my popularity at the expense of their dearest interest.

As I mentioned before, the principle upon which we fix our own pay must
go through the other branches of the Government. Your President ought to
be retrenched to 16 or 18,000 dollars; your judges must be kept poor;
and I leave gentlemen to consider the happy consequences arising from a
dependent and corrupt Judiciary. Your Legislature may be corrupt, and
your Executive aspiring; but a firm, independent Judiciary will stop the
course of devastation, at least it will shield individuals from rapine
and injustice; but remove this security, and tyranny and oppression will
rush forward as a flood, and overwhelm the country.

It has been said, that the proposed compensation bears no proportion to
the pay of the members of the State Legislatures; let me ask, do members
of the State Legislatures forego their business? Do they leave their
State and relinquish their occupations? Does the lawyer neglect his
client? Does the merchant forego his commerce, or the farmer his
agriculture? No, sir, the short period they are in session, and the
opportunity of being in the vicinity affords them of going home, even
during their sitting, enables them to pursue their other avocations,
while performing their duties in the Legislature. But are not gentlemen
who come from the most distant parts of the Union, compelled to
relinquish every thing to attend here? The representation from the
States is so small, that a member can be ill spared at any time; his
absence must give him pain, when even that absence is necessary, but
cannot be often allowed. In short, I would have the allowance such, as
to secure the services of men of abilities in every rank of life; or if
that cannot be obtained, I would have all that part of the bill struck
out, which relates to a compensation for the services of the members of
this House.

Mr. PAGE said, if gentlemen were satisfied that five dollars per day was
enough to compensate them and defray their expenses, because they
resided in a part of the Union where every thing was to be procured so
much cheaper, they might receive that sum and leave the residue in the
Treasury; by this means they would demonstrate their love of economy and

Mr. VINING thought gentlemen who were satisfied with four or five
dollars, might move to amend the clause, so as to make it read "not
exceeding six dollars per day," and then they might charge as much less
as they deemed prudent.

Mr. BOUDINOT said, that whatever measures he supported, he did it upon
principle, not from a desire of acquiring popularity; he was satisfied
that six dollars per day was not extravagant compensation, but
considering the situation of the country, and the delicacy of their own
situation, he would vote for five dollars, and he thought it sufficient
to secure men of ability. He asked the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr.
GERRY) if he expected the paltry consideration of getting a dollar a day
more, was to induce men of abilities and integrity to come forward and
render their country their services?

He admitted that many gentlemen would find it difficult to bear all
their expenses with five dollars a day; but the compensation could not
be on a principle of discrimination, and therefore the House could not
make particular provision for such gentlemen. Others might think a less
sum sufficient, but no discrimination could here take place; it was
therefore necessary to accommodate, and upon this principle he hoped the
House would agree to five dollars per day; nor would this be any
variation from the principle established by the committee who reported
the bill. They had taken the pay of the delegates to the late Congress,
and struck an average, which was found to be about five dollars and a
half; they had reported six, but from the principles he had before
mentioned, he thought it better to agree to five.

Mr. GERRY.--The gentleman from Jersey, who was last up, says he does not
think six dollars per day more than sufficient; but that he will, from a
principle of delicacy, vote for five. I am as great a friend to delicacy
as any man, but I would not sacrifice essentials to a false delicacy. It
seems, from such sentiments, as if we were afraid to administer a
constitution which we are bound to administer. How are those sentiments
reconcilable to the oath we have taken? The constitution requires that
we shall, by law, compensate the services of the members of both Houses.

It has been said, that money is now more valuable than it was a few
years since. I admit the fact, sir, but four dollars per day was better
under the old plan of Government than six or eight under this, because a
delegate was then engaged for the whole year, but now he is to attend at
intervals. Some members were continued several years successively, and
consequently found it more advantageous. But this mode of reasoning is
fallacious; the question ought to be determined upon its own merits. But
if gentlemen are for sacrificing justice and propriety to delicacy, or
any other motive, let them come forward and agree to what I mentioned
before; let them strike out all that relates to their own compensation;
they are called upon by their own arguments to do this.

Mr. SEDGWICK did not rise to speak to the question, but merely to reply
to some observations that have fallen from the gentlemen who opposed the
present motion, particularly his colleague. The want of candor and
liberality might render gentlemen unpleasant in their situation; but the
consequences arising from such causes, were often still more unpleasant.
His colleague had insinuated, in a pointed manner, that the gentlemen
who were in favor of a reduction, were actuated by motives not only
improper and unworthy of a man of character, but such as appeared base
to his mind. It was said, that those who proposed this reduction, did it
merely to court popularity. Whether the gentleman, his colleague, who
brought forward the motion to-day, sacrificed more at that shrine than
his colleague who had opposed it, he left to those to determine who
noticed their conduct; but he believed they could never be charged with
such meanness. For his own part, if he had sacrificed in this way, as
his conduct had always been consistent with his sentiments, it must have
been known, and his character would long ere this have been blasted in
the manner it would have justly deserved. If he had done it heretofore,
he hoped the stigma would not be affixed upon him, for a conduct founded
upon the solid and substantial reasons he had advanced when the subject
was last before the House.

Mr. BOUDINOT.--The gentleman from Massachusetts makes me say, that six
dollars a day is not too much. I said it was not extravagant, but more
than I thought was proper upon due consideration of the circumstances of
this country. This is still my opinion, and upon it I shall ground my
vote. I believe no gentleman in this House regards his popularity, when
set in competition with his duty; my conduct has ever been open, and I
leave the world to judge from that what are my principles. I shall
therefore take no further notice of what has been said on that subject,
but conclude with wishing, for the honor of the House, and the dignity
of the gentlemen, that all our debates may be conducted with candor and

Mr. AMES wished the call for the yeas and nays was withdrawn; because he
thought they lost their usefulness by a too frequent use. He was in
favor of the motion, but he did not wish to have his name entered on the
minutes on that account.

Mr. PARTRIDGE said, it was well known he never courted popularity; he
never sought a seat in this House, or any other public body; but he
insisted upon his right, as a member, to call for the yeas and nays,
when he thought the public interest might be benefited by it; however,
as the bill was not to be finished to-day, he would waive that call.

The question was taken on Mr. GOODHUE'S motion, and passed in the
negative, by a large majority.

The bill was ordered to be engrossed, and the House adjourned.

THURSDAY, August 13.

_Amendments to the Constitution._

The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, Mr.
BOUDINOT in the chair, and took the amendments under consideration. The
first article ran thus: "In the introductory paragraph of the
constitution, before the words 'We the people,' add 'Government being
intended for the benefit of the people, and the rightful establishment
thereof being derived from their authority alone.'"

Mr. SHERMAN.--I believe, Mr. Chairman, this is not the proper mode of
amending the constitution. We ought not to interweave our propositions
into the work itself, because it will be destructive of the whole
fabric. We might as well endeavor to mix brass, iron, and clay, as to
incorporate such heterogeneous articles; the one contradictory to the
other. Its absurdity will be discovered by comparing it with a law.
Would any legislature endeavor to introduce into a former act a
subsequent amendment, and let them stand so connected? When an
alteration is made in an act, it is done by way of supplement; the
latter act always repealing the former in every specified case of

Besides this, sir, it is questionable whether we have the right to
propose amendments in this way. The constitution is the act of the
people, and ought to remain entire. But the amendments will be the act
of the State Governments. Again, all the authority we possess is derived
from that instrument; if we mean to destroy the whole, and establish a
new constitution, we remove the basis on which we mean to build. For
these reasons, I will move to strike out that paragraph and substitute

The paragraph proposed was to the following effect:

      _Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
      United States in Congress assembled_, That the following
      articles he proposed as amendments to the constitution, and
      when ratified by three-fourths of the State Legislatures
      shall become valid to all intents and purposes, as part of
      the same.

Under this title, the amendments might come in nearly as stated in the
report, only varying the phraseology so as to accommodate them to a
supplementary form.

Mr. MADISON.--Form, sir, is always of less importance than the
substance; but on this occasion, I admit that form is of some
consequence, and it will be well for the House to pursue that which,
upon reflection, shall appear to be the most eligible. Now it appears to
me, that there is a neatness and propriety in incorporating the
amendments into the constitution itself; in that case the system will
remain uniform and entire; it will certainly be more simple, when the
amendments are interwoven into those parts to which they naturally
belong, than it will if they consist of separate and distinct parts. We
shall then be able to determine its meaning without references or
comparison; whereas, if they are supplementary, its meaning can only be
ascertained by a comparison of the two instruments, which will be a very
considerable embarrassment. It will be difficult to ascertain to what
parts of the instrument the amendments particularly refer; they will
create unfavorable comparisons; whereas, if they are placed upon the
footing here proposed, they will stand upon as good foundation as the
original work.

Nor is it so uncommon a thing as gentlemen suppose; systematic men
frequently take up the whole law, and, with its amendments and
alterations, reduce it into one act. I am not, however, very solicitous
about the form, provided the business is but well completed.

Mr. SMITH did not think the amendment proposed by the honorable
gentleman from Connecticut was compatible with the constitution, which
declared, that the amendments recommended by Congress, and ratified by
the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, should be part
of this constitution; in which case it would form one complete system;
but according to the idea of the amendment, the instrument is to have
five or six suits of improvements. Such a mode seems more calculated to
embarrass the people than any thing else, while nothing in his opinion
was a juster cause of complaint than the difficulties of knowing the
law, arising from legislative obscurities that might easily be avoided.
He said, that it had certainly been the custom in several of the State
Governments, to amend their laws by way of supplement. But South
Carolina had been an instance of the contrary practice, in revising the
old code; instead of making acts in addition to acts, which is always
attended with perplexity, she has incorporated them, and brought them
forward as a complete system, repealing the old. This is what he
understood was intended to be done by the committee; the present copy of
the constitution was to be done away, and a new one substituted in its

Mr. LIVERMORE was clearly of opinion, that whatever amendments were
made to the constitution, they ought to stand separate from the original
instrument. We have no right, said he, to alter a clause, any otherwise
than by a new proposition. We have well-established precedents for such
a mode of procedure in the practice of the British Parliament, and the
State Legislatures throughout America. I do not mean, however, to assert
that there has been no instance of a repeal of the whole law on enacting
another; but this has generally taken place on account of the complexity
of the original, with its supplements. Were we a mere legislative body,
no doubt it might be warrantable in us to pursue a similar method; but
it is questionable whether it is possible for us, consistent with the
oath we have taken, to attempt a repeal of the constitution of the
United States, by making a new one to substitute in its place; the
reason of this is grounded on a very simple consideration. It is by
virtue of the present constitution, I presume, that we attempt to make
another; now, if we proceed to the repeal of this, I cannot see upon
what authority we shall erect another; if we destroy the base, the
superstructure falls of course. At some future day it may be asked upon
what authority we proceeded to raise and appropriate public moneys. We
suppose we do it in virtue of the present constitution; but it may be
doubted whether we have a right to exercise any of its authorities while
it is suspended, as it will certainly be from the time that two-thirds
of both Houses have agreed to submit it to the State Legislatures; so
that, unless we mean to destroy the whole constitution, we ought to be
careful how we attempt to amend it in the way proposed by the committee.
From hence, I presume it will be more prudent to adopt the mode proposed
by the gentleman from Connecticut, than it will be to risk the
destruction of the whole by proposing amendments in the manner
recommended by the committee.

Mr. VINING disliked a supplementary form, and said it was a bad reason
to urge the practice of former ages, when there was a more convenient
method of doing the business at hand. He had seen an act entitled an act
to amend a supplement to an act entitled an act for altering part of an
act entitled an act for certain purposes therein mentioned. If gentlemen
were disposed to run into such jargon in amending and altering the
constitution, he could not help it; but he trusted they would adopt a
plainness and simplicity of style on this and every other occasion,
which should be easily understood. If the mode proposed by the gentleman
from Connecticut was adopted, the system would be distorted, and, like a
careless written letter, have more attached to it in a postscript than
was contained in the original composition.

The constitution being a great and important work, ought all to be
brought into one view, and made as intelligible as possible.

Mr. CLYMER was of opinion with the gentleman from Connecticut, that the
amendments ought not to be incorporated in the body of the work, which
he hoped would remain a monument to justify those who made it; by a
comparison, the world would discover the perfection of the original, and
the superfluity of the amendments. He made this distinction, because he
did not conceive any of the amendments essential, but as they were
solicited by his fellow-citizens, and for that reason they were
acquiesced in by others; he therefore wished the motion for throwing
them into a supplementary form might be carried.

Mr. STONE.--It is not a matter of much consequence, with respect to the
preservation of the original instrument, whether the amendments are
incorporated or made distinct; because the records will always show the
original form in which it stood. But in my opinion, we ought to mark its
progress with truth in every step we take. If the amendments are
incorporated in the body of the work, it will appear, unless we refer to
the archives of Congress, that GEORGE WASHINGTON, and the other worthy
characters who composed the convention, signed an instrument which they
never had in contemplation. The one to which he affixed his signature
purports to be adopted by the unanimous consent of the delegates from
every State there assembled. Now if we incorporate these amendments, we
must undoubtedly go further, and say that the constitution so formed was
defective, and had need of alteration; we therefore purpose to repeal
the old and substitute a new one in its place. From this consideration
alone, I think we ought not to pursue the line of conduct drawn for us
by the committee. This perhaps is not the last amendment the
constitution may receive; we ought therefore to be careful how we set a
precedent which, in dangerous and turbulent times, may unhinge the

Mr. LIVERMORE.--The mode adopted by the committee might be very proper,
provided Congress had the forming of a constitution in contemplation;
then they, or an individual member, might propose to strike out a clause
and insert another, as is done with respect to article 3, section 2. But
certainly no gentleman acquainted with legislative business would
pretend to alter and amend, in this manner, a law already passed. He was
convinced it could not be done properly in any other way than by the one
proposed by the gentleman from Connecticut.

Mr. GERRY asked, if the mode could make any possible difference,
provided the sanction was the same; or whether it would operate
differently in any one instance? If it will not, we are disputing about
form, and the question will turn on the expediency. Now one gentleman
tells you, that he is so attached to this instrument, that he is
unwilling to lose any part of it; therefore, to gratify him, we may
throw it into a supplementary form. But let me ask, will not this as
effectually destroy some parts, as if the correction had been made by
way of incorporation? or will posterity have a more favorable opinion
of the original, because it has been amended by distinct acts? For my
part, I cannot see what advantage can accrue from adopting the motion of
the honorable gentleman from Connecticut, unless it be to give every one
the trouble of erasing out of his copy of the constitution certain words
and sentences, and inserting others. But, perhaps, in our great
veneration for the original composition, we may go further, and pass an
act to prohibit these interpolations, as it may injure the text.

It is said that the present form of the amendments is contrary to the
5th article. I will not undertake to define the extent of the word
amendment, as it stands in the fifth article; but I suppose if we
proposed to change the division of the powers given to the three
branches of the Government, and that proposition is accepted and
ratified by three-fourths of the State Legislatures, it will become as
valid, to all intents and purposes, as any part of the constitution; but
if it is the opinion of gentlemen that the original is to be kept
sacred, amendments will be of no use, and had better be omitted;
whereas, on the other hand, if they are to be received as equal in
authority we shall have five or six constitutions, perhaps differing in
material points from each other, but all equally valid; so that they may
require a man of science to determine what is or is not the
constitution. This will certainly be attended with great inconvenience,
as the several States are bound not to make laws contradictory thereto,
and all officers are sworn to support it, without knowing precisely what
it is.

Mr. STONE asked the gentleman last up, how he meant to have the
amendments incorporated? Was it intended to have the constitution
republished, and the alterations inserted in their proper places? He did
not see how it was practicable to propose amendments, without making out
a new constitution, in the manner brought forward by the committee.

Mr. LAWRENCE could not conceive how gentlemen meant to engraft the
amendments into the constitution. The original one, executed by the
convention at Philadelphia, was lodged in the archives of the late
Congress; it was impossible for this House to take, and correct, and
interpolate that without making it speak a different language: this
would be supposing several things which never were contemplated. But
what would become of the acts of Congress? They will certainly be
vitiated, unless they are provided for by an additional clause in the

Mr. BENSON said, that this question had been agitated in the select
committee, and determined in favor of the form in which it was reported;
he believed this decision was founded in a great degree upon the
recommendation of the State conventions, which had proposed amendments
in this very form. This pointed out the mode most agreeable to the
people of America, and therefore the one most eligible for Congress to
pursue; it will likewise be the most convenient way. Suppose the
amendments ratified by the several States; Congress may order a number
of copies to be printed, into which the alterations will be inserted,
and the work stand perfect and entire.

Mr. MADISON.--The gentleman last up has left me but one remark to add,
and that is, if we adopt the amendment, we shall so far unhinge the
business, as to occasion alterations in every article and clause of the

Mr. HARTLEY hoped the committee would not agree to the alteration,
because it would perplex the business. He wished the propositions to be
simple and entire, that the State Legislatures might decide without
hesitation, and every man know what was the ground on which he rested
his political welfare. Besides, the consequent changes which the motion
would induce, were such as, he feared, would take up some days, if not
weeks; and the time of the House was too precious to be squandered away
in discussing mere matter of form.

Mr. JACKSON.--I do not like to differ with gentlemen about form; but as
so much has been said, I wish to give my opinion; it is this: that the
original constitution ought to remain inviolate, and not be patched up,
from time to time, with various stuffs resembling Joseph's coat of many

Some gentlemen talk of repealing the present constitution, and adopting
an improved one. If we have this power, we may go on from year to year,
making new ones; and in this way, we shall render the basis of the
superstructure the most fluctuating thing imaginable, and the people
will never know what the constitution is. As for the alteration proposed
by the committee, to prefix before "We the people" certain dogmas, I
cannot agree to it; the words, as they now stand, speak as much as it is
possible to speak; it is a practical recognition of the right of the
people to ordain and establish Governments, and is more expressive than
any other mere paper declaration.

But why will gentlemen contend for incorporating amendments into the
constitution? They say, that it is necessary for the people to have the
whole before them in one view. Have they precedent for this assertion?
Look at the constitution of Great Britain; is that all contained in one
instrument? It is well known, that _magna charta_ was extorted by the
barons from King John some centuries ago. Has that been altered since by
the incorporation of amendments? Or does it speak the same language now,
as it did at the time it was obtained? Sir, it is not altered a tittle
from its original form. Yet there have been many amendments and
improvements in the constitution of Britain since that period. In the
subsequent reign of his son, the great charters were confirmed with some
supplemental acts. Is the _habeas corpus_ act, or the statute _De
Tallagio non concedendo_ incorporated in _magna charta_? And yet there
is not an Englishman but would spill the last drop of his blood in
their defence; it is these, with some other acts of Parliament and
_magna charta_, that form the basis of English liberty. We have seen
amendments to their constitution during the present reign, by
establishing the independence of the judges, who are hereafter to be
appointed during good behavior; formerly they were at the pleasure of
the Crown. But was this done by striking out and inserting other words
in the great charter? No, sir, the constitution is composed of many
distinct acts; but an Englishman would be ashamed to own that, on this
account, he could not ascertain his own privileges or the authority of
the Government.

The constitution of the Union has been ratified and established by the
people; let their act remain inviolable; if any thing we can do has a
tendency to improve it, let it be done, but without mutilating and
defacing the original.

Mr. SHERMAN.--If I had looked upon this question as mere matter of form,
I should not have brought it forward or troubled the committee with such
a lengthy discussion. But, sir, I contend that amendments made in the
way proposed by the committee are void. No gentleman ever knew an
addition and alteration introduced into an existing law, and that any
part of such law was left in force; but if it was improved or altered by
a supplemental act, the original retained all its validity and
importance, in every case where the two were not incompatible. But if
these observations alone should be thought insufficient to support my
motion, I would desire gentlemen to consider the authorities upon which
the two constitutions are to stand. The original was established by the
people at large, by conventions chosen by them for the express purpose.
The preamble to the constitution declares the act: but will it be a
truth in ratifying the next constitution, which is to be done perhaps by
the State Legislatures, and not conventions chosen for the purpose? Will
gentlemen say it is "We the people" in this case? Certainly they cannot;
for, by the present constitution, we, nor all the Legislatures in the
Union together, do not possess the power of repealing it. All that is
granted us by the 5th article is, that whenever we shall think it
necessary, we may propose amendments to the constitution; not that we
may propose to repeal the old, and substitute a new one.

Gentlemen say, it would be convenient to have it in one instrument, that
people might see the whole at once; for my part, I view no difficulty on
this point. The amendments reported are a declaration of rights; the
people are secure in them, whether we declare them or not; the last
amendment but one provides that the three branches of Government shall
each exercise its own rights. This is well secured already; and, in
short, I do not see that they lessen the force of any article in the
constitution; if so, there can be little more difficulty in
comprehending them whether they are combined in one, or stand distinct

Mr. SMITH read extracts from the amendments proposed by several of the
State conventions at the time they ratified the constitution, from
which, he said, it appeared that they were generally of opinion that the
phraseology of the constitution ought to be altered; nor would this mode
of proceeding repeal any part of the constitution but such as it
touched, the remainder will be in force during the time of considering
it and ever after.

As to the observations made by the honorable gentleman from Georgia,
respecting the amendments made to the constitution of Great Britain,
they did not apply; the cases were nothing like similar, and,
consequently, could not be drawn into precedent. The constitution of
Britain is neither the _magna charta_ of John, nor the _habeas corpus_
act, nor all the charters put together; it is what the Parliament wills.
It is true, there are rights granted to the subject that cannot be
resumed; but the constitution, or form of government, may be altered by
the authority of Parliament, whose power is absolute without control.

Mr. SHERMAN.--The gentlemen who oppose the motion say we contend for
matter of form; they think it nothing more. Now we say we contend for
substance, and therefore cannot agree to amendments in this way. If they
are so desirous of having the business completed, they had better
sacrifice what they consider but a matter of indifference to gentlemen,
to go more unanimously along with them in altering the constitution.

The question on Mr. SHERMAN'S motion was now put and lost.[29]

FRIDAY, August 14.

ABIEL FOSTER, from New Hampshire, appeared and took his seat.

SATURDAY, August 15.

_Amendments to the Constitution._


Article 1. Section 9. Between paragraphs two and three insert, "no
religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of
conscience be infringed."

Mr. SYLVESTER had some doubts of the propriety of the mode of expression
used in this paragraph. He apprehended that it was liable to a
construction different from what had been made by the committee. He
feared it might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion

Mr. VINING suggested the propriety of transposing the two members of the

Mr. GERRY said, it would read better if it was, that no religious
doctrine shall be established by law.

Mr. SHERMAN thought the amendment altogether unnecessary, inasmuch as
Congress had no authority whatever delegated to them by the constitution
to make religious establishments; he would, therefore, move to have it
struck out.

Mr. CARROLL.--As the rights of conscience are, in their nature, of
peculiar delicacy, and will little bear the gentlest touch of
governmental hand; and as many sects have concurred in opinion, that
they are not well secured under the present constitution, he said he was
much in favor of adopting the words. He thought it would tend more
towards conciliating the minds of the people to the Government than
almost any other amendment he had heard proposed. He would not contend
with gentlemen about the phraseology, his object was to secure the
substance in such a manner as to satisfy the wishes of the honest part
of the community.

Mr. MADISON said, he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that
Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal
observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner
contrary to their conscience. Whether the words are necessary or not, he
did not mean to say, but they had been required by some of the State
Conventions, who seemed to entertain an opinion that under the clause of
the constitution, which gave power to Congress to make all laws
necessary and proper to carry into execution the constitution, and the
laws made under it, enabled them to make laws of such a nature as might
infringe the rights of conscience, and establish a national religion; to
prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended, and he
thought it as well expressed as the nature of the language would admit.

Mr. HUNTINGTON said, that he feared, with the gentleman first up on this
subject, that the words might be taken in such a latitude as to be
extremely hurtful to the cause of religion. He understood the amendment
to mean what had been expressed by the gentleman from Virginia; but
others might find it convenient to put another construction upon it. The
ministers of their congregations to the eastward were maintained by the
contributions of those who belonged to their society; the expense of
building meeting-houses was contributed in the same manner. These things
were regulated by by-laws. If an action was brought before a Federal
Court on any of these cases, the person who had neglected to perform his
engagements could not be compelled to do it; for a support of ministers,
or building of places of worship, might be construed into a religious

By the charter of Rhode Island, no religion could be established by law;
he could give a history of the effects of such a regulation; indeed the
people were now enjoying the blessed fruits of it. He hoped, therefore,
the amendment would be made in such a way as to secure the rights of
conscience, and a free exercise of the rights of religion, but not to
patronize those who professed no religion at all.

Mr. MADISON thought, if the word national was inserted before religion,
it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. He believed that the
people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combine
together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to
conform. He thought if the word national was introduced, it would point
the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.

Mr. LIVERMORE was not satisfied with that amendment; but he did not wish
them to dwell long on the subject. He thought it would be better if it
was altered, and made to read in this manner, that Congress shall make
no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.

Mr. GERRY did not like the term national, proposed by the gentleman from
Virginia, and he hoped it would not be adopted by the House. It brought
to his mind some observations that had taken place in the conventions at
the time they were considering the present constitution. It had been
insisted upon by those who were called anti-federalists, that this form
of Government consolidated the Union; the honorable gentleman's motion
shows that he considers it in the same light. Those who were called
anti-federalists at that time complained that they had injustice done
them by the title, because they were in favor of a Federal government,
and the others were in favor of a national one; the federalists were for
ratifying the constitution as it stood, and the others not until
amendments were made. Their names then ought not to have been
distinguished by federalists and anti-federalists, but rats and

Mr. MADISON withdrew his motion, but observed that the words "no
national religion shall be established by law," did not imply that the
Government was a national one; the question was then taken on Mr.
Livermore's motion, and passed in the affirmative, thirty-one for, and
twenty against it.

_Amendments to the Constitution._


"The freedom of speech and of the press, and the right of the people
peaceably to assemble and consult for the common good, and to apply to
the Government for a redress of grievances," being the clause under
consideration, Mr. TUCKER, of South Carolina, moved to add thereto these
words--_to instruct their representatives_.

Mr. HARTLEY wished the motion had not been made, for gentlemen
acquainted with the circumstances of this country, and the history of
the country from which we separated, differed exceedingly on this
point. The members of the House of Representatives, said he, are chosen
for two years, the members of the Senate for six.

According to the principles laid down in the Constitution, it is
presumable that the persons elected know the interests and the
circumstances of their constituents, and being checked in their
determinations by a division of the Legislative power into two branches,
there is little danger of error. At least it ought to be supposed that
they have the confidence of the people during the period for which they
are elected; and if, by misconduct, they forfeit it, their constituents
have the power of leaving them out at the expiration of that time--thus
they are answerable for the part they have taken in measures that may be
contrary to the general wish.

Representation is the principle of our Government; the people ought to
have confidence in the honor and integrity of those they send forward to
transact their business; their right to instruct them is a problematical
subject. We have seen it attended with bad consequences, both in England
and America. When the passions of the people are excited, instructions
have been resorted to and obtained, to answer party purposes; and
although the public opinion is generally respectable, yet at such
moments it has been known to be often wrong; and happy is that
Government composed of men of firmness and wisdom to discover, and
resist popular error.

If, in a small community, where the interests, habits, and manners are
neither so numerous nor diversified, instructions bind not, what shall
we say of instructions to this body? Can it be supposed that the
inhabitants of a single district in a State, are better informed with
respect to the general interests of the Union, than a select body
assembled from every part? Can it be supposed that a part will be more
desirous of promoting the good of the whole than the whole will of the
part? I apprehend, sir, that Congress will be the best judges of proper
measures, and that instructions will never be resorted to but for party
purposes, when they will generally contain the prejudices and acrimony
of the party, rather than the dictates of honest reason and sound

In England this question has been considerably agitated. The
representatives of some towns in Parliament have acknowledged, and
submitted to the binding force of instructions, while the majority have
thrown off the shackles with disdain. I would not have this precedent
influence our decision; but let the doctrine be tried upon its own
merits, and stand or fall as it shall be found to deserve.

It appears to my mind, that the principle of representation is distinct
from an agency, which may require written instructions. The great end of
meeting is to consult for the common good; but can the common good be
discerned without the object is reflected and shown in every light. A
local or partial view does not necessarily enable any man to comprehend
it clearly; this can only result from an inspection into the aggregate.
Instructions viewed in this light will be found to embarrass the best
and wisest men. And were all the members to take their seats in order to
obey instructions, and those instructions were as various as it is
probable they would be, what possibility would there exist of so
accommodating each to the other as to produce any act whatever? Perhaps
a majority of the whole might not be instructed to agree to any one
point, and is it thus the people of the United States propose to form a
more perfect union, provide for the common defence, and promote the
general welfare?

Sir, I have known within my own time so many inconveniences and real
evils arise from adopting the popular opinions on the moment, that,
although I respect them as much as any man, I hope this Government will
particularly guard against them, at least that they will not bind
themselves by a constitutional act, and by oath, to submit to their
influence; if they do, the great object which this Government has been
established to attain, will inevitably elude our grasp on the uncertain
and veering winds of popular commotion.

Mr. PAGE.--The gentleman from Pennsylvania tells you, that in England
this principle is doubted; how far this is consonant with the nature of
the Government I will not pretend to say; but I am not astonished to
find that the administrators of a monarchical Government are
unassailable by the weak voice of the people; but under a democracy,
whose great end is to form a code of laws congenial with the public
sentiment, the popular opinion ought to be collected and attended to.
Our present object is, I presume, to secure to our constituents and to
posterity these inestimable rights. Our Government is derived from the
people; of consequence the people have a right to consult for the common
good; but to what end will this be done, if they have not the power of
instructing their representatives? Instruction and representation in a
republic, appear to me to be inseparably connected; but were I the
subject of a monarch, I should doubt whether the public good did not
depend more upon the prince's will than the will of the people. I should
dread a popular assembly consulting for the public good, because, under
its influence, commotions and tumults might arise that would shake the
foundation of the monarch's throne, and make the empire tremble in
expectation. The people of England have submitted the crown to the
Hanover family, and have rejected the Stuarts. If instructions upon such
a revolution were considered binding, it is difficult to know what would
have been the effects. It might be well, therefore, to have the doctrine
exploded from that kingdom; but it will not be advanced as a substantial
reason in favor of our treading in the same steps.

The honorable gentleman has said, that when once the people have chosen
a representative, they must rely on his integrity and judgment during
the period for which he is elected. I think, sir, to doubt the authority
of the people to instruct their representatives, will give them just
cause to be alarmed for their fate. I look upon it as a dangerous
doctrine, subversive of the great end for which the United States have
confederated. Every friend of mankind, every well-wisher of his country,
will be desirous of obtaining the sense of the people on every occasion
of magnitude; but how can this be so well expressed as in instructions
to their representatives? I hope, therefore, that gentlemen will not
oppose the insertion of it in this part of the report.

Mr. CLYMER.--I hope the amendment will not be adopted; but if our
constituents choose to instruct us, that they may be left at liberty to
do so. Do gentlemen foresee the extent of these words? If they have a
constitutional right to instruct us, it infers that we are bound by
those instructions; and as we ought not to decide constitutional
questions by implication, I presume we shall be called upon to go
further, and expressly declare the members of the Legislature bound by
the instruction of their constituents. This is a most dangerous
principle, utterly destructive of all ideas of an independent and
deliberative body, which are essential requisites in the Legislatures of
free Governments; they prevent men of abilities and experience from
rendering those services to the community that are in their power,
destroying the object contemplated by establishing an efficient General
Government, and rendering Congress a mere passive machine.

Mr. SHERMAN.--It appears to me, that the words are calculated to mislead
the people, by conveying an idea that they have a right to control the
debates of the Legislature. This cannot be admitted to be just, because
it would destroy the object of their meeting. I think, when the people
have chosen a representative, it is his duty to meet others from the
different parts of the Union, and consult, and agree with them to such
acts as are for the general benefit of the whole community. If they were
to be guided by instructions, there would be no use in deliberation; all
that a man would have to do, would be to produce his instructions, and
lay them on the table, and let them speak for him. From hence I think it
may be fairly inferred, that the right of the people to consult for the
common good can go no further than to petition the Legislature, or apply
for a redress of grievances. It is the duty of a good representative to
inquire what measures are most likely to promote the general welfare,
and, after he has discovered them, to give them his support. Should his
instructions, therefore, coincide with his ideas on any measure, they
would be unnecessary; if they were contrary to the conviction of his own
mind, he must be bound by every principle of justice to disregard them.

Mr. JACKSON was in favor of the right of the people to assemble and
consult for the common good; it had been used in this country as one of
the best checks on the British Legislature in their unjustifiable
attempts to tax the colonies without their consent. America had no
representatives in the British Parliament, therefore they could instruct
none, yet they exercised the power of consultation to a good effect. He
begged gentlemen to consider the dangerous tendency of establishing such
a doctrine; it would necessarily drive the House into a number of
factions. There might be different instructions from every State, and
the representation from each State would be a faction to support its own

If we establish this as a right, we shall be bound by those
instructions; now, I am willing to leave both the people and
representatives to their own discretion on this subject. Let the people
consult and give their opinion; let the representative judge of it; and
if it is just, let him govern himself by it as a good member ought to
do; but if it is otherwise, let him have it in his power to reject their

What may be the consequence of binding a man to vote in all cases
according to the will of others? He is to decide upon a constitutional
point, and on this question his conscience is bound by the obligation of
a solemn oath; you now involve him in a serious dilemma. If he votes
according to his conscience, he decides against his instructions; but in
deciding against his instructions, he commits a breach of the
constitution, by infringing the prerogative of the people, secured to
them by this declaration. In short, it will give rise to such a variety
of absurdities and inconsistencies, as no prudent Legislature would wish
to involve themselves in.

Mr. GERRY.--By the checks provided in the constitution, we have good
grounds to believe that the very framers of it conceived that the
Government would be liable to maladministration, and I presume that the
gentlemen of this House do not mean to arrogate to themselves more
perfection than human nature has as yet been found to be capable of; if
they do not, they will admit an additional check against abuses which
this, like every other Government, is subject to. Instruction from the
people will furnish this in a considerable degree.

It has been said that the amendment proposed by the honorable gentleman
from South Carolina (Mr. TUCKER) determines this point, "that the people
can bind their representatives to follow their instructions." I do not
conceive that this necessarily follows. I think the representative,
notwithstanding the insertion of these words, would be at liberty to act
as he pleased; if he declined to pursue such measures as he was directed
to attain, the people would have a right to refuse him their suffrages
at a future election.

Now, though I do not believe the amendment would bind the
representatives to obey the instructions, yet I think the people have a
right both to instruct and bind them. Do gentlemen conceive that on any
occasion instructions would be so general as to proceed from all our
constituents? If they do, it is the sovereign will; for gentlemen will
not contend that the sovereign will presides in the Legislature. The
friends and patrons of this constitution have always declared that the
sovereignty resides in the people, and that they do not part with it on
any occasion; to say the sovereignty vests in the people and that they
have not a right to instruct and control their representatives is absurd
to the last degree. They must either give up their principle, or grant
that the people have a right to exercise their sovereignty to control
the whole Government, as well as this branch of it. But the amendment
does not carry the principle to such an extent, it only declares the
right of the people to send instructions; the representative will, if he
thinks proper, communicate his instructions to the House, but how far
they shall operate on his conduct, he will judge for himself.

The honorable gentleman from Georgia (Mr. JACKSON) supposes that
instructions will tend to generate factions in this House; but he did
not see how it could have that effect, any more than the freedom of
debate had. If the representative entertains the same opinion with his
constituents, he will decide with them in favor of the measure; if other
gentlemen, who are not instructed on this point, are convinced by
argument that the measure is proper, they will also vote with them;
consequently the influence of debate and of instruction is the same.

The gentleman says further, that the people have the right of
instructing their representatives; if so, why not declare it? Does he
mean that it shall lie dormant and never be exercised? If so, it will be
a right of no utility. But much good may result from a declaration in
the constitution that they possess this privilege; the people will be
encouraged to come forward with their instructions, which will form a
fund of useful information for the Legislature. We cannot, I apprehend,
be too well informed of the true state, condition, and sentiment of our
constituents, and perhaps this is the best mode in our power of
obtaining information. I hope we shall never shut our ears against that
information which is to be derived from the petitions and instructions
of our constituents. I hope we shall never presume to think that all the
wisdom of this country is concentrated within the walls of this House.
Men, unambitious of distinctions from their fellow-citizens, remain
within their own domestic walk, unheard of and unseen, possessing all
the advantages resulting from a watchful observance of public men and
public measures, whose voice, if we would descend to listen to it, would
give us knowledge superior to what could be acquired amidst the cares
and bustles of a public life; let us then adopt the amendment, and
encourage the diffident to enrich our stock of knowledge with the
treasure of their remarks and observations.

Mr. MADISON.--I think the committee acted prudently in omitting to
insert these words in the report they have brought forward; if,
unfortunately, the attempt of proposing amendments should prove
abortive, it will not arise from the want of a disposition in the
friends of the constitution to do what is right with respect to securing
the rights and privileges of the people of America, but from the
difficulties arising from discussing and proposing abstract propositions
of which the judgment may not be convinced. I venture to say, that if we
confine ourselves to an enumeration of simple, acknowledged principles,
the ratification will meet with but little difficulty. Amendments of a
doubtful nature will have a tendency to prejudice the whole system; the
proposition now suggested partakes highly of this nature. It is doubted
by many gentlemen here; it has been objected to in intelligent
publications throughout the Union; it is doubted by many members of the
State Legislatures. In one sense this declaration is true, in many
others it is certainly not true; in the sense in which it is true, we
have asserted the right sufficiently in what we have done; if we mean
nothing more than this, that the people have a right to express and
communicate their sentiments and wishes, we have provided for it
already. The right of freedom of speech is secured; the liberty of the
press is expressly declared to be beyond the reach of this Government;
the people may therefore publicly address their representatives, may
privately advise them, or declare their sentiments by petition to the
whole body; in all these ways they may communicate their will. If
gentlemen mean to go further, and to say that the people have a right to
instruct their representatives in such a sense as that the delegates are
obliged to conform to those instructions, the declaration is not true.
Suppose they instruct a representative, by his vote, to violate the
constitution; is he at liberty to obey such instructions? Suppose he is
instructed to patronize certain measures, and from circumstances known
to him, but not to his constituents, he is convinced that they will
endanger the public good; is he obliged to sacrifice his own judgment to
them? Is he absolutely bound to perform what he is instructed to do?
Suppose he refuses, will his vote be the less valid, or the community be
disengaged from that obedience which is due to the laws of the Union? If
his vote must inevitably have the same effect, what sort of a right is
this in the constitution, to instruct a representative who has a right
to disregard the order, if he pleases? In this sense the right does not
exist, in the other sense it does exist, and is provided largely for.

The honorable gentleman from Massachusetts asks if the sovereignty is
not with the people at large. Does he infer that the people can, in
detached bodies, contravene an act established by the whole people? My
idea of the sovereignty of the people is, that the people can change the
constitution if they please; but while the constitution exists, they
must conform themselves to its dictates. But I do not believe that the
inhabitants of any district can speak the voice of the people; so far
from it, their ideas may contradict the sense of the whole people; hence
the consequence that instructions are binding on the representative is
of a doubtful, if not of a dangerous nature. I do not conceive,
therefore, that it is necessary to agree to the proposition now made; so
far as any real good is to arise from it, so far that real good is
provided for; so far as it is of a doubtful nature, so far it obliges us
to run the risk of losing the whole system.

Mr. SMITH, (of South Carolina.)--I am opposed to this motion, because I
conceive it will operate as a partial inconvenience to the more distant
States. If every member is to be bound by instructions how to vote, what
are gentlemen from the extremities of the continent to do? Members from
the neighboring States can obtain their instructions earlier than those
from the Southern ones, and I presume that particular instructions will
be necessary for particular measures; of consequence, we vote perhaps
against instructions on their way to us, or we must decline voting at
all. But what is the necessity of having a numerous representation? One
member from a State can receive the instructions, and by his vote answer
all the purposes of many, provided his vote is allowed to count for the
proportion the State ought to send; in this way the business might be
done at a less expense than having one or two hundred members in the
House, which had been strongly contended for yesterday.

Mr. STONE.--I think the clause would change the Government entirely;
instead of being a Government founded upon representation, it would be a
democracy of singular properties.

I differ from the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MADISON), if he thinks
this clause would not bind the representative; in my opinion, it would
bind him effectually, and I venture to assert, without diffidence, that
any law passed by the Legislature would be of no force, if a majority of
the members of this House were instructed to the contrary, provided the
amendment became part of the constitution. What would follow from this?
Instead of looking in the code of laws passed by Congress, your
Judiciary would have to collect and examine the instructions from the
various parts of the Union. It follows very clearly from hence, that the
Government would be altered from a representative one to a democracy,
wherein all laws are made immediately by the voice of the people.

This is a power not to be found in any part of the earth except among
the Swiss cantons; there the body of the people vote upon the laws, and
give instructions to their delegates. But here we have a different form
of Government; the people at large are not authorized under it to vote
upon the law, nor did I ever hear that any man required it. Why, then,
are we called upon to propose amendments subversive of the principles
of the constitution, which were never desired?

Several members now called for the question, and the Chairman being
about to put the same:

Mr. GERRY.--Gentlemen seem in a great hurry to get this business
through. I think, Mr. Chairman, it requires a further discussion; for my
part, I had rather do less business and do it well, than precipitate
measures before they are fully understood.

The honorable gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MADISON) stated, that if the
proposed amendments are defeated, it will be by the delay attending the
discussion of doubtful propositions; and he declares this to partake of
that quality. It is natural, sir, for us to be fond of our own work. We
do not like to see it disfigured by other hands. That honorable
gentleman brought forward a string of propositions; among them was the
clause now proposed to be amended: he is no doubt ready for the
question, and determined not to admit what we think an improvement. The
gentlemen who were on the committee, and brought in the report, have
considered the subject, and are also ripe for a decision. But other
gentlemen may crave a like indulgence. Is not the report before us for
deliberation and discussion, and to obtain the sense of the House upon
it; and will not gentlemen allow us a day or two for these purposes,
after they have forced us to proceed upon them at this time? I appeal to
their candor and good sense on the occasion, and am sure not to be
refused; and I must inform them now, that they may not be surprised
hereafter, that I wish all the amendments proposed by the respective
States to be considered. Gentlemen say it is necessary to finish the
subject, in order to reconcile a number of our fellow-citizens to the
Government. If this is their principle, they ought to consider the
wishes and intentions which the convention has expressed for them; if
they do this, they will find that they expect and wish for the
declaration proposed by the honorable gentleman over the way (Mr.
TUCKER), and, of consequence, they ought to agree to it; and why it,
with others recommended in the same way, were not reported, I cannot
pretend to say; the committee know this best themselves.

The honorable gentleman near me (Mr. STONE) says, that the laws passed
contrary to instruction will be nugatory. And other gentlemen ask, if
their constituents instruct them to violate the constitution, whether
they must do it. Sir, does not the constitution declare that all laws
passed by Congress are paramount to the laws and constitutions of the
several States; if our decrees are of such force as to set aside the
State laws and constitutions, certainly they may be repugnant to any
instructions whatever, without being injured thereby. But can we
conceive that our constituents would be so absurd as to instruct us to
violate our oath, and act directly contrary to the principles of a
Government ordained by themselves? We must look upon them to be
absolutely abandoned and false to their own interests, to suppose them
capable of giving such instructions.

If this amendment is introduced into the constitution, I do not think we
shall be much troubled with instructions; a knowledge of the right will
operate to check a spirit that would render instruction necessary.

The honorable gentleman from Virginia asked, will not the affirmative of
a member who votes repugnant to his instructions bind the community as
much as the votes of those who conform? There is no doubt, sir, but it
will; but does this tend to show that the constituent has no right to
instruct? Surely not. I admit, sir, that instructions contrary to the
constitution ought not to bind, though the sovereignty resides in the
people. The honorable gentleman acknowledges that the sovereignty vests
there; if so, it may exercise its will in any case not inconsistent with
a previous contract. The same gentleman asks if we are to give the power
to the people in detached bodies to contravene the Government while it
exists. Certainly not; nor does the proposed proposition extend to that
point; it is only intended to open for them a convenient mode in which
they may convey their sense to their agents. The gentleman therefore
takes for granted what is inadmissible, that Congress will always be
doing illegal things, and make it necessary for the sovereign to declare
its pleasure.

He says the people have a right to alter the constitution, but they have
no right to oppose the Government. If, while the Government exists, they
have no right to control it, it appears they have divested themselves of
the sovereignty over the constitution. Therefore, our language, with our
principles, must change, and we ought to say that the sovereignty
existed in the people previous to the establishment of this Government.
This will be ground for alarm indeed, if it is true; but I trust, sir,
too much to the good sense of my fellow-citizens ever to believe that
the doctrine will generally obtain in this country of freedom.

Mr. VINING.--If, Mr. Chairman, there appears on one side too great an
urgency to despatch this business, there appears on the other an
unnecessary delay and procrastination equally improper and unpardonable.
I think this business has been already well considered by the House, and
every gentleman in it; however, I am not for an unseemly expedition.

Mr. LIVERMORE was not very anxious whether the words were inserted or
not, but he had a great deal of doubt on the meaning of this whole
amendment; it provides that the people may meet and consult for the
common good. Does this mean a part of the people in a township or
district, or does it mean the representatives in the State Legislatures?
If it means the latter, there is no occasion for a provision that the
Legislature may instruct the members of this body.

In some States the representatives are chosen by districts. In such
case, perhaps, the instructions may be considered as coming from the
district; but in other States, each representative is chosen by the
whole people. In New Hampshire it is the case; the instructions of any
particular place would have but little weight, but a legislative
instruction would have considerable influence upon each representative.
If, therefore, the words mean that the Legislature may instruct, he
presumed it would have considerable effect, though he did not believe it
binding. Indeed, he was inclined to pay a deference to any information
he might receive from any number of gentlemen, even by a private letter;
but as for full binding force, no instructions contained that quality.
They could not, nor ought they to have it, because different parties
pursue different measures; and it might be expedient, nay, absolutely
necessary, to sacrifice them in mutual concessions.

The doctrine of instructions would hold better in England than here,
because the boroughs and corporations might have an interest to pursue
totally immaterial to the rest of the kingdom; in that case, it would be
prudent to instruct their members in Parliament.

Mr. GERRY wished the constitution amended without his having any hand in
it; but if he must interfere, he would do his duty. The honorable
gentleman from Delaware had given him an example of moderation and
laconic and consistent debate that he meant to follow; and would just
observe to the worthy gentleman last up, that several States had
proposed the amendment, and among the rest, New Hampshire.

There was one remark which escaped him, when he was up before. The
gentleman from Maryland (Mr. STONE) had said that the amendment would
change the nature of the Government, and make it a democracy. Now he had
always heard that it was a democracy; but perhaps he was misled, and the
honorable gentleman was right in distinguishing it by some other
appellation; perhaps an aristocracy was a term better adapted to it.

Mr. SEDGWICK opposed the idea of the gentleman from New Hampshire, that
the State Legislature had the power of instructing the members of this
House; he looked upon it as a subornation of the rights of the people to
admit such an authority. We stand not here, said he, the representatives
of the State Legislatures, as under the former Congress, but as the
representatives of the great body of the people. The sovereignty, the
independence, and the rights of the States are intended to be guarded by
the Senate; if we are to be viewed in any other light, the greatest
security the people have for their rights and privileges is destroyed.

But with respect to instructions, it is well worthy of consideration how
they are to be procured. It is not the opinion of an individual that is
to control my conduct: I consider myself as the representative of the
whole Union. An individual may give me information, but his sentiments
may he in opposition to the sense of the majority of the people. If
instructions are to be of any efficacy, they must speak the sense of the
majority of the people, at least of a State. In a State so large as
Massachusetts it will behoove gentlemen to consider how the sense of the
majority of the freemen is to be obtained and communicated. Let us take
care to avoid the insertion of crude and indigested propositions, more
likely to produce acrimony than that spirit of harmony which we ought to

Mr. LIVERMORE said that he did not understand the honorable gentleman,
or was not understood by him; he did not presume peremptorily to say
what degree of influence the legislative instructions would have on a
representative. He knew it was not the thing in contemplation here; and
what he had said respected only the influence it would have on his
private judgment.

Mr. AMES said there would be a very great inconvenience attending the
establishment of the doctrine contended for by his colleague. Those
States which had selected their members by districts would have no right
to give them instructions, consequently the members ought to withdraw;
in which case the House might be reduced below a majority, and not be
able, according to the constitution, to do any business at all.

According to the doctrine of the gentleman from New Hampshire, one part
of the Government would be annihilated; for of what avail is it that the
people have the appointment of a representative, if he is to pay
obedience to the dictates of another body?

Several members now rose, and called for the question.

Mr. PAGE was sorry to see gentlemen so impatient; the more so, as he saw
there was very little attention paid to any thing that was said; but he
would express his sentiments if he was only heard by the Chair. He
discovered clearly, notwithstanding what had been observed by the most
ingenious supporters of the opposition, that there was an absolute
necessity for adopting the amendment. It was strictly compatible with
the spirit and the nature of the Government; all power vests in the
people of the United States; it is therefore a Government of the people,
a democracy. If it were consistent with the peace and tranquillity of
the inhabitants, every freeman would have a right to come and give his
vote upon the law; but, inasmuch as this cannot be done, by reason of
the extent of territory, and some other causes, the people have agreed
that their representatives shall exercise a part of their authority. To
pretend to refuse them the power of instructing their agents, appears to
me to deny them a right. One gentleman asks how the instructions are to
be collected. Many parts of this country have been in the practice of
instructing their representatives; they found no difficulty in
communicating their sense. Another gentleman asks if they were to
instruct us to make paper money, what we would do. I would tell them,
said he, it was unconstitutional; alter that, and we will consider on
the point. Unless laws are made satisfactory to the people, they will
lose their support, they will be abused or done away; this tends to
destroy the efficiency of the Government.

It is the sense of several of the conventions that this amendment should
take place; I think it my duty to support it, and fear it will spread an
alarm among our constituents if we decline to do it.

Mr. WADSWORTH.--Instructions have frequently been given to the
representatives of the United States; but the people did not claim as a
right that they should have any obligation upon the representatives; it
is not right that they should. In troublous times, designing men have
drawn the people to instruct the representatives to their harm; the
representatives have, on such occasions, refused to comply with their
instructions. I have known, myself, that they have been disobeyed, and
yet the representative was not brought to account for it; on the
contrary he was caressed and re-elected, while those who have obeyed
them, contrary to their private sentiments, have ever after been
despised for it. Now, if people considered it an inherent right in them
to instruct their representatives, they would have undoubtedly punished
the violation of them. I have no idea of instructions, unless they are
obeyed; a discretional power is incompatible with them.

Mr. BURKE.--I am not positive with respect to the particular expression
in the declaration of rights of the people of Maryland, but the
constitutions of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, all of
them recognize, in express terms, the right of the people to give
instruction to their representatives. I do not mean to insist
particularly upon this amendment; but I am very well satisfied that
those that are reported and likely to be adopted by this House are very
far from giving satisfaction to our constituents; they are not those
solid and substantial amendments which the people expect; they are
little better than whip-syllabub, frothy and full of wind, formed only
to please the palate; or they are like a tub thrown out to a whale, to
secure the freight of the ship and its peaceable voyage. In my judgment,
the people will not be gratified by the mode we have pursued in bringing
them forward. There was a committee of eleven appointed; and out of the
number I think there were five who were members of the convention that
formed the constitution. Such gentlemen, having already given their
opinion with respect to the perfection of the work, may be thought
improper agents to bring forward amendments. Upon the whole, I think it
will be found that we have done nothing but lose our time, and that it
will be better to drop the subject now, and proceed to the organization
of the Government.

The question was now called for from several parts of the House; but a
desultory conversation took place before the question was put. At length
the call becoming general, it was stated from the Chair, and determined
in the negative, 10 rising in favor of it, and 41 against it.

TUESDAY, August 18.

_Amendments to the Constitution._

Mr. GERRY moved, "That such of the amendments to the constitution
proposed by the several States, as are not in substance comprised in the
report of the select committee appointed to consider amendments, be
referred to a Committee of the whole House; and that all amendments
which shall be agreed to by the committee last mentioned be included in
one report."

Mr. TUCKER remarked, that many citizens expected that the amendments
proposed by the conventions would be attended to by the House, and that
several members conceived it to be their duty to bring them forward. If
the House should decline taking them into consideration, it might tend
to destroy that harmony which had hitherto existed, and which did great
honor to their proceedings; it might affect all their future measures,
and promote such feuds as might embarrass the Government exceedingly.
The States who had proposed these amendments would feel some degree of
chagrin at having misplaced their confidence in the General Government.
Five important States have pretty plainly expressed their apprehensions
of the danger to which the rights of their citizens are exposed. Finding
these cannot be secured in the mode they had wished, they will naturally
recur to the alternative, and endeavor to obtain a federal convention;
the consequence of this may be disagreeable to the Union; party spirit
may be revived, and animosities rekindled destructive of tranquillity.
States that exert themselves to obtain a federal convention, and those
that oppose the measure, may feel so strongly the spirit of discord, as
to sever the Union asunder.

If in this conflict the advocates for a federal convention should prove
successful, the consequences may be alarming; we may lose many of the
valuable principles now established in the present constitution. If, on
the other hand, a convention should not be obtained, the consequences
resulting are equally to be dreaded; it would render the administration
of this system of government weak, if not impracticable; for no
government can be administered with energy, however energetic its
system, unless it obtains the confidence and support of the people.
Which of the two evils is the greatest would be difficult to ascertain.

It is essential to our deliberations that the harmony of the House be
preserved; by it alone we shall be enabled to perfect the organization
of the Government--a Government but in embryo, or at best but in its

My idea relative to this constitution, whilst it was dependent upon the
assent of the several States, was, that it required amendment, and that
the proper time for amendment was previous to the ratification. My
reasons were, that I conceived it difficult, if not impossible, to
obtain essential amendments by the way pointed out in the constitution;
nor have I been mistaken in this suspicion. It will be found, I fear,
still more difficult than I apprehended; for perhaps these amendments,
should they be agreed to by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress, will
be submitted for ratification to the Legislatures of the several States,
instead of State conventions, in which case the chance is still worse.
The Legislatures of almost all the States consist of two independent,
distinct bodies; the amendments must be adopted by three-fourths of such
Legislatures; that is to say, they must meet the approbation of the
majority of each of eighteen deliberative assemblies. But,
notwithstanding all these objections to obtaining amendments after the
ratification of the constitution, it will tend to give a great degree of
satisfaction to those who are desirous of them, if this House shall take
them up, and consider them with that degree of candor and attention they
have hitherto displayed on the subjects that have come before them;
consider the amendments separately, and, after fair deliberation, either
approve or disapprove of them. By such conduct, we answer in some degree
the expectations of those citizens in the several States who have shown
so great a tenacity to the preservation of those rights and liberties
they secured to themselves by an arduous, persevering, and successful

I have hopes that the States will be reconciled to this disappointment,
in consequence of such procedure.

A great variety of arguments might be urged in favor of the motion; but
I shall rest it here, and not trespass any further upon the patience of
the House.

Mr. _Madison_ was just going to move to refer these amendments, in order
that they might be considered in the fullest manner; but it would be
very inconvenient to have them made up into one report, or all of them
discussed at the present time.

Mr. _Vining_ had no objection to the bringing them forward in the
fullest point of view; but his objection arose from the informality
attending the introduction of the business.

The order of the House was to refer the report of the committee of
eleven to a Committee of the Whole, and therefore it was improper to
propose any thing additional.

A desultory conversation arose on this motion, when Mr. _Vining_ moved
the previous question, in which, being supported by five members, it was
put, and the question was,--Shall the main question, to agree to the
motion, be now put? The yeas and nays being demanded by one-fifth of the
members present, on this last motion, they were taken as follows:

      YEAS.--Messrs. Burke, Coles, Floyd, Gerry, Griffin, Grout,
      Hathorn, Livermore, Page, Parker, Van Renssellaer, Sherman,
      Stone, Sturgis, Sumter, and Tucker.--16.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Baldwin, Benson, Boudinot, Brown,
      Cadwalader, Carroll, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Foster, Gilman,
      Goodhue, Hartley, Heister, Huntington, Lawrence, Lee,
      Madison, Moore, Muhlenberg, Partridge, Schureman, Scott,
      Sedgwick, Seney, Sylvester, Sinnickson, Smith, (of
      Maryland,) Smith, (of South Carolina,) Thatcher, Trumbull,
      Vining, Wadsworth, and Wynkoop.--34.

So the motion was lost.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate had passed
the bill providing for expenses which may attend negotiations or
treaties with the Indian tribes, and the appointment of commissioners
for managing the same, with an amendment, to which they desire the
concurrence of the House.

THURSDAY, September 3.

_Permanent Seat of Government._

Mr. _Scott_, agreeably to notice given, moved the following: "That a
permanent residence ought to be fixed for the General Government of the
United States at some convenient place, as near the centre of wealth,
population, and extent of territory, as may be consistent with
convenience to the navigation of the Atlantic Ocean, and having due
regard to the particular situation of the Western country."

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, to take into
consideration the motion presented by Mr. _Scott_, on Thursday last, for
establishing the permanent residence of Congress, Mr. BOUDINOT in the

Mr. _Goodhue_.--The motion before the committee I consider too
indefinite for the House to decide upon satisfactorily; I wish,
therefore, to add something which may bring the question to a point. It
is well known that the gentlemen from the Eastward are averse to taking
up this business at this time. Not that the subject was improper for our
discussion, but that the present session is drawing to a period, and
there remains yet much important business to be transacted before the
adjournment; but their opinion being overruled by a late vote of the
House, they have since taken it into consideration, and are now ready
and willing to come to a decision. The Eastern members, with the members
from New York, have agreed to fix a place upon national principles,
without a regard to their own convenience, and have turned their minds
to the banks of the Susquehanna. This is a situation as nearly central
as could be devised, upon some of the principles contained in the
resolution. It is, however, supposed to be considerably to the southward
of the centre of the population. Motives of convenience would have led
us to fix upon the banks of the Delaware, but it was supposed it would
give more lasting content to go further south. They were, therefore,
unitedly of opinion, that the banks of the river Susquehanna should be
the place of the permanent residence of the General Government; and that
until suitable buildings could be there erected for accommodation, they
should remain in the city of New York. Agreeably to these ideas, I move
the following resolution:

      _Resolved_, That the permanent seat of the General
      Government ought to be in some convenient place on the east
      bank of the river Susquehanna, in the State of
      Pennsylvania; and that until the necessary buildings be
      erected for the purpose, the seat of Government ought to
      continue at the city of New York.

Mr. STONE said, it ought to be "Government of the United States,"
instead of General Government.

Mr. LEE.--The House are now called upon to deliberate on a great
national question; and I hope they will discuss and decide it with that
dispassionate deliberation which the magnitude of the subject requires.
I hope they will be guided in this discussion and decision, by the great
principles on which the Government is founded. I have, with a view,
therefore, of bringing them before a committee, drawn up a preamble,
which recognizes them, in the words following:

      Whereas the people of the United States have assented to
      and ratified a constitution for their Government, to
      provide for their defence against foreign danger, to secure
      their perpetual union and domestic tranquillity, and to
      promote their common interests; and all these great objects
      will be the best effected by establishing the seat of
      Government in a station as nearly central as a convenient
      water communication with the Atlantic Ocean, and an easy
      access to the Western Territory will permit; and as it will
      be satisfactory to the people of the United States, and
      give them a firm confidence in the justice and wisdom of
      their Government, to be assured that such a station is
      already in the contemplation of Congress; and that proper
      measures will be taken to ascertain it, and to provide the
      necessary accommodations, as soon as the indispensable
      arrangements for carrying into effect the constitution can
      be made, and the circumstances of the United States will

      _Resolved_, That a place, as nearly central as a convenient
      communication with the Atlantic Ocean, and an easy access
      to the Western Territory, will permit, ought to be selected
      and established as the permanent seat of the Government of
      the United States.

I wish the principles to be recognized, that the people of the United
States may be able to judge whether, in the measures about to be
adopted, they are carried into execution by this House. If these great
principles are not observed, it will be an unhappy fulfilment of those
predictions which have been made by the opponents of the constitution;
that the general interest of America would not be consulted; that
partial measures would be pursued; and that, instead of being influenced
by a general policy, directed to the good of the whole, one part of the
Union would be depressed and trampled on, to benefit and exalt the
other. Instead of accomplishing and realizing those bright prospects
which shone upon us in the dawn of our Government, and for which our
patriots fought and bled, we shall find the whole to be a visionary
fancy. I flatter myself, that before the House decides on the question
before them, those principles will be recognized, if it is meant they
shall be regarded.

Mr. CARROL seconded Mr. LEE'S motion.

Mr. SHERMAN said, if they were both adopted, or blended together, they
would only amount to a preamble, and determine nothing. He thought the
first preamble the best, inasmuch as it stated the principles simply and

Mr. HARTLEY.--Several places have been mentioned, and some have been
offered to Congress as proper situations for the Federal Government.
Many persons wish it seated on the banks of the Delaware, many on the
banks of the Potomac. I consider this as the middle ground between the
two extremes. It will suit the inhabitants to the north better than the
Potomac could, and the inhabitants to the south better than the Delaware
would. From this consideration, I am induced to believe, it will be a
situation more accommodating and agreeable than any other. Respecting
its communication with the Western Territory, no doubt but the
Susquehanna will facilitate that object with considerable ease and great
advantage; and as to its convenience to the navigation of the Atlantic
Ocean, the distance is nothing more than to afford safety from any
hostile attempt, while it affords a short and easy communication with
navigable rivers and large commercial towns. Nay, its intercourse may be
without land carriage, if proper measures are pursued to open the
navigation to the Delaware and Chesapeake. Perhaps, as the present
question is only intended to be on general principles, it may be
improper to be more minute than the honorable mover has been; but I
think it would be better to come to the point at once, and fix the
precise spot, if we could. With this view, I mention Wright's Ferry, on
the Susquehanna. Not, however, that the House should decide upon it,
until they have ascertained its advantages, which will, perhaps, come
more properly forward when the question on the preamble is determined.

Mr. THATCHER was against a preamble being prefixed to the resolution of
the committee, because the House had, on every occasion when preambles
were brought forward, rejected them. He thought this a prudent conduct,
because it avoided embarrassments. He observed, that it was not
unfrequently the case that the preambles occasioned more difficulty in
understanding the laws than the most intricate part of the laws
themselves; and, therefore, the committee would act wisely to reject
such trammels. He conceived, moreover, that the motion was out of order,
as it was a substitute for one before the committee.

Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina) looked upon the motion as a preamble to a
preamble, both of which he conceived unnecessary; nay, he doubted the
truth of some of the assertions. So far from cementing the Union, by a
measure of the kind in contemplation, he rather feared it would have a
tendency to rend the Union in two; for which reason he was against
adopting it.

Mr. TUCKER wished the proposition might lie on the table, to give
gentlemen time to consider it.

Mr. LEE conceived it proper to adopt the preamble as a guide to their
decision. No gentlemen pretended to say it contained improper
principles. As to the whole being a preamble to a preamble, he did not
conceive that to be the case, because the resolution, subsequent to the
preamble, decided, that Congress should select a place for their
permanent residence. He did not conceive how gentlemen could refuse
their assent to a self-evident proposition. He thought such conduct
would give an alarm to the inhabitants of the United States; it amounted
to a declaration, that, on this important question, they would not be
governed by principles founded on rectitude and good policy.

Mr. MADISON.--I cannot, Mr. Chairman, discover why the opposition to my
colleague's preamble is so strenuous. Is it contended to be out of
order? I submit that to the decision of the Chair. Does it contain any
thing which is not true? I appeal, on that point, to the candid judgment
of the committee. Are the truths in it applicable to the great object we
are about to decide? I appeal to the justice and policy of the people of
the United States.

I flatter myself the Chair will decide with me, that the proposition is
strictly in order; that the committee will agree, that its contents are
substantial truths; and the whole world, that they are applicable to the
important point now under consideration.

It declares the principles which ought to govern our decision on this
question, and will, therefore, stand properly prefixed to the motion
offered by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. GOODHUE.) By it we
declare our sentiments, and engage to conform to them, in fixing upon a
seat for the residence of Congress. Is there any thing improper or
unwise in this determination? An honorable gentleman near me (Mr.
TUCKER) says, that he feels himself embarrassed on this occasion; that
the propositions are a bandage over his eyes, to lead him blindfolded to
an object he cannot tell what. I must beg leave to differ from him. They
appear to me to contain those luminous truths which ought to guide him
through his embarrassment to the object which I am sure his justice and
patriotism are in pursuit of. I hope, therefore, he will agree with us
in adopting the motion, unless something more essential is offered
against it.

Mr. SHERMAN.--The resolution connected with the preamble contains a
proposition which, I think, ought not to be adopted. It selects a place,
having a convenient water-communication with the Atlantic. Now, it may
be just and expedient to fix upon a place at some distance from a
navigable river, therefore it may not agree with the intention of the
committee. As to the principles which are to guide our decisions, they
are as well expressed in the propositions of the gentleman from
Pennsylvania as in the substitute, and as free from ambiguity.

The question on Mr. LEE'S motion was taken, and determined in the
negative; yeas 17, nays 34.

Mr. TUCKER declared, that the majority for fixing upon any set of
principles whatever, could not govern his mind with regard to the fact.
If, on the whole, he did not think that place best, which the principles
adopted seemed to lead to, he certainly could not vote for it. Of what
use, then, was it to establish principles which could not govern the
conduct of the House? But the principles offered are vague, and lead to
no certain conclusion. What is the centre of wealth, population, and
territory? Is there a common centre? Territory has one centre,
population another, and wealth a third. Now, is it intended to determine
a centre from these three centres? This was not a practicable mode of
settling the place; and it was to be doubted whether the centre of
wealth ought at all to be considered. The centre of population is
variable, and a decision on that principle now, might establish the seat
of Government at a very inconvenient place to the next generation. The
centre of territory may be ascertained, but that will lead to a
situation entirely ineligible; consequently, whether these centres were
considered separately or together, they furnish no satisfactory
direction, no possible guide to the committee. The only way, then, to
come at a result yielding satisfaction, would be to consider the several
places to be proposed, according to their merits; and this would be done
by gentlemen in the course of the business. He was, therefore, against
settling any principles by vote.

Mr. MADISON.--I move to strike out the word wealth, because I do not
conceive this to be a consideration that ought to have much weight in
determining the place where the seat of Government ought to be. The two
other principles, I admit, are such as ought to have their influence;
but why wealth should is not so clear. Government is intended for the
accommodation of the citizens at large; an equal facility to communicate
with Government is due to all ranks; whether to transmit their
grievances or requests, or to receive those blessings which the
Government is intended to dispense. The rich are certainly not less able
than those who are indigent to resort to the seat of Government, or to
establish the means necessary for receiving those advantages to which,
as citizens, they are entitled.

I should rather suppose, if any distinctions are to be made, or superior
advantages to be enjoyed from the presence of the Government, that the
Government ought rather to move toward those who are the least able to
move toward it, and who stand most in need of its protection.

The question on this motion was taken, and passed in the negative; yeas
22, nays 28.

The question on Mr. SCOTT'S motion was then taken, and adopted; yeas 32,
nays 18.

Mr. GOODHUE'S motion was now taken into consideration.

Mr. LEE hoped that gentlemen would show how the banks of the Susquehanna
conformed with the principles laid down in the resolution adopted by the
House; how it communicated with the navigation of the Atlantic, and how
it was connected with the Western Territory. He hoped they would also
point out its other advantages, respecting salubrity of air and
fertility of soil. He expected all these advantages ought to be combined
in the place of the residence of the Federal Government, and every other
requisite to cement the common interest of America.

Mr. Hartley wished some gentleman had risen to satisfy the inquiries of
the honorable member, who could have given a description of the
advantages of that situation in better language than himself. But as no
gentleman had offered to undertake the subject, he thought himself bound
to make him an answer; and he trusted, in doing this, he should clearly
show that all the advantages contemplated would result from adopting the
motion. But he wished it had extended further, and selected the place
most convenient on the banks of the Susquehanna, as then the answer
would be more pointed and decisive. He had already mentioned Wright's
Ferry, and would consider that as the proper spot. Now, Wright's Ferry
lies on the east bank of the Susquehanna, about thirty-five miles from
navigable water; and, from a few miles above, is navigable to the source
of the river, at Lake Otsego, in the upper part of the State of New
York. The Tioga branch is navigable a very considerable distance up, and
is but a few miles from the Genesee, which empties into Lake Ontario.
The Juniata is navigable, and nearly connects with the Kisskemanetas,
and that with the Ohio; besides the West Branch connects with the
Alleghany River; forming a communication with the distant parts even of
Kentucky, with very little land carriage. The great body of water in
that river renders it navigable at all seasons of the year. With respect
to the settlements in the neighborhood of Wright's Ferry, he would
venture to assert it was as thickly inhabited as any part of the country
in North America. As to the quality of the soil, it was inferior to none
in the world, and though that was saying a good deal, it was not more
than he believed a fact. In short, from all the information he had
acquired, and that was not inconsiderable, he ventured to pronounce,
that in point of soil, water, and the advantages of nature, there was no
part of the country superior. And if honorable gentlemen were disposed
to pay much attention to a dish of fish, he could assure them their
table might be furnished with fine and good from the waters of the
Susquehanna; perhaps not in such variety as in this city, but the
deficiency was well made up in the abundance which liberal nature
presented them of her various products. It was in the neighborhood of
two large and populous towns, one of them the largest inland town in
America. Added to all these advantages, it possessed that of centrality,
perhaps, in a superior degree to any which could be proposed.

Mr. LEE asked the gentleman what was the distance of Wright's Ferry from
Yorktown, and whether that town, as it had once accommodated Congress,
could do it again? If a permanent seat is established, why not go to it
immediately? And why, let me ask, shall we go and fix upon the banks of
a rapid river, when we can have a more healthful situation? And here he
would inquire if the Codorus Creek, which runs through Yorktown into the
Susquehanna, was, or could be made navigable?

Mr. HARTLEY answered, that Yorktown was ten miles from the Ferry, that
it contained about five hundred houses, besides a number of large and
ornamental public buildings; that there was no doubt, but if Congress
deemed it expedient to remove immediately there, they could be
conveniently accommodated; but as gentlemen appeared to be inclined to
fix the permanent residence on the east banks of the Susquehanna, he was
very well satisfied it should be there.

Mr. MADISON.--The gentleman who brought forward this motion was candid
enough to tell us, that measures have been preconcerted out of doors,
and that the point was determined; that more than half the territory of
the United States, and nearly half its inhabitants have been disposed
of, not only without their consent, but without their knowledge. After
this, I hope the gentleman will extend his candor so much further, as to
show that the general principles now to be established are applicable to
their determination, in order that we may reconcile this fate to our own
minds, and submit to it with some degree of complacency.

I hope, if the seat of Government is to be at or near the centre of
wealth, population, and extent of territory, that gentlemen will show
that the permanent seat there proposed is near the permanent centre of
wealth, population and extent of territory, and the temporary seat, near
the temporary centre. I think we may, with good reason, call upon
gentlemen for an explanation on these points, in order that we may know
the ground on which the great question is decided, and be able to assign
to our constituents satisfactory reasons for what some of them may
consider a sacrifice of their interest, and be instrumental in
reconciling them, as far as possible, to their destiny.

Mr. GOODHUE thought the question, stated by the gentleman from Virginia,
was proper to be asked, and proper to be answered. The gentlemen from
the eastward, as he said before, were in favor of the Susquehanna; that
in contemplating the geographical centre of territory, they found the
banks of that river to be near the place. In point of population, they
considered the Susquehanna was south of that centre; but, from a spirit
of conciliation, they were inclined to go there, although the principle
and their own convenience would not lead them beyond the banks of the
Delaware. He believed the centre of population would not vary
considerably for ages yet to come, because he supposed it would
constantly incline more toward the Eastern, and manufacturing States,
than toward the Southern, and agricultural ones.

Mr. JACKSON.--I was originally opposed to the question coming forward,
and am so still. I thought the subject ought not to be touched till the
States, who have not yet acceded to the Union, might have an opportunity
of giving their voice. I agree with the gentleman from Virginia. I am
sorry that the people should learn that this matter has been
precipitated; that they should learn, that the members from New England
and New York had fixed on a seat of Government for the United States.
This is not proper language to go out to freemen. Jealousies have
already gone abroad. This language will blow the coals of sedition, and
endanger the Union. I would ask, if the other members of the Union are
not also to be consulted? Are the eastern members to dictate in this
business, and fix the seat of Government of the United States? Why not
also fix the principles of Government? Why not come forward, and demand
of us the power of Legislation, and say, give us up your privileges, and
we will govern you? If one part has the power to fix the seat of
Government, they may as well take the Government from the other. This
looks like aristocracy: not the united, but the partial voice of America
is to decide. How can gentlemen answer for this, who call themselves
representatives, on the broad basis of national interest?

I deny the fact of the territorial centrality of the place proposed.
From New York, to the nearest part of the province of Maine, it is two
hundred and fifty miles; and from New York, to the nearest part of the
upper district of Georgia, from which my colleague, General Matthews,
comes, is eleven hundred miles; and from the proposed place on the
Susquehanna, it is four hundred miles to the nearest part of Maine, and
nine hundred to the nearest part of that district; the proportion is
more than two to one. But the gentlemen should have an eye to the
population of Georgia; one of the finest countries in the world cannot
but rapidly extend her population; nothing but her being harassed by the
inroads of savages has checked her amazing increase, which must, under
the auspices of peace and safety, people her western regions. Georgia
will soon be as populous as any State in the Union. Calculations ought
not to be made on its present situation.

North Carolina is not yet in the Union, and perhaps the place may give
umbrage to her, which ought, at this moment, to be cautiously avoided.
I should, therefore, think it most advisable to postpone the decision
for this session at least. But, if we are to decide, I own, I think the
Potomac a better situation than the Susquehanna, and I hope it will be
selected for that purpose.

Mr. GOODHUE.--If gentlemen examine this subject with candor, they will
find that the banks of the Susquehanna are as near the geographical
centre as can be fixed upon. It is from the extreme of the Province of
Maine about seven hundred and sixty miles; to Savannah, in Georgia,
about seven hundred and sixty; and about seven hundred and thirty, or
seven hundred and forty, from Kentucky; so that it is rather south of
the centre of territory.

Mr. LAWRENCE.--When this subject was under discussion some time since,
it appeared to be the wish of gentlemen from the eastward, and of the
members from this State, that the question should not now be decided.
They urged several reasons why it would be improper. I thought those
reasons weighty, and was for postponing the consideration till our next
meeting. But it was answered, that the business was important; that the
citizens of the United States were uneasy and anxious; that as factions
did not now exist, it was the proper time to decide the question. What
was the representation to do? Was it not necessary for them to consult,
and fix upon a proper place?

They are, in a degree, disinterested, because they have no expectation
that the seat of Government will be fixed in any of the Eastern States.
On the other hand, there is a well-grounded expectation, that it will be
fixed either in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Jersey. We are
called on to determine a question in which we conceive ourselves
unbiased, and shall decide it on those principles that will reflect
honor on the House. I trust it will be found that we have fixed on those
principles, and that this resolution will be confirmed by Congress. We
do not decide for the Union, nor for the Southern States, we decide for
ourselves; and if our reasons are substantial, I trust that gentlemen
will meet us in the determination.

There are several principles which have been agreed to in the general
resolution; and I believe it will be shown, with exactness, that the
place proposed will come within these principles. The first respects
population. Is the House to consider the present, or the expected
population? The resolution has a determinate meaning; it speaks of the
population at the present period; and to calculate on this principle no
gentleman can say is unjust. The representation in this House is itself
a demonstration of it. The population of this country may be pretty
safely determined by the proportion of representatives in this House;
for it is established on this ground. I therefore believe, that the
principle of population inclines to this place, in preference to a more
southern situation.

But, in taking the principle of territory, are the House to calculate on
the uninhabited wilderness? Shall they take the Lake of the Woods on one
side, and the Missouri on the other, and find a geographical centre? If
so, to what an extent must they go? The inhabited and populated part of
the country ought chiefly to be considered. If St. Croix is taken as the
eastern limit, and St. Mary as the southern, the centre of the line will
be found to fall pretty near the Susquehanna.

Mr. SEDGWICK.--I beg leave to ask, if there really is any impropriety in
gentlemen's consulting together, who have a uniformity of interest, upon
a question which has been said to be of such infinite importance? My
colleague has barely stated that such a consultation has taken place,
and that, in consequence of it, men's minds have been induced to run in
a current. Is there any thing wrong in this? Let those, then, who are
determined not to consult, nor have any communication on such a subject,
decide for themselves. I should think myself lost to that regard I owe
to my country, and to my immediate constituents in particular, should I
abstract myself from the contemplation of the benefits that would flow
from knowing the feelings and sentiments of those with whom I am to act.
Instead of being an evidence to that aristocratic spirit which has been
mentioned, it is only a proof that men, attentive to their business, had
preferred that way, which every honest man had in view. I have
contemplated the subject with great anxiety, and though I cannot declare
that my local situation has had no influence on my mind, yet I will say
I endeavored to prevent its having any. I believe that the true
interests of the country will be best answered by taking a position
eastward and northward of the Susquehanna.

The Delaware is one extreme, the Potomac another; but when I reflect how
anxious some gentlemen are for the one, and some for the other, I am
willing to accommodate both parties, by advancing to a middle ground, to
which I hope the public mind will be reconciled. I was also influenced
in fixing this opinion, by the sentiment of the celebrated Montesquieu.
He had laid it down, that in a country partaking of northern and
southern interests, of a poor and productive soil, the centre and the
influence of Government ought to incline to that part where the former
circumstances prevailed; because necessity stimulates to industry,
produces good habits and a surplus of labor; because such parts are the
nurseries of soldiers and sailors, and the sources of that energy which
is the best security of the Government.

The Susquehanna is, in my opinion, south-west of the centre of wealth,
population, and resources of every kind. I would beg leave, gentlemen,
to suggest another idea. In my view, on the principles of population,
the Susquehanna is far beyond the centre; for I do not think it just,
on this subject, to take the constitutional computation. Will any
gentlemen pretend, that men, who are merely the subject of property or
wealth, should be taken into the estimate; that the slaves of the
country, men who have no rights to protect, (being deprived of them
all,) should be taken into view, in determining the centre of
Government? If they were considered, gentlemen might as well estimate
the black cattle of New England.

I would ask, if it is of no importance to take a position in which the
credit of the Government may procure those supplies that its necessities
might require? Will the strength and riches of the country be to the
north or to the south of the Susquehanna? Certainly to the north.

It is the opinion of all the Eastern States, that the climate of the
Potomac is not only unhealthy, but destructive to northern
constitutions. It is of importance to attend to this, for whether it be
true or false, such are the public prepossessions. Vast numbers of
Eastern adventures have gone to the Southern States, and all have found
their graves there; they have met destruction as soon as they arrived.
These accounts have been spread, and filled the Northern people with

Mr. VINING.--Although I must acknowledge myself a party to the bargain,
yet I had no share in making it. It is to me an unexpected bargain.
Though the interest of the State which I have the honor to represent is
involved in it, I am yet to learn of the committee, whether Congress are
to tickle the trout on the stream of the Codorus, to build their
sumptuous palaces on the banks of the Potomac, or to admire commerce
with her expanded wings, on the waters of the Delaware. I have, on this
occasion, educated my mind to impartiality, and have endeavored to
chastise its prejudices.

I confess to the House, and to the world, that, viewing this subject,
with all its circumstances, I am in favor of the Potomac. I wish the
seat of Government to be fixed there; because I think the interest, the
honor, and the greatness of this country require it. I look on it as the
centre from which those streams are to flow that are to animate and
invigorate the body politic. From thence, it appears to me, the rays of
Government will most naturally diverge to the extremities of the Union.
I declare, that I look on the Western Territory in an awful and striking
point of view. To that region the unpolished sons of earth are flowing
from all quarters; men, to whom the protection of the laws, and the
controlling force of the Government, are equally necessary. From this
great consideration, I conclude that the banks of the Potomac are the
proper station.

Mr. SENEY mentioned Peach Bottom, on the Susquehanna, about fifteen
miles above tide-water, as the proper place.

Mr. GOODHUE did not wish the particular spot pointed out, because some
inconvenience would result from such a measure; however, he was free to
declare, that his own idea was in favor of a situation near Wright's

Mr. HEISTER moved to insert Harrisburg in the resolution. He conceived
the spot to be more eligible than any yet mentioned; from hence there
was an uninterrupted navigation to the sources of the river, and through
this place runs the great Western road leading to Fort Pitt, and the
Western Territory. A water communication can be effected at small
expense with Philadelphia. The waters of the Swetara, a branch of the
Susquehanna, about eight miles below Harrisburg, run to the north-east,
and are navigable fifteen miles from thence to the Tulpehoken, a branch
of the Schuylkill; a canal may be cut across, of about a mile and a
half, the ground has been actually surveyed, and found practicable; this
will unite the Susquehanna and Delaware, and open a passage for the
produce of an immense tract of country. It is but little further from
Philadelphia than is Wright's Ferry; and, on many accounts, he thought
it a preferable situation for the permanent seat of Government.

Mr. MADISON meant to pay due attention to every argument that could be
urged on this important question. Facts had been asserted, the
impressions of which he wished to be erased, if they were not well
founded. It has been said, that the communication with the Western
Territory, by the Susquehanna, is more convenient than by the Potomac. I
apprehend this is not the case; and the propriety of our decision will
depend, in a great measure, on the superior advantages of one of these
two streams. It is agreed, on all hands, that we ought to have some
regard to the convenience of the Atlantic navigation. Now, to embrace
this object, a position must be taken on some navigable river; to favor
the communication with the Western Territory, its arms ought likewise to
extend themselves towards that region. I did not suppose it would have
been necessary to bring forward charts and maps, as has been done by
others, to show the committee the comparative situation of those rivers.
I flattered myself it was sufficiently understood, to enable us to
decide the question of superiority; but I am now inclined to believe,
that gentlemen have embraced an error, and I hope they are not
determined to vote under improper impressions. I venture to pledge
myself for the demonstration, that the communication with the Western
Territory, by the Potomac, is more certain and convenient than the
other. And if the question is as important as it is admitted to be,
gentlemen will not shut their ears to information; they will not
precipitate the decision; or if they regard the satisfaction of our
constituents, they will allow them to be informed of all the facts and
arguments that lead to the decision of a question in which the general
and particular interests of all parts of the Union are involved.

Mr. STONE found gentlemen had determined on a step that was not
generally liked; he wished, therefore, the committee to rise, and give
all of them an opportunity of trying to mend the bargain that had been
made; perhaps they might find, upon reflection, that they ought to
decide the question on more national principles than they seemed yet to
be governed by.

Mr. SENEY could not say how far the motion was agreeable to every part
of America; but he believed it would be acceptable to a very
considerable part of the State he had the honor to represent.

Mr. SUMTER was in favor of the committee's rising, in order to give
gentlemen time to ascertain the facts necessary to guide them to a
decision. There was one impropriety which struck him forcibly; the
resolution adopted as a principle that the seat of Government ought to
be in a convenient place for the navigation of the Atlantic Ocean. But
the situation mentioned in the resolution under consideration had no
communication whatever with the Atlantic navigation. It had been said,
that the Susquehanna afforded the most convenient communication with the
Western Territory. He believed the Hudson possessed superior advantages;
it connected with the country about the Lakes and the Ohio. From New
York to Albany was navigable; from thence to Schenectady, there was a
short portage; after ascending Schenectady, there was a short portage of
half a mile to the Mohawk; from thence, another short portage to Wood
Creek, and thence into Lake Ontario, which connects with Lake Erie; and
from thence are portages to the Wabash, Miami, Muskingum or Alleghany,
all falling into the Ohio. But the Potomac possessed advantages superior
to these; and was, both on account of communicating with the Atlantic
and Western Territory, much to be preferred to the Susquehanna. He
assured gentlemen that he was unbiased in giving a preference to the
Potomac; because, if he studied his own convenience, he should consider
New York as more eligible than either. It accommodated the Atlantic
navigation in a superior manner, and had its pretensions to a connection
with the Western waters, as he had already shown. He hoped, however,
that the subject would be debated with candor and good temper, and
decided in the way most likely to promote the general interests and
harmony of the Union.

Mr. SHERMAN was against taking up the subject so soon; but since it had
been determined against him,--gentlemen, he presumed, had endeavored to
make up their minds,--he had turned his attention to it, and was now
prepared to decide.

Mr. CLYMER knew the advantages possessed by the Susquehanna in
communicating with the Western country; they were mentioned by his
colleague; but, with the additional circumstance that the Juniata branch
afforded a convenient navigation to a road lately laid out by the State
of Pennsylvania, which connected with the Kisskaminetas, from whence was
a short voyage down the Alleghany, and shorter still down that to the
Ohio, at Pittsburg. He questioned much if the navigation by the Potomac
was so convenient.

Mr. STONE did not mean to govern his vote on this occasion by what was
said to be the sense of the citizens of Maryland; because they were, he
apprehended, divided in opinion. One part or the other would be
particularly benefited, as the seat of Government should be fixed either
on the Susquehanna or Potomac, because those rivers watered its
territory. Perhaps the majority of the present inhabitants would prefer
the Susquehanna; but as their settlements extended westward, and the
population increased, the majority would be favored by the Potomac.

Mr. SENEY did not mean to determine this question on the principle of
benefiting, exclusively, the citizens of Maryland; he considered himself
as a Representative of the Union, and should decide on the principle of
general convenience.

Mr. TUCKER hoped the committee would rise, in order to give gentlemen
time to consider the subject maturely, and to prepare themselves to come
forward and discuss, fairly and fully, the advantages and disadvantages
of the rival places. He could not believe they meant to decide a
question of this importance on the superficial discussion which had
taken place.

The question, on the committee's rising, was now put, and it passed in
the negative; for it 23, against it 27.

Mr. STONE.--We are called upon, sir, to determine a question that has
not been introduced to our notice more than two hours and a half; a
question too, as admitted on both sides, of the highest importance to
the interests and harmony of the Union. I cannot help thinking it a
hardship to be compelled so abruptly to a decision; but since it must be
the case, I shall take the liberty of suggesting a few of my thoughts,
in order to justify the vote I mean to give.

There are a variety of considerations and doubts in my mind, respecting
the two rivers that have been mentioned. These doubts are increased when
a particular place is named upon one of them; but had gentlemen told us,
that they had settled this point also, it might have precluded any sort
of debate whatever; because when an agreement had taken place, not only
as to the banks of the Susquehanna, but as to the favored spot on those
banks, we should not have entertained a single hope that we could have
changed the position. But, as gentlemen differ among themselves on this
point, perhaps they will permit us to participate with them in selecting
the place most likely to give general satisfaction. But how can they
suppose we are prepared on this head, without a general consideration of
all the places which may offer themselves along the east bank of the

I am not apprised, sir, of the extent of this continent certainly,
because I never calculated it by figures, or measured it on the map; but
if there is the smallest degree of accuracy in the draft that has been
handed about, no man, who takes a view of it, in my opinion, will doubt
a single moment, whether the Susquehanna is the river, which nearly
equally divides the territory of the United States, in its extent north
and south, that separates, in equal parts, the country east and west.
The eastern part, I take it, is little, if any thing, more than half as
large as what lies west. We observe that the course of the main branch
tends more toward the Atlantic Ocean, than it does toward the Western
Territory; but even its western inclination goes only toward the lakes
Erie and Ontario, through the middle of which runs the boundary line of
the United States. How can this, then, be supposed a direct or
convenient communication with that part of the country which is usually
termed, and is in fact, the Western Territory?

In fixing the permanent residence, we ought not only to have in view the
immediate importance of the States, but also what is likely to be their
weight at a future day; not that we should consider a visionary
importance, or chimerical expectation, but such a one as can be
demonstrated with as much certainty as effects follow their causes. I
apprehend the increase of population to the eastward is merely
conditional; there is nothing to invite people to settle in the northern
parts of this continent, in preference to the southern; even if they
were settled there, every principle which encourages population would
operate to induce them to emigrate to the southern and western parts. We
know the northern climate is severe, the winters long, and summers
short, and that the soil is less fertile. Were we not assuredly
acquainted that this was the case on the continent of America, we should
be led to the same conclusion, by reasoning from our knowledge of the
other parts of the globe. Men multiply in proportion to the means of
support, and this is more abundant in a mild than a severe climate.
Hence, I infer, that the climate, and means of subsistence, will ever
operate as a stimulus to promote the population of the Southern, in
preference to the Northern States. This doctrine is daily exemplified.
If we advert to the situation of that part of the Western country,
called Kentucky, and compare its increase of population since the war,
with any part of the Eastern States, we shall find men multiplied there
beyond any thing known in America; and if we consider its natural
advantages, we shall conclude it will be an important part of the Union.
The river which has been mentioned by the southern gentlemen is, as far
as I am acquainted, extremely well calculated to furnish Government with
the key of that country; and a river, I believe, richer in its exports
than any I have contemplated on the face of the earth.

A call was now made to order, and Mr. STONE sat down. A desultory
conversation took place on the point of order. It was contended, that
the question was on the insertion of Harrisburg, in the proposition
offered by Mr. GOODHUE; whereas Mr. STONE was speaking to the main

Messrs. CARROLL, LEE and MADISON insisted that Mr. STONE was in order,
inasmuch as Mr. HEISTER'S motion necessarily involved the main question,
and was inseparable from it.

But it was decided by the Chair to be out of order; whereupon the
question was taken, without further debate, on inserting Harrisburg, and
it was determined in the negative.

The main question being now before the committee,

Mr. STONE proceeded. I feel myself unhappy to be obliged to address
gentlemen, who are not disposed to attend to any thing I may say; but as
gentlemen have chosen this time for discussing the subject, they will
not think it improper in me to persist in detailing my ideas. When I was
interrupted by the call to order, I was about to show the importance of
the Potomac to the United States. Its waters afford a practical, safe,
and short communication with the Ohio and Mississippi, beyond comparison
preferable to the Susquehanna. If it is intended that the people settled
upon those great rivers should communicate with the General Government,
after ascending the former they must proceed a vast distance northward,
up the Alleghany, against a rapid stream, before they can reach the
Susquehanna. I am inclined to believe a land-carriage would be better
than such a laborious round-about water communication. Now the Potomac,
as I am informed, connects with the Youghiogheny, a river less rapid
than the Alleghany, and is itself communicable with the Atlantic. In
this case, the Potomac will be the highway for such vast quantities of
wealth as to give every superiority; and, however we may determine at
this day, it will not be long before the seat of Government must be
carried thither. The vast population that is extending itself through
the Western country requires that the Government should take a position
favorable to its convenience; because new settlements at a vast distance
from the old are more exposed to temptation than others; but in the
present case, it is proper for us to guard against the operation of a
foreign country, which seems to be forming settlements near our
frontiers to rival ours. It may be the more necessary, inasmuch as we
ought to keep the boundary line distinct between the Spaniards and
savages, as I fear, do what we will, we run the greatest risk of
entering into a quarrel with them; for, it is well known, that
emigrants, in forming new settlements, are not much concerned about an
ascertainment of jurisdiction; they are generally bold, enterprising
spirits, who feel some aversion to strict government; it is therefore
necessary that the Government should approach toward them, and be placed
in such situation as would give it the greatest possible influence over
them. Beside their contiguity to a rival nation, they are independent in
their condition; they want hardly any thing this country can give; their
soil is rich and fertile; their exports will furnish them with every
foreign article from the southward which they can require. Their
interests are more strongly connected with the Southern States than the
Southern States are with the Eastern. The advantages of this Government
are felt, in a peculiar manner, by the mercantile and commercial States;
the agricultural States have not the same strong reasons for maintaining
the Union. Hence we may apprehend that the Western country may be
inclined, as it advances its importance, to drop off. The Susquehanna is
no bond by which to hold them; its direction is more northern than
westerly. Upon the whole, I am inclined to believe that it would not
give general satisfaction at the present day; and the inequality would
daily grow more striking, until we should be compelled to remove again
to where there was a probability of finding a centre of territory as
well as population. I have thrown out these ideas in a crude manner, but
gentlemen have forced me to it by their urgency to take the question; I
could wish to be allowed time for further discussion, and I believe it
would be no ill sacrifice of a day, if we were to put off the
determination till to-morrow.

Mr. LEE observed, that since gentlemen would not admit of a moment's
delay; since they seemed to declare, that they had settled the matter
without giving an opportunity for full discussion; since the House were
hurried to a decision on a point that involved the welfare of the
community, duty to his country, duty to the better half of the territory
of the United States, called on him to come forward with another

He then moved to strike out the words "east bank of the Susquehanna,"
and to insert a clause to this effect; that, whereas the banks of the
Potomac united all the aforesaid advantages, with fertility of soil,
salubrity of climate, &c. Resolved, That the permanent seat of
Government ought to be fixed somewhere on the banks of the said river.

He flattered himself that these two rival places would be considered
with an attention that would do honor to the House; that their several
advantages would be fully compared, and that such a decision would
result as would be for the lasting benefit of the United States.

He then stated at large the comparative advantages of the Potomac; its
great and increasing improvements; the extent of its navigation; its
direct communication with the Western country, and its easy
communication with the Eastern and Southern States.

The House, he said, were now to determine whether regard was to be had
to the people of the Western Territory, to the greater portion of the
territory of the Union; in point of climate, it was extremely
salubrious; in fertility of soil, it was exceeded by no country on
earth. Thither would emigrants flock from all quarters.

He asked whether this Government was intended for a temporary or a
lasting one? Whether it was to be a fleeting vision, or to continue for
ages? He hoped the result would proclaim that the Government was
calculated for perpetuity; and that the common interests of the country
had been consulted. If that was done, the Government would be removed to
the Potomac; if not, we should stop short of it; and what would be the
consequence? He said he was averse to sound alarms, or introduce terrors
into the House; but if they were well founded, he thought it his duty.
It was well known with what difficulty the constitution was adopted by
the State of Virginia. It was then said, that there would be
confederacies of the States east of Pennsylvania, which would destroy
the Southern States; that they would unite their councils in discussing
questions relative to their particular interests, and the Southern
States would be disregarded. To these suspicions, it was answered, no!
It was contended that the magnanimous policy, arising from mutual
interests and common dangers would unite all the States, and make them
pursue objects of general good. But if it should be found that there
were such confederacies as were predicted, that the Northern States did
consult their partial interests, and form combinations to support them,
without regarding their Southern brethren, they would be alarmed, and
the faith of all south of the Potomac would be shaken. It would be shown
to them, that what had been predicted by the enemies to the constitution
had come to pass; that the Northern States had not waited till the
Government was organized before they sacrificed the Southern people to
their own interests.

Let the seat of Government be fixed where it may, Virginia had not
solicited Congress to place the seat of Government in her State. She
only contended, that the interests of the Southern and Western country
should be consulted; and he declared that these interests would be
sacrificed, if Congress fixed upon any place but the Potomac. The
greater part of Virginia was distant from that river. Many parts were
not nearer than New Jersey. She wished not to have the seat on the
Potomac but for the general good; it was not for the benefit of that
State, but for the benefit of the Union.

Mr. LAWRENCE said, it was improper and unnecessary to hold out terrors
to the fancy of members. The true way to convince them, was to address
their understandings. He was certain there was no dangerous confederacy
which the gentleman had talked of; and believed the conduct of the
Northern States would bear the strictest scrutiny; that, if probed to
the bottom, it would be found fair and candid. He remembered in the
debate upon the Tonnage bill, a gentleman from Virginia observed, that
could the moderate and equal policy of that day's proceedings have been
foreseen in the convention of Virginia, many objections that were there
produced against the constitution would have been thereby obviated.

He trusted, that, in conducting the business before them, gentlemen
could find no cause, eventually, to entertain different sentiments from
what he then delivered.

Mr. MADISON.--I acknowledge, that, on a former day, I made the
observation alluded to with singular complacency. I said, I had found a
moderation and liberality prevailing here, which I sincerely believed,
if foreseen in the convention of Virginia, would have obviated a very
powerful objection to the adoption of the Federal constitution. But,
give me leave now to say, that if a Prophet had risen in that body, and
brought the declarations and proceedings of this day into view, that I
as firmly believe Virginia might not have been a part of the Union at
this moment.

A motion was now made for the committee to rise, and several gentlemen
said, they wished it to prevail, in order that an opportunity might be
afforded for a fuller discussion.

Mr. SEDGWICK hoped the committee would not rise. Will it be contended,
that the majority shall not govern; and shall the minority, because they
cannot carry their points, accuse the House of want of candor? Are we to
be told, that an important State would not have joined the Union, had
they known what would have been the proceedings of this House. Gentlemen
have brought forward this business themselves; they have precipitated
the House into it. We prayed, we supplicated for time; and now
gentlemen, from some causes not explained, wish to postpone the matter,
in order to have time to deliberate. He believed that a deliberation of
six weeks would not alter a single opinion, and therefore it was not
proper to consume the public time uselessly.

Mr. MADISON.--When I alluded to the proceedings of this day, I
contemplated the manner in which the business was conducted; and though
I acknowledge that a majority ought to govern, yet they have no
authority to deprive the minority of a constitutional right; they have
no authority to debar us the right of free debate. An important and
interesting question being under consideration, we ought to have time
allowed for its discussion. Facts have been stated on one side, and
members ought to be indulged on the other with an opportunity of
collecting and ascertaining other facts. We have a right to bring
forward all the arguments which we think can, and ought to have an
influence on the decision. It is unusual, on a partial discussion, even
of questions of inferior magnitude, to decide in the course of a single
day. How, then, can gentlemen reconcile their conduct of this day to the
liberality they have hitherto shown? This manner of proceeding would
mark a genius in this body which will contradict the expectations of its
warmest friends. I hope nothing will be fixed by a hasty determination.
I said before, and repeat it again, that I wish to make some
observations on what has been advanced, for which at present there is
not time. But, if there was, I do not wish to address a determined and
silent majority. No, sir, if this be the temper of to-day, let me
appeal to a more favorable temper to-morrow. If gentlemen refuse this
appeal, I must submit; but I will, to the last moment, assert my right,
and remonstrate against a precipitate decision.

Mr. BURKE observed, that the Northern States had had a fortnight to
manage this matter, and would not now allow the Southern States a day.
What was the conduct of gentlemen? A league has been formed between the
Northern States and Pennsylvania.

Mr. FITZSIMONS interrupted Mr. BURKE, and denied the assertion, as it
respected Pennsylvania.

Mr. BURKE then proceeded, and said that the Eastern members had combined
with some other States, he could not positively say which, but the first
information that was furnished was given this morning, every gentleman
had heard it as well as himself, but that had nothing to do with his
object; he wanted time to get information; and called on gentlemen, for
the honor of the House, to comply with this request.

Mr. WADSWORTH said, he rejoiced to hear the gentlemen calling for time,
and crying out fair play. He remembered when he entreated the gentleman
who spoke last, and others, not to precipitate themselves into this
situation; his entreaties had been of no avail. Knowing that the pride
of a majority was one of those things to which he had to submit, he,
with all the New England members, solicited for time. With respect to
bargaining, he believed that it would reflect no honor on either side of
the House. He said he must either give his vote now, or submit to more
bargaining. He was willing that the whole business of bargaining should
be exposed; he would not excuse himself; he did not dare to go to the
Potomac. He feared that the whole of New England would consider the
Union as destroyed. Since the matter had been so prematurely brought on,
since members had been forced, and, as it were, dragged by the throat to
this business, he hoped it was now finished.

The question was now put, on the rising of the committee, and carried:
Whereupon the committee rose and reported progress, and then the House

THURSDAY, September 4.

_Seat of Government._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the
Resolution for establishing a permanent Seat of Government, Mr. BOUDINOT
in the chair.

Mr. STONE wished to hear the sentiments of the gentleman who first
brought forward this business: he expected to derive some advantage from
that gentleman's knowledge of the country, which, he presumed, was
pretty accurate, as it was derived from actual observation.

After waiting some time,

Mr. STONE repeated his request, under an apprehension that he had not
the honor of being heard by the worthy gentleman.

Mr. GOODHUE rose and said, he had given his sentiments yesterday, but,
if the gentleman desired it, he was ready to repeat them.

Mr. STONE said, he addressed his request to the gentleman from

Mr. SCOTT.--I understood the gentleman so, and I have no objection to
giving my sentiments on the occasion. The resolution I laid on the table
has been honored with the vote of a majority of the committee. It
contains such principles as, I believe, ought to govern in the
settlement of the grand question: they have declared, that they mean to
be governed by these principles, and this is a declaration to the world
that their hearts are good. What may follow in consequence of that
resolution, cannot impeach the motive, it can only prove, that our heads
are uninformed; an error of the head is pardonable, but an error of the
heart is not easily forgiven.

Whether the spot which has been moved is the right spot or not, seems to
be the matter under inquiry. I had prepared myself with documents, which
I should have produced had they been needed, to prove, that the State I
have the honor to represent involves, within its limits the centre of
wealth and population of the United States, taking the sea-coast for a
guide; for all that has been said of the importance of the Western
country, has not prevailed on me to imagine, that all the vacant
territory should be taken into view, the same as the settled and
cultivated parts; my resolution had no other idea but that the Atlantic
States should consent to go as near that territory as their convenience
would allow. I am convinced that going further than would suit the
Atlantic States would injure the Western country itself.

Mr. MADISON said, if this delay should not have produced any alteration
in the sentiments of the gentlemen, it will at least soften that hard
decision which seems to threaten the friends of the Potomac. He hoped
that all would concur in the great principle on which they ought to
conduct and decide this business; an equal attention to the rights of
the community. No government, he said, not even the most despotic,
could, beyond a certain point, violate that idea of justice and equal
right which prevailed in the mind of the community. In Republican
Governments, justice and equality form the basis of the system; and
perhaps the structure can rest on no other that the wisdom of man can
devise. In a Federal Republic, give me leave to say, it is even more
necessary and proper, that a sacred regard should be paid to these
considerations. For beyond the sense of the community at large, which
has its full agency in such a system, no such Government can act with
safety. The Federal ingredient involves local distinctions, which not
only produce local jealousies, but give, at the same time, a greater
local capacity to support, and insist upon equitable demands. In a
Confederacy of States, in which the people operate, in one respect as
citizens, and in another as forming political communities, the local
Governments will ever possess a keener sense and capacity, to take
advantage of those powers, on which the protection of local rights
depends. If these great rights be the basis of republics, and if there
be a double necessity of attending to them in a Federal Republic, it is
further to be considered, that there is no one right, of which the
people can judge with more ease and certainty, and of which they will
judge with more jealousy, than of the establishment of the permanent
seat of Government; and I am persuaded, that however often this subject
may be discussed in the representative body, or however the attention of
the committee may be drawn to it, the observations I have made will be
more and more verified. We see the operation of this sentiment fully
exemplified in what has taken place in the several States. In every
instance where the seat of Government has been placed in an uncentral
position, we have seen the people struggling to place it where it ought
to be. In some instances they have not yet succeeded, but I believe they
will succeed in all. In many they have actually gained their point.

With respect, however, to the Federal Government, there is one
consideration that shows, in a peculiar manner, the necessity and policy
of paying a strict attention to this principle. One of the greatest
objections which has been made by the opponents of the system, which has
been allowed most weight by its friends, is the extent of the United
States. It has been asserted by some, and almost feared by others, that
within so great a space, no free Government can exist. I hope and trust,
that the opinion is erroneous; but, at the same time, I acknowledge it
to have a certain degree of force, and it is incumbent on those who wish
well to the Union, to diminish this inconvenience as much as possible.
The way to diminish it, is to place the Government in that spot which
will be least removed from every part of the empire. Carry it to a
remote position, and it will be equivalent to an extension of our
limits; and if our limits are already extended so far as warrants, in
any degree, the apprehension before mentioned, we ought to take care not
to extend them further.

The seat of Government is of great importance, if you consider the
diffusion of wealth that proceeds from this source. I presume that the
expenditures which will take place, where the Government will be
established by those who are immediately concerned in its
administration, and by others who may resort to it, will not be less
than half a million dollars a year. It is to be regretted that those who
may be most convenient to the centre should enjoy this advantage to a
higher degree than others; but the inequality is an evil imposed by
necessity; we diminish it as we place the source from which those
emanations of wealth are to proceed as near the centre as possible.

If we consider, sir, the effects of Legislative power on the aggregate
community, we must feel equal inducements to look for the centre, in
order to find the proper seat of Government. Those who are most adjacent
to the seat of Legislation will always possess advantages over others.
An earlier knowledge of the laws, a greater influence in enacting them,
better opportunities for anticipating them, and a thousand other
circumstances, will give a superiority to those who are thus situated.
If it were possible to promulgate our laws, by some instantaneous
operation, it would be of less consequence in that point of view where
the Government might be placed; but if, on the contrary, time is
necessary for this purpose, we ought, as far as possible, to put every
part of the community on a level.

If we consider the influence of the Government in its Executive
Department, there is no less reason to conclude that it ought to be
placed in the centre of the Union. It ought to be in a situation to
command information relative to every part of the Union, to watch every
conjuncture, to seize every circumstance that can be improved. The
Executive eye ought to be placed where it can best see the dangers which
may threaten, and the Executive arm, whence it may be extended most
effectually to the protection of every part. Perhaps it is peculiarly
necessary, that, in looking for the position, we should keep our eye as
much as possible towards our Western borders; for a long time dangers
will be most apt to assail that quarter of the Union.

He was sure, that if justice required us to take any one position in
preference to another, we had every inducement, both of interest and of
prudence to fix on the Potomac, as most satisfactory to our Western
brethren. It is impossible to reflect a moment on the possible severance
of that branch of the Union without seeing the mischiefs which such an
event must create. The area of the United States divided into two equal
parts, will leave, perhaps, one half on the west side of the Alleghany
Mountains. From the fertility of the soil, the fineness of the climate,
and every thing that can favor a growing population, we may suppose the
settlement will go on with every degree of rapidity which our
imagination can conceive.

If the calculation be just, that we double in twenty-five years, we
shall speedily behold an astonishing mass of people on the Western
waters. Whether this great mass will form a permanent part of the
confederacy, or whether it will be separated into an alien, a jealous
and a hostile people, may depend on the system of measures that is
shortly to be taken. The difference, he observed, between considering
them in the light of fellow-citizens, bound to us by a common affection,
obeying common laws, pursuing a common good, and considering them in the
other light, presents one of the most interesting questions that can
occupy an American mind. Instead of peace and friendship, we shall have
rivalship and enmity; instead of being a great people, invulnerable on
all sides, and without the necessity of those military establishments
which other nations require, we shall be driven into the same expensive
and dangerous means of defence. We shall be obliged to lay burthens on
the people, to support establishments which, sooner or later, may prove
fatal to their liberties. It is incumbent on us, if we wish to act the
part of magnanimous legislators, or patriotic citizens, to consider
well, when we are about to take a step of such vast importance, that it
be directed by the views he had described; we must consider what is
just, what is equal, and what is satisfactory.

On a candid view of the two rivers, he flattered himself that the seat
which would most correspond with the public interest would be found on
the banks of the Potomac. It was proper that we should have some regard
to the centre of territory; if that was to have weight, he begged leave
to say, that there was no comparison between the two rivers. He defied
any gentleman to cast his eye in the most cursory manner over a map and
say that the Potomac is not much nearer this centre than any part of the
Susquehanna. If we measure from the banks of the Potomac to the most
eastern parts of the United States, it is less distant than to the most
southern. If we measure this great area diagonally, the Potomac will
have the advantage. If you draw a line perpendicularly to the direction
of the Atlantic coast, we shall find that it will run more equally
through the Potomac than through any part of the Union; or, if there be
any difference between one side and the other, there will be a greater
space on the south-west than on the north-east. All the maps of the
United States show the truth of this. From the Atlantic coast to that
line which separates the British possessions from the United States, the
average distance is not more than one hundred and fifty miles. If you
take the average breadth of the other great division of the United
States, it will be found to be six, seven, and eight hundred miles.

From this view of the subject, which is not easy to describe by words,
but which will strike every eye that looks on a map, I am sure that if
the Potomac is not the geographical centre, it is because the
Susquehanna is less so.

Mr. CLYMER begged to set the gentleman right; his colleague, if he
understood him, had only related the communication by the north-western
branches, but there was a communication by the Juniata, a branch of the
Susquehanna, about fifteen miles above Harrisburg, tending westerly, and
navigable eighty miles, from whence to the Connemagh was a portage, with
a road actually laid out of about forty miles, hence you descend the
Kisskaminetas to the Alleghany, and from thence to Pittsburg is thirty

Mr. SCOTT knew this communication pretty well, but we who live in that
country never take it into consideration, as the waters are too small to
afford a certainty of communication, but even here the portage was
greater than between the Potomac and Youghiogheny.

Mr. CLYMER said, with respect to the navigation of the Juniata, that it
was in evidence before the House of Assembly of Pennsylvania, when they
were considering the means of uniting that navigation with the western
waters, that produce to the amount of fourteen hundred bushels had been
brought down it to Middletown.

Mr. MADISON proceeded and said, he wished every fact to be ascertained
that could throw any light upon the subject. Taking the Susquehanna, as
it was practicable for navigation, it would be found, that through that
route of communication, Fort Pitt would be four or five hundred miles
from the proposed seat on its banks, and that the distance by land was
not less than two hundred and fifty miles; whereas, through the Potomac
the distance from the proposed spot on its banks to Fort Pitt was not
calculated at more than two hundred and fifty miles, and he believed the
distance by land would be found not to exceed one hundred and sixty or
one hundred and seventy miles.

Whether we measure the distance by land or water, then, the result is in
favor of the Potomac. If we consider the progress already made in
opening this great channel, its title becomes still stronger. Let me
add, that it has been found, on accurate research, that the waters
communicating with the Ohio are not more than two or three miles distant
from the sources of the Potomac. This is a fact of peculiar importance.

The gentleman from Massachusetts yesterday raised great objections
against the Potomac, because it was, as he supposed, subject to
periodical maladies, from which the other river was free. I am not
authorized, from personal experience, or very particular information, to
draw a comparison between them; but there are some general facts that
may serve to show, that if there is any difference, it is more likely to
be in favor of the Potomac than of the Susquehanna. The position
contemplated on the banks of the former is considerably further from
tide water than the place proposed on the latter. On this account,
therefore, we have little reason to suppose that the Potomac is more
unhealthy. If we regard their comparative situations, westwardly, the
spot on the Potomac is almost as much further to the west, as it is
distant from the proposed spot on the Susquehanna; and he well knew
that, generally speaking, as were tire towards the Western and upper
country, we are generally removed from the causes of those diseases to
which southern situations are exposed. As the two places are moreover in
the same latitude, the objection advanced, with respect to that point,
cannot apply to one more than the other. It is only their western or
eastern position, their remoteness from, or their proximity to the lower
country, and to fresh or stagnant waters, that can possibly affect the
question. It is not because we advance so much to the south that we
advance to the centre, it is because we go more to the west. I do not
know that there is a difference of more than a degree and five or six
minutes between the latitude of New York and the place proposed on the

Mr. AMES never intended that this question should be carried through the
committee by the strength of a silent majority; he had confidence in the
weight of the arguments to be urged in favor of the Susquehanna, and he
was willing to put the decision of the question on that ground. He would
now come forward, and give the reasons of his opinion, especially as
gentlemen had entered fully into the reasons which guided their own to a
different conclusion. He did not conceive it would be necessary for him,
coming from the part of the United States from which he did, to disclaim
the local views and narrow prejudices with which the subject teemed. He
had feared, when the question was first brought forward, that the minds
of gentlemen would be highly fermented, indeed so much, that he almost
despaired of coming to a proper decision, nor did he think these
apprehensions were illusive, if he judged from what had already taken
place. He had observed that some gentlemen, whose discernments were
clear and who were generally guided by the straight line of rectitude,
had been most surprisingly warped on the present occasion; he was
fearful that their wishes had misled them from a due regard of the real
object of their pursuit, viz: the public interest and convenience. He
was sensible, that he himself was liable to some improper impressions;
but he trusted he did not feel them in that degree which he thought he
saw in others.

He was willing to be led by the great principles which other gentlemen
had laid down as the rule of their decision; but he thought they would
lead to a different conclusion from what had been drawn from them; he
admitted that a central situation is to be taken, and in considering
this centre, the centre of a sea-coast line ought to be regarded,
because it is more conveniently accessible, has more wealth, and more
people than an equal area of inland country. Being more liable to
invasion, government should be near to protect it. It is the interest of
the back country to have the Government near the sea, to inspect and
encourage trade, by which their abundant produce will find an export.
And lastly, he said, the contingency of the separation of the Western
country was a reason for preferring the sea-coast.

He proceeded next to say, there will not be any contest where this
centre of the sea-coast line is to be found: it falls between the rivers
Potomac and Susquehanna. It will be found that there are good reasons
why we should rather move east than south.

If the sea-coast line is to be preferred, it will follow that the back
lands, west of the Ohio, which the gentleman from Virginia has so often
taken into his calculations, will be excluded; they are not peopled;
they do not affect the sea-coast line; and that line has already been
voted to be the proper one by the committee. As it is true that the
sea-coast has more wealth and more people than the inland country in
proportion to the extent, it is equally true that the eastern half of
the sea-coast has more of both than the southern. If we reckon Maryland,
which will be as well accommodated by the Susquehanna as by the Potomac,
we shall find the population of the eastern part nearly two millions,
and that of the southern only one million, and the population of free
inhabitants still less in favor of the latter.

But, sir, instead of seeking a centre geographically, we should consider
the centre of common convenience. The place is the proper one where the
greatest number of persons will be best accommodated. I will endeavor to
show that that will be on the Susquehanna. Is the zeal of gentlemen, who
oppose this design, influenced by their despair of removing the seat of
Government afterwards? I believe the people of America will not complain
of it. If fixed there, I think it will be found convenient and will
remain there.

The Susquehanna is the centre of the common convenience. At this moment
there are more wealth and more inhabitants east than south of it. But
the future population of America is calculated, and it is pretended that
the balance of population is receding from the East. Surely the present
inhabitants may be allowed principally to consult their own convenience.
West of the Ohio is an almost immeasurable wilderness; when it will be
settled, or how it will be possible to govern it, is past calculation.
Gentlemen will pardon me if I think it perfectly romantic to make this
decision depend upon that circumstance. Probably it will be near a
century before those people will be considerable; if we fix the national
seat in the proper place now, it would give me no inquietude to know
that a hundred years hence it may be liable to be removed; but, in fact,
the principle which is assumed by the committee, and which I have
attempted to justify, of taking the centre of the sea-coast line, will,
even in the event of that vast tract being settled, furnish abundant
reasons for its remaining on the Susquehanna. I will not recapitulate
those reasons. We must take some principle to guide us; and though some
inequalities will appear, yet let gentlemen remember, that in so vast a
country great inconveniences will attend the communications of the
people with Government, be the seat of it where it may; and by taking
the centre of the sea-coast line there will be less than any other
principle. It will be found best to accommodate the greatest number; or,
in other words, to be the centre of common convenience: indeed, this is
not denied to be true at this moment; but the case is said to be
changing. On the one hand, I think it is Utopian to calculate upon the
population of the United States a century hence; and, on the other hand,
I admit that it is impolitic at least, perhaps unjust, to confine our
attention to the present population; a quarter of a century may be a
medium. Will gentlemen deny that trade and manufactures will accumulate
people in the Eastern States, in proportion of five to three, compared
with the Southern? The disproportion will, doubtless, continue to be
much greater than I have calculated. It is actually greater at present;
for the climate and negro slavery are acknowledged to be unfavorable to
population: so that husbandry, as well as commerce and manufactures,
will give more people in the Eastern than in the Southern States. The
very circumstance that gentlemen found their reasonings upon is pretty
strongly against their calculations. They tell us of the vast quantities
of good land still unsettled in their States; that will produce a thin
population; for the old lands will not be crowded, so long as new ones
are to be had.

Mr. CARROLL begged leave to give the Committee some information
respecting the distance from tide-water to Fort Cumberland; from the
tide-water to the Little Falls was three miles, to the Great Falls six
more, from thence to the Seneca Falls was also six more, and from thence
to Old Town one hundred and seventeen; which last place was fifteen
miles from Fort Cumberland, making in all one hundred and forty-five
miles, instead of two hundred, as stated by the gentleman.

Mr. AMES imagined his statement to be nearly right, and he found Mr.
JEFFERSON stated in his Notes, that the Falls of the Potomac were
fifteen miles in extent, and a navigation extremely difficult to be

Mr. CARROLL said, it was not near that distance; in the fifteen miles
there were three falls: the Seneca, the Great and Little Falls, but they
occupy but a small part of the fifteen miles; he could certainly form
some judgment of a place which he might say was almost at his door, and
did not expect that Mr. JEFFERSON'S Notes would have been adduced as an
authority to contradict information he had given in his place. As to the
difficulty of the navigation, he had to observe that many of the
obstacles were already so far removed as to render the transportation
down to the Great Falls practicable; that there the canal was nearly
finished, and ready to sink the lock-seats and insert the frames, so
that in a little time there was a probability that no impediment
whatever would obstruct the descent of produce to the tide-water.

The question, on Mr. Lee's motion for striking out Susquehanna, and
inserting Potomac, was put and lost; for it 21, against it 29.

Mr. MADISON then moved, to add, after "Susquehanna" the words "or
Potomac;" this would furnish an opportunity to examine and compare the
two situations. It was so favorable to a discovery of the truth, that he
did not doubt but gentlemen who were desirous of grounding their
decision upon a full understanding of the subject would agree to the

Mr. BOUDINOT seconded this motion, and supported it, by observing the
necessity there appeared to be, of obtaining a more accurate knowledge
of the two rivers, as gentlemen seemed to differ materially with
respect to the matter of fact.

Mr. SHERMAN contended, upon the principles adopted yesterday by the
committee, that they could not think of going to the Potomac; he said,
that taking the population, even allowing the slaves in the Southern
States, there was the greatest weight of population north-east of the
Susquehanna; but upon the ratio of representation, at a member for forty
thousand inhabitants, there were but one million two hundred thousand
south of Pennsylvania, one million four hundred thousand north,
including Pennsylvania; but if the calculation was made from the
Potomac, the South would contain nine hundred and sixty thousand
inhabitants, and the North one million six hundred and eighty thousand.
Now, he would ask, if gentlemen could expect that the northern people
would incline to go so far south? He apprehended they would not.

The question being taken on inserting "or Potomac," it passed in the

On motion of Mr. PAGE, the committee rose and reported progress, and
then the House adjourned.

SATURDAY, September 5.

_Permanent Seat of Government._

The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on
establishing the permanent residence of Congress; when

Mr. FITZSIMONS presented the following resolution:

      _Resolved_, As the opinion of this committee, that the
      President of the United States be authorized to appoint
      ---- commissioners, to examine, and report to him, the most
      eligible situation on the east bank of the Susquehanna, for
      the permanent seat of Government of the United States. That
      the said commissioners be authorized, by and with the
      advice of the President, to purchase such quantity of lands
      as may be thought necessary, and to erect thereon, within
      ---- years, suitable buildings for the accommodation of the
      Congress, and of the officers of the United States. That
      the Secretary of the Treasury, together with the
      commissioners so to be appointed, be authorized to borrow a
      sum not exceeding ---- dollars, to be paid in ---- years,
      with interest, at the rate of ---- per cent. per annum,
      payable out of the duties on impost and tonnage, to be
      applied to the purchase of the land, and the erection of
      the buildings aforesaid. And that a bill ought to pass, in
      the present session, in conformity with the aforegoing

Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina) doubted the propriety of the resolution,
because he conceived the declaration in the constitution required a
cession of territory as well as jurisdiction. If he was joined in this
sentiment by the committee, he would move that the President be
empowered to appoint commissioners to examine and report a proper place
on the banks of the Susquehanna for a federal town, and that, whenever
the State of Pennsylvania shall cede to the United States a certain
district or territory, not exceeding ten miles square, Congress would
accept thereof for the above purpose.

Mr. LAWRENCE would inquire for what purpose the cession, mentioned in
the constitution, was required? It was, in the words of that instrument,
to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever; now, did this
consequence involve in it a territorial possession? It certainly did
not. It involved nothing more than the power of making laws independent
of the State jurisdiction. The gentleman might have carried his idea
further, for as the cession is to be made by particular States, it seems
to infer that two States, at least, should be concerned in the cession;
but would objections, from such forced constructions, have any weight in
the judgment of the committee? He trusted they would not. He supposed it
more rational to attend to the plain literal meaning of the constitution
than to engage in the discussion of the refined speculations of
ingenious men.

Mr. VINING observed, that Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, had offered
to cede territory, as well as jurisdiction, and there would be a great
impropriety in expending the federal treasure, in purchasing the soil,
when they might have it without expense.

Mr. AMES endeavored to show that such a cession, as was contemplated in
the constitution, might be made by one State to another, without giving
a property to a foot of land, by comparing it with the cession of
Silesia to Prussia, where not a single acre of soil was conveyed, but of
jurisdiction to the whole province; so, when territory changes its
government, by being the sacrifice of a treaty of peace. He supposed
that Congress were to purchase the soil necessary to erect buildings for
the accommodation of the Government, and was satisfied the cession might
be made subsequent to their election of a particular spot.

Mr. SENEY.--The gentleman from Delaware has said, that Maryland proposed
a cession of soil; but I believe, sir, there is not such a word as soil
mentioned in the law.

Mr. CARROLL agreed with his colleague, and supposed that a cession of
soil could not have been contemplated, because the State of Maryland had
offered any part of the State, not excepting the town of Baltimore. He
believed if Congress were disposed to fix in that town, it would be
agreeable to the State; but he did not imagine they would agree to give
the General Government a property to the whole town, and the surrounding
country. The other parts of the State had never contemplated making the
inhabitants of Baltimore a compensation for such an immense property.

Mr. GOODHUE believed, if the House had agreed to go to the Potomac,
there would have been none of these constitutional difficulties stated.
It was well known, he said, that the gentlemen from the eastward had no
desire to take up the subject; but those from the southward were
sanguine in their expectations that they should get the Government to
the Potomac; and were, therefore, for pressing the business, and not
allowing it to be postponed as was contended for on the other hand.

Mr. MADISON said, the business was not brought on by their original
motion, though they gave it their support. It was true, that a
proposition for postponement was made, but what was the extent of that
postponement? Till December or January next. Was there any reason to
suppose that those gentlemen, who were, at this day, opposed to the
Potomac, would give in to such a change of opinion by that time, as to
induce us to agree to their proposition. We saw no reason to expect such
a change. And, as in fact, we find a predetermined majority ready to
dispose of us, the sooner we know our destiny the better; for it can be
of little consequence, if we are to be disposed of, whether we are
disposed of in September or December.

Mr. WADSWORTH.--The reiteration of being disposed of by bargaining,
induces me to rise and make one remark. It is a notorious fact to the
members within these walls, that the New England members, to a man, were
opposed to a decision at present; and that they were disposed to
accommodate the Southern States. They refused all bargaining, till they
were assured there was a bargaining set on foot to carry them to the
Potomac; why, then, are we reproached with this? Whatever bargaining
there has been, we were the last to come into it; we never thought of
it, till we were told that we were a property, and should be disposed
of, unless we took care of ourselves. I hope, as we have gone so far, we
shall settle the subject in dispute, by granting the money and erecting
the necessary buildings.

Mr. JACKSON denied being concerned in any bargaining whatever, and
defied any gentleman to say he knew any thing of one, till he heard it
mentioned on this floor; he was determined to keep himself disengaged,
and to vote according as his judgment should lead him, after hearing the
subject coolly and thoroughly discussed.

Mr. MADISON hoped, if he travelled a little out of order, he should be
justified, after what had taken place; but he could not withhold this
public declaration of his wish, that every thing that had passed on the
subject alluded to by the gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. WADSWORTH,)
were to be fully understood, and were reduced to writing. Every thing he
knew of it he was willing, on his part, to put into that form; and he
was well persuaded that it would be found, on examination, that the
opposition of the Southern gentlemen was of a defensive nature, and that
they had not listened to a proposition, until they had reason to think
it necessary to prevent a sudden and improper decision of this very
important question.

Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, begged gentlemen to remember, that all the
Southern members had not been in favor of bringing forward the business
at the present session; he had opposed it as well as some others.

Mr. LEE conceived it to be his duty to present once more the preamble,
which had been rejected in committee. He flattered himself, after the
discussion which had taken place, that gentlemen were prepared to decide
on liberal and national principles, and therefore they would adopt those
he presented.

Mr. SENEY approved of the Susquehanna in preference to the Potomac, on
every principle which had been brought into view, as proper to guide the
House in deciding the present question. He treated the alarm which
gentlemen apprehended would be given by fixing on the Susquehanna as
merely ideal, and existing nowhere but in the imagination of gentlemen;
so far from exciting jealousy, or disturbing the public mind, he
contemplated it as tending to allay uneasiness, and to give general

On motion, the House now adjourned.

MONDAY, September 7.

_Permanent seat of Government._

The House resumed the consideration of the resolutions reported by the
Committee of the Whole for establishing the permanent residence of

Whereupon, the first resolution was agreed to, and the second, to wit:

      _Resolved_, That the permanent seat of the Government of
      the United States ought to be at some convenient place on
      the east bank of the river Susquehanna, in the State of
      Pennsylvania; and that, until the necessary buildings be
      erected for the purpose, the seat of Government ought to
      continue at the city of New York,

Being under consideration,

Mr. LEE withdrew his proposition offered yesterday, and moved to amend
the said resolution, by striking out the words "East Bank of the river
Susquehanna, in the State of Pennsylvania," and inserting, in lieu
thereof; the "North Bank of the river Potomac, in the State of

And, on the question that the House do agree to the said amendment, the
yeas and nays were demanded, and are

      AYES.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Brown, Burke, Carroll,
      Coles, Contee, Gale, Griffin, Jackson, Lee, Madison,
      Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Smith, (of South Carolina,)
      Stone, Sumter, Tucker and Vining--21.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Benson, Boudinot, Cadwalader, Clymer,
      Fitzsimons, Floyd, Foster, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout,
      Hartley, Hathorn, Lawrence, Livermore, P. Muhlenberg,
      Partridge, Van Rensselaer, Scott, Seney, Sherman,
      Sylvester, Sinnickson, Smith, (of Maryland,) Thatcher,
      Trumbull, Wadsworth and Wynkoop--29.

So it was determined in the negative.

Mr. VINING said, it now became his duty, after having sacrificed a
prejudice, if he had one, by giving his vote for the Potomac, to bring
before the House the humble claim of Delaware. He apprehended that her
claim to centrality, as it respected wealth and population, was
superior to that of the Susquehanna; and that, if a sea-coast line was
to be a criterion, she was near the centre of territory. He supposed
that this was the line upon which the Committee was to decide for the
present. It was not supposed necessary, at this time, to take into
consideration the vacant and extensive Western Territory, or why refuse
the Potomac, which offered itself under the greatest advantages of an
easy intercourse with that quarter? Add to the reasons he had mentioned,
that the United States would consult their interest by fixing on the
Delaware, as they would not incur the heavy expense of purchasing
territory, and erecting magnificent palaces and hotels for the
Government, and he thought gentlemen would not hesitate to agree with

The place he meant to offer was possessed of eminent superiority, as to
salubrity of air and fertility of soil; it also united the advantages of
the Atlantic and inland navigation; inasmuch as, by cutting a canal from
the waters of the Chesapeake to the Delaware, a communication would be
opened from Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, to New Jersey,
Pennsylvania and the midland counties of New York. The spot that he
proposed for their acceptance was Wilmington in the State of Delaware;
round which they might have a district for exclusive legislation, if it
was thought proper to accept it. Under these impressions, he would frame
his motions in such a way, as to enable Congress, when they did adjourn,
to adjourn to meet at that borough. It was made in this form: To strike
out the word "permanent," and all the remainder of the clause, after the
words "ought to be at," and to insert in lieu of the last "the borough
of Wilmington, in the State of Delaware."

On the question that the House do agree to the said amendment, the yeas
and nays were demanded, and are

      AYES.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Boudinot, Burke, Cadwalader,
      Coles, Contee, Griffin, Jackson, Lee, Madison, Matthews,
      Moore, Page, Parker, Sinnickson, Smith, (of South
      Carolina,) Sumter, and Vining--19.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Brown, Carroll, Clymer,
      Fitzsimons, Floyd, Foster, Gale, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue,
      Grout, Hartley, Hathorn, Heister, Lawrence, Livermore, P.
      Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van Rensselaer, Scott, Seney,
      Sherman, Sylvester, Smith, (of Maryland,) Stone, Thatcher,
      Trumbull, Tucker, Wadsworth and Wynkoop--32.

Mr. BOUDINOT remarked that the peculiar situation in which he had been
placed, by having the chair of the Committee, prevented him from giving
his sentiments on the subject then; he therefore hoped to be indulged
with stating the claim of the Delaware to the honor of the Federal City.
When a question of such great magnitude, and which involved the
interests of the Union, was to be decided, he thought he could be
neither doing justice to the United States at large, nor his immediate
constituents, were he to neglect to call their attention to what the
former Congress had done in favor of the Delaware. He was surprised that
gentlemen, who contended for the accommodation of their constituents,
should be led so far astray from pursuing that object, as to pass far
beyond the centre of wealth and population, as well as territory; or, if
they did not pass the centre of territory, they went to a place, maugre
all that had been said, devoid of those advantages which ought to attend
the Federal residence. The want of communication with the Atlantic, the
difficulty of navigating its waters, from the innumerable rocks, falls
and shoals with which it abounds, which, from actual observation, he was
induced to believe were insuperable obstructions to a connection with
the Western waters, or, if they could be surmounted, it would be at such
cost of money and labor, as the United States were not in a condition to
expend, at a time when the widows and orphans were starving for want of
the pittance due to them by the Government. The sterility of the soil,
and the unhealthiness of a situation on the banks of a river which was
subject to rise twenty feet and more, and overflow its banks, leaving
behind vast quantities of stagnant water, whence proceeded noxious
exhalations, the cause of a long catalogue of diseases, were altogether,
in his mind, such objections to the place, that he could never imagine a
majority of the House could consent to it. He further observed, that the
Government would be secluded from the world, and the channels of
information; there were few inhabitants, unless it was in the
neighborhood of York or Lancaster.

But, beside all these considerations, there was this further, that there
was an existing resolution of Congress for erecting the necessary
buildings for their accommodation on the banks of the Delaware and
Potomac, and an absolute grant of money for the purpose of defraying the
expense. Now, as these had each of them strong pretensions, he was
willing to have them considered and examined by commissioners sent on
the ground. For the sake of accommodation, he would, therefore, move to
amend the resolution, by striking out the words "east bank of the river
Susquehanna, in the State of Pennsylvania," and inserting in lieu
thereof the words "Potomac, Susquehanna, or Delaware."

On the question that the House do agree to the said amendment, it passed
in the negative; the yeas and nays being required, are as follows:

      YEAS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Boudinot, Brown, Burke,
      Cadwalader, Carroll, Coles, Contee, Griffin, Jackson, Lee,
      Madison, Matthews, Moore, Parker, Page, Sinnickson, Smith,
      (of South Carolina,) Stone, Sumter, Tucker and Vining--23.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd,
      Foster, Gale, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley,
      Hathorn, Heister, Lawrence, Livermore, P. Muhlenberg,
      Partridge, Van Rensselaer, Scott, Seney, Sherman,
      Sylvester, Smith, (of Maryland,) Thatcher, Trumbull,
      Wadsworth and Wynkoop--28.

Mr. BOUDINOT then moved to amend the resolution by striking out the
words "east bank of the river Susquehanna, in the State of
Pennsylvania," and inserting in lieu thereof, the words, "banks of
either side of the river Delaware, not more than eight miles above or
below the lower falls of Delaware."

On this question, the yeas and nays were demanded, and are:

      YEAS.--Messrs. Boudinot, Cadwalader, Gerry and

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Baldwin, Benson, Bland, Brown, Burke,
      Carroll, Clymer, Coles, Contee, Fitzsimons, Floyd, Foster,
      Gale, Gilman, Griffin, Grout, Goodhue, Hartley, Hathorn,
      Heister, Jackson, Lawrence, Lee, Livermore, Madison,
      Matthews, Moore, Muhlenberg, Page, Parker, Partridge, Van
      Rensselaer, Scott, Seney, Sherman, Sylvester, Smith, (of
      Maryland,) Smith, (of South Carolina,) Stone, Sumter,
      Thatcher, Trumbull, Tucker, Wadsworth and Wynkoop--46.

Mr. STONE then moved to amend the resolution, by striking out the words
"east bank," and inserting in lieu thereof the word "banks;" and on the
question, that the House do agree to the said amendment, the yeas and
nays being demanded, were as follow:

      YEAS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Boudinot, Brown, Burke,
      Cadwalader, Carroll, Coles, Contee, Gale, Griffin, Jackson,
      Lee, Madison, Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Seney,
      Sinnickson, Smith, (of Maryland,) Smith, (of South
      Carolina,) Stone, Sumter, Tucker, and Vining--26.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd,
      Foster, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley, Hathorn,
      Heister, Lawrence, Livermore, Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van
      Rensselaer, Scott, Sherman, Sylvester, Thatcher, Trumbull,
      Wadsworth and Wynkoop--25.

So it passed in the affirmative.

A motion was then made and seconded, further to amend the said
resolution, by inserting, after the word "Pennsylvania," the words "or
Maryland," and, on the question the House do agree to the said
amendment, it passed in the negative; and the yeas and nays being
demanded, were as follow:

      AYES.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Boudinot, Brown, Burke,
      Cadwalader, Carroll, Coles, Contee, Gale, Griffin, Jackson,
      Lee, Madison, Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Sinnickson,
      Smith, (of M.) Smith, (of S. C.) Stone, Sumter, Tucker and

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd,
      Foster, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley, Hathorn,
      Heister, Lawrence, Livermore, P. Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van
      Rensselaer, Scott, Seney, Sherman, Sylvester, Thatcher,
      Trumbull, Wadsworth and Wynkoop--26.

Mr. LEE expected the question would be divided on the resolution, as it
contained two distinct objects, the permanent and temporary residence.

Mr. PAGE suggested the propriety of striking out the latter part of the
clause, relating to New York, and to confine the resolution merely to
the avowed object, namely, the permanent residence.

The question was taken on striking out, and it passed in the negative,
24 for, 27 against it.

Mr. VINING then moved to strike out the words "City of New York," and
insert, in lieu thereof, "Borough of Wilmington, in the State of
Delaware;" and on the question to agree to the said amendment, the yeas
and nays being demanded, were as follow:

      AYES.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Boudinot, Brown, Burke,
      Cadwalader, Carroll, Coles, Contee, Gale, Griffin, Jackson,
      Lee, Madison, Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Sinnickson,
      Sumter and Vining--21.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd,
      Foster, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley, Hathorn,
      Heister, Lawrence, Livermore, Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van
      Rensselaer, Scott, Seney, Sherman, Sylvester, Smith, (of
      Maryland,) Smith, (of South Carolina,) Stone, Thatcher,
      Trumbull, Tucker, Wadsworth and Wynkoop--30.

So it passed in the negative.

Mr. PARKER moved to strike out "New York" and insert "Philadelphia."

Mr. LEE said the city of New York possessed every convenience and
accommodation; he was strongly impressed in favor of the inhabitants,
their urbanity and industry did honor to America, and nothing could
induce him to vote for striking out the words, but a sense of duty. He
flattered himself that a regard would now be paid to the great
principles of centrality, which Philadelphia possessed in a great
degree; the conveniences and accommodations to be found in that city
were equal, if not superior, to what New York presented; her public
buildings and institutions were, he believed, at their command; the
inhabitants were industrious, temperate, and frugal; in short, every
principle which operated in favor of the Susquehanna, as a permanent
residence, applied with equal or more force in favor of Philadelphia as
the temporary seat of Government.

Mr. SHERMAN hoped the House were disposed to make as few removes as
possible, and that as the buildings for their accommodation might be in
readiness in two or three years at the permanent residence, they would
be disposed to continue in New York till that time.

On the question, that the House do agree to the said amendment, the yeas
and nays being demanded, are as follows:

      AYES.--Messrs. Baldwin, Boudinot, Brown, Burke, Cadwalader,
      Carroll, Coles, Contee, Gale, Griffin, Heister, Jackson,
      Lee, Madison, Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Sinnickson,
      Stone, Sumter and Vining--22.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Bland, Clymer, Fitzsimons,
      Floyd, Foster, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley,
      Hathorn, Lawrence, Livermore, P. Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van
      Rensselaer, Scott, Seney, Sherman, Sylvester, Smith, (of
      Maryland,) Smith, (of South Carolina,) Thatcher, Trumbull,
      Tucker, Wadsworth and Wynkoop--29.

The main question being put, the second resolution, as amended, was
agreed to by the House, in the words following, to wit:

      "_Resolved_, That the permanent seat of the Government of
      the United States ought to be at some convenient place on
      the banks of the river Susquehanna, in the State of
      Pennsylvania; and that, until the necessary buildings be
      erected for the purpose, the seat of Government ought to
      continue in the city of New York."

The third resolution, in the words following, to wit:

      "_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be
      authorized to appoint three commissioners, to examine and
      report to him the most eligible situation on the banks of
      the Susquehanna, in the State of Pennsylvania, for the
      permanent seat of the Government of the United States; that
      the said Commissioners be authorized under the direction of
      the President, to purchase such quantity of land as may be
      thought necessary, and to erect thereon, within four years,
      suitable buildings for the accommodation of the Congress,
      and of the other officers of the United States; that the
      Secretary of the Treasury, together with the Commissioners
      so to be appointed, be authorized to borrow a sum, not
      exceeding one hundred thousand dollars, to be repaid within
      twenty years, with interest, not exceeding the rate of five
      per cent. per annum, out of the duties on impost and
      tonnage, to be applied to the purchase of the land, and the
      erection of buildings aforesaid; and that a bill ought to
      pass, in the present session, in conformity with the
      foregoing resolutions."

A motion was made by Mr. GALE, to amend the same, by inserting after the
word "aforesaid" the following proviso, viz:

"Provided, nevertheless, that, previous to any such purchase, or
erection of buildings as aforesaid, the Legislatures of the States of
Pennsylvania and Maryland make such provision for removing all
obstructions to the navigation of the said river, between the seat of
the Federal Government and the mouth thereof, as may be satisfactory to
the President of the United States."

The ayes and nays being demanded, it passed in the negative.

      AYES.--Messrs. Baldwin, Boudinot, Brown, Burke, Cadwalader,
      Carroll, Coles, Contee, Gale, Jackson, Lee, Madison,
      Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Seney, Sinnickson, Smith,
      (of Maryland,) Smith, (of South Carolina,) Stone, Sumter,
      Tucker and Vining--24.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd,
      Foster, Gale, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley, Hathorn,
      Heister, Lawrence, Livermore, Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van
      Rensselaer, Scott, Sherman, Sylvester, Thatcher, Trumbull,
      Wadsworth and Wynkoop--25.

And then the main question being put, Do the House agree to the said
third resolution, as reported by the Committee of the whole House?

The ayes and nays being demanded, it passed in the affirmative.

      AYES.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd,
      Foster, Gale, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley, Hathorn,
      Heister, Lawrence, Livermore, Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van
      Rensselaer, Scott, Seney, Sherman, Sylvester, Smith, (of
      Maryland,) Stone, Thatcher, Trumbull, Wadsworth and

      NAYS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Boudinot, Brown, Burke, Cadwalader,
      Carroll, Coles, Contee, Gerry, Jackson, Lee, Madison,
      Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Sinnickson, Smith, (of South
      Carolina,) Sumter, Tucker and Vining--21.

_Ordered_, That a bill or bills be brought in, pursuant to the foregoing
resolutions, and that Messrs. AMES, LAWRENCE, and CLYMER, do prepare and
bring in the same.

MONDAY, September 21.

_Seat of Government._

The House proceeded to consider the bill to establish the seat of
Government of the United States, which lay on the table, with the
amendments, as reported by the Committee of the whole House.

Mr. SMITH proposed to confine the choice of a situation on the banks of
the Susquehanna, between Checkiselungo creek and the mouth of the river.
He was seconded by Mr. SENEY.

Mr. HARTLEY hoped the committee would limit it as near the spot
contemplated as possible.

Mr. HEISTER said, he moved, the other day, for a particular spot on the
river, which he conceived entitled to a preference; if the proposed
motion obtained, that place would be excluded, and he should hesitate
respecting his vote upon the bill.

Mr. SENEY by no means wished to embarrass the committee; if the motion
proposed would, any how, have that effect, he should withdraw his

Mr. MADISON felt himself compelled to move for striking out that part of
the bill which provided that the temporary residence of Congress should
continue at New York; as he conceived it irreconcilable with the spirit
of the constitution. If it was not from viewing it in this light, he
should have given the bill no further opposition; and now he did not
mean to enter on the merits of the main question.

From the constitution, it appeared that the concurrence of the two
Houses of Congress was sufficient to enable them to adjourn from one
place to another; nay, the legal consent of the President was, in some
degree, prescribed in the 7th section of article 1st, where it is
declared, that every order, resolution, or vote, to which the
concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary,
(except on a question of adjournment,) shall be presented to the
President of the United States, and approved by him, before the same
shall take effect. Any attempt, therefore, to adjourn by law, is a
violation of that part of the constitution which gives the power,
exclusively, to the two branches of the Legislature. If gentlemen saw it
in the same light, he flattered himself they would reject that part of
the bill; and, however little they valued the reflection that this city
was not central, which had been so often urged, they would be guided by
arguments springing from a superior source.

He would proceed to state the reasons which induced him to be of this
opinion; it is declared in the constitution, that neither House, during
the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other,
adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in
which the two Houses shall be sitting; from hence he inferred, that the
two Houses, by a concurrence, could adjourn for more than three days,
and to any other place which they thought proper; by the other clause he
had mentioned, the Executive power is restrained from any interference
with the Legislative on this subject; hence, he concluded, it would be
dangerous to attempt to give to the President a power which the
constitution expressly denied him.

TUESDAY, September 22.

_Seat of Government._

The engrossed bill to establish the seat of Government of the United
States was read a third time; and the question was, Shall this bill

Mr. CARROLL said, he felt himself under peculiar circumstances on the
decision of this important question. The House had determined that the
permanent seat of the Government of the United States should be on the
Susquehanna, in Pennsylvania, and not in Maryland on the Potomac. It was
his opinion that the last would have been most conducive to the interest
of the Union; the voice of the majority of this House is against it. The
Susquehanna, said he, being the next object most likely to attain what I
have laid down as the rule of my conduct on this occasion, and, at the
same time, must be agreeable to the wishes of a great part of my
constituents, I felt myself under an obligation to vote for the
Susquehanna, upon obtaining the clause which made it obligatory upon the
States of Maryland and Pennsylvania to concur in opening the navigation
of that river; and nothing would restrain me from giving my assent to
the bill, but that clause which requires the concurrence of the
President respecting the seat of Government, until Congress meet at
their permanent seat. To this clause I have strong constitutional
objections; they were yesterday fully stated to this House by other

I have endeavored to remove this conviction from my mind, in order to
give my assent to the bill; but as I am under the sacred obligation of
an oath to support the constitution, as I cannot efface the conviction
from my mind that it is contrary to the constitution, and as we could
not succeed in striking out the clause, I feel myself under the
disagreeable necessity of giving my dissent to the bill.

The yeas and nays, on passing the bill, being required by one-fifth of
the members present, were as follow:

      YEAS.--Messrs. Ames, Baldwin, Benson, Clymer, Contee,
      Fitzsimons, Floyd, Foster, Gale, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout,
      Hartley, Hathorn, Jackson, Lawrence, Leonard, Livermore,
      Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van Rensselaer, Scott, Seney,
      Sherman, Sylvester, Smith, (of Maryland,) Stone, Thatcher,
      Trumbull, Wadsworth and Wynkoop--31.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Bland, Boudinot, Burke, Cadwalader,
      Carroll, Coles, Lee, Madison, Matthews, Moore, Parker,
      Schureman, Smith, (of South Carolina,) Sumter, Tucker,
      Vining, and White--17.

The bill having passed, was sent to the Senate for their concurrence.

SATURDAY, September 26.

_Seat of Government._

A message from the Senate was received, informing the House that they
had passed the bill for establishing the seat of Government of the
United States, with an amendment, which the House immediately took into
consideration. The amendment went to strike out all that related to the
river Susquehanna, both as to fixing the seat of Government there, and
removing the obstructions to the navigation; and to insert, in lieu
thereof, "a district of ten miles square, bounded on the south by a line
running parallel at one mile's distance from the city of Philadelphia,
on the east side of the river of Delaware, and extending northerly and
westerly, so as to include Germantown."

Mr. BLAND thought the bill was so materially changed as to warrant the
House to postpone its consideration. The principles upon which the
Senate had proceeded, he believed, had not yet been discussed in the
House, and the short time which now remained of the session forbade the

Mr. PAGE seconded this motion.

Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina) hoped that gentlemen would agree to let
the bill lie on the table, and not to be driven into a measure which
they considered injurious to the public interest. He trusted they would
not be influenced to adopt this bill, by the Senate's keeping the
appropriation bill as a hostage for it, which he understood to be the

Mr. FITZSIMONS was sorry to hear a thing of that kind insinuated against
so respectable a body. He trusted the gentleman had been misinformed;
but should be glad to know his authority.

Mr. PARTRIDGE declared that a knowledge of this fact would have
considerable influence on his conduct; therefore, he was desirous of
knowing to what an extent it was a certainty.

Mr. BLAND would not charge the Senate with retaining the appropriation
bill as a hostage; but he thought it of more importance than the bill
they had now sent down, and wished it had been first acted upon.

Mr. SPEAKER informed the House that the appropriation bill was sent only
yesterday to the Senate.

Mr. STONE did not suspect the Senate of the conduct which had been
intimated; but, nevertheless, he was in favor of the postponement.

Mr. LEE remarked that the great principles which this House had adopted,
on full debate, were now thrown out of view; they had nothing to do with
the amendment which the Senate had made. He could not, after this
circumstance, bring himself to believe that the House would agree to
the alteration, without discussing the other principles upon which it
must be founded. And here the approaching termination of the session,
and the quantity of unfinished business, presented to the mind a strong
objection; either it could not be done at all, or done to great
disadvantage. Beside, if it is laid over to the next session, the voice
of the people may be better understood on this important question; when
that was fully and fairly expressed, he flattered himself with a
harmonious determination, to which all parties would submit without a
single murmur.

Mr. SHERMAN thought the amendment of the Senate founded in wisdom, and
upon true principles; the House had now nothing else before them.
Indeed, they had just been spending an hour or two upon a very
uninteresting subject respecting printers; he therefore trusted they
would proceed to consider the amendment fully, and come in a proper time
to a decision upon it.

Mr. WHITE considered the amendment of the Senate as totally changing the
tenor of the bill, and therefore it was like introducing a new subject.
Indeed, in all the long arguments which the question had drawn out, he
believed this place had never been mentioned. The gentleman last up,
said there was no business before the House at present: but he would
ask, if a business had never yet been before them, whether a member
would be permitted to bring it forward at this late hour. He might be
told, that the act of the Senate carried greater weight in it than the
motion of a member. But he would place against that weight, the weight
of the vote of this House, which on a former day agreed to fix the seat
of Government on the banks of the Susquehanna; so that the question may
be supposed to stand on independent ground.

But there was a collateral observation he would make. If Germantown was
the proper place for the permanent residence of Congress, it was so near
Philadelphia as to prove that that city would be the proper place for
the temporary residence, and of course they ought to move there
immediately, and order the next session to be held there; but both these
questions were of too much moment to be fixed by a hasty vote of the

Mr. JACKSON had given his assent to the bill as it passed the House,
after a fair opposition: he was satisfied his fellow-citizens would
submit to what appeared to be the voice of their country; though they
would have preferred the Potomac on account of its centrality and
contiguity to the Western Territory, yet he acceded to the Susquehanna;
but this was no reason he should vote for Germantown. Who are those that
say to us, Germantown is the most proper spot that can be selected? They
are the representatives of the State sovereignties; where the large and
small States are equally represented, the voice of the majority of the
people is lost in the inequality of the political branch of the
Legislature. He could not but think an alteration in the sentiment of
the House, on this ground, would excite serious alarm in the minds of
the people; to avoid which consequence, he should agree to the

Mr. GERRY urged, as a reason for postponement, that North Carolina and
Rhode Island were out of the Union at present; and that, as there was a
flattering expectation that at least one of those States would adopt the
constitution by the next session, it would be extremely desirable to
have their voice in determining this great question.

Mr. MADISON.--However different our sentiments, with respect to the
place most proper for the seat of the Federal Government, I presume we
shall all agree that a right decision is of great importance; and that a
satisfactory decision is of equal moment to the happiness and
tranquillity of the Union: that even the manner and circumstances under
which such decision may take place, are worthy of serious consideration.

Now, sir, the amendment proposed by the Senate, not only deserves the
name of a new bill, but it proceeds on principles different from those
which served for the basis of the bill sent up to them from this House:
hence I presume, sir, it is not only necessary to examine the merits of
the proposition, but to enter into a full and minute investigation of
those principles upon which it is founded: the proposition is new and in
some degree opposed to what has heretofore prevailed: the public mind
has not yet been called to the consideration of it; nay, I believe it
never yet has been contemplated by the inhabitants of any one State: the
eye of America should be indulged with an opportunity of viewing it
before it be made their fixed abode. All the other places which have
been mentioned as candidates for the seat of Government, on this
occasion, have at different times, and in different forms, been held up
to the public attention; two of them had not only employed the
deliberation, but had obtained the favorable decision of the old
Congress; now after all this, to take up and adopt in a moment, a rival
place, never before contemplated, is risking an improper and a
dissatisfactory decision.

Mr. STONE reminded the House of the majority there was in selecting the
Susquehanna, which he conceived to be the second best spot in the United
States; and how much greater that majority would have been than 31 to
17, if no other question had been involved in the bill: he could hardly
suppose such a change of sentiment would take place without argument, as
was necessary in order to get the Senate's amendment adopted, which, he
understood, was carried by a small majority indeed.

Mr. WHITE would just add one observation, which was respecting the
enormous price of land in the vicinity of Philadelphia; and how
imprudent it would be for Congress to subject themselves to an
exorbitant demand of this nature, by fixing upon the precise spot where
this Federal town should be.

The question was now taken on postponing the consideration of the
amendment proposed by the Senate, until the next session; and the yeas
and nays being called, are:

      YEAS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Brown, Burke, Carroll,
      Coles, Contee, Gale, Gerry, Griffin, Jackson, Lee, Madison,
      Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Schureman, Seney, Smith, (of
      Maryland,) Smith, (of South Carolina,) Stone, Sumter,
      Tucker and White--25.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Boudinot, Cadwalader, Clymer,
      Fitzsimons, Floyd, Foster, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley,
      Hathorn, Heister, Lawrence, Leonard, Livermore, Muhlenberg,
      Partridge, Van Rensselaer, Scott, Sherman, Sylvester,
      Sinnickson, Thatcher, Trumbull, Vining, Wadsworth, and

So it was determined in the negative.

MONDAY, September 28.

_Seat of Government._

Mr. SHERMAN--In our deliberations on this occasion, we should have an
eye to the general accommodation of the Union, and the best way of
defraying the expense. The place fixed upon by the Senate, he presumed,
was known to the members generally; hence they were able to judge of its
eligibility at the first view; it certainly possessed some advantages
over the other situation; and he believed it was as central, if not more
so than the Susquehanna, as it respected the present inhabitants; the
air, the soil, in that neighborhood, were quite as agreeable as the
other. But there was an access by water, from every part of the United
States, which furnished a very great convenience; but beside this, those
who came from the Southern States, had generally an inland navigation,
with a short distance to come by land from the head of the Elk; so the
citizens of the Eastern States, in like manner, would be accommodated by
coming through the Sound and crossing to Amboy, on which route they
would have but about 70 miles land carriage; a distance nearly equal
with the other. He admitted that Germantown was not quite so near to the
Western Territory as the Susquehanna was; but he contemplated a very
distant day before it would be settled, and much longer before the
inhabitants would have frequent occasion of travelling to the seat of
Government. Added to the advantages he had mentioned, there were good
buildings, and convenience for arsenals and ship-yards, with abundance
of artificers on the spot; these considerations, taken together, induced
him to think it best to concur with the Senate.

Mr. SMITH thought the honorable gentleman rather inconsistent in his
argument to-day. If he recollected right, the gentleman had formerly
urged in favor of the Susquehanna, that it was not accessible by vessels
from sea; and now he recommends this quality as an advantage in favor of
the Delaware. The gentleman admits that this position is not quite so
near the Western Territory as the one chosen by the House; but then he
thinks no inconvenience will arise, inasmuch as it will be some years
before it is peopled: but how does this comport with the principle laid
down by an almost unanimous vote of the House? At the beginning of this
business, we declare that a due regard should be had to the Western
Territory; he now tells us, as an argument in favor of the Senate's
amendment, that we should have no regard to it at all. He thinks the
change made in the manner of obtaining the money favorable; but what
advantage will accrue to the United States from Pennsylvania's granting
100,000 dollars, when Congress will have to purchase the land on which
they are to sit down? Land in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, he had
been told, was worth 40 or 50 pounds an acre. The 100,000 dollars, given
by Pennsylvania, would not go far in a purchase at this rate. He thought
the Government would have a better bargain in buying cheap lands on the
Susquehanna; or perhaps they might have been got there for nothing. He
thought this alteration unfavorable to the Public Treasury, which could
illy supply such a demand upon it.

Mr. MADISON contended that the amendment proposed by the Senate was a
departure from every principle adopted by the House; but he would not
trouble them with a recapitulation of arguments, which he feared would
be unavailing; he wished, however, that the House would provide against
one inconvenience, which was, to prevent the district in Pennsylvania,
chosen by Congress, from being deprived for a time of the benefit of the
laws. This, he apprehended, would be the case, unless Congress made
provision for the operation of the laws of Pennsylvania, in the act by
which they accepted of the cession of that State; for the State
relinquished the right of legislation from the moment that Congress
accepted of the district. The propriety of this proposition was so
apparent, that he had not a doubt but the House would consent to it. He
then moved the following proviso: "And provided, that nothing herein
contained shall be construed to affect the operation of the laws of
Pennsylvania, within the district ceded and accepted, until Congress
shall otherwise provide by law."

Mr. LIVERMORE objected to this motion; because he supposed there was no
necessity for it.

The question was then taken, do the House agree to the amendment? and
decided in the affirmative. The yeas and nays being demanded, are as

      YEAS.--Messrs. Ames, Cadwalader, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd,
      Foster, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, Hartley, Hathorn,
      Heister, Huntington, Lawrence, Leonard, Livermore,
      Muhlenberg, Partridge, Van Rensselaer, Schureman, Scott,
      Sherman, Sylvester, Sinnickson, Thatcher, Trumbull, Vining,
      Wadsworth and Wynkoop--31.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bland, Boudinot, Brown, Burke,
      Carroll, Coles, Contee, Gale, Griffin, Jackson, Lee,
      Madison, Matthews, Moore, Page, Parker, Seney, Smith, (of
      Maryland,) Smith, (of South Carolina,) Stone, Sumter,
      Tucker, and White--24.

And here the bill was dropped for the session.

TUESDAY, September 29.

The two following messages were received from the President:

                                  UNITED STATES, Sept. 29, 1789.

      _Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:_

      His Most Christian Majesty, by a letter dated the 7th of
      June last, addressed to the President and members of the
      General Congress, of the United States of North America,
      announces the much lamented death of his son the Dauphin.
      The generous conduct of the French monarch and nation
      towards this country renders every event that may affect
      his or their prosperity interesting to us; and I shall take
      care to assure him of the sensibility with which the United
      States participate in the affliction which a loss so much
      to be regretted must have occasioned both to him and them.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

                                  UNITED STATES, Sept. 29, 1789.

      _Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:_

      Having yesterday been informed, by a joint committee of
      both Houses of Congress, that they had agreed to a recess,
      to commence this day, and to continue until the first
      Monday in January next, I take the earliest opportunity of
      acquainting you that, considering how long and laborious
      this session has been, and the reasons which, I presume,
      have produced this resolution, it does not appear to me
      expedient to recommend any measures to their consideration
      at present.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

On motion of Mr. GERRY, it was ordered, that it shall be the duty of the
Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House, at the end of each
session, to send a printed copy of the Journals thereof, respectively,
to the Supreme Executive, and each branch of the Legislature, of every

And then it was ordered that a message be sent to the Senate, to inform
them that this House having completed the business before them, are now
about to proceed to close the present session, by an adjournment on
their part, agreeably to the order of the 26th instant; and that the
Clerk of this House do go with the said message.

The Clerk accordingly went with the said message, and being returned,

The Speaker adjourned the House until the first Monday in January next.




MONDAY, January 4, 1790.

The following members of the Senate assembled:



From Connecticut, WILLIAM S. JOHNSON.


From South Carolina, RALPH IZARD and PIERCE BUTLER.

From Georgia, WILLIAM FEW.

A quorum of members not being present, they adjourned till to-morrow.

TUESDAY, January 5.

JOHN HENRY, from Maryland, in addition to the members assembled
yesterday, attended; but not being a quorum, they adjourned.

WEDNESDAY, January 6.

WILLIAM MACLAY, from Pennsylvania, attended; a quorum of the members of
the Senate were present, and the Secretary was directed to inform the
House of Representatives that a quorum of the Senate have assembled, and
are ready to proceed to business.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. STRONG and IZARD be a committee on the part of
the Senate, with such committee as the House of Representatives may
appoint on their part, to inform the President of the United States that
a quorum of the two Houses is assembled, and will be ready in the Senate
Chamber, at such time as the President may appoint, to receive any
communications he may be pleased to make.

THURSDAY, January 7.

OLIVER ELLSWORTH, of Connecticut, and WILLIAM PATERSON, from New Jersey,

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
they have resolved that two Chaplains, of different denominations, be
appointed to Congress for the present session, one by each House, who
shall interchange weekly.

Mr. STRONG, on behalf of the joint committee, reported to the Senate,
that they had waited on the President of the United States, agreeably to
the order of both Houses, and that he informed the committee that he
would meet the two Houses in the Senate Chamber to-morrow at 11 o'clock.

FRIDAY, January 8.

_Ordered_, That the House of Representatives be informed that the Senate
are ready to meet them in the Senate Chamber, to receive any
communication the President of the United States may be pleased to make
to the two Houses of Congress; and that the usual seats will be assigned

The House of Representatives having accordingly taken their seats, the
President of the United States came into the Senate Chamber, and
addressed both Houses of Congress as followeth:

      _Fellow-Citizens of the Senate, and House of

      I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now
      presents itself of congratulating you on the present
      favorable prospects of our public affairs. The recent
      accession of the important State of North Carolina to the
      constitution of the United States, (of which official
      information has been received;) the rising credit and
      respectability of our country; the general and increasing
      good-will towards the Government of the Union; and the
      concord, peace, and plenty with which we are blessed, are
      circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our
      national prosperity.

      In resuming your consultations for the general good, you
      cannot but derive encouragement from the reflection that
      the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory
      to your constituents, as the novelty and difficulty of the
      work allowed you to hope. Still further to realize their
      expectations, and to secure the blessings which a gracious
      Providence has placed within our reach, will, in the course
      of the present important session, call for the cool and
      deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness, and

      Among the many interesting objects which will engage your
      attention, that of providing for the common defence will
      merit particular regard. To be prepared for war, is one of
      the most effectual means of preserving peace.

      A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined;
      to which end, a uniform and well-digested plan is
      requisite: and their safety and interest require that they
      should promote such manufactures as tend to render them
      independent of others for essential, particularly military

      The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed
      indispensable will be entitled to mature consideration. In
      the arrangements which may be made respecting it, it will
      be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of
      the officers and soldiers with a due regard to economy.

      There was reason to hope that the pacific measures adopted
      with regard to certain hostile tribes of Indians, would
      have relieved the inhabitants of our Southern and Western
      frontiers from their depredations; but you will perceive,
      from the information contained in the papers which I shall
      direct to be laid before you, (comprehending a
      communication from the commonwealth of Virginia,) that we
      ought to be prepared to afford protection to those parts of
      the Union, and, if necessary, to punish aggressors.

      The interests of the United States require that our
      intercourse with other nations should be facilitated by
      such provisions as will enable me to fulfil my duty, in
      that respect, in the manner which circumstances may render
      most conducive to the public good; and to this end, that
      the compensations to be made to the persons who may be
      employed, should, according to the nature of their
      appointments, be defined by the law; and a competent fund
      designated for defraying the expenses incident to the
      conduct of our foreign affairs.

      Various considerations also render it expedient that the
      terms on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of
      citizens, should be speedily ascertained by a uniform rule
      of naturalization.

      Uniformity in the currency, weights and measures, of the
      United States, is an object of great importance, and will,
      I am persuaded, be duly attended to.

      The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures,
      by all proper means, will not, I trust, need
      recommendation; but I cannot forbear intimating to you the
      expediency of giving effectual encouragement, as well to
      the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad,
      as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them
      at home; and of facilitating the intercourse between the
      distant parts of our country by a due attention to the
      Post-Office and post-roads.

      Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with me in
      opinion, that there is nothing which can better deserve
      your patronage than the promotion of science and
      literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis
      of public happiness. In one in which the measures of
      Government receive their impression so immediately from the
      sense of the community as in ours, it is proportionably
      essential. To the security of a free constitution it
      contributes in various ways. By convincing those who are
      intrusted with the public administration, that every
      valuable end of Government is best answered by the
      enlightened confidence of the people, and by teaching the
      people themselves to know and to value their own rights to
      discern and provide against invasions of them; to
      distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise
      of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a
      disregard to their convenience, and those resulting from
      the inevitable exigencies of society; to discriminate the
      spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing
      the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy but
      temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an
      inviolable respect to the laws.

      Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by
      affording aids to seminaries of learning already
      established, by the institution of a national university,
      or by any other expedients, will be well worthy of a place
      in the deliberations of the Legislature.

      _Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:_

      I saw with peculiar pleasure, at the close of the last
      session, the resolution entered into by you, expressive of
      your opinion that an adequate provision for the support of
      the public credit is a matter of high importance to the
      national honor and prosperity. In this sentiment I entirely
      concur. And, to a perfect confidence in your best endeavors
      to devise such a provision as will be truly consistent with
      the end, I add an equal reliance on the cheerful
      co-operation of the other branch of the Legislature. It
      would be superfluous to specify inducements to a measure in
      which the character and permanent interests of the United
      States are so obviously and so deeply concerned, and which
      has received so explicit a sanction from your declaration.

      _Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:_

      I have directed the proper officers to lay before you,
      respectively, such papers and estimates as regard the
      affairs particularly recommended to your consideration, and
      necessary to convey to you that information of the state of
      the Union, which it is my duty to afford.

      The welfare of our country is the great object to which our
      cares and efforts ought to be directed. And I shall derive
      great satisfaction from a co-operation with you, in the
      pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our
      fellow-citizens the blessings which they have a right to
      expect from a free, efficient and equal Government.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      UNITED STATES, January 8, 1790.

The President of the United States having retired, and the two Houses
being separated:

_Ordered_, That Messrs. KING, IZARD, and PATERSON, be a committee to
prepare and report the draft of an address to the President of the
United States, in answer to his speech delivered this day to both Houses
of Congress, in the Senate Chamber.

_Ordered_, That the speech of the President of the United States,
delivered this day, be printed for the use of the Senate.

The Senate adjourned to Monday next.

MONDAY, January 11.

Mr. KING, on behalf of the committee, reported an address to the
President of the United States, in answer to his speech to both Houses
of Congress, which being amended, was adopted as followeth:

      _To the President of the United States._

      SIR:--We, the Senate of the United States, return you our
      thanks for your speech delivered to both Houses of
      Congress. The accession of the State of North Carolina to
      the Constitution of the United States gives us much
      pleasure: and we offer you our congratulations on that
      event, which at the same time adds strength to our Union,
      and affords a proof that the more the constitution has been
      considered, the more the goodness of it has appeared. The
      information which we have received, that the measures of
      the last session have been as satisfactory to our
      constituents as we had reason to expect, from the
      difficulty of the work in which we were engaged, will
      afford us much consolation and encouragement in resuming
      our deliberations, in the present session, for the public
      good; and every exertion on our part shall be made to
      realize and secure to our country those blessings which a
      gracious Providence has placed within our reach. We are
      persuaded that one of the most effectual means of
      preserving peace is to be prepared for war; and our
      attention shall be directed to the objects of common
      defence, and to the adoption of such plans as shall appear
      the most likely to prevent our dependence on other
      countries for essential supplies. In the arrangements to be
      made respecting the establishment of such troops as may be
      deemed indispensable, we shall, with pleasure, provide for
      the comfortable support of the officers and soldiers, with
      a due regard to economy. We regret that the pacific
      measures adopted by Government, with regard to certain
      hostile tribes of Indians, have not been attended with the
      beneficial effects towards the inhabitants of our Southern
      and Western frontiers which we had reason to hope, and we
      shall cheerfully co-operate in providing the most effectual
      means for their protection, and, if necessary, for the
      punishment of aggressors. The uniformity of the currency,
      and of weights and measures; the introduction of new and
      useful inventions from abroad, and the exertions of skill
      and genius in producing them at home; the facilitating the
      communication between the distant parts of our country, by
      means of the Post-Office and post-roads; a provision for
      the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and a
      uniform rule of naturalization, by which foreigners may be
      admitted to the rights of citizens, are objects which shall
      receive such early attention as their respective importance
      requires. Literature and Science are essential to the
      preservation of a free constitution: the measures of
      Government should, therefore, be calculated to strengthen
      the confidence that is due to that important truth.
      Agriculture, Commerce, and Manufactures, forming the basis
      of the wealth and strength of our confederated Republic,
      must be the frequent subject of our deliberation, and shall
      be advanced by all proper means in our power. Public Credit
      being an object of great importance, we shall cheerfully
      co-operate in all proper measures for its support. Proper
      attention shall be given to such papers and estimates as
      you may be pleased to lay before us. Our cares and efforts
      shall be directed to the welfare of our country; and we
      have the most perfect dependence upon your co-operating
      with us, on all occasions, in such measures as will insure
      to our fellow-citizens the blessings which they have a
      right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal

TUESDAY, January 12.

_Ordered_, That the Address to the President of the United States, in
answer to his speech, be presented by the Vice President, attended by
the Senate, and that the committee which reported the address wait on
the President, and desire to be informed at what time and place he will
receive the same.

Mr. KING, in behalf of the committee, reported that it would be
agreeable to the President to receive the address of the Senate, in
answer to his speech, on Thursday next, at 11 o'clock, at his own house.

WEDNESDAY, January 13.

JONATHAN ELMER, from New Jersey, attended.

BENJAMIN HAWKINS, from North Carolina, appeared, produced his
credentials, and took his seat.

The Vice President administered the oath to Mr. HAWKINS.

THURSDAY, January 14.

Agreeably to the order of the 12th instant, the Senate waited on the
President of the United States, at his own house, where the Vice
President, in their name, delivered to the President of the United
States the address agreed to on the 11th instant:

To which the President of the United States was pleased to make the
following reply:

      _Gentlemen:_ I thank you for your address, and for the
      assurances which it contains of attention to the several
      matters suggested by me to your consideration.

      Relying on the continuance of your exertions for the public
      good, I anticipate for our country the salutary effects of
      upright and prudent counsels.

                                  G. WASHINGTON.

The Senate having returned to the Senate Chamber, adjourned.

FRIDAY, January 15.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. ELLSWORTH, HAWKINS, and PATERSON, be a committee
to bring in a bill, in addition to "An act to establish the Judicial
Courts of the United States."

WEDNESDAY, January 20.

On motion,

      _Resolved_, That Messrs. ELLSWORTH, MACLAY, and HENRY, be a
      committee to confer with such committee as may be appointed
      on the part of the House of Representatives, to consider
      and report whether or not the business began previous to
      the late adjournment of Congress, shall now be proceeded in
      as if no adjournment had taken place.

_Ordered_, That a message be sent to the House of Representatives,
acquainting them herewith, and requesting the appointment of a similar
committee on their part.

THURSDAY, January 21.

ROBERT MORRIS from Pennsylvania, attended.

      A message from the House of Representatives informed the
      Senate that they had agreed to the appointment of a
      committee on their part, consisting of Messrs. SHERMAN,
      THATCHER, HARTLEY, WHITE, and JACKSON, to confer with the
      committee appointed on the part of the Senate, to consider
      and report whether or not the business begun previous to
      the late adjournment of Congress, shall now be proceeded in
      as if no adjournment had taken place.

FRIDAY, January 22.

Mr. ELLSWORTH, on behalf of the "joint committee of the two Houses,
appointed to consider and report whether or not the business begun
previous to the late adjournment of Congress, shall now be proceeded in
as if no adjournment had taken place," reported.

_Ordered_, That the consideration of the report be deferred until Monday

MONDAY, January 25.

The Senate proceeded to consider the report of the joint committee of
the Senate and House of Representatives, appointed the 20th instant, to
wit: "that the business unfinished between the two Houses at the late
adjournment ought to be regarded as if it had not been passed upon by

And, on motion that the report of the committee be postponed, it passed
in the negative.

And, upon the question to agree to the report of the committee, the yeas
and nays being required by one-fifth of the Senators present:

      _Yeas._--Messrs. Butler, Dalton, Ellsworth, Few, Hawkins,
      Henry, Johnson, King, Schuyler, and Strong--10.

      _Nays._--Messrs. Bassett, Elmer, Izard, Langdon, Maclay,
      Morris, Paterson, and Wingate--8.

And so it passed in the affirmative.

And it was

      _Resolved_, That the business unfinished between the two
      Houses at the late adjournment ought to be regarded as if
      it had not been passed upon by either.

TUESDAY, January 26.

A message from the House of Representatives announced their agreement
with the Senate in their resolution, that the business unfinished
between the two Houses, at the late adjournment, ought to be regarded as
if it had not been passed upon by either.

THURSDAY, January 28.

On motion it was

_Ordered_, That the letter from the Governor of Rhode Island of the 18th
of January instant, to the President of the United States, requesting a
further suspension of the acts of Congress subjecting the citizens of
the State of Rhode Island to the payment of foreign tonnage and foreign
duties, during the pleasure of Congress, and communicated with the
President's message this day, be referred to the same committee.

FRIDAY, January 29.

SAMUEL JOHNSTON, from North Carolina, appeared, produced his
credentials, and took his seat in the Senate.

The Vice President administered the oath to Mr. JOHNSTON.

TUESDAY, May 11.

The Senate proceeded to consider the report of the committee appointed
the 28th of April, to consider what provisions will be proper for
Congress to make, in the present session, respecting the State of Rhode
Island; whereupon,

_Resolved_, That all commercial intercourse between the United States
and the State of Rhode Island, from and after the first day of July
next, be prohibited, under suitable penalties; and that the President of
the United States be authorized to demand of the State of Rhode Island
---- dollars, to be paid into the Treasury of the United States by the
---- day of ---- next; which shall be credited to the said State, in
account with the United States; and that a bill or bills be brought in
for those purposes.

_Ordered_, That the committee who brought in the above report prepare
and report a bill accordingly.


Mr. ELLSWORTH, reported, from the committee appointed May 3d, to
consider and report their opinion on the question, when according to the
constitution, the terms for which the President, Vice President,
Senators, and Representatives, have been respectively chosen, shall be
deemed to have commenced; and, also, to consider of, and report their
opinion on such other matters as they shall conceive have relation to
this question.

_Ordered_, That this report lie for consideration.

FRIDAY, May 14.

The Senate proceeded to consider the report of the joint committee,
appointed the 28th of April, which is as follows:

      The committee of the Senate, to join with a committee
      appointed by the House of Representatives, to consider and
      report their opinion on the question, when, according to
      the Constitution, the terms for which the President, Vice
      President, Senators, and Representatives, have been
      respectively chosen, shall be deemed to have commenced;
      and, also, to consider of, and report their opinion on,
      such other matters as they should conceive to have relation
      to this question, report, as the opinion of the said joint

      That the terms for which the President, Vice President,
      Senators, and Representatives, of the United States, were
      respectively chosen, did, according to the constitution,
      commence on the 4th day of March, 1789; and so the Senators
      of the first class, and the Representatives, will not,
      according to the constitution, be entitled, by virtue of
      the same election by which they hold seats in the present
      Congress, to seats in the next Congress, which will be
      assembled after the 3d day of March, 1791; and further,
      that, whenever a vacancy shall happen in the Senate or
      House of Representatives, and an election to fill such
      vacancy, the person elected will not, according to the
      constitution, be entitled, by virtue of such election, to
      hold a seat beyond the time for which the Senator or
      Representative in whose stead such person shall have been
      so elected, would, if the vacancy had not happened, have
      been entitled to hold a seat.

      That it will be advisable for the Congress to pass a law or
      laws for determining, agreeable to the provision in the
      first section of the second article of the constitution,
      the time when the electors shall, in the year which will
      terminate on the 3d day of March, 1793, and so in every
      fourth year thereafter, be chosen, and the day on which
      they shall give their votes; for declaring what officer
      shall, in case of vacancy, both in the office of President
      and Vice President, act as President; for assigning a
      public office where the lists, mentioned in the second
      paragraph of the first section in the second article of the
      constitution, shall in case of vacancy in the office of
      President of the Senate, or his absence from the seat of
      Government, be, in the mean time, deposited; and for
      directing the mode in which such lists shall be
      transmitted: whereupon,

      _Resolved_, That the Senate do agree to this report.

MONDAY, May 17.

The Senate proceeded to the third reading of the bill to prevent
bringing goods, wares, and merchandises from the State of Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations into the United States, and to authorize a
demand of money from the said State, and,

On motion,

_Ordered_, That this bill be recommitted.

TUESDAY, May 18.

Mr. CARROLL, from the committee appointed April the 28th, to consider
what provisions will be proper for Congress to make, in the present
session, respecting the State of Rhode Island, and to whom it was
referred, to bring in a bill on that subject, reported several
additional clauses to the bill to prevent bringing goods, wares, and
merchandises, from the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
into the United States, and to authorize a demand of money from the said
State; which report was agreed to as amendments to the bill.

The Senate proceeded to the third reading of the bill to prevent
bringing goods, wares, and merchandises, from the State of Rhode Island
and Providence Plantations into the United States, and to authorize a
demand of money from the said State;

And, on the question, "Shall this bill pass?" the yeas and nays being
required by one-fifth of the Senators present, were:

      YEAS.--Messrs. Bassett, Carroll, Dalton, Ellsworth,
      Johnson, Johnston, Izard, King, Langdon, Morris, Reed,
      Schuyler, and Strong--13.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Butler, Elmer, Hawkins, Henry, Lee, Maclay,
      Walker, and Wingate--8.

So it was _Resolved_, That this bill do pass, and that it be carried to
the House of Representatives for concurrence therein.

TUESDAY, June 1.

The following message was received from the President of the United
States, and was read:

      _Gentlemen of the Senate, and House of Representatives:_

      Having received official information of the accession of
      the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to the
      constitution of the United States, I take the earliest
      opportunity of communicating the same to you, with my
      congratulations on this happy event, which unites, under
      the General Government, all the States which were
      originally confederated; and have directed my Secretary to
      lay before you a copy of the letter from the President of
      the Convention of the State of Rhode Island to the
      President of the United States.

                                  G. WASHINGTON.
      UNITED STATES, June 1, 1790.

The Senate then entered on Executive business.

The following message from the President of the United States, by his
Secretary, was read:

                                  UNITED STATES, May 31, 1790.

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      Mr. De Poiery served in the American army for several of
      the last years of the late war, as Secretary to Major
      General the Marquis de Lafayette, and might probably at the
      same time have obtained the commission of Captain from
      Congress, upon application to that body. At present, he is
      an officer in the French National Guards, and solicits a
      Brevet Commission from the United States of America. I am
      authorized to add, that while the compliance will involve
      no expense on our part, it will be particularly grateful to
      that friend of America, the Marquis de Lafayette.

      I therefore nominate M. De Poiery to be a Captain by

                                  GEORGE WASHINGTON.

_Ordered_, That the message lie for consideration.


      _Resolved_, That the Senate will attend the funeral of
      Colonel Bland, late a member of the House of
      Representatives of the United States, at five o'clock this

The Senate then entered on Executive business, and consented to the
nomination of M. De Poiery to be a Captain by Brevet, in the service of
the United States.

WEDNESDAY, August 4.

The Senate then entered on Executive business, and the following message
from the President of the United States was read:[31]

                                  UNITED STATES, August 4th, 1790.

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      In consequence of the general principles agreed to by the
      Senate in August, 1789, the adjustment of the terms of a
      treaty is far advanced between the United States and the
      Chiefs of the Creek Indians now in this city, in behalf of
      themselves and the whole Creek Nation.

      In preparing the articles of this treaty, the present
      arrangements of the trade with the Creeks have caused much
      embarrassment. It seems to be well ascertained, that the
      trade is almost exclusively in the hands of a company of
      British merchants, who by agreement, make their
      importations of goods from England into the Spanish ports.

      As the trade of the Indians is a main means of their
      political management, it is therefore obvious, that the
      United States cannot possess any security for the
      performance of treaties with the Creeks, while their trade
      is liable to be interrupted, or withheld, at the caprice of
      two foreign powers.

      Hence it becomes an object of real importance to form new
      channels for the commerce of the Creeks through the United
      States. But this operation will require time, as the
      present arrangements cannot be suddenly broken without the
      greatest violation of faith and morals.

      It therefore appears to be important to form a secret
      article of a treaty, similar to the one which accompanies
      this message.

      If the Senate should require any further explanation, the
      Secretary of War will attend them for that purpose.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

The President of the United States puts the following question for the
consideration and advice of the Senate: If it should be found essential
to a treaty for the firm establishment of peace with the Creek nation of
Indians, that an article to the following effect should be inserted
therein, will such an article be proper? viz:


      The commerce necessary for the Creek nation shall be
      carried on through the ports, and by the citizens of the
      United States, if substantial and effectual arrangements
      shall be made for that purpose by the United States, on or
      before the 1st day of August, one thousand seven hundred
      and ninety-two. In the mean time, the said commerce may be
      carried on through its present channels, and according to
      its present regulations.

      And whereas, the trade of the said Creek nation is now
      carried wholly, or principally, through the territories of
      Spain, and obstructions thereto, may happen by war or
      prohibitions of the Spanish Government: it is therefore
      agreed between the said parties, that in the event of such
      obstructions happening, it shall be lawful for such persons
      as ---- ---- shall designate, to introduce into, and
      transport through the territories of the United States to
      the country of the said Creek nation, any quantity of
      goods, wares, and merchandise, not exceeding in value, in
      any one year, sixty thousand dollars, and that free from
      any duties or impositions whatsoever, but subject to such
      regulations for guarding against abuse, as the United
      States shall judge necessary; which privilege shall
      continue as long as such obstruction shall continue.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

      UNITED STATES, August 4th, 1790.

The Senate proceeded to consider the message from the President of the
United States of this day; whereupon,

      _Resolved_, That the Senate do advise and consent to the
      execution of the secret article referred to in the message,
      and that the blank in said article be filled with the words
      "President of the United States."

WEDNESDAY, August 11.

The Senate then entered on Executive business; and the following message
was received and read, from the President of the United States:

                                  UNITED STATES, August 11, 1790.

      _Gentlemen of the Senate:_

      Although the treaty with the Creeks may be regarded as the
      main foundation of the future peace and prosperity of the
      south-western frontier of the United States, yet, in order
      fully to effect so desirable an object, the treaties which
      have been entered into with the other tribes in that
      quarter must be faithfully performed on our part.

      During the last year, I laid before the Senate a particular
      statement of the case of the Cherokees. By a reference to
      that paper it will appear, that the United States formed a
      treaty with the Cherokees in November, 1785; that the said
      Cherokees thereby placed themselves under the protection of
      the United States, and had a boundary assigned them; that
      the white people settled on the frontiers had openly
      violated the said boundary, by intruding on the Indian
      lands; that the United States, in Congress assembled, did
      on the first day of September, 1788, issue their
      proclamation, forbidding all such unwarrantable intrusions,
      and enjoined all those who had settled upon the hunting
      grounds of the Cherokees to depart with their families and
      effects, without loss of time, as they would answer their
      disobedience to the injunctions and prohibitions expressed,
      at their peril.

      But information has been received that, notwithstanding the
      said treaty and proclamation, upwards of five hundred
      families have settled on the Cherokee lands, exclusively of
      those settled between the fork of French Broad and Holstein
      Rivers, mentioned in the said treaty.

      As the obstructions to a proper conduct on this matter have
      been removed since it was mentioned to the Senate, on the
      22d of August, 1789, by the accession of North Carolina to
      the present Union, and the cessions of the land in
      question, I shall conceive myself bound to exert the powers
      intrusted to me by the constitution, in order to carry into
      faithful execution the treaty of Hopewell, unless it shall
      be thought proper to attempt to arrange a new boundary with
      the Cherokees, embracing the settlements, and compensating
      the Cherokees for the cessions they shall make on the
      occasion. On this point, therefore, I state the following
      questions, and request the advice of the Senate thereon:

      1st. Is it the judgment of the Senate that overtures shall
      be made to the Cherokees to arrange a new boundary, so as
      to embrace the settlements made by the white people since
      the treaty of Hopewell, in November, 1785?

      2d. If so, shall compensation, to the amount of ----
      dollars annually, or of ---- dollars in gross, be made to
      the Cherokees for the land they shall relinquish, holding
      the occupiers of the land accountable to the United States
      for its value?

      3d. Shall the United States stipulate solemnly to guarantee
      the new boundary which may be arranged?

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

Agreed, by unanimous consent, to proceed to the consideration of this
message. Whereupon,

      _Resolved_, That the Senate do advise and consent that the
      President of the United States do, at his discretion, cause
      the treaty concluded at Hopewell with the Cherokee Indians,
      to be carried into execution, according to the terms
      thereof, or to enter into arrangements for such further
      cessions of territory, from the said Cherokee Indians, as
      the tranquillity and interest of the United States may
      require; provided the sum which may be stipulated to be
      paid to the Cherokee Indians do not exceed one thousand
      dollars annually; and provided, further, that no person who
      shall have taken possession of any lands within territory
      assigned to the said Cherokee Indians, by the said treaty
      of Hopewell, shall be confirmed in any such possessions,
      but by a compliance with such terms as Congress may
      hereafter prescribe.

      _Resolved_, In case a new, or other boundary than that
      stipulated by the treaty of Hopewell, shall be concluded
      with the Cherokee Indians, that the Senate do advise and
      consent solemnly to guarantee the same.

THURSDAY, August 12.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate, that
the House of Representatives having finished the business before them
are about to adjourn, agreeably to the vote of the two Houses of
Congress on Tuesday night.

On motion,

      _Resolved, unanimously_, That the thanks of the Senate be
      given to the corporation of the city of New York for the
      elegant and convenient accommodations provided for
      Congress, and that a copy of this resolve be enclosed in
      the following letter from the Vice President:

                                  NEW YORK, August 12, 1790.

      SIR: It is with great pleasure, that, in obedience to an
      order of the Senate of the United States, I have the honor
      to enclose their resolution of this date, which was
      unanimously agreed to; and, in behalf of the Senate, I
      request that you will be pleased to communicate the same to
      the corporation of the city, and, at the same time, signify
      to them, that it is the wish of the Senate that the
      corporation will permit such articles of furniture, &c. now
      in the City Hall, as have been provided by Congress, to
      remain for the use of that building.

                   I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

                                  JOHN ADAMS,
                         _Vice President of the United States,
                          and President of the Senate._

      To the Mayor of the city of New York.

The Senate then entered on Executive business, and proceeded to consider
the message from the President of the United States, of the 7th of
August, 1790, communicating a treaty entered into with the Chiefs of the
Creek nation of Indians.

And, on the question to advise and consent to the ratification of the
said treaty, made with the Creek nation, and referred to in the message
of the President of the United States, of the 7th of August, 1790; the
yeas and nays were required by one-fifth of the Senators present, and

      YEAS.--Messrs. Carroll, Dalton, Ellsworth, Foster, Hawkins,
      Henry, Johnson, Johnston, Izard, King, Lee, Paterson, Read,
      Schuyler, and Stanton--15.

      NAYS.--Messrs. Butler, Few, Gunn, and Walker--4.

The Senate resuming their Legislative character,

_Ordered_, That the Secretary acquaint the House of Representatives that
the Senate having finished the Legislative business before them, are
about to adjourn, agreeably to the vote of both Houses of Congress of
the 10th instant.

And the Vice President adjourned the Senate accordingly, to meet on the
first Monday in December next.





MONDAY, January 4.

The following is a list of the Members composing the House of







Delaware--JOHN VINING.





The SPEAKER and twenty-five other members, viz: Messrs. FOSTER, GILMAN,
appeared and took their seats; but not being a quorum, they adjourned.

TUESDAY, January 5.

Mr. BOUDINOT took his seat.--No quorum.

WEDNESDAY, January 6.

Mr. SCHUREMAN, Mr. PAGE, and Mr. LEE took their seats.--No quorum.

THURSDAY, January 7.

RENSSELAER, from New York; DANIEL CARROLL, from Maryland; and GEORGE
MATHEWS, from Georgia, appearing and taking their seats, a quorum of the
whole House was present; of which the Senate were informed.

The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from the President of the
United States, of the 4th instant, requesting that when there shall be a
sufficient number of the two Houses of Congress assembled to proceed to
business, he may be informed of it; and, also, at what time and place it
will be convenient for Congress that he should meet them, in order to
make some oral communications at the commencement of their session;
which was read, and ordered to lie on the table.

A message from the Senate informed the House, that they had appointed a
committee on their part, jointly with such committee as shall be
appointed on the part of the House, to wait on the President of the
United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two Houses had
assembled, and will be ready, in the Senate Chamber, at such time as he
shall appoint, to receive any communications which he shall think proper
to make.

Messrs. GILMAN, AMES, and SENEY, were then appointed a committee on the
part of the House for the purpose expressed in the message from the

It was then ordered, That a committee be appointed to examine the
Journal of the last session, and to report therefrom all such matters of
business as were then depending and undetermined, and a committee was
appointed, consisting of Messrs. BOUDINOT, SHERMAN, and WHITE.

      _Resolved_, That two Chaplains of different denominations
      be appointed to Congress for the present session, one by
      each House, who shall interchange weekly.

_Ordered_, That the Clerk of the House do carry the said resolution to
the Senate, and desire their concurrence.

Mr. GILMAN, from the committee appointed to wait on the President of the
United States, pursuant to the order of this day, reported that they
had, according to order, performed that service, and that the President
was pleased to say he would attend to make his communications to both
Houses of Congress to-morrow morning at 11 o'clock.

FRIDAY, January 8.

HENRY WYNKOOP, from Pennsylvania, appeared, and took his seat.

The Speaker and members present attended in the Senate Chamber, to
receive the President of the United States, who addressed both Houses.
His address will be found in the Proceedings of the Senate.

The Speaker and the members of the House having returned from the
Senate, a copy of the President's speech was read, and committed to a
Committee of the whole House on to-morrow.

The Journal was then read by the Clerk.

Mr. BOUDINOT moved to correct the title by striking out all the words,
after declaring it merely the Journal of the House of Representatives.

After some further desultory conversation, the title of the Journal was
established by a vote of the House, as follows:

_Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States._

      At a session of the Congress of United States, begun and
      held at the city of New York, on Monday the 4th day of
      January, 1790, being the second session of the First
      Congress, held under the present Constitution of
      Government, for the United States, being the day appointed
      by law for the meeting of the present session.

On the further reading of the Minutes, Mr. THATCHER observed, that a
call of the House which had taken place at the meeting was not entered
on the Journal.

Mr. PAGE was sorry to find any gentleman insist upon the entry of a
measure which was not completed. He was concerned, likewise, that he had
not been here to answer to his name, but he was delayed seven days by
head winds, and two days by extreme badness of the roads. Under such
circumstances, he thought the gentlemen who were so fortunate as to get
here in time, deserved little more credit than those who were plunging
at the risk of their lives through almost insuperable difficulties. He
hoped it was not intended to stigmatize gentlemen who did not deserve

Mr. WHITE.--If the absentees were from the remote States, there would be
some indelicacy in ordering a call of the House at so early a period of
the session, because there might be natural unavoidable impediments to
prevent their punctual attendance, but he had observed, that the
absentees were mostly from the neighboring States, Connecticut, New
York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; and some of the members had
declared, they would not come until they were informed that there was a
House. Now, in order to make the Journal a true transcript of what had
really passed in the House, it was necessary to have this call inserted;
for the motion was regularly made, seconded, and carried; the absentees
were noted, and, after some time, they were called again, and those who
were known to be sick, or on their way, were apologized for, and
excused; here, indeed, the business terminated, and they were not
ordered into the custody of the Sergeant-at-arms. After these remarks,
he concluded by saying, that he did not move to have it inserted on the
Journal, and was unconcerned about it.

Mr. LAWRENCE hoped the call would not be entered on the Journal, if it
was intended to reproach the conduct of the absent members, for he was
very well satisfied in his own mind, that few, if any, of them were
guilty of neglecting their duty.

Mr. WADSWORTH likewise hoped the entry would not be made. He had left
home a week ago, but had been detained by head winds. He dared to say
that this would be found to be the case with respect to a number of
other gentlemen; and as far as his knowledge went with relation to such
as were absent, it was on necessary occasions.

Mr. PARTRIDGE did not wish to stigmatize any gentleman by an entry of
this kind on the Journals. He meant simply that the fact should appear
as it really happened in the House; however, as the business had not
been completed, he would withdraw his second to the motion for having
the entry made.

Mr. PAGE said, no new stigma could be received by him or his colleague,
(Mr. LEE.) By the entry on the Journals, it appeared they were not here
on Monday or Tuesday, but on Wednesday it is said that John Page and R.
B. Lee appeared, and took their seats; consequently, what he had said
could not be construed to favor himself or his colleague, but it was
generally for those who had not been able to get here so soon.

The motion for entering on the Journals the call of the House, was

SATURDAY, January 9.

GEORGE CLYMER, from Pennsylvania, appeared, and took his seat.

_Secretary of the Treasury's Report._

A letter from Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, was read,
informing the House that, agreeably to their resolution of the 21st of
September, he had prepared a Plan for the support of the Public Credit,
and that he was ready to report the same to this House, when they should
be pleased to receive it.

It was proposed that Thursday next be assigned for this purpose.

Mr. GERRY wished to add to the motion, that it should be made in

Mr. BOUDINOT hoped that the Secretary of the Treasury might be permitted
to make his report in person, in order to answer such inquiries as the
members might be disposed to make, for it was a justifiable surmise that
gentlemen would not be able clearly to comprehend so intricate a subject
without oral illustration.

Mr. CLYMER expressed some doubts with respect to the propriety of
receiving oral communications from the head of such an important
department. He was rather inclined to think that such communications
ought to be in writing.

Mr. AMES conceived it to be the duty of the House to obtain the best
information on any subject; but on this very important one they ought to
be particularly careful to get it from the highest source. The Secretary
of the Treasury is a most important and responsible officer; the
delicacy of his situation required every indulgence to be extended to
him, that had a tendency to enable him to complete the arduous
undertaking in which he was engaged. It would be a real misfortune that
a salutary measure should be defeated for want of being understood; yet
the most advantageous plans may miscarry in their passage through this
House, by reason of their not being clearly comprehended. He hoped,
therefore, that the financier would be authorized to make such
communications and illustrations as he judged necessary; but he wished
these communications to be in writing; in this shape they would obtain a
degree of permanency favorable to the responsibility of the officer,
while, at the same time, they would be less liable to be misunderstood.

Mr. BENSON observed, that the Secretary of the Treasury was directed, by
a resolution of the last session, to prepare a plan for the support of
public credit, and to report the same at this meeting. The point to be
settled is whether it shall be done by an oral communication, or
transmitted in writing? In the former order of the House, this point was
untouched, and the Secretary was left at his discretion to prepare
himself for reporting in either way; consequently when we have fixed the
time for receiving his report, he may make it in the manner for which he
is prepared; but no doubt, this officer, actuated by motives of
deference and respect, will conform to any rule the House may think
proper to enjoin.

Mr. GERRY conceived it would be necessary the Secretary should be
authorized, by a vote of the House, to give explanations to his plans.
This, he was not expressly authorized to do by the vote of the last
session, which confined him merely to prepare a plan for support of the
public credit. Would any gentleman on this floor suppose himself
capable of comprehending and combining the parts of a general system,
calculated to produce such a grand effect? In a plan for supporting
public credit may be comprehended every species of finance. The
Secretary, under such an order, may propose an extension of your impost
to entire new articles, an increase of some, and a diminution upon
others. He may propose an introduction of a system of excise; with all
these he may combine duties, stamps, and direct taxes. Can the human
mind retain, with any great degree of decision, objects so extensive and
multifarious upon a mere oral communication? This consideration alone
ought to be sufficient to induce gentlemen to agree to his proposition
of making the report in writing; but his proposition extended still
further, it went to give him a right to lay before them his
explanations, if he thinks explanations necessary.

On the question, the resolution for receiving the report of the
Secretary of the Treasury in writing, was carried in the affirmative.

_President's Speech._

On motion, the House now resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole
on the President's Speech. Mr. BALDWIN in the chair.

Mr. SMITH (of S. C.) proposed a resolution that an address be presented
to the President, in answer to his Speech to both Houses, assuring him
that this House will, without delay, proceed to take into their serious
consideration the various and important matters recommended to their

Mr. WHITE thought this motion hardly sufficient; it was too general to
warrant a select committee to draft that particular reply which he hoped
the House was disposed to make to every part of the President's speech;
he therefore begged the gentleman to withdraw it, and permit him to
substitute one in its stead, which he read in his place.

Mr. BOUDINOT thought the proposition just read by the honorable
gentleman from Virginia much superior to that proposed by his worthy
friend from South Carolina. It must have struck every gentleman that
there were other matters contained in the Speech deserving of notice,
besides those recommended to their serious consideration. There was
information of the recent accession of the important State of North
Carolina to the Constitution of the United States. This event ought to
be recognized in a particular manner, according to its importance; and
he presumed to think that its importance was of the very first

A desultory conversation now took place on amending the original
proposition in such a manner as to embrace generally the subjects of the
speech; when, at length, it was amended to read as follows:

      _Resolved_, As the sense of this committee, that an address
      be presented by the House to the President of the United
      States, in answer to his speech to both Houses, with
      assurances that this House will, without delay, proceed to
      take into consideration the various and important matters
      recommended to their attention.

Whereupon Messrs. SMITH, (of S. C.,) CLYMER, and LAWRENCE, were
appointed a committee to prepare the said address.

MONDAY, January 11.

JONATHAN TRUMBULL, from Connecticut; JOHN HATHORN, from New York; and
ANDREW MOORE, from Virginia, appeared, and took their seats.

_Answer to the President's Speech._

Mr. SMITH, (of South Carolina,) from the committee appointed for the
purpose of preparing an address in answer to the President's speech,
presented a report; which being read,

Mr. PAGE moved to go into a Committee of the Whole on the same
to-morrow, which was agreed to.

TUESDAY, January 12.

Agreeably to the order of the day the House resolved itself into a
Committee of the Whole on the address in answer to the President's
speech to both Houses.

Mr. BALDWIN being placed in the chair, the address was read as follows:

_The Address of the House of Representatives to the President of the
United States._

      The Representatives of the people of the United States have
      taken into consideration your speech to both Houses of
      Congress at the opening of the present session.

      We reciprocate your congratulations on the accession of
      North Carolina; an event which, while it is a testimony of
      the increasing good-will towards the Government of the
      Union, cannot fail to give additional dignity and strength
      to the American Republic, already rising in the estimation
      of the world in national character and respectability.

      The information that our measures of the last session have
      not proved dissatisfactory to our constituents, affords us
      much encouragement at this juncture, when we are resuming
      the arduous task of legislating for so extensive an empire.

      Nothing can be more gratifying to the representatives of a
      free people than the reflection, that their labors are
      rewarded by the approbation of their fellow-citizens. Under
      this impression, we shall make every exertion to realize
      their expectations, and to secure to them those blessings
      which Providence has placed within their reach. Still
      prompted by the same desire to promote their interests
      which then actuated us, we shall, in the present session,
      diligently and anxiously pursue those measures which shall
      appear to us conducive to that end.

      We concur with you in the sentiment that agriculture,
      commerce, and manufactures, are entitled to legislative
      protection, and that the promotion of science and
      literature will contribute to the security of a free
      Government; in the progress of our deliberations, we shall
      not lose sight of objects so worthy of our regard.

      The various and weighty matters which you have judged
      necessary to recommend to our attention, appear to us
      essential to the tranquillity and welfare of the Union, and
      claim our early and most serious consideration. We shall
      proceed, without delay, to bestow on them that calm
      discussion which their importance requires.

      We regret that the pacific arrangements pursued with regard
      to certain hostile tribes of Indians, have not been
      attended with that success which we had reason to expect
      from them; we shall not hesitate to concur in such further
      measures as may best obviate any ill effects which might be
      apprehended from the failure of those negotiations.

      Your approbation of the vote of this House at the last
      session, respecting the provision for the public creditors,
      is very acceptable to us: the proper mode of carrying that
      resolution into effect, being a subject in which the future
      character and happiness of these States are deeply
      involved, will be among the first to claim our attention.

      The prosperity of the United States is the primary object
      of all our deliberations, and we cherish the reflection,
      that every measure which we may adopt for its advancement,
      will not only receive your cheerful concurrence, but will
      at the same time derive from your co-operation additional
      efficacy in insuring to our fellow-citizens the blessings
      of a free, efficient, and equal Government.

                                  FRED'K A. MUHLENBERG,

                       _Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

Mr. BOUDINOT moved to strike out at the beginning of the third paragraph
"the information," because the House were possessed of this knowledge by
other means: they had, during the recess of Congress, an opportunity of
consulting their constituents, and could therefore say of their own
motion, that the measures of the last session have not proved

Mr. CLYMER, as one of the committee appointed to prepare a report, had
agreed to the address, but he did not think himself precluded from
agreeing to what he supposed would be an amendment. The words appeared
to him necessary, as they were strongly implied, inasmuch as the address
was in answer to the speech of the President, which really contained
such information.

Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina) contended, that the House had no
information with respect to the satisfaction their constituents
experienced in the measures of the last session, except what was
contained in the President's speech. He did not presume to deny, but
every individual member of Congress might have received information of
this nature in private conversation with the people, but no official
communication could possibly be got at; it was therefore necessary to
recognize, in the address, the quarter from whence they drew that
information; in this view he considered the words necessary, and hoped
they would be retained.

Mr. BOUDINOT meant to avoid the idea that it was from the Executive
alone they drew this information, when it was a notorious fact,
perceptible to common observation.

Mr. LAWRENCE said, the Executive was the proper source to draw such
information from, and he was very happy to learn it from so respectable
a quarter; he therefore hoped it would be permitted to remain in the

The question was now taken for striking out the words, and it passed in
the negative.

It was then moved to strike out, in the first line of the fourth
paragraph, the word "gratifying" and insert "grateful."

Mr. WADSWORTH did not mean to call in question the right of gentlemen to
amend the address in what manner they thought proper, but he would just
remark, that the composition of two or three gentlemen, done with
deliberation and coolness, generally had more elegance and pertinency,
than the patchwork of a large assembly. He should therefore vote against
every alteration that went to nothing more than to change the style; if
gentlemen were disposed to contend for principle, he should listen to
them with attention, and decide according to the best of his judgment,
but he really conceived it to be a waste of time to discuss the
propriety of two such terms as grateful and gratifying.

Mr. PAGE hoped that gentlemen would proceed to amend the address in such
a way as to give it the highest degree of perfection. He would rather
have his feelings hurt, provided they could be said to be hurt by
changing the language of his most favorite production, than that an
address should go from this body with any incorrectness whatever. He
hoped the House would always criticise upon, strike out and amend,
whatever matter was before them with boldness and freedom. And he would
observe to gentlemen, that the most refined and accurate writers were
never ashamed to have it said of them, that they blotted out.

Mr. WHITE said, that every gentleman had an undoubted right to take the
sense of the House upon an amendment, and that it ought not to be
considered as a reflection upon those who drew up the address.

Mr. WADSWORTH did not pretend to be a critic, but thought he understood
the meaning of the words gratifying and grateful, and he conceived the
difference to be too trifling to engage the attention of the House. He
hoped that he had been as modest as a man could be in his observations,
and was sorry to have drawn his worthy friend from Virginia into any

Mr. THATCHER apprehend the meaning of these two words to be the same,
and the reception of either was only important as it related to the
measure or harmony of the period. Now those gentlemen who are qualified
to decide this point, might vote for the substitute; but for his part he
was very well satisfied with it as it stood.

Mr. STURGES wished the sentence struck out altogether, because he did
not conceive the assertion to be true; for he did believe that there was
something which could and ought to be more gratifying to the
representatives of a free people than the reflection that their labors
are rewarded by the approbation of their fellow-citizens; to be sure it
was a grateful reflection, but there was one much more so, which was,
that their labors had tended to advance the real interests of the
people. If it is, as it ought to be, our highest ambition to promote the
general interest, it must be most gratifying to us to learn that we have
attained that desirable end.

Mr. PAGE had only heard some expressions from the gentleman from
Connecticut (Mr. WADSWORTH) which he imagined had a tendency to
discourage the House from making necessary alterations; but he was
convinced, from the known candor and impartiality of that gentleman,
that he must not have fully comprehended his intentions, and therefore
begged to apologize to him for any thing he might have said partaking of

The question was now put for striking out "gratifying" and inserting
"grateful," and passed in the negative.

The committee then agreed to the report, rose, and the Chairman reported
it without amendment.

Mr. Speaker being seated in the chair, the address was read again and
unanimously agreed to by the House.

It was then moved that a committee be appointed to wait on the President
of the United States, to learn from him at what time, and in what place
he would receive this address. Messrs. SMITH, (of South Carolina,)
CLYMER, and LAWRENCE, were appointed the committee on this occasion.

WEDNESDAY, January 13.

Jersey; DANIEL HEISTER, from Pennsylvania, and WILLIAM SMITH, from
Maryland, appeared and took their seats.

Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina) reported that the President would be ready
to receive their address to-morrow at 12 o'clock.

THURSDAY, January 14.

THEODORE SEDGWICK, from Massachusetts, and THOMAS HARTLEY, from
Pennsylvania, appeared and took their seats.

The House then went and presented the address to the President, to which
the President was pleased to make the following reply:


      I receive, with pleasure, the assurances you give me, that
      you will diligently and anxiously pursue such measures as
      shall appear to you conducive to the interests of your
      constituents; and that an early and serious consideration
      will be given to the various and weighty matters
      recommended by me to your attention.

      I have fall confidence that your deliberations will
      continue to be directed by an enlightened and virtuous zeal
      for the happiness of our country.

                                  GEO. WASHINGTON.

FRIDAY, January 15.

JAMES JACKSON, from Georgia, appeared and took his seat.

Mr. HARTLEY moved an adjournment, when

Mr. PAGE rose and said, he wished to call the attention of the House,
before they adjourned, to a subject which he thought of importance, and
which ought no longer to be in the undecided state it had been in since
the last session; it was this, whether the persons who had taken down
and published the debates of the House, by the tacit consent of the
members during the last session, and who had withdrawn from the seats
they then held in the House, to the gallery, during this session, might
not return to the same seats. He supposed that they had modestly
withdrawn, on the supposition that the debate which took place just
before the adjournment, showed that the sense of the members was against
their sitting in the House; but the contrary was the case; that he knew
their publications had given great satisfaction to many of the
constituents of that House; that the House was applauded for its conduct
on that occasion, both at home and abroad, and had been highly commended
for it in some British publications; that he was anxious that the
short-hand writers should resume their seats in the House, lest it might
be insinuated by the jealous enemies of our Government, that the House
of Representatives were more republican and indulgent the last session
than this; that removing those writers to the gallery, was but a step
towards removing them from the House, and that this suspicion would be
increased by circumstances which, however innocent, nay proper in
themselves, might be misunderstood and excite uneasiness. The doors of
the gallery had been two days shut, the House had made a parade through
the streets, and had displayed their eagle in their hall; that these
circumstances, if followed by the exclusion of the short-hand writers,
might spread an alarm which ought to be avoided; he therefore hoped that
those gentlemen who had retired to the gallery might be informed that
they might return to the seats they occupied in the last session--that
he avoided making a regular motion to this effect, because he knew that
some worthy members who wished to admit those writers, or any others,
did not think their admission ought to be sanctioned by vote, and appear
on the journals, lest that might sanction and authenticate erroneous
publications; but that if he should not discover that the sense of the
members present was in favor of the ideas he had expressed, that
to-morrow he would bring forward a motion made by a member from South
Carolina, (Mr. TUCKER,) last session, for that purpose, for he had no
fears that a vote of the House to authorize the admission of such
writers, would make the House answerable for their publications.

Mr. HARTLEY withdrew his motion for adjournment, in order that the
subject alluded to by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. PAGE) might be

Mr. WHITE said, he felt averse to enter into a positive resolution for
the admission of any person to take down the debates, but wished them
permitted to a convenient seat within the bar for the purpose of hearing
with greater accuracy. But he feared that a vote of the House would give
a sanction to the details, which the publications ought not to have. Not
that he thought them worse than similar publications in other countries;
on the contrary, he thought them better, if he judged from what had
fallen under his particular observation, and what he recollected to have
from others. He did not wish a positive motion for the admission of
short-hand writers, because gentlemen might object to a vote of the
kind, and he should be very loth to discourage publications of the
advantages of which he was well convinced; he knew they had given great
satisfaction to the people of America, and it was a satisfaction of
which he would not deprive them. Although these publications had not
given an exact and accurate detail of all that passed in Congress, yet
their information had been pretty full, and he believed the errors not
very many; those that were made, he supposed to arise rather from haste
or inadvertence, than from design. He was convinced of this, from the
disposition the publishers had manifested to correct any errors that
were pointed out, and the pains they sometimes took to ask gentlemen
what were their particular expressions, when they either did not hear
distinctly, or did not comprehend the speaker's meaning. He wished,
therefore, the business might go on; but silently, as it had heretofore
done, without the express approbation of the House. He was fully
convinced, that neither the editor of the Register, nor any other man,
but the members of the House, had a right to a seat within those walls,
without the consent of every member; but he thought this consent would
be tacitly given if no gentleman opposed their introduction, and in this
way he most heartily concurred with his colleague in agreeing to the
admission of such persons as thought themselves qualified, and were
inclined to take down and publish their debates and proceedings; he
should be glad to see them in the seats they had last session, but he
should object to the vote being entered on the journals of the House.

Mr. BOUDINOT thought the mode proper to be pursued on this occasion,
would be to give a discretionary power to the Speaker to admit such
persons as he thought proper. Under such a regulation, short-hand
writers might be admitted, without giving to their publications any
degree of legislative authority.

Mr. THATCHER hoped that it was not the intention of gentlemen to confine
the business to one person only, because others might appear of equal
capacity, and equally deserving of encouragement.

Mr. PAGE said, he did not wish to confine the vote to any two or three
writers, he cared not how many were admitted. It ought to be remembered,
that he said, when this subject was before the House at the last
session, that he saw no reason why Mr. FENNO should not be within the
House as well as Mr. LLOYD, instead of being in the gallery. He had no
objection to admitting any number of short-hand writers, provided they
did not incommode the members.

Mr. SMITH, (of South Carolina.)--I do not wish, Mr. Speaker, to exclude
others from a convenient seat; but at the same time, I think those who
were here before, have a pre-emption right to the best. I assure you,
sir, I am sorry for the loss of them off the floor, because I think
their publications had a salutary tendency. It has been said, that it
was the design of the short-hand writers to give a partial
representation of our proceedings. I believe, if they are not correctly
given, it is owing to the hurry in which business of this kind is
conducted, and I am confirmed in this opinion, by some errors which I
have discovered in the publication of our proceedings. It was said that
a committee was appointed to bring in a bill for the preservation and
safe-keeping of the _accounts_ of the United States. I thought within
myself that we were not so tenacious on this head, therefore suspected
some mistake, and on consulting the journals I found that a committee
had been appointed to bring in a bill for the safe-keeping and
preservation of the _acts_ of the United States. The similarity of the
letters in those two words, and the great abridgment short-hand writers
are obliged to make for the sake of expedition, may have caused him to
substitute the one for the other. In another place I found a greater
blunder still; it was said, that the House had appointed a committee for
the regulation of the _barbers_ of the United States; this struck me as
a very gross misrepresentation, for I could hardly believe that the
Legislature of the Union would, at so early a day, attempt to usurp an
authority not vested in them by the constitution, and that, too, over a
body of men who could at any time put an end to the tyranny with the
edge of the razor; but on searching the minutes in this case, I found
that a bill was brought in for the regulation of the _harbors_ of the
United States. Upon the whole, I believe, inaccurate as this work is, it
has given to our constituents great satisfaction, and I should be glad
to see our _Argus_ restored to his former situation behind the Speaker's
chair, from whence he could both see and hear distinctly every thing
that passed in the House.

TUESDAY, January 19.

The bill for enumerating the inhabitants of the United States was read a
second time, and ordered to be committed to a Committee of the Whole.

WEDNESDAY, January 20.

JAMES MADISON and JOSIAH PARKER, from Virginia, appeared and took their

THURSDAY, January 21.

GEORGE LEONARD, from Massachusetts, PETER SYLVESTER, from New York, and
THOMAS FITZSIMONS, from Pennsylvania, appeared and took their seats.

MONDAY, January 25.

_Census of the Union._

The House resolved into Committee of the Whole on the bill providing for
the actual enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States, Mr.
BALDWIN in the chair.

Mr. MADISON observed, that they had now an opportunity of obtaining the
most useful information for those who should hereafter be called upon to
legislate for their country, if this bill was extended so as to embrace
some other objects besides the bare enumeration of the inhabitants; it
would enable them to adapt the public measures to the particular
circumstances of the community. In order to know the various interests
of the United States, it was necessary that the description of the
several classes into which the community is divided should be accurately
known. On this knowledge the Legislature might proceed to make a proper
provision for the agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing interests,
but without it they could never make their provisions in due proportion.

This kind of information, he observed, all Legislatures had wished for;
but this kind of information had never been obtained in any country. He
wished, therefore, to avail himself of the present opportunity of
accomplishing so valuable a purpose. If the plan was pursued in taking
every future census, it would give them an opportunity of marking the
progress of the society, and distinguishing the growth of every
interest. This would furnish ground for many useful calculations, and at
the same time answer the purpose of a check on the officers who were
employed to make the enumeration; forasmuch as the aggregate number is
divided into parts, any imposition might be discovered with
proportionable ease. If these ideas meet the approbation of the House,
he hoped they would pass over the schedule in the second clause of the
bill, and he would endeavor to prepare something to accomplish this

The committee hereupon agreed to pass over the part of the bill alluded

Mr. LIVERMORE moved to amend the last clause of the bill, by striking
out all that related to the mode of compensating the Marshal and his
assistants, which were specified sums, proportioned to the service, and
to substitute a provision, authorizing the Marshal, or his assistants,
to receive from every male white inhabitant above the age of twenty-one,
five cents; and of the owner of every male slave, of like age, three
cents; reserving, for his own use, four cents out of every five, and
paying the other one cent to the Marshal. He thought this was an
equitable tax, agreeable to the spirit of the constitution; that it
might be collected with safety and satisfaction; while, on the other
hand, the mode proposed in the bill would be extremely inconvenient; it
would draw a considerable sum out of the Treasury, which their present
situation did not enable them to spare.

On the question this motion was lost.

The committee then, after making some small amendments, rose and
reported progress.

THURSDAY, January 28.

_Report of the Secretary of the Treasury._

Mr. AMES observed, that the subject of the Secretary's report, on the
means of promoting public credit, is the order for this day; but when I
consider the circumstances under which this order was entered into, I am
inclined to wish for an extension of the time. It will be recollected
that this report was ordered to be printed, in order that the members
might have it in their hands for consideration; when this was done, it
was expected that the printing would be more expeditiously executed than
the event has demonstrated it could be, of consequence our time for
deliberation has been curtailed; and those gentlemen who were against so
early a day before, will think the present rather premature. In order to
accommodate them, I shall move you a longer day than otherwise I might
be disposed to do; and if I am seconded, I move that the order of the
day be postponed till next Monday week.

Mr. JACKSON.--The report of the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Speaker,
embraces subjects of the utmost magnitude, which ought not to be lightly
taken up, or hastily concluded upon. It appears to me to contain two
important objects, worthy of our most serious and indefatigable
disquisition. The first is, that all idea of discrimination among the
public creditors, as original holders and transferees, ought to be done
away; and on this head, I must own to you, sir, that I formerly
coincided in something like the same opinion, but circumstances have
occurred, to make me almost a convert to the other. Since this report
has been read in this House, a spirit of havoc, speculation, and ruin,
has arisen, and been cherished by people who had an access to the
information the report contained, that would have made a _Hastings_
blush to have been connected with, though long inured to preying on the
vitals of his fellow-men. Three vessels, sir, have sailed within a
fortnight from this port, freighted for speculation; they are intended
to purchase up the State and other securities in the hands of the
uninformed, though honest citizens of North Carolina, South Carolina,
and Georgia. My soul rises indignant at the avaricious and moral
turpitude which so vile a conduct displays.

Then, sir, as to the other object of the report, the assumption of the
State debts by the General Government, it is a question of delicacy as
well as importance. The States ought to be consulted on this point, some
of them may be against the measure, but surely it will be prudent in us
to delay deciding upon a subject that may give umbrage to the community.
For my part, before I decide, I should be glad to know the sentiments of
the Legislature of the State from which I come, and whether it would, in
their opinion, be more conducive to the general and particular interests
of these United States, than retaining them on their present footing. I
trust I am not singular on this point; for gentlemen desirous of
deciding on full information, will not only wish for the sense of the
Legislatures of the several States, but of every individual also.
Perhaps gentlemen of the neighboring States may think it proper to take
up this business at an early day, because they can learn the desires of
their constituents in a short time; but let those gentlemen consider for
a moment, that the distant States ought to have an equal opportunity,
and we cannot hear the voice of Georgia in a week, nor a month. I should
therefore be as much in the dark on Monday week, as I am at present; I
would wish, if the postponement is intended to answer any valuable
purpose, that it should be extended to a longer period. I think the
first Monday in May would be sufficiently soon to enter upon it, and
shall therefore move it. In this time, the State Legislatures may have
convened, and be able to give us their sentiments on a subject in which
they are so deeply concerned.

Mr. BOUDINOT agreed with the honorable gentleman who was last up, that
this subject is a matter of the highest importance, and worthy of due
deliberation; that speculation had risen to an alarming height; but this
consideration bade him to be in favor of the only measure which could
put a stop to the evil, that is, appreciating the public debt, till the
evidences in the hands of the creditors came to their proper value. I
also agree, said he, with the gentleman, that it would be a desirable
thing to have the sense of the State Legislatures, and every part of the
community, because it would tend to elucidate the subject; but we should
not be led by visionary pursuits to defer a business of this magnitude
too long. I think we may go into a Committee of the Whole on Monday
week, without coming to a final determination; but if it is put off for
a long period, it will cause a still greater fluctuation in the market,
and increase those circumstances which the honorable gentleman laments
as injurious to the peace and happiness of the community. We had better,
therefore, look the business in the face, take it into consideration,
and go through it deliberately; but, at the same time, as expeditiously
as the novelty of our circumstances will admit. In this way also we may
acquire information, because we obtain more from listening to each
other's sentiments, than we can procure from any other source. But if,
after all, gentlemen should find themselves unprepared on Monday week,
the business may be postponed to a further day. But I would by no means
consent to lose sight of it for so long a period as from now till May.

Mr. JACKSON.--If the members of this body had known the plan in
contemplation, and they had had an opportunity of consulting their
constituents on the subject, then, I venture to say, this demon of
speculation would not have extended its baleful influence over the
remote parts of the Union. It arose and seized on us by surprise,
advantages are taken without any warning, and such as cannot but
exasperate. But, sir, waiving all these reflections, let us recollect
that the State of North Carolina forms a part of this Union; this
measure is to affect her, as well as the States who are represented on
this floor. Shall we then proceed without them? Her citizens are
indubitably as much concerned in the event as others, and will you bind
her in a case of this importance, when she has not a single
Representative within these walls? If no other consideration can induce
gentlemen to defer this business, deference to a sister State who has so
lately acceded to the Union ought. But, in addition to this, I contend
that the State Legislatures ought to be consulted; and I declare myself,
that I shall not know how to vote until I learn the sense of my
constituents. If we consent to this proper and reasonable delay, our
constituents will be prepared for our decisions, and a stop will be put
to the speculation; or if any man burns his fingers, which I hope to
God, with all the warmth of a feeling heart, they may, they will only
have their own cupidity to blame. The people will then generally remain
satisfied, under the general assurance, that Congress will pursue proper
measures for the support of public credit, and little or no evil can be
apprehended; but much substantial good may arise from a delay of a few

Mr. SHERMAN hoped the business would be conducted in such a way as to be
concluded before the end of the present session. As to obtaining the
sense of the State Legislatures, he did not think that necessary. The
people appointed the members of this House, and their situation enabled
them to consult and judge better what was for the public good, than a
number of distinct parts, void of relative information, and under the
influence of local views. He supposed that Congress contained all the
information necessary to determine this or any other national question.
As to the first observation of the gentleman from Georgia, that
speculations had been carried on to a great extent, he had only to
observe, that this had been the case from the time when the public
securities were first issued, and he supposed they would continue until
the holders were satisfied with what was done to secure the payment.

As to the State debts, it was a subject which he apprehended would not
be ultimately decided, till the sense of the people is generally known;
and on this occasion, it might be well to be acquainted with the sense
of the State Legislatures; he hoped, therefore, that it would be the
case. But with regard to the foreign and domestic continental debts, he
did not hesitate to say, it was proper for Congress to take them into
consideration as speedily as possible; for the sooner they are
discussed, the sooner will the House make up there judgment thereon. He
believed they were possessed of all the facts they could be possessed
of, and therefore any great delay was improper. He was in favor of
making the business the order of the day for Monday week.

Mr. SEDGWICK.--I believe the House at present have not come to a
conclusion in their own opinion, on the various circumstances which are
necessary to be attended to in the report of the Secretary of the
Treasury; therefore, I think some delay is necessary, but it should be
as early a day as we could act upon it understandingly. The ardent
expectations of the people on this subject want no other demonstration
than the numerous body of citizens assembled within these walls.[32] And
while the public expectation is kept thus alive and in suspense,
gentlemen cannot but suppose designs will be framed and prosecuted that
may be injurious to the community. For, although I do not believe that
speculation, to a certain degree, is baneful in its effects upon
society, yet, when it is extended too far, it becomes a real evil, and
requires the administration to divert or suppress it. If the capital
employed in merchandise is taken from that branch of the public
interest, and employed in speculations no way useful in increasing the
labor of the community, such speculation would be pernicious. The
employment of the time of merchants in this way, in addition to the
employment of their capital, is a serious and alarming circumstance. A
spirit of gambling is of such evil tendency, that every legislative
endeavor should be made to suppress it. From these considerations, I
take it, Mr. Speaker, that there are two things very evident; first,
that the postponement should be so long as to enable us to enter upon
the task with understanding; and that this pernicious temper, or spirit
of speculation, should be counteracted at as early a period as can
possibly take place.

Mr. GERRY.--I am a friend to the postponement, Mr. Speaker, though not
for so long a time as the gentleman from Georgia proposes. It will be
agreed, on all hands, that public credit is the main pillar on which
this Government is to stand; but so embarrassed are our finances, that
they require both time and consideration for their due arrangement.

With respect to the suppression of speculation, I do not conceive that
possible, by either a longer or a shorter postponement. Does any
gentleman expect, while we have a public debt, to prevent speculation in
our funds? If they do, they expect to accomplish what never was
effected by any nation, nor, in my opinion, ever will be. But if they
could accomplish it, they would do an injury to the community; for
speculation gives a currency to property that would lie dormant; all
public debts would hereafter be contracted on terms ruinous to the
debtors. As to the policy of speculation, I doubt whether the
speculation of foreigners in our funds is not rather advantageous than
disadvantageous to the community. If we look abroad, and judge by
comparative reasoning, we shall be led to believe that nations derive
great advantages from being possessed of the money of foreigners; they
not only endeavor to acquire it by direct, but also by indirect loans.
During the late war, the Dutch held 40 or 50,000,000 sterling, in the
funds of Great Britain, and she was sensible of the benefit. The
speculations of individuals have perhaps been of the greatest advantage
to those who held public securities, by giving a circulation to the
certificates. Hence it has been thought that a public debt is a source
of great emolument to a nation, by extending its capital, and enlarging
the operations of productive industry.

Mr. JACKSON.--I know, sir