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Title: Abridgement of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856, Vol. 3 (of 16)
Author: Various
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.

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Transcriber’s Note: A number of obvious printer’s errors (u for
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punctuation, etc) have been amended. Other than that, the original text
remains unchanged.



                               ABRIDGMENT
                                 OF THE
                          DEBATES OF CONGRESS,
                           FROM 1789 TO 1856.

         FROM GALES AND SEATON’S ANNALS OF CONGRESS; FROM THEIR
               REGISTER OF DEBATES; AND FROM THE OFFICIAL
                   REPORTED DEBATES, BY JOHN C. RIVES.

                                   BY
                  THE AUTHOR OF THE THIRTY YEARS’ VIEW.

                                VOL. III.

                                NEW YORK
               D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 443 & 445 BROADWAY.
                                  1861

       Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
      in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court for the Southern
                          District of New York.



EIGHTH CONGRESS.--FIRST SESSION.

BEGUN AT THE CITY OF WASHINGTON, OCTOBER 17, 1803.

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,--THOMAS JEFFERSON.

PROCEEDINGS IN THE SENATE.


LIST OF MEMBERS OF THE SENATE.

_New Hampshire._--Simeon Olcott, William Plumer.

_Vermont._--S. R. Bradley, Israel Smith.

_Massachusetts._--Jonathan Mason, Timothy Pickering.

_Rhode Island._--Christopher Ellery, Samuel I. Potter.

_Connecticut._--James Hillhouse, Uriah Tracy.

_New York._--De Witt Clinton, Theodorus Bailey.

_New Jersey._--Jonathan Dayton, John Condit.

_Pennsylvania._--George Logan, Samuel Maclay.

_Delaware._--William H. Wells, Samuel White.

_Maryland._--Robert Wright, Samuel Smith.

_Virginia._--Wilson C. Nicholas, John Taylor.

_North Carolina._--Jesse Franklin, David Stone.

_South Carolina._--Pierce Butler, Thomas Sumter.

_Georgia._--A. Baldwin, James Jackson.

_Tennessee._--William Cocke, Joseph Anderson.

_Kentucky._--John Breckenridge, John Browne.

_Ohio._--Thomas Worthington, John Smith.


MONDAY, October 17, 1803.

The first session of the eighth Congress, conformably to the Constitution
of the United States, commenced at the city of Washington, agreeably to
the Proclamation of the President of the United States for that purpose;
and the Senate assembled on this day.

PRESENT:

SIMEON OLCOTT and WILLIAM PLUMER, from New Hampshire;

TIMOTHY PICKERING, from Massachusetts;

JAMES HILLHOUSE and URIAH TRACY, from Connecticut;

CHRISTOPHER ELLERY and SAMUEL I. POTTER, from Rhode Island;

STEPHEN R. BRADLEY and ISRAEL SMITH, from Vermont;

DE WITT CLINTON and THEODORUS BAILEY, from New York;

JONATHAN DAYTON and JOHN CONDIT, from New Jersey;

GEORGE LOGAN and SAMUEL MACLAY, from Pennsylvania;

WILLIAM HILL WELLS and SAMUEL WHITE, from Delaware;

ROBERT WRIGHT and SAMUEL SMITH, from Maryland;

JOHN TAYLOR and WILSON CAREY NICHOLAS, from Virginia;

JOHN BROWN and JOHN BRECKENRIDGE, from Kentucky;

JESSE FRANKLIN and DAVID STONE, from North Carolina;

JOSEPH ANDERSON and WILLIAM COCKE, from Tennessee;

ABRAHAM BALDWIN, from Georgia; and

THOMAS WORTHINGTON, from Ohio.

The Vice President being absent, the Senate proceeded to the election
of a President, _pro tem._, as the constitution provides, and the
ballots being collected and counted, the whole number was found to be
twenty-nine, of which fifteen make a majority. Mr. BROWN had 24, Mr.
BALDWIN 2, Mr. DAYTON 2, and Mr. PICKERING 1.

Consequently, the Honorable JOHN BROWN was elected President of the
Senate, _pro tempore_.

The credentials of the following Senators were severally read, to wit:

Of JOSEPH ANDERSON, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State
of Tennessee; of THEODORUS BAILEY, appointed a Senator by the Legislature
of the State of New York; of JAMES HILLHOUSE, appointed a Senator by the
Legislature of the State of Connecticut; of SAMUEL MACLAY, appointed a
Senator by the Legislature of the State of Pennsylvania; of SAMUEL I.
POTTER, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Rhode
Island; of ISRAEL SMITH, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the
State of Vermont; of SAMUEL WHITE, appointed a Senator by the Legislature
of the State of Delaware; for the term of six years from and after the
third day of March last, respectively: also, of THOMAS WORTHINGTON,
appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Ohio; of JOHN
CONDIT, appointed a Senator by the Executive of the State of New Jersey;
of JOHN TAYLOR, appointed a Senator by the Executive of the State of
Virginia, in place of S. T. Mason, deceased; of TIMOTHY PICKERING,
appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Massachusetts, in
the place of Dwight Foster, resigned; and the oath required by law was,
by the PRESIDENT, administered to them respectively.

The oath was also administered to SAMUEL SMITH, appointed a Senator by
the Legislature of the State of Maryland, for the term of six years from
and after the third day of March last.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary wait on the President of the United States
and acquaint him that a quorum of the Senate is assembled, and that, in
the absence of the VICE PRESIDENT, they have elected the Hon. JOHN BROWN
President of the Senate, _pro tempore_.

The Secretary was directed to give a similar notice to the House of
Representatives.

_Resolved_, That JAMES MATHERS, Sergeant-at-Arms and Doorkeeper to
the Senate, be, and he is hereby, authorized to employ one additional
assistant and two horses, for the purpose of performing such services as
are usually required by the Doorkeeper to the Senate; and that the sum of
twenty-eight dollars be allowed him weekly for that purpose during the
session, and for twenty days after.

_Resolved_, That each Senator be supplied during the present session with
three such newspapers, printed in any of the States, as he may choose,
provided that the same be furnished at the usual rate for the annual
charge of such papers.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that a
quorum of the House had assembled, and had elected the Hon. NATHANIEL
MACON their Speaker, and is ready to proceed to business.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. CLINTON and BRECKENRIDGE be a committee on
the part of the Senate, together with such committee as the House of
Representatives may appoint on their part, to wait on the President of
the United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two Houses is
assembled, and ready to receive any communications that he may be pleased
to make to them.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate, that
the House agree to the resolution of the Senate for the appointment of a
joint committee to wait on the President of the United States, and have
appointed a committee on their part.

On motion, _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 Secretary desire the concurrence of the House of
Representatives in this resolution.

The Senate proceeded to the choice of a Chaplain on their part, and
the ballots having been collected and counted, the whole number was
twenty-eight; of which fifteen make a majority. Mr. GANTT had 15 votes,
and Mr. M’CORMICK 13.

Consequently, the Rev. Dr. GANTT was elected.

Mr. CLINTON reported, from the joint committee appointed for the purpose,
that they had waited on the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and that
he had acquainted them that he would make a communication to the two
Houses, by message, immediately.

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    In calling you together, fellow-citizens, at an earlier
    day than was contemplated by the act of the last session
    of Congress, I have not been insensible to the personal
    inconveniences necessarily resulting from an unexpected change
    in your arrangements. But matters of great public concernment
    have rendered this call necessary, and the interest you feel in
    these will supersede, in your minds, all private considerations.

    Congress witnessed, at their late session, the extraordinary
    agitation produced in the public mind by the suspension of our
    right of deposit at the port of New Orleans, no assignment of
    another place having been made according to treaty. They were
    sensible that the continuance of that privation would be more
    injurious to our nation than any consequences which could flow
    from any mode of redress; but, reposing just confidence in the
    good faith of the Government whose officer had committed the
    wrong, friendly and reasonable representations were resorted
    to, and the right of deposit was restored.

    Previous, however, to this period, we had not been unaware of
    the danger to which our peace would be perpetually exposed
    whilst so important a key to the commerce of the western
    country remained under a foreign power. Difficulties too
    were presenting themselves as to the navigation of other
    streams, which, arising within our territories, pass through
    those adjacent. Propositions had therefore been authorized
    for obtaining, on fair conditions, the sovereignty of New
    Orleans, and of other possessions in that quarter, interesting
    to our quiet, to such extent as was deemed practicable; and
    the provisional appropriation of two millions of dollars,
    to be applied and accounted for by the President of the
    United States, intended as part of the price, was considered
    as conveying the sanction of Congress to the acquisition
    proposed.[1] The enlightened Government of France saw, with
    just discernment, the importance to both nations of such
    liberal arrangements as might best and permanently promote the
    peace, interests, and friendship of both; and the property and
    sovereignty of all Louisiana, which had been restored to them,
    has, on certain conditions, been transferred to the United
    States, by instruments bearing date the 30th of April last.
    When these shall have received the constitutional sanction
    of the Senate, they will, without delay, be communicated to
    the Representatives for the exercise of their functions, as
    to those conditions which are within the powers vested by the
    constitution in Congress. Whilst the property and sovereignty
    of the Mississippi and its waters secure an independent outlet
    for the produce of the Western States, and an uncontrolled
    navigation through their whole course, free from collision
    with other Powers, and the dangers to our peace from that
    source, the fertility of the country, its climate and extent,
    promise, in due season, important aids to our Treasury, an
    ample provision for our posterity, and a wide spread for the
    blessings of freedom and equal laws.

    With the wisdom of Congress it will rest to take those ulterior
    measures which may be necessary for the immediate occupation
    and temporary government of the country; for its incorporation
    into our Union; for rendering the change of government a
    blessing to our newly adopted brethren; for securing to them
    the rights of conscience and property; for confirming to
    the Indian inhabitants their occupancy and self-government,
    establishing friendly and commercial relations with them,
    and for ascertaining the geography of the country acquired.
    Such materials for your information relative to its affairs
    in general, as the short space of time has permitted me to
    collect, will be laid before you when the subject shall be in a
    state for your consideration.

    The small vessels authorized by Congress, with a view to the
    Mediterranean service, have been sent into that sea, and will
    be able more effectually to confine the Tripoline cruisers
    within their harbors, and supersede the necessity of convoy to
    our commerce in that quarter. They will sensibly lessen the
    expenses of that service the ensuing year.

    A further knowledge of the ground in the north-eastern and
    north-western angles of the United States has evinced that
    the boundaries established by the treaty of Paris, between
    the British territories and ours in those parts, were too
    imperfectly described to be susceptible of execution. It has
    therefore been thought worthy of attention, for preserving
    and cherishing the harmony and useful intercourse subsisting
    between the two nations, to remove, by timely arrangements,
    what unfavorable incidents might otherwise render a ground
    of future misunderstanding. A convention has therefore been
    entered into, which provides for a practicable demarcation of
    those limits, to the satisfaction of both parties.

    An account of the receipts and expenditures of the year ending
    30th September last, with the estimates for the service of
    the ensuing year, will be laid before you by the Secretary
    of the Treasury, so soon as the receipts of the last quarter
    shall be returned from the more distant States. It is already
    ascertained that the amount paid into the Treasury for that
    year has been between eleven and twelve millions of dollars;
    and that the revenue accrued, during the same term, exceeds
    the sum counted on as sufficient for our current expenses, and
    to extinguish the public debt within the period heretofore
    proposed.

    We have seen with sincere concern the flames of war lighted
    up again in Europe, and nations, with which we have the most
    friendly and useful relations, engaged in mutual destruction.
    While we regret the miseries in which we see others involved,
    let us bow with gratitude to that kind Providence, which,
    inspiring with wisdom and moderation our late Legislative
    Councils, while placed under the urgency of the greatest
    wrongs, guarded us from hastily entering into the sanguinary
    contest, and left us only to look on and to pity its ravages.
    These will be the heaviest on those immediately engaged. Yet
    the nations pursuing peace will not be exempt from all evil.
    In the course of this conflict let it be our endeavor, as it
    is our interest and desire, to cultivate the friendship of the
    belligerent nations by every act of justice, and of innocent
    kindness; to receive their armed vessels with hospitality from
    the distresses of the sea, but to administer the means of
    annoyance to none; to establish in our harbors such a police
    as may maintain law and order; to restrain our citizens from
    embarking individually in a war in which their country takes no
    part; to punish severely those persons, citizen or alien, who
    shall usurp the cover of our flag for vessels not entitled to
    it, infecting thereby with suspicion those of real Americans,
    and committing us into controversies for the redress of wrongs
    not our own; to exact from every nation the observance, towards
    our vessels and citizens, of those principles and practices
    which all civilized people acknowledge; to merit the character
    of a just nation, and maintain that of an independent one,
    preferring every consequence to insult and habitual wrong.
    Separated by a wide ocean from the nations of Europe, and from
    the political interests which entangle them together, with
    productions and wants which render our commerce and friendship
    useful to them, and theirs to us, it cannot be the interest of
    any to assail us, nor ours to disturb them. We should be most
    unwise, indeed, were we to cast away the singular blessings of
    the position in which nature has placed us, the opportunity she
    has endowed us with, of pursuing, at a distance from foreign
    contentions, the paths of industry, peace, and happiness; of
    cultivating general friendship, and of bringing collisions of
    interest to the umpire of reason rather than of force. How
    desirable, then, must it be, in a Government like ours, to see
    its citizens adopt, individually, the views, the interests,
    and the conduct, which their country should pursue, divesting
    themselves of those passions and partialities which tend to
    lessen useful friendships, and to embarrass and embroil us, in
    the calamitous scenes of Europe! Confident, fellow-citizens,
    that you will duly estimate the importance of neutral
    dispositions towards the observance of neutral conduct, that
    you will be sensible how much it is our duty to look on the
    bloody arena spread before us, with commiseration, indeed, but
    with no other wish than to see it closed, I am persuaded you
    will cordially cherish these dispositions in all discussions
    among yourselves, and in all communications with your
    constituents; and I anticipate, with satisfaction, the measures
    of wisdom which the great interests now committed to you will
    give _you_ an opportunity of providing, and _myself_, that of
    approving and of carrying into execution with the fidelity I
    owe to my country.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    OCT. 17, 1803.

The Message was read, and five hundred copies thereof ordered to be
printed for the use of the Senate.


TUESDAY, October 18.

PIERCE BUTLER, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
South Carolina, for the unexpired time for which the late John Ewing
Colhoun was elected to serve, produced his credentials, which were read,
and the oath required by law was administered to him by the President.

JAMES JACKSON, from the State of Georgia, attended.

The credentials of SAMUEL SMITH, a Senator from the State of Maryland,
were read.


FRIDAY, October 21.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State
of Massachusetts, for six years, commencing the 4th day of March last,
produced his credentials, which were read; and the oath required by law
was administered to him by the President.

Mr. CLINTON, after a few prefatory observations on the necessity of
designating the persons, severally, whom the people should wish to
hold the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States,
and stating that the State which he represented, as well as others in
the Union, had, through the medium of their Legislatures, strongly
recommended the adoption of the principle, laid on the table the
following motion, which he read; and it was made the order of the day for
the next day, and printed.

    [The amendment proposed by Mr. Clinton grew out of the attempt
    in the House of Representatives to elect Mr. Burr President,
    and to prevent such attempt in future, in the event of an
    equality of votes between the two highest on the list, it
    required the electors to discriminate between the presidential
    and vice-presidential office, and name the persons voted for
    for each.]

Mr. BRECKENRIDGE gave notice, that he should, to-morrow, ask leave to
bring in a bill to enable the President of the United States to take
possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by
the treaty concluded at Paris on the 30th of April last, and for other
purposes.


SATURDAY, October 22.

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    In my communication to you of the 17th instant, I informed you
    that conventions had been entered into with the Government
    of France for the cession of Louisiana to the United States.
    These, with the advice and consent of the Senate, having now
    been ratified, and my ratification exchanged for that of the
    First Consul of France in due form, they are communicated to
    you for consideration in your Legislative capacity. You will
    observe that some important conditions cannot be carried into
    execution, but with the aid of the Legislature; and that time
    presses a decision on them without delay.

    The ulterior provisions, also, suggested in the same
    communication, for the occupation and government of the
    country, will call for early attention. Such information
    relative to its government as time and distance have permitted
    me to obtain, will be ready to be laid before you in a few
    days. But, as permanent arrangements for this object may
    require time and deliberation, it is for your consideration
    whether you will not forthwith make such temporary provisions
    for the preservation, in the meanwhile, of order and
    tranquillity in the country, as the case may require.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    OCT. 21, 1803.

The Message was read, and, together with the papers therein referred to,
ordered to lie for consideration.

Agreeably to notice given yesterday, Mr. BRECKENRIDGE had leave to bring
in a bill to enable the President of the United States to take possession
of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty
concluded at Paris on the 30th of April last, and for other purposes;
which bill was read, and ordered to the second reading. The bill is in
the following words:

    _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America, in Congress assembled_, That the
    President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized
    to take possession of and occupy the territories ceded by
    France to the United States by the treaty concluded at Paris,
    on the 30th day of April last, between the two nations; and
    that he may for that purpose, and in order to maintain in the
    said territories the authority of the United States, employ
    any part of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the
    force authorized by an act passed the 3d day of March last,
    entitled “An act directing a detachment from the militia of
    the United States, and for erecting certain arsenals,” which
    he may deem necessary: And so much of the sum appropriated by
    the said act as may be necessary is hereby appropriated for the
    purpose of carrying this act into effect; to be applied under
    the direction of the President of the United States.

    SEC 2.. _And be it further enacted_, That until Congress shall
    have made provision for the temporary government of the said
    territories, all the military, civil, and judicial powers
    exercised by the officers of the existing government of the
    same, shall be vested in such person or persons, and shall be
    exercised by and in such manner, as the President of the United
    States shall direct.

_Amendment to the Constitution._

The order of the day being called for on Mr. CLINTON’s motion of
yesterday,

Mr. CLINTON said that, as the resolution was but now printed, and laid
before the Senate, it might be proper to refer it to Monday for further
consideration, but if it was requisite, by the rules of the Senate, that
the resolution must have three separate readings, and on three different
days, he should call for a second reading on Saturday, that it might be
in readiness for a third reading on Monday, and be ultimately acted upon
that day, as the Legislatures of Tennessee and Vermont were in session,
and probably must be at the trouble of an extra session to act upon the
amendment, unless it could be sent to them before they separated.

Mr. BROWN, of Kentucky, the President _pro tem._ of the Senate, said
the written rule of the Senate determined that bills should have three
readings, and on different days, without unanimous consent to the
contrary; but the resolutions were not included; and that he should be
glad of the opinion of the Senate upon the subject.

Mr. TRACY of Connecticut said, that there was no written rule which would
reach the case, but the Vice President, upon the ground that they came
within the reason of the rule, had determined that all resolutions which
required a joint vote of both Houses to give them efficacy, should take
the same course as bills, and have three readings, and on different days,
before a final vote; and as this resolution went to the alteration of
the supreme law of the land, as the constitution was declared to be, he
thought it highly requisite to give the deliberations all the solemnity
which was required in passing bills.

Mr. BRADLEY, of Vermont, then offered two amendments to the resolution;
one went to the form only, and the other makes a majority of votes of the
electors requisite for the choice of Vice President, and in case such
majority is not obtained, places the choice of Vice President in the
Senate.

Mr. BUTLER, of South Carolina, proposed an amendment by adding a new
clause, in substance: “That at the next election of President, no person
should be eligible who had served more than eight years, and, in all
future elections, no person should be eligible more than four years in
any period of eight years.”

Mr. DAYTON, of New Jersey, moved to refer the resolution, with all the
amendments, to a select committee; he said that it was a subject far too
important to be carried in this way. There has been no time to consider
it. Something more was due in this instance, than, as it were, offering
it one moment, and deciding upon it the next.

Mr. HILLHOUSE, of Connecticut, supported the motion for referring the
question to a select committee. He was opposed to entering now upon the
business. Why should this subject be hurried? Why not have taken it up
last session? We might in that case have had time to consider it. He had
not often known a resolution, of the nature of that before the House,
disposed of otherwise, in the first instance, than being referred to a
committee. He never knew it refused. In a great and free empire, like the
United States, this question is of the highest importance--no less than
the choice of the First Magistrate. It is laid upon the table to-day,
and we are to determine upon it to-morrow. He hoped not, and as he never
knew it refused before, he hoped that it would not be adopted now. He
wished it to be referred to a select committee; that it should there be
examined, line by line, letter by letter. In the present mode of doing
business, it is impossible to act with accuracy. He again trusted and
hoped that it would be referred to a select committee.

Mr. JACKSON, of Georgia, wished the business to be immediately proceeded
upon. He was an admirer of Mr. Jefferson; he was happy, and he trusted
all were happy, while he was President. But, continued Mr. J., we know
not who may follow him; we may have a Buonaparte, or one who will
be equally obnoxious to the people. He hoped the motions would be
incorporated and immediately come before the House.

Mr. WRIGHT, of Maryland, spoke for some time against the resolution going
to a committee. He was against the amendment proposed by Mr. BUTLER.
A committee might report when they pleased. He therefore thought it
necessary to proceed with the question immediately.

Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, wished to have some principles fixed. If the
motion and amendments were to go to a committee, he would not tack them
together, for by this mode they might both be lost. It has been said that
the subject might have been entered into last session. There was then a
multiplicity of business of importance before the House, yet this subject
might have been entered into. As it stands, this is the proper place to
make objections. The mover of the resolution does not say that it shall
be determined on Monday; he means that it shall then be before the whole
House.

After some desultory observations, in which one member observed that
he thought it disorderly, the question on Mr. BUTLER’s amendment was
put--ayes 16, nays 15.

A committee was then chosen for the purpose, namely:

Mr. BUTLER, Mr. BRADLEY, Mr. CLINTON, Mr. NICHOLAS, and Mr. SMITH.


MONDAY, October 24.

_Louisiana Cession._

The bill to enable the President of the United States to take possession
of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty
concluded at Paris on the 30th of April last, and for other purposes, was
read the second time and referred to Messrs. BRECKENRIDGE, DAYTON, and
BALDWIN, to consider and report thereon.

_Amendment to the Constitution._

Mr. BUTLER, from the committee, to whom was referred, on the 22d inst.,
the motion for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States,
made report, which was read.

Mr. DAYTON moved to strike out all which respected the appointment of a
Vice President.

He said the great inducements of the framers of the constitution to admit
the office of Vice President was, that, by the mode of choice, the best
and most respectable man should be designated; and that the electors of
each State should vote for one person at least, living in a different
State from themselves; and if the substance of the amendment was adopted,
he thought the office had better be abolished. Jealousies were natural
between President and Vice President; no heir apparent ever loved the
person on the throne. With this resolution for an amendment to the
constitution we were left with all the inconveniencies, without a single
advantage from the office of Vice President.

Mr. CLINTON.--The obvious intention of the amendment proposed by
the gentleman from New Jersey, is to put off or get rid of the main
question. It would more comport with the candor of the gentleman to
meet the question fairly. Can the gentleman suppose that the electors
will not vote for a man of respectability for Vice President? True, the
qualifications are distinct, and ought not to be confounded; this will
stave off the question till the Legislatures of the States of Tennessee
and Vermont are out of session, and the object must be very obvious.

Mr. DAYTON.--The custom of the gentleman from New York has been of late
to arraign motives instead of meeting arguments; on Saturday he accused
me of wishing to procrastinate, and now the same is repeated.

The reasons of erecting the office are frustrated by the amendment to the
constitution now proposed; it will be preferable, therefore, to abolish
the office.

Mr. CLINTON.--The charge of the gentleman from New Jersey is totally
unfounded that I arraign motives, and do not meet arguments. On Saturday
the gentleman accused me of precipitation; I am not in the habit of
arraigning motives, as this Senate can witness, and the charge is totally
untrue.

Mr. NICHOLAS.--To secure the United States from the dangers which
existed during the last choice of President, the present resolution was
introduced. It was impossible to act upon, or pass the amendment offered
by the member from New Jersey, with a full view of all its bearings at
this time. It ought not to stand in the way of the resolution reported by
the committee, for two-thirds or three-quarters of the State Legislatures
would be in session in two or three months; the Senate had, therefore,
better not admit the amendment, even if convinced that it was correct,
because it might jeopardize the main amendment of discriminating.

Mr. BUTLER moved a postponement until Wednesday, because the amendment
was important, and he had not had sufficient time to make up his mind.

Mr. WORTHINGTON said the same.

This motion was seconded.

The question for postponement was taken, and lost--ayes 15, noes 16.

The amendment of Mr. DAYTON was now before the Senate.

A motion for adjournment was now made and carried--ayes 16, noes 15.


TUESDAY, October 25.

JOHN SMITH, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Ohio,
attended and produced his credentials, which were read, and the oath
required by law was administered to him by the President.

Mr. BRECKENRIDGE, from the committee to whom was referred, on the 24th
instant, the bill to enable the President of the United States to take
possession of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by
the treaty concluded at Paris on the 30th of April last, and for other
purposes, reported it without amendment.

_Ordered_, That this bill pass to a third reading.


WEDNESDAY, October 26.

_Louisiana Treaty._

The bill to enable the President of the United States to take possession
of the territories ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty
concluded at Paris on the 30th of April last, and for other purposes, was
read the third time. And, on the question, Shall this bill pass? it was
determined in the affirmative--yeas 26, nays 6, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Bailey, Baldwin, Bradley,
    Breckenridge, Brown, Butler, Cocke, Condit, Dayton, Ellery,
    Franklin, Jackson, Logan, Maclay, Nicholas, Potter, I. Smith,
    J. Smith, S. Smith, Stone, Taylor, Wells, White, Worthington,
    and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Hillhouse, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, and
    Tracy.[2]


SATURDAY, October 29.

Mr. BRECKENRIDGE, from the committee of conference on the amendments of
the House of Representatives to the bill, entitled “An act to enable
the President of the United States to take possession of the territories
ceded by France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris
on the 30th of April last, and for the temporary government thereof,”
reported, that the Senate recede from their disagreement to the
amendments, and agree thereto, with amendments; and a division of the
report was called for.

And, on the question to adopt the report, so far as that the Senate
recede from their disagreement to the amendments of the House of
Representatives, it passed in the affirmative.

And, on the question to adopt the remaining division of the report, it
passed in the negative.

So it was _Resolved_, That the Senate recede from their disagreement to
the amendments of the House of Representatives to the said bill, and
agree thereto.[3]


MONDAY, October 31.

On motion, it was,

_Resolved, unanimously_, That the members of the Senate, from a sincere
desire of showing every mark of respect due to the memory of the Hon.
STEVENS THOMPSON MASON, deceased, late a member thereof, will go into
mourning for him one month, by the usual mode of wearing a crape around
the left arm.[4]


WEDNESDAY, November 2.

_Louisiana Treaty._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill, entitled “An act
authorizing the creation of a stock to the amount of eleven millions two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for the purpose of carrying into
effect the convention of the 30th of April, 1803, between the United
States of America and the French Republic, and making provision for the
payment of the same;” and having amended the bill--

On the question, Shall the bill pass?

Mr. WHITE rose and made the following remarks:

Mr. President, by the provisions of the bill before us, and which are
thus far in conformity with the words of the treaty, we have until
three months after the exchange of ratifications and the delivery of
possession to pay this money in. Where, then, is the necessity for such
haste on this subject? It seems to me to be anticipating our business
unnecessarily, and perhaps unwisely; it is showing on our part a degree
of anxiety that may be taken advantage of and operate to our injury,
and that may serve to retard the accomplishment of the very object
that gentlemen seem to have so much at heart. It is not at present
altogether certain that we shall ever have occasion to use this stock,
and it will be time enough to provide it when the occasion arises, when
we see ourselves in the undisturbed possession of this mighty boon, or
wherefore are we allowed these three months’ credit after the delivery
of possession? The ratifications have been already exchanged; the French
officer who is to make the cession is said to be at New Orleans, and
previous to the adjournment of Congress we shall know with certainty
whether the First Consul will or can carry this treaty faithfully into
operation. We have already passed a bill authorizing the President to
take possession, for which I voted, and it will be time enough to create
this stock and to make the other necessary arrangements when we find
ourselves in possession of the territory, or when we ascertain with
certainty that it will be given to us.

But, Mr. President, it is now a well-known fact, that Spain considers
herself injured by this treaty, and if it should be in her power to
prevent it, will not agree to the cession of New Orleans and Louisiana
to the United States. She considers herself absolved from her contract
with France, in consequence of the latter having neglected to comply with
certain stipulations in the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, to be performed on
her part, and of having violated her engagement never to transfer this
country into other hands. Gentlemen may say this money is to be paid
upon the responsibility of the President of the United States, and not
until after the delivery of possession to us of the territory; but why
cast from ourselves all the responsibility upon this subject, and impose
the whole weight upon the President, which may hereafter prove dangerous
and embarrassing to him? Why make the President the sole and absolute
judge of what shall be a faithful delivery of possession under the
treaty? What he may think a delivery of possession sufficient to justify
the payment of this money, we might not; and I have no hesitation in
saying that if, in acquiring this territory under the treaty, we have to
fire a single musket, to charge a bayonet, or to lose a drop of blood,
it will not be such a cession on the part of France as should justify to
the people of this country the payment of any, and much less so enormous
a sum of money. What would the case be, sir? It would be buying of France
authority to make war upon Spain; it would be giving the First Consul
fifteen millions of dollars to stand aloof until we can settle our
differences with His Catholic Majesty. Would honorable gentlemen submit
to the degradation of purchasing even his neutrality at so inconvenient
a price? We are told that there is in the hands of the French Prefect
at New Orleans a royal order of His Catholic Majesty, founded upon the
Treaty of St. Ildefonso, for the delivery of possession of this territory
to France; but which has never been done--the precedent conditions not
having been performed on the part of France. This royal order, it is
probable, will be handed over to our Commissioner, or to whoever may be
sent down to receive possession. We may then be told that we have the
right of France, as she acquired it from Spain, which is all she is bound
by her treaty to transfer to us; we may be shown the Spaniards, who yet
claim to be the rightful owners of the country, and be told that we have
the permission of the First Consul to subdue or drive them out, and,
according to the words of the treaty, to take possession. Of our capacity
to do so I have no doubt; but this we could have done, sir, six months
ago, and with one-sixth of fifteen millions of dollars, when they had
wantonly violated the sacred obligations of a treaty, had insulted our
Government, and prostrated all the commerce of our Western country. Then
we had, indeed, a just cause for chastising them; the laws of nations
and of honor authorized it, and all the world would have applauded our
conduct. And it is well known that if France had been so disposed she
could not have brought a single man or ship to their relief; before the
news could have reached Europe, she was blockaded in her own ports by
the British fleet. But that time was permitted to go by unimproved, and
instead of regretting the past, let us provide for the future.

Admitting then, Mr. President, that His Catholic Majesty is hostile to
the cession of this territory to the United States, and no honorable
gentleman will deny it, what reasons have we to suppose that the
French Prefect, provided the Spaniards should interfere, can give to
us peaceable possession of the country? He is acknowledged there in no
public character, is clothed with no authority, nor has he a single
soldier to enforce his orders. I speak now, sir, from mere probabilities.
I wish not to be understood as predicting that the French will not cede
to us the actual and quiet possession of the territory. I hope to God
they may, for possession of it we must have--I mean of New Orleans, and
of such other positions on the Mississippi as may be necessary to secure
to us for ever the complete and uninterrupted navigation of that river.
This I have ever been in favor of; I think it essential to the peace of
the United States, and to the prosperity of our Western country. But
as to Louisiana, this new, immense, unbounded world, if it should ever
be incorporated into this Union, which I have no idea can be done but
by altering the constitution, I believe it will be the greatest curse
that could at present befall us; it may be productive of innumerable
evils, and especially of one that I fear even to look upon. Gentlemen on
all sides, with very few exceptions, agree that the settlement of this
country will be highly injurious and dangerous to the United States; but
as to what has been suggested of removing the Creeks and other nations of
Indians from the eastern to the western banks of the Mississippi, and of
making the fertile regions of Louisiana a howling wilderness, never to be
trodden by the foot of civilized man, it is impracticable. The gentleman
from Tennessee (Mr. COCKE) has shown his usual candor on this subject,
and I believe with him, to use his strong language, that you had as
well pretend to inhibit the fish from swimming in the sea as to prevent
the population of that country after its sovereignty shall become ours.
To every man acquainted with the adventurous, roving, and enterprising
temper of our people, and with the manner in which our Western country
has been settled, such an idea must be chimerical. The inducements will
be so strong that it will be impossible to restrain our citizens from
crossing the river. Louisiana must and will become settled, if we hold
it, and with the very population that would otherwise occupy part of
our present territory. Thus our citizens will be removed to the immense
distance of two or three thousand miles from the capital of the Union,
where they will scarcely ever feel the rays of the General Government;
their affections will become alienated; they will gradually begin to view
us as strangers; they will form other commercial connections, and our
interests will become distinct.

These, with other causes that human wisdom may not now foresee, will in
time effect a separation, and I fear our bounds will be fixed nearer to
our houses than the waters of the Mississippi. We have already territory
enough, and when I contemplate the evils that may arise to these States,
from this intended incorporation of Louisiana into the Union, I would
rather see it given to France, to Spain, or to any other nation of the
earth, upon the mere condition that no citizen of the United States
should ever settle within its limits, than to see the territory sold
for a hundred millions of dollars, and we retain the sovereignty. But
however dangerous the possession of Louisiana might prove to us, I do
not presume to say that the retention of it would not have been very
convenient to France, and we know that at the time of the mission of
Mr. Monroe, our Administration had never thought of the purchase of
Louisiana, and that nothing short of the fullest conviction on the part
of the First Consul that he was on the very eve of a war with England;
that this being the most defenceless point of his possessions, if such
they could be called, was the one at which the British would first
strike, and that it must inevitably fall into their hands, could ever
have induced his pride and ambition to make the sale. He judged wisely,
that he had better sell it for as much as he could get than lose it
entirely. And I do say that under existing circumstances, even supposing
that this extent of territory was a desirable acquisition, fifteen
millions of dollars was a most enormous sum to give. Our Commissioners
were negotiating in Paris--they must have known the relative situation
of France and England--they must have known at the moment that a war
was unavoidable between the two countries, and they knew the pecuniary
necessities of France and the naval power of Great Britain. These
imperious circumstances should have been turned to our advantage, and if
we were to purchase, should have lessened the consideration. Viewing, Mr.
President, this subject in any point of light--either as it regards the
territory purchased, the high consideration to be given, the contract
itself, or any of the circumstances attending it, I see no necessity
for precipitating the passage of this bill; and if this motion for
postponement should fail, and the question on the final passage of the
bill be taken now, I shall certainly vote against it.

The further consideration of the bill was postponed until to-morrow.


THURSDAY, November 3.

_Louisiana Treaty._

The bill, entitled “An act authorizing the creation of a stock to the
amount of eleven millions two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for
the purpose of carrying into effect the Convention of the 30th of April,
1803, between the United States of America and the French Republic,
and making provision for the payment of the same,” was read the third
time; and, having been amended, on the question, Shall this bill pass as
amended?

Mr. WELLS said: Mr. President, having always held to the opinion that,
when a treaty was duly made under the constituted authorities of the
United States, Congress was bound to pass the laws necessary to carry it
into effect; and as the vote which I am about to give may not at first
seem to conform itself to this opinion, I feel an obligation imposed upon
me to state, in as concise a manner as I can, the reasons why I withhold
my assent from the passage of this bill.

There are two acts necessary to be performed to carry the present
treaty into effect--one by the French Government, the other by our own.
They are to deliver us a fair and effectual possession of the ceded
territory; and then, and not till then, are we to pay the purchase
money. We have already authorized the President to receive possession.
This co-operation on our part was requisite to enable the French to
comply with the stipulation they had made; they could not deliver unless
somebody was appointed to receive. In this view of the subject, the
question which presents itself to my mind is, who shall judge whether the
French Government does, or does not, faithfully comply with the previous
condition? The bill on your table gives to the President this power. I am
for our retaining and exercising it ourselves. I may be asked, why not
delegate this power to the President? Sir, I answer by inquiring why we
should delegate it? To us it properly belongs; and, unless some advantage
will be derived to the United States, it shall not be transferred with
my consent. Congress will be in session at the time that the delivery
of the ceded territory takes place; and if we should then be satisfied
that the French have executed with fidelity that part of the treaty
which is incumbent upon them first to perform, I pledge myself to vote
for the payment of the purchase money. This appears to me, arguing upon
general principles, to be the course which ought to be pursued, even
supposing there were attending this case no particular difficulties.
But in this special case are there not among the archives of the Senate
sufficient documents, and which have been withheld from the House of
Representatives, to justify an apprehension that the French Government
was not invested with the capacity to convey this property to us, and
that we shall not receive that kind of possession which is stipulated for
by the treaty? I am not permitted, by the order of this body, to make
any other than this general reference to those documents. Suffice it to
say that they have strongly impressed me with an opinion that, even if
possession is rendered to us, the territory will come into our hands
without any title to justify our holding it.

Mr. JACKSON.--Mr. President: The honorable gentleman (Mr. WELLS) has
said that the French have no title, and, having no title herself, we can
derive none from her. Is not, I ask, the King of Spain’s proclamation,
declaring the cession of Louisiana to France, and his orders to his
Governor and officers to deliver it to France, a title? Do nations
give any other? I believe the honorable gentleman can find no solitary
instance of feofment or conveyance between States. The treaty of St.
Ildefonso was the groundwork of the cession, and whatever might have been
the terms to be performed by France, the King of Spain’s proclamation
and orders have declared to all the world that they were complied with.
The honorable gentleman, however, insists that there is no consideration
expressed in the treaty, and therefore it must be void; if the honorable
gentleman will but look attentively at the ninth article, I am persuaded
he will perceive one: the conventions are made part of the treaty; they
are declared to have execution in the same manner, as if they had been
inserted in the treaty; they are to be ratified in the same form, and
at the same time, so that the one shall not be distinct from the other.
What inference can possibly be drawn, but that the payments to be made by
them were full consideration for Louisiana? But the honorable gentleman
lays stress on that part of the treaty which declares that “the First
Consul of the French Republic, desiring to give to the United States a
strong proof of his friendship, doth hereby cede to the United States
the territory,” &c.; inferring from thence that our title rests on the
friendship of Buonaparte alone. Sir, let my opinion of the present
Government of France be what it may, and I confess it is not very
favorable, Buonaparte, by the consent of the nation, is placed at its
head; he is the organ through which the will of the nation is expressed,
and is and must be respected as such by all other Powers. No nation has
a right to interfere with the rule or police of another. It is enough
that the nation wills it, and Buonaparte’s act is the act of the whole
nation, which cannot recall it, even if Buonaparte should cease to govern
and another form of government be adopted. Last session we were impressed
with the necessity of taking immediate possession of the island of New
Orleans in the face of two nations, and now we entertain doubts if we can
combat the weakest of those Powers; and we are further told we are going
to sacrifice the immense sum of fifteen millions of dollars, and have to
go to war with Spain for the country afterwards; when, last session, war
was to take place at all events, and no costs were equal to the object.
Gentlemen seem to be displeased, because we have procured it peaceably,
and at probably ten times less expense than it would have cost us had we
taken forcible possession of New Orleans alone, which, I am persuaded,
would have involved us in a war which would have saddled us with a debt
of from one to two hundred millions, and perhaps have lost New Orleans,
and the right of deposit, after all. I again repeat, sir, that I do not
believe that Spain will venture war with the United States. I believe
she dare not; if she does, she will pay the costs. The Floridas will be
immediately ours; they will almost take themselves. The inhabitants pant
for the blessings of your equal and wise Government; they ardently long
to become a part of the United States. An officer, duly authorized, and
armed with the bare proclamation of the President, would go near to take
them; the inhabitants by hundreds would flock to his standard, the very
Spanish force itself would assist in their reduction; it is composed
principally of the Irish brigade and Creoles--the former disaffected, and
the latter the dregs of mankind. With two or three squadrons of dragoons,
and the same number of companies of infantry, not a doubt ought to exist
of the total conquest of East Florida by an officer of tolerable talents.
Exclusive, however, of the loss of the Floridas, to use the language of
a late member of Congress, the road to Mexico is now open to us, which,
if Spain acts in an amicable way, I wish may, and hope will, be shut, as
respects the United States, for ever. For these reasons, I think, sir,
Spain will avoid a war, in which she has nothing to gain and every thing
to lose.

Mr. President, the honorable gentleman appears to be extremely
apprehensive of vesting the powers delegated by the bill, now on its
passage, in the President, and wishes to retain it in the Legislature.
Is this a Legislative or an Executive business? Assuredly, in my mind,
of the latter nature. The President gave instructions for, and, with
our consent, ratified the treaty. We have given him the power to take
possession, which his officers are at this moment doing; and surely,
as the ostensible party, the representative of the sovereignty to whom
France will alone look, he ought to possess the power of fulfilling
our part of the contract. Gentlemen, indeed, had doubted, on a former
occasion, the propriety of giving the President the power of taking
possession and organizing a temporary government, which every inferior
officer, in case of conquest or cession, from the general to the
subaltern, if commanding, has a right to do; but I little expected these
doubts after we had gone so far. For my part, sir, I have none of those
fears. I believe the President will be as cautious as ourselves, and the
bill is as carefully worded as possible; for the money is not to be paid
until after Louisiana shall be placed in our possession.

Mr. WRIGHT.--Mr. President, I presumed from the observations of the
honorable gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. WELLS,) that he had not minutely
attended to the provisions of this bill, on which the transfer of this
stock is made expressly to depend. The treaty has in the most guarded
manner secured us in the possession of the ceded territory, as a
condition precedent to the payment of the purchase money, and this bill
has expressly provided that no part of the stock shall be transferred
till the possession stipulated by the treaty shall have been obtained.
Not such a possession as the gentleman has said the President may be
satisfied with--“the delivery of a twig and turf, or the knocker of
a door.” The treaty has defined the possession intended: it is the
possession of Louisiana, the island and city of New Orleans, with the
forts and arsenals, the troops having been withdrawn from thence. But,
sir, from his remarks, it would seem that his objections to this bill
had been predicated on his want of confidence in the Executive, as he
has expressed his fears that the stock would be transferred, before
the prerequisite conditions had been performed. He says, we ought to
be satisfied that the possession stipulated by the treaty shall have
been delivered up before we pass this bill. Has he forgot that, by
the constitution, the President is to superintend the execution of
the law? Or has he forgot that treaties are the supreme law of the
land? Or why, while he professes to respect this constitution, does he
oppose the commission of the execution of this law to that organ of the
Government to which it has been assigned by the constitution? Why, I
ask, does he distrust the President? Has he not been, throughout the
whole of this business, very much alive to the peaceful acquisition of
this immense territory, and the invaluable waters of the Mississippi? a
property which, but the other day, we were told was all-important, and
so necessary to our political existence that if it was not obtained the
Western people would sever themselves from the Union. This property,
for which countless millions were then proposed to be expended, and the
best blood of our citizens to be shed, and which then was to be had
at all hazards, _per fas aut per nefas_, seems now to have lost its
worth, and it would seem as if some gentlemen could not be satisfied
with the purchase, because our title was not recorded in the blood of
its inhabitants. But that this is not the wish of the American people,
has been unequivocally declared by their immediate representatives
in Congress, as well as by this House, who had each expressed their
approbation of the peaceful title we had acquired, by majorities I
thought not to be misunderstood. And the gentleman, although he voted for
the ratification of the treaty, now again calls on us to investigate the
title. It is certainly too late.

Mr. PICKERING said, if he entertained the opinion just now expressed by
the gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. WELLS,) of the binding force of all
treaties made by the President and Senate, he should think it to be his
duty to vote for the bill now under consideration. “The constitution,
and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, and all
treaties made, or which shall be made under the authority of the United
States, shall be the supreme law of the land.”--But a treaty to be
thus obligatory, must not contravene the constitution, nor contain any
stipulations which transcend the powers therein given to the President
and Senate. The treaty between the United States and the French Republic,
professing to cede Louisiana to the United States, appeared to him
to contain such an exceptionable stipulation--a stipulation which
cannot be executed by any authority now existing. It is declared in
the third article, that “the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall
be incorporated in the Union of the United States.” But neither the
President and Senate, nor the President and Congress, are competent
to such an act of incorporation. He believed that our Administration
admitted that this incorporation could not be effected without an
amendment of the constitution; and he conceived that this necessary
amendment could not be made in the ordinary mode by the concurrence
of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress, and the ratification by the
Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States. He believed the
assent of each individual State to be necessary for the admission of a
foreign country as an associate in the Union; in like manner as in a
commercial house, the consent of each member would be necessary to admit
a new partner into the company; and whether the assent of every State
to such an indispensable amendment were attainable, was uncertain. But
the articles of a treaty were necessarily related to each other; the
stipulation in one article being the consideration for another. If,
therefore, in respect to the Louisiana Treaty, the United States fail
to execute, and within a reasonable time, the engagement in the third
article, (to incorporate that territory into the Union,) the French
Government will have a right to declare the whole treaty void. We must
then abandon the country, or go to war to maintain our possession. But
it was to prevent war that the pacific measures of the last winter were
adopted--they were to “lay the foundation for future peace.”

Mr. P. had never doubted the right of the United States to acquire new
territory, either by purchase or by conquest, and to govern the territory
so acquired as a dependent province; and in this way might Louisiana have
become a territory of the United States, and have received a form of
government infinitely preferable to that to which its inhabitants are now
subject.

Mr. DAYTON.--As the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts has quoted
what was suggested by me in a former debate, to deduce from it an
inference which the information I gave can by no means warrant, I must
be allowed the liberty of correcting him. When I said that there existed
an essential difference between the French and Spanish officers at New
Orleans as to the real boundaries of the province of Louisiana, I did not
mean to insinuate that this disagreement extended so far as an opposition
to the French taking possession. It was a question of limits only,
varying, however, so much in extent as would have produced a serious
altercation between those two countries, although closely allied.

The Spanish Governor had taken it upon himself to proclaim that the
province lately ceded and about to be given over to France would be
confined on the east of the Mississippi to the river Iberville, and the
lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, or in other words to the island of New
Orleans; but the French Prefect on the contrary declared that he neither
had nor would give his assent to the establishment of those limits, which
would be regarded no longer than until the arrival of their troops.

The same gentleman (Mr. PICKERING) has said that the advocates of this
measure seem to rely much more upon their power than upon their right,
and in this assertion I am compelled to say that he has done us very
great injustice. The title of the French is founded upon the often quoted
treaty of St Ildefonso, confirmed by the royal order signed by the King
of Spain himself, so lately as the 15th October, 1802, directing the
delivery of the “colony of Louisiana and its dependencies as well as of
the city and island of New Orleans, without any exception, to General
Victor, or other officer duly authorized by that Republic to take charge
of the said delivery.”

When at New Orleans in July last, I obtained from the best source a
translated copy of that royal order, and can aver that it absolutely
directs possession to be given without reservation or condition. It is
not, and cannot be, denied that the lately ratified treaty of Paris
transfers to us completely all the title acquired by France in virtue of
the first treaty and order alluded to. We have, then, most incontestably,
the right of possession, and our object now is, by passing the bill
before us to obtain the possession itself, which we can certainly never
effect, consistently with good faith, if the reasonings and objections
of my honorable friends from Delaware and Massachusetts should prevail.
We are asked by the same gentlemen what will be the consequence if it
shall appear that the royal order has been revoked? I answer, first, that
it is not in the least degree probable, for neither of them pretend to
have heard of such revocation, nor is it intimated in the confidential
communications before the Senate. But admitting for argument’s sake that
it were revoked, of what avail could it be against a third party, who
had in the mean time become a _bona fide_ purchaser? Shall one nation
give to another a written, formal evidence of transfer of territory, and
revoke it at pleasure, especially after a third shall have been tempted
and induced by that very evidence of title to contract for the purchase
of it? Would an act so fraudulent be countenanced between individuals in
a court of equity? Could it be justified between nations in a high court
of honor? The honorable gentleman from Delaware has taken a more delicate
ground of objection. He has insinuated that there exists in the knowledge
of the Senate, the evidence of a serious opposition to our possessing
that country, which, if known to the other branch of the Legislature,
would probably have defeated this bill in its progress there. Allusions
artfully made in this manner to documents communicated under the
injunction of secrecy, place us in an embarrassing situation. Forbidden
by our rules to expose the papers referred to, even in argument, we
can only declare what impressions they have made upon ourselves. Every
Senator must understand him, every one must have heard and read, and
weighed deliberately the contents of those documents, and, for myself, I
am free to avow my belief, that, if known to every member of the other
House, they would have had no effect against this bill, but would rather
have quickened and ensured its progress, for such is the influence they
have upon me.

Mr. TAYLOR.--There have been, Mr. President, two objections made against
the treaty; one that the United States cannot constitutionally acquire
territory; the other, that the treaty stipulates for the admission of a
new State into the Union; a stipulation which the treaty-making power
is unable to comply with. To these objections I shall endeavor to give
answers not heretofore urged.

Before a confederation, each State in the Union possessed a right, as
attached to sovereignty, of acquiring territory, by war, purchase, or
treaty. This right must be either still possessed, or forbidden both to
each State and to the General Government, or transferred to the General
Government. It is not possessed by the States separately, because war
and compacts with foreign powers and with each other are prohibited to
a separate State; and no other means of acquiring territory exist. By
depriving every State of the means of exercising the right of acquiring
territory, the constitution has deprived each separate State of the
right itself. Neither the means nor the right of acquiring territory are
forbidden to the United States; on the contrary, in the fourth article
of the constitution, Congress is empowered “to dispose of and regulate
the territory belonging to the United States.” This recognizes the right
of the United States to hold territory. The means of acquiring territory
consist of war and compact; both are expressly surrendered to Congress
and forbidden to the several States; and no right in a separate State
to hold territory without its limits is recognized by the constitution,
nor any mode of effecting it possible, consistent with it. The means
of acquiring and the right of holding territory, being both given to
the United States, and prohibited to each State, it follows that these
attributes of sovereignty once held by each State are thus transferred
to the United States; and that, if the means of acquiring and the right
of holding, are equivalent to the right of acquiring territory, then
this right merged from the separate States to the United States, as
indispensably annexed to the treaty-making power, and the power of making
war; or, indeed, is literally given to the General Government by the
constitution.

Having proved, sir, that the United States may constitutionally acquire,
hold, dispose of, and regulate territory, the other objection to be
considered is, whether the third article of the treaty does stipulate
that Louisiana shall be erected into a State? It is conceded that the
treaty-making power cannot, by treaty, erect a new State, however they
may stipulate for it. I premise, that in the construction of this
article, it is proper to recollect that the negotiators must be supposed
to have understood our constitution. It became very particularly their
duty to do so, because, in this article itself, they have recited “the
principles of the constitution” as their guide. Hence, it is obvious,
they did not intend to infringe, but to adhere to those principles;
and therefore, if the article will admit of a construction consistent
with this presumable knowledge and intention of the negotiators, the
probability of its accuracy will be greater than one formed in a
supposition that the negotiators were either ignorant of that which
they ought to have known, or that they fraudulently professed a purpose
which they really intended to defeat. The following construction is
reconcilable with what the negotiators ought to have known, and with what
they professed to intend.

Recollect, sir, that it has been proved that the United States may
acquire territory. Territory, so acquired, becomes from the acquisition
itself a portion of the territories of the United States, or may be
united with their territories without being erected into a State. A union
of territory is one thing; of States, another. Both are exemplified by
an actual existence. The United States possess territory, comprised in
the union of territory, and not in the union of States. Congress is
empowered to regulate or dispose of territorial sections of the Union,
and have exercised the power; but it is not empowered to regulate or
dispose of State sections of the Union. The citizens of these territorial
sections are citizens of the United States, and they have all the rights
of citizens of the United States; but such rights do not include those
political rights arising from State compacts or governments, which
are dissimilar in different States. Supposing the General Government
or treaty-making power have no right to add or unite States and State
citizens to the Union, yet they have a power of adding or uniting to it
territory and territorial citizens of the United States.

The territory is ceded by the first article of the treaty. It will no
longer be denied that the United States may constitutionally acquire
territory. The third article declares that “the inhabitants of the ceded
territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States.”
And these words are said to require the territory to be erected into a
State. This they do not express, and the words are literally satisfied
by incorporating them into the Union as a Territory, and not as a State.
The constitution recognizes and the practice warrants an incorporation
of a Territory and its inhabitants into the Union, without admitting
either as a State. And this construction of the first member of the
article is necessary to shield its two other members from a charge of
surplusage, and even absurdity. For if the words “the inhabitants of the
ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States”
intended that Louisiana and its inhabitants should become a State in the
Union of States, there existed no reason for proceeding to stipulate that
these same inhabitants should be made “citizens as soon as possible,
according to the principles of the Federal Constitution.” Their admission
into the Union of States would have made them citizens of the United
States. Is it not then absurd to suppose that the first member of this
third article intended to admit Louisiana into the Union as a State,
which would instantly entitle the inhabitants to the benefit of the
article of the constitution declaring, that “the citizens of each State
shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the
several States,” and yet to have gone on to stipulate for citizenship,
under the limitation “as soon as possible, according to the principles of
the Federal Constitution,” after it had been bestowed without limitation?
Again, the concluding member of the article is to bestow “protection
in the mean time;” incorporating this stipulation, and the stipulation
for citizenship, with the construction which accuses the treaty of
unconstitutionality, the article altogether must be understood thus:
“The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be taken into the Union of
States, which will instantly give them all the rights of citizenship,
after which they shall be made citizens as soon as possible; and after
they are taken into the Union of States, they shall be protected in the
interim between becoming a State in the Union, and being made citizens,
in their liberty, property, and religion.”

By supposing the first member of the article to require that the
inhabitants and their territory shall be incorporated in the Union,
in the known and recognized political character of a Territory,
these inconsistencies are avoided, and the article reconciled to the
constitution, as understood by the opposers of the bill; the stipulation
also for citizenship “as soon as possible” according to the principles
of the constitution, and the delay meditated by these words, and the
subsequent words “in the mean time,” so utterly inconsistent with the
instantaneous citizenship, which would follow an admission into the Union
as a State, are both fully explained. Being incorporated in the Union as
a Territory, and not as a State, a stipulation for citizenship became
necessary; whereas it would have been unnecessary had the inhabitants
been incorporated as a State, and not as a Territory. And as they were
not to be invested with citizenship by becoming a State, the delay which
would occur between the incorporation of the Territory into the Union and
the arrival of the inhabitants to citizenship according to the principles
of the constitution, under some uniform rule of naturalization, exhibited
an interim which demanded the concluding stipulation, for “protection in
the mean time for liberty, property, and religion.” As a State of the
Union, they would not have needed a stipulation for the safety of their
“liberty, property and religion;” as a Territory, this stipulation would
govern and restrain the undefined power of Congress to make “rules and
regulations for Territories.”

Mr. TRACY.--Mr. President: I shall vote against this bill, and will give
some of the reasons which govern my vote in this case.

It is well known that this bill is introduced to carry into effect
the treaty between the United States and France, which has been lately
ratified. If that treaty be an unconstitutional compact, such a one
as the President and Senate had no rightful authority to make, the
conclusion is easy, that it creates no obligation on any branch or
member of the Government to vote for this bill, or any other, which is
calculated to carry into effect such unconstitutional compact.

The third and seventh articles of the treaty are, in my opinion,
unconstitutional.

The third article is in the following words:

    “The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated
    into the Union of the United States, and admitted, as soon
    as possible, according to the principles of the Federal
    Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages,
    and immunities of citizens of the United States, and, in the
    mean time, they shall be maintained in the free enjoyment of
    their liberty, property, and the religion they profess.”

The obvious meaning of this article is, that the inhabitants of Louisiana
are incorporated, by it, into the Union, upon the same footing that the
Territorial Governments are, and, like them, the Territory, when the
population is sufficiently numerous, must be admitted as a State, with
every right of any other State.

Have the President and Senate a constitutional right to do all this?

When we advert to the constitution, we shall find that the President, by
and with the advice and consent of the Senate, may make treaties. Now,
say gentlemen, this power is undefined, and one gentleman says, it is
unlimited.

True, there is no definition in words of the extent and nature of the
treaty-making power. Two modes of ascertaining its extent have been
mentioned: one is, by ascertaining the extent of the same power among the
monarchs of Europe, and making that the standard of the treaty-making
power here; and the other is, to limit the power of the President and
Senate, in respect to treaties, by the constitution and the nature and
principles of our Government.

Upon the first criterion, it is obvious that we cannot obtain any
satisfactory definition of the treaty-making power, as applicable to our
Government.

The paragraph in the constitution, which says that “new States may
be admitted by Congress into this Union,” has been quoted to justify
this treaty. To this, two answers may be given, either of which are
conclusive in my favor. First, if Congress have the power collectively
of admitting Louisiana, it cannot be vested in the President and Senate
alone. Secondly, Congress have no power to admit new foreign States
into the Union, without the consent of the old partners. The article
of the constitution, if any person will take the trouble to examine
it, refers to domestic States only, and not at all to foreign States;
and it is unreasonable to suppose that Congress should, by a majority
only, admit new foreign States, and swallow up, by it, the old partners,
when two-thirds of all the members are made requisite for the least
alteration in the constitution. The words of the constitution are
completely satisfied by a construction which shall include only the
admission of domestic States, who were all parties to the Revolutionary
war, and to the compact; and the spirit of the association seems to
embrace no other. But I repeat it, if the Congress collectively has this
power, the President and Senate cannot, of course, have it exclusively.

I think, sir, that, from a fair construction of the constitution, and
an impartial view of the nature and principles of our association,
the President and Senate have not the power of thus obtruding upon us
Louisiana.

The seventh article admits for twelve years the ships of France and
Spain into the ceded territory, free of foreign duty. This is giving a
commercial preference to those ports over the other ports of the United
States; because it is well known that a duty of forty-four cents on
tonnage, and ten per cent. on duties, are paid by all foreign ships
or vessels in all the ports of the United States. If it be said we
must repeal those laws, and then the preference will cease, the answer
is, that this seventh article gives the exclusive right of entering
the ports of Louisiana to the ships of France and Spain, and if our
discriminating duties were repealed this day, the preference would be
given to the ports of the United States against those of Louisiana, so
that the preference, by any regulation of commerce or revenue, which the
constitution expressly prohibits from being given to the ports of one
State over those of another, would be given by this treaty, in violation
of the constitution. I acknowledge, if Louisiana is not admitted into
the Union, and that if there is no promise to admit her, then this part
of our argument will not apply; but, in declaring these to be facts, my
opponents are driven to acknowledge that the third article of this treaty
is void, which answers every purpose which I wish to establish, that
this treaty is unconstitutional and void, and that I have, consequently,
a right to withhold my vote from any bill which shall be introduced
to carry it into effect. I acknowledge, sir, that my opinion ever has
been, and still is, that when a treaty is ratified by the constituted
authorities, and is a constitutional treaty, every member of the
community is bound by it, as a law of the land; but not so by a treaty
which is unconstitutional. The terms of this treaty may be extravagant
and unwise, yet, in my legislative capacity, that can form no excuse
for an opposition; we may have no title, we may have given an enormous
sum, we may have made a silly attempt to destroy the discriminating
duties, yet, if the treaty be not unconstitutional, every member of the
Government is bound to carry it into effect.

Mr. BRECKENRIDGE observed, that he little expected a proceeding so much
out of order would have been attempted, as a re-discussion of the merits
of the treaty on the passage of this bill; but as the gentlemen in the
opposition had urged it, he would, exhausted as the subject was, claim
the indulgence of the Senate in replying to some of their remarks.

No gentleman, continued he, has yet ventured to deny, that it is
incumbent on the United States to secure to the citizens of the western
waters, the uninterrupted use of the Mississippi. Under this impression
of duty, what has been the conduct of the General Government, and
particularly of the gentlemen now in the opposition, for the last eight
months? When the right of deposit was violated by a Spanish officer
without authority from his Government, these gentlemen considered our
national honor so deeply implicated, and the rights of the western people
so wantonly violated, that no atonement or redress was admissible, except
through the medium of the bayonet. Negotiation was scouted at. It was
deemed pusillanimous, and was said to exhibit a want of fellow-feeling
for the western people, and a disregard to their essential rights.
Fortunately for their country, the counsel of these gentlemen was
rejected, and their war measures negatived. The so much scouted process
of negotiation was, however, persisted in, and instead of restoring the
right of deposit, and securing more effectually for the future our right
to navigate the Mississippi, the Mississippi itself was acquired, and
every thing which appertained to it. I did suppose that those gentlemen,
who at the last session so strongly urged war measures for the attainment
of this object, upon an avowal that it was too important to trust to
the tardy and less effectual process of negotiation, would have stood
foremost in carrying the treaty into effect, and that the peaceful mode
by which it was acquired would not lessen with them the importance of
the acquisition. But it seems to me, sir, that the opinions of a certain
portion of the United States with respect to this ill-fated Mississippi,
have varied as often as the fashions. [Here Mr. B. made some remarks on
the attempts which were made in the old Congress, and which had nearly
proved successful, to cede this river to Spain for twenty-five years.]
But, I trust, continued he, these opinions, schemes, and projects will
for ever be silenced and crushed by the vote which we are this evening
about to pass.

Permit me to examine some of the principal reasons which are deemed so
powerful by gentlemen as to induce them to vote for the destruction of
this treaty. Unfortunately for the gentlemen, no two of them can agree
on the same set of objections; and what is still more unfortunate, I
believe there are no two of them concur in any one objection. In one
thing only they seem to agree, and that is to vote against the bill. An
honorable gentleman from Delaware (Mr. WHITE) considered the price to be
enormous. An honorable gentleman from Connecticut, who has just sat down,
(Mr. TRACY,) says he has no objection whatever to the price; it is, he
supposes, not too much. An honorable gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr.
PICKERING) says that France acquired no title from Spain, and therefore
our title is bad. The same gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. TRACY) says
he has no objection to the title from France; he thinks it a good one.
The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. PICKERING) contends that the United
States cannot under the constitution acquire foreign territory. The
gentleman from Connecticut is of a different opinion, and has no doubt
but that the United States can acquire and hold foreign territory; but
that Congress alone have the power of incorporating that territory into
the Union. What weight, therefore, ought all their lesser objections to
be entitled to, when they are at war among themselves on the greater one?

The same gentleman has told us, that this acquisition will, from its
extent, soon prove destructive to the confederacy.

This, continued Mr. B., is an old and hackneyed doctrine; that a republic
ought not to be too extensive. But the gentleman has assumed two facts,
and then reasoned from them. First, that the extent is too great; and
secondly, that the country will be soon populated. I would ask, sir,
what is his standard extent for a republic? How does he come at that
standard? Our boundary is already extensive. Would his standard extent be
violated by including the island of Orleans and the Floridas? I presume
not, as all parties seem to think their acquisition, in part or in whole,
essential. Why not then acquire territory on the west, as well as on the
east side of the Mississippi? Is the Goddess of Liberty restrained by
water courses? Is she governed by geographical limits? Is her dominion
on this continent confined to the east side of the Mississippi? So far
from believing in the doctrine that a republic ought to be confined
within narrow limits, I believe, on the contrary, that the more extensive
its dominion the more safe and more durable it will be. In proportion
to the number of hands you intrust the precious blessings of a free
government to, in the same proportion do you multiply the chances for
their preservation. I entertain, therefore, no fears for the confederacy
on account of its extent.

I had hoped, sir, that the gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. TRACY,) from
the trouble he was so good as to give himself yesterday in assisting to
amend this bill, would have voted for it; but it seems he is constrained
to vote to-day against it. He asks, if the United States have power to
acquire and add new States to the Union, can they not also cede States?
Can they not, for example, cede Connecticut to France? I answer they
cannot; but for none of the reasons assigned by him. The Government of
the United States cannot cede Connecticut, because, first, it would be
annihilating part of that sovereignty of the nation which is whole and
entire, and upon which the Government of the United States is dependent
for its existence; and secondly, because the fourth section of the
fourth article of the constitution forbids it. But how does it follow
as a consequence, that because the United States cannot cede an existing
State, they cannot acquire a new State? He admits explicitly that
Congress may acquire territory and hold it as a territory, but cannot
incorporate it into the Union. By this construction he admits the power
to acquire territory, a modification infinitely more dangerous than
the unconditional admission of a new State; for by his construction,
territories and citizens are considered and held as the property of
the Government of the United States, and may consequently be used as
dangerous engines in the hands of the Government against the States and
people.

Could we not, says the same gentleman, incorporate in the Union some
foreign nation containing ten millions of inhabitants--Africa, for
instance--and thereby destroy our Government? Certainly the thing would
be possible if Congress would do it, and the people consent to it; but it
is supposing so extreme a case and is so barely possible, that it does
not merit serious refutation. It is also possible and equally probable
that republicanism itself may one day or other become unfashionable,
(for I believe it is not without its enemies,) and that the people of
America may call for a king. From such hypotheses it is impossible to
deduce any thing for or against the construction contended for. The true
construction must depend on the manifest import of the instrument and the
good sense of the community.

The same gentleman, in reply to the observations which fell from the
gentleman from South Carolina, as to the admission of new States,
observes, that although Congress may admit new States, the President and
Senate, who are but a component part, cannot. Apply this doctrine to
the case before us. How could Congress by any mode of legislation admit
this country into the Union until it was acquired? And how can this
acquisition be made except through the treaty-making power? Could the
gentleman rise in his place and move for leave to bring in a bill for the
purchase of Louisiana and its admission into the Union? I take it that
no transaction of this or any other kind with a foreign power can take
place except through the Executive Department, and that in the form of a
treaty, agreement, or convention. When the acquisition is made, Congress
can then make such disposition of it as may be expedient.

Mr. ADAMS.--It is not my intention to trespass long upon the patience
of the Senate, on a subject which has already been debated almost to
satiety; but, as objections on constitutional grounds have been raised
against the bill under discussion, I wish to say a very few words in
justification of the vote which I think it my duty to give.

The objections against the passage of the bill, as far as my recollection
serves me, are two: the first, started by the honorable gentleman from
Delaware who opened this debate; the second, urged by several of the
other members who have spoken upon the question.

The gentleman from Delaware admits the necessity of making the provision
for carrying into execution, on our part, the treaty which has been duly
ratified by the Senate, _provided_ we can obtain complete and undoubted
possession of the territory ceded us by France, in that treaty. But
he observes, that the term possession is indefinite; that it may mean
nothing more than the delivery of a twig, or of the knob of a door. That,
from sources of the authenticity of which we have no reason to doubt,
we are informed that Spain is very far from acquiescing in the cession
of this territory to us; that probably the Spanish officers will not
deliver peaceable possession; and that we ought not to put out of our
own hands the power of withholding the payment of this money, until it
shall be ascertained, beyond all question, that the territory, for which
it is the consideration, is in our hands. But, sir, admitting that the
word possession were of itself not sufficiently precise, I think, with
the gentleman last up, that the fourth and fifth articles of the treaty,
read by him, render it so in this instance. The fourth, stipulating
that the French commissary shall do _every act necessary_ to receive
the country from the Spanish officers, and transmit it to the agent
of the United States--and the fifth, providing, not only that all the
_military posts_ shall be delivered to us, and that the troops, whether
of France or Spain, shall cease to occupy them, but that those troops
shall all be embarked within three months after the ratification of the
treaty. Now, when the country has been formally surrendered to us, when
all the military posts are in our hands, and when all the troops, French
or Spanish, have been embarked, what possible adverse possession can
there be to contend against ours? Until all these conditions shall have
been fulfilled on the part of France, neither the convention nor the
bill before us requires the payment of money on ours; and we may safely
trust the execution of the law to the discretion of the President of the
United States. For, even if I could see any reason for distrusting him
in the exercise of such a power, under different circumstances, which I
certainly do not, still, in the present case, his own interest, and the
weight of responsibility resting upon him, are ample security to us,
against any undue precipitation on his part, in the payment of the money.
On the other hand, I am extremely solicitous that every tittle of the
engagements on our part in these conventions should be performed with the
most scrupulous good faith, and I see no purpose of utility that can be
answered by postponing the determination on the passage of this bill.

But it has been argued that the bill ought not to pass, because the
treaty itself is unconstitutional, or, to use the words of the gentleman
from Connecticut, an extra-constitutional act; because it contains
engagements which the powers of the Senate were not competent to ratify,
the powers of Congress not competent to confirm, and, as two of the
gentlemen have contended, not even the Legislatures of the number of
States requisite to effect an amendment of the constitution are adequate
to sanction. It is therefore, say they, a nullity; we cannot fulfil
our part of its conditions, and on our failure in the performance of
any one stipulation, France may consider herself as absolved from the
obligations of the whole treaty on her. I do not conceive it necessary
to enter into the merits of the treaty at this time. The proper occasion
for that discussion is past. But, allowing even that this is a case for
which the constitution has not provided, it does not in my mind follow,
that the treaty is a nullity, or that its obligations, either on us or
on France, must necessarily be cancelled. For my own part, I am free to
confess, that the third article, and more especially the seventh, contain
engagements placing us in a dilemma, from which I see no possible mode
of extricating ourselves but by an amendment, or rather an addition to
the constitution. The gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. TRACY,) both
on a former occasion, and in this day’s debate, appears to me to have
shown this to demonstration. But what is this more than saying, that the
President and Senate have bound the nation to engagements which require
the co-operation of more extensive powers than theirs, to carry them into
execution? Nothing is more common, in the negotiations between nation
and nation, than for a minister to agree to and sign articles beyond
the extent of his powers. This is what your ministers, in the very case
before you, have confessedly done. It is well known that their powers
did not authorize them to conclude this treaty; but they acted for the
benefit of their country, and this House by a large majority has advised
to the ratification of their proceedings. Suppose then, not only that
the ministers who signed, but the President and Senate who ratified this
compact, have exceeded their powers. Suppose that the other House of
Congress, who have given their assent by passing this and other bills
for the fulfilment of the obligations it imposes on us, have exceeded
their powers. Nay, suppose even that the majority of States competent
to amend the constitution in other cases, could not amend it in this,
without exceeding their powers--and this is the extremest point to which
any gentleman on this floor has extended his scruples--suppose all this,
and there still remains in the country a power competent to adopt and
sanction every part of our engagements, and to carry them entirely into
execution. For, notwithstanding the objections and apprehensions of many
individuals, of many wise, able and excellent men, in various parts of
the Union, yet such is the public favor attending the transaction which
commenced by the negotiation of this treaty, and which I hope will
terminate in our full, undisturbed and undisputed possession of the ceded
territory, that I firmly believe if an amendment to the constitution,
amply sufficient for the accomplishment of every thing for which we have
contracted, shall be proposed, as I think it ought, it will be adopted
by the Legislature of every State in the Union. We can therefore fulfil
our part of the conventions, and this is all that France has a right to
require of us.

Mr. NICHOLAS.--Mr. President: The gentlemen on the other side differ
among themselves. The two gentlemen from Delaware say, that if peaceable
possession is given of Louisiana this bill ought to pass; the other
gentlemen who have spoken in opposition to it have declared, that if they
believed the constitution was not violated by the treaty, they should
think themselves bound to vote for the bill. To this Senate it cannot
be necessary to answer arguments denying the power of the Government to
make such a treaty; it has already been affirmed, so far as we could
affirm it, by two-thirds of this body; it is then only now necessary to
show that we ought to pass the bill at this time. In addition to the
reasons which have been so ably and forcibly urged by my friends, I will
remark, that the treaty-making power of this Government is so limited,
that engagements to pay money cannot be carried into effect without the
consent and co-operation of Congress. This was solemnly decided, after a
long discussion of several weeks, by the House of Representatives, which
made the appropriations for carrying the British treaty into effect,
and such I believe is the understanding of nine-tenths of the American
people, as to the construction of their constitution. This decision
must be also known to foreigners, and if not, they are bound to know
the extent of the powers of the Government with which they treat. If
this bill should be rejected, I ask gentlemen whether they believe, that
France would or ought to execute the treaty on her part? It is known to
the French Government that the President and Senate cannot create stock,
nor provide for the payment of either principal or interest of stock; and
if that Government should be informed that a bill, authorizing the issue
of stock to pay for the purchase, “after possession shall be delivered,”
had been rejected by the only department of our Government competent to
the execution of that part of the treaty, they would have strong ground
to suspect that we did not mean to execute the treaty on our part;
particularly when they are informed, that the arguments most pressed in
opposition to the bill were grounded upon a belief that the Government of
the United States had not a constitutional power to execute the treaty.
Of one thing I am confident, that if they have the distrust of us which
some gentlemen have this day expressed of them, the country will not be
delivered to the agents of our Government should this bill be rejected.

The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. TRACY) muse consider the grant of
power to the Legislature as a limitation of the treaty-making power,
for he says, “that the power to admit new States and to make citizens
is given to Congress, and not to the treaty-making power;” therefore an
engagement in a treaty to do either of these things is unconstitutional.
I cannot help expressing my surprise at that gentleman’s giving that
opinion, and I think myself justifiable in saying, that if it is now
his opinion, it was not always so. The contrary opinion is the only
justification of that gentleman’s approbation of the British treaty,
and of his vote for carrying it into effect. By that treaty a great
number of persons had a right to become American citizens immediately;
not only without a law, but contrary to an existing law. And by that
treaty many of the powers specially given to Congress were exercised by
the treaty-making power. It is for gentlemen who supported that treaty,
to reconcile the construction given by them to the constitution in its
application to that instrument, with their exposition of it at this time.

If the third article of the treaty is an engagement to incorporate the
Territory of Louisiana into the Union of the United States, and to make
it a State, it cannot be considered as an unconstitutional exercise of
the treaty-making power; for it will not be asserted by any rational man
that the territory is incorporated as a State by the treaty itself, when
it is expressly declared that “the inhabitants shall be incorporated
in the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible,
according to the principles of the Federal Constitution.” Evidently
referring the question of incorporation, in whatever character it was to
take place, to the competent authority; and leaving to that authority to
do it, at such time, and in such manner, as they may think proper. If,
as some gentlemen suppose, Congress possess this power, they are free
to exercise it in the manner that they may think most conducive to the
public good. If it can only be done by an amendment to the constitution,
it is a matter of discretion with the States whether they will do it
or not; for it cannot be done “according to the principles of the
Federal Constitution,” if the Congress or the States are deprived of
that discretion, which is given to the first, and secured to the last,
by the constitution. In the third section of the fourth article of the
constitution it is said, “New States may be admitted by the Congress
into this Union.” If Congress have the power, it is derived from this
source; for there are no other words in the constitution that can, by
any construction that can be given to them, be considered as conveying
this power. If Congress have not this power, the constitutional mode
would be by an amendment to the constitution. If it should be conceded
then that the admission of this territory into the Union, as a State, was
in the contemplation of the contracting parties, it must be understood
with a reservation of the right of this Congress or of the States to do
it, or not; the words “admitted as soon as possible,” must refer to the
voluntary admission in one of the two modes that I have mentioned; for in
no other way can a State be admitted into this Union.

The question was then taken on the passage of the bill, and carried in
the affirmative--yeas 26, nays 5, as follows:

YEAS--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Bailey, Baldwin, Bradley, Breckenridge,
Brown, Butler, Cocke, Condit, Dayton, Ellery, Franklin, Jackson, Logan,
Maclay, Nicholas, Olcott, Plumer, Potter, Israel Smith, John Smith,
Stone, Taylor, Worthington, and Wright.

NAYS--Messrs. Hillhouse, Pickering, Tracy, Wells, and White.


FRIDAY, November 4.

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    By the copy now communicated of a letter from Captain
    Bainbridge, of the Philadelphia frigate, to our Consul at
    Gibraltar, you will learn that an act of hostility has been
    committed on a merchant vessel of the United States, by an
    armed ship of the Emperor of Morocco. This conduct on the part
    of that power is without cause and without explanation. It is
    fortunate that Captain Bainbridge fell in with and took the
    capturing vessel and her prize; and I have the satisfaction
    to inform you that about the date of this transaction, such a
    force would be arriving in the neighborhood of Gibraltar, both
    from the east and from the west, as leaves less to be feared
    for our commerce, from the suddenness of the aggression.

    On the 4th of September, the Constitution frigate, Captain
    Preble, with Mr. Lear on board, was within two days’ sail of
    Gibraltar, where the Philadelphia would then be arrived with
    her prize; and such explanations would probably be instituted
    as the state of things required, and as might perhaps arrest
    the progress of hostilities.

    In the mean while, it is for Congress to consider the
    provisional authorities which may be necessary to restrain the
    depredations of this power, should they be continued.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    NOV. 4, 1803.

The Message and papers therein referred to were read and ordered to lie
for consideration.


THURSDAY, November 10.

The credentials of JOHN CONDIT, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of
the State of New Jersey, for the time limited in the Constitution of the
United States, were presented and read.

_Ordered_, That they lie on file.


FRIDAY, November 11.

The PRESIDENT communicated a letter from De Witt Clinton, late a Senator
from the State of New York, stating that he had resigned his seat in the
Senate.


MONDAY, November 14.

The PRESIDENT administered the oath required by law to Mr. CONDIT, a
Senator from the State of New Jersey.


TUESDAY, November 15.

Mr. WORTHINGTON presented the petition of a number of the inhabitants of
the Indiana Territory, praying to be set off into a separate district,
for reasons therein stated.

_Ordered_, That it be referred to Mr. BRADLEY and others, the committee
to whom were referred on the 7th instant, petitions on the same subject,
to consider and report thereon to the Senate.


WEDNESDAY, November 23.

_Amendment to the Constitution._

The Senate resumed the consideration of the report of the committee to
whom was referred the motion for an amendment to the constitution in
the mode of electing the President and the Vice President of the United
States; whereupon, the President _pro tem._ (Mr. BROWN) submitted to the
consideration of the Senate the following question of order:

    “When an amendment to be proposed to the constitution is
    under consideration, shall the concurrence of two-thirds of
    the members present be requisite to decide any question for
    amendments, or extending to the merits, being short of the
    final question?”

[A debate took place on this proposition, tedious, intricate, and
desultory, which it was very difficult to follow, and often to
comprehend.]

The proposition offered by the President was then called up for decision,
whether two-thirds were necessary--ayes 13, noes 18.

Mr. BUTLER desired to know from the President if the question now decided
did not require a majority of two-thirds?

The PRESIDENT said, according to the rule of the House, the question
required only a principal majority to decide.

Mr. DAYTON’s motion for striking out what related to the Vice President
was called for, and the question taken on striking out--ayes 12, noes 19.

The report of the committee at large being then under consideration,

Mr. NICHOLAS moved to strike out all following the seventh line of the
report, to the end, for the purpose of inserting the following:

    “In all future elections of President and Vice President,
    the Electors shall name in their ballots the person voted
    for as President, and, in distinct ballots, the person voted
    for as Vice President, of whom one at least shall not be an
    inhabitant of the same State with themselves. The person voted
    for as President, having a majority of the votes of all the
    Electors appointed, shall be the President; and if no person
    have such majority, then from the three highest on the list
    of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives
    shall choose the President in the manner directed by the
    constitution. The person having the greatest number of votes
    as Vice President, shall be the Vice President; and in case
    of an equal number of votes for two or more persons for Vice
    President, they being the highest on the list, the Senate shall
    choose the Vice President from those having such equal number,
    in the manner directed by the constitution; but no person
    constitutionally ineligible to the office of President, shall
    be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.”

Mr. ADAMS objected to the number “three” instead of five, and wished five
to be restored, as the House of Representatives had already agreed to it.
He asked for a division of the question; which was not agreed to.

Upon the question for striking out being put, it was carried without
a dissenting voice, and the amendment of Mr. NICHOLAS adopted in the
report, leaving the number blank.

Mr. DAYTON moved to fill up the blank with the number five; upon the
question being put, it was lost--only eleven rose in the affirmative.

Mr. ANDERSON moved to strike out the word “two” in the nineteenth
line--ayes 6. Lost.

Mr. S. SMITH then moved to fill the blank with the word “three;” which
was carried--ayes 18, noes 13.

Mr. ADAMS suggested an objection to the amendment as it stood, which
appeared to arise out of the treaty of cession of Louisiana. His
original idea was adverse to the limitation to natural-born citizens,
as superfluous; but, as it stood, the terms upon which Louisiana was
acquired had rendered a change necessary, for it appeared to him that
there was no alternative, but to admit those born in Louisiana as well
as those born in the United States to the right of being chosen for
President and Vice President.

Mr. BUTLER said that, if there was a numerous portion of those who were
already citizens of the United States who can never aspire to, nor be
eligible for, those situations under the constitution, he did not see
how this supposed alternative could be upheld. The people of Louisiana,
under the treaty and under the constitution, will clearly come under the
description of naturalized citizens. While he was up, he would take the
opportunity of speaking to the question at large, and to examine the
motives which produced this amendment; the principal cause of solicitude,
on this subject, he understood to be the base intrigues which were said
to have been carried on at the Presidential election.

Mr. WRIGHT called to order; and a short altercation on the point of order
took place.

Mr. BUTLER proceeded. He had on a former day asked if he might, in this
stage of the discussion, take a view of the whole subject; the House
had decided in the affirmative. When the proposition was first laid
before the House, he had felt a disposition in favor of it; his mind had
been shocked by those base intrigues, which had taken place at the late
Presidential election, and he was hurried by indignation into a temper
which a little cool reflection and some observation on a particular
mode of action in that House, had checked and corrected, and finally
convinced him that much caution was required in a proceeding of that
nature, and that, in all human probability, such a scene of intrigue may
never occur again; that it became questionable whether any steps whatever
were necessary. Upon a careful review of the subject, it appeared to him
that an alteration might make matters worse; for though at present there
has been afforded, by a course of accidents and oversights, room for
intrigue, it would be preferable to leave it to the care and discretion
of the States at large to prevent the recurrence of the danger, than
put into the hands of four of the large States the perpetual choice
of President, to the exclusion of the other thirteen States. It was a
reasonable principle that every State should, in turn, have the choice
of the Chief Magistrate made from among its citizens. The jealousy
of the small States was natural; and he would not tire the House by
bringing to their ears arguments from the history of Greece, because the
subject must be familiar to every member of that House, and, indeed, to
every school-boy. He would not weary them with the painful history of
the conflicts of Athens and Sparta, for the supremacy of Greece, and
the fatal effects of their quarrels and ambition on the smaller States
of that inveterate confederacy of Republics. Their history is that of
all nations in similar circumstances; for man is man in every clime,
and passion mingles in all his actions. If the smaller States were to
agree to this amendment, it would fix for ever the combination of the
larger States, and they would not only choose the President but the Vice
President also in spite of the smaller States. It would ill become him
who had been a member of that convention which had the honor of forming
the present constitution to let a measure such as the present pass
without the most deliberate investigation of its effects. Before the
present constitution was adopted all the States held an equal vote on all
national questions; by the constitution their sovereignty was guarantied,
and the instrument of guarantee and right, he had subscribed his name
to as a Representative from South Carolina, and had used all the zeal
and influence of which he was possessed to promote its adoption. To give
his assent to any violation of it, or any unnecessary innovation on its
principles, would be a deviation from morality.

The question was immediately taken on the report and carried--yeas 20,
nays 11.

Mr. ADAMS said, that though he had voted for the amendment, he
disapproved of the alteration from five to three. He felt, however,
though a representative of a large State, a deep interest in this
question. Was there no champion of the small States to stand up in that
House and vindicate their rights?

Mr. DAYTON was not here as champion of the small States; but, as the
representative of one of them, he was ready to enter his protest against
being delivered over bound hand and foot to four or five of the large
States. The gentleman from South Carolina had offered arguments on the
subject irrefutable. The little portion of influence left us he has
demonstrated to be now about to be taken away, and the gentleman from
Massachusetts, (Mr. ADAMS,) after aiding the effort with his vote, has
taken mercy upon us, and after he has helped to knock us down, asks us
why we do not stand up for ourselves.

Mr. S. SMITH was not surprised to find those who were members of the old
Congress, in which the subject of large and small States was frequently
agitated, familiar with the subject of those days. Under the present
constitution he had been ten years in Congress and had never heard the
subject agitated, nor the least ground given for any apprehension on this
subject; he had seen the small States possess all the advantages secured
to them without even a moment’s jealousy. The State he represented was
once considered a large State; the increase of others in population,
however, had rendered it properly belonging to neither class; it was
an intermediate State; but from the natural progression of the Union
it must be ranked among the small States. In this view then he could
speak dispassionately, and the small States could not with reason be
apprehensive that a State, which must speedily take rank among them,
could be indifferent to their rights if there were the least cause for
apprehension.

He had moved for the insertion of three instead of five, with this
precise and special intention, that the people themselves should have the
power of electing the President and Vice President; and that intrigues
should be thereby for ever frustrated. The intention of the convention
was that the election of the chief officers of the Government should
come as immediately from the people as was practicable, and that the
Legislature should possess the power only in such an exigency as accident
might give birth to, but which they had considered as likely to occur.
Had it not been for these considerations, the large States never would
have given up the advantages which they held in point of numbers. If the
number five were to be continued, and the House of Representatives made
the last resort, he would undertake to say, that four times out of five
the choice would devolve upon them.

Mr. HILLHOUSE.--In avoiding rocks he feared we were steering for
quicksands. The evils that are past we know; those that may arrive
we know not. The object proposed is to provide against a storm, a
phenomenon not rare or unfrequent in republics. You are called upon
to act upon a calculation that all the States in the Union will vote
for the same persons, or that each of two parties opposed in politics
will have an individual candidate. Suppose the two candidates who had
the highest votes on the late election had been the champions of two
opposite parties, and that neither would recede, what then would be the
consequence; according to the gentleman from Maryland, a civil war!
When men are bent on a favorite pursuit, they are too apt to shut out
all consequences which do not bear out their object. Thus gentlemen
can very well discover the danger they have escaped, but they do not
perceive that the opposition of two powerful candidates gives, besides
the hazard of civil war, the hazard of placing one of them on a permanent
throne. The First Magistracy of this nation is an object capable of
exciting ambition; and no doubt it would one day or other be sought
after by dangerous and enterprising men. It was to place a check upon
this ambition that the constitution provided a competitor for the Chief
Magistrate, and declared that both should not be chosen from the same
State. Here also was a guard against State pride, and this guard you wish
to take away; and what will be the consequence? Instead of two or three
or five, you will have as many candidates as there are States in the
Union. By voting for two persons without designation, the States stood a
double chance of a majority, besides the chance of a majority of all the
States in the House of Representatives. For once or twice there may be
such an organization of party as will secure for a conspicuous character
the majority of votes. But that character cannot live always. The evil
of the last election will recur, and be greater, because the whole field
will be to range in.

He hoped this amendment would not be hastily adopted. The subsisting mode
was the result of much deliberation and solemn compromise, after having
long agitated the convention. It is now attacked by party, whatever
gentlemen may say to the contrary; the gentleman from South Carolina has
confessed it. If gentlemen will suffer themselves to look forward without
passion, great good may come from the present mode; men of each of the
parties may hold the two principal offices of the Government; they will
be checks upon each other; our Government is composed of checks; and let
us preserve it from party spirit, which has been tyrannical in all ages.
These checks take off the fiery edge of persecution. Would not one of a
different party placed in that chair tend to check and preserve in temper
the overheated zeal of party? he would conduct himself with firmness
because of the minor party; he would take care that the majority should
have justice, but he would also guard the minority from oppression. If
we cannot destroy party we ought to place every check upon it. If the
present amendment pass, nine out of ten times the election will go to
the other House, and then the only difference will be that you had a
comedy the last time, and you’ll have a tragedy the next. Though it
was impossible to prevent party altogether, much more when population
and luxury increase, and corruption and vice with them, it was prudent
to preserve as many checks against it as was practicable. He had been
long in Congress and saw the conflicting interests of large and small
States operate; the time may not be remote when party will adopt new
designations; federal and republican parties have had their day, their
designations will not last long, and the ground of difference between
parties will not be the same that it has been; new names and new views
will be taken; it has been the course in all nations. There has not yet
been a rotation of offices in which the small States could look for their
share, but the time may, it will come when the small will wrestle with
the large States for their rights. Each State has felt that though its
limits were not so extensive as others, its rights were not disregarded.
Suffer this confidence to be done away, and you may bid adieu to it;
three or four large States will take upon them in rotation to nominate
the Executive, and the second officer also. This will be felt. A fanciful
difference in politics is the bugbear of party now, because no other, no
real cause of difference has subsisted. But remedy will create a real
disease. States like individuals may say we will be of no party, and
whenever this shall happen blood will follow.

Mr. BRADLEY moved an adjournment. The motion was agreed to.


THURSDAY, November 24.

_Amendment to the Constitution._

The consideration of the report on the amendment to the constitution
being taken up, the amendment as directed to be printed on the preceding
day, was taken up, and read, as follows:

    _Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
    United States of America in Congress assembled, two-thirds
    of both Houses concurring_, That the following amendment be
    proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an
    amendment to the constitution of the United States, which,
    when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, shall
    be valid to all intents and purposes, as a part of the said
    constitution, viz:

    In all future elections of President and Vice President, the
    Electors shall name in their ballots the person voted for
    as President, and, in distinct ballots, the person voted
    for as Vice President, of whom one at least shall not be an
    inhabitant of the same State with themselves. The person voted
    for as President having a majority of the votes of all the
    Electors appointed, shall be the President, and if no person
    have such majority, then from the three highest on the list
    of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives
    shall choose the President in the manner directed by the
    constitution. The person having the greatest number of votes
    as Vice President, shall be Vice President; and in case of an
    equal number of votes for two or more persons for the Vice
    President, they being the highest on the list, the Senate shall
    choose the Vice President from those having such equal number,
    in the manner directed by the constitution; but no person
    constitutionally ineligible to the office of President, shall
    be eligible to that of the President of the United States.

Mr. BRADLEY did not approve of the amendment as it now stood; he could
not see why the Vice President should not be chosen by a majority,
as well as the President. He considered the possibility of the Vice
President becoming President by any casualty, as a good reason for both
being chosen by the same ratio of numbers. If it should be carried as the
amendment now stands, the office of Vice President would be hawked about
at market, and given as change for votes for the Presidency. And what
would be the effect?--that it might so happen that a citizen chosen only
for the office of Vice President, might by the death of the President,
though chosen only by a plurality, become President, and hold the office
for three years eleven months and thirty days. He did not approve of
many arguments which he had heard on the preceding day, and however
disposed to concur in the principle of designation for the two offices,
he could not give it his vote in the present shape. He would, in order to
render the report more congenial with his wishes, move to strike out the
following words beginning with the words _shall_, in the thirteenth line,
to _constitution_, in the eighteenth. The motion was seconded.

Mr. TRACY opposed the striking out, as not in order, it being an
amendment to an amendment already received by the House. He thought,
however, it would be in order to reconcile the whole, and then any part
might be amended.

The PRESIDENT said that the motion for amending the amendment was not
in order; but if the member from Vermont, or any other gentleman of the
majority on the question yesterday chose to move for a recommittal, or
even to refer the report to a select committee, it would be in order.

Mr. BRADLEY then renewed his motion as before, for striking out and
inserting after the 13th line; this amendment he thought of great
importance, as under the constitution as it now stands the Vice
President must be a person of the highest respectability, well known,
and of established reputation throughout the United States; but if the
discriminating principle prevails without some precautions such as the
amendment proposed, that assurance would be lost; and he should not be
surprised to hear of as many candidates for Vice President as there are
States, as the votes for President would be offered in truck for votes
for Vice President, and an enterprising character might employ his
emissaries through all the States to purchase them, and your amendment
lays the foundation for intrigues. He was desirous that he who is to
be set up as candidate for the Vice President should as at present be
equally respectable, or that there should be none--that at least he
should be the second man in the nation; adopt the designating principle,
without the most guarded precautions, and you lose that assurance.

Mr. HILLHOUSE accorded with the gentleman’s amendment, as it naturally
grows out of the principles of the report. There was not a word in the
constitution about voting for the Vice President, no vote in fact is
given for such an office; the alteration to designation alters the whole
thing; and as the gentleman has expressed, will send the Vice President’s
office into market to be handed about as change for the candidate
supported by larger States; he would prefer leaving the choice of
President and Vice President at once to the larger States than take it
in this way. In calm times any government may work well, but he wished in
calm times to provide against storm. If we designate any, then designate
both and on equal terms.

Mr. JACKSON said, that though coming from a small State he had not been
instructed, and was therefore at perfect liberty to act according to the
best of his judgment; though his State was now, in regard to population,
small, and though it were to remain so, he could have but one opinion on
this subject. He saw abundance of reason for preferring three to five.
The constitution under the present form has directed the choice to be
made from five. But the reason of this was consistent with the result to
be produced; the electors were to vote for two persons indiscriminately,
but with the restriction of voting for one only belonging to the State
where the vote was given. The voting for two would necessarily bring
forward four candidates, and a fifth possibly, for we saw in the two
elections before the last that there was one more than the four, though
in each case the fifth had but one vote; he alluded to the vote for Mr.
Jay. In the amendment proposed you are called upon to designate for each
office, and there can be little apprehension of having more than two
or three principal candidates; and for twenty years to come he had no
apprehension of a greater number of candidates if this amendment prevails.

Mr. WRIGHT.--We need not be told in this house, that the constitution was
the result of a compromise, or that care was taken to guard the rights of
each State; these things we must be very ignorant, indeed, not to know.
But does it therefore follow that it is not susceptible of amendment
or correction under experience? Does it follow, because, for mutual
interest and security, this compromise was made, that we are precluded
from effecting any greater good? No man would accuse him of a wish to
see the interest of any State impaired. But we can preserve the spirit
and intention of the constitution in full vigor, without impairing any
interests. And this is to be done, by the discriminating principle; it
fulfills the intention, and it forefends the recurrence of that danger
from which you have once escaped. By this principle, each elector may
name his man for each office, and this can be done whether the number be
three or five. For the latter number he was disposed; because already
adopted by the other House, and he did not wish to delay its progress.
If we were to form a constitution, he would provide that there should be
only two candidates presented to the House. But he did not rely on any
number so much as on the discriminating principle.

Mr. NICHOLAS.--Several gentlemen profess much reluctance to make any
change in the constitution; he would make no such profession; and though
he should be as jealous of improper alterations, or the introduction
of principles incompatible with Republican Government, he would not
hesitate to make any alteration calculated to promote, or secure the
public liberty upon a firmer basis; nay, if it could be made better he
would expunge the whole book. Gentlemen who are for adhering so closely
to the constitution, appear not to consider that a choice of President
from the number three, is more in the spirit of the constitution than
from five; and preserves the relation that the election of two persons,
under the present form, holds to the number five. A reason equally
forcible with him was, that, by taking the number three instead of five,
you place the choice with more certainty in the people at large, and
render the choice more consonant to their wishes. With him, also, it was
a most powerful reason for preferring three, that it would render the
Chief Magistrate dependent only on the people at large, and independent
of any party or any State interest. The people held the sovereign power,
and it was intended by the constitution that they should have the
election of the Chief Magistrate. It was never contemplated as a case
likely to occur, but in an extreme case, that the election should go to
the House of Representatives. What, he asked, would have been the effect,
had Mr. Jay been elected when he had only one vote? What, he would ask,
would be the impression made upon our own people, and upon foreign
nations, had Mr. Aaron Burr been chosen at the last election, when the
universal sentiment was to place the present Chief Magistrate in that
station? He did not mean any thing disrespectful or invidious towards
the Vice President, he barely stated the fact, so well known, and asked,
what would be the effect? Where would be the bond of attachment to that
constitution which could admit of an investiture in a case so important,
in known opposition to the wishes of the people? The effect would be
fatal to the constitution itself; it would weaken public attachment to
it, and the affectation, if alone for the small States, would not have
been heard of in the deep murmur of discontent.

An adjournment was now called for and carried.


TUESDAY, November 29.

_Amendment to the Constitution._

The order of the day being called up on the amendments to the
constitution, a considerable time elapsed, when

Mr. DAYTON rose and said, that since no other gentleman thought proper to
address the Chair, although laboring himself under a very severe cold,
which rendered speaking painful, he could not suffer the question to pass
without an effort to arrest it in its progress; and should consider his
last breath well expended in endeavoring to prevent the degradation which
the State he represented would suffer if the amendment were to prevail.

As to the question immediately before the Senate for filling the blank
with five, he felt himself indebted to the member from Tennessee for
renewing the subject. He was grateful, also, to the member from Maryland
(Mr. WRIGHT) for declaring he would support it, as well as for giving the
assurance that he was disposed to consider and spare the interests of the
small States as far as possible, consistently with the great object of
discrimination.

Every member who had spoken on this subject seemed to have admitted, by
the very course and pointing of their arguments, even though they may
have denied it in words, that this was really a question between great
and small States, and disguise it as they would, the question would be
so considered out of doors. The privilege given by the constitution
extended to five, out of which the choice of President should be made;
and why should the smaller, for whose benefit and security that number
was given, now wantonly throw it away without an equivalent? As to the
Vice President, his election had no influence upon the number, because
the choice of President in the House of Representatives was as free and
unqualified as if that subordinate office did not exist. Nay, he said,
he would venture to assert that, even if the number five were continued,
and the Vice Presidency entirely abolished, there would not be as great a
latitude of choice as under the present mode, because those five out of
whom the choice must eventually be made, were much more likely hereafter
to be nominated by the great States, inasmuch as their electors would no
longer be compelled to vote for a man of a different State. The honorable
gentleman from Maryland (Mr. SMITH) has said, he was not surprised that
those who had seats in the old Congress, should perplex themselves with
the distinctions; but he could tell that gentleman, that it was not in
the old Congress he had learnt them, for there he had seen all the votes
of the States equal, and had known the comparatively little State of
Maryland controlling the will of the _Ancient Dominion_. It was in the
Federal Convention that distinction was made and acknowledged; and he
defied that member to do, what had been before requested of the honorable
gentleman of Virginia, viz: to open the constitution, and point out a
single article, if he could, that had not evidently been framed upon a
presumption of diversity (he had almost said, adversity) of interest
between the great and small States.

Mr. ADAMS in a former debate had stated that he had not a wish to avoid
or seek for the yeas and nays on any question; on the present occasion,
however, he would, when the question was taken, call for the yeas and
nays. But his own vote on the final question would be governed by the
decision of the number five, and he wished to have some record of his
vote, that he might be hereafter able to defend himself against any
charge of inconsistency. On the principle of the amendment he had formed
his opinion, and he was free to confess, that notwithstanding the many
able productions which he had seen against it, he thought it calculated
to produce more good than evil. He was not, however, influenced in this
opinion by the instructions which had been read in a preceding debate
from a former Legislature of Massachusetts to their Senators; he presumed
these were not read by way of intimidation. To the instructions of those
to whom he owed his seat in that House he would pay every respect that
was due, but he did not think that the resolutions of a Legislature
passed in March 1799 or 1800 ought to have the same weight. Since that
time four total and complete changes had taken place, and probably not
one third of those who gave those instructions now remained. He held a
seat in the Legislature himself three years since, but did not perceive
any particular anxiety on the subject, and he did not think that the
present Legislature would be extremely offended if he were to give a
direct vote against what was recommended four years ago.

The constitution was a combination of federative and popular principles.
When you argue upon, or wish to change any of its federative principles,
you must use analogies as arguments; popular arguments will not apply
to federative principles. The House of Representatives was founded on
popular principles; in this House the representation is federative,
and not popular; it is in its nature aristocratic. The foundation of
all popular representation is equality of votes; but even the ratio
of representation is different in different States; the numbers in
Massachusetts and Virginia, in Vermont and Delaware, are different in
their proportions; but still an equality of representation is preserved,
and the only difference is in the details. But if you argue upon the
principles of the Senate, this equality of popular representation, or by
an equal or relatively equal number, will not apply; you must discuss it
upon another species of equality, of sovereignties, and the independence
of several States federatively connected. Applying principles then to the
election of President, if you reduce the number from which the House of
Representatives is authorized to choose, do you not attack the principles
of the federal compact, rather than the rights of the small States?
The Executive, it had been said, is the man of the people; true, and
he is also, as was said, though upon different grounds, the man of the
Legislature--it was here a combined principle, federative and popular.
Virginia had in that House twenty-two popular representatives, in this
she has two federative; Delaware has one popular and two federative
representatives. And even in the operation of election in the popular
branch of Congress, the federative principle is pursued, and the State
which has only one popular representative has an equal voice in that
instance with the State that has twenty-two popular representatives. It
was therefore evident that the attempt to alter the number from five to
three, is an attack upon the federative principle, and not upon the small
States.

Mr. S. SMITH, when he made the motion for filling up the blank with
three, did it after the most deliberate consideration of the theory and
the principles of the constitution; which, if he understood it right,
intended that the election of the Executive should be in the people, or
as nearly as was possible, consistent with public order and security to
the right of suffrage. The provision admitting the choice by the House
of Representatives, was itself intended only for an extreme case, where
great inconvenience might result from sending a defective election back
to the people, as is customary in Massachusetts, where, if the majority
is deficient, a new election is required. Our object in the amendment
is or should be to make the election more certain by the people. This
was to be done most effectually by leaving it to them to designate the
persons whom they preferred for each office. As under the present form
there was an extreme case, so there might be when the change of number
should take place; for, although even with the number three, there was
a possibility of the choice devolving on the House of Representatives,
yet the adoption of the designating principle and the number three,
would render the case less probable. It never was the intention of the
framers of the constitution that the election should go to the House of
Representatives but in the extreme case; nor was it ever contemplated
that about one-fifth of the people should choose a President for the
rest, which certainly would be the case if what some gentlemen contended
for were to take place. When gentlemen contend for such a power as
would transfer the choice from the people, and place it in the hands
of a minority so small, how happens it that gentlemen will not bear to
hear of the efforts which such arguments or such measures would produce
on the larger States? It was not the interest of the small States to
combine against the large. Suppose it were possible that the four large
States should combine--and a combination of the small States alone could
produce such an effect--nine States in the Union have but thirty-two
votes out of one hundred and forty-two, yet nine States, with one vote
each, make a majority of seventeen, though in relation to population they
contain only about one-fifth of the whole; and by such a proceeding the
one-fifth might choose a President and Vice President in defiance of the
other four-fifths. What would be the consequence of such an election?
At a subsequent election the large States would combine, and by the use
of their votes they would frustrate every object which the small States
might use their efforts to accomplish.

Notwithstanding what had been said concerning the jealousy of States, he
could see nothing in it but the leaven of the old Congress, thrown in to
work up feelings that had been long still. It was the forlorn hope, the
last stratagem of party; and he was the more disposed to think so, when
he saw gentlemen from the large States coming forward as the champions of
the small--this might, to be sure, be magnanimity; but if his discernment
did not deceive him, it was a stratagem to divide the friends of the
amendment. Why was not the same jealousy entertained of the power of
thirteen out of seventeen combining and giving absolute law to the other
four? Why have gentlemen paid no regard to the experience which they
have had from the last election, when less than one third of the members
harassed the public mind, kept the Union in agitation, and Congress
engrossed to the exclusion of nearly all other business for two weeks?
Suppose that the House had been as accessible to corruption as the diets
of other nations have been, and that three men, having in their power
the votes of three States, had been seized upon, and the election made
contrary to the wishes of the people. What would be the effect--on the
minds of the people--on the administration of the Government--and on the
attachment which the people feel for the constitution itself? He need not
attempt to describe the effects. But it is our duty to prevent the return
of such dangers, by keeping the election out of that House. And the most
effectual mode is to fix the selection from the number three.

Mr. PICKERING had not intended to have spoken on this question so far
as it concerned the numbers; but as he should probably vote differently
from his colleague, he conceived it proper to give his motives for his
vote. His wishes for the entire preservation of the constitution were so
strong, that he regretted any change was contemplated to be made in it,
and he wished if an alteration was made to keep as near as possible to
the spirit of the constitution as it now is, and it appeared to him that
the number _three_ conformed more to that spirit than the number _five_.
He believed it to be the intention of the constitution, that the people
should _elect_. As to what gentlemen said concerning the will of the
people, he paid but little regard to it. The will of the people! he did
not know how the will of the people could be known--how gentlemen came by
it; it would not be asserted that it was to be found in the newspapers,
or in private society; in truth he believed it never had been fairly
expressed on the subject. We have seen an amendment brought forward from
New York, but was that an expression of the public opinion? if it was,
it was a very remarkable one, for it contained an absurdity--visible to
every one. He wished to avoid innovations on the constitution, and to
preserve the combined operation of federative and popular principles upon
which it rested unimpaired.

Mr. WORTHINGTON hoped the number three would be adopted in preference to
five. Nevertheless he approved so much of the principle of designation in
the election of the President and Vice President, that rather than lose
it he would vote for it with either number.

The yeas and nays being called for on filling up the blank with the
largest number according to order; the votes were--yeas 12, nays 19, as
follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Bailey, Butler, Condit, Dayton,
    Hillhouse, Olcott, Plumer, Tracy, Wells, White, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown, Cocke,
    Ellery, Franklin, Jackson, Logan, Maclay, Nicholas, Pickering,
    Potter, Israel Smith, John Smith, Samuel Smith, Stone, Taylor,
    and Worthington.

The question on the number three being inserted was then put, and the
yeas and nays being demanded by one fifth of the members present; they
were, yeas 21, nays 10, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Bailey, Baldwin, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown,
    Cocke, Ellery, Franklin, Jackson, Logan, Maclay, Nicholas,
    Pickering, Potter, Israel Smith, John Smith, Samuel Smith,
    Stone, Taylor, Worthington, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Butler, Condit, Dayton, Hillhouse,
    Olcott, Plumer, Tracy, Wells, and White.

The House then adjourned.


FRIDAY, December 2.

Mr. WHITE, of Delaware, rose and addressed the chair as follows:

Mr. President: It may be expected that we, who oppose the present
measure, and especially those of us who belong to the smaller States,
and who think the interests of those States will be most injuriously
affected by its adoption, shall assign some reasons for our opinion, and
for the resistance we give it: I will for myself endeavor to do so. I
know well the prejudices of many in favor of this proposed amendment to
the constitution; I know too, and acknowledge with pleasure, the weight
of abilities on the other side of the House by which those prejudices, if
I may so be permitted to call them, will be sustained; this might perhaps
be sufficient to create embarrassment or even silence on my part, but
for the consciousness I feel in the rectitude of my views, and my full
reliance on the talents of those with whom I have the honor generally to
think and act. Upon a subject of the nature and importance of the one
before us a great diversity of sentiment must be expected, and is perhaps
necessary to the due and proper investigation of it. Without detaining
the Senate with further preliminary remarks, presuming upon that
patience and polite indulgence that are at all times extended by this
honorable body to gentlemen who claim their attention, I will proceed
immediately to the subject of the resolution; barely premising that
notwithstanding the opinions of the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. TAYLOR)
and the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. JACKSON,) whose opinions I highly
respect, I must yet think with my honorable friend from New Jersey (Mr.
DAYTON) that the Constitution of the United States bears upon the face
of it the strongest marks of its having been made under the influence of
State classifications. It was a work of compromise, though not formed,
as stated by the gentleman from Virginia, by the large States yielding
most, but by the smaller States yielding much more to the general good.

It will be recollected that, previous to the adoption of the
constitution, on all legislative subjects, in fact, on every measure of
the constitution, each State had an equal voice; but very different is
the case now, when, in the popular branch of your Government, you see
one State represented by twenty-two members, and another by but one,
voting according to numbers. So that, notwithstanding the ideas of those
gentlemen, and the declaration of an honorable member from Maryland, on
my right, (Mr. SMITH,) that, during his ten years’ service in Congress,
he had never seen anything like State jealousies, State divisions,
or State classification, I must be permitted to predicate part of my
argument upon this business. Should any gentleman be able to show that
the foundation is unsound, the superstructure of course will be easily
demolished. Admitting, then, sir, for the sake of argument, that there
were no very great objections to this proposed alteration in the mode of
electing a President and Vice President, and that it were now part of the
constitution, it might be unwise to strike it out, unless much stronger
arguments had been urged against than I have heard in favor of it; yet I
would not now vote for its adoption.

The United States are now divided, and will probably continue so,
into two great political parties; whenever, under this amendment, a
Presidential election shall come round, and the four rival candidates
be proposed, two of them only will be voted for as President--one of
these two must be the man; the chances in favor of each will be equal.
Will not this increased probability of success afford more than double
the inducement to those candidates, and their friends, to tamper with
the Electors, to exercise intrigue, bribery, and corruption, as in an
election upon the present plan, where the whole four would be voted for
alike, where the chances against each are as three to one, and it is
totally uncertain which of the gentlemen may succeed to the high office?
And there must, indeed, be a great scarcity of character in the United
States, when, in so extensive and populous a country, four citizens
cannot be found, either of them worthy even of the Chief Magistracy
of the nation. But, Mr. President, I have never yet seen the great
inconvenience that has been so much clamored about, and that will be
provided against in future by substituting this amendment. There was,
indeed, a time when it became necessary for the House of Representatives
to elect, by ballot, a President of the United States from the two
highest in vote, and they were engaged here some days, as I have been
told, in a very good-humored way, in the exercise of that constitutional
right. They at length decided; and what was the consequence? The people
were satisfied, and here the thing ended. What does this prove? that the
constitution is defective? No, sir, but rather the wisdom and efficiency
of the very provision intended to be stricken out, and that the people
are acquainted with the nature of their Government; and give me leave
to say, if fortune had smiled upon another man, and that election had
eventuated in another way, the consequence would have been precisely
the same; the great mass of the people would have been content and
quiet; and those factious, restless disorganizers, that are the eternal
disturbers of all well administered Governments, and who then talked of
resistance, would have had too much prudence to hazard their necks in
so dangerous an enterprise. I will not undertake to say that there was
no danger apprehended on that occasion. I know many of the friends of
the constitution had their fears; the experiment however proved them
groundless; but what was the danger apprehended pending the election
in the House of Representatives? Was it that they might choose Colonel
Burr or Mr. Jefferson President? Not at all; they had, notwithstanding
what had been said on this subject by the gentleman from Maryland, (Mr.
WRIGHT,) a clear constitutional right to choose either of them, as much
so as the Electors in the several States had to vote for them in the
first instance; the particular man was a consideration of but secondary
importance to the country; the only ground of alarm was, lest the House
should separate without making any choice, and the Government be without
a head, the consequences of which no man could well calculate.

It has of late, Mr. President, become fashionable to attach very little
importance to the office of Vice President, to consider it a matter but
of small consequence who the man may be; to view his post merely as an
idle post of honor, and the incumbent as a cipher in the Government; or
according to the idea expressed by an honorable member from Georgia, (Mr.
JACKSON,) quoting, I believe, the language of some Eastern politician,
as a fifth wheel to a coach; but in my humble opinion this doctrine is
both incorrect and dangerous. The Vice President is not only the second
officer of Government in point of rank, but of importance, and should be
a man possessing and worthy of the confidence of the nation. I grant,
sir, should this designating mode of election succeed, it will go very
far to destroy, not the certain or contingent duties of the office,
for the latter by this resolution are considerably extended, but what
may be much more dangerous, the personal consequence and worth of the
officer; by rendering the Electors more indifferent about the reputation
and qualification of the candidate, seeing they vote for him but as a
secondary character; and which may occasion this high and important
trust to be deposited in very unsafe hands. By a provision in the first
section of the second article of the constitution, “in case of the
removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation or
inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the
same shall devolve on the Vice President”--and he is constitutionally
the President, not until another can be made only, but of the residue
of the term, which may be nearly four years; and this is not to be
supposed a remote or improbable case. In the State to which I have the
honor to belong, within a few years past, two instances have happened
of the place of Governor becoming vacant, and the duties of the office,
according to the constitution of that State, devolving upon the Speaker
of the Senate. We know well too, generally speaking, that before any man
can acquire a sufficient share of the public confidence to be elected
President, the people must have long been acquainted with his character
and his merit; he must have proved himself a good and faithful servant,
and will of course be far advanced in years, when the chances of life
will be much against him. It may indeed, owing to popular infatuation,
or some other extraordinary causes, be the ill fate of our country, that
an unworthy designing man, grown old and gray in the ways of vice and
hypocrisy, shall for a time dishonor the Presidential chair, or it may
be the fortune of some young man to be elected, but those will rarely
happen. The convention in constructing this part of the constitution, in
settling the first and second offices of the Government, and pointing
out the mode of filling, aware of the probability of the Vice President
succeeding to the office of President, endeavored to attach as much
importance and respectability to his office as possible, by making it
uncertain at the time of voting, which of the persons voted for should
be President, and which Vice President; so as to secure the election of
the best men in the country, or at least those in whom the people reposed
the highest confidence, to the two offices--thus filling the office of
Vice President with one of our most distinguished citizens, who would
give respectability to the Government, and in case of the Presidency
becoming vacant, having at his post a man constitutionally entitled to
succeed, who had been honored with the second largest number of the
suffrages of the people for the same office, and who of consequence would
be probably worthy of the place, and competent to its duties. Let us now,
Mr. President, examine for a moment the certain effect of the change
about to be made, or what must be the operation of this designating
principle, if you introduce it into the constitution. Now the Elector
cannot designate, but must vote for two persons as President, leaving it
to circumstances not within his power to control which shall be the man:
of course he will select two characters, each suitable for that office,
and the second highest in vote must be the Vice President; but upon this
designating plan the public attention will be entirely engrossed in the
election of the President, in making one great man. The eyes of each
contending party will be fixed exclusively upon their candidate for this
first and highest office; no surrounding object can be viewed at the
same time, they will be lost in his disc. The office of President is, in
point of honor, profit, trust, and influential patronage, so infinitely
superior to any other place attainable in this Government, that, in the
pursuit and disposal of it, all minor considerations will be forgotten,
every thing will be made to bend, in order to subserve the ambitious
views of the candidates and their friends. In this angry conflict of
parties, amidst the heat and anxiety of this political warfare, the Vice
Presidency will either be left to chance, or what will be much worse,
prostituted to the basest purposes; character, talents, virtue, and
merit, will not be sought after in the candidate. The question will not
be asked, is he capable? is he honest? But can he by his name, by his
connections, by his wealth, by his local situation, by his influence
or his intrigues, best promote the election of a President? He will be
made a mere stepping-stone of ambition. Thus, by the death or other
constitutional inability of the President to do the duties of the office,
you may find at the head of your Government, as First Magistrate of the
nation, a man who has either smuggled or bought himself into office; who,
not having the confidence of the people, or feeling the constitutional
responsibility of his place, but attributing his elevation merely to
accident, and conscious of the superior claims of others, will be without
restraint upon his conduct, without that strong inducement to consult the
wishes of the people, and to pursue the true interests of the nation,
that the hope of popular applause, and the prospect of re-election, would
offer. Such a state of things might be productive of incalculable evils;
for it is, as I fear time will show, in the power of a President of the
United States to bring this Government into contempt, and this country to
disgrace, if not to ruin.

Mr. PLUMER said that he had generally contented himself with expressing
his opinion by a silent vote, but on a question which affected the rights
of the smaller States, (one of which he had the honor to represent,) he
requested the indulgence of the Senate to a few observations.

He said the constitution had provided only two methods for obtaining
amendments, and both are granted with great caution. If two-thirds of
the several State Legislatures apply, Congress shall call a convention
who are to propose amendments, which, when ratified by the conventions
of three-fourths of the States, will be valid. If this mode is adopted,
Congress have nothing to do but to ascertain the fact, whether the
necessary number of States require a convention. If they do, a convention
must be called. The State Legislatures are only to apply for a
convention. They can neither propose nor decide the amendments.

The other mode is, if two-thirds of both Houses of Congress deem
it necessary to propose amendments, and three-fourths of the State
Legislatures ratify them, they are valid. This is the present mode. The
State Legislatures have nothing to do till after Congress has proposed
the amendments, and then it is their exclusive province either to
ratify or reject them. But they have no authority to direct or even
request Congress to propose particular amendments for themselves to
ratify. Instructions on this subject are therefore improper. It is an
assumption of power, not the exercise of a right. It is an attempt to
create an undue influence over Congress. It is prejudging the question
before it is proposed by the only authority that has the constitutional
right to move it. If these instructions are obligatory, our votes must be
governed, not by the convictions of our own judgments, or the propriety
and fitness of the measure, but by the mandates of other Legislatures.
This would destroy one of the checks that the constitution has provided
against innovation. State Legislatures may, on some subjects, instruct
their Senators; but on this, their instructions ought not to influence,
much less bind us, to propose amendments, unless we ourselves deem them
necessary.

The Senate consists of two members from each State; and in this case, the
concurrence of two-thirds of all the Senate are necessary. A majority
of the Senate constitutes a quorum to do business, but that quorum is a
majority of all the Senators that all the States are entitled to elect.
This applies with equal force to the term “two-thirds of the Senate.”
But in cases where from necessity a speedy decision is requisite, and
where the concurrence of two-thirds is required, the constitution is
explicit in confining that two-thirds to the members present, as in cases
of treaties and impeachments; and also a fifth of the members present
requesting the yeas and nays. If amendments can be constitutionally
proposed by two-thirds of the Senate present, it will follow that twelve
Senators, when only a quorum is present, may propose them against the
will of twenty-two Senators.

This amendment affects the relative interest and importance of the
smaller States. The constitution requires the Electors of each State to
vote for two men, one of whom to be President of the United States. This
affords a degree of security to the small States against the views and
ambition of the large States. It gives them weight and influence in the
choice. By destroying this complex mode of choice, and introducing the
simple principle of designation, the large States can with more ease
elect their candidate. This amendment will enable the Electors from
four States and a half to choose a President, against the will of the
remaining twelve States and a half. Can such a change tend to conciliate
and strengthen the Union?

This amendment has a tendency to render the Vice President less
respectable. He will be voted for not as President of the United States,
but as President of the Senate, elected to preside over forms in this
House. In electing a subordinate officer the Electors will not require
those qualifications requisite for supreme command. The office of Vice
President will be a sinecure. It will be brought to market and exposed
to sale to procure votes for the President. Will the ambitious, aspiring
candidate for the Presidency, will his friends and favorites promote the
election of a man of talents, probity, and popularity for Vice President,
and who may prove his rival? No! They will seek a man of moderate
talents, whose ambition is bounded by that office, and whose influence
will aid them in electing the President. This mode of election is
calculated to increase corruption, promote intrigue, and aid inordinate
ambition. The Vice President will be selected from some of the large
States; he will have a casting vote in this House; and feeble indeed must
his talents be, if his influence will not be equal to that of a member.
This will, in fact, be giving to that State a third Senator.

In the Southern States the blacks are considered as property, and the
States in which they live are thereby entitled to eighteen additional
Electors and Representatives--a number equal to all the Electors and
Representatives that four States and a half are entitled to elect. Will
you, by this amendment, lessen the weight and influence of the Eastern
States in the election of your first officers, and still retain this
unequal article in your constitution? Shall property in one part of the
Union give an increase of Electors, and be wholly excluded in other
States? Can this be right? Will it strengthen the Union?

Mr. TRACY.--I shall attempt to prove, sir, that the resolution before
us contains principles which have a manifest tendency to deprive the
small States of an important right, secured to them by a solemn and
constitutional compact, and to vest an overwhelming power in the great
States. And, further, I shall attempt to show that, in many other points,
the resolution is objectionable, and, for a variety of causes, ought not
to be adopted.

As I shall be obliged, in delineating the main features of this
resolution, to mention the great States in the Union as objects of
jealousy, I wish it to be understood that no special stigma is intended.
“Man is man,” was the maxim expressed in an early part of this debate, by
the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. BUTLER,) and in application to
the subject of government, the maxim is worthy to be written in letters
of gold. Yes, sir, “man is man,” and the melancholy truth that he is
always imperfect and frequently wicked, induces us to fear his power,
and guard against his rapacity, by the establishment and preservation
of laws, and well-regulated constitutions of government. Man, when
connected with very many of his fellow-men, in a great State, derives
power from the circumstance of this numerous combination; and from every
circumstance which clothes him with additional power, he will generally
derive some additional force to his passions.

Having premised this, I shall not deem it requisite to make any apology,
when I attempt to excite the attention, the vigilance, and even the
jealousy of the small, in reference to the conduct of the great States.
The caution is meant to apply against the imperfections and passions
of man, generally, and not against any State, or description of men,
particularly.

It may be proper, in this place, to explain my meaning, when I make use
of the words “small” and “great,” as applicable to States.

Massachusetts has been usually called a great State; but, in respect
to all the operations of this resolution, she must, I think, be ranked
among the small States. The district of Maine is increasing rapidly,
and must, in the nature of things, soon become a State. To which
event, its location, being divided from what was the ancient Colony of
Massachusetts, by the intervention of New Hampshire, will very much
contribute. I believe there is a legislative provision of some years’
standing, authorizing a division at the option of Maine. When this event
shall occur, Massachusetts, although, in comparison with Connecticut and
Rhode Island, she will not be a small State, yet, in comparison with
many others, must be so considered. I think myself justifiable, then,
for my present purposes, in calling Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and
South Carolina, small States. They are limited in point of territory,
and cannot reasonably expect any great increase of population for many
years, not, indeed, until the other States shall become so populous as
to discourage emigration, with agricultural views; which may retain the
population of the small States as seamen or manufacturers. This event,
if it ever arrives, must be distant. A possible exception only may exist
in favor of Maine; but, when we consider its climate, and a variety of
other circumstances, it is believed to form no solid exception to this
statement.

By the same rule of deciding, the residue of the States must be called
great; for although Georgia and several others are not sufficiently
populous, at this time, to be considered relatively great States, yet
their prospect of increase, with other circumstances, fairly bring them
within the description, in respect to the operation of the measure now
under consideration.

It will be recollected that, in the various turns which the debate has
taken, gentlemen have repeatedly said that the constitution was formed
for the people; that the good of the whole was its object; that nothing
was discernible in it like a contest of States, nothing like jealousy
of small States against the great; and although such distinctions and
jealousies might have existed under the first confederation, yet they
could have no existence under the last. And one gentleman (Mr. SMITH,
of Maryland) has said that he has been a member of this Government ten
years, and has heard nothing of great and small States, as in the least
affecting the operations of Government, or the feelings of those who
administer it.

Propriety, therefore, requires that we attentively examine the
constitution itself, not only to obtain correct ideas upon these
observations, so repeatedly urged, but to place in the proper light the
operations and effects of the resolution in debate. If we attend to the
constitution, we shall immediately find evident marks of concession
and compromise, and that the parties to these concessions were the
great and small States. And the members of the convention who formed
the instrument have, in private information and public communications,
united in the declaration, that the constitution was the result of
concession and compromise between the great and small States. In this
examination of the constitution it will be impossible to keep out of
view our political relations under the first confederation. We primarily
united upon the footing of complete State equality--each State had one,
and no State had more than one vote in the Federal Council or Congress.
With such a confederation we successfully waged war, and became an
independent nation. When we were relieved from the pressure of war, that
confederation, both in structure and power, was found inadequate to
the purposes for which it was established. Under these circumstances,
the States, by their convention, entered into a new agreement, upon
principles better adapted to promote their mutual security and happiness.
But this last agreement, or constitution, under which we are now united,
was manifestly carved out of the first confederation. The small States
adhered tenaciously to the principles of State equality; and gave up
only a part of that federative principle, complete State equality, and
that with evident caution and reluctance. To this federative principle
they were attached by habit; and their attachment was sanctioned and
corroborated by the example of most if not all the ancient and the modern
confederacies. And when the great States claimed a weight in the councils
of the nation proportionate to their numbers and wealth, the novelty of
the claim, as well as its obvious tendency to reduce the sovereignty of
the small States, must have produced serious obstacles to its admission.
Hence it is, that we find in the constitution but one entire departure
from the federal principle. The House of Representatives is established
upon the popular principle, and given to numbers and wealth, or to the
great States, which, in this view of the subject, are synonymous. It was
thought, by the convention, that a consolidation of the States into one
simple Republic would be improper. And the local feelings and jealousies
of all, but more especially of the small States, rendered a consolidation
impracticable.

The Senate, who have the power of a legislative check upon the House
of Representatives, and many other extensive and important powers, is
preserved as an entire federative feature of Government as it was enjoyed
by the small States, under the first confederacy.

In the article which obliges the Electors of President to vote for one
person not an inhabitant of the same State with themselves, is discovered
State jealousy. In the majorities required for many purposes by the
constitution, although there were other motives for the regulations, yet
the jealousy of the small States is clearly discernible. Indeed, sir,
if we peruse the constitution with attention, we shall find the small
States are perpetually guarding the federative principle, that is, State
equality. And this, in every part of it, except in the choice of the
House of Representatives, and in their ordinary legislative proceedings.
They go so far as to prohibit any amendment which may affect the equality
of States in the Senate.

This is guarding against almost an impossibility, because the Senators
of small States must be criminally remiss in their attendance, and
the Legislatures extremely off their guard, if they permit such
alterations, which aim at their own existence. But lest some accident,
some unaccountable blindness or perfidy should put in jeopardy the
federative principle in the Senate, they totally and for ever prohibit
all attempts at such a measure. In the choice of President, the mutual
caution and concession of the great and small States is, if possible,
more conspicuous than in any other part of the constitution.

He is to be chosen by Electors appointed as the State Legislatures shall
direct, not according to numbers entirely, but adding two Electors in
each State as representatives of State sovereignty. Thus Delaware obtains
three votes for President, whereas she could have but one in right of
numbers. Yet, mixed as this mode of choice is, with both popular and
federative principles, we see the small States watching its motions and
circumscribing it to one attempt only, and, on failure of an Electoral
choice, they instantly seize upon the right of a federal election, and
select from the candidates a President by States and not by numbers. In
confirmation of my assertion, that this part of the constitution was
peculiarly the effect of compromise between the great and small States,
permit me to quote an authority which will certainly have great weight,
not only in the Senate, but through the Union, I mean that of the present
Secretary of State, (Mr. Madison,) who was a leading member of the
Federal Convention who formed, and of the Virginia Convention who adopted
the constitution.

In the Debates of the Virginia Convention, volume 3, page 77, Mr. Madison
says, speaking of the mode of electing the President:

    “As to the eventual voting by States, it has my approbation.
    The lesser States and some larger States will be generally
    pleased by that mode. The Deputies from the small States
    argued, and there is some force in their reasoning, that, when
    the people voted, the large States evidently had the advantage
    over the rest, and, without varying the mode, the interests of
    the little States might be neglected or sacrificed. Here is a
    compromise. For in the eventual election, the small States will
    have the advantage.”

After this view of the constitution, let us inquire, what is the direct
object of the proposed alteration in the choice of President?

To render more practicable and certain the choice by Electors--and for
this reason: that the people at large, or in other words, that the great
States, ought to have more weight and influence in the choice. That it
should be brought nearer to the popular and carried further from the
federative principle. This claim we find was made at the formation of
the constitution. The great States naturally wished for a popular choice
of First Magistrate. This mode was sanctioned by the example of many
of the States in the choice of Governor. The small States claimed a
choice on the federative principle, by the Legislatures, and to vote by
States; analogies and examples were not wanting to sanction this mode of
election. A consideration of the weight and influence of a President of
this Union, must have multiplied the difficulties of agreeing upon the
mode of choice. But as I have before said, by mutual concession, they
agreed upon the present mode, combining both principles and dividing
between the two parties, thus mutually jealous, as they could, this
important privilege of electing a Chief Magistrate.

This mode then became established, and the right of the small States
to elect upon the federative principle, or by States, in case of the
contingency of electoral failure of choice, cannot with reason and
fairness be taken from them, without their consent, and on a full
understanding of its operation; since it was meant to be secured to them
by the constitution, and was one of the terms upon which they became
members of the present confederacy; and for which privilege they gave an
equivalent to the great States in sacrificing so much of the federative
principle, or State equality.

The constitution is nicely balanced, with the federative and popular
principles; the Senate are the guardians of the former, and the House of
Representatives of the latter; and any attempts to destroy this balance,
under whatever specious names or pretences they may be presented,
should be watched with a jealous eye. Perhaps a fair definition of the
constitutional powers of amending is, that you may upon experiment so
modify the constitution in its practice and operation, as to give it,
upon its own principles, a more complete effect. But this is an attack
upon a fundamental principle established after a long deliberation,
and by mutual concession, a principle of essential importance to the
instrument itself, and an attempt to wrest from the small States a vested
right, and by it, to increase the power and influence of the large
States. I shall not pretend, sir, that the parties to this constitutional
compact cannot alter its original essential principles, and that such
alterations may not be effected under the name of amendment; but, let
a proposal of that kind come forward in its own proper and undisguised
shape; let it be fairly stated to Congress, to the State Legislatures,
to the people at large, that the intention is to change an important
federative feature in the constitution, which change in itself and all
its consequences, will tend to a consolidation of this Union into a
simple republic; let it be fairly stated, that the small States have too
much agency in the important article of electing a Chief Magistrate,
and that the great States claim the choice; and we shall then have a
fair decision. If the Senators of the small States, and if their State
Legislatures, will then quietly part with the right they have, no person
can reasonably complain.

Nothing can be more obvious, than the intention of the plan adopted by
our constitution for choosing a President. The Electors are to nominate
two persons, of whom they cannot know which will be President; this
circumstance not only induces them to select both from the best men; but
gives a direct advantage into the hands of the small States even in the
electoral choice. For they can always select from the two candidates set
up by the Electors of large States, by throwing their votes upon their
favorite, and of course giving him a majority; or, if the Electors of
the large States should, to prevent this effect, scatter their votes
for one candidate, then the Electors of the small States would have it
in their power to elect a Vice President. So that, in any event, the
small States will have a considerable agency in the election. But if
the discriminating or designating principle is carried, as contained in
this resolution, the whole, or nearly the whole right and agency of the
small States, in the electoral choice of Chief Magistrate, is destroyed,
and their chance of obtaining a federative choice by States, if not
destroyed, is very much diminished.

The whole power of election is now vested in the two parties; numbers and
States, or, great and small States; and it is demonstration itself, if
you increase the power of the one, in just such proportion you diminish
that of the other. Do the gentlemen suppose that the public will, when
constitutionally expressed by a majority of States, in pursuance of the
federative principle of our Government, is of less validity, or less
binding upon the community at large, than the public will expressed by
a popular majority? The framers of your constitution, the people who
adopted it, meant, that the public will, in the choice of a President,
should be expressed by Electors, if they could agree, and if not, the
public will should be expressed by a majority of the States, acting in
their federative capacity, and that in both cases the expression of the
public will should be equally binding.

It is pretended that the public will can never properly or
constitutionally be expressed by a majority of numbers of the people, or
of the House of Representatives. This may be a pleasing doctrine enough
to great States; but it is certainly incorrect. Our constitution has
given the expression of the public will, in a variety of instances, other
than that of the choice of President, into very different hands from
either House of Representatives or the people at large. The President and
Senate, and in many cases the President alone, can express the public
will, in appointments of high trust and responsibility, and it cannot
be forgotten that the President sometimes expresses the public will by
removals. Treaties, highly important expressions of the public will, are
made by the President and Senate; and they are the supreme law of the
land. In the several States, many great offices are filled, and even
the Chief Magistracy, by various modes of election. The public will is
sometimes expressed by pluralities instead of majorities, sometimes by
both branches of the Legislatures, and sometimes by one, and in certain
contingencies, elections are settled by lot. The people have adopted
constitutions containing such regulations, and experience has proved that
they are well calculated to preserve their liberties and promote their
happiness. From what good or even pardonable motive, then, can it be
urged that the present mode of electing our President has a tendency to
counteract the public will? Do gentlemen intend to destroy every federal
feature in this constitution? And is this resolution a precursor to a
complete consolidation of the Union, and to the establishment of a simple
republic?--Or will it suffice to break down every federative feature
which secures to one portion of the Union, to the small States, their
rights?

Mr. TAYLOR.--The opposition to this discriminating amendment to the
constitution is condensed into a single stratagem, namely: an effort to
excite the passion of jealousy in various forms. Endeavors have been made
to excite geographical jealousies--a jealousy of the smaller against the
larger States--a jealousy in the people against the idea of amending
the constitution; and even a jealousy against individual members of
this House. Sir, is this passion a good medium through which to discern
truth, or is it a mirror calculated to reflect error? Will it enlighten
or deceive? Is it planted in good or in evil--in moral or in vicious
principles? Wherefore, then, do gentlemen endeavor to blow it up? Is it
because they distrust the strength of their arguments, that they resort
to this furious and erring passion? Is it because they know that

    ----“Trifles light as air,
    Are, to the jealous, confirmations strong
    As proofs of holy writ!”

So far as these efforts have been directed towards a geographical
demarcation of the interests of the Union into North and South, in order
to excite a jealousy of one division against another; and, so far as they
have been used to create suspicions of individuals, they have been either
so feeble, inapplicable, or frivolous, as to bear but lightly upon the
question, and to merit but little attention. But the attempts to array
States against States because they differ in size, and to prejudice the
people against the idea of amending their constitution, bear a more
formidable aspect, and ought to be repelled, because they are founded on
principles the most mischievous and inimical to the constitution, and,
could they be successful, are replete with great mischiefs.

Towards exciting this jealousy of smaller States against larger States,
the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. TRACY) had labored to prove that the
federal principle of the constitution of the United States was founded in
the idea of minority invested with operative power. That, in pursuance
of this principle, it was contemplated and intended that the election of
a President should frequently come into the House of Representatives,
and to divert it from thence by this amendment would trench upon the
federal principle of our constitution, and diminish the rights of the
smaller States, bestowed by this principle upon them. This was the scope
of his argument to excite their jealousy, and is the amount also of
several other arguments delivered by gentlemen on the same side of the
question. He did not question the words, but the ideas of gentlemen.
Words, selected from their comrades, are easily asserted to misrepresent
opinions, as he had himself experienced during the discussion on the
subject.

This idea of federalism ought to be well discussed by the smaller
States, before they will suffer it to produce the intended effect--that
of exciting their jealousy against the larger. To him it appeared to
be evidently incorrect. Two principles sustain our constitution: one a
majority of the people, the other a majority of the States; the first
was necessary to preserve the liberty or sovereignty of the people; the
last, to preserve the liberty or sovereignty of the States. But both are
founded in the principle of majority; and the effort of the constitution
is to preserve this principle in relation both to the people and the
States, so that neither species of sovereignty or independence should
be able to destroy the other. Many illustrations might be adduced. That
of amending the constitution will suffice. Three-fourths of the States
must concur in this object, because a less number or a majority of States
might not contain a majority of people; therefore, the constitution
is not amendable by a majority of States, lest a species of State
sovereignty might, under color of amending the constitution, infringe
the right of the people. On the other hand, a majority of the people
residing in the large States cannot amend the constitution, lest they
should diminish or destroy the sovereignty of the small States, the
federal Union, or federalism itself. Hence a concurrence of the States
to amend the constitution became necessary, not because federalism was
founded in the idea of minority, but for a reason the very reverse
of that idea--that is, to cover the will both of a majority of the
people and a majority of States, so as to preserve the great element
of self-government, as it regarded State sovereignty, and also as it
regarded the sovereignty of the people.

For this great purpose certain political functions are assigned to be
performed, under the auspices of the State or federal principle, and
certain others under the popular principle. It was the intention of the
constitution that these functions should be performed in conformity to
its principle. If that principle is in fact a government of a minority,
then these functions ought to be performed by a minority. When the
federal principle is performing a function, according to this idea,
a majority of the States ought to decide. And, by the same mode of
reasoning, when the popular principle is performing a function, then a
minority of the people ought to decide. This brings us precisely to the
question of the amendment. It is the intention of the constitution that
the popular principle shall operate in the election of a President and
Vice President. It is also the intention of the constitution that the
popular principle, in discharging the functions committed to it by the
constitution, should operate by a majority and not by a minority. That
the majority of the people should be driven, by an unforeseen state of
parties, to the necessity of relinquishing their will in the election of
one or the other of these officers, or that the principle of majority, in
a function confided to the popular will, should be deprived of half its
rights, and be laid under a necessity of violating its duty to preserve
the other half, is not the intention of the constitution.

But the gentleman from Connecticut has leaped over all this ground,
and gotten into the House of Representatives, without considering
the principles of the constitution, as applicable to the election of
President and Vice President by Electors, and distinguishing them
from an election by the House of Representatives. And by mingling and
interweaving the two modes of electing together, a considerable degree
of complexity has been produced. If, however, it is admitted that in an
election of a President and Vice President by Electors, the will of the
electing majority ought fairly to operate, and that an election by the
will of a minority would be an abuse or corruption of the principles of
the constitution, then it follows that an amendment, to avoid this abuse,
accords with, and is necessary to save these principles. In like manner,
had an abuse crept into the same election, whenever it was to be made
under the federal principle by the House of Representatives, enabling
a minority of States to carry the election, it would not have violated
the intention of the constitution to have corrected this abuse, also,
by an amendment. For, sir, I must suppose it to have been the intention
of the constitution that both the federal principle and the popular
principle should operate in those functions respectively assigned to
them, perfectly and not imperfectly--that is, the former by a majority of
States, and the latter by a majority of the people.

Under this view of the subject, the amendment ought to be considered.
Then the question will be, whether it is calculated or not to cause the
popular principle, applied by the constitution in the first instance, to
operate perfectly, and to prevent the abuse of an election by a minority?
If it is, it corresponds with the intention, diminishes nothing of the
rights of the smaller States, and, of course, affords them no cause of
jealousy.

Sir, it could never have been the intention of the constitution to
produce a state of things by which a majority of the popular principle
should be under the necessity of voting against its judgment to secure a
President, and by which a minor faction should acquire a power capable
of defeating the majority in the election of President, or of electing
a Vice President contrary to the will of the electing principle. To
permit this abuse would be a fraudulent mode of defeating the operation
of the popular principle in this election, in order to transfer it to
the federal principle--to disinherit the people for the sake of endowing
the House of Representatives; whereas it was an accidental and not an
artificial disappointment in the election of a President, against which
the constitution intended to provide. A fair and not an unfair attempt
to elect was previously to be made by the popular principle, before
the election was to go into the House of Representatives. And if the
people of all the States, both large and small, should, by an abuse of
the real design of the constitution, be bubbled out of the election of
executive power, by leaving to them the nominal right of an abortive
effort, and transferring to the House of Representatives the substantial
right of a real election, nothing will remain but to corrupt the election
in that House by some of those abuses of which elections by diets are
susceptible, to bestow upon executive power an aspect both formidable and
inconsistent with the principles by which the constitution intended to
mould it.

The great check imposed upon executive power was a popular mode of
election; and the true object of jealousy, which ought to attract the
attention of the people of every State, is any circumstance tending
to diminish or destroy that check. It was also a primary intention of
the constitution to keep executive power independent of legislative;
and although a provision was made for its election by the House of
Representatives in a possible case, that possible case never was
intended to be converted into the active rule, so as to destroy in a
degree the line of separation and independency between the executive and
legislative power. The controversy is not therefore between larger and
smaller States, but between the people of every State and the House of
Representatives. Is it better that the people--a fair majority of the
popular principle--should elect executive power; or, that a minor faction
should be enabled to embarrass and defeat the judgment and will of this
majority, and throw the election into the House of Representatives? This
is the question. If this amendment should enable the popular principle
to elect executive power, and thus keep it separate and distinct from
legislation, the intention of the constitution, the interest of the
people, and the principles of our policy, will be preserved; and if so,
it is as I have often endeavored to prove in this debate, the interest of
the smaller States themselves, that the amendment should prevail. For,
sir, is an exposure of their Representatives to bribery and corruption
(a thing which may possibly happen at some future day, when men lose
that public virtue which now governs them) an acquisition more desirable
than all those great objects best (if not exclusively) attainable by
the election of executive power by the popular principle of the Federal
Government, as the constitution itself meditates and prefers?

So far, then, the amendment strictly coincides with the constitution and
with the interests of the people of every State in the Union. But suppose
by some rare accident the election should still be sent into the House of
Representatives, does not the amendment then afford cause of jealousy to
the smaller States? Sir, each State has but one vote, whether it is large
or small; and the President and Vice President are still to be chosen out
of five persons. Such is the constitution in both respects now. To have
enlarged the number of nominees, would have increased the occurrence of
an election by the House of Representatives; and if, as I have endeavored
to prove, it is for the interest of every State, that the election should
be made by the popular principle of Government and not by that House,
then it follows, that whatever would have a tendency to draw the election
into that House, is against the interest of every State in the Union; and
that every State in the Union is interested to avoid an enlargement of
the nominees, if it would have such a tendency.

To illustrate this argument, I will repeat a position which I lately
advanced, namely, that the substance of a constitution may be effectually
destroyed, and yet its form may remain unaltered. England illustrates
it. The Government of that country took its present form in the
thirteenth century; but its aspect in substance has been extremely
different at different periods, under the same form. Without taking
time to mark the changes in substance which have taken place under
the form of Kings, Lords, and Commons, it will suffice to cast our
eyes upon the present state of that Government. What are now its chief
and substantial energies? Armies, debt, executive patronage, penal
laws, and corporations. These are the modern energies or substance
of the English monarchy; to the ancient English monarchy they were
unknown. Of the ancient, they were substantial abuses; for, whether
these modern energies are good or bad, they overturned the ancient
monarchy substantially, without altering its form. Under every change
of Administration these abuses proceeded. The _outs_ were clamorous for
preserving the constitution, as they called it; for, though divorced
from its administration, the hope of getting in again caused them to
maintain abuses, by which their avarice or ambition might be gratified
upon the next turn of the wheel; just as in Prussia, where divorces are
common, nothing is more usual than for late husbands to affect a violent
passion for a former wife, if she carried off from him a good estate! And
the _ins_, fearing the national jealousy, and the prepossession against
amending the form of Government, and meeting new abuses by new remedies,
brought no relief to the nation. So that under every change of men abuses
proceeded.

The solution of this effect exists in the species of political craft
similar to priestcraft. Mankind were anciently deprived of their
religious liberty by a dissemination of a fanatical zeal for some idol;
in times of ignorance, this idol was of physical structure; and when
that fraud was detected, a metaphysical idol in the shape of a tenet or
dogma was substituted for it, infinitely more pernicious in its effects,
because infinitely more difficult of detection. The same system has
been pursued by political craft. It has ever labored to excite the same
species of idolatry and superstition for the same reason, namely, to
conceal its own frauds and vices. Sometimes it sets up a physical, at
others a metaphysical idol, as the object of vulgar superstition. Of one,
the former “Grand Monarch of France;” of the other, the present “Church
and State” tenet of England is an evidence. And if our constitution is
to be made like the “Church and State” tenet of England, a metaphysical
political idol, which it will be sacrilege to amend, even for the sake of
saving both that and the national liberty; and if, like that tenet, it is
to be exposed to all the means which centuries may suggest to vicious men
for its substantial destruction, it is not hard to imagine that it also
may become a monument of the inefficacy of unalterable forms of political
law to correct avarice and ambition in the new and multifarious shapes
they are for ever assuming.

It has been urged, sir, by the gentlemen in opposition, in a mode, as
if they supposed we wished to conceal or deny it, that one object of
this amendment is to bestow upon the majority a power to elect a Vice
President. Sir, I avow it to be so. This is one object of the amendment;
and the other, as to which I have heretofore expressed my sentiments,
is to enable the Electors, by perfecting the election of a President,
to keep it out of the House of Representatives. Are not both objects
correct, if, as I have endeavored to prove, the constitution, in all
cases where it refers elections to the popular principle, intended that
principle to act by majorities? Did the constitution intend that any
minor faction should elect a Vice President? If not, then an amendment
to prevent it accords with, and is representative of, the constitution.
Permit me here again to illustrate by an historical case. England, in the
time of Charles the Second, was divided into two parties--Protestants
and Papists--and the heir to the throne was a Papist. The Protestants,
constituting the majority of the nation, passed an exclusion bill, but
it was defeated, and the minor Papist faction, in the person of the
Duke of York, got possession of executive power. The consequences were,
domestic oppressions and rebellions, foreign wars occasionally for almost
a century, and the foundation of a national debt, under which the nation
has been ever since groaning, and under which the Government will finally
expire.

Had the majority carried and executed the proposed exclusion of James
II. from executive power, the English would have escaped all these
calamities. Such precisely may be our case. I beg again that it may be
understood that, in this application, I speak prospectively and not
retrospectively.

But it is far from being improbable, that in place of these religious
parties, political parties may arise of equal zeal and animosity. We may
at some future day see our country divided into a republican party and
a monarchical party. Is it wise, or according to the intention of the
constitution, that a minor monarchical faction should, by any means,
acquire the power of electing a Vice President, the possible successor
to executive power? Ought a republican majority to stake the national
liberty upon the frail life of one man? Will not a monarchical Executive
overturn the system of a republican Executive? And ought the United
States to shut their eyes upon this possible danger until the case shall
happen, when it may be too late to open them?

Sir, let us contemplate the dreadful evils which the English nation have
suffered from the cause of investing executive power in a man hostile
to the national opinion, and avoid them. They suffered, because their
exclusion bill was abortive. Election is our exclusion bill. Its efficacy
depends upon its being exercised by a majority. It is only a minority
which can render election insufficient to exclude monarchical principles
from executive power. It is against minority that election is intended to
operate, because minority is the author of monarchy and aristocracy.

Shall we, sir, be so injudicious as to make election destroy the
principle of election by adhering to a mode of exercising it, now seen to
be capable of bestowing upon a minority the choice of a Vice President?
Shall we make election, invented to exclude monarchy, a handmaid for
its introduction? Or shall we, if we do not see monarchy at this day
assailing our republican system, conclude that it never will; although
we know that this system has but two foes, of whom monarchy is one? No,
sir, let us rather draw instruction from the prophetic observations of
a member of the English House of Commons, whilst the bill for excluding
James II. was depending, who said:

    “I hear a lion in the lobby roar,
    Say, Mr. Speaker, shall we shut the door,
    And keep him there! Or shall we let him in,
    To try if we can get him out again!”

Instead of shutting the door, the English left it open; tyranny got in;
and the evils produced by its expulsion, to that nation, may possibly
have been equal to those which submission would have produced.

The question was called for loudly at half-past nine, and put--the yeas
and nays being taken, were:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Bailey, Baldwin, Bradley,
    Breckenridge, Brown, Cocke, Condit, Ellery, Franklin, Jackson,
    Logan, Maclay, Nicholas, Potter, Israel Smith, John Smith,
    Samuel Smith, Stone, Taylor, Worthington, and Wright--22.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Butler, Dayton, Hillhouse, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, Tracy, Wells, and White--10.

Upon the PRESIDENT declaring the question carried by two-thirds--

Mr. TRACY said he denied that the question was fairly decided. He took it
to be the intention of the constitution, that there should be two-thirds
of the whole number of Senators elected, which would make the number
necessary to its passage 23.

It was moved to adjourn to Monday.

Mr. TAYLOR said that since it was proposed to adjourn to Monday, when he
should be disqualified to sit in that House, he hoped the Senate would
not rise without deciding the question definitively on the gentleman’s
objections.

Mr. TRACY said he certainly would avail himself of the principle to
oppose its passage through the State Legislatures.

The PRESIDENT declared the question had passed the Senate by the majority
required, and conformable to the constitution and former usage.

The amendment, as adopted, is as follows:

    _Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
    United States of America in Congress assembled, two-thirds of
    both Houses concurring_, That, in lieu of the third paragraph
    of the first section of the second article of the Constitution
    of the United States, the following be proposed as an amendment
    to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified
    by three-fourths of the Legislatures of the several States,
    shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the
    said Constitution, to wit:

    The Electors shall meet in their respective States and vote
    by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at
    least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with
    themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted
    for as President, and, in distinct ballots, the person voted
    for as Vice President; and they shall make distinct lists of
    all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted
    for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each,
    which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to
    the seat of Government of the United States, directed to the
    President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall,
    in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives,
    open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be
    counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for
    the President, shall be the President, if such number be a
    majority of the whole number of electors appointed: and if
    no person have such majority, then, from the persons having
    the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of
    those voted for as President, the House of Representatives
    shall choose, immediately, by ballot, the President. But, in
    choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States,
    the representation from each State having one vote; a quorum
    for this purpose shall consist of a member or members,
    from two-thirds of the States, and a majority of all the
    States shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of
    Representatives shall not choose a President, whenever the
    right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day
    of March next following, then the Vice President shall act as
    President, as in the case of death or any other constitutional
    disability of the President.

    The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice
    President, shall be the Vice President, if such number be a
    majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no
    person have a majority, then, from the two highest numbers
    on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice President; a
    quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the
    whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number
    shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally
    ineligible to the office of President, shall be eligible to
    that of Vice President of the United States.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary request the concurrence of the House of
Representatives in this resolution.


MONDAY, December 5.

_Impressment of Seamen._

The following messages were received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate of the United States_:

    In compliance with the desire of the Senate, expressed in
    their resolution of the 22d of November, on the impressment of
    seamen in the service of the United States, by the agents of
    foreign nations; I now lay before the Senate a letter from the
    Secretary of State, with a specification of the cases of which
    information has been received.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    DEC. 5, 1803.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Tripolitan Aggression._

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    I have the satisfaction to inform you, that the act of
    hostility mentioned, in my message of the 4th of November, to
    have been committed by a cruiser of the Emperor of Morocco,
    on a vessel of the United States, has been disavowed by the
    Emperor. All differences in consequence thereof have been
    amicably adjusted, and the Treaty of 1796, between this country
    and that, has been recognized and confirmed by the Emperor,
    each party restoring to the other what had been detained or
    taken. I enclose the Emperor’s orders given on this occasion.

    The conduct of our officers generally, who have had a part in
    these transactions, has merited entire approbation.

    The temperate and correct course pursued by our Consul, Mr.
    Simpson, the promptitude and energy of Commodore Preble,
    the efficacious co-operation of Captains Rodgers and
    Campbell, of the returning squadron, the proper decision of
    Captain Bainbridge, that a vessel which had committed an
    open hostility, was of right to be detained for inquiry and
    consideration, and the general zeal of the other officers and
    men, are honorable facts, which I make known with pleasure. And
    to these I add, what was indeed transacted in another quarter,
    the gallant enterprise of Captain Rodgers, in destroying, on
    the coast of Tripoli, a corvette of that power, of 22 guns.

    I recommend to the consideration of Congress, a just
    indemnification for the interest acquired by the captors of
    the Mishouda and Mirboha, yielded by them for the public
    accommodation.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    DEC. 5, 1803.

The Messages and papers therein respectively referred to, were read.

_Ordered_, That they severally lie for consideration.


WEDNESDAY, December 7.

AARON BURR, Vice President of the United States and President of the
Senate, attended.

JOHN ARMSTRONG, appointed a Senator by the Executive of the State of New
York, in the room of De Witt Clinton, resigned, attended.


THURSDAY, December 8.

The credentials of Mr. ARMSTRONG were read, and the oath was administered
to him by the Vice President as the law provides.


MONDAY, December 12.

_Amendment of the Constitution._

The Senate resumed the consideration of the last resolution reported
by the committee appointed on the 22d of October last, to consider the
motion for an amendment to the constitution in the mode of electing the
President and Vice President of the United States; which is as follows:

    “_Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
    United States of America in Congress assembled, two-thirds
    of both Houses concurring_, That the following amendment be
    proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an
    amendment to the constitution of the United States, which,
    when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislature, shall
    be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said
    Constitution, to wit;

    “That no person who has been twice successively elected
    President of the United States shall be eligible as President
    until four years shall have elapsed: but any citizen who
    has been President of the United States may, after such
    intervention, be eligible to the office of President for four
    years and no longer.”

On the question to agree to this resolution, it passed in the
negative--yeas 4, nays 25, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Butler, Dayton, and Jackson.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Armstrong, Bailey, Baldwin, Bradley,
    Breckenridge, Brown, Cocke, Condit, Ellery, Franklin,
    Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, Potter,
    Israel Smith, John Smith, Samuel Smith, Tracy, White,
    Worthington, and Wright.


TUESDAY, December 13.

ABRAHAM B. VENABLE, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State
of Virginia on the 7th instant, produced his credentials, was qualified,
and took his seat in the Senate.

_Repeal of Bankrupt Act._

The bill, entitled, “An act to repeal an act, entitled ‘An act to
establish a uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States,’”
was read the third time; and, on motion, that the further consideration
of this bill be postponed to the second Monday in December next, it
passed in the negative--yeas 13, nays, 17, as follows:

YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Armstrong, Bailey, Baldwin, Bradley, Brown, Condit,
Jackson, Israel Smith, Samuel Smith, Tracy, White, and Wright.

NAYS.--Messrs. Anderson, Breckenridge, Butler, Cocke, Dayton, Ellery,
Franklin, Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, Potter,
John Smith, Venable, and Worthington.

On the question, “Shall this bill pass?” it was determined in the
affirmative--yeas 17, nays 12, as follows:

YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Breckenridge, Butler, Cocke, Dayton, Ellery,
Franklin, Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, Potter,
John Smith, Venable, and Worthington.

NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Armstrong, Bailey, Baldwin, Bradley, Brown, Condit,
Israel Smith, Samuel Smith, Tracy, White, and Wright.

So it was _Resolved_, That this bill do pass.[5]


THURSDAY, December 15.

_Classification of Senators._

On motion, the Senate proceeded to ascertain the classes in which the
Senators of the State of Ohio should be inserted, as the constitution and
rule heretofore adopted prescribe; and it was ordered, that two lots,
No. 2 and a blank, be by the Secretary rolled up and put in the ballot
box; and it was understood that the Senator who should draw the lot No.
2 should be inserted in the class of Senators whose terms of service
respectively expire in four years from and after the third day of March,
1803, in order to equalize the classes.

Accordingly, Mr. WORTHINGTON drew lot No. 2, and Mr. JOHN SMITH drew the
blank.

It was then agreed that two lots, Nos. 1 and 3, should be by the
Secretary rolled up and put into the ballot-box, and one of these
be drawn by Mr. JOHN SMITH, the Senator from the State of Ohio, not
classed; and it was understood that, if he should draw lot No. 1, he
should be inserted in the class of Senators whose terms of service will
respectively expire in two years from and after the third day of March,
1803; but, if he should draw lot No. 3, it was understood that he should
be inserted in the class of Senators whose terms respectively expire in
six years from and after the third day of March, 1803. Mr. JOHN SMITH
drew lot No. 3, and is classed accordingly.


FRIDAY, December 16.

_Importation of Slaves._

The Senate took into consideration the motion made yesterday, that
a committee be appointed to inquire whether any, and, if any, what
amendments ought to be made in the act, entitled “An act to prevent the
importation of certain persons into certain States, by the laws whereof
their admission is prohibited,” and that the committee have leave to
report by bill or otherwise; and the motion was adopted; and

_Ordered_, That Messrs. FRANKLIN, VENABLE, and I. SMITH, be this
committee.


MONDAY, December 19.

_Admissions on the Floor._

The Senate took into consideration the motion made on the 16th instant,
that no person be admitted on the floor of the Senate Chamber except
members of the House of Representatives, foreign ministers, and the Heads
of Departments, unless introduced by a member of the Senate.

On motion, it was agreed to strike out the words “unless introduced by a
member of the Senate;” and on motion, it was agreed to subjoin, after the
word “Departments,” “and Judges of the Supreme and District Courts of the
United States.”

On motion to insert after the word “States,” “and the ladies,” it passed
in the negative--yeas 12, nays 16, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Breckenridge, Brown, Dayton, Jackson,
    Maclay, Potter, I. Smith, S. Smith, Tracy, White, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Armstrong, Bailey, Baldwin, Bradley,
    Cocke, Condit, Ellery, Franklin, Hillhouse, Olcott, Pickering,
    Plumer, J. Smith, Venable, and Worthington.

On motion to insert after the word “States,” “the Governors and
Councillors of the respective States, and the Representatives of the
State Legislatures,” it passed in the negative--yeas 13, nays 15, as
follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Bailey, Breckenridge,
    Dayton, Maclay, Potter, I. Smith, S. Smith, Tracy, Venable,
    Worthington, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley, Brown, Cocke,
    Condit, Ellery, Franklin, Hillhouse, Jackson, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, J. Smith, and White.

On motion to agree to the resolution amended as follows:

    _Resolved_, That no person be admitted on the floor of the
    Senate Chamber, except members of the House of Representatives,
    foreign ministers, and Heads of Departments, and Judges of the
    Supreme and District Courts of the United States:

It was determined in the negative--yeas 7, nays 21, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Bailey, Condit, Dayton, Franklin,
    Jackson, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley,
    Breckenridge, Brown, Cocke, Ellery, Hillhouse, Maclay, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, Potter, I. Smith, S. Smith, Tracy, Venable,
    White, and Worthington.


FRIDAY, December 30.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

Mr. BRECKENRIDGE, from the committee appointed, on the 5th instant, for
that purpose, reported a bill erecting Louisiana into two Territories,
and providing for the temporary government thereof; and the bill was
read, and ordered to the second reading.


TUESDAY, January 3, 1804.

_Erection of Contingent Fund._

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    I now lay before the Congress the annual account of the fund
    established for defraying the contingent charges of Government.
    No occasion having arisen for making use of any part of it in
    the present year, the balance of eighteen thousand five hundred
    and sixty dollars, unexpended at the end of the last year,
    remains now in the Treasury.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    DEC. 31, 1803.

The Message and account therein referred to were read, and ordered to lie
on file.


MONDAY, January 16.

The VICE PRESIDENT communicated a letter of this date from the Hon.
THEODORUS BAILEY, resigning his seat in the Senate; which was read, and

_Ordered_, That the VICE PRESIDENT be requested to notify the Executive
of the State of New York accordingly.

_Transfer of Louisiana._

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    In execution of the act of the present session of Congress,
    for taking possession of Louisiana, as ceded to us by France,
    and for the temporary government thereof, Governor Claiborne,
    of the Mississippi Territory, and General Wilkinson, were
    appointed Commissioners to receive possession. They proceeded
    with such regular troops as had been assembled at Fort
    Adams, from the nearest posts, and with some militia of the
    Mississippi Territory, to New Orleans. To be prepared for any
    thing unexpected which might arise out of the transaction, a
    respectable body of militia was ordered to be in readiness in
    the States of Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and a part of
    those of Tennessee was moved on to the Natchez. No occasion,
    however, arose for their services. Our Commissioners, on their
    arrival at New Orleans, found the province already delivered
    by the Commissioners of Spain to that of France, who delivered
    it over to them on the 20th day of December, as appears by
    their declaratory act accompanying this. Governor Claiborne
    being duly invested with the powers heretofore exercised
    by the Governor and Intendant of Louisiana, assumed the
    government on the same day, and, for the maintenance of law
    and order, immediately issued the proclamation and address now
    communicated.

    On this important acquisition, so favorable to the immediate
    interests of our western citizens, so auspicious to the
    peace and security of the nation in general, which adds to
    our country territories so extensive and fertile, and to our
    citizens new brethren to partake of the blessings of freedom
    and self-government, I offer to Congress and our country my
    sincere congratulations.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    JANUARY 16, 1804.

The Message and papers therein referred to were read.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana into
two Territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof.

On motion to amend the fourth section of the bill, by inserting the
following words at the end thereof:

    “The Legislative Council, a majority of the whole number
    concurring therein, shall have power to elect, by ballot, a
    delegate to Congress, who shall have a seat in the House of
    Representatives, and shall have the right of debating, but not
    of voting:”

It passed in the negative--yeas 12, nays 18, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Breckenridge, Cocke, Ellery, Logan,
    Nicholas, Potter, Israel Smith, John Smith, Samuel Smith,
    Venable, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley, Brown,
    Condit, Dayton, Franklin, Hillhouse, Jackson, Maclay, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, Stone, Tracy, Wells, and White.

On motion to strike out the fourth section of the bill, as follows:

    “SEC. 4. The legislative powers shall be vested in the
    Governor, and in twenty-four of the most fit and discreet
    persons of the Territory, to be called the Legislative Council,
    who shall be selected annually by the Governor from among those
    holding real estate therein, and who shall have resided one
    year at least in the said Territory, and hold no office of
    profit under the Territory, or the United States. The Governor,
    by and with the advice and consent of the said Legislative
    Council, or of a majority of them, shall have power to alter,
    modify, or repeal, the laws which may be in force at the
    commencement of this act. Their legislative powers shall also
    extend to all the rightful subjects of legislation; but no law
    shall be valid which is inconsistent with the Constitution of
    the United States, with the laws of Congress, or which shall
    lay any person under restraint, burden, or disability, on
    account of his religious opinions, declarations, or worship;
    in all which he shall be free to maintain his own, and not
    be burdened for those of another. The Governor shall publish
    throughout the said Territory all the laws which shall be
    made, and shall, from time to time, report the same to the
    President of the United States, to be laid before Congress;
    which, if disapproved of by Congress, shall thenceforth be of
    no force. The Governor or Legislative Council shall have no
    power over the primary disposal of the soil, nor to tax the
    lands of the United States, nor to interfere with the claims
    to land within the said Territory. The Governor shall convene,
    prorogue, and dissolve the Legislative Council whenever he
    may deem it expedient. It shall be his duty to obtain all the
    information in his power in relation to the customs, habits,
    and dispositions, of the inhabitants of the said Territory, and
    communicate the same, from time to time, to the President of
    the United States.”

It passed in the negative--yeas 12, nays 18, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Cocke, Hillhouse, Olcott,
    Plumer, Stone, Tracy, Venable, Wells, White, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley, Breckenridge,
    Brown, Condit, Dayton, Ellery, Franklin, Jackson, Logan,
    Maclay, Nicholas, Pickering, Potter, Israel Smith, John Smith,
    and Samuel Smith.


TUESDAY, January 17.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana into
two Territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof; and
on the question to amend the following clause of the fifth section:

“In all criminal prosecutions which are capital, the trial shall be by a
jury of twelve good and lawful men of the vicinage,” by striking out the
words “which are capital.”

It passed in the negative--yeas 11, nays 16, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Cocke, Logan, Maclay, Plumer,
    Stone, Tracy, Wells, White, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bradley, Breckenridge, Condit, Dayton,
    Ellery, Franklin, Jackson, Nicholas, Olcott, Pickering, Potter,
    Israel Smith, John Smith, Samuel Smith, and Venable.

And after progress, on motion,

_Ordered_, That the consideration of this bill be further postponed.

After the adjournment of the High Court of Impeachments, the Senate
adjourned.


MONDAY, January 23.

The VICE PRESIDENT being absent on account of the ill state of his
health, the Senate proceeded to the election of a President _pro
tempore_, as the constitution provides; and the ballots having been
collected and counted, a majority thereof was for the Honorable JOHN
BROWN, who was accordingly elected President of the Senate _pro tempore_.

Mr. LOGAN presented the memorial of the American Convention for promoting
the abolition of slavery, and improving the condition of the African
race, signed Matthew Franklin, president, praying that such laws may be
enacted as shall prohibit the introduction of slaves into the Territory
of Louisiana, lately ceded to the United States; and the petition was
read.


TUESDAY, January 24.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana into
two Territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof; and
on motion to strike out of the fourth section, from the word “annually,”
line fourth, to the words “United States,” line seventh, the words, “by
the Governor, from among those holding real estate therein, and who
shall have resided one year, at least, in the said Territory, and hold
no office of profit under the Territory or the United States,” for the
purpose of inserting the words following:

    “The Governor shall lay off and divide the territory aforesaid
    into twenty-four convenient districts, from each of which
    districts there shall be chosen, annually, by the housekeepers
    resident therein, two of the most fit and discreet persons, who
    shall also be residents therein and landholders, and holding
    no office of profit under the territorial government, or that
    of the United States, and make a return of their names to
    the Governor, out of which number the Governor shall select
    twenty-four, to wit, one from each district. But if any of the
    districts should refuse or neglect to make such appointment for
    one month after the time appointed by the Governor for making
    the said elections, he shall then have the power of selecting
    from each district, so refusing or neglecting, one fit person
    for the purposes aforesaid.”

On this, a division on the question was called for, and that it be taken
on striking out.

Whereupon, the yeas and nays being required by one-fifth of the Senators
present, on striking out, it passed in the negative--yeas 15, nays 14, as
follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Breckenridge, Cocke, Condit,
    Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Plumer, John Smith, Stone, Tracy,
    Venable, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley, Brown, Dayton,
    Ellery, Franklin, Jackson, Nicholas, Olcott, Pickering, Potter,
    Israel Smith, and Samuel Smith.


THURSDAY, January 26.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana into
two Territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof;
and a motion was made to amend the bill, by inserting the following as
section eighth:

    “That it shall not be lawful for any person or persons to
    import or bring into the said Territory, from any port or place
    without the limits of the United States, or to cause or procure
    to be so imported or brought, or knowingly to aid or assist
    in so importing or bringing any slave or slaves; and every
    person so offending, and being thereof convicted, before any
    court within the said Territory, having competent jurisdiction,
    shall forfeit and pay, for each and every slave so imported or
    brought, the sum of ---- dollars, one moiety for the use of the
    United States, and the other moiety for the use of the person
    who shall sue for the same; and every slave so imported or
    brought shall thereupon become entitled to, and receive his or
    her freedom.”

Whereupon, a motion was made to amend the amendment by striking out,
after the words “port or place,” the words “without the limits of the
United States,” and insert in lieu thereof, “for sale.”

A division of the question was called for, and that it be taken on
striking out; and, on the question, Shall the words be struck out? it
passed in the negative,--yeas 6, nays 22, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Bradley, Ellery, Jackson, Israel Smith,
    and Samuel Smith.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Armstrong, Breckenridge, Brown,
    Cocke, Condit, Franklin, Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Nicholas,
    Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, Potter, John Smith, Stone, Venable,
    Wells, White, and Worthington.

On motion to agree to the original amendment, it passed in the
affirmative--yeas 21, nays 6, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Breckenridge, Brown, Cocke,
    Condit, Franklin, Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Nicholas, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, Potter, John Smith, Stone, Venable, Wells,
    White, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Baldwin, Bradley, Ellery, Jackson, and
    Israel Smith.


MONDAY, January 30.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana into
two Territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof; and
a motion was made to amend the bill, by adding the following to the new
section, adopted as section eighth:

    “_And be it further enacted_, That no male person brought into
    said Territory of Louisiana, from any parts of the United
    States or Territories thereof, or from any province or colony
    of America belonging to any foreign Prince or State, after the
    ---- day of ---- next, ought or can be holden by law to serve
    for more than the term of one year, any person as a servant,
    slave, or apprentice, after he attains the age of twenty-one
    years; nor female in like manner, after she attains the age of
    eighteen years, unless they are bound by their own voluntary
    act, after they arrive to such age, or bound by law for the
    payment of debts, damages, fines, or costs: _Provided_, That
    no person held to service or labor in either of the States or
    Territories aforesaid, under the laws thereof, escaping into
    said Territory of Louisiana, shall, by any thing contained
    herein, he discharged from such service or labor, but shall be
    delivered up in the manner prescribed by law.”

It passed in the negative--yeas 11, nays 17, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Bradley, Brown, Ellery, Hillhouse, Logan,
    Olcott, Plumer, Potter, Israel Smith, Wells, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Armstrong, Baldwin,
    Breckenridge, Cocke, Condit, Dayton, Franklin, Jackson, Maclay,
    Nicholas, Pickering, John Smith, Samuel Smith, Venable, and
    White.

A motion was made to amend the bill, by adding to the end of section
eighth, last adopted, the following:

    “That it shall not be lawful for any person or persons to
    import or bring into the said Territory, from any port or place
    within the limits of the United States, or cause to, or procure
    to be so imported or brought, or knowingly to aid or assist in
    so importing or bringing any slave or slaves, which shall have
    been imported since the ---- day of ---- into any port or place
    within the limits of the United States, from any port or place
    without the limits of the United States; and every person so
    offending and being thereof convicted, before any court within
    the said Territory having competent jurisdiction, shall forfeit
    and pay, for each and every such slave so imported or brought,
    the sum of ---- dollars; one moiety for the use of the person
    or persons who shall sue for the same. And no slave or slaves
    shall directly or indirectly be introduced into said Territory,
    except by a person or persons removing into said territory for
    actual settlement, and being at the time of such removal _bona
    fide_ owner of such slave or slaves; and every slave imported
    or brought into the said Territory, contrary to the provisions
    of this act, shall thereupon be entitled to and receive his or
    her freedom.”

And a division was called for, and that the question be taken on the
first proposition, ending with the words, “sue for the same:” and, on the
question to agree to this first division of the amendment, it passed in
the affirmative--yeas 21, nays 7, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Bradley, Breckenridge,
    Brown, Cocke, Franklin, Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Nicholas,
    Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, Potter, I. Smith, John Smith,
    Venable, Wells, White, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Baldwin, Condit, Dayton, Ellery, Jackson,
    and Samuel Smith.

A motion was made to strike out all that follows the word “and,” in the
second division of the amendment, for the purpose of a further amendment;
and after debate, the consideration of the subject was postponed.


TUESDAY, January 31.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana into
two Territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof;
and a motion was made to strike out the last division of the amendment
proposed yesterday, to wit:

    “And no slave or slaves shall, directly or indirectly, be
    introduced into said Territory except by a person or persons
    removing into said Territory for actual settlement, and being,
    at the time of such removal, _bona fide_ owner of such slave
    or slaves; and every slave imported or brought into the said
    Territory, contrary to the provisions of this act, shall,
    thereupon, be entitled to, and receive, his or her freedom;”
    and to insert the following:

    “No slave shall be admitted into the said Territory from the
    United States or their Territories, who shall not be the
    property of some person _bona fide_ removing from the United
    States into the said Territory, and making an actual settlement
    therein, or who shall not have passed by descent or devise to
    the person or persons claiming the same, and residing within
    the said Territory, from some person or persons deceased in
    some one of the United States or their Territories; and every
    slave who shall be brought into said Territory, otherwise than
    is hereby permitted, shall be forfeited, and may be recovered
    by any person who shall sue for the same; and the person or
    persons offending herein shall moreover forfeit and pay ----
    dollars for every slave so brought in, to be recovered by
    action of debt in any court having jurisdiction thereof; one
    moiety to the use of the United States, and the other moiety to
    the use of the person who shall sue for the same. And in any
    action instituted for the recovery of the penalty aforesaid,
    the person or persons sued may be held to special bail:”

And a division on the question was called for, and that it be taken on
striking out; and, on the question, Shall the words be stricken out? it
passed in the negative--yeas 13, nays 15, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Baldwin, Breckenridge,
    Cocke, Condit, Jackson, Nicholas, John Smith, Samuel Smith,
    Stone, Venable, and Wells.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Bradley, Brown, Ellery, Franklin,
    Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, Potter,
    Israel Smith, Worthington, and Wright.


WEDNESDAY, February 1.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana into
two Territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof; and
on motion, to agree to the last division of the amendment proposed on the
30th ultimo, amended as follows:

    “And no slave or slaves shall, directly or indirectly, be
    introduced into the said Territory except by a citizen of
    the United States, removing into said Territory for actual
    settlement, and being, at the time of such removal, _bona fide_
    owner of such slave or slaves; and every slave imported or
    brought into the said Territory, contrary to the provisions of
    this act, shall thereupon be entitled to, and receive, his or
    her freedom:”

It passed in the affirmative--yeas 18, nays 11, as follows:

YEAS.--Messrs. Armstrong, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown, Cocke, Condit,
Franklin, Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Olcott, Plumer, Potter, S. Smith,
Wells, White, Worthington, and Wright.

NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Baldwin, Dayton, Ellery, Jackson,
Nicholas, Pickering, J. Smith, Stone, and Venable.


THURSDAY, February 2.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana
into two Territories, and making provision for the temporary government
thereof; and on motion to strike out the eighth section of the original
bill, amended as follows:

    “SEC. 8. The residue of the province of Louisiana, ceded to
    the United States, shall remain under the same name and form
    of government as heretofore, save only that the executive
    and judicial powers exercised by the former government of
    the province shall now be transferred to a Governor, to be
    appointed by the President of the United States: and that the
    powers exercised by the commandant of a post or district shall
    be hereafter vested in a civil officer, to be appointed by the
    President in the recess of the Senate, but to be nominated
    at the next meeting thereof for their advice and consent;
    under the orders of which commandant the officers, troops,
    and militia of his station shall be; who, in cases where the
    military have been used, under the laws heretofore existing,
    shall act by written orders and not in person; and the salary
    of the said officers, respectively, shall not exceed the rate
    of ---- dollars per annum. The President of the United States,
    however, may unite the districts of two or more commandants of
    posts into one, where their proximity or ease of intercourse
    will permit without injury to the inhabitants thereof. The
    Governor shall receive an annual salary of ---- dollars,
    payable quarter-yearly at the Treasury of the United States:”

It passed in the affirmative--yeas 16, nays 9, as follows:

YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Armstrong, Breckenridge, Cocke, Condit,
Franklin, Hillhouse, Maclay, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, J. Smith, Stone,
Venable, and Worthington.

NAYS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Brown, Dayton, Ellery, Jackson, Nicholas, Potter,
S. Smith, and Wright.


TUESDAY, February 7.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill erecting Louisiana
into two Territories, and making provision for the temporary government
thereof, and agreed to sundry amendments; and on motion to agree to a
further amendment, as follows:

    “SEC. 7. All free male white persons, who are housekeepers,
    and who shall have resided one year at least in the said
    Territory, shall be qualified to serve as grand or petit jurors
    in the courts of the said Territory; and they shall, until the
    Legislature thereof shall otherwise direct, be selected in such
    manner as the judges of the said courts, respectively, shall
    prescribe, so as to be most conducive to an impartial trial,
    and to be least burdensome to the inhabitants of the said
    Territory:”

A motion was made to strike out from the beginning, to the words “and
they,” inclusive, for the purpose of inserting, “persons to serve as
grand and petit jurors in the courts of the said Territory.”

A division of the question was called for, and that it first be taken on
striking out; and on the question, Shall these words be struck out? it
was passed in the negative--yeas 10, nays 18, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Bradley, Brown, Hillhouse, Logan, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, John Smith, and Stone.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Breckenridge, Baldwin,
    Cocke, Condit, Ellery, Franklin, Jackson, Maclay, Nicholas,
    Potter, Samuel Smith, Sumter, Venable, Wells, Worthington, and
    Wright.

On the question to agree to the original motion, it passed in the
affirmative--yeas 21, nays 7, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Breckenridge, Baldwin,
    Cocke, Condit, Ellery, Franklin, Jackson, Logan, Maclay,
    Nicholas, Potter, Samuel Smith, Stone, Sumter, Venable, Wells,
    Worthington, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Bradley, Hillhouse, Olcott, Pickering,
    Plumer, and John Smith.


FRIDAY, February 17.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the third reading of the bill erecting Louisiana
into two Territories, and making provision for the temporary government
thereof; and on motion to amend the bill, by striking out of section
10th, the words:

    “And no slave or slaves shall, directly or indirectly, be
    introduced into said Territory, except by a citizen of
    the United States removing into said Territory for actual
    settlement, and being at the time of such removal _bona fide_
    owner of such slave or slaves:”

It passed in the negative--yeas 9, nays 19, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Baldwin, Cocke, Dayton, Nicholas, John
    Smith, Stone, Venable, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Armstrong, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown, Condit,
    Ellery, Franklin, Hillhouse, Jackson, Logan, Maclay, Olcott,
    Plumer, Potter, Israel Smith, Samuel Smith, Sumter, Wells, and
    White.

On motion to expunge from the same section, after the word “slaves,” the
words “and every slave imported or brought into said Territory, contrary
to the provisions of this act, shall thereupon be entitled to and receive
his or her freedom:”

It passed in the negative--yeas 11, nays 17, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Baldwin, Breckenridge,
    Cocke, Dayton, Jackson, Nicholas, Stone, Sumter, and Venable.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Bradley, Brown, Condit, Ellery, Franklin,
    Hillhouse, Logan, Maclay, Olcott, Plumer, Potter, Israel Smith,
    John Smith, Samuel Smith, Wells, White, and Wright.

On motion to insert, in the same section, line 3d, after the word
“States,” the words “or from any State authorizing the importation of
slaves from any foreign port or place:”

It passed in the negative--yeas 8, nays 13, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Brown, Hillhouse, Logan, Olcott, Plumer, John
    Smith, White, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley,
    Breckenridge, Cocke, Condit, Dayton, Ellery, Franklin, Jackson,
    Maclay, Nicholas, Potter, Israel Smith, Samuel Smith, Sumter,
    and Venable.

And having further amended the bill, and filled the blanks, it was agreed
that the question on its final passage be postponed until to-morrow.


SATURDAY, February 18.

_Erection of Louisiana into two Territories._

The Senate resumed the third reading of the bill erecting Louisiana
into two Territories, and making provision for the temporary government
thereof; and on the question to agree to the final passage of this bill,
it was determined in the affirmative--yeas 20, nays 5, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley,
    Breckenridge, Brown, Cocke, Condit, Ellery, Franklin, Jackson,
    Logan, Maclay, Nicholas, Potter, John Smith, Samuel Smith,
    Sumter, Venable, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Hillhouse, Olcott, Plumer, and Stone.

So it was _Resolved_, That this bill pass, that it be engrossed, and that
the title thereof be “An act erecting Louisiana into two Territories, and
making provision for the temporary government thereof.”[6]


THURSDAY, February 23.

JOHN SMITH, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of New
York, in the room of De Witt Clinton, took his seat in the Senate,
and his credentials were read, and the oath prescribed by law was
administered to him by the President.


FRIDAY, February 24.

Agreeably to the resolution of yesterday, the Senate proceeded to elect
a doorkeeper, or assistant to James Mathers, Sergeant-at-Arms; and Henry
Timms was appointed.


SATURDAY, February 25.

JOHN ARMSTRONG, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
New York, in the room of Theodorus Bailey, took his seat in the Senate,
and his credentials were read, and the oath prescribed by law was
administered to him by the President.


SATURDAY, March 10.

_Election of President of the Senate, pro tem._

The VICE PRESIDENT being absent, the Senate proceeded to the election
of a President _pro tempore_, as the constitution prescribes, and the
ballots having been collected and counted, a majority thereof was for the
Honorable JESSE FRANKLIN, who was accordingly elected President of the
Senate _pro tempore_.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary wait on the President of the United States,
and acquaint him that the Senate have, in the absence of the VICE
PRESIDENT, elected the honorable JESSE FRANKLIN President of the Senate
_pro tempore_.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary make a like communication to the House of
Representatives.


TUESDAY, March 13.

_Impeachment of Judge Chase._

A message from the House of Representatives, by Messrs. J. RANDOLPH and
EARLY, two of their members, was received, as follows:

“_Mr. President_: We are ordered, in the name of the House of
Representatives and of all the People of the United States, to impeach
Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the
United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors; and to acquaint the
Senate that the House of Representatives will, in due time, exhibit
particular articles of impeachment against him, and make good the same.

“We are also ordered to demand that the Senate take order for the
appearance of the said Samuel Chase, to answer to the said impeachment.”

_Turnpike Road to the Ohio._

The Senate took into consideration the amendment reported by the
committee to the bill, entitled “An act authorizing the appointment of
Commissioners to explore the routes most eligible for opening certain
public roads;” and on the question to agree to the said amendment, as
follows:

Strike out, in the first section, after the word “proceed,” in the fourth
line, to the word “and,” in the seventh line, and insert, “to explore and
designate the most eligible route for a turnpike road, to lead from Fort
Cumberland, on the Potomac, to Wheeling, on the Ohio.”

It passed in the negative--yeas 13, nays 15, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Breckenridge, Cocke, Dayton, Franklin,
    Pickering, Israel Smith, John Smith of Ohio, Samuel Smith,
    Stone, Sumter, Worthington, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley, Ellery,
    Hillhouse, Jackson, Logan, Maclay, Nicholas, Olcott, Plumer,
    John Smith of New York, Venable, and White.

_Ordered_, That the bill be recommitted, and that Messrs. NICHOLAS,
WORTHINGTON, and DAYTON be the committee further to consider and report
thereon to the Senate.


WEDNESDAY, March 14.

_Impeachment of Judge Chase._

Mr. BALDWIN, from the committee to whom yesterday was referred the
message from the House of Representatives relative to the impeachment of
Samuel Chase, made report; which was read and adopted, as follows:

    “Whereas, the House of Representatives, on the 13th day of the
    present month, by two of their members, Messrs. John Randolph
    and Early, at the bar of the Senate, impeached Samuel Chase,
    one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the
    United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors, and acquainted
    the Senate that the House of Representatives will, in due time,
    exhibit particular articles of impeachment against him, and
    make good the same;

    “And likewise demanded that the Senate take order for the
    appearance of the said Samuel Chase to answer to the said
    impeachment. Therefore,

    “_Resolved_, That the Senate will take proper order
    thereon, of which due notice shall be given to the House of
    Representatives.”

    _Resolved_, That the Secretary of the Senate notify the House
    of this resolution.


MONDAY, March 19.

_Post Roads in States._

The Senate resumed the third reading of the bill, entitled “An act to
alter and establish certain post roads.”

On motion, to add the following after section third:

    “_And be it further enacted_, That two post roads shall be laid
    out, under the inspection of commissioners to be appointed by
    the President of the United States, one to lead from Tellico
    block-house, in the State of Tennessee, and the other from
    Jackson court-house, in the State of Georgia, by routes the
    most eligible, and as nearly direct as the nature of the ground
    will admit, to New Orleans.”

It passed in the affirmative--yeas 17, nays 10, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Baldwin, Breckenridge,
    Cocke, Dayton, Franklin, Jackson, Maclay, Nicholas, John Smith
    of Ohio, John Smith of New York, Samuel Smith, Stone, Sumter,
    Venable, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Bradley, Hillhouse, Logan, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, Israel Smith, Tracy, and White.

And, sundry other amendments having been agreed to,

_Resolved_, That this bill do pass as amended.

_Seat of Government._

The bill for the temporary removal of the seat of Government of the
United States to the city of Baltimore was taken up for its second
reading.

[The debate which took place on this occasion, had progressed to some
length before the reporter entered the House. Mr. WRIGHT was then on the
floor, and had made a motion to postpone the further consideration of the
bill until the first Monday in May.]

Mr. W. assigned as reasons for this motion, that it was not his intention
in presenting the bill, that it should pass; but that it had been offered
with the view of acting as a spur to the inhabitants of Washington to
effect a more complete accommodation of Congress. He trusted and believed
it would have that effect; and the operation of the postponement would,
by hanging the bill over their heads, most powerfully tend to produce the
desirable result of a concentration of the city, and an augmentation of
accommodation.

Mr. JACKSON followed, and, in terms of appropriate energy, condemned
the proposition of removal. He said he should not have believed, but for
the express declaration of the gentleman from Maryland, that he would
have brought forward a bill the sole object of which was to frighten the
women and children of Washington. So far from the measure having the
desired effect avowed by the gentleman, if it had any effect whatever, it
would be to shake all confidence in the Government, to repress the very
accommodation desired.

Mr. J. denied the moral right of Congress to remove the seat of
Government; it had been fixed under the constitution, and without its
violation could not be changed.

Such a measure would indicate a prostration of plighted faith; would
destroy all confidence in the Government, from one end of the continent
to the other.

Gentlemen, in favor of this measure, should know its cost. Already had
the present seat of Government, in its origination and consequences, cost
the nation the assumption of the State debts to the amount of twenty-one
millions, and between one and two millions for public accommodation.
Would gentlemen be willing not only to lose all that had been expended,
but likewise to indemnify the proprietors in the city, whose assessed
property amounted to two and a half millions of dollars, and the
proprietors of property in the whole District, the amount of which he was
unable to state?

Mr. J. concluded by saying, he should vote against the postponement,
under the expectation that the Senate would take up the bill and reject
it by a majority so great, that no similar proposition should ever again
be brought before them.

Mr. ANDERSON declared himself hostile to the postponement, as he was
in favor of the passage of the bill, under certain modifications. He
considered Congress possessed the constitutional power of altering
the seat of Government; and he believed, from an experience of the
inconveniences attending the existing seat, it was their duty to change
it. He allowed that, in such an event, an obligation would arise to
indemnify the proprietors for the losses they would thereby sustain.
This, however, he considered the lesser evil; as the sum required to
make an indemnity would be less than that required for the improvements
contemplated, and which are necessary to accommodate the Government.

Mr. COCKE declared himself decidedly inimical to the bill. The permanent
seat of Government was fixed under the constitution, and the power did
not belong to Congress to alter it.

Mr. ADAMS strenuously contended against the right of Congress to
remove the seat of Government. To do so, would be to prostrate the
national faith, and to shake the confidence of the nation in the
Government. He considered the proposed measure as inexpedient as it was
unconstitutional; as it tended directly to defeat the object of the mover.

Mr. S. SMITH said, he should vote in favor of the postponement, because
he believed, if the bill were not postponed, it would consume more time
than could, at this late period of the session, be spared, without a
serious neglect of important business before Congress. He expressed his
regret at its introduction.

The question was then taken on the motion of postponement, and decided in
the negative--yeas 3, nays 24, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. I. Smith, S. Smith, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Armstrong, Baldwin, Bradley,
    Breckenridge, Cocke, Dayton, Franklin, Jackson, Logan, Maclay,
    Nicholas, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, John Smith of Ohio, John
    Smith of New York, Stone, Sumter, Tracy, Venable, White, and
    Worthington.

The bill was then read a second time.

Mr. DAYTON said, he had been instructed by the Legislature of New
Jersey, in case any prospect presented itself of a removal of the seat
of Government, to offer, in their name, the public buildings in Trenton
for their accommodation. He, therefore, gave notice that, in case the
bill went to a third reading, he should produce his instructions, and
move the substitution of Trenton in the room of Baltimore. At the same
time, he was free to declare his opinion of the impolicy of the proposed
measure. The provision of the constitution had arisen from an experience
of the necessity of establishing a permanent seat for the Government. To
avert the evils arising from a perpetual state of mutation, and from the
agitation of the public mind whenever it is discussed, the constitution
had wisely provided for the establishment of a permanent seat, vesting
in Congress exclusive legislation over it. While he declared this as his
creed, he begged it to be understood that there were, in his opinion,
some rightful grounds of removal. There were four such, two of which
were the following: if the place should be found a grave-yard for those
who resided in it, or if the inconveniences of conducting the machine of
government should be so great as to prevent the due transaction of the
public business. For the existence of these, no fault could be attached
to the District. If, therefore, a removal took place on their account,
Congress were bound to indemnify the proprietors. There were two other
grounds of removal, which would justify a removal without indemnity, as
they would be the effect of the misconduct of the inhabitants of the
District. These were, the evidence of a turbulent spirit, endangering
the safety of Congress, and of a determined resolution, arising from a
dissatisfaction which the Government or Congress expressed in favor of a
recession.

When he stated these grounds for removal, Mr. D. said, it was not from
any apprehension of their occurrence. On the contrary, he believed the
Government in perfect safety, and he was convinced, if any hostile arm
should be raised against it, the inhabitants of Columbia would be ready
to shed their blood in its defence.

Nothing could exceed his surprise at the motives expressed by the
gentleman from Maryland for bringing forward this measure. He should
have expected, if the gentleman wished to promote the interests of the
city, he would have imitated the example of the Athenians, who, in order
to make a particular fund devoted to theatrical exhibitions sacred, had
passed a law punishing with death any man who should move to divert it
from its allotted purpose; and that the honorable gentleman, instead of
bringing forward this bill, would have introduced one punishing with
death the man who should move a change of the seat of Government; so that
he who made the attempt might know that he did it with a halter around
his neck.

Mr. MACLAY moved to strike out the words “Baltimore,” and “Maryland,” in
the first section.

Motion agreed to--ayes 14, noes 10.

Mr. M. then observed, that he would concisely state the ideas which
influenced him on this subject. For the existing inconveniences of this
place, and the want of accommodation to which Congress was exposed, he
did not consider the inhabitants of Washington in the least to blame. The
causes from which these flowed, it was not in their power to control.
They arose, in a great measure, from the city being surrounded by seats
of trade, which naturally repressed its rise here. Those inconveniences
were, he believed, of a nature not to be cured by time, and, if there
was no constitutional obstacle, it would be the best policy to remove
immediately. He contended that no constitutional obstacle did exist. On
the contrary, he was of opinion that it was the duty of the Legislature,
in case the public good required it, to remove the seat of Government.
He believed that this place would not long remain the seat. The members
of the Government will become tired of remaining here, when they are
convinced that the inconveniences which they experience will not
promote the advantage even of their posterity. The single question then
is, whether less inconvenience will be produced by an immediate or a
protracted removal. He was clearly of opinion that the inconvenience of
removing, at this time, would be less than at a future day. He concluded
by saying, that he should not, himself, have brought forward this measure
at the present time. He would have waited for more conclusive proofs of
the insuperable inconveniences attending a residence at this place, when
opinions, at present variant, would be more united.

Mr. JACKSON said, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. MACLAY) had picked
a hole in the bill, and what effect it would produce, he could not
pretend to say. If the word “Baltimore” had been suffered to remain, it
would have been rejected by a large majority.

Mr. J. then went at some length into a view of the unconstitutionality
of a removal, and the happy situation of Washington for the seat of the
Government. He said that he was far from being friendly, in the first
instance, to this measure, which might be called the hobby-horse of,
perhaps, the most illustrious man that ever lived. But, once adopted, it
became sacred in his eyes; and nothing short of an act of God, in the
shape of an earthquake, a plague, or some other fatal scourge, would
justify a removal; and, he trusted, that unless some such act occurred,
this would be the last time the measure was proposed.

The time would come, though he hoped to God neither his children nor
his children’s children would live to see it, when the population on
this side of the Mississippi would pass that river, and when the seat of
Government would be translated to its banks. Centuries would, however,
elapse before that period arrived.

Mr. ANDERSON said, there was no such word in the constitution as
“permanent,” applied to the seat of Government; nor did the constitution
prohibit the removal of it when the public interest should require it.
Believing that such would be the experience of the inconveniences of the
place, that Congress would certainly remove within five years, he was for
taking that step now. The ill accommodation of the place was manifest to
every man; nor did he believe that time would cure the evil. Such losses,
however, as should be sustained by the proprietors, he was ready to
remunerate. This was the least expensive course which could be pursued,
as to make the necessary improvements in this place will require at least
the annual sum of fifty thousand dollars for twenty years to come, and at
least thirty thousand dollars a year to keep the public buildings in a
state of repair. In addition to this immense expense was to be added, the
great loss of time which arose from the inconvenient arrangements of the
place, and the consequent expenditure of public money. For these reasons,
Mr. A. said, he should give a decided vote in favor of the bill.

Mr. JACKSON remarked, that the gentleman from Tennessee ought, in forming
his opinion of the constitutionality of removing the seat of Government,
to attend as well to the laws passed by Congress on the subject, as
to the provisions of the constitution itself. [Mr. J. here read the
article of the constitution on the subject.] He said that, according
to the rigid construction of this provision, it excluded altogether a
_temporary_ seat, after this part of the constitution was carried into
effect. Under this constitutional provision, Congress passed an act on
the 6th of July, 1790, not more than a year and a half after the first
meeting of the Legislature, and when many of the members of that body
had been members of the convention, and might, therefore, be presumed to
be the best acquainted with the true meaning of the constitution. This
act fixed a temporary and a permanent seat of Government. [Mr. J. read
it.] He then asked, can any thing be more clear and explicit? Does it not
show, in terms of unequivocal meaning, that it was the opinion of the men
best qualified to decide, that the seat of Government, once fixed under
the provision of the constitution, must be permanent? It was not then
imagined that the Government ought to be travelling about from post to
pillar, according to the prevalence of this or that party or faction. All
the ideas of that day were hostile to this wheelbarrow kind of Government.

Mr. WRIGHT contended that, while the constitution had sacredly and
irrevocably fixed the permanent seat of Government in this place,
Congress might make some other place the temporary seat.

Mr. ANDERSON said, that all that the law passed by Congress proved was,
that Congress, and not the constitution, had declared this place the
permanent seat. This law, like other laws, was subject to repeal.

Mr. ADAMS wished, on this subject, to be explicit. He asked what was the
meaning of the article of the constitution on this point, and all the
laws of Congress passed under it? From the formation of the constitution
until the removal of the Government to this place, but one sentiment
had existed, which was, that the seat of the Government once fixed
under the constitution, became the permanent seat. As to the idea of
the gentleman from Maryland, who says this is the permanent seat while
Congress are going from one place to another, he could not understand it.
The constitution says, the place fixed on by Congress, on the cession
of jurisdiction by the States, shall be the seat of Government. The
idea of a temporary seat implies, necessarily, two seats of Government.
But the expression in the constitution is “seat,” and that implies only
one seat. The reason of this provision of the constitution is obvious.
As the gentleman from Georgia has very justly observed, the Government
had been driven from post to pillar. The question, what place should be
the seat of Government, had never presented itself without enkindling
violent feelings; and it was supposed that the question would continue to
distract our public councils, until some permanent seat of Government was
fixed. To carry this into effect, the constitution interposed, and said,
ten miles square shall be given to Congress, where their power shall
be sovereign, and that shall be the seat of Government. Why give this
exclusive legislation, if their residence is not to be permanent? Would
it not be the acme of the ridiculous, for Congress to go to Philadelphia,
and still continue to exercise exclusive legislation here? Let us now
turn to the acts of Congress, and the proceedings had under them. [Mr.
A. here read the act of Congress fixing the seat of Government.] It will
appear that it was the intention of Congress that this should be the
permanent seat of the Government, from the public buildings erected. Thus
much as to the understanding of the Government. Now, as to the meaning
of Maryland and Virginia, who gave up the territory, and also gave
considerable sums of money for its improvement. Could this have possibly
been done under the contemplation that Congress would come here, and,
after staying three or four years, run off to different quarters of the
Union?

Now then, after this uniform opinion, entertained by Congress, by the
States of Maryland and Virginia, and by every man who has expressed an
opinion on the subject, until within a few years past, are we to be told
that it is possible to give a different construction to the constitution?
If any thing can fix a meaning to words, every thing which has occurred
to this day, unites to decide this the permanent seat of the Government.
These, said Mr. A., are my ideas. On the ground of expediency, if it were
admitted as applicable to the present question, I would not undertake
to say whether this is the most proper place for the residence of the
Government. Nor will I say that Congress could not, consistently, remove
in consequence of an act of God; that implies force, to which all human
institutions must give way. But, say gentlemen, if we remove, we must
indemnify the proprietors. But why indemnify if the constitution does not
make this the permanent seat of Government, as it has been understood to
be by every body until this day? Where is the propriety of indemnifying
the holders of property here, if this is not the permanent seat, more
than proprietors in Philadelphia or New York, where Congress formerly
met? This very argument, urged by the advocates of the bill, shows that
the constitution has made this the permanent seat. As to the idea of
some gentlemen, of granting millions for an indemnity, the thing is
impossible; it cannot be done; the people will not suffer it.

Mr. DAYTON replied to some of the remarks made in the course of
the debate, principally for the purpose of explaining his previous
observations.

When the question was taken, on ordering the bill to a third reading, and
passed in the negative--yeas 9, nays 19, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Breckenridge, Bradley,
    Maclay, Plumer, Stone, Tracy, and Worthington.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Baldwin, Cocke, Dayton, Franklin,
    Hillhouse, Jackson, Logan, Nicholas, Olcott, Pickering, I.
    Smith, S. Smith, J. Smith of Ohio, J. Smith of New York,
    Sumter, Venable, White, and Wright.

So the bill was lost.


TUESDAY, March 20.

_Wreck and Capture of the Frigate Philadelphia._

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    I communicate to Congress a letter from Captain Bainbridge,
    commander of the Philadelphia frigate, informing us of the
    wreck of that vessel on the coast of Tripoli, and that himself,
    his officers, and men, had fallen into the hands of the
    Tripolitans. This accident renders it expedient to increase
    our force and enlarge our expenses in the Mediterranean
    beyond what the last appropriation contemplated. I recommend,
    therefore, to the consideration of Congress, such an addition
    to that appropriation as they may think the exigency requires.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    MARCH 20, 1804.

The Message and papers therein referred to were read, and ordered to lie
for consideration.


TUESDAY, March 27.

_Adjournment._

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the
House, having finished the business before them, are about to adjourn to
the first Monday in November next.

The PRESIDENT then adjourned the Senate to the first Monday in November
next.



EIGHTH CONGRESS.--FIRST SESSION.

PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.


LIST OF REPRESENTATIVES.

_New Hampshire._--Silas Betton, Clifton Claggett, David Hough, Samuel
Hunt, Samuel Tenney.

_Vermont._--William Chamberlain, M. Chittenden, James Elliot, Gideon Olin.

_Massachusetts._--Phanuel Bishop, Jacob Crowninshield, Manasseh Cutler,
Richard Cutts, Thomas Dwight, William Eustis, Seth Hastings, Simeon
Larned, Silas Lee, Nahum Mitchell, Eben. Seaver, Tompson J. Skinner,
William Stedman, Samuel Taggart, Samuel Thatcher, Joseph B. Varnum, P.
Wadsworth, Lemuel Williams.

_Rhode Island._--Nehemiah Knight, Joseph Stanton.

_Connecticut._--Simeon Baldwin, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, Calvin
Goddard, Roger Griswold, John C. Smith, Benjamin Tallmadge.

_New York._--George Clinton, George Griswold, Josiah Hasbrouck, H. W.
Livingston, Andrew McCord, Samuel L. Mitchill, Beriah Palmer, John
Patterson, Oliver Phelps, Samuel Riker, Erastus Root, Peter Sailly,
Thomas Sammons, Joshua Sands, David Thomas, George Tibbits, Philip Van
Cortlandt, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Daniel C. Verplanck.

_New Jersey._--Adam Boyd, Ebenezer Elmer, William Helms, James Mott,
James Sloan, Henry Southard.

_Pennsylvania._--Isaac Anderson, David Bard, Robt. Brown, Thomas Bonde,
Joseph Clay, Frederick Conrad, Wm. Findlay, Andrew Gregg, John A. Hanna,
Joseph Heister, John Hoge, Michael Leib, John B. Lucas, Jno. Rea, Jacob
Richards, John Smilie, John Stewart, Isaac Van Horne, John Whitehill.

_Delaware._--Cæsar A. Rodney.

_Maryland._--John Archer, Walter Bowie, John Campbell, John Dennis,
William McCreery, Nicholas E. Moore, Joseph H. Nicholson, Thomas Plater.

_Virginia._--Thomas Claiborne, Matthew Clay, John Clopton, John Dawson,
John W. Eppes, Edwin Gray, Thomas Griffin, David Holmes, John Geo.
Jackson, Walter Jones, Joseph Lewis, Andrew Moore, Anthony New, Thomas
Newton, John Randolph, Thomas M. Randolph, John Smith, James Stephenson,
Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg, Alexander Wilson.

_North Carolina._--N. Alexander, Willis Alston, jr., Wm. S. Blackledge,
James Gillespie, James Holland, William Kennedy, Nathaniel Macon, Samuel
D. Purviance, Richard Stanford, Marmaduke Williams, Joseph Winston,
Thomas Wynns.

_South Carolina._--William Butler, Levi Casey, John B. Earle, Wade
Hampton, Benjamin Huger, Thomas Lowndes, Thomas Moore, Richard Wynn.

_Georgia._--Joseph Bryan, Peter Early, Samuel Hammond, Daniel Meriwether.

_Mississippi._--William Lattimore.

_Tennessee._--G. W. Campbell, Wm. Dickson, John Rhea.

_Kentucky._--Geo. M. Bedinger, John Boyle, John Fowler, Matthew Lyon,
Thomas Sanford, Matthew Walton.

_Ohio._--Jeremiah Morrow.


MONDAY, October 17, 1803.

This being the day appointed by a Proclamation of the President of
the United States, of the sixteenth of July last, for the meeting of
Congress, the following members of the House of Representatives appeared,
produced their credentials, and took their seats, to wit:

_From New Hampshire_--Silas Betton, Clifton Claggett, David Hough,
Samuel Hunt, and Samuel Tenney.

_From Massachusetts_--Phanuel Bishop, Manasseh Cutler, Jacob
Crowninshield, Richard Cutts, Thomas Dwight, William Eustis, Seth
Hastings, Nahum Mitchell, Ebenezer Seaver, William Stedman, Samuel
Taggart, Joseph B. Varnum, Peleg Wadsworth, and Lemuel Williams.

_From Rhode Island_--Nehemiah Knight, and Joseph Stanton.

_From Connecticut_--Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, Calvin Goddard, Roger
Griswold, and John C. Smith.

_From Vermont_--William Chamberlin, Martin Chittenden, James Elliot, and
Gideon Olin.

_From New York_--Gaylord Griswold, Josiah Hasbrouck, Henry W. Livingston,
Andrew McCord, Samuel L. Mitchill, Beriah Palmer, Thomas Sammons, Joshua
Sands, David Thomas, Philip Van Cortlandt, and Daniel C. Verplanck.

_From Pennsylvania_--Isaac Anderson, David Bard, Robert Brown, Joseph
Clay, Frederick Conrad, William Findlay, Andrew Gregg, John A. Hanna,
Joseph Heister, William Hoge, Michael Leib, John Rea, Jacob Richards,
John Smilie, John Stewart, Isaac Van Horne, and John Whitehill.

_From Delaware_--Cæsar A. Rodney.

_From Maryland_--John Campbell, Wm. McCreery, Nicholas R. Moore, Joseph
H. Nicholson, and Thomas Plater.

_From Virginia_--Thomas Claiborne, Matthew Clay, John Dawson, John W.
Eppes, Peterson Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, Thomas Griffin, David Holmes, John
G. Jackson, Walter Jones, Joseph Lewis, jun., Thomas Lewis, Anthony New,
Thomas Newton, jun., John Randolph, jun., Thomas M. Randolph, John Smith,
James Stephenson, and Philip R. Thompson.

_From Kentucky_--George Michael Bedinger, John Boyle, John Fowler,
Matthew Lyon, Thomas Sanford, and Matthew Walton.

_From North Carolina_--Nathaniel Alexander, Willis Alston, jun., William
Blackledge, James Holland, William Kennedy, Nathaniel Macon, Richard
Stanford, Marmaduke Williams, Joseph Winston, and Thomas Wynns.

_From Tennessee_--George Washington Campbell, William Dickson, and John
Rhea.

_From South Carolina_--William Butler, Levi Casey, John Earle, Wade
Hampton, Benjamin Huger, Thomas Moore, and Richard Winn.

_From Ohio_--Jeremiah Morrow.

And a quorum, consisting of a majority of the whole number, being
present, the House proceeded, by ballot, to the choice of a Speaker; and
upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the whole House
was found to be in favor of NATHANIEL MACON, one of the Representatives
from the State of North Carolina: Whereupon, Mr. MACON was conducted
to the chair, from whence he made his acknowledgments to the House, as
follows:

    “_Gentlemen_: Accept my unfeigned thanks for the honor which
    you have conferred on me. The task which you have assigned
    me will be undertaken with great diffidence, but my utmost
    endeavors shall be exerted to discharge the duties of the Chair
    with fidelity. In executing the rules and orders of the House,
    I shall rely with confidence on the liberal and candid support
    of the House.”

The House proceeded, in the same manner, to the appointment of a Clerk;
and upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the whole
House was found in favor of JOHN BECKLEY.

The oath to support the Constitution of the United States, as prescribed
by the act entitled “An act to regulate the time and manner of
administering certain oaths,” was administered by Mr. NICHOLSON, one of
the Representatives from the State of Maryland, to the SPEAKER; and then
the same oath or affirmation was administered by Mr. SPEAKER to all the
members present.

WILLIAM LATTIMORE having also appeared, as the Delegate from the
Mississippi Territory, the said oath was administered to him by the
SPEAKER.

The same oath, together with the oath of office prescribed by the said
recited act, was also administered by Mr. SPEAKER to the Clerk.

_Ordered_, That a message be sent to the Senate, to inform them that a
quorum of this House is assembled, and have elected NATHANIEL MACON, one
of the Representatives for North Carolina, their Speaker; and that the
Clerk of this House do go with the said message.

A message from the Senate informed the House that a quorum of the Senate
is assembled, and ready to proceed to business; and that, in the absence
of the VICE PRESIDENT of the United States, the Senate have elected the
Honorable JOHN BROWN their President, _pro tempore_.

_Resolved_, That Mr. J. RANDOLPH, jun., Mr. R. GRISWOLD, and Mr.
NICHOLSON, be appointed a committee on the part of this House, jointly,
with such committee as may be appointed on the part of the Senate, to
wait on the President of the United States, and inform him that a quorum
of the two Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any communications
he may be pleased to make to them.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have
appointed a committee on their part, jointly, with the committee
appointed on the part of this House, to wait on the President of the
United States, and inform him that a quorum of the two Houses is
assembled, and ready to receive any communications he may be pleased to
make to them.

_Resolved_, That unless otherwise ordered, the daily hour to which the
House shall stand adjourned, during the present session, be eleven
o’clock in the forenoon.

Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH, Jr., from the joint committee appointed to wait on the
President of the United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two
Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any communication he may be
pleased to make to them, reported that the committee had performed that
service, and that the President had signified to them that he would make
a communication to this House, to-day, in writing.

A communication was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES to
the two Houses of Congress. The said communication was read, and referred
to the committee of the whole House on the state of the Union. [See
Senate proceedings of this date, for the Message, _ante_ page 4.]


TUESDAY, October 18.

Several other members, to wit: from Pennsylvania, JOHN B. C. LUCAS;
from Maryland, DANIEL HEISTER; from Virginia, JOHN CLOPTON, and JOHN
TRIGG; from North Carolina, SAMUEL D. PURVIANCE; and from Georgia, DAVID
MERIWETHER, appeared, produced their credentials, were qualified, and
took their seats in the House;

_President’s Message._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the state of
the Union; and, after some time spent therein, the Committee rose and
reported the following resolutions:

    1. _Resolved_, That so much of the President’s Message as
    relates to the regulations proper to be observed by foreign
    armed vessels within the jurisdiction of the United States; to
    the restraining of our citizens from entering into the service
    of the belligerent powers of Europe; and to the exacting from
    all nations the observance, towards our vessels and citizens,
    of those principles and practices which all civilized people
    acknowledge; be referred to a select committee.

    2. _Resolved_, That so much of the President’s Message as
    relates to the adopting of measures for preventing the flag
    of the United States from being used by vessels not really
    American, be referred to the Committee of Commerce and
    Manufactures.

    3. _Resolved_, as the opinion of this committee, That so much
    of the Message of the President of the United States as relates
    to our finances, ought to be referred to the Committee of Ways
    and Means.

The House proceeded to consider the said resolutions, and the same being
again read, were agreed to by the House.

_Ordered_, That Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH, jr., Mr. NICHOLAS R. MOORE, Mr.
GAYLORD GRISWOLD, Mr. CROWNINSHIELD, Mr. BLACKLEDGE, Mr. RODNEY, and Mr.
JOHN RHEA, of Tennessee, be appointed a committee pursuant to the first
resolution.


WEDNESDAY, October 19.

Another member, to wit, PETER EARLY, from Georgia, appeared, produced his
credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.

_Mourning for Samuel Adams._

Mr. J. RANDOLPH observed that it had lately been announced to the public
that one of the earliest patriots of the Revolution had paid his last
debt to nature. He had hoped that some other gentleman, better qualified
for the task, would have undertaken to call the attention of the House to
this interesting event. It could not, indeed, be a matter of deep regret
that one of the first statesmen of our country has descended to the grave
full of years and full of honors; that his character and fame were put
beyond the reach of that time and chance to which every thing mortal is
exposed; but it became the House to cherish a sentiment of veneration for
such men--since such men are rare--and to keep alive the spirit to which
they owed the constitution under which they were then deliberating. This
great man, the associate of Hancock, shared with him the honor of being
proscribed by a flagitious ministry, whose object was to triumph over the
liberties of their country, by trampling on those of her colonies. With
his great compatriot he made an early and decided stand against British
encroachment, whilst souls more timid were trembling and irresolute. It
is the glorious privilege of minds of this stamp to give an impulse to a
people and fix the destiny of nations.

Mr. R. said, that he felt himself every way unequal to the attempt of
doing justice to the merits of their departed countryman. Called upon by
the occasion to say something, he could not have said less. He would not,
by any poor eulogium of his, enfeeble the sentiment which pervaded the
House, but content himself with moving the following resolution:

    _Resolved, unanimously_, That this House is penetrated with a
    full sense of the eminent services rendered to his country in
    the most arduous times by the late Samuel Adams, deceased; and
    that the members thereof wear crape on the left arm for one
    month, in testimony of the national gratitude and reverence
    towards the memory of that undaunted and illustrious patriot.

Mr. ELLIOTT spoke as follows:

Mr. Speaker: If any apology could be necessary for a new member,
unversed in Parliamentary proceedings, to offer for rising so early in
the session, it would be, that the topic which arrests his attention is
connected with the illustrious and ever memorable name of Samuel Adams.
The eloquence of the gentleman from Virginia I shall not attempt to
rival; his remarks were peculiarly impressive, and the more so from
his remarking that he was unable to do justice to the subject. I have
been extremely affected by his calling the attention of the House to
the circumstance that the name of that patriot was united with that
of John Hancock, in an exemption from the general pardon which the
British Government offered to those American revolutionists, whom they
dared to style rebels. The longer I should address the House upon this
subject, the more feeble would be my language, as the greater would be my
sensibility. I shall, therefore, only further observe, that I shall most
cordially support the motion of the gentleman from Virginia.

The question was then taken up on Mr. RANDOLPH’s motion: which was agreed
to unanimously.

Mr. NICHOLSON observed that, on occasions like the present, it had been
usual for the House to adjourn. He, therefore, moved an adjournment;
which was carried.


THURSDAY, October 20.

Several other members, to wit: from Massachusetts, SAMUEL THATCHER; from
New York, JOHN SMITH; and from Maryland, JOHN ARCHER, appeared, produced
their credentials, were qualified, and took their seats in the House.

The House then proceeded, by ballot, to the appointment of a Chaplain to
Congress, on the part of this House; and, upon examining the ballots, a
majority of the votes of the whole House was found in favor of the Rev.
WILLIAM PARKINSON.


FRIDAY, October 21.

Two other members, to wit: from New York, JOHN PATTERSON and ERASTUS
ROOT, appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats in the
House.

_Resolved_, That the resolution of the tenth of December, one thousand
eight hundred and one, authorizing Thomas Claxton to employ an additional
assistant, two servants, and two horses, be, and the same is hereby,
continued in force during this and the next session: and that the said
Thomas Claxton be allowed a further sum of one dollar and twenty-five
cents, to be paid in like manner, to enable him to increase the number of
his attendants.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have
appointed the Rev. Dr. GANTT, a Chaplain to Congress, on their part.


SATURDAY, October 22.

_Appropriation for the Louisiana Treaty._

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    In my communication to you of the 17th instant, I informed you
    that conventions had been entered into with the Government of
    France for the cession of Louisiana to the United States.
    These, with the advice and consent of the Senate, having now
    been ratified, and my ratification exchanged for that of the
    First Consul of France, in due form, they are communicated to
    you for consideration in your legislative capacity. You will
    observe that some important conditions cannot be carried into
    execution, but with the aid of the Legislature; and that time
    presses a decision on them without delay.

    The ulterior provisions, also suggested in the same
    communication, for the occupation and government of the
    country, will call for early attention. Such information
    relative to its government, as time and distance have permitted
    me to obtain, will be ready to be laid before you within a
    few days. But, as permanent arrangements for this object may
    require time and deliberation, it is for your consideration
    whether you will not, forthwith, make such temporary provisions
    for the preservation, in the meanwhile, of order and
    tranquillity in the country, as the case may require.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    OCT. 21, 1803.

Mr. HUGER hoped the reading of the treaty and conventions would be
dispensed with, and that they would be printed for the use of the members.

Mr. RANDOLPH hoped they would be read.

The reading of course was proceeded with, which being finished,

Mr. RANDOLPH moved a reference of the Message, and of the documents
accompanying it, to the whole House on Monday; which motion was agreed to
without a division.

Mr. RANDOLPH begged leave to submit a resolution, arising out of the
Message, which he hoped would be considered at that time, for the purpose
of referring it to the same committee to whom had been just referred the
Message:

    _Resolved_, That provision ought to be made for carrying into
    effect the treaty and convention concluded at Paris on the
    30th April, 1803, between the United States of America and the
    French Republic.

Referred to the same committee, without a division.


MONDAY, October 24.

_The Louisiana Treaty._

Mr. GRISWOLD moved the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That the President of the United States be
    requested to cause to be laid before this House a copy of the
    treaty between the French Republic and Spain, of the first
    of October, one thousand eight hundred, together with a copy
    of the deed of cession from Spain, executed in pursuance of
    the same treaty, conveying Louisiana to France, (if any such
    deed exists;) also copies of such correspondence between the
    Government of the United States and the Government or Minister
    of Spain, (if any such correspondence has taken place,) as
    will show the assent or dissent of Spain to the purchase of
    Louisiana by the United States; together with copies of such
    other documents as may be in the Department of State, or any
    other Department of this Government, tending to ascertain
    whether the United States have, in fact, acquired any title to
    the province of Louisiana by the treaties with France of the
    thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three.

Mr. GRISWOLD said that, by adverting to the Message of the President
respecting the treaty and conventions lately concluded between the United
States and the French Government, he found that the President, speaking
on the subject, observes: “As permanent arrangements for this object
require time and deliberation, it is for your consideration whether you
will not forthwith make such temporary provisions for the preservation,
in the meanwhile, of order and tranquillity in the country, as the case
may require.” He recommends to the immediate attention of Congress the
passage of some temporary laws. This being the case, and the subject
being about to be brought before the House, it became important that
they should know distinctly what they had obtained by the treaty; and
whether there were any territory belonging to the United States to take
possession of, or any new subjects to govern. Inasmuch as if no new
territory or subjects were acquired, it was perfectly idle to pass even
temporary laws for the occupation of the one, or the government of the
other.

In the treaty lately concluded with France, the treaty between France
and Spain is referred to; only a part of it is copied. The treaty
referred to must be a public treaty. In the nature of things it must
be the title-deed for the province of Louisiana. The Government must
have a copy of it. As there is but a part recited, it is evidently
imperfect. It becomes therefore necessary to be furnished with the whole,
in order to ascertain the conditions relative to the Duke of Parma; it
also becomes necessary to get the deed of cession; for the promise to
cede is no cession. This deed of cession, Mr. G. also presumed, was in
the possession of Government. It was also important to know under what
circumstances Louisiana is to be taken possession of, and whether with
the consent of Spain, as she is still possessed of it. If it is to be
taken possession of with her consent, the possession will be peaceable
and one kind of provision will be necessary; but if it is to be taken
possession of in opposition to Spain, a different provision may be
necessary. From these considerations he thought it proper in the House to
call upon the Executive for information on this point. Other important
documents may, perhaps, likewise be in the hands of the President.

Mr. RANDOLPH hoped the resolution would not be agreed to. He was well
apprized of the aspect which it was in the power of ingenuity to give to
a refusal, on the part of that House, to require any information which
gentlemen might think fit to demand of the Executive, however remotely
connected with subjects before them. But the dread of imputations
which he knew to be groundless should never induce him to swerve from
that line of conduct which his most sober judgment approved. Did he
indeed conceive that the nation, or the House, entertained a doubt
of our having acquired new territory and people to govern; could he
for a moment believe that even a minority, respectable as to numbers,
required any other evidence of this fact than the extract from the treaty
which had just been read, he would readily concur with the gentleman
from Connecticut in asking of the Executive, whether indeed we had
a new accession of territory and of citizens, or, as that gentleman
had been pleased to express himself, subjects to govern. He hoped the
gentleman would excuse a small variation from his own phraseology,
since, notwithstanding the predilection which some Governments and some
gentlemen manifested for this form, Mr. R. asked for himself the use of
such as were more familiar to American ears and American constitutions.

The Executive has laid before this House an instrument, which he tells
us has been duly ratified, conveying to the United States the country
known under the appellation of Louisiana. The first article affirms the
right of France, to the sovereignty of this territory, to be derived
under the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, which it quotes. The third article
makes provision for the future government, by the United States, of its
inhabitants; and the fourth provides the manner in which this territory
and these inhabitants are to be transferred by France to us. There
has been negotiated a convention, between us and the French Republic,
stating, in the most unequivocal terms, that there does exist on her part
a right to the country in question, which is supported by the strongest
possible evidence, and pledging herself to put us in possession of that
right, so soon as we shall have performed those stipulations, on our
part, in consideration of which France has conveyed to us her sovereignty
over this country and people. From the nature of our Government, these
stipulations can only be fulfilled by laws to the passing of which the
Legislature alone is competent. And when these laws are about to be
passed, endeavors are made to impede, or frustrate, the measure, by
setting on foot inquiries which mean nothing, or are unconnected with
the subject, and this is done by those who have always contended that
there was no discretion vested in this House by the constitution, as to
carrying treaties into effect. If, sir, gentlemen believe that we must
eventually do that which rests with us, towards effecting this object,
to what purpose is this inquiry? Mr. R. begged the House not to impute
to him any disposition to countenance this monstrous doctrine, whose
advocates now found it so difficult to practise. On the contrary, he
held in the highest veneration the principle established in the case of
the British Treaty, and the men by whom it was established, that, in all
matters requiring legislative aid, it was the right and duty of this
House to deliberate, and upon such deliberation, to afford, or refuse,
that aid, as in their judgments the public good might require. And he
held it to be equally the right of the House to demand such information
from the Executive, as to them appeared necessary to enable them to form
a sound conclusion on subjects submitted, by that department, to their
consideration. But those who then contended that this House possessed no
discretion on the subject, that they were bound implicitly to conform
to the stipulations, however odious and extravagant, into which the
treaty-making power might have plunged the nation--those who then said
that we cannot deliberate, are now instituting inquiries to serve as the
basis of deliberation--(for if we are not to deliberate upon the result,
why institute any inquiry at all?)--inquiries, which are in their very
nature deliberation itself. But whilst he arraigned the consistency of
other gentlemen, Mr. R. said that it behoved him to assert his own.
Information on subjects of the nature of that which they were then
discussing, might be required for two objects: to enable the House to
determine whether it were expedient to approve a measure which on the
face of it carried proof of its impolicy; or to punish ministers who may
have departed from their instructions--who may have betrayed the interest
confided by the nation to their care.

To illustrate this remark, let us advert to the case of the Treaty
of London, generally known as Mr. Jay’s treaty. That instrument had
excited the public abhorrence. The objections to carrying it into
effect were believed insuperable. This sentiment pervaded the House of
Representatives, and when they demanded information from the Executive,
they virtually held this language: “Sir, we detest your treaty--we feel
an almost invincible repugnance to giving it our sanction--but if, by
the exhibition of any information in possession of the Executive, we can
be convinced that the interests of the United States have been supported
to the utmost extent;--that, wretched as this instrument is, the terms
are as good as were attainable; and that, bad as those terms are, it is
politic under existing circumstances to accept them, we will, however
reluctantly, pass the laws for carrying it into effect. The present
case, if he understood any thing of the general sentiment, was, happily,
of a different nature. The treaty which they were then called upon to
sanction, had been hailed by the acclamations of the nation. It was not
difficult to foresee, from the opinions manifested in every quarter,
that it would receive the cordial approbation of a triumphant majority
of that House. If such be the general opinion--if we are not barely
satisfied with the terms of this treaty, but lost in astonishment at the
all-important benefits which we have so cheaply acquired, to what purpose
do we ask information respecting the detail of the negotiation? Has any
one ventured to hint disapprobation of the conduct of the ministers who
have effected this negotiation? Has any one insinuated that our interests
have been betrayed? If, then, we are satisfied as to the terms of this
treaty, and with the conduct of our ministers abroad, let us pass the
laws necessary for carrying it into effect. To refuse--to delay, upon
the plea now offered, is to jeopardize the best interests of the Union.
Shall we take exception to our own title? Shall we refuse the offered
possession? Shall this refusal proceed from those who so lately affirmed
that we ought to pursue this very object at every national hazard? I
should rather suppose the eagerness of gentlemen would be ready to
outstrip the forms of law in making themselves masters of this country,
than that, now, when it is offered to our grasp, they should display an
unwillingness, or at least an indifference, for that which so lately was
all-important to them. After the message which the President has sent us,
to demand, if indeed we have acquired any new subjects, as the gentleman
expresses it, which renders the exercise of our legislative functions
necessary, would be nothing less than a mockery of him, of this solemn
business, and of ourselves. Cautionary provisions may be introduced into
the laws for securing us against every hazard, although, from the nature
of our stipulations, we are exposed to none. We retain in our own hands
the consideration money, even after we have possession.”

Mr. R. expressed himself averse to demand the Spanish correspondence.
The reasons must be obvious to all. The possession of Louisiana by us,
will necessarily give rise to negotiations between the United States and
Spain, relative to its boundaries. These have probably commenced, and are
now pending. He hoped, therefore, the House would go into committee on
the Message of the President, and after resolving to pass the requisite
laws, if further information shall be wanting in relation to the mode of
taking possession, or any other object of detail, the Executive might be
called upon to furnish it.

Mr. GODDARD did not intend to enter upon a long discussion of the
resolution; but it seemed to him that the reasons of the gentleman from
Virginia for opposing it were very erroneous. On what ground was the
opposition made? Altogether on the ground that Spain had actually made
the cession to France. Mr. G. apprehended no such impression had been
made on the House by the information before them. In the first article of
the treaty they learned what the title of France was. The treaty says,

    “Whereas, by the article the 3d of the treaty concluded at St.
    Ildefonso, the 9th Vendemiaire, an 9, (1st October, 1800,)
    between the First Consul of the French Republic and His
    Catholic Majesty, it was agreed as follows:

    “His Catholic Majesty promises and engages, on his part, to
    cede to the French Republic, six months after the full and
    entire execution of the conditions and stipulations therein
    relative to his Royal Highness the Duke of Parma, the colony
    or province of Louisiana, with the same extent that it now has
    in the hands of Spain, and that it had when France possessed
    it; and such as it should be after the treaties subsequently
    entered into between Spain and other States.

    “And whereas, in pursuance of the treaty, and particularly of
    the third article, the French Republic has an incontestable
    title to the domain and to the possession of the said
    territory; the First Consul of the French Republic, desiring
    to give to the United States a strong proof of his friendship,
    doth hereby cede to the said United States, in the name of the
    French Republic, for ever and in full sovereignty, the said
    territory, with all its rights and appurtenances, as fully and
    in the same manner as they have been acquired by the French
    Republic in virtue of the above-mentioned treaty, concluded
    with his Catholic Majesty.”

Mr. GODDARD asked whether the conclusion followed that France had an
incontestable title to Louisiana? There was no such evidence. If in
virtue of this treaty we purchase a promise on the part of His Catholic
Majesty to cede, and not an incontestable title, he would ask if the
promise constituted a title? France only says, we cede all our title.
This, and this only, is the language of the instrument. If this is
the case, is it not proper to inquire whether there are other acts
by which Spain has ceded Louisiana to France? Such acts may exist.
Certain stipulations were made by France to Spain, on which the cession
depended. Do we not then wish to know whether these stipulations have
been fulfilled and whether they are binding, or whether Spain has waived
them? Are there in existence any documents to that effect? It has been
hinted that such documents exist in the newspapers; but are we, in an
affair of this magnitude, to be referred to the dictum of a newspaper? He
apprehended that this was a novel mode of legislation.

Mr. RANDOLPH said, if the gentleman from Connecticut would confine his
motion to the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, he should be ready to acquiesce in
it, though he did not believe that instrument would throw any new light
on the subject.

Mr. GREGG said his wish was that the resolution should be divided, and
that the Treaty of St. Ildefonso only should be requested. It had been
conceded that it might be of some use in ascertaining the limits of
the cession. To the other members of the resolution he was opposed. He
therefore moved a division of the question.

Mr. GRISWOLD remarked that it would be more orderly to move the striking
out of the last paragraph.

Mr. THATCHER said, gentlemen objecting to this resolution had taken
different grounds. Some oppose it as inconsistent with the sentiments
that prevailed in the case of the British Treaty; others, because it is
premature, and others, because it is unnecessary. He did not expect the
first objection from any member on that floor; much less did he expect
it from the quarter in which it originated. The advocates of the motion
were charged with inconsistency. He was not a member of the House at
the time of the British Treaty, but, on referring to the Journal, it
would be perceived that the object of gentlemen who then called for
papers was to go into the merits of the British Treaty. It would not be
denied that the ground then taken by gentlemen on the other side was,
that the House had a right to examine the merits of the treaty, and to
the assertion of that right it was that the President answered. We now
say that it is not necessary for us to act in our legislative capacity,
intending, if it shall appear to be necessary, not to withhold acting.
Mr. T. therefore conceived that they exhibited no inconsistency, as they
did not purpose at this time to go into the merits of the treaty, and as
they acknowledged the treaty, if constitutionally made, to be binding.
But they wanted information on subjects of legislation.

Mr. NICHOLSON was extremely glad to find that gentlemen on the other
side of the House had at length abandoned the ground which they had
taken some years ago. He was rejoiced that they were now willing to
acknowledge, what they had heretofore most strenuously denied, that the
House of Representatives had a constitutional right, not only to call for
papers, but to use their discretion in carrying any treaty into effect.
That it must now be their impression was evident, or their conduct was
surely unaccountable. Why else do they call for papers, why inquire into
our title to the province of Louisiana? If the doctrine of a former day
was still to be adhered to, why urge this inquiry? If gentlemen are
consistent with themselves, if they have not forgot the lessons which
they inculcated upon the ratification of the British Treaty, this House
has no right to call for papers, no right to make inquiry, no right to
deliberate, but must carry this treaty into effect, be it good or bad;
must vote for all the necessary measures, whether they are calculated
to promote the interests of the United States or not. The doctrines
of old times, however, are now given up, the ground formerly taken is
abandoned. We shall no longer hear that the Executive is omnipotent, and
that the representatives of the people are bound to vote, blindfolded,
for carrying into effect all treaties which the President and the Senate
may think proper to make and ratify. He thanked the gentlemen for the
admission, and hoped that the country would profit by it hereafter.

He was happy to say that this was not now, nor ever was, the doctrine
of himself and his friends. They meant to deliberate, they meant to use
their discretion in voting away the treasure of the nation. He agreed
with gentlemen, that if a majority of the House entertained any doubt as
to the validity of the title we have acquired, they ought to call for
papers; and he had no doubt, if there was any dissatisfaction, they would
call. He himself should have no objection to vote for the resolution if
it was confined to proper objects, not indeed to satisfy himself, for he
was already fully satisfied, but to satisfy other gentlemen; to satisfy
the American people, that the insinuations thrown out about the title,
are totally without foundation. The resolution in its present shape,
however, was highly improper; it looked to extrinsic circumstances,
and contemplated an inquiry into subjects totally unconnected with the
treaty with France. What, said Mr. N., has Spain to do in this business?
Gentlemen ask if she has acquiesced in our purchase, and call for her
correspondence with our Government. What is the acquiescence of Spain to
us? If the House is satisfied, from the information laid on the table,
that Spain had ceded Louisiana to France, and that France had since
ceded it to the United States, what more do they require? Are we not an
independent nation? Have we not a right to make treaties for ourselves
without asking leave of Spain? What is it to us whether she acquiesces or
not? She is no party to the treaty of cession, she has no claim to the
ceded territory. Are we to pause till Spain thinks proper to consent, or
are we to inquire, whether, like a cross child, she has thrown away her
rattle, and cries for it afterwards?

With regard to the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, Mr. N. said, he should
have no objection to its being laid before the House, if it was in the
possession of the Executive. In all probability, however, this was not
the case, as it was known to be a secret treaty on other subjects of
great importance between France and Spain. As to the deed of cession
spoken of, he really did not understand what was meant, for he imagined
it was not expected a formal deed of bargain and sale had been executed
between two civilized nations, who negotiated by means of ambassadors. If
there were any other papers which could give gentlemen more information,
he had no objection, either, that these should be laid before them.
Not indeed for his own satisfaction, but for that of those who were
not already satisfied, if there were any of that description. One very
important paper, he knew from high authority, was certainly in existence,
and possibly might be in the power of the Executive. This was a formal
order, under the royal signature of Spain, commanding the Spanish
officers at Orleans to deliver the province to the French Prefect, which
he considered equal, perhaps superior to any deed of cession; for it was
equal to an express recognition on the part of Spain, that France had
performed all the conditions referred to in the Treaty of St. Ildefonso.
It was an acknowledgment that Spain had no further claims upon Louisiana,
and would show that any interference on her part ought to have no
influence on the American Government.

Mr. MITCHELL said he rose to express his sentiments against the whole
body of the resolution under debate. But his disinclination to adopt it
did not arise from any doubt of the right which the House possessed to
call upon the Executive for information. He had no hesitation to ask the
President for papers whenever it was necessary to obtain them. And it was
equally clear to him that whenever that dignified officer was properly
applied to, he would comply cheerfully with the request of Congress,
or of either branch of it. He owned that in some cases it would be the
duty of the House to pursue this mode of inquiry, and equally would it
be the duty of the head of the Executive Department to give his aid and
countenance.

In the present stage of the proceedings respecting the treaty and
conventions with France concerning Louisiana, he deemed it improper to
embarrass the business by an unseasonable call upon the Executive for
papers. The President had already communicated various information on
this subject, in his Message on the first day of the session. Additional
information was given in his Message of the 21st, wherein he told the
House that the ratification and exchanges had been made. This was
accompanied with instruments of cession and covenant concluded at Paris
between our ministers and the agents of the French Republic. All this
information we had already on our tables. This the President had put
the House in possession of from his own sense of duty. This obligation
was imposed on him by the constitution, which declares that he shall,
from time to time, give to Congress information of the state of the
Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall
judge necessary and expedient. Mr. M. said he had a firm belief that
the President had complied with this constitutional injunction. He
had communicated such intelligence as he had received; and if he was
possessed of any thing else needful for the deliberation of the House,
he was willing to think the Chief Magistrate of the Union would have
spontaneously imparted it.

The question was taken on agreeing to the first member of the resolution,
as follows:

    _Resolved_, That the President of the United States be
    requested to cause to be laid before this House a copy of the
    treaty between the French Republic and Spain, of the 1st of
    October, 1800.

The House divided--ayes 59, noes 59. The SPEAKER declaring himself in the
affirmative, the motion was carried.

Mr. RODNEY suggested an alteration in the second member of the
resolution, so as to read “instrument,” instead of “deed.”

Mr. GRISWOLD had no objection to the modification.

The second member, so modified, was read as follows:

    “Together with a copy of the instrument of cession from Spain,
    executed in pursuance of the same treaty conveying Louisiana to
    France, (if any such instrument exists.)”

Mr. HUGER confessed his impressions to be favorable to the treaty, though
the arguments urged that day, certainly possessed great weight. He was
rather of opinion that no such instrument as that referred to in the
resolution existed. But if it did exist, its publication would certainly
be satisfactory to the people and the House. He declared himself ready to
vote for carrying the treaty into effect.

Mr. NICHOLSON did not know whether his remarks had been correctly
understood. He did not know whether the document he alluded to could
strictly be called the instrument of cession. He had drawn an amendment
to this part of the resolution, which he would propose, if in order, to
wit:

    “Or other instrument showing that the Spanish Government had
    ordered the province of Louisiana to be delivered to France.”

The SPEAKER said, the House having agreed to insert the word
“instrument,” it was not in order to receive a substitute.

Mr. HUGER moved to reconsider the vote of the House in favor of the
insertion of the word “instrument.”

Motion lost--ayes 24.

The question was then taken on the second member, as above stated, and
lost--ayes 34.

The question was then taken on the third member, viz:

    “Also, copies of such correspondence between the Government
    of the United States and the Government or Minister of Spain,
    (if any such correspondence has taken place,) as will show the
    assent or dissent of Spain to the purchase of Louisiana by the
    United States:”

And lost--ayes 34.

The question was then taken on the last member of the motion, and lost,
without a division, viz:

    “Together with copies of such other documents as may be in
    the Department of State, or any other department of this
    Government, tending to ascertain whether the United States
    have, in fact, acquired any title to the province of Louisiana
    by the treaties with France of the 30th of April, 1803.”

The question recurring on the whole of the resolution, as amended,

Mr. NICHOLSON moved to amend the second member by adding to the end
thereof;

    “Together with a copy of any instrument in possession of the
    Executive, showing that the Spanish Government has ordered the
    province of Louisiana to be delivered to the Commissary or
    other agent of the French Government.”

Agreed to--ayes 64.

The question was then taken by yeas and nays on the whole of the original
motion, amended as follows:

    “_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be
    requested to cause to be laid before the House a copy of
    the treaty between the French Republic and Spain, of the
    1st October, 1800, together with a copy of any instrument
    in possession of the Executive, showing that the Spanish
    Government has ordered the province of Louisiana to be
    delivered to the Commissary or other agent of the French
    Government:”

And lost--yeas 57, nays 59.

_Amendment to the Constitution._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the report of
a select committee on propositions of amendment to the constitution.

The report was read, as follows:

    _Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
    United States of America in Congress assembled, two-thirds of
    both Houses concurring_, That the following article be proposed
    to the Legislatures of the different States as an amendment to
    the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by
    three-fourths of the said Legislatures, shall be valid to all
    intents and purposes as a part of the said constitution, viz:

    “In all future elections of President and Vice President, the
    Electors shall name in their ballots the person voted for as
    President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice
    President, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of
    the same State with themselves. The person having a majority of
    all the Electors for President shall be the President; and if
    there shall be no such majority, the President shall be chosen
    from the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list
    for President, by the House of Representatives, in the manner
    directed by the constitution. The person having the greatest
    number of votes as Vice President shall be the Vice President,
    and in case of an equal number of votes for two or more persons
    for Vice President, they being the highest on the list, the
    Senate shall choose the Vice President from those having such
    equal number, in the manner directed by the constitution.”

Mr. DAWSON observed, that at the time of the adoption of the
constitution, that part of it which related to the election of a
President and Vice President had been objected to; and evils likely to
occur had been foreseen by some gentlemen at that day. Experience had
shown that they were not mistaken. Every gentleman in that House knew
the situation in which the country had been placed by the controverted
election of a Chief Magistrate; it was one which he trusted never would
return. It had been a subject much reflected on by the people, and by
the State Legislatures, several of which had declared their approbation
of the principle contained in the resolution reported by the committee.
The House had two years since ratified a similar amendment by a
constitutional majority of two-thirds. At that time no objections were
made to the principle of the amendment. All the objection then made was
on account of the lateness of the day and thinness of the House. Mr. D.
considered it unnecessary to make any further remarks at that time, as he
could not anticipate any objections that might be urged. He moved that
the Committee should rise and report the resolution without amendment.

Mr. J. CLAY, though in favor of the principle of the amendment, was
of opinion that, as to some of its parts, it required alteration. He
therefore moved:

    “But if no person have such majority, then the House of
    Representatives shall immediately proceed to choose by ballot
    from the two persons having the greatest number of votes,
    one of them for President; or if there be three or more
    persons having an equal number of votes, then the House of
    Representatives shall in like manner, from the persons having
    such equality of votes, choose the President; or if there be
    one person having a greater number of votes--not being a
    majority of the whole number of Electors appointed--than any
    other person, and two or more persons who have an equal number
    of votes one with the other, then the House of Representatives
    shall in like manner, from among such persons having the
    greater number of votes and such other persons having an
    equality of votes, choose the President.”

Mr. VAN CORTLANDT thought the amendment liable to objection.

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL was in favor of the principle contained in the
amendment. He considered it to be the duty of this House, in introducing
an amendment to the constitution on this point, to secure to the people
the benefits of choosing the President, so as to prevent a contravention
of their will as expressed by Electors chosen by them; resorting to
legislative interposition only in extraordinary cases: and when this
should be rendered necessary, so guarding the exercise of legislative
power, that those only should be capable of legislative election who
possessed a strong evidence of enjoying the confidence of the people.
This was the true spirit and principle of the constitution, whose object
was, through the several organs of the Government, faithfully to express
the public opinion. For this reason he was in favor of the proposed
amendment. By it we shall make a less innovation on the spirit of the
constitution than by rejecting it, and adopting the report of the select
committee. There were obvious reasons why the persons from whom a choice
may be made should be fewer in case of a designation of the office than
heretofore. At present the whole number of electoral votes is one hundred
and seventy-six. As the constitution now stands, four candidates might
have an equal number of votes, or three might have a majority, viz: one
hundred and seventeen each. According to the proposed amendment, but one
can have a majority, and if two persons should be equal and highest, it
is not probable that the third candidate will have many votes.

Mr. GRISWOLD said it was very difficult to ascertain the precise import
of the amendment offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania by barely
hearing it read from the Chair. In the meaning therefore which he
gave it, he might perhaps be mistaken. If not mistaken, it involved a
principle and implied a change, which he had never before heard suggested
on that floor, or in the part of the country from which he came. It
is well known to every member, that under the constitution as it at
present stands, the votes given for a President in this House are by
States, and not according to the majority of the members of the whole
body. The amendment, as reported by the select committee, preserves this
original feature of the constitution by prescribing that the election
shall be proceeded with as pointed out by the constitution. But the
present amendment varies this mode, according to which it is to be made
without respect to States. Of course a majority of the members are to
decide. He submitted it to gentlemen whether they were willing in this
way to sacrifice the interests and rights of the smaller States. If
this be the intention of gentlemen, we ought to have time to deliberate
on the subject before it is pressed to a decision. The gentleman from
Pennsylvania will explain whether this is his intention.

Mr. J. CLAY begged leave explicitly to state, for the satisfaction of the
gentleman from Connecticut, that it was not his intention to change that
part of the constitution which prescribed that the votes should be by
States; and if it would induce the gentleman to vote for the resolution
he had moved, he would add the words of the constitution, viz:

    “But in choosing the President the votes shall be taken by
    States, the representation from each State having one vote; a
    quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members
    from two-thirds of the States, and a majority of all the States
    shall be necessary to a choice.”

These words were accordingly added.

Mr. DAWSON observed that this proposition had been submitted to the
select committee, who had considered it more objectionable than that
reported. Their object was to innovate as little as possible on the
constitution. A great part of it referred to cases so extremely remote
as were not likely to happen. The only material change it made was to
reduce the number of persons from whom a choice should be made from three
to two. At present the election for a President and Vice President was
made from the five highest on the list. As, according to the proposed
amendment, a designation of the persons voted for as President and
Vice President was to be made, it was considered that by giving the
three highest to the House of Representatives, from which to choose a
President, and the two highest to the Senate, from which to choose a Vice
President, the spirit of the constitution would not be changed. He hoped
therefore the report of the committee would be agreed to. He believed
it comprehended all cases which were probable; and he further believed
that if they spent a month they would not devise an amendment that would
provide for all possible cases that may happen.

Mr. CLOPTON said he rose to express his approbation of the amendment
offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. CLAY.) He said that
indeed the amendment could not but be acceptable to him, inasmuch as it
corresponded with the ideas he had the honor to express to the committee
on this subject the other day. He begged leave now to make a few remarks
in addition to those which he had then stated. He said, if any thing
is to be lamented as a defect in the fundamental principles of our
Government, that defect perhaps consists in a departure from the plain
and simple modes of immediate election by the people as to some of the
branches of the Government. He did not mean however now to discuss, nor
did he know that he ever should discuss, this point. The Constitution of
the United States having established a different principle in respect to
the election of the several departments of the Government, except that
branch of the Legislature which this House composes; and the object of
the proposed amendment to the constitution not being the transmutation of
a fundamental principle, but merely an alteration in the mode heretofore
directed of electing one branch of the Government according to the
principle already established, his business and his object was to state
to this committee those ideas which occurred to him on this occasion as
suited to the subject as it now stands before the committee.

Mr. C. said that most seriously considering the principles of the
Government in such a point of view as he had the honor to state to
the committee, he was irresistibly impressed with the opinion that a
legislative election of President or Vice President, whenever resorted
to, should be restrained to the smallest number above a unit, or to those
persons who have equal electoral votes. He considered it as a position
clearly and unquestionably true, that if the field of election, when
not decided by the voice of the people themselves, should be left too
wide, more chances will there always be for the introduction of abuses
in determining on a choice, if those whose province it shall be to
decide, should be actuated by a spirit adverse to the public sentiment.
Results ungrateful to the public feeling might indeed become sources of
discontent truly to be lamented. The demon of discord might be called
forth, and stalking over our land, might unfortunately produce a state
of things very different from that peaceful, tranquil state, which would
follow a decision more conformable to the will of the people. Such a
decision he believed would be ensured were the election to be confined
to those two persons only who had received the most ample testimony
of the public confidence, or to those who had been stamped with equal
testimonials of that confidence.

Mr. SMILIE would wish one principle altered in the report of the select
committee, viz: that which confined the election of the President to the
three highest persons voted for. It was impossible for human wisdom to
provide for all cases that might occur. Their time was not well spent
in providing for cases extremely remote. He had but one object in view,
the designation of office; and the more simple the proposition, the more
likely they were to obtain this object. It should be recollected that the
constitution was the act of the people, and ought not to be altered till
inconveniences actually arise under it. He believed, though particular
parts might be defective in theory, they ought not to be changed till
practical inconveniences had been experienced. No such inconvenience had
yet been felt from choosing the President from the five highest on the
list. Is it, then, prudent to embarrass the great principle, in which
they generally concurred, with incidental propositions, when there was no
necessity for them? This amendment was to obtain the assent of thirteen
legislative bodies before it would be binding. The simpler, then, the
proposition, the more likely it was to succeed. His idea, therefore, was
to leave the constitution as it now stood, so far as it related to a
choice being made from the five highest, and only so far to change it as
related to a designation of the office.

Mr. SANFORD said the great object of the amendment ought to be to prevent
persons voted for as Vice President from becoming President. If the
amendment effected this, it was sufficient. All other innovation upon the
constitution was improper; and no danger could arise from extending the
right of the House of Representatives to making a choice from the five
highest.

Mr. RODNEY said that in the select committee he had been in favor of
the number stated in the constitution. He was not for innovating on the
constitution one tittle more than was absolutely necessary. As to the
mere designation of office, the people looked for and expected it; and
if that were obtained, they would be satisfied. He well knew that if
amendments to this simple proposition were multiplied, objections to the
whole would also be increased. Having been originally in favor of five,
and thinking the inconveniences apprehended by some gentlemen not likely
to occur, he should vote in favor of the amendment of the gentleman from
Maryland, principally for the reason assigned by the gentleman from
Connecticut, that it would allow to the smaller States a larger scope of
choice.

Mr. ELLIOT hoped the amendment of the gentleman from Maryland would not
prevail; and coming, as he did himself, from a small State, he trusted
the House would pardon him for assigning his reasons for that hope. He
felt as much confidence in the House of Representatives as the gentleman
from Connecticut; but he was of opinion that their discretion ought
to be limited. The amendment will give the House of Representatives
the unqualified power of electing from the whole number on the list of
persons voted for as President, and on that ground he opposed it. It
was said to be a question of larger and smaller States, and those who
represent the smaller States were called upon to check the usurpation of
the larger States. Our system was undoubtedly federative, and there might
be danger of a usurpation of the large States if the small ones were not
protected by the constitution. His wish was that they might be so guarded.

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL said he, too, represented a small State, and was
anxious to preserve the rights of the small States. But in a great
constitutional question, while these rights were not lost sight of,
principle ought also to be regarded. This he conceived to be his duty,
whatever effect it might have upon the State he represented. For this
reason he considered it proper to express his opinions on the present
occasion. It was a vital principle to preserve the constitution as pure
as possible. This rendered it necessary to show that the proposition of
the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. CLAY) came nearer to the principle
of the constitution than that offered by the gentleman from Maryland.
He had already observed that, there being at present no designation,
four was the smallest possible number from which a choice could be made:
to this number but one was added, making, altogether, five. In future
elections there will be one hundred and seventy-six Electors, and if
there be a designation of office, but one person can have a majority. To
confine the choice to two persons will, therefore, in principle, approach
as near as possible to the original principle of the constitution.

Mr. C. was in favor of preserving that part of the constitution which
directed the election to be made by States, wishing as little innovation
as possible on the principles of the constitution. He did not, however,
conceive a mere change of words dangerous, but the establishment of a
principle that deprived the people of the power of electing those who
possessed the largest share of their confidence. He was decidedly in
favor of whatever had this effect, as according with the true spirit of
the constitution; and he was, therefore, opposed to the amendment of the
gentleman from Maryland. His own opinion, too, was that it was best to
express in one article whatever related to the election of President and
Vice President, than refer to the constitution; by which the provisions
on that subject would be rendered much clearer.

The question was then taken on Mr. NICHOLSON’s amendment, and lost--ayes,
29, noes 77.

Mr. RANDOLPH said he came to the House under the impression that another
subject would have occupied their attention on account of its primary
importance, not meaning, however, to disparage the importance of an
amendment to the constitution. But on a subject which must be discussed
in a few days, if at all, it was improper that time should be lost. The
proposed amendment to the constitution was not, he believed, so extremely
pressing as to require immediate attention. The subject to which Mr. R.
had expected the attention of the House would have been first directed,
was the Treaty with France. Hoping that the committee would have decided
on the amendment at an early hour, he had refrained from any motion. But
perceiving that a decision was not likely soon to be made, he would move
that the committee should rise, for the purpose of taking up the treaty
respecting Louisiana.

Mr. DAWSON opposed the rising of the committee.

The question was taken on Mr. RANDOLPH’s motion, and carried--yeas 60,
nays 55. When the committee rose.

And on motion, the House adjourned.


TUESDAY, October 25.

_Louisiana Treaty._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the Message
from the President of the United States, of the twenty-first instant,
enclosing a treaty and conventions entered into and ratified by the
United States and the French Republic; to which Committee of the whole
House was also referred a motion for carrying the same into effect.

Mr. G. GRISWOLD said he had hoped that some gentleman, in favor of the
resolution under consideration, would have risen to assign his reasons
in favor of it. But no gentleman friendly to its adoption having risen,
and feeling himself embarrassed, he would take the liberty of suggesting
his doubts as to the propriety of the resolution. He hoped the committee
would have the candor to believe that, in stating those doubts which hung
upon his mind, his object was not to delay the progress of the measures
contemplated, but to gain information.

In reflecting, for the short time during which the subject had been
before him, he had not been able to pursue it in all its bearings, nor
to solve all the difficulties it presented. He had first asked himself
where was to be found the constitutional power of the Government to
incorporate the territory, with the inhabitants thereof, in the Union
of the United States, with the privileges of citizens of the United
States--is there any such power? And if there is, where is it lodged?
In giving his opinion on the constitutional right of making treaties,
he would say that it was vested in the President and Senate, and that a
treaty made by them on a subject constitutionally in their treaty-making
power, was valid without the assent of this House. This House had, to
be sure, the physical power of refusing the necessary means to carry
treaties into effect; but this power was essentially different from that
conferred by the constitution. But if the treaty-making power should be
exceeded, if it should be undertaken to make it operate upon subjects not
constitutionally vested, he had a right to say that it was his duty not
to carry it into effect. Even should its provisions be highly beneficial,
it was no less their constitutional duty to resist it. He would not
undertake to say that his mind was perfectly fixed, but he entertained
doubts--serious doubts; and he hoped gentlemen would candidly give them
answers.

Mr. RANDOLPH rose for the purpose of satisfying, so far as was in his
power, the doubts expressed by the gentleman from New York (Mr. G.
GRISWOLD). He had listened with great pleasure to the candid exposition
which the gentleman had given of his objections, and from the temper
which he had manifested, Mr. R. relied on being able to satisfy some
of his scruples on this subject. The objections which have been urged
to the motion before the committee, resolved themselves into arguments
against the constitutionality, and arguments against the expediency of
the treaty proposed to be carried into effect. As it would be needless
to repel objections of this last kind, unless those of the first
description could be satisfactorily answered, he should first reply to
the observations which had been made on the constitutional doctrine.

He understood the gentleman from New York as denying that there existed
in the United States, as such, a capacity to acquire territory; that,
by the constitution, they were restricted to the limits which existed
at the time of its adoption. If this position be correct, it undeniably
follows that those limits must have been accurately defined and generally
known at the time when the Government took effect. Either they have been
particularly described in the constitutional compact, or are referred to
as settled beyond dispute, and universally acknowledged. But this was not
the fact, in either case. The constitution not only did not describe any
particular boundary, beyond which the United States could not extend,
but our boundary was unsettled on our north-eastern, southern, and
north-western frontier, at the time of its adoption. But perhaps we shall
be told, that, although our limits were in dispute with our English and
Spanish neighbors, still there were certain boundaries specified in the
Treaty of Paris, of 1783, which were the actual boundaries of the United
States. It was, however, a well attested fact--one of which we possessed
official information from the Executive--that the limits assigned us by
that treaty were incapable of being established. A line running west,
from the Lake of the Woods, not touching the Mississippi at all--it
followed that the United States were without limits beyond the source
of the Mississippi. It will not be denied, that, among the powers which
the Government possesses under the constitution, there exists that of
settling disputes concerning our limits with the neighboring nations.
This power was not only necessary in relation to the disputed boundaries
on the side of Canada and Florida, but was indispensable to a government
over a country of indefinite extent. The existence of this power will
not be denied: it has been exercised in ascertaining our north-eastern
and southern frontier, and it involves in it the power of extending the
limits of the Confederacy. Let us suppose that the Commissioners, under
the Treaty of London, had determined the river St. John or St. Lawrence
to be the _true_ St. Croix--would not that part of the province of New
Brunswick or Quebec which lies on this side of those rivers at this time
have been a part of the United States? Suppose the northern boundary of
Florida had been fixed, under the Treaty of San Lorenzo, to extend from
the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf; would not all the country north of this
line and east of the Mississippi--part of the very country conveyed by
the treaty lately negotiated, and which gentlemen conceived we could not
constitutionally hold--would not that country, at this time, compose a
part of the United States? That the constitution should tie us down to
particular limits, without expressing those limits; that we should be
restrained to the then boundaries of the United States, when it is in
proof to the committee that no such bounds existed, or do now exist, was
altogether incomprehensible and inadmissible. For, if the constitution
meant the practical limits of the United States, the extent of country
which we then _possessed_--our recent acquisitions, on the side of
Canada and the Natchez, could not be defended. But, sir, said Mr. R.,
my position is not only maintainable by the reason of the constitution,
but by the practice under it. Congress have expressed, in their own
acts, a solemn recognition of the principle, that the United States, in
their federative capacity, may acquire, and have acquired, territory.
It will be recollected, that adverse claims once existed between the
United States and the State of Georgia, in relation to a certain tract
of country between the northern boundary of the Spanish possessions and
what we contended was the southern limit of Georgia--the United States
asserting that the country in question was the property of the United
States, in their confederate capacity, and the State of Georgia claiming
it as hers. Although I have always advocated the claim of that State,
it never was on the principle of an incapacity in the United States to
acquire territory, or any other which affects the question now before
us. It is true, sir, we appointed commissioners to settle the matter
in dispute, amicably, with Georgia; but in the mean time we assumed
the jurisdiction, erected a government over the country, and thereby
established the principle that the United States, as such, could acquire
territory; the country in question, as we contended, never having been
included within the limits of any particular States, and being ceded to
the Confederacy by the Treaty of 1783. But perhaps it may be answered,
that this acquisition, being made anterior to the date of the present
constitution, cannot affect any limitation or restriction, which it may
have provided in relation to this subject; and that to prove that the
old confederation could acquire territory, is not to prove the same
capacity in the present system of Government. To this I reply, that the
constitution contains no such expressed limitation, nor can any be fairly
inferred from it: and that if the old confederation--a mere government of
States--a loosely connected league--all of whose powers, with many more,
are possessed by the present Federal Government--if this mere alliance of
States could rightfully acquire territory in their allied capacity, much
more is the existing Government competent to make such an acquisition. To
me the inference is irresistible.

But the gentleman does not rest himself on this ground alone. He does not
embark his whole treasure in a single bottom. Granting that the United
States are not destitute of capacity to acquire territory, he denies
that this acquisition has been made in a regular way--Congress, says
he, alone is competent to such an act. In this transaction he scents
at a distance Executive encroachment, and we are called upon to assert
our rights, and to repel it. If any usurpation of the privileges of
Congress, or of this House, be made to appear, I pledge myself to that
gentleman to join him in resisting it. But let us inquire into the fact.
No gentleman will deny the right of the President to initiate business
here, by message, recommending particular subjects to our attention. If
the Government of the United States possess the constitutional power
to acquire territory from foreign States, the Executive, as the organ
by which we communicate with such States, must be the prime agent in
negotiating such an acquisition. Conceding, then, that the power of
confirming this act, and annexing to the United States the territory thus
acquired, ultimately rests with Congress, where has been the invasion
of the privileges of that body? Does not the President of the United
States submit this subject to Congress for their sanction? Does he not
recognize the principle, which I trust we will never give up, that no
treaty is binding until we pass the laws for executing it--that the
powers conferred by the constitution on Congress cannot be modified, or
abridged, by any treaty whatever--that the subjects of which they have
cognizance cannot be taken, in any way, out of their jurisdiction? In
this procedure nothing is to be seen but a respect, on the part of the
Executive, for our rights; a recognition of a discretion on our part
to accord or refuse our sanction. Where, then, is the violation of our
rights? As to the initiative, in a matter like this, it necessarily
devolved on the Executive.

Mr. R. said, that he would not dilate upon the importance of the
navigation of the Mississippi, which had been the theme of every tongue,
which we now possessed unfettered by the equal claim of the nation
holding the west bank, a fruitful source of quarrel; but he would call
the attention of the committee to a report which had been made at the
last session and to which publicity had lately been given.

I am not surprised, Mr. Chairman, that in a performance so replete with
information, a single error should be discovered, especially as it does
not affect the soundness of its conclusion. As long ago as the year 1673,
the inhabitants of the French province of Canada explored the country on
the Mississippi. A few years afterwards (1685) La Salle, with emigrants
from old France, made a settlement on the Bay of St. Bernard, and at
the close of the 17th century, previous to the existence of Pensacola,
another French settlement was made by the Governor, D’Ibberville, at
Mobile, and on the Isle Dauphin, or Massacre, at the mouth of that bay.
In 1712, a short time previous to the peace of Utrecht, Louis XIV.
described the extent of the colony of Louisiana (by the settlements) in
his grant of its exclusive commerce to Crozat. Three years subsequent
to this, the Spanish establishment at Pensacola was formed, as well
as the settlement of the Adais on the river Mexicana. After various
conflicting efforts, on both sides, the bay and river Perdido was
established, (from the peace of 1719,) as the boundary between the
French province of Louisiana on the one side and the Spanish province
of Florida on the other: this river being nearly equi-distant between
Mobile and Pensacola. Near the close of the war between England and
France, rendered memorable for the unexampled success with which it was
conducted by that unrivalled statesman, the great Lord Chatham, Spain
became a party on the side of France. The loss of the Havana, and other
important dependencies, was the immediate consequence. In 1762, France,
by a secret treaty of cotemporaneous date with the preliminary Treaty of
Peace, relinquished Louisiana to Spain, as an indemnity for her losses,
sustained by advocating the cause of France. By the definitive Treaty of
1763, France ceded to England all that part of Louisiana which lies east
of the Mississippi, except the island of New Orleans--the rest of the
province to Spain. It is to be observed that although France ostensibly
ceded this country to England, virtually the cession was on the part of
Spain; because France was no longer interested in the business, but as
the friend of Spain, (having previously relinquished the whole to her,)
and because in 1783 restitution was made by England, not to France, but
to Spain, England having acquired this portion of Louisiana, together
with the Spanish province of Florida, annexed to the former that part
of Florida which lies west of the Apalachicola and east of the Perdido;
thereby forming the province of West Florida.

It is only in English geography, and during this period, from 1763 to
1783, that such a country as West Florida is known. For Spain, having
acquired both the Floridas in 1783, re-annexed to Louisiana the country
west of the Perdido subject to the government of New Orleans, and
established the ancient boundaries of Florida; the country between the
Perdido and Apalachicola being subject to the Governor of St. Augustine.
By the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, Spain cedes to France “the province
of Louisiana with the same extent that it now has in the hands of
Spain:” viz: to the Perdido, “and that it had when France possessed it
to the Perdido--and such as it should be after treaties subsequently
entered into between Spain and other powers;” that is, saving to the
United States the country given up by the Treaty of San Lorenzo. We
have succeeded to all the right of France. If the navigation of the
Mississippi alone were of sufficient importance to justify war, surely
the possession of every drop of water which runs into it--the exclusion
of European nations from its banks, who would have with us the same
causes of quarrel, did we possess New Orleans only, which we have had
with the former possessors of that key of the river; the entire command
of the Mobile and its widely extended branches, scarcely inferior in
consequence to the Mississippi itself--watering the finest country and
affording the best navigation in the United States--surely these would be
acknowledged to be inestimably valuable.

Mr. PURVIANCE.--I am clearly and decidedly in favor of the resolution on
your table, premising the appropriations for carrying the treaty between
France and this country into effect; and I sincerely regret, that in
doing so, I shall act adversely to the general sentiment of the gentlemen
with whom it is my pleasure and my pride to confess I have hitherto
politically officiated.

It is true I am, and always have been, opposed to the general tenor of
the present Administration. It has not appeared to me to possess that
bold commanding aspect--that erect and resolute front--which ought to be
assumed by the Executive of a free people, when claiming satisfaction
for a wrong sustained. It has not shown that strong, muscular, athletic
shape, which is calculated to intimidate aggression, or which is enabled
to resist it; nor do I think that it has manifested that firm, dignified,
manly tone of virtue and of spirit, which, resting on the love of a free
people, and conscious of their strength, can ask for the prompt, direct,
and unequivocal satisfaction to which it is entitled, and, being denied,
can take it. It has not appeared like the veteran chief, ready to gird
his loins in defence of his country’s rights; but, if I may be allowed to
use the _magna componere parvis_, it has, to my mind, somewhat resembled
a militia subaltern, who, in time of war, directed his men not to fire on
the enemy, lest the enemy might fire again.

Under such an Administration, I have thought that it would be better
to have the ceded territory on any terms than not to have it at all.
If we have not the spirit or the means of doing ourselves justice,
would it not be better that we bribe those who might be in a situation
to molest us, and thus put it out of their power to do us any injury,
which we cannot or which we will not avenge? There are but two ways
of maintaining our national independence--men and money. Since we did
not use the first, we must have recourse to the last. One of these two
we should be compelled to resort to if France gained possession of
Louisiana, and we had better resort to it now. I deny that they have
as yet gained possession: they have not received a delivery of the
four redoubts which garrison and command the country, nor have they a
single armed soldier there, except those which are particularly attached
to the equipage of the Colonial Prefect. If, sir, we were obliged to
resort to the necessity of purchasing their friendship, after they had
procured an establishment, it would not be confined to one instance of
humiliation and acknowledgment on our part, or one instance of insult
only on theirs. If we purchase this friendship once, we should be
compelled to make annual contributions to their avarice, and be annually
subjected to their insolence. Repeated concessions would only produce a
repetition of injury, and, at last, when we had completely compromitted
our national dignity, and offered up our last cent as an oblation to
Gallic rapacity, we would then be further from conciliation than ever.
The spirit of universal domination, instead of being allayed by those
measures which had been intended for its abatement, would rage with
redoubled fury. Elated by those sacrifices which had been intended to
appease it, it would still grow more fierce; it would soon stride across
the Mississippi, and every encroachment which conquest or cunning could
effect might be expected. The tomahawk of the savage and the knife of the
negro would confederate in the league, and there would be no interval of
peace, until we should either be able to drive them from their location
altogether, or else offer up our sovereignty as a homage of our respect,
and permit the name of our country to be blotted out of the list of
nations for ever.

I confess there are many gentlemen of that nation for whom I entertain
the sincerest esteem; but although I love some of them as friends, they
will pardon me when I say that I do not like all of them as neighbors.
Blood, havoc, and devastation, have for some years past encircled their
proximity, and circumstances equally disastrous and equally improbable
have already taken place. Do we want any evidences of this? We can find
them in Switzerland, in Italy, in Egypt, in Hanover, in France itself.
We have seen the ancient throne of the Capets tumbled from its base; we
have seen the tide of succession which had flowed on uninterruptedly for
ages dammed up for ever; we have seen the sources of the life blood royal
drained dry. And by whom? By the pert younglings of the day.

    “An eagle towering in his pride of flight
    Was, by a mousing owl, hawkt at and killed.”

We have afterwards seen these puny upstarts, when their hands had been
reddened in the slaughter pens of Paris, kicked from their seats, and a
Corsican soldier embellished with the majesty of the Bourbons. We have
seen one half of the Old World subjected to his dominion, and the other
half alarmed at his power. And is it thought, sir, that America alone,
with an army scarcely sufficient to defend our garrisons, with a navy
scarcely sufficient to punish a Bashaw, with a treasury incommensurate to
our engagements, and an Executive unwilling to strain our energies--is
it, I say sir, for America alone, under these circumstances, singly to
withstand that gigantic nation, fighting on her own ground, fed from
her own granaries, and furnished from her own arsenals? The time once
was, indeed, when we could have redressed our own wrongs, and had an
opportunity of doing so; but that necessity and that opportunity, I take
it sir, have now both passed away.

Yes, thank God! We have now a treaty, signed by themselves, in which
they have voluntarily passed away the only means of annoyance which they
possessed. But I do not thank the honorable gentleman who is at the
head of our Executive. At the time this negotiation was commenced there
could not be the smallest hope of its being carried into effect. The
French Consul had obtained it perhaps for the express purpose of carrying
into effect his favorite scheme of universal domination; it might give
him the chance of injuring the British, controlling the Spaniards, and
dismembering America. Compared with these objects a handful of bank stock
was of no more consequence to him than a handful of sand. His fleet and
army were ready to sail, and his colonial prefect had already arrived.
But, mark! The King of Great Britain, who at this crisis I take to have
been by far the most able negotiator we had, declares war. The scene is
now changed. That which France had refused to our intercessions, she was
now compelled to grant from mere necessity. A state of warfare took place
about the last of March, and the treaty was signed soon afterwards. As
long as I retain the small stock of understanding which it has pleased
God to give me, I shall never be induced to believe, that it was owing
in the smallest degree to the efficacy of diplomatic representation. The
mind of that great man (Buonaparte) is not made of such soft materials
as to receive an impress from the collision of every gentle hand.
Stern, collected, and inflexible, he laughs to scorn the toying arts of
persuasion; his soul is a stupendous rock, which the rushing of mighty
waters cannot shake from its place. No, sir; had it not been for this
happy coincidence of circumstances, the personal solicitations of our
ministers would have been regarded with as listless an ear as if they had
been whispered across the ocean.

Mr. ELLIOT.--Mr. Chairman, although in the short time since I have
had the honor of a seat on this floor, I have several times risen in
debate, that circumstance scarcely diminishes my diffidence at the
present moment. Uneducated in the schools, and unpractised in the arts,
of parliamentary eloquence, it is with no inconsiderable degree of
diffidence that I rise upon the present occasion. There are occasions,
however, where even the eye of timidity should sparkle with confidence;
and there are questions in the discussion of which the finger should
be removed from the lip of silence herself. And such is every occasion
and every question involving the existence, the infraction, or even the
correct and just construction of that constitution which is the palladium
of our privileges, and the temple of our glory. If I might be permitted
to borrow a metaphorical expression from one of the most celebrated
commanders of antiquity, who declared that he intended to spread all
his sails on the ocean of war, I would say that it is with fear and
trembling I presume to launch my little feeble bark on the vast ocean of
eloquence and literature (_pointing to the federal members_) by which I
am surrounded. If, however, the remark be just, that it is even sweet and
glorious to die for one’s country, surely the humbler sacrifice of native
diffidence may with propriety be expected and exacted from a juvenile
American Representative.

Whatever minuter shades or minor differences of opinion may exist
among the American people, there is one point in which we shall all
meet with cordial unanimity. We all unite in an ardent devotion to the
constitution. He who is not devoted to it is unworthy of the honorable
name of an American. I lament that it is necessary to speak particularly
of myself; but duty, not only to myself, but to my constituents, a
numerous and respectable section of the American people, demands it.
It may be objected to me, and with truth, that there was a time when I
professed sentiments hostile to some of the most important provisions in
the constitution. It was not, however, at the time when the constitution
was submitted to the people. I was then in infancy and obscurity,
deprived of the means, and even of the hopes of education. I had yet read
much and reflected more. My ardent and excursive eye had wandered rapidly
over the wide field of ancient history; I thought I beheld my country,
like the Roman Republic in the age of Cato, the sport of every wind and
of every wave. As far as I understood the constitution, I admired it and
wished for its adoption. But when an elegant anonymous writer predicted,
as the consequence of its adoption, that “liberty would be but a name,
to adorn the short historic page of the halcyon days of America,” I
trembled and shuddered for the possible consequences. If in the plenitude
of juvenile self-sufficiency (and who has not been young?) I have since
fancied that I could form a more perfect constitution, that dream of the
imagination has long been past. I have long been sincerely and ardently
attached to the constitution.

The treaty before us is of an immense consequence, and my attention was
early turned to the subject. From the moment of my election, I have
devoted many studious and laborious hours to the subjects connected with
it, and I have anticipated all the objections against it; none of those
presented this day by the gentleman from New York, who opened the debate,
or by the gentlemen who followed him on the same side, have struck my
mind as novel. The question of the constitutionality of the treaty first
presents itself. It is said to be unconstitutional, because it enlarges
the territory of the United States. To reduce the arguments of gentlemen
on this head to syllogistic form, they would not strike the mind with
great force. The constitution is silent on the subject of the acquisition
of territory. By the treaty we acquire territory; therefore the treaty
is unconstitutional. It has been well remarked by an eminent civilian,
that those are not the most correct and conclusive reasoners who are
very expert at their _quicquids_, their _atquis_, and their _ergos_;
but those, who, from correct premises, by just reasoning, deduce correct
conclusions. This question is not to be determined from a mere view of
the constitution itself, although it may be considered as admitted that
it does not prohibit, in express terms, the acquisition of territory. It
is a rule of law, that in order to ascertain the import of a contract,
the evident intention of the parties, at the time of forming it, is
principally to be regarded. This rule will apply, as it respects the
present question, to our constitution, of which it may be said, as the
great Dr. Johnson said of the science of the law, that it is the last
result of human wisdom acting upon human experience. The constitution
is a compact between the American people for certain great objects
expressed in the preamble, [Mr. E. here read the preamble,] in language
to which eloquence and learning can add no force or weight. Previous to
the formation of this constitution there existed certain principles of
the law of nature and nations, consecrated by time and experience, in
conformity to which the constitution was formed. The question before
us, I have always believed, must be decided upon the laws of nations
alone; and under this impression I have examined the works of the most
celebrated authors on that subject.

I recollect a time, sir, when a foreign minister in this country, at
a moment when genius, fancy, and ardent patriotism, were lords of the
ascendant over learning, wisdom, and experience, spoke of the law of
nations and its principles as mere worm eaten authorities, and aphorisms
of Vattel and others. I also recollect that the illustrious man who is
now President of the United States was then Secretary of State, and that
he delivered the unanimous sentiments of the American people when, in
his reply to that minister, he observed that something more than mere
sarcasms of that kind was necessary to disprove those authorities and
principles; and that, until they were disproved, the American nation
would hold itself bound by them. This is the man, sir, who has been so
injuriously calumniated within these walls this morning, and upon whom
such a torrent of bitter eloquence has been poured by the gentleman from
North Carolina (Mr. PURVIANCE;) a gentleman who is himself a model of
eloquence, uniting all the excellencies of Cicero and Demosthenes, and
all other orators, ancient and modern.

The American people, in forming their constitution, had an eye to that
law of nations, which is deducible by natural reason and established by
common consent, to regulate the intercourse and concerns of nations.
With a view to this law the treaty-making power was constituted, and by
virtue of this law, the Government and the people of the United States,
in common with all other nations, possess the power and right of making
acquisitions of territory by conquest, cession, or purchase. Indeed the
gentlemen who deny us the right of acquiring by purchase, would probably
allow us to keep the territory, were it obtained by conquest.

Colonies, or provinces, are a part of the eminent domain of the nation
possessing them, and of course are national property; colonial territory
may be transferred from one nation to another by purchase; this purchase
can be effected by treaty alone, as nations do not, like individuals,
execute deeds, and cause them to be recorded in public offices; that
department of the Government of the nation purchasing, which possesses
the treaty-making power generally, is competent to make treaties for that
purpose. These positions are established by the laws of nations, and are
applicable to the case before us. [Here Mr. E. read a variety of extracts
from Vattel to establish these positions, and observed that they were
corroborated by Grotius, Puffendorf, and other eminent writers on the law
of nature and nations, whose works he had consulted.]

A mere recapitulation, and that not a tedious one, of these principles
and authorities, will now answer the present purpose. Colonies have
always been considered as national property, although the law or practice
of nations, in this instance, may not conform to the law of nature.
Greece treated her colonies with peculiar indulgence: Rome considered
any privileges which hers were suffered to possess, as mere matters
of grace, not of right. The one was a natural and tender parent, the
other a cruel stepmother. Yet I have no recollection that the Grecian
colonies in Asia Minor, Italy, or even at Ionia, were represented in the
Amphyctionic Council, the General Assembly of the States of Greece. The
claim of the British Colonies, which now constitute the United States,
to be represented in that body by which they were taxed, though just in
itself, was novel and unwarranted by the practice of nations. Thank God
the claim was successful, and in consequence of it, we are now here as
the representatives of the American people, deliberating upon their most
important interests. It is unnecessary to reiterate the other positions;
they are undeniable in themselves, and their applicability to the present
case will hardly be disputed. If the treaty be extremely pernicious, or
has not been made by sufficient authority, or has been made for unjust
purposes, it is void by the laws of nations.

The expediency of the treaty is another question, and an important one.
I once hoped that the interests of our country would never require an
extension of its limits, and I regret even that that necessity now
exists. Evils and dangers may be apprehended from this source, and great
evils and dangers may possibly result. But the regions of possibility
are illimitable; those of probability are marked by certain well-defined
boundaries, obvious to all men of reason and reflection, and, in the
language of the poet,

    “As broad and obvious to the passing clown,
    As to the letter’d sage’s curious eye.”

If we cannot find, in the peculiar principles of our form of government,
and in the virtue and intelligence of our citizens, a sufficient security
against the dangers from a widely extended territory, in vain shall we
seek it elsewhere. There is no magical quality in a degree of latitude
or longitude, a river or a mountain. And it has been well remarked, that
every danger from this quarter might have been apprehended before the
acquisition of this territory. The Roman Empire, or that of Alexander in
the zenith of its glory, was scarcely capable of containing a greater
population than the territory of the United States; and men conversant
with history do not wonder at the transient existence and rapid ruin
of those empires. I repeat it, Mr. Chairman, we must look for our
security in principles and circumstances inapplicable to the ancient
nations. With the present question of expediency, I confess, sir, are
naturally intermingled many considerations, infinitely interesting
to the future peace, prosperity, felicity, and glory of our beloved
country. The physical strength of a nation depends upon an aggregation
of circumstances, amongst which, compactness of population, as well as
territory, may be reckoned; our population may become too scattered; but
this too is only a possible event. These possible evils ought not to be
put in competition with the certain advantage which we derive from the
acquisition.

But a gentleman tells us that the Administration hold out to us an Eden
of the western world, a land flowing with milk and honey, while they have
obtained nothing but a dreary and barren wilderness. Perhaps, if the
gentleman be correct, the acquisition is scarcely the less important.
To demonstrate the advantages of this purchase, it is not necessary to
describe Louisiana as an Elysian region--to describe it as Homer does
the Fortunate Islands, a region, on whose auspicious climate even winter
smiles, where no bleak wind blows from its mountains, and no gale is felt
but the zephyr, diffusing health and pleasure. But from geographical
information, defective as it is, and from reasonable analogies, we may
conclude that, with the exception of some considerable tracts, it is a
country fertile and salubrious. Geography points us to China, Persia,
India, Arabia Felix, and Japan, countries situated in corresponding
latitudes, which, though always overshadowed by the horrid gloom of
despotism, are always productive, and teach us by analogy that Louisiana,
in natural fertility, is probably equal to those beautiful oriental
regions.

The gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. PURVIANCE) says, he shall vote
for carrying the treaty into effect, because the possession of the
territory is important, and the Administration not having, as it ought
to have done, made use of men to obtain it, he will consent to make use
of money. He has applied many curious epithets to the Administration.
He wishes for an Administration _athletic_ and _muscular_, meaning, I
suppose, like the wrestlers in the Grecian circus, or the gladiators
in that of Rome. When I came within these walls, sir, I ardently hoped
that the voice of party would be silent during the discussion of this
subject, and I did not expect to hear the Administration attacked in
the language of vulgarity, malignity, and factious fury. When it is
thus assailed, shall its defenders be silent? During the last session
of Congress, an extraordinary degree of agitation was produced in the
public mind by an egregious violation of our rights by an officer of the
Spanish Government. Neither the people nor the Government were deficient
in that spirit which the gentleman extols, but they were not governed by
false ideas of national honor, and they were acquainted with the law of
nations; they knew that we had no right to make the _denunciatio belli_
precede the _repetitio rerum_--a declaration of war precede a demand for
justice.

Mr. SANFORD did not rise to make a display of his talents. Those who
had confided to him the representation of their interests could have no
such expectations, as they had unfortunately selected a plain Western
farmer. He was sorry to see so much time wasted. He begged the House
would recollect the time within which it was necessary to pass laws
for carrying the treaty into effect. Much has been said of a breach of
the constitution; but has any man shown it? The constitution does not
prohibit the powers exercised on this occasion; and not having prohibited
them, they must be considered as possessed by Government. In his opinion,
it was necessary to carry the treaty into immediate effect. This done,
other measures would require attention which would afford an ample
harvest for the talents and eloquence of gentlemen with which, on any
other occasion, he would be highly pleased.

Mr. THATCHER was sorry to be obliged, at this late hour, to state his
reasons for voting against the resolution; but he should not discharge
his duty to his constituents, were he to refrain from expressing his
ideas. These reasons he should state as briefly as possible. This
resolution is general, and contemplates two objects; it calls for the
occupation and government of Louisiana, and for an appropriation of
fifteen millions of dollars. He had hoped that, on a question of such
national importance, they would have been allowed the papers necessary
for its elucidation. But gentlemen have denied us this privilege. As the
question, whether the treaty should be carried into effect, is a great
constitutional question, I shall, in my remarks, confine myself to the
constitutional objections against the treaty. Two objections have been
made arising from the 3d and 7th articles of the treaty.

The third provides that “the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be
incorporated in the union of the United States, and admitted as soon as
possible, according to the principles of the federal constitution, to
the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens
of the United States; and in the mean time they shall be maintained and
protected in the free, enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the
religion which they profess.”

I conceive, said Mr. T., that the only sound doctrine is, not that which
has been stated by the gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. SANFORD,) that
whatever power is not prohibited by the constitution is agreeable to it,
but that such powers as are not given are still held by the States or the
people. No arguments have been addressed to prove that the constitution
delegates such a power. The gentleman from Vermont, (Mr. ELLIOT,) who has
gratified us with so long and flowery a speech, and who has ransacked
Vattel, and various other eminent authors on the laws of nations, has
proved that where the United States have a right to make a treaty, a
treaty may be made. But these authorities do not apply unless he prove
that the constitution gives the powers exercised in the present instance.
The confederation under which we now live is a partnership of States, and
it is not competent to it to admit a new partner but with the consent
of all the partners. If such power exist, it does not reside in the
President and Senate. The constitution says new States may be admitted by
Congress. If this article of the constitution authorizes the exercise of
power under the treaty, it must reside with the Legislature, and not with
the President and Senate.

The gentleman from Virginia says, the principle contained in the third
article of the treaty has been already recognized by Congress, and has
instanced our treaties with Spain and Great Britain respecting the
adjustment of our limits. By adverting to these treaties, it will be seen
that there was then no pretence that we had acquired new territory. They
only establish our lines agreeably to the Treaty of Peace. Certainly
then the facts are not similar, and there exists no analogy of reasoning
between the two cases. The gentleman from Virginia asks whether we could
not purchase the right of deposit at New Orleans? But the argument
meant to be conveyed in this question does not apply. We had the right
before this treaty was formed; nor did we, in consequence of that right,
undertake to admit the people of New Orleans into the Union.

Mr. CROWNINSHIELD.--Mr. Chairman: I rise, sir, to correct the gentleman
from North Carolina in one particular; he has stated that the First
Consul of France signed the treaty ceding Louisiana to the United States
after the declaration of war by Great Britain against France. I believe
he is mistaken, sir, for the Louisiana treaties were signed the 30th
April, and Great Britain issued a declaration of war against France on
the 17th of May. If I am right, the gentleman might have spared himself
the trouble of detracting from the merits of the Executive on this great
occasion.

Now I am up, I beg leave to state to the committee some of the reasons
why I shall give my vote in favor of the treaties.

A resolution is on the table which recommends that provision ought to
be made to carry into effect the late treaties with France, which cede
Louisiana to the United States. Feeling as I do that we have acquired
this country at a cheap price, that it is a necessary barrier in the
Southern and Western quarters of the Union, that it offers immense
advantages to us as an agricultural and commercial nation, I am highly
in favor of the acquisition, and I shall most cordially give my vote in
approbation of the resolution.

What, sir, shall we let slip this golden opportunity of acquiring New
Orleans and the whole of Louisiana for the trifling sum of fifteen
millions of dollars, when one-quarter part of the purchase money will
be paid to our own citizens, the remainder in public stock, which we
are not obliged to redeem under fifteen years? I trust, sir, we shall
not omit to seize the only means now left to us for getting a peaceable
possession of the finest country in the world. The bargain is a good one,
and considering it merely in that light, we ought not to relinquish it. I
have no doubt that the country acquired is richly worth fifty millions of
dollars, and it is my opinion that we ought not to hesitate a moment in
passing the resolution on the table.

We have now an opening for a free trade to New Orleans and Louisiana,
which we never had before, and I hope we shall embrace it. Let us ratify
the treaties, with all their provisions, and we shall see that in less
than three years we have gained the greatest advantages in our commerce.
I wish we may immediately proceed to adopt the resolution before the
committee.

Mr. MITCHILL rose and said, he entreated the indulgence of the committee
for rising at so late a stage of the debate, when seven hours have
already been employed in the sitting of the day. And the reason of his
request was, that such extraordinary doctrines have been advanced against
carrying into effect the treaty with France which cedes Louisiana to our
nation, and such repeated allusions have been made to the sentiments
which he submitted to the House during the debate of yesterday, that he
felt himself called upon to attempt a reply, and therein to show that the
grounds taken by the gentlemen of the opposition are neither strong nor
tenable. Although the subject is ample and copious, he should endeavor to
condense his remarks, to so moderate a compass, as not to trespass long
upon the patience of the committee.

My colleague, said Mr. M., who opened the debate this morning, (Mr. G.
GRISWOLD,) displayed in his speech the objections raised against the
resolution on the table, so fully, that he almost exhausted the subject.
For, in listening attentively to the reasoning of the gentleman from
Virginia, who followed him, (Mr. J. LEWIS,) and of the other gentleman
from Virginia, who spoke next, (Mr. GRIFFIN,) he could not discern that
any new or additional matter of much consequence had been urged. Nor did
he discover much more than a repetition in substance of his colleague’s
reasoning, in what had been urged by the gentleman from Mass., (Mr.
THATCHER,) and the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. GRISWOLD;) though
the statement of their objections had received a form and coloring
diversified according to the skill and ingenuity of each.

The gentlemen, Mr. Chairman, who resist the provisions necessary to the
completion of this treaty, do so because they say it has been ratified
by the President and Senate in open violation of the constitution of
the United States, and is, therefore, no treaty, but a nullity, an
instrument void _ab initio_, not a part of the supreme law of the land,
and consequently not binding upon Congress or the nation. They draw this
bold and extraordinary conclusion from the style and meaning of the
3d and 7th articles of the treaty. The former of these, they say, is
unconstitutional, because it proposes to annex a new territory, with its
inhabitants, to our present dominion; the latter, because it abolishes
for a term of years the discriminating duties of tonnage and impost
within the ceded territory, giving a preference there to France and
Spain, and leaving those duties unaltered in all the ports of the Union.

By the third article, it is agreed that the inhabitants of the ceded
territory shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States
as soon as possible, according to the principles of the federal
constitution, and be admitted to the enjoyment of all the rights,
advantages, and immunities of the citizens of the United States; and
in the mean time they shall be maintained and protected in the free
enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the religion which they profess.

On expounding this article, my colleague has declared that the President
and Senate have no power to acquire new territory by treaty, and he
argues that our people are to be for ever confined to their present
limits. This is an assertion directly contrary to the powers inherent
in independent nations, and contradictory to the frequent and allowed
exercise of that power in our own nation. We are constantly in the
practice of receiving territory by cession from the red men of the
West, the aborigines of our country. The very treaty mentioned in the
President’s Message, with the Kaskaskias Indians, whereby we have
acquired a large extent of land, would, according to this doctrine,
be unconstitutional; and so would all the treaties which add to the
size of our statute book, with the numerous tribes of the natives on
our frontiers. According to this construction, all our negotiations
so happily concluded with those people, whom we ever have uniformly
acknowledged as the sovereigns of the soil, are nugatory, and to be
holden for naught. He said, he was perfectly aware of the answer which
would be made, that we held all our national domain, under Great Britain,
by virtue of the treaty concluded at Paris in 1783. What, after all, was
the amount of that cession by England? Certainly not a conveyance of a
country which never was theirs, but rightfully belonged to the Indian
natives; for it was, in its true construction, merely a _quit claim_ of
the pretensions or title of the land which the English had obtained by
conquest and treaty from the French. By that negotiation, the United
States obtained a bare relinquishment of the claims and possessions of
those two powerful nations. But the paramount title of the original
inhabitants was not affected by this. However contemptuously the rights
of these rude and feeble tribes had been regarded by the Europeans,
their descendants in these States had considered them with recognition
and respect. Until the Indians sold their lands for an equivalent, the
humane and just principles of the American Government acknowledged
them to be the only legitimate owners. And the sovereignty acquired by
treaty or purchase to our Government was derived from the title which
the natives transferred to them as grantees in a fair bargain and sale.
Such, Mr. M. argued, were the rules of true construction, and these rules
admitted and acted upon by the Federal Government; and yet, according
to the novel doctrine of this day, every treaty with the natives for
parcels of their country, although hitherto deemed lawful, would be an
unconstitutional act. According to this notion, every treaty for lands,
held with the aborigines since the organization of the Government, was
a violation of the constitution. And thus this invaluable instrument,
this bulwark of our liberties, had been violated perhaps twenty times
or more, since we began to buy the surplusage of their hunting grounds.
The Indian tribes are as much aliens as any other foreign nations. Their
lands are as much foreign dominion as the soil of France or Spain. Yet we
have gone on to annex the territories which they sold us, to our present
territory, from the time we acquired independence, and no mortal, until
this debate arose, Mr. Chairman, has so much as thought that thereby a
breach of the constitution was made. My colleague is surely entitled to
great credit for his perspicuity in finding out that all our great and
wise predecessors in administering this Government have been plunderers
and constitution-breakers. But, sir, the just judgment on this subject
is, that the Presidents and Senate of the United States have heretofore
acted constitutionally in acquiring by purchase foreign dominions from
the alien Indians. And by a parity of reasoning, they have acted not
only constitutionally, but eminently for the interest of the country, in
buying Louisiana from the white men, its present sovereigns.

But, independent of correct principles and steady precedent in favor of
the acquirement of new territory, it may be worth while to mention a
few of the strange consequences which flow from the doctrine which the
gentlemen of the other side of the House contend for. According to their
reasoning, if by any force of the currents of the ocean, or any conflicts
of the winds and the waves, a new surface of earth should emerge from
the neighborhood of Cape Hatteras, it would be unconstitutional to take
possession of it. Yet it appears to me, sir, very like an absurdity to
say the United States would break their bond of union by erecting a
light-house on it. Suppose that, by volcanic action, islands should be
suddenly elevated from the bottom of the neighboring Atlantic, as they
have repeatedly risen from the depths of the Mediterranean, would it be
unconstitutional to take possession of them? So far from it, there would
on the other hand be a duty in the Government to assume the dominion of
all adjacent islands. Again; suppose for a moment that our present limits
were full of people, would it be unconstitutional to purchase additional
territory for them to settle upon? Must the hive always contain its
present numbers, and no swarm ever go forth? At this rate we should,
before a great lapse of time, arrive at a _plenum_ of inhabitants, and
if no new settlement could be obtained for them, the Chinese custom of
infanticide must be tolerated to get rid of those tender little beings
for whom food enough could not be procured, to rear them to manhood. And
thus, when this _maximum_ of population shall have arrived, there would
be no constitutional power to purchase and possess any of the waste lands
on this or the other side of the Mississippi, for them to spread and
thrive upon. A doctrine against which, he confessed, his understanding
revolted.

Our Government having in this manner the right of acquiring additional
territory, had very often exercised that right by actual purchases and
by possessions and settlements afterwards. The whole of the recent State
of Ohio and of the Indiana Territory was obtained and peopled in this
manner. And in the settlement of limits both on the side of Florida
and Nova Scotia, the principle had again and again been acted upon;
and, strange to tell, nobody, until this eventful time, had possessed
acuteness enough to find out the error.

But the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Chairman, (Mr. GRISWOLD,)
contends that even if we had a right to purchase soil, we have no
business with the inhabitants. His words, however, are very select; for
he said, and often repeated it, that the treaty-making power did not
extend to the admission of foreign nations into this confederacy. To this
it may be replied that the President and Senate have not attempted to
admit foreign nations into our confederacy. They have bought a tract of
land, out of their regard to the good of our people and their welfare.
And this land, Congress are called upon to pay for. Unfortunately for the
bargain, this region contains civilized and Christian inhabitants; and
their existence there, it is alleged, nullifies the treaty. The gentleman
construed the Constitution of the United States very differently from the
manner in which Mr. M. himself did. By the third section of the third
article of that instrument, it is declared, that Congress shall have
power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting
the territory and other property of the United States, and nothing
therein contained shall be construed so as to prejudice any claim of the
United States, or of any particular State.

In the case of Louisiana no injury is done either to the nation or
to any State belonging to that great body politic. There was nothing
compulsory upon the inhabitants of Louisiana to make them stay and submit
to our Government. But if they chose to remain, it had been most kindly
and wisely provided, that until they should be admitted to the rights,
advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United States, they shall
be maintained and protected in the enjoyment of their liberty, property,
and the religion which they profess. What would the gentleman propose
that we shall do with them? Send them away to the Spanish provinces, or
turn them loose in the wilderness? No, sir, it is our purpose to pursue a
much more dignified system of measures. It is intended, first, to extend
to this newly acquired people the blessings of law and social order. To
protect them from rapacity, violence, and anarchy. To make them secure
in their lives, limbs, and property, reputation, and civil privileges.
To make them safe in the rights of conscience. In this way they are to
be trained up in a knowledge of our own laws and institutions. They
are thus to serve an apprenticeship to liberty; they are to be taught
the lessons of freedom; and by degrees they are to be raised to the
enjoyment and practice of independence. All this is to be done as soon
as possible; that is, as soon as the nature of the case will permit; and
according to the principles of the federal constitution. Strange! that
proceedings declared on the face of them to be constitutional, should
be inveighed against as violations of the constitution! Secondly, after
they shall have been a sufficient length of time in this probationary
condition, they shall, as soon as the principles of the constitution
permit, and conformably thereto, be declared citizens of the United
States. Congress will judge of the time, manner, and expediency of this.
The act we are now about to perform will not confer on them this elevated
character. They will thereby gain no admission into this House, nor into
the other House of Congress. There will be no alien influence thereby
introduced into our councils. By degrees, however, they will pass on
from the childhood of republicanism, through the improving period of
youth, and arrive at the mature experience of manhood. And then, they may
be admitted to the full privileges which their merit and station will
entitle them to.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH said that a sense of duty alone could have induced
him to rise at that late hour. He wished to call the attention of the
committee to a stipulation in the Treaty of London. [Here Mr. R. read
an extract from the third article of that treaty, whereby the United
States are pledged not to impose on imports in British vessels from
their territories in America, adjacent to the United States, any higher
duties than would be paid upon such imports, if brought into our Atlantic
ports in American bottoms.] In this case, he said, gentlemen could not
avail themselves of the distinction taken by his friend from Maryland
(Mr. NICHOLSON) between a Territory and a State, even if they were so
disposed--since the ports in question were ports of a State. The ports
of New York, on the Lakes, were as much ports of that State, as the city
of New York itself; they had their custom-house officers, were governed
by the same regulations as other ports,--duties were exacted at them;
and yet, under the article of the British Treaty which had been just
read, British bottoms could and did enter them subject to no higher
duties than were paid by American bottoms in the Atlantic ports. Mr.
R. said that he did not mean to affirm that this exemption made by the
Treaty of London was constitutional, so long as a distinction prevailed
between American and British bottoms in other ports. He had never given
a vote to carry that treaty into effect--but he hoped the gentlemen from
Connecticut--both of whom he believed had done so; one of whom, at least,
he knew had been a conspicuous advocate of that treaty--he hoped that
gentleman (Mr. GRISWOLD) would inform the committee how he got over the
constitutional objection to this article of the Treaty of London, which
he had endeavored to urge against that under discussion. How could the
gentleman, with the opinion which he now holds, agree to admit British
bottoms into certain ports, on the same terms on which American bottoms
were admitted into American ports, generally? thereby making that very
difference,--giving that very preference to those particular ports of
certain States, which he tells us cannot constitutionally be given to the
port of New Orleans--although that port is not within any State, and,
if his (Mr. GRISWOLD’s) doctrine be correct, not even within the United
States!

The gentleman from Connecticut professed a wish that this important
discussion should be conducted with moderation and candor. In this
sentiment he concurred. He was therefore altogether unprepared, after
this preamble, to hear the gentleman from Connecticut represent the
treaty in question as conceding the most valuable commercial privileges
to France and Spain, and thereby sapping the very foundation of our own
carrying trade. In the spirit of candor the stipulations in question
would be viewed, not as conceding advantages in trade to those nations,
but as securing them to ourselves. The article in question did indeed
profess to grant, for a limited time, to French and Spanish vessels,
laden with the products of their respective countries, admission into
the ports of the ceded territory, on equal terms with our own ships.
But, although nominally an advantage has been conceded to these nations,
substantially their situation was changed for the worse, and the benefit
in fact conferred on us. For what were our rights in these ports, and
what were theirs, setting aside the treaty? The treaty then had rendered
our situation more eligible and theirs less so. How then could gentlemen
declare that it was calculated to injure our carrying trade? when by it
our trade was put on the footing of absolute security, while that of
France and Spain was admitted under considerable restrictions, enjoying
in but one particular, and for twelve years only, an equality with ours.
Their trade, before on so superior a footing, had descended from its
pre-eminence in privilege, and given way to ours; and yet gentlemen warn
us of the destruction of our carrying trade, and commercial prosperity,
from the very source which has enlarged and secured both. The enemies
of the treaty, therefore, are the advocates of the trade of France and
Spain, and the enemies so far of our own; since, by retaining things in
their present posture, they would continue to those nations the superior
advantages which they now enjoy in the ports of Louisiana, they would
continue the restrictions which heretofore have fettered our commerce
to that country, and they would refuse to put our trade on a footing
superior to that of France and Spain.

On the subject of expediency, the gentleman had undervalued the country
west of the Mississippi, and had declared that he considered the barren
province of Florida as more important to us. Mr. R. asked if the country
west of the Mississippi were not valuable, according to the gentleman’s
own statement, since it afforded the means of acquiring Florida, which
he prized so highly, from Spain? He had no doubt of the readiness of
that power to relinquish Florida, in itself a dead expense to her--only
valuable as an out-work to her other possessions, and now insulated by
those of the United States--for a very small portion of the country which
we claimed in virtue of the treaty under discussion.

He denied the correctness of the doctrine advanced by the same gentleman,
that the stipulation entered into by France, in time of war, to raise the
Duke of Parma to the throne of Etruria, bound her to obtain a recognition
of that King from every power of Europe. All which concerned us in
that treaty had been recited in ours with France. By the Treaty of St.
Ildefonso His Catholic Majesty stipulates “to redeliver (_retroceder_)
to the French Republic, six months after the full and entire execution
of the conditions and stipulations herein relative to His Royal Highness
the Duke of Parma, the colony or province of Louisiana.” What these
stipulations were is certainly known only to the parties themselves,
for they never were officially made public, although we are at no loss
to conjecture them. Nor are we at all concerned whether France has or
has not complied with them. Because in a treaty executed at Madrid, six
months after, in March, 1801, they show that they consider the former
treaty as having passed the title to the country to France. The fifth
article is as follows:

    “This treaty being in pursuance of that already concluded
    between the First Consul and His Catholic Majesty, by which
    the King delivers to France possession of Louisiana, the
    contracting parties agree to carry into effect the said
    treaty,” &c.

Spain, therefore, being satisfied as to the stipulations entered into by
France in the Treaty of San Ildefonso, declares herself in the second
treaty ready to redeliver the country to her whenever she was ready to
receive it, and Mr. R. said, he had it from high authority that the royal
mandate to that effect was in the hands of the Minister of the French
Republic near the United States, and would be forwarded to the existing
Government of Louisiana so soon as the treaty should be confirmed on our
part.

Having departed considerably from the particular point on which he wished
to be satisfied by the gentleman from Connecticut, who had spoken first,
(Mr. GRISWOLD,) he would again recall the attention of that gentleman
to the third article of the Treaty of London, and request that he would
reconcile its provisions to the doctrine which he had advanced on the
seventh article of the treaty then before the committee.

The committee now rose. Mr. SPEAKER resumed the Chair, and Mr. DAWSON
reported that the committee had, according to order, had the said
message, treaty, conventions, and motion, under consideration, and come
to several resolutions thereupon; which he delivered in at the Clerk’s
table, where the same were read, as follows:

    1. _Resolved_, That provision ought to be made for carrying
    into effect the treaty and conventions concluded at Paris on
    the thirtieth of April, one thousand eight hundred and three,
    between the United States of America and the French Republic.

    2. _Resolved_, That so much of the Message of the President,
    of the twenty-first instant, as relates to the establishment
    of a Provisional Government over the territory acquired by the
    United States, in virtue of the treaty and conventions lately
    negotiated with the French Republic, be referred to a select
    committee; and that they report by bill, or otherwise.

    3. _Resolved_, that so much of the aforesaid conventions as
    relates to the payment, by the United States, of sixty millions
    of francs to the French Republic, and to the payment, by the
    United States, of debts due by France to citizens of the United
    States, be referred to the Committee of Ways and Means.

The House proceeded to consider the said resolutions at the Clerk’s
table: Whereupon the first resolution being again read, was, on the
question put thereupon, agreed to by the House--yeas 90, nays 25, as
follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, jr., Nathaniel Alexander, Isaac Anderson,
    John Archer, David Bard, George Michael Bedinger, Phanuel
    Bishop, William Blackledge, John Boyle, Robert Brown, William
    Butler, George W. Campbell, Levi Casey, Martin Chittenden,
    Clifton Claggett, Thomas Claiborne, Joseph Clay, Matthew
    Clay, John Clopton, Frederick Conrad, Jacob Crowninshield,
    Richard Cutts, John Dawson, William Dickson, John Earle,
    Peter Early, James Elliot, John W. Eppes, William Eustis,
    William Findley, John Fowler, Peterson Goodwyn, Edwin Gray,
    Andrew Gregg, Wade Hampton, John A. Hanna, Josiah Hasbrouck,
    Joseph Heister, William Hoge, David Holmes, Samuel Hunt, John
    G. Jackson, Walter Jones, William Kennedy, Nehemiah Knight,
    Michael Leib, John B. C. Lucas, Matthew Lyon, Andrew McCord,
    William McCreery, David Meriwether, Samuel L. Mitchill,
    Nicholas R. Moore, Thomas Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, Anthony New,
    Thomas Newton, jun., Joseph H. Nicholson, Gideon Olin, Beriah
    Palmer, John Patterson, Samuel D. Purviance, John Randolph,
    jun., Thomas M. Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea
    of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Cæsar A. Rodney, Erastus Root,
    Thomas Sammons, Thomas Sanford, Ebenezer Seaver, John Smilie,
    John Smith of New York, John Smith of Virginia, Richard
    Stanford, Joseph Stanton, John Stewart, David Thomas, Philip R.
    Thompson, John Trigg, Philip Van Cortlandt, Joseph A. Varnum,
    Daniel C. Verplanck, Matthew Walton, John Whitehill, Marmaduke
    Williams, Richard Winn, Joseph Winston, and Thomas Wynns.

    NAYS.--William Chamberlin, Manasseh Cutler, Samuel W. Dana,
    John Davenport, Thomas Dwight, Calvin Goddard, Thomas Griffin,
    Gaylord Griswold, Roger Griswold, Seth Hastings, David Hough,
    Joseph Lewis, jun., Thomas Lewis, Henry W. Livingston, Nahum
    Mitchill, Thomas Plater, Joshua Sands, John Cotton Smith,
    William Stedman, James Stephenson, Samuel Taggart, Samuel
    Tenney, Samuel Thatcher, Peleg Wadsworth, and Lemuel Williams.

The second resolution being again read, and amended at the Clerk’s table,
was, on the question put thereupon, agreed to by the House, as follows:

    _Resolved_, That so much of the Message of the President, of
    the twenty-first instant, as relates to the occupation and
    establishment of a Provisional Government over the Territory
    acquired by the United States, in virtue of the treaty and
    conventions lately negotiated with the French Republic, be
    referred to a select committee; and that they report by bill,
    or otherwise.

_Ordered_, That Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH, jr., Mr. JOHN RHEA, of Tennessee, Mr.
HOGE, Mr. GAYLORD GRISWOLD, and Mr. BEDINGER, be appointed a committee,
pursuant to the said resolution.

The third resolution reported from the Committee of the whole House,
being again read, was agreed to by the House.


THURSDAY, October 27.

Another member, to-wit, ABRAM TRIGG, from Virginia, appeared, produced
his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.

_Louisiana Treaty._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill from
the Senate, entitled, “An act to enable the President of the United
States to take possession of the territories ceded by France to the
United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the thirtieth of April
last, and for other purposes.”

The bill having been read, by paragraphs, as follows:

    _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America, in Congress assembled_, That the
    President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized
    to take possession of and occupy the territories ceded by
    France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris,
    on the thirtieth day of April last, between the two nations;
    and that he may for that purpose, and in order to maintain in
    the said territories the authority of the United States, employ
    any part of the army and navy of the United States, and of the
    force authorized by an act passed the third day of March last,
    entitled, “An act directing a detachment from the militia of
    the United States, and for erecting certain arsenals,” which he
    may deem necessary; and so much of the sum appropriated by the
    said acts as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated for the
    purpose of carrying this act into effect; to be applied under
    the direction of the President of the United States.

    SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That, until Congress shall
    have made provision for the temporary government of the said
    territories, all the military, civil, and judicial powers,
    exercised by the officers of the existing government of the
    same, shall be vested in such person and persons, and shall be
    exercised in such manner, as the President of the United States
    shall direct.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH said he was apprised that the bill was of such a nature
as seemed to delegate to the President of the United States a power, the
exercise of which was intended to have but a short duration; he was also
aware, that some such power was necessary to be vested in the Executive,
to enable him to take possession of the country ceded by France. But he
could conceive no cause for giving a latitude, as to time, so extensive
as that allowed by the second section, which says, that “until Congress
shall have made provision for the temporary government of the said
territories, all the military, civil, and judicial powers, exercised by
the officers of the existing government of the same, shall be vested
in such person or persons, and shall be exercised in such manner, as
the President of the United States shall direct.” If we give this power
out of our hands, it may be irrevocable until Congress shall have made
legislative provision; that is, a single branch of the Government, the
Executive branch, with a small minority of either House, may prevent
its resumption. He did not believe that, under any circumstances, it
was proper to delegate to the Executive a power so extensive; but if
proper under certain circumstances, he was sure it was improper under
present circumstances. As he conceived it proper to deal out power to
the Executive with as sparing a hand as was consistent with the public
good, he should move an amendment to substitute in the place of the words
“Congress shall have made provision for the temporary government of the
said territories”--these words, “the expiration of the present session
of Congress, unless provision for the temporary government of the said
territories be sooner made by Congress.” So that if Congress shall
make provision for the government of the territory at any time during
the session, the power of the President will cease, and at any rate
at the expiration of the session. In other words, this amendment will
compel Congress to take early measures for reducing this enormous power,
delegated to the Executive, by the establishment of a government for the
people of Louisiana.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD moved to strike out the whole of the second section,
which would supersede the motion of the gentleman from Virginia. He made
this motion to obtain an explanation respecting the nature and extent
of the delegated power. That section provides “that until Congress
shall have made provision for the temporary government of the said
territories, all the military, civil, and judicial powers, exercised by
the officers of the existing government of the same, shall be vested in
such manner, as the President of the United States shall direct.” I wish
to know, said Mr. Griswold, whether any gentleman can inform me what the
military, civil, and judicial powers, exercised by the officers of the
existing province are; for we are about to confirm them, and direct their
execution by the authorities of the United States.

It is probable that some of them may be inconsistent with the
Constitution of the United States. We have certain restrictions on powers
exercised under it. For instance, that the _habeas corpus_ shall not
be suspended in cases of invasion or rebellion, and a variety of other
restraints. It is for this reason that I think we ought to have some
knowledge of the powers exercised in Louisiana, before we confirm them in
the lump; and in order to obtain this information, I move to strike out
the section.

Mr. ELLIOT rose to second the motion of the gentleman from Connecticut,
and to express his coincidence in the sentiments of that gentleman on
this subject. He would never consent to delegate, for a single moment,
such extensive powers to the President, even over a Territory. Such a
delegation of power was unconstitutional. If such a provision as that
contemplated by the section were necessary, it became Congress itself to
enter upon the task of legislation.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH had hoped that some other member would have given the
gentleman from Connecticut the satisfaction he asked in relation to the
provisions of the section proposed to be stricken out. No one having
risen, he would do it himself as well as he was able. That gentleman
asks whether we know the civil, military, and judicial powers that
subsist in Louisiana; and contends that it is necessary we should know
them before they are transferred to the Executive of the United States.
If the section were to stand as it now does, Mr. R. said he would be
as unwilling as the gentleman from Connecticut to agree to it. But,
with the proposed limitation, he saw no substantial objection to it. He
was one of those who did not know with precision what the subsisting
civil, military, and judicial powers exercised in Louisiana were; and
yet he saw not the difficulty which the gentleman had stated, as to the
temporary transfer of the powers to the Executive with the limitation
proposed--and wherefore? Because, in the nature of things, it was almost
impossible to take possession of the country without the exercise of such
powers at some point of time, and if they should be exercised but for a
single moment, such exercise would be as hostile to the principles of the
gentleman as the exercise of them for a whole year.

I ask, said Mr. R., whether if the country should be taken possession
of on the principles advocated by the gentleman on a former day, these
powers would not all have attached to the Executive? Suppose, instead
of assuming the civil government of the territory, it had been taken
possession of by storm, by an army of 40 or 50,000 soldiers--will the
gentleman contend, that under such circumstances, the privilege of the
_habeas corpus_ or trial by jury would have been invaded? Undoubtedly
not. If the gentleman will advert with precision to the first section, he
will perceive that it is contemplated to take possession in such a manner
as will give the United States security in that possession. For though
we might not doubt the disposition of the Government of France to give
us a secure possession, or apprehend difficulty from any other quarter,
yet it would be recollected that there were citizens or subjects in the
territory requiring some government. It was not impossible that on taking
possession there may be some turbulent spirits, who, having at heart the
advancement of personal schemes, may be disposed to resist. It would be
unwise then in Congress to delay making the requisite provision, until
necessity claimed it, and until, perhaps, after Congress had adjourned.

Gentlemen will see the absolute necessity of the path chalked out by
the Senate. They will see the necessity of the United States taking
possession of the country in the capacity of sovereigns, in the same
extent as that of the existing government of the province. After having
taken possession, and being in the secure enjoyment of the country, it
will be extremely proper to guard against any apprehended Executive
invasion of right. This step will then be politic, and it will be
observed that the section as amended enjoins this duty upon Congress. If,
however, the gentleman from Connecticut will show us any way in which
the country may be taken possession of, with security, and by which the
people may enjoy all the rights and franchises of citizens of the United
States immediately, I shall be happy to give it the sanction of my vote.
But to my mind this appears impossible.

Mr. GRISWOLD thought it extraordinary that the gentleman from Virginia
should call upon him to propose a plan for avoiding the difficulties
that would apparently result from the system proposed by the bill, when
it had only that day been laid upon their tables, and had been yesterday
refused to be referred to a select committee; and of consequence, no
time for reflection had been allowed. Under these circumstances, it was
indeed extraordinary that he should be expected to propose a plan. He
confessed he was unable to offer any. To do it would doubtless require
time and deliberation. It was sufficient for him that the bill infringed
the constitution. By the second section it is proposed to transfer to
the President of the United States all the powers, civil, military, and
judicial, exercised at present in that province. What are those powers?
No gentleman is able to inform me. It may be presumed that they are
legislative; the President, therefore, is to be made the legislator of
that country; that they are judicial, the President, therefore, is to be
made judge; that they are executive, and so far they constitutionally
devolve on the President. Hence, we are about making the President the
legislator, the judge, and the executive of this territory. I do not,
said Mr. G., understand that, according to the constitution, we have a
right to make him legislator, judge, and executive, in any territory
belonging to the United States. Though, therefore, on this occasion, I
feel no jealousy of the abuse of the powers conferred on the President,
yet I cannot agree to them, because I consider them repugnant to the
constitution.

The argument that the powers are necessary, though unconstitutional,
is no argument with me. If gentlemen can so explain the section, as to
show to the satisfaction of the committee that it is competent to this
House to transfer to the President all these powers, I shall have no
objection to the section; but until this is done, it is my duty to vote
for striking it out. And though it is impossible for me, at this moment,
to devise a plan for overcoming these difficulties, yet I trust, if time
be allowed, there will be found wisdom enough in the committee to devise
one. To the first section, authorizing the taking possession of the
country, so far as I can understand it, I can see no objection.

Mr. NICHOLSON was opposed to striking out the second section, as he did
not perceive the evils contemplated by the gentleman from Connecticut.
The question is, whether we shall take immediate possession of this
country, or wait till this body shall have time to form such a government
as shall be hereafter likely to render the people happy, under laws
according to the provisions of the constitution? I think, said Mr. N.,
it will be injudicious to delay taking the possession, until such a
government shall be formed. The only question then that can be started
is, whether the second section of this bill violates the constitution. On
this point I differ entirely from the gentleman from Connecticut. I do
not see in it any violation of the constitution. The gentleman supposes
that by adopting the provisions of the second section we shall vest all
the civil, military, and judicial powers of the existing Government of
Louisiana in the President. But it clearly is not so. We vest in him the
appointment of the persons who shall exercise these powers, but we do
not delegate to him the exercise of the powers themselves. Is there any
difference between this, and the provisions of the ordinance of 1787,
which relates to territorial governments? By that ordinance, and I have
never heard its constitutionality questioned, all the civil, military,
and judicial powers are vested in such persons as the President may
appoint.

Mr. MITCHILL expressed his wish that the section of the bill might stand.
To strike it out would be to make void all the proceedings respecting the
province of Louisiana, on which Congress had been engaged with so much
care and diligence. We had purchased the country, and made arrangements
to pay for it; and now, with the consent of France, possession is to be
taken; when behold! an objection is made to that part of the intended
statute which confers on the President the power to occupy and hold it
peaceably for the nation.

But, let it be examined fairly what Congress are meditating to do. The
third section of the fourth article of the constitution contemplates
that _territory_ and other _property_ may belong to the United States.
By a treaty with France the nation has lately acquired title to a new
_territory_, with various kinds of public _property_ on it or annexed to
it. By the same section of the constitution, Congress is clothed with
the power to dispose of such _territory_ and _property_, and to make all
needful rules and regulations respecting it. This is as fair an exercise
of constitutional authority as that by which we assemble and hold our
seats in this House. To the title thus obtained, we wish now to add
the possession; and it is proposed that for this important purpose the
President shall be duly empowered. There is no person in the nation to
whom this can be so properly confided as to the President.

Mr. DANA said if the amendment proposed by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania were inserted, it might imply that we may pass laws that
were unconstitutional; it was, therefore, superfluous. It is objected
to the scope of the second section, that it is unconstitutional; insert
the amendment and it nullifies it. The gentleman from New York (Mr.
MITCHILL) has referred to a subject with which he is well conversant. He
is correct in stating that the formal style of the English acts is in
the name of the King. In the formal style of the acts of Parliament, the
King is legislator; but will it be inferred from this circumstance that
he is the real legislator? The gentleman is too well acquainted with the
constitution and laws of that country, not to know that the King, though
nominally the dispenser of justice, cannot himself sit upon the bench,
and that this has been the case since the act of settlement. He might, in
support of this position, refer to the declaration of a celebrated Chief
Justice of England, who had said that the honor of the Crown had nothing
to do with the courts of justice.

The gentleman is equally unfortunate in his remarks on the power of
Congress to make rules for the government of a Territory. It is objected
to this, that in this case you make no laws at all. Is it to make laws,
to say a man may do as he pleases? The proposed government is not even
provisional or circumscribed. Insufficient also is any argument deducible
from the ordinance establishing territorial governments. He presumed the
ordinance alluded to was that of 1787. Under that ordinance the President
is authorized to appoint the judges of the Territory; but once appointed,
they hold their offices during good behavior. Who, under that ordinance,
make the laws? Neither the judges nor the President. No laws can be
accepted but such as have received the sanction of a representative body.
What is proposed by the bill? That all powers, military, civil, and
judicial, exercised by the officers of the existing government, shall
be vested in such persons, and shall be exercised in such manner as the
President shall direct. He may, under this authority, establish the whole
code of Spanish laws, however contrary to our own; appoint whomsoever
he pleases as judges, and remove them according to his pleasure; thus
uniting in himself all the power, legislative, executive, and judicial.
This, though a complete despotism, gentlemen may perhaps say is
necessary. If so, let the military power be exercised by the President as
commander-in-chief of the armies.

Mr. EUSTIS said it was possible the bill under consideration might in its
details be objectionable, but in principle it was certainly sound. The
Government of the United States has a constitutional right to acquire
territory, and they have consequently a right to take possession of it
when acquired. The taking possession of it was not only the right, but
the duty of the Government. And how is this to be effected? Will any
gentleman venture to propose a delay until Congress shall have passed a
new code of laws? Are gentlemen, at this late day, to be informed that
this would be to throw away one of the most valuable acquisitions made by
our country since the adoption of the constitution, or the Declaration
of Independence? As the gentleman, last speaking, rightly observes, the
entire government of Spain ceases on our taking possession. Are we then
to abandon the people to anarchy?

As to the extent of the power vested in the Executive, it arises from
necessity. This is a new case altogether. There is no doubt that on
many particular subordinate points, respecting the secure possession of
this country, difficulties may present themselves. But Mr. E. presumed
and expected that the same wisdom that acquired it, would preside over
the councils of the nation to meet and overcome those difficulties. The
second section of the bill contemplates the transfer to officers of the
United States, of the same powers now exercised. It may be that the
exercise of all these powers will not be necessary; while it is possible
that others may be necessary. There may be difficulties of various
kinds. He should name none. But as they arise, it will be the duty of the
Government to be prepared to meet them. He would, therefore, wish this
act rather to increase than curtail them; and that the President should
be authorized not only to continue all necessary existing powers, but
to institute such other powers as may be necessary for the well-being
of the Territory. Till when? Until this House and the other branch of
the Legislature shall make the necessary laws. The powers delegated by
the bill are imposed by the imperious circumstances of the case. What if
forcible possession shall prove necessary, and the innocent inhabitants
should be slaughtered, through a want of the powers necessary to preserve
tranquillity and good order; whose will, under such circumstances, will
be the governing one? Will not the President, in such event, have all the
powers now given him?

Mr. R. GRISWOLD.--The powers proposed to be conferred by the gentleman
are without limits. It may be necessary for the welfare of the people,
to secure their religion. The President may be, therefore, constituted
grand inquisitor, he may also be made a king, and likewise a judge, for
the good of the people. I am not, said Mr. G., willing myself to give
him such extensive powers. I can, however, well account for certain
gentlemen urging on this occasion the old French argument of “imperious
necessity.” But such a pretext can never justify me in giving a vote that
will violate the constitution. I can, in truth, see no such necessity, as
provision can be made for admitting these people to the enjoyment of all
the privileges stipulated by the treaty, without involving a violation of
the constitution. Gentlemen may criminate, as they please, the motives of
those who are for restraining this extension of executive power; but I
trust, whatever may be the feelings of gentlemen, that the committee will
not be impressed with the same opinion entertained by them; but that if
they consider this delegation of power as repugnant to the constitution,
they will not agree to it, or, in other words, to the investiture of the
President with absolute power over this province. If, on the other hand,
they think the delegation is constitutional, they will feel no repugnance
to agreeing to it; because, as I observed before, the power will be of
short duration, and will not, probably, be abused.

As to the idea of some gentlemen, that this territory, not being a part
of the United States, but a colony, and that therefore we may do as we
please with it, it is not correct. If we acquire a colony by conquest
or purchase--and I believe we may do both--it is not consistent with
the constitution to delegate to the President, even over a colony thus
acquired, all power, legislative, executive, and judicial; for this
would make him the despot of the colony. Mr. G. concluded his remarks
by observing that he had no jealousy of the abuse of this power by the
President; but not being, in his opinion, authorized by the constitution,
he could not agree to vote for it.

Mr. SMILIE said, this subject struck him differently from other
gentlemen. If it appeared clear to him that the constitutional right to
delegate the powers contemplated by the second section did not exist, he
should vote against it. But he entertained no doubt on this point. He
knew that it had been doubted whether the constitution authorized the
Government of the United States to acquire territory; but those doubts
were this day abandoned. He agreed in opinion with the gentleman from
Massachusetts, (Mr. VARNUM,) that the Constitution of the United States
did not extend to this territory any further than they were bound by
the compact between the ceding power and the people. On this principle
they had a right, viewing it in the light of a colony, to give it such
government as the Government of the United States might think proper,
without thereby violating the constitution; when incorporated into the
Union, the inhabitants must enjoy all the rights of citizens. He would
thank gentlemen to show any part of the constitution that extends either
legislative, executive, or judicial power, over this territory. If none
such could be shown, it must rest with the discretion of the Government
to give it such a system as they may think best for it. At the same time,
Mr. S. said, he would pledge himself to be among the first to incorporate
the territory in the Union, and to admit the people to all the rights of
citizens of the United States.

Mr. RODNEY.--When a constitutional question is made, and constitutional
objections urged by a respectable member of this House, they shall always
receive from me a respectful attention. On this occasion I shall endeavor
to answer the objections, and remove the doubts entertained by some
gentlemen. I believe we shall find that, by adopting the second section
of the bill under consideration, we shall not infringe the constitution
in the remotest degree. No person is more opposed to the extreme of
absolute and unlimited power, or to vesting in any man that authority
which, by not being circumscribed within known bounds, may be easily
abused. No man can be more opposed to the exercise by the President of
powers exercised by the Spanish inquisition, and authorized by other
Governments. But cases may occur where, for a moment, powers to which,
without an absolute necessity, no one would agree, become necessary to be
vested in some department of the Government; and I am in favor of this
section for the reasons assigned by my friend from Virginia, to wit, that
the exercise of the powers delegated will be confined to a short space,
and will be of no further duration than shall be necessary to obtain the
end of a secure possession of the Territory.

The United States, it is acknowledged, have a right to extend their
territory beyond that which they possessed when the constitution was
formed. If, then, there exist the right to acquire territory, there is
a consequence of the laws that pervade all civilized nations, which
will show not only the constitutionality but the propriety also of this
section. It is a received principle of the law of nations, that, when
territory is ceded, the people who inhabit it have a right to the laws
they formerly lived under, embracing the whole civil and criminal code,
until they are altered or amended by the country to whom the cession is
made. This is the received principle of the law of nations, and operates
wherever the right to acquire territory is previously given. I will
put a plain case, on the ground so commonly of late resorted to, that
of acquiring territory by war. The right to make war is vested by the
constitution in the Government of the United States. Suppose we had gone
down the Mississippi, and favored the wishes of some of our citizens.
Would not gentlemen, in that case, have acknowledged that we should have
possessed the right of laying contributions? Should we not have had the
right of saying to those who exercised the powers of government in that
country, “Begone! We will make new arrangements; the powers of government
shall be exercised by such particular organs as we like. Your laws and
your religion shall be preserved; but your officers shall be replaced by
ours.” Under the laws of nations we should have enjoyed all these powers.

But, independent of this power conferred by the law of nations, I am
inclined to think the provisions of the constitution apply to this
case. There is a wide distinction between States and Territories, and
the constitution appears clearly to indicate it. By examining the
constitution accurately, it will be found that the provision relied upon
by the gentleman from Connecticut will not avail to support his argument.
It will appear that it is to operate in the case of States only. By
the third section of the fourth article of the constitution, it is
declared that “the Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all
needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property
belonging to the United States; and nothing in this constitution shall
be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States or any
particular State.”

This provision does not limit or restrain the authority of Congress with
respect to Territories, but vests them with full and complete power to
exercise a sound discretion generally on the subject. Let us not be told
this power, from its greatness, is liable to abuse. If arguments are
drawn from the abuse against the use of power, I know no power which may
not be abused, and it will follow that the same arguments that are urged
against the use of this power may be urged against the use of all power.

We may be told that, in the government of the North-western Territory,
there are certain fixed rules established. But by a recurrence to the
ordinance for the government of that Territory, and to the laws of
Congress subsequently made, it will be seen that Congress have conceived
themselves to be possessed of the right, and have actually exercised the
power, to alter the Territory, by adding to or taking from it as they
thought proper, and by making rules variant from those under which it was
originally organized.

In the Territories of the United States, under the ordinances of
Congress, the governor and the judges have a right to make laws. Could
this be done in a State? I presume not. It shows that Congress have a
power in the Territories, which they cannot exercise in States; and that
the limitations of power, found in the constitution, are applicable to
States and not to Territories.

The question was then put on striking out the second section, and
lost--ayes 30.

The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading to-morrow.


FRIDAY, October 28.

_Louisiana Treaty._

The bill sent from the Senate, entitled “An act to enable the President
of the United States to take possession of the territories ceded by
France to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the
thirtieth of April last, and for the temporary government thereof,”
together with the amendments agreed to yesterday, was read the second
time, as follows:

    _Be it enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America, in Congress assembled_, That the
    President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized
    to take possession of and occupy the territory ceded by France
    to the United States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the
    thirtieth of April last, between the two nations; and that he
    may for that purpose, and in order to maintain in the said
    territories the authority of the United States, employ any
    part of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the
    force authorized by an act passed the third day of March last,
    entitled ‘An act directing a detachment from the militia of the
    United States, and for erecting certain arsenals,’ which he
    may deem necessary, and so much of the sum appropriated by the
    said act as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated for the
    purpose of carrying this act into effect; to be applied under
    the direction of the President of the United States.

    SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That, until the expiration
    of the present session of Congress, or unless provision
    be sooner made for the temporary government of the said
    territories, all the military, civil, and judicial powers
    exercised by the officers of the existing Government of the
    same, shall be vested in such person and persons, and shall be
    exercised in such manner as the President of the United States
    shall direct, for maintaining and protecting the inhabitants of
    Louisiana in the full enjoyment of their liberty, property, and
    religion.

On the question, Shall the bill pass? the yeas and nays were required,
and stood--yeas 89, nays 23, as follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, Isaac Anderson, John Archer, David Bard,
    George M. Bedinger, Samuel Bishop, William Blackledge, John
    Boyle, Robert Brown, William Butler, George W. Campbell, John
    Campbell, Levi Casey, Thomas Claiborne, Joseph Clay, Matthew
    Clay, John Clopton, Frederick Conrad, Jacob Crowninshield,
    Richard Cutts, John Dawson, William Dickson, John Earle, Peter
    Early, John W. Eppes, William Eustis, William Findlay, John
    Fowler, Peterson Goodwyn, Andrew Gregg, Wade Hampton, John
    A. Hanna, Josiah Hasbrouck, Daniel Heister, Joseph Heister,
    William Hoge, James Holland, David Holmes, Benjamin Huger,
    Walter Jones, William Kennedy, Nehemiah Knight, Michael
    Leib, John B. C. Lucas, Matthew Lyon, Andrew McCord, William
    McCreery, David Meriwether, Samuel L. Mitchill, Nicholas R.
    Moore, Thomas Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas
    Newton, jr., Joseph H. Nicholson, Gideon Olin, Beriah Palmer,
    John Patterson, Samuel D. Purviance, John Randolph, jr., Thomas
    M. Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee,
    Jacob Richards, Cæsar A. Rodney, Erastus Root, Thomas Sammons,
    Thomas Sanford, Ebenezer Seaver, John Smilie, John Smith of New
    York, John Smith of Virginia, Richard Stanford, Joseph Stanton,
    John Stewart, David Thomas, Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg,
    John Trigg, Philip Van Cortlandt, Isaac Van Horne, Joseph B.
    Varnum, Daniel C. Verplanck, Matthew Walton, John Whitehill,
    Marmaduke Williams, Richard Winn, Jos. Winston, and Thomas
    Wynns.

    NAYS.--William Chamberlain, Martin Chittenden, Clifton
    Claggett, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, Thomas Dwight, James
    Elliot, Calvin Goddard, Thomas Griffin, Gaylord Griswold, Roger
    Griswold, Seth Hastings, Joseph Lewis, jr., Thomas Lewis, Henry
    W. Livingston, Nahum Mitchell, Thomas Plater, Joshua Sands,
    John Cotton Smith, William Stedman, James Stephenson, Samuel
    Tenney, and Samuel Thatcher.


SATURDAY, October 29.

_Mourning for Edmund Pendleton._

Mr. EUSTIS rose and observed, that within a few days past the House were
called upon to take notice of an event which, perhaps, would be more
interesting to posterity than to the present generation; the death of one
of those illustrious patriots who, by a life devoted to his country, had
bequeathed a name and an example to posterity which he would not attempt
to describe. He had information that another of these sages, EDMUND
PENDLETON, of Virginia, had paid the last tribute to nature.

On this occasion he begged leave to offer to the House the following
resolution:

    _Resolved_, That this House, impressed with a lively sense
    of the important services rendered to his country by EDMUND
    PENDLETON, deceased, will wear a badge of mourning for thirty
    days, as an emblem of their veneration for his illustrious
    character, and of their regret that another star has fallen
    from the splendid constellation of virtue and talents which
    guided the people of the United States in their struggle for
    Independence.

The resolution was immediately taken up, and agreed to--ayes 77.


WEDNESDAY, November 2.

_Road to Natchez and New Orleans._

Mr. MITCHILL called the attention of the House to a subject of
considerable importance, growing out of our possessions on the
Mississippi. He stated that the mail to Natchez was at present
transported by a route circuitous and difficult of performance. The
Cherokee country, which constituted a part of it, was so destitute of
water and articles of subsistence, as to render it necessary for the
conveyor of the mail to carry whatever himself or his horses required.
Even the water used was carried in goat skins. A great portion of the
country was likewise infested with robbers. The measure he proposed was
to inquire by what means the carriage of the mail to the Natchez and New
Orleans could be facilitated, so as to abridge the time now consumed, and
lessen the dangers and difficulties attending the transportation. Mr.
M. believed a route might be pursued whereby four hundred miles could
be saved in the present distance to the Natchez. Mr. M. desired such an
inquiry to be made into the means of accomplishing this important object,
as should, while it tended to promote the great political and commercial
interests of the country, convince the Indian tribes that our object was
not to invade their rights. He further observed, that the usual voyage
to New Orleans was about thirty days. If the route by land should be
improved, that place might be probably reached in ten days. He therefore
offered the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads
    be directed to inquire by what means the mail may be conveyed
    with greater facility and dispatch, than it is at present,
    between the City of Washington, and the Natchez and New Orleans.

Agreed to without a division.


MONDAY, November 7.

Another member, to wit, OLIVER PHELPS, from New York, appeared, produced
his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.


THURSDAY, November 10.

Another member, to wit, JAMES GILLESPIE, from North Carolina, appeared,
produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.


MONDAY, November 14.

A petition of Andrew Moore, of the State of Virginia, was presented to
the House and read, complaining of an undue election and return of Thomas
Lewis, to serve as a member in this House, for the district composed of
the counties of Greenbrier, Kenawha, Monroe, Botetourt, and Rockbridge,
in the said State.

_Ordered_, That the said petition be referred to the Committee of
Elections.


TUESDAY, November 15.

Another member, to wit, GEORGE TIBBITS, from New York, appeared, produced
his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.


THURSDAY, November 17.

_Postage of Newspapers._

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL.--There is a subject to which I wish to draw
the attention of the House. It is, sir, the postage charged on the
transportation of newspapers in the mail. This subject I conceive of
sufficient importance to meet the attention of this House, as it affects
the means of acquiring political information in the different parts of
the Union.

I presume it will not be denied, that the most effectual way of
rendering the people at large useful citizens, and of securing to them
their liberties and independence, would be to increase the sources of
information, make them well acquainted with their political rights,
and also with the proceedings of their Government. So long as they are
informed on those subjects, so long they will be disposed to acquiesce
in, and support such measures as may be calculated to promote the general
good, but will be prepared to resist any attempts that may be made to
infringe their rights by those in power. It is believed that newspapers
are the most general and effectual means of disseminating political
information among the citizens at large; and it ought therefore to be the
object of Government to facilitate their circulation as much as possible.
I conceive, sir, the most direct way to attain this object would be to
cause them to be transported in the mail free of postage.

The moneys arising from the postage on newspapers cannot certainly
be such an object to Government, as would justify the principle of
laying a tax on information, or pursuing any measures that would have
a tendency to diminish, in the least degree, the means by which it may
be acquired. It seems to be admitted by all those who have considered
the subject, that the Post Office establishment was never intended as
a paramount source of revenue; and therefore we find that the moneys
arising therefrom have not generally been taken into the calculation,
in the estimates of our finances. The whole amount of the postage on
newspapers I believe to be very inconsiderable, as an item of revenue;
and a great proportion of it, as I am informed, is given to the deputy
postmasters for keeping the accounts of such postage, and for collecting
the same: and if information is to be relied upon, many of those deputy
postmasters, who are allowed about fifty per cent on the amount of
postage thus collected, are of opinion that the labor of keeping those
accounts and of collection, exceeds this compensation; and they would
be well satisfied that no such postage existed. If this statement be
correct, it will go a great way to prove the measure impolitic.

But perhaps it may be said that the postage to be collected on
newspapers, has a tendency to ensure their arrival at the places of
destination, and the delivery of them to those to whom they are directed.
This, upon investigation, will, I believe, be found not to be the case.
It is made the duty of the postmasters, by law, to forward and deliver
newspapers, as well as letters,--they act upon oath, and if a sense of
propriety in their conduct, and the obligation of an oath, would not
induce them to perform their duty in this respect, it cannot be expected
that the paltry emolument accruing to them from their part of one cent,
or one and a half cents on each newspaper, would have that effect;
and even this sum must be still less relied upon, as an inducement,
when it is considered, as already stated, that the labor required in
keeping accounts for this purpose and in collection, is not in reality
compensated by the sum received. In order, therefore, to bring this
subject fairly before the House, I move that the House come to the
following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That so much of the act to establish post-offices
    and post roads in the United States as charges a postage on the
    transmission of newspapers ought to be repealed.

_Ordered_ to lie on the table.


FRIDAY, November 18.

Two other members, to wit: JOSEPH BRYAN, and SAMUEL HAMMOND, from
Georgia, appeared, presented their credentials, were qualified, and took
their seats in the House.


MONDAY, November 21.

Two other members, to wit: SIMEON BALDWIN and BENJAMIN TALLMADGE, from
Connecticut, appeared, produced their credentials, were qualified, and
took their seats in the House.


WEDNESDAY, November 23.

_Repeal of the Bankrupt Law._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the
resolution, offered by Mr. NEWTON, for repealing the Bankrupt law.

The resolution was advocated by Messrs. NEWTON, ELLIOT, SMILIE, HASTINGS,
STANFORD, and RANDOLPH; and opposed by Messrs. JACKSON, EARLY, SKINNER,
and EUSTIS.

The advocates of repeal observed that though the resolution had lain
on the table for a considerable time, purposely with a view to collect
public opinion, no remonstrance hostile to it had been received from any
part of the Union, and that this circumstance indicated the unfavorable
sentiment entertained of the bankrupt system; and that even among those
most materially interested in its provisions, a dead silence prevailed.
Some gentlemen were averse to the repeal, inasmuch as the law would
expire by its own limitation, in a few years; but the House should
recollect that in the mean time they were responsible for all its evils
and iniquities. If, too, it should be suffered to die a natural death,
the inevitable effect would be that those who are now struggling to avoid
bankruptcy will precipitate themselves into such a situation as to avail
themselves of its benefit.

With regard to the principle of the present bankrupt system, and probably
of any other bankrupt system that could be devised, it was unjust,
inasmuch as it favored one class of citizens, the merchants, at the
expense of all other classes; to advance the interest of the first it
sacrificed the interests of all the other members of the community. To
prove this, it was only necessary to illustrate it by the common case of
a merchant availing himself of the benefits of bankruptcy, and thereby
cancelling the demands of the mechanic or the farmer who might be his
creditor; and of the same individual mechanic or farmer, the debtors of
another merchant, remaining his debtor with their property subject at
any period of their life to his seizure. In the case of the insolvent
merchant his debts were totally discharged; whereas in the case of the
insolvent mechanic and farmer, they were of eternal obligation. The
preferable system was that established by the several States, which
existed before the bankrupt system, and which still existed, extending to
all insolvent debtors the same relief.

It was contended that the partial operation of the bankrupt system had
the most mischievous influence on the morals of the mercantile world.
That it operated as an impunity to fraud and negligence; that it created
extensive credits, and excited a spirit of the most prodigal expenditure;
that although the American merchants were probably the most honest and
certainly the most able and enterprising in the world, the facility with
which credits were obtained, and the impunity with which risks were
incurred, had, under the auspices of this law, introduced into their
private expenditures a ruinous extravagance; and that nothing was more
common than to see a merchant, of but small capital, living at an expense
superior to that of the European trader who had realized his plum, and at
an expense which shamed the frugal disbursements of the affluent planter.
What were the effects? The scene of luxury and splendor was enjoyed for a
few years, and was succeeded by a failure. Did it become the Legislature
to encourage, or repress this spirit?

The principle of the bankrupt system was inequitable as it regarded the
relation of debtor and creditor. However it might be averred to the
contrary, it was a truth that its provisions operated to the advantage
of the debtor, and of course to the detriment of the creditor. There
was no weight in the remark that the commission was taken out at the
instance of the creditor, as that was merely a nominal act, a creditor
usually being made use of who was the friend of the bankrupt. That it
operated to the benefit of the debtor was clear from its liberating all
his future acquisitions, after availing himself of the benefit of a
commission, from seizure: whereas, under an insolvent law, the person
alone was released. That hence sprang up a ten-fold temptation to fraud
under this act, over that which existed under the common insolvent laws.
For that under the latter an insolvent debtor, if guilty of a fraudulent
concealment of property, could at any future period be called upon
to satisfy the claims of his creditors by a delivery of his visible
property; while, under this law, the bankrupt may live in the greatest
splendor, even ostentatiously displaying his property, without rendering
it liable to seizure. Fraud once successfully perpetrated and concealed,
every restraint is removed; and so deleterious had this effect been that
it had manifestly inflicted a deep wound upon the confidence of man with
man in the ordinary transactions of life.

It was further contended, that while justice and humanity dictated the
liberation from arrest of the body of the unfortunate debtor, justice
inhibited the exoneration of property from going to satisfy just debts;
that the obligation, wherever the ability existed, to pay just debts,
was eternal, and that this law, in having a retro-active effect, was
unjust. Evils infinitely greater had been inflicted by inconsiderate
and fraudulent debtors taking refuge in the provisions of the bankrupt
law than from all the inhumanity exercised by merciless creditors over
unfortunate debtors. That the principle of the bankrupt law was also
retro-active, inasmuch as it destroyed the grade of dignity existing in
many of the States, by which a bonded debt obtained a preference over an
open account; that it absolutely impaired the subsisting contract between
the person holding and the person signing the bond.

It was remarked that the principle of the bankrupt law, however good in
theory, could never be carried into effect, as had been proved by a long
course of British experience, without a recurrence to those sanguinary
laws which they had introduced for the prevention and punishment of
fraud, but which were so abhorrent to our code of laws that public
opinion could not tolerate them.

The expenses of going through the forms of bankruptcy constituted no
inconsiderable objection to the system. The appointment of a Commissioner
was understood to be in no small degree lucrative, and the various
processes through which the bankrupt was compelled to go, in practice,
reduced the little property he had left to a state still less. Indeed,
from the practical effects of the system, it would appear that it had
been made more for the emolument of the Commissioner than for the benefit
of the creditor.[7]

However necessary this system might be in England, who owed almost the
whole of her prosperity to trade, it became not a nation, the leading
feature of whose character was agriculture, to tread in her footsteps;
but, on the contrary, to avert rather than to hasten the period when such
a system would be rendered necessary; that, in truth, the spirit of trade
in this country was sufficiently vigorous, and only required the common
protection given to all other occupations, to prosper to every beneficial
purpose.

In the commercial world, the honest, though unfortunate merchant, had
nothing to fear from his creditors. A long experience had shown that
the mercantile world felt with sympathy and acted with magnanimity to
the unfortunate. In addition to these objections, it was urged that the
bankrupt law was injurious, as it enlarged the sphere of the Federal
courts. The constitution was a system of compromise. Many powers were
given without a view to their immediate exercise. It did not, therefore,
follow that, because the power given to establish a uniform system
of bankruptcy was given, it must now be exercised. The powers of the
General Government, if not too great, were sufficiently great. It became
Congress, therefore, neither to take from nor add to the powers of the
State courts. To increase the powers of the Federal courts, through the
operation of the bankrupt system, was to derogate from the powers of
the State courts. The State tribunals were weak enough, without thus
trenching upon them.

The authorities under this law not only went to enlarge the powers of
the Federal Government generally, but particularly to the extension of
executive power. The appointment of Commissioners of Bankruptcy was an
additional weight thrown into the scale of executive patronage. The
power of that department ought to be viewed with an eye of jealousy, and
the House, however willing to allow to it the enjoyment of all fair and
necessary power, ought vigilantly to guard against its undue increase.
It might be answered that this evil might be removed by placing the
appointment of the Commissioners in the hands of the courts. But this
would not be the effect. The Judicial Department, in the aspect of its
political weight, was not to be contemned. So long as it remains, as
fixed by the constitution, it will rest for support somewhere--it will
naturally ally itself to some other department of the Government, and
the inducements to such alliance will be most naturally held out by
the Executive; but however peculiar circumstances might at this time
indicate otherwise, such a tendency was a kind of political gravity,
which, however it might for a time be checked, would eventually exert its
influence.

On the other hand, the opponents of the repeal observed that the
silence of the public on the subject indicated neither hostility nor
opposition to the present system of bankruptcy; if it indicated any
prevailing sentiment, it was that of confidence in the judgment of their
representatives. If the system really was so unpopular as some gentlemen
had represented it to be, their tables would ere this have been covered
with memorials for its repeal, whereas not a single petition to that
effect had been presented during the session.

They contended that it would be true policy to suffer the act to expire
by its own limitation. Little more than two years would elapse before
the arrival of that period. This conduct was dictated by the undisputed
fact that the present system had been adopted as an experiment. Hence
the limitation of the act. This experiment was now in a fair course of
trial. Little more than three years had elapsed since its commencement,
and sufficient time had not yet passed to test the goodness or the
badness of the principle it involved. It was a fact that the distresses
of the commercial world called forth such a system when it was formed
in the year 1800; it was a fact that it had done much good; and it
might be that a system of bankruptcy, improved to the extent of which
it was susceptible, would be of permanent utility. Amendments, radical
amendments, the system certainly required; and should the House determine
not to destroy it, the amendments could and doubtless would be made.

It was believed that the general sentiment of the nation concurred in the
propriety of affording some relief to the distresses of the commercial
world. On the form and extent of that relief great contrariety of opinion
existed. It was the opinion of well-informed merchants and of the best
writers, that a greater relief should be afforded to the misfortunes of
men engaged in trade than in other occupations. To the argument that the
proper relief to be extended should be left to the determination of the
States, the objection that the laws of the different States were on this
point various and contradictory, was conclusive. Trade, of all human
occupations, embraced the widest range. Its operations were confined to
no particular State or climate, but pervaded the whole world. It was
of great importance then, if practicable, that laws in relation to it
should be equally wide with this extensive range. Though this was utterly
impracticable, yet it was practicable to make the same laws pervade a
whole nation. Of this opinion were the venerable patriots of 1789, who
framed the constitution; such was the spirit of the constitution itself;
and such its language in speaking of uniform laws respecting imports,
bankruptcies, and intercourse between the several States. Not that the
power to pass such laws was imperative: but they manifested the sense
of that body and the spirit of the instrument, that all laws on those
subjects should be uniform throughout the United States.

To the argument, that the exoneration of property from the payment of
just debts was a violation of justice, it was replied, that however
correct the principle might be in ordinary cases, it did not hold in
commercial concerns. In other employments an inability to comply with
contracts was generally the result of idleness or imprudence; but so
great and inevitable were the risks attendant on commerce, that no human
prudence could guard against them.

Of trade, credit was the life; without it, it could not exist. In this
country, too, it was the great source of revenue. How impolitic then was
it, in a country where the whole of the revenue, and much of the wealth
of its citizens, depended upon trade, to adopt regulations which would
repress mercantile exertion and enterprise.

It was contended, that it was not true that the principle of a bankrupt
law operated in favor of the debtor; the reverse was the case, and
constituted one of the strongest arguments of its superiority to
insolvent laws, under which the time of surrender was left to the option
of the debtor; whereas, under a bankrupt law, the creditor, whenever he
had reason to apprehend the fraud or failure of his debtor, could take
out a commission under the bankrupt law; the creditor may arrest the
prodigal or unjust career of the debtor; while, under the insolvent law,
the debtor rarely surrenders his property, until he has squandered nearly
the whole, or until he has made a fraudulent transfer of it. Such was the
operation of the principle of a good bankrupt system; with regard to the
present it was admitted that its provisions were unfair, and operated
frequently the other way.

A leading argument in favor of a bankrupt system was that it multiplied
checks against fraud; there would of course be less temptation to commit
fraud, as the chances of concealing it diminished. In most countries the
terrors of an awful punishment awaited the commission of fraud under this
act, even the terrors of death. Though it might not be sound policy in
this country to make punishments so terrible, yet it was always within
the power of the Legislature to make transgressions so penal, as to guard
against the apprehended evils.

It was contended that one great object of the constitution in bestowing
this power on the General Government was the establishment of national
credit upon the broad principles of justice; such was the effect of the
system of bankruptcy by which the same obligations were imposed upon the
merchants of all States in their relation to each other, and towards
foreigners. Remove this system, and you virtually re-enact the partial
and varying laws of the different States. In Virginia, for instance,
the person only of the debtor is liberated, while in Maryland both
person and property are liberated. Will not the citizen of one State
acquire advantages over the citizen of another, and will not foreigners
have reference in their dealings to the laws of the States, and prefer
dealing with the citizens of that State where there shall exist the
greatest security for the recovery of their debts? Will not the citizen
of one State remove into another, and evade the operation of the laws
of the States where contracts were made? The friends of the repeal say
the bankrupt system is retrospective in its operation. That was true,
inasmuch as it changed the relations of debtor and creditor. But what
will the repeal do? Contracts have been made under the contemplated
existence of the act for a fixed period. By repealing it before that
period arrives, you likewise change again the relations of debtor and
creditor.

About four o’clock, the debate being closed, the question on the
resolution to repeal, was taken and carried in the affirmative, ayes 94.

The Committee rose, and the House immediately took up their report, on
agreeing to which the yeas and nays were required, and were, yeas 99,
nays 13, as follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, jun., Nathaniel Alexander, Isaac
    Anderson, John Archer, Simeon Baldwin, David Bard, George M.
    Bedinger, Silas Betton, Phanuel Bishop, William Blackledge,
    John Boyle, Robert Brown, Joseph Bryan, William Butler,
    George W. Campbell, Levi Casey, William Chamberlain, Martin
    Chittenden, Thomas Claiborne, Matthew Clay, John Clopton,
    Frederick Conrad, Jacob Crowninshield, Richard Cutts, Samuel
    W. Dana, John Davenport, John Dawson, William Dickson, Thomas
    Dwight, John B. Earle, James Elliot, John W. Eppes, William
    Findlay, John Fowler, James Gillespie, Calvin Goddard, Peterson
    Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, Andrew Gregg, Thomas Griffin, Gaylord
    Griswold, Roger Griswold, Samuel Hammond, Wade Hampton, John A.
    Hanna, Josiah Hasbrouck, Seth Hastings, Joseph Heister, William
    Hoge, David Holmes, Walter Jones, William Kennedy, Nehemiah
    Knight, Michael Leib, Joseph Lewis, jun., John B. C. Lucas,
    Andrew McCord, David Meriwether, Nahum Mitchell, Thomas Moore,
    Jeremiah Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas Newton, jun., Gideon Olin,
    Beriah Palmer, John Patterson, John Randolph, jun., John Rea of
    Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Cæsar A.
    Rodney, Erastus Root, Thomas Sammons, Thomas Sanford, Ebenezer
    Seaver, John Smilie, John C. Smith, John Smith of Virginia,
    Richard Stanford, Joseph Stanton, William Stedman, James
    Stephenson, John Stewart, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge,
    Samuel Tenney, David Thomas, Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg,
    John Trigg, Isaac Van Horne, Joseph B. Varnum, Matthew Walton,
    John Whitehill, Marmaduke Williams, Richard Winn, Joseph
    Winston, and Thomas Wynns.

    NAYS.--John Campbell, Joseph Clay, Peter Early, William
    Eustis, Daniel Heister, Benjamin Huger, John G. Jackson,
    Thomas Lowndes, William McCreery, Nicholas R. Moore, Joseph H.
    Nicholson, Tompson J. Skinner, John Smith of New York.

_Ordered_, That a bill or bills be brought in, pursuant to the said
resolution; and that Mr. NEWTON, Mr. HAMMOND, Mr. TALLMADGE, Mr. VAN
CORTLANDT, and Mr. MARMADUKE WILLIAMS, do prepare and bring in the same.


THURSDAY, November 24.

_Amy Dardin._

On the motion of Mr. CLAIBORNE, the House resolved itself into a
Committee of the Whole on the report of the Committee of Claims on the
petition of Amy Dardin. The report is unfavorable to the prayer of the
petitioner.

On agreeing to this report, a discussion took place which occupied the
greater part of the day. Messrs. J. C. SMITH, GREGG, and MACON supported,
and Messrs. CLAIBORNE, SMILIE, and ELLIOT opposed the report; when the
question was taken on agreeing to the report of the Committee of Claims
and lost--ayes 32.

Mr. CLAIBORNE then moved a resolution, “that the prayer of Amy Dardin is
reasonable and ought to be granted.”

Messrs. CLAIBORNE and NICHOLSON supported and Messrs. GRISWOLD and
GREGG opposed this resolution, which, on the question being taken, was
carried--ayes 61, nays 38.

The committee then rose, and reported their agreement to the resolution.

Mr. GREGG moved an amendment directing the proper accounting officer of
the Treasury to settle the claim of Amy Dardin, on the same principle
with similar cases, the statute of limitations notwithstanding.

Messrs. GRISWOLD and GREGG supported, Messrs. NICHOLSON and CLAIBORNE
opposed the amendment.

A concurrence in the report was then agreed to, and the Committee of
Claims instructed to bring in a bill.


FRIDAY, November 25.

_Ordered_, That the petition of Memucan Hunt, William Polk, and Pleasant
Henderson, for themselves and others, addressed to the General Assembly
of the State of North Carolina; also, sundry resolutions of the said
Assembly, respecting a claim for the value of certain lands in the State
of Tennessee, presented to this House on the nineteenth of January, one
thousand eight hundred and two, and the report of a select committee
thereon, made the twenty-fourth of March, in the same year, be referred
to the committee this day appointed on the memorial of the Legislature of
Tennessee.


_Bankrupt Law._

Mr. NEWTON called for the order of the day on the bill to repeal an act
to establish a uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States;
and the House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
said bill.

Mr. VARNUM moved an amendment, extending the period of repeal to the
first of January, 1804, instead of from the passage of the act; and
afterwards varied the motion, so as to leave the period of repeal blank.

This motion was supported by Messrs. R. GRISWOLD, EARLY, and SKINNER; and
opposed by Messrs. SMILIE, NEWTON, RODNEY, and HASTINGS. Lost--ayes 25.

On motion of Mr. R. GRISWOLD, an amendment was introduced, directing the
completion of all proceedings under commissions taken out previous to the
repeal.

The committee then rose and reported the bill with the above amendment,
in which the House immediately concurred, and ordered, without a
division, the bill to be engrossed for a third reading on Monday.

[The bill is concise, and is confined to repealing the bankrupt act,
saving cases where commissions have been taken out previously to the
passage of the act, at which time the repeal takes effect.]


MONDAY, November 28.

_Public Roads._

On the call of Mr. JACKSON, the House resolved itself into a Committee of
the Whole on the following resolution:

    “_Resolved_, That provision be made, by law, for the
    application of one-twentieth part of the net proceeds of the
    land lying within the State of Ohio, sold, or to be sold by
    Congress, from and after the 30th day of June, 1802, to the
    laying out, and making public roads, leading from the navigable
    waters emptying into the Atlantic, to the Ohio river, and to
    the said State of Ohio: in conformity with the act of Congress,
    entitled ‘An act to entitle the people of the eastern division
    of the territory north-west of the river Ohio, to form a
    constitution, and State government, and for the admission of
    such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original
    States; and for other purposes,’ passed upon the 30th April,
    1802, as well as the act passed the 3d of March, 1804, in
    addition to and in modification of the propositions contained
    in the act aforesaid; and the ordinance of the convention of
    the State of Ohio, bearing date the 29th day of November, 1802.”

Mr. JACKSON called for the reading of the acts of Congress which were
referred to in the resolution, which was done: he then moved that the
committee rise and report their agreement.

Mr. VARNUM said he hoped the question would be taken separately on the
resolution.

Mr. JACKSON hoped that gentlemen opposed to the resolution would rise at
that time and express their opinions.

Mr. NICHOLSON was opposed to the resolution, but was prevented from
indisposition from expressing his sentiments; he would do it at a future
period.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH was sorry that the indisposition of his friend from
Maryland should prevent him from delivering his sentiments on this
occasion. He was himself unprepared to speak on this question, but it
appeared to him, from a complete view of the subject some time since,
that the resolutions contravened one of the provisions of the law to
which it was referred; by reverting to that law, it would be found that
in one of the propositions offered by Congress to the State of Ohio, it
was provided that one-twentieth part of the net proceeds, arising from
the sale of lands in that State, should be laid out in roads to and from
it, and laid out under the direction of Congress. The State of Ohio
agreed to adopt the propositions if Congress would make an amendment,
(which he read.) He wished to call the attention of the committee to
the facts, and wished them to attend to the different propositions. He
should not have troubled the committee but from an apprehension that
when gentlemen had taken up an opinion, they were loth to abandon it.
One of the propositions of Congress was, that one-twentieth part of the
net proceeds arising from the sale of lands in the State of Ohio should
be laid out under the direction of Congress in the making of roads from
the Atlantic to that State. The State of Ohio agrees to the proposition
with this amendment, that not less than three per cent. should be laid
out exclusively in that State, under the direction of their Legislature.
He conceived that the last proposition was only a modification of the
former, and that the three per cent. was a part of the five, and not an
additional allowance; if the latter had been intended, why, he asked,
was it not so expressed? There were several other propositions and they
were stated to be amendments. He considered Congress never intended to
grant more than five per cent. and should therefore vote against the
resolutions.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD apprehended there could be no doubt as to the
construction which Congress gave to the law in question; there might
be some doubt whether that construction was a sound one; he, however,
thought it perfectly so. In the year 1801, Congress provided that
one-twentieth part of the net proceeds arising from the sale of lands
in the State of Ohio, should be applied to making roads to that State,
under the direction of Congress. The proposition was laid before the
State of Ohio. The Convention of Ohio agreed to it, provided Congress
would consent to a modification of it; they wished some part of the five
per cent. to be laid out exclusively in their own State and under the
direction of their own Legislature; they therefore proposed that three
per cent. should be laid out in the State, and under the direction of the
Legislature of Ohio. If the State of Ohio had intended that the three per
cent. was to be added to the five, they would have stated it (as in the
other propositions) to be in addition to it. The committee which were on
the subject last session, gave the law the same construction which he
did, and the House concurred in that construction. He thought they were
under no obligation to lay out more money than they had agreed to do,
and if the committee would attend to the subject, they could be under no
difficulty to determine the construction. We had an appropriation of two
per cent. to make, and perhaps it might be necessary to pass a law to
that effect; but he could not consent to give any more.

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL would beg the indulgence of the committee while he
said a few words on the subject before them. As he should vote in favor
of the resolution on the table, he conceived that when they were about to
determine on the construction of a law, they were only to refer to the
face of it, and not to inquire what the framers of it meant. He begged
leave to read the law on the subject, and said that the law of Congress
concerning five per cent. was in force, unless repealed by another law;
and the subsequent law, which provided for the laying out of three per
cent. in roads, was either in addition to or a repeal of it; he believed
that it was an addition to it. It could not be the intention of the
Convention of Ohio to accept of three per cent. to be laid out in their
own State, and under the direction of their own Legislature, in lieu of
five per cent. to be laid out under the direction of Congress. He should,
considering the appropriations to be distinct ones, vote in favor of the
resolutions.

Mr. RODNEY deemed it necessary to make but few observations after the
able arguments of his friend from Virginia, (Mr. RANDOLPH,) and the
luminous observations of the gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. GRISWOLD,)
against the resolutions. The question to be determined, was, whether
the five per cent. was to be given exclusive of the three? It had
been said that they ought not to consider the intention of those who
framed the law, but he conceived it to be proper, in order to give a
right construction. When they reverted to the propositions themselves,
they would find one of them was, that provided the State of Ohio would
not for a limited time tax the lands of the United States, that then
one-twentieth part of the net proceeds arising from the sale of lands
in that State should be laid out in making roads to the State of Ohio,
the same to be laid out under the direction of Congress. When this
proposition came before the Convention of Ohio, they said that three
per cent. ought to be laid out exclusively in their own State and under
the direction of their Legislature. This could only be intended as a
modification of the law. He did not think there was any difficulty in
determining the construction of the law, and should vote against the
resolution.

Mr. VARNUM conceived that the construction given to the law by the
gentlemen from Virginia, Connecticut, and Delaware, was perfectly
correct. He did not know whether it would be necessary to make an
appropriation of the remaining two per cent. during this session, but in
order to try the principle, he moved to strike out of the resolution the
words one-twentieth and insert one-fiftieth.

Mr. SANFORD had not intended to have troubled the committee on this
occasion, but being a representative from the West, it might be expected
that he might be in favor of the resolution. But he did not conceive
that more than five per cent. was ever intended to be given, and this
was not a question of expediency. He did not believe that the Convention
of Ohio intended that the three per cent. should be given in addition
to the five, nor had they any reason to expect it. This ought not to
be an Eastern and a Western question. If the five per cent. was now
given, Mr. S. asked whether it would not operate for the benefit of
the rest of the States as well as the State of Ohio? But, as they must
determine, not what Congress ought to give, but what they meant to give,
and he conceived that three per cent. was a part of the five, he should
therefore vote against the resolution.

Mr. LYON spoke in favor of the resolution at some length.

Mr. MACON did not think it necessary to say any thing on the construction
of the law, because he conceived the arguments of the two first gentlemen
who opposed the resolution (Messrs. J. RANDOLPH and R. GRISWOLD) to be
unanswerable; but as the question appeared to be made an Eastern and a
Western one, he would say a few words. He considered the whole United
States concerned in it, and not merely the State of Ohio. He believed
that the arguments of gentlemen, that they had not done justice to the
State of Ohio, were groundless. There was no State in the Union which
has been so much favored as that State. He was sorry gentlemen had used
threats on the occasion, that if they did not grant this, they might not
be attached to the Union; but he believed that the State of Ohio would
be the greatest loser by it. He was willing to leave it to the Western
people themselves to determine, whether Congress had not done them
justice, and he was certain they would answer in the affirmative.

Mr. BOYLE did not consider this a question of party or of expediency; nor
what Congress ought to give, but what they had given. If the construction
of the law was difficult to determine, it ought to be taken against the
United States and favorable to the State of Ohio, because Congress was
the grantor and that State the grantee. This was the manner in which
private contracts were always construed, and he thought it a sound one.
The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH) had said that the three
per cent. was not intended to be given in addition to the five, because
it was not so expressed; but Mr. B. said, the last law was not said to be
a modification, the construction was therefore doubtful and ought to be
taken favorable to the State of Ohio.

Mr. GODDARD did not think they were under any difficulty in determining
the true construction of the law in question. He considered it to admit
of but one construction; this appeared to him to be a negotiation
between Congress and the State of Ohio. It was proposed by the former,
that if the latter would not tax their lands for a limited time, the
one-twentieth part of the net proceeds should be laid out in making roads
for that state under the direction of Congress; the State of Ohio acceded
to it, provided three per cent. should be laid out exclusively in that
State, and Congress agreed to it; this appeared to him to be the true
state of the case.

Mr. MORROW would beg the indulgence of the committee while he made a
few observations on the subject. He was sorry this was made a party
question. He read the report of the committee of Congress and the
propositions of Congress to the State of Ohio; and observed that when the
propositions came before the convention, they were pleased with them, but
did not consider that the five per cent., which was to be laid out in
roads, was an equivalent for what they asked: which was, that the State
of Ohio should not for a limited time tax the lands of Congress. How,
said Mr. M., gentlemen would ask, was this known? He would answer, by an
estimate of the value of both; therefore they agreed to the propositions,
provided Congress would make an amendment, and allow them an additional
three per cent. to be laid out exclusively in their own State and under
the direction of their Legislature: to this Congress agreed. He conceived
the question for them to determine, whether the three was in addition to
or in lieu of the five; he believed it could not be the latter, because
it would go to defeat the original design, which was facilitating the
communication between the Eastern and Western States. He was in favor of
the resolution, believing that it was the intention of the Convention of
Ohio, at the time they agreed to the propositions, that the three per
cent. was to be given in addition to the five.

The question was taken on Mr. VARNUM’s motion to strike out one-twentieth
and insert one-fiftieth, and carried--yeas 75.

The question was then taken on the resolution as amended, and carried
without a division.


TUESDAY, November 29.

_Amy Dardin._

Mr. CLAIBORNE called for the order of the day on the bill for the relief
of Amy Dardin.

The motion of Mr. DAWSON being lost, there being only thirty-two ayes in
favor of it, Mr. CLAIBORNE’s motion was taken up.

Mr. SANFORD moved to postpone the order of the day on the bill for the
relief of Amy Dardin till to-morrow, in order to introduce a resolution
for the appointment of a committee to inquire into the expediency of
extending the time for adjusting the claims of individuals for supplies
furnished and services rendered during the Revolutionary war, with the
view of trying previously to the granting individual relief the general
principle, whether Congress would repeal the statutes of limitation.

After a debate of considerable length, the motion to postpone was lost.

The House then went into a Committee of the Whole on the bill, which
was so amended as to allow Amy Dardin two thousand five hundred dollars
for the horse Romulus, being the estimated value thereof, not including
interest.

The Committee reported the bill so amended.

The question was then taken on two thousand five hundred dollars, and
decided in the negative by the vote of the SPEAKER.

Mr. NICHOLSON moved to fill the blank with two thousand three hundred
and twenty dollars, being the amount of principal and interest on the
value of the horse.

Mr. SANFORD moved to fill it with one thousand dollars.

The House agreed to Mr. NICHOLSON’s motion--ayes 58, noes 43.

The yeas and nays were then taken on the engrossing of the bill for a
third reading--yeas 57, nays 49.

_Ordered_, That the said bill be read the third time to-morrow.


WEDNESDAY, November 30.

The SPEAKER laid before the House sundry depositions and other papers,
transmitted from the counties of Greenbriar and Rockbridge, in the State
of Virginia, respecting the contested election of THOMAS LEWIS, one of
the members returned to serve in this House for the said State; which
were ordered to be referred to the Committee of Elections.

_Amy Dardin._

An engrossed bill for the relief of the legal representatives of David
Dardin, deceased, was read the third time; and on the question that the
said bill do pass, there appeared--yeas 58, nays 57. And Mr. SPEAKER
having declared himself with the nays, the said question was, in
conformity with the rules of the House, decided in the negative. And so
the said bill was rejected.


MONDAY, December 19.

A memorial of the House of Representatives of the Mississippi Territory
of the United States, signed by William Dunbar, their Speaker _pro
tempore_, and attested by Richard S. Wheatly, their Clerk, was presented
to the House and read, stating certain disadvantages to which the
inhabitants of the settlement on the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers have
been and are now subjected, in consequence of their remote situation from
the other inhabited parts of the said Territory; and praying that a line
of separation may be drawn between the settlements on the Mississippi
river, and those of Washington District, or that judges, learned in the
law, may be appointed to reside within the said district, for the benefit
and convenience of the inhabitants thereof.

_Ordered_, That the said memorial be referred to the committee appointed,
on the 25th ultimo, on the petition and memorial of sundry inhabitants of
the District of Washington, situate on the Mobile, Tombigbee, and Alabama
rivers, in the said Mississippi Territory; to examine and report their
opinion thereupon to the House.

_Mail Routes._

The House went into a Committee of the Whole on the following report of
the Post Office Committee:

    The Committee on the subject of the Post Office and Post Roads,
    to whom was referred a resolution of the 2d ultimo, directing
    them to inquire by what means the mail may be conveyed with
    greater security and dispatch than at present, between the City
    of Washington and Natchez and New Orleans, report:

    That the late cession of Louisiana by France to the United
    States renders it an object of primary importance to have the
    nearest and most expeditious mode of communication established
    between the city of Washington and the city of New Orleans,
    the capital of that province; not only for the convenience of
    Government, but to accommodate the citizens of the several
    commercial towns in the Union.

    That at present the mail is conveyed on a circuitous route from
    this place to Knoxville and Nashville in Tennessee, and from
    thence through the wilderness by Natchez to New Orleans, a
    distance of more than 1500 miles.

    That, by establishing a post route as nigh on a direct line
    between those two cities, as the Blue Ridge and Alleghany
    Mountains will admit of, it will not only lessen the distance
    about 500 miles; but as this route will pass almost the whole
    way through a country inhabited either by citizens of the
    United States or friendly Indians, the mail will be more
    secure, and the persons employed in transporting it better
    furnished with the means of subsistence.

    The committee flatter themselves that the views of the
    General Government, in effecting this important object,
    will be seconded by the governments and citizens of those
    States through which this road will pass, by laying out,
    straightening, and improving the same, as soon as the most
    proper course shall be sufficiently ascertained; but as this
    has not heretofore been used for conveying the mail between
    those places, they presume that the best route will be better
    known after it has been used for this purpose, than it can be
    at present; and with this view of the subject, they deem it
    improper at this time to designate intermediate points; they
    are, therefore, of opinion--

    That a post road ought to be established from the city of
    Washington, on the most direct and convenient route to the
    Tombigbee settlement in the Mississippi Territory, and from
    thence to New Orleans.

    And further, that a post road ought also to be established from
    the said Tombigbee settlement to the Natchez. This road will
    not only afford the inhabitants of that place a direct mode of
    communication with the seat of the Territorial Government, who
    at present are destitute of any, but will shorten the distance
    between this city and Natchez nearly three hundred miles. And
    for the consideration of the House, the committee submit the
    following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That a post road ought to be established from
    the city of Washington, on the most direct and convenient
    route, to pass through or near the Tuckabachee settlement to
    the Tombigbee settlement in the Mississippi Territory, and
    from thence to New Orleans; and also from the said Tombigbee
    settlement to Natchez.

Mr. STANFORD moved the insertion of the following words:

    “And Carter’s Ferry on James river, Cole’s Ferry on Stanton,
    Dansville on Dan river, in Virginia; Salisbury, Beatty’s
    Ford, on Catawba, in North Carolina; Spartanburg, Greenville
    Courthouse, and Pendleton Courthouse, in South Carolina; and
    Jackson Courthouse in Georgia:”

His object being to designate the intermediate points of the route
between the seat of Government and New Orleans and Natchez.

This motion was supported by Messrs. STANFORD, J. RANDOLPH, EARLY, EARLE,
and MACON, on the principle that it was proper that Congress should
designate the route, and on the ground that the route contemplated by the
amendment would be the fittest.

On the other hand, the motion was opposed by Messrs. THOMAS, SMILIE,
HOLLAND, CLAIBORNE, S. L. MITCHILL, and G. W. CAMPBELL, on the ground
that a discretionary power should be reposed in the Postmaster General
to designate the route; and on the ground that, if Congress should
undertake to designate the route, the one fixed by the amendment was not
an eligible one.

Mr. DENNIS declared himself in favor of the House exercising the power of
designating the route, but was not sufficiently informed to vote on any
particular line.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD moved that the Committee of the Whole should rise and ask
leave to sit again, with the view that leave should be refused, and the
report recommitted to the Post Office Committee, in order to obtain from
them a detailed report, that would furnish the House with satisfactory
information.

This motion was supported by Mr. GREGG, and opposed by Mr. THOMAS, and
carried--yeas 70.

The House then refused leave to the Committee of the Whole to sit
again--yeas 19, and recommitted the report to the Post Office Committee.


FRIDAY, December 30.

Three other members, to wit: EBENEZER ELMER, JOHN SLOAN, and HENRY
SOUTHARD, from New Jersey, appeared, produced their credentials, were
qualified, and took their seats in the House.


TUESDAY, January 3, 1804.

_Light-House Duties._

Mr. MITCHILL observed, that there had been some conversation in the
House during the last session, concerning the sums of money paid by our
merchants on foreign voyages. He wished to renew that subject, as well
worthy of the attention of Government.

Foreign nations levy money upon our vessels, which frequent their ports,
for the purpose of supporting their light-houses. The sums paid by our
merchants in compliance with these exactions are very considerable.
The contribution which strangers are thus obliged to make, constitutes
a fund, that goes a great way towards defraying the expense of those
establishments, to the great relief of their own subjects.

The average amount of light-money paid by every vessel that enters a
British port, is about four pence sterling the ton, for every light she
may have passed inwards, or that she may be expected to pass outwards.
Calculating by this rule, an American ship of two hundred and eighty-four
tons, entering the port of London, is charged with duties for the
maintenance of the following lights, all along up the British channel, to
wit: Scilly, Longships, Lizard, Eddystone, Portland, Caskets, Needles,
Owers, Dungenness, Foreland, Goodwin, and the Nore. They amount to
thirty-four pounds sterling, and the stamped paper for the receipt four
pence more. Besides this, the duties of the Trinity House, for such a
ship, amount to nine pounds seven shillings and eight pence. In addition
to which there is demanded and paid by virtue of an act of George III.
for the maintenance and improvement of the harbor of Ramsgate, seven
pounds and two shillings. So that the amount of these impositions for
light-money and Ramsgate harbor money, on a ship under three hundred
tons, for a single voyage to London, amounts to fifty pounds and ten
shillings sterling, which is equal to two hundred and twenty-two dollars,
independent of her tonnage, duties on merchandise, pilotage and other
expenses.

An American vessel entering the harbor of Hull, the lights are charged
as before, viz: Scilly, Longships, Lizard, Eddystone, Portland, Caskets,
Needles, Owers, Dungenness, Foreland, and Goodwin; and to these are added
the lights on the Eastern coast of England, such as Sunk, Harwich, Gatt,
Lowestoft, Harbro, Winterton, Oxford, Shawl, Dudgeon, Faulness, and the
Spurn. The amount of these demands for light-money on an American ship of
two hundred and forty-five tons, is thirty-seven pounds and six shillings
sterling. At Hull, the collector enforces payment of Ramsgate harbor
duties to the amount of £6 2_s._ 6_d._, and of Dover harbor dues to the
amount of £3 1_s._ 3_d._ The demand for supporting lights, few of which
perhaps were seen on the passage, and for improving harbors which were
not entered by the ship, amounts to forty-six pounds nine shillings and
nine pence sterling on a burthen less than two hundred and fifty tons; an
amount of demand exceeding two hundred and four dollars.

An American ship goes to Liverpool, she is charged for the light up St.
George’s Channel. A ship of three hundred and fourteen tons is made to
pay for supporting the lights at Milford, that called the Smalls, and
another known by the name of Skerries. These several demands, with the
price of stamps, come to £15 14_s._ 2_d._ sterling on a vessel of that
burthen for one voyage, or more than sixty-three dollars for light-money
alone. For each of these three light-houses the charge is exactly four
pence sterling the ton.

Light-houses have been established by the Government of the United States
on many parts of our extensive coast. Many parts of it are admirably
illuminated. And the whole expense of these valuable establishments is
defrayed from the Treasury out of the ordinary income. Foreigners who
visit our ports participate the security and advantage of these guides
to mariners, as fully as our own citizens; but they pay nothing for this
privilege of directing themselves by our lights. Foreign nations have
acknowledged the principle that duties ought to be collected from their
commercial visiters, for supporting light-houses, and they compel our
merchants to pay them. It is a correct principle of distributive justice,
that we should cause our commercial visiters to pay something also for
the establishment and improvement of our light-houses. A duty of tonnage,
for this express purpose, could easily be laid and collected from foreign
vessels, and would add materially to our means of keeping them in good
repair and attendance. A sum, for example, of six or seven cents per ton
upon every foreign vessel for every light-house she shall have passed,
will make a valuable fund for the humane and excellent institution
of light-houses. To the intent that this interesting subject may be
investigated and that our Government may avail itself of its own proper
rights and resources, I move the following resolution:

    “That the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures be directed
    to inquire into the expediency of laying and collecting a
    tonnage duty on foreign ships and vessels, entering the ports
    and harbors of the United States, for an equivalent for the
    advantages which such ships and vessels derive from the
    light-houses they pass, inwards and outwards.”


WEDNESDAY, January 4.

_Addition to the Navy._

A debate of some length ensued on the motion of Mr. MACON to strike out
the second section.

Messrs. SMILIE and J. RANDOLPH supported the motion. They contended that
no necessity existed in the present situation of the United States for
an augmentation of the Navy; that it remained in the same state it had
been fixed in during March, 1801, with the addition of four small vessels
for the Mediterranean service; that it had heretofore proved fully
competent to the protection of commerce, even when the complexion of our
affairs was less pacific than at present; that the Mediterranean service
had evinced that large vessels produced in that quarter more decisive
effects than small ones, and that of the former description of vessels
we had a sufficient number unemployed; that one great occasion for small
vessels was removed by the permission of the State of South Carolina to
import slaves, which superseded the necessity of any additional force
to restrain their illegal admission into the United States; that this
addition to our marine force did not appear to be necessary, inasmuch
as the President, whose constitutional duty it was to give information
to Congress of the state of the Union, and who directed the armed force
of the nation, had not intimated his opinion of its necessity; and that
Congress might be sure, if he thought it necessary, he would not hesitate
to apprize them of it; that in adopting this provision of the bill the
House was acting altogether in the dark, as no estimates of the expense
had been furnished, and not even a committee appointed to examine either
the propriety or expense of the measure. It was alleged that it became
the Legislature, in the present posture of the national finances, to
be uncommonly circumspect. New and heavy pecuniary obligations had
been incurred, and time alone could show whether the present resources
would be more than commensurate to meet them. That the Secretary of the
Treasury, at the opening of the session, had spoken of the competency
of our resources with a caution which ought to impress the House with
the necessity of exercising strict economy, unless disposed to vote new
taxes. To this point this measure manifestly tended, and it became those
who were hostile to new taxes, to hesitate before they adopted a measure
that promised to lead to it.

The motion was, on the other hand, opposed by Messrs. NICHOLSON, EUSTIS,
R. GRISWOLD, and HUGER. They observed that the bill under consideration
had received the sanction of the Senate, and it might be rationally
presumed that they had previously to its passage received satisfactory
proof of its necessity; that the first section authorized the sale of the
frigate General Greene, in the lieu whereof it was contemplated to build
or purchase two small ships; that this measure therefore constituted no
increase of the Navy beyond its present strength; that so far as related
to expense, whatever the temporary cost, arising from the building or
purchase might be, the permanent expense of two small vessels would be
greatly inferior to that of one large one; that the annual expense of a
forty-four gun frigate was $104,000, while that of a vessel of sixteen
guns was only $36,000; that with regard to the argument of gentlemen
drawn from a want of estimates, it was idle, as estimates had been
furnished at the last session, as the basis of adding four small vessels
for the Mediterranean service, which amounted to $96,000, which sum
appeared to be sufficient. If, therefore, four vessels cost $96,000, two
would not cost more than $50,000; that with regard to the necessity of
these ships, Congress were the proper and constitutional judges; that it
was their special duty to provide and maintain a navy, and to provide for
the common defence and general welfare of the United States; and that
the absolute dependence placed by gentlemen on Executive mandates was
unprecedented, anti-republican, and unconstitutional; that it became the
Legislature to judge for themselves as to the propriety of the measure;
that from the knowledge they possessed of the state of the country, and
the extended sphere of commerce, abundant evidence was presented of its
necessity. It was a fact well ascertained that, for Barbary warfare,
these small ships were eminently useful, and that service required
relief; for in case of a disaster occurring to one of our present small
vessels, it was proper to be provided with others that might promptly
make good the deficiency. That the acquisition of Louisiana would
undoubtedly require some naval force to ensure the collection of the
revenue in that quarter; and that the state of the West Indies absolutely
demanded an addition of some small vessels to protect our trade from
the barges that were fitted out by the brigands for the purposes of
depredation; that it was a fact that if the Executive, at this moment,
possessed one of these ships, it would be immediately sent to the West
Indies; that there were other important purposes for which these vessels
were wanted. The Government had frequent occasion to send special Envoys,
on points of vast importance, to the two great powers in Europe. Was it
then safe, or becoming the dignity of the nation, to send such characters
in a private merchantman, subject to the search or capture of any armed
vessel of Europe?

Before a question was taken on the motion to strike out the section,
Mr. JACKSON moved that the committee should rise. If they rose he would
oppose their having leave to sit again, with the intention of referring
the bill to the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures.

The committee agreed to rise--ayes 63.

Leave having been refused to them to sit again, Mr. J. RANDOLPH moved
that a committee be appointed to inquire whether any, and what, further
additions may be necessary to the Naval Establishment of the United
States,

Mr. ALSTON moved to amend the motion by striking out “a committee be
appointed,” and inserting “the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures be
instructed.” Messrs. ALSTON, NICHOLSON, and EUSTIS supported, and Mr. J.
RANDOLPH opposed this amendment. Carried--yeas 51, nays 46.

The motion thus amended was supported by Messrs. HUGER and ELMER, and
opposed by Messrs. VARNUM and SMILIE. Carried--yeas 57, nays 44.

Mr. JACKSON then moved the reference of the bill to the Committee of
Commerce and Manufactures. Agreed to without a division.


THURSDAY, January 5.

_Official Conduct of Judge Chase._

Mr. J. RANDOLPH said, that no people were more fully impressed with the
importance of preserving unpolluted the fountain of justice than the
citizens of these States. With this view the Constitution of the United
States, and of many of the States also, had rendered the magistrates who
decided judicially between the State and its offending citizens, and
between man and man, more independent than those of any other country
in the world, in the hope that every inducement whether of intimidation
or seduction which could cause them to swerve from the duty assigned
to them might be removed. But such was the frailty of human nature
that there was no precaution by which our integrity and honor could be
preserved, in case we were deficient in that duty which we owed to
ourselves. In consequence, sir, of this unfortunate condition of man,
we have been obliged, but yesterday, to prefer an accusation against a
judge of the United States who has been found wanting in his duty to
himself and his country. At the last session of Congress a gentleman from
Pennsylvania did, in his place, (on the bill to amend the Judicial system
of the United States,) state certain facts in relation to the official
conduct of an eminent judicial character, which I then thought, and
still think, the House bound to notice. But the lateness of the session
(for we had, if I mistake not, scarce a fortnight remaining) precluding
all possibility of bringing the subject to any efficient result, I did
not then think proper to take any steps in the business. Finding my
attention, however, thus drawn to a consideration of the character of
the officer in question, I made it my business, considering it my duty,
as well to myself as to those whom I represent, to investigate the
charges then made, and the official character of the judge, in general.
The result having convinced me that there exists ground of impeachment
against this officer, I demand an inquiry into his conduct, and therefore
submit to the House the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the
    official conduct of Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices
    of the Supreme Court of the United States, and to report
    their opinion whether the said Samuel Chase hath so acted in
    his judicial capacity as to require the interposition of the
    constitutional power of this House.

After the motion made by Mr. J. RANDOLPH had been read from the Chair,

Mr. MITCHILL said, before the question was taken, he should be glad,
from the novelty and serious nature of the proposed measure, to hear a
statement by his friend from Virginia of the reasons in detail on which
it was founded.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH observed, that when he was up before he had stated that
the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SMILIE) had, in his place, at the
last session of Congress, given a description of the official conduct
of the officer to whom the resolution referred, which he considered the
House bound to notice. It could not be conceived that the gentleman would
have laid before the House a statement, the facts of which were not
supported by his own knowledge, or by evidence on which he could place
the utmost reliance. He did not conceive this to be a time to decide
whether the information exhibited by the gentleman from Pennsylvania
was or was not correct. At present an inquiry alone was proposed. If
it should be made, it must result either that the conduct of the judge
would be found to be such as not to warrant any further proceedings on
the part of the House, or such as would require the interposition of that
authority, which, as the immediate representatives of the people, they
alone possessed. If on inquiry the committee shall be persuaded that
the judge has not exceeded his duty, they will so report; if, on the
contrary, they find it such as to require the interposition of the House,
they will recommend that course of proceeding to which the House alone is
competent. With respect to the facts which had come to his knowledge, Mr.
R. said that they were such as he did not wish to state. He preferred its
being done by witnesses, who were most competent to do it correctly.

Mr. ELLIOT said, I am as deeply convinced as the gentleman from Virginia
that the streams of justice should be preserved pure and unsullied. I
am also sensible that the Judicial Department ought to attach to itself
a degree of independence. I am of opinion that this House possesses no
censorial power over the Judicial Department generally, or over any judge
in particular. They have alone the power of impeaching them; and when
a judge shall be charged with flagrant misconduct, and when facts are
stated which shall induce them to believe those charges true, I shall
be at all times prepared to carry the provisions of the constitution
into effect, in virtue of which great transgressors are punishable for
their crimes. The basis of this resolution is, that a gentleman from
Pennsylvania, at the last session, stated that the judge named in it
had been guilty of improper conduct. Of these charges I am uninformed,
and every new member must be uninformed. It is astonishing to me that
we are called upon to vote for an inquiry into the character of a judge
without any facts being adduced to show that such an inquiry should be
made. If the resolution pass in its present form, it appears to me that
we shall thereby pass a vote of censure on this judge, which neither the
constitution nor laws authorize. If the judge be guilty, I should suppose
the first step proper to be taken would be for some person aggrieved,
or for members having personal knowledge, to exhibit facts on which the
House may act. I can never consent, because the gentleman from Virginia,
or any other gentleman, says that there are facts which have come to his
knowledge that induce him to think an inquiry ought to be instituted,
to vote for it, unless those facts are first stated. I can never agree
to any act which shall in this manner, without the exhibition of proof,
impose censure or suspicion on a judge. This course may be perfectly
Parliamentary; but it strikes me as altogether unprecedented. I shall,
therefore, until some facts are adduced, resist every attempt to impose a
censure upon the conduct of any public officer.

Mr. SMILIE.--If the gentleman from Vermont had commanded a little
patience, he would have perceived the remarks which he has just made to
have been altogether unnecessary. He would have perceived the necessity
imposed upon me by the observations of the gentleman from Virginia of
stating those facts to which that gentleman alluded. It must be seen that
these proceedings contemplate the possibility of an impeachment. It will
be recollected by gentlemen who were in Congress at the last session,
that I was then led to give a statement of facts respecting the conduct
of Judge Chase on a particular occasion. That statement was not made with
a view to impeachment. A bill had been introduced to change the districts
of the circuit courts of the United States; when I discovered that Mr.
Chase was assigned to the district of Pennsylvania, I felt interested
in having him transferred to another district, considering that his
previous conduct had rendered him obnoxious to the people of that State.
These circumstances I stated to the House, and was in consequence called
upon to assign my reasons why Judge Chase was obnoxious to the people of
Pennsylvania. This is the history of the business so far. I am now called
upon to state the facts which I mentioned on that occasion. This I shall
do briefly.

A man of the name of Fries was prosecuted for treason in the State of
Pennsylvania. Two of the first counsel at that bar, Mr. Lewis and Mr.
Dallas, without fee or reward, undertook his defence. I mention their
names to show that there could have been no party prejudices that
influenced them. When the trial came on, the judge behaved in such a
manner that Mr. Lewis declared that he would not so far degrade his
profession as to plead under the circumstances imposed upon him. Mr.
Dallas declared that the rights of the bar were as well established as
those of the bench; that he considered the conduct of the judge as a
violation of those rights, and refused to plead. The facts were these:
The judge told the jury and the counsel that the court had made up their
minds on what constituted treason; that they had committed their opinion
to writing, and that the counsel must therefore confine themselves to
the facts in the case before the court. The counsel replied that they
did not dispute the facts, but that they were able to show that they
did not constitute treason. The end of the affair was, that the counsel
retired from court, and the man was tried without counsel, convicted, and
sentenced to death.

After this the Attorney General wrote a letter to Messrs. Dallas and
Lewis, requesting them to furnish their notes and opinions for the use of
the President. They drew up an answer, in which they stated that the acts
charged against Fries did not amount to treason, but were only sedition;
and that they were so considered in the British courts. This letter
was read to me by Mr. Dallas. After receiving the letter the President
pardoned the man.

Mr. J. CLAY.--This debate appears to me to arise from causes the most
extraordinary, and such as we are not accustomed to hear assigned on
this floor. The gentleman from Virginia has made a motion justified by
his own knowledge as well as that of my colleague; and this motion is
opposed in a most extraordinary manner. I believe this is the first
instance in which a motion to appoint a committee of inquiry into the
official conduct of a public officer has been opposed. We are told by the
gentleman from Vermont that this House has no right to pass a censure on
a judge, and that judges should be highly independent. I am afraid that
unless great care be taken the doctrine of judicial independence will be
carried so far as to become dangerous to the liberties of the country.
This motion does not, however, affect the character of the judge. Let it
also be recollected, that if the reputation of the judge be at stake, the
reputation of this House also is implicated. I consider this House as
the constitutional guardians of the morality of the Judiciary. Whenever
even suspicion exists as to that morality, a committee of inquiry should
be appointed. For the pure administration of justice is surely more
important than the reputation of any particular judge. I am sorry my
colleague thought it necessary to make any statement of facts to the
House. I believe that more important facts than he has mentioned will be
stated by witnesses. I believe likewise the reputation of the judge will
be better preserved by the appointment of a committee than by assertions
made on this floor by particular members, not responsible elsewhere for
what they allege.

With regard to my opinions in this case, whatever my political
impressions may be, they are entirely unbiassed. I have heard facts
stated, but I cannot say that they have been satisfactorily proved to
my mind. There are other charges equally reprehensible. Under these
circumstances, I ask if the character of the judge is not more implicated
by a discussion of his official conduct on this floor than by appointing
a committee to obtain facts. If he is guilty of the facts alleged against
him, no gentleman will say that he is not impeachable. If he is only
suspected of them, there ought to be a committee, that if guilty he may
be impeached, and if innocent, be freed from the imputation thrown upon
him.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD.--Gentlemen will acknowledge that this is a subject of
great importance and delicacy. No one will doubt but that we ought to
execute our duty so as to preserve the fountains of justice pure, and
that we ought at the same time to treat the important character of a
judge, or of any other high officer, with respect. I do not know but that
this mode of procedure is warranted by precedent. But if it is, it is
unknown to me. As the resolution now stands, I do not think it perfectly
correct. The honorable gentleman from Virginia says he is acquainted with
facts that warrant the proposed inquiry. The question is whether the
House ought to be governed by the opinions of any one member. We know not
what those facts are; the gentleman declines stating them. I do think,
as the subject now strikes me, that the conviction of any one member of
the propriety of this measure cannot warrant the interposition of the
House. Instead of taking the individual opinion of a member, it ought to
be stated that certain facts exist, which, if proved, will justify an
impeachment. I do not know whether these ideas are not incorrect, having
never before contemplated, or had a suspicion that such a motion would be
made.

As to the remarks of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, I do not consider
them as entitled to much weight. If the facts stated by him were of
his personal knowledge, they would undoubtedly merit attention. But he
merely states that which he has received from others, and which amounts
to nothing more than that the judge refused liberty to the counsel to
argue a point of law after it was decided, and confined their argument
to facts. In so doing the judge may have erred, but it was an error
of judgment, for which he cannot be impeached. No lawyer will perhaps
say that it was not the province of the judge to decide the law, and
that he has not the right to prevent counsel from arguing it after his
mind is made up. But this information is not of the knowledge of the
gentleman. Are we then to institute an inquiry into the conduct of a
high officer of the Government merely on hearsay? This has never been
done under our Government. In the late case of Judge Pickering proof was
furnished by the affidavits of witnesses testifying certain facts. I do
not therefore consider it correct to proceed to inquire on the opinion
of any gentleman. The proper course is first to have proofs which will
justify ourselves to our own consciences in making the inquiry--for we
ought not to touch the character of a judge, unless we are satisfied from
facts that there is good reason for an investigation into his conduct.
Gentlemen will not say that making an inquiry into the official conduct
of a judge does not touch his character.

Gentlemen say if this committee find the conduct of the judge to have
been correct, they will make a report to that effect; but it does not
follow that the report will contain all the evidence adduced, and
suspicion may still rest on the character of the judge, and that some
facts may not be stated, which, if stated, would show his misconduct.
Whereas, if the business be brought generally before the House, on
the exhibition of certain facts, the public will be enabled to decide
whether they warrant impeachment or even suspicion. With this view of the
subject, I am of opinion that it will be best to delay acting in this
affair until facts shall be disclosed which will justify the step now
proposed to be taken. I have as high a respect for the opinion of the
gentleman from Virginia as for that of any other member on this floor;
but I doubt whether we can justify our votes on the opinion of any single
member; facts alone ought to govern our opinions. I, therefore, for the
purpose of considering the course most proper to be pursued, move a
postponement of the further consideration of the motion until to-morrow.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH.--Were I the personal enemy of the gentleman who is the
object of this resolution, I should take precisely that course which,
on this occasion, the gentleman from Connecticut seems more than half
inclined to take. That gentleman wishes the resolution to lay until
to-morrow, in order that he may have time to consider whether he can
bring himself to refuse the inquiry altogether. He says that he cannot,
or rather (for he speaks doubtingly) he thinks he cannot see the
propriety of instituting an inquiry without evidence. What evidence?
Nothing short of legal proof--testimony on oath. And what is the object
of the resolution? To acquire that very evidence. If we had the evidence,
to what purpose make inquiry? As, however, the evidence cannot be had
without inquiry, and the gentleman will not grant the inquiry but upon
the evidence, it is plain that if we take the course which he recommends,
we must go without both. Will gentlemen offer objections against inquiry
which are applicable only to impeachment? If an impeachment were moved,
they would have a right to call for evidence. But what is the object
of the present motion? Merely to inquire whether there exists evidence
which will justify an impeachment. But this inquiry we are told cannot be
instituted on mere hearsay, although we have the declaration of a member
in his place. What would be said of a grand jury, who being informed
by one of their body that A or B could testify to the fact of a murder
being committed within their jurisdiction, should refuse an application
to the court to have them summoned, and because they could not find a
bill of indictment unsupported by evidence, should reject that evidence
which might be within their reach? I profess not that tenderness of
conscience which has been displayed by the gentleman from Connecticut. My
conscience teaches me to accuse no man wrongfully, but to deny inquiry
into the official conduct of no one, however exalted his station; and
I had supposed, from his practice, that the gentleman held the same
opinion. For it will be recollected that on the eve of the close of the
last session he had himself instituted an inquiry which went to impeach
the conduct of some of the first officers of the Government. No one on
that occasion stepped in between the demand for an inquiry and those
officers implicated in it. No inquiry was made, and it precluded any
further proceeding on the part of the House, since the charges which had
been attempted to be brought forward would not bear examination. Mr. R.
concluded by calling for the yeas and nays.

Mr. GREGG said he should vote against the postponement, and in favor
of the resolution. The case was somewhat new, but he perceived no
impropriety in giving it the same direction with all the other business
originated in the House. What is this committee to be appointed for? To
investigate facts and report them to the House. Was it not most proper
that gentlemen whose characters were implicated should have, in the first
instance, facts stated privately before a committee, than that parts
of their character should be immediately brought into view before the
House? He recollected one fact not yet alluded to in debate. In 1792,
after the army under the command of General St. Clair was defeated,
great dissatisfaction arose, and the character of the commander was
implicated. The idea was that the expedition had not been conducted with
propriety. The business was brought before Congress. It was understood at
that time, whether justly or not, Mr. G. would not pretend to say, that
the commander-in-chief could not be tried by a court martial. Congress
therefore took up the business, and appointed a committee of inquiry, who
went through a lengthy examination of the subject. Mr. G. mentioned this
precedent that gentlemen might turn their attention to it.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD said--I had hoped that the language used by me, when
I was up before, would not have led gentlemen to suppose that I was
acting as the friend or the enemy of Judge Chase. I am acting in neither
capacity. I am acting only as a member of this House, who ought to be
anxious on an occasion of such importance to take that course which is
most consistent with propriety; that course which results from the duty
this House owes the nation, and that duty which they owe the character
of a judge. It did appear to me that it was not correct to call the
character of a public officer into question unless some necessity should
first appear. No facts are presented on this occasion. The gentleman from
Virginia has said that he is in possession of facts, or of something
which makes him believe that an inquiry is proper, but he does not choose
to communicate those facts. The gentleman from Pennsylvania has given us
his information. The question is, whether it is proper on these light
suggestions to institute a solemn inquiry into the character of this
judge. It appears to me that we ought not to throw any imputation on
the character of any officer without evidence that such an inquiry is
necessary. The case mentioned by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr.
GREGG) does not apply. Dissatisfaction existed in the country and in this
House on the events of a campaign; an inquiry was instituted; but what
was its object? The committee were appointed to inquire into the general
causes of the failure of the expedition; they were not instructed to
inquire into the character of a particular officer.

The gentleman from Virginia has referred to another case, when he says
that we were ready enough to institute an inquiry, and has left it to be
inferred that the inquiry was made without any previous proofs of its
necessity. But certainly on that occasion inquiry was not made without
proof. I suppose the inquiry alluded to was that which related to the
conduct of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund. It was instituted on
a report made by them, and which we thought was not satisfactory. The
resolution offered was adopted, and inquiry was made, the result of which
is well known to every gentleman. It follows, therefore, that there are
no precedents adduced which apply to the present case.

It is my wish that the proceedings of this House may on this occasion be
perfectly correct, and that we may not be precipitated into the adoption
of this resolution without due consideration. If it is correct to vote
an inquiry in all cases where a member rises on this floor and desires
it, it is correct to vote it in this case. In this case a gentleman
rises and says that he is satisfied an inquiry ought to take place. The
question is, whether it is proper to inquire on the suggestion of a
member? If it is proper, without facts being adduced, then it will be
always proper to inquire whenever any member requires it, and it will be
also proper whenever any individual citizen requires it. This course I
have never thought correct. On the contrary, I think some facts ought to
be previously presented to establish the necessity of an inquiry before
it is voted. In the case of Judge Pickering a very different course has
been pursued. The appointment of a committee of inquiry originated from a
Message of the President. We find in February, 1803, the House received
the following Message:

    “The enclosed letter and affidavits, exhibiting matter against
    John Pickering, District Judge of New Hampshire, which is now
    within Executive cognizance, I transmit them to the House of
    Representatives, to whom the constitution has confided a power
    of instituting proceedings of redress, if they shall be of
    opinion that the case calls for them.”

This Message was referred to a committee, with the accompanying papers,
furnishing evidence of the necessity of an inquiry. But the course
pursued to-day is very different. A gentleman gets up and moves an
inquiry into the conduct of Judge Chase, and says that he is of the
opinion that it ought to be made. The course, I think, is incorrect.
Some facts ought first to be adduced. I repeat it, I am on this occasion
neither the friend nor the enemy of Judge Chase. I am the friend of this
House; I wish its proceedings to be correct, and I hope they will not do
hastily what they may hereafter regret.

Mr. DENNIS.--The only question now before the House is, whether they
will postpone the consideration of the motion on the table. I cannot but
express my surprise that the gentleman from Virginia should oppose this
motion, when several have declared that they are not prepared to vote
on this resolution. Gentlemen ought to recollect that, according to our
rules, on all motions which require the concurrence of the two Houses,
one day’s delay is necessary. Although this resolution is not of this
kind, yet it surely is not of inferior importance.

I believe that the gentleman alluded to by the motion would rather court
than shrink from an investigation of his official conduct. I believe,
also, that it has become necessary, from the discussion of this day, that
an investigation should take place. I am not, therefore, prepared at this
time to say whether I shall not ultimately vote for an inquiry. But it
appears to me that the course proposed is inverting the natural order of
things, inasmuch as it institutes an inquiry not growing out of facts,
but for facts. I believe also that the facts stated, if authenticated,
will furnish no ground for an impeachment. Circumstances attending this
motion show that the gentleman from Virginia does not consider them as
a sufficient ground for an impeachment. The refusal to hear the point
of law discussed was the act of the court. Mr. Chase did not sit alone
on the bench. Another judge must have been associated with and have
concurred with him. If so, why does not the resolution allude to the
other judge? Why select one judge, when both are equally implicated in
the charges?

I believe the most parliamentary way would be for a gentleman to state,
in the form of a resolution, the grounds of impeachment, and then to
refer such a resolution to a select committee for investigation. In this
mode the House may correctly institute an inquiry, and send for persons
and papers. This is the only parliamentary mode of proceeding. In every
case where impeachments have been made, the facts have been stated in
a resolution, concluding with a motion for an impeachment. The House
possesses no censorial power over the judges, except as incidental to
the power of impeachment. If gentlemen are possessed of facts, why not
state them in the form of a resolution, and move an impeachment? Then, if
the facts appeared to me to warrant an impeachment, I would not object
to their going to a select committee, though I believe the most proper
course would be for the House to send for persons and papers, and to
examine for themselves. But it is extremely novel and unprecedented for
the House, without facts, to institute an inquiry into the character of a
high officer of the Government.

May they not, in the same way, extend their inquiry into the conduct of
every judge in the United States, without stating any facts on which the
inquiry is founded? For these reasons I shall vote for postponing the
further consideration of this resolution for one day, on account of the
importance and delicacy of the subject, and the serious deliberation it
is entitled to. I do not know whether, if sufficient time is allowed for
consideration, and I shall be convinced that this course is consistent
with parliamentary usage, I shall not be in favor of an investigation.

Mr. ELLIOT.--When the yeas and nays are called, I shall on every occasion
rise in favor of taking them. I wish the votes I give in this House
entered on the Journal, and known to every citizen of America. The more I
contemplate the course pursued on this occasion, the more extraordinary
and unprecedented it appears to me. The gentleman from Virginia rose,
and, after an elegant exordium, stating that the streams of justice
should be preserved pure, and other fine things, told us that he had
received information of facts that convinced his mind that an inquiry
ought to be made into the conduct of a judge. Suppose the gentleman, on
facts known to himself, had stated his opinion, that an inquiry ought
to be made into the conduct of the President of the United States; we
have the same right to impeach the President as a judge. If the inquiry
would be improper in the one instance, without facts being adduced,
it would be equally so in the other. For we possess no censorial or
inquisitorial powers over the conduct of the judges of the Supreme Court.
If Judge Chase has been guilty of misconduct, let it be stated. If that
misconduct be of a private nature, let the House assume the character
of a grand jury, hold private sittings, receive evidence, and determine
whether the judge shall be impeached or not. The gentleman asks whether
a grand jury in the case of a charge of murder can send for persons.
Undoubtedly they can. But did gentlemen ever hear of their appointing
a committee to inquire whether a man charged with a partial offence
ought to be indicted? We are called on as the grand inquisitors of the
nation, to appoint an inquisitorial committee to get evidence; for it is
granted that as yet we have none. I believe that no committee of this
nature ought to be constituted, without previously ascertaining facts
that will warrant the delegation of such great power. No accusation,
even, is before us; but we are called upon to appoint a committee to
look one up--a committee to be invested with power to send for persons
and papers--a committee to inquire in private. I will never consent to
the appointment of such a committee, until facts that will justify the
inquiry are stated.

The facts adduced by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, if proved, could
not induce me to believe that the judge is impeachable. I may suspect
that his conduct was erroneous and improper, but I cannot conceive it
proper to impeach a single judge for the act of the court. Believing,
therefore, this conduct unprecedented, unparliamentary, and replete with
improprieties; believing it novel; believing that, in an affair of so
much consequence, we ought not to proceed with precipitation; believing
that we are entitled to demand one day to reflect upon it--I am proud,
on this occasion, to record my vote in favor of the postponement until
to-morrow; and if it were for a week, I should with equal pride and
pleasure vote for it.

Mr. HOLLAND moved an adjournment.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH said, that considering a motion to adjourn equivalent to
a postponement for a day, he moved the taking the yeas and nays upon it.

Mr. HOLLAND moved an adjournment, on which the question was taken--yeas
52, nays 62.

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, jun., Nathaniel Alexander, Simeon
    Baldwin, George W. Campbell, John Campbell, William Chamberlin,
    Martin Chittenden, Clifton Claggett, Manasseh Cutler, Samuel
    W. Dana, John Davenport, John Dennis, Thomas Dwight, James
    Elliot, Edwin Gray, Gaylord Griswold, Roger Griswold, John A.
    Hanna, Seth Hastings, James Holland, David Hough, Benjamin
    Huger, Joseph Lewis, jun., Henry W. Livingston, Thomas Lowndes,
    Matthew Lyon, Nahum Mitchell, James Mott, Thomas Plater,
    Samuel D. Purviance, Erastus Root, Tompson J. Skinner, John
    Cotton Smith, John Smith of Virginia, Joseph Stanton, William
    Stedman, James Stephenson, Samuel Taggart, Samuel Tenney,
    Samuel Thatcher, David Thomas, George Tibbits, John Trigg,
    Philip Van Cortlandt, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Daniel C.
    Verplanck, Peleg Wadsworth, Matthew Walton, Lemuel Williams,
    Marmaduke Williams, Joseph Winston, and Thomas Wynns.

    NAYS.--David Bard, George Michael Bedinger, William Blackledge,
    Adam Boyd, John Boyle, Robert Brown, Joseph Bryan, William
    Butler, Joseph Clay, John Clopton, Jacob Crowninshield, Richard
    Cutts, William Dickson, Peter Early, Ebenezer Elmer, John
    W. Eppes, William Findlay, James Gillespie, Andrew Gregg,
    Thomas Griffin, Samuel Hammond, Josiah Hasbrouck, William
    Hoge, David Holmes, John G. Jackson, Walter Jones, William
    Kennedy, Nehemiah Knight, Michael Leib, John B. C. Lucas,
    Andrew McCord, David Meriwether, Samuel L. Mitchill, Nicholas
    R. Moore, Thomas Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas
    Newton, jun., Joseph H. Nicholson, Gideon Olin, Beriah Palmer,
    John Patterson, Oliver Phelps, John Randolph, jun., Thomas M.
    Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee,
    Jacob Richards, Thomas Sammons, Thomas Sanford, Ebenezer
    Seaver, James Sloan, John Smilie, John Smith of New York,
    Richard Stanford, John Stewart, Philip R. Thompson, Abram
    Trigg, Isaac Van Horne, Joseph B. Varnum, John Whitehill, and
    Richard Wynn.

The question of postponement recurring,

Mr. HUGER considered the course contemplated by the resolution as
improper, unparliamentary, and unprecedented. To make up his mind on the
course proper to be pursued, he was in favor of the postponement.

Mr. HOLLAND observed that he had moved an adjournment to allow those
gentlemen time for reflection who had not yet made up their minds on
the propriety of the motion. He was himself of this number. Having been
allowed no time for reflection, he did not feel perfectly satisfied with
the appointment of a committee of inquiry before any facts had been
substantiated. Desiring further time to form his judgment, and seeing no
occasion for precipitation, he should vote in favor of a postponement.

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL.--I will not, at this late hour, detain the House
with the expression of my ideas in detail. I am as desirous as any
member of this House that the streams of justice should flow pure and
unsullied, as on their purity depend the safety and liberties of the
people of the United States. But when we are about to enter into measures
for preserving them clear, we owe it to ourselves to preserve order in
our conduct, and to act in such a manner as we shall be able to justify
to our constituents. Every member of this House, on such an occasion,
ought to be as cautious in his proceeding as a judge in delivering his
opinions, lest, while we are condemning the conduct of the judge, we
ourselves go astray from our duty. For this reason, I am against the
adoption of a measure which may throw a censure on a character invested
by the United States with high authority, until I am convinced we have
sufficient grounds for doing so. The resolution on the table can have
but one object, to wit: the direction of an inquiry whether sufficient
evidence can be procured to authorize an impeachment. I conceive that
this House cannot proceed in any other way. I am therefore of opinion,
that, before the vote for an inquiry, there ought to be probable grounds
that facts exist that authorize an impeachment, and that evidence can
be procured of their existence. I am not prepared to say, from any
thing which has been adduced, that such evidence does exist. I conceive
that until probable grounds are shown, we ought not to authorize such a
procedure, inasmuch as it may establish a precedent that we may hereafter
regret--a precedent which will put it in the power of any member to move
and obtain an inquiry into the conduct of the President, a judge, or
any other officer under the Government. Under these circumstances, I am
not prepared to say this is the regular course of proceeding. I do not
profess to have much knowledge of parliamentary proceedings, and have
therefore waited, before I expressed my opinions, to hear such precedents
as gentlemen could adduce. Having heard none, I conclude none exist.

I conceive that the act of this House, in voting for a committee of
inquiry, is equivalent to the expression of the opinion that they have
evidence of the probable grounds of the guilt of the judge. The gentleman
from Virginia has told us that the powers of this House are, in some
degree, like those of a grand jury. I agree that they have all the
powers of a grand jury, and it is on this ground that I deny the power
now contended for. I say that a grand jury has no right to send for
testimony: they have only a right to receive testimony from any one of
their body, and to receive such witnesses as the court may send them. If,
then, there be evidence in the present case, let us act upon it, even
though it be _ex parte_, and although that might, perhaps, be going too
far.

I repeat it, I have heard no statement satisfactory to my mind that there
are probable grounds for proceeding in this business. It is true, the
gentleman from Pennsylvania has made a statement, but that statement
appears to me to depend not so much on facts as on opinions; and it
is not my wish to decide on the propriety of the conduct of the judge
until the facts are before us. It is certain that a judge has a right to
control counsel, and to say when his mind is made up, while it is also
his duty to hear the allegations that shall be made.

In addition to these reasons for a postponement, I am also in favor of
it, because, whenever a sincere desire exists to gain information, which
can only be done by allowing further time, I shall always be in favor of
it, when no material injury can result from the indulgence.

Mr. MOTT.--I am in favor of the postponement, because I wish time for
consideration, and because I am against the resolution itself. I think
it is improper to go into such an inquiry before specific charges are
laid before the House, when it will be proper for the House to consider
whether those charges are sufficient to sustain an impeachment; then it
will be proper to proceed, and not till then. No charges have yet been
laid before the House: we have only been told by one member that he is
satisfied sufficient grounds exist.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH was sorry to be obliged to trespass again on the patience
of the House, but the direct application made to him by the gentlemen
from Tennessee and South Carolina, imposed upon him the necessity of
stating his reasons for proceeding in what they were pleased to term so
precipitate a manner. They ask, why not have laid the resolution on the
table by way of notice to the House? Because, sir, I cannot in a matter
of extreme delicacy make the opinions of other gentlemen the standard of
my own actions. I should have conceived the character implicated in the
resolution as having just cause of complaint against me, had I not been
ready to decide in a moment on it, and did I not press its immediate
decision. I should have deemed it an act of cruel injustice to have
hung the inquiry over his head even for a day. I should have expected
the reproach of setting suspicions afloat whilst I avoided examination
into them; for I should have deserved it, had I pursued the course which
gentlemen wish to adopt. I can see no difference between hanging up this
motion for a day or a year but the mere difference of time. What is the
object to be obtained? Do we wait for evidence, or any information,
which will assist us in forming a correct opinion? Not at all. To-morrow
the question will recur upon us--“Is it proper, from what has already
appeared, to institute an inquiry into the conduct of this officer?” And
this we are as competent to decide at this moment as at any future day.
When, however, gentlemen consider a resolution to make inquiry the same
as an inquiry already had, I am not surprised at finding myself opposed
to them in opinion. I repeat that all their arguments are applicable
to a motion of impeachment only. But it seems that no precedents have
been adduced, and time is wanted to hunt them up. Gentlemen should
recollect that but two cases of impeachment have taken place under this
Government; one of a Senator from Tennessee, the other of a district
judge of New Hampshire. By what precedents were the proceedings in these
cases regulated? How is it possible in a Government hardly in its teens,
where new cases must daily occur, as its various functions are called
into exercise, to find precedents? It did so happen, in the case of the
Senator from Tennessee, that the information on which his impeachment
was grounded came from the Executive. But suppose that information had
not been communicated by the Executive? Would that have precluded all
inquiry? Suppose, too, in the case of Mr. Pickering, that no information
had been received from the Executive, and that a gentleman from New
Hampshire had risen and said, “However painful the task, I deem it my
duty to state that the conduct of the judge of the district in which I
reside, has been such as renders him unfit for the important station
which he holds, and I therefore move for an inquiry into his conduct.”
Would the House have denied the inquiry? Will they rely altogether on the
attorney of the district, whose interest it is to be well with the judge,
and whose patience must be worn out with his misconduct before he will
undertake to call the attention of Government to it? Are gentlemen aware
of the delicate situation in which those officers are placed? Suppose
information had been given to a member of the malfeasance of a judge by
a person who should say: “It is not pleasant to originate accusations;
those who come forward in these cases undertake an invidious task;
while therefore I wish my name not to be mentioned, I shall be ready,
when called upon by proper authority, to give my testimony.” This is a
hypothetical case, but one by no means improbable. Would it not be a
point of honor not to expose the name of the informant?

But, say gentlemen, the charge is of a general nature. While I do not
admit the force of this remark, supposing it to be correct, I deny
that it is a general charge. The inquiry is general, but it is founded
on a statement made by the gentleman from Pennsylvania. I made no
other statement. I have said that I believed there existed grounds of
impeachment. What they are I shall not state here. They may be those
exhibited by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, or they may be others. Will
gentlemen assert that the statement of facts made by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania will not, if true, warrant an impeachment? What does it
amount to? A person under a criminal prosecution, having a constitutional
right to the aid of counsel in his defence, has, by the arbitrary and
vexatious conduct of the court, been denied this right. Such is the
nature of the charge. Has it come to this, that an unrighteous judge may
condemn whom he pleases to an ignominious death, without a hearing, in
the teeth of the constitution and laws, and that such proceedings should
find advocates here? Shall we be told that judges have certain rights,
and, whatever the constitution or laws may declare to the contrary, we
must continue to travel in the go-cart of precedent, and the injured
remain unredressed? No, sir, let us throw aside these leading-strings and
crutches of precedent, and march with a firm step to the object before us.

As to the motion of postponement, Mr. R. said it was of little
consequence to him whether it prevailed or not. On a charge of specific
malfeasance, he thought it impossible to refuse an inquiry. Whatever
should be the result, he should rest satisfied with having discharged
his duty to the House and to the nation. Believing the circumstances to
demand inquiry, he had made it. Without circulating whispers of reproach,
he had given the person implicated that opportunity of vindicating
his character which he himself should require if he stood in the same
unfortunate situation.

The committee rose, and the House adjourned.


FRIDAY, January 6.

_Importation of Slaves._

Mr. BARD.--For many reasons this House must have been justly surprised
by a recent measure of one of the Southern States. The impressions,
however, which that measure gave my mind, were deep and painful. Had I
been informed that some formidable foreign power had invaded our country,
I would not, I ought not, to be more alarmed than on hearing that South
Carolina had repealed her law prohibiting the importation of slaves.

In the one case we would know what to do. The emergency itself would
inspire exertion, and suggest suitable means of repelling the attack.
But here we are nonplussed, and find ourselves without resource. Our
hands are tied, and we are obliged to stand confounded, while we see the
flood-gate opened, and pouring incalculable miseries into our country. By
the repeal of that law, fresh activity is given to the horrid traffic,
which has been long since seriously regretted by the wise and humane,
but none have been able to devise an adequate remedy to its dreadful
consequences.

Congress has but little power, or rather they have no power to prevent
the growth of the evil. To impose a tax on imported slaves is the
extent of their power; but every one must see that it is infinitely
disproportionate to what the morality, the interest, the peace, and
safety, of individuals, and of the public, at this moment, demand.
And though in regard to their present case the power of the General
Government may be insufficient to check the mischief, yet I hope they
are disposed to discourage it, as far as they are authorized by the
constitution. Therefore I beg leave to offer the House the following
resolution:

    “_Resolved_, That a tax of ten dollars be imposed upon every
    slave imported into the United States.”

Ordered to lie on the table.

_Official conduct of Judge Chase._

The House resumed the consideration of the motion of the fifth instant,
“for the appointment of a committee to inquire into the official conduct
of Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of
the United States,” and the said motion, as originally proposed, being
again read, in the words following, to wit:

    “_Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the
    official conduct of Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices
    of the Supreme Court of the United States, and to report their
    opinion whether the said Samuel Chase hath so acted in his
    judicial capacity, as to require the interposition of the
    constitutional power of this House:”

A motion was made and seconded to amend the same, by inserting, after
the words “one of the Associate Justices of the United States,” the
following words, “and of Richard Peters, District Judge of the district
of Pennsylvania.”

Mr. SMILIE.--When the motion now under consideration was made yesterday,
I should have felt surprised at the course which the debate took, had
I not often witnessed such things in former times. It seems to be
considered as improper that a gentleman should bring forward a motion
for an inquiry into the official conduct of a public officer, and expect
the House to comply with his request, unless he should at the same time
produce such evidence as shall prove the facts charged. If this course of
proceeding be correct, I have ever been in error. What does the gentleman
from Virginia ask? Suppose he has taken exception to the conduct of the
judge from some facts which have come to his own knowledge. Under such
circumstances it will be allowed that it is the duty of the House to make
the inquiry. When the question shall be whether an impeachment shall be
preferred, it will be proper that evidence should be produced. But now
only a committee is asked to receive evidence, and to determine whether
it be such as in their opinion will afford grounds for an impeachment.
It is impossible for me to conceive any way that can be pursued which
will be more favorable to the person whose character is implicated, than
that which is proposed. It is merely to inquire whether such facts can
be sustained as will afford grounds for an impeachment. Certainly in
this stage of the business it is not necessary to produce evidence to
the House, as the House are not competent to receive testimony, which
a committee is. It is a rule of this House that so much respect is due
to a member, that if he states that he possesses information proper to
be communicated to the House, but which in his opinion ought not to be
done but with closed doors, that, in such case, the doors shall be shut
without any vote of the House.

Surely, then, on the request of a member for a committee of inquiry, that
measure ought to be adopted. This, in my opinion, is the best course
that can be pursued for the person implicated. There is, it is true,
thereby expressed an opinion of some one member that this judge has done
wrong. So far his character is implicated; this is the only possible
way in which it is implicated. The committee are to inquire whether
there are grounds for an impeachment or not. If they report that there
are not grounds, the accusation will be dismissed; and if the report is
that there are grounds, the House will at once perceive the necessity of
taking this step to ascertain their existence.

Another ground of resistance is taken. It is said there are precedents
for this proceeding. I believe that all precedents must have an origin;
and that one person has as good a right to establish them as another.
Our Government is young, and only two cases of impeachment have occurred
under it. Most of our precedents respecting parliamentary proceedings are
borrowed from England, and, if precedents are necessary in this affair,
we must resort to that country for them. My opinion is that they are not
necessary, and that common sense and the reason of the thing are all
that are necessary to guide our decision in this case. There is, however,
in the British annals, no deficiency of precedents. The first I shall
mention is to be found in the case of the Earl of Strafford. I may be
told that this precedent was established in turbulent times: I may also
be told of the improper mode of proceeding. I do not pretend to vindicate
the whole course of procedure. I think it was wrong. But with regard to
the first stages of the business, I believe them to have been correct. It
will be seen that, in that instance, a more direct mode was pursued than
is proposed in the present case.

The precedent I allude to will be found in Hume’s History, vol. 2,
page 249. That historian says,--“A concerted attack was made upon the
Earl of Strafford in the House of Commons. It was led by Pym, who,
after expatiating on a long list of popular grievances, added, ‘we must
inquire from what fountain these waters of bitterness flow; and though,
doubtless, many evil councillors will be found to have contributed their
endeavors, yet is there one who challenges the infamous pre-eminence,
and who, by his courage, enterprise, and capacity, is entitled to the
first place among these betrayers of their country. He is the Earl of
Strafford, the Lieutenant of Ireland, and President of the Council of
York, who, in both places, and in all other provinces where he has been
intrusted with authority, has raised ample monuments of tyranny, and
will appear, from a survey of his actions, to be the chief promoter of
every arbitrary council.’ Many others entered into the same topics, and
it was moved that Strafford should be impeached. Lord Falkland alone,
though the known enemy of Strafford, entreated the House not to act with
precipitation. But Pym replied that delay would blast all their hopes;
without further debate the impeachment was voted, and Pym was chosen to
carry it up to the Lords.”

In this case it does not appear that any evidence was called for; a
member of the House of Commons got up and declared his opinion of that
officer, and the same session an impeachment was voted. This course of
proceeding is very different from that now proposed. I will now refer to
a more modern precedent which at the time does not appear to have been
objected to. It occurred in the reign of George I., and will be found
stated in Russel’s “Modern Europe,” vol. 4, page 398.

“A new Parliament was called in which the interest of the Whigs
predominated, and a secret committee, chosen by ballot, was appointed to
examine all the papers, and inquire into all the negotiations relative
to the late peace, as well as the cessation of arms by which it was
preceded. The Committee of Secrecy prosecuted their inquiry with the
greatest eagerness, and, in consequence of their report, the Commons
resolved to impeach Lord Bolingbroke, the Earl of Oxford, and the Duke of
Ormond, of high treason.”

One circumstance is worthy of attention. A cause of dissatisfaction
at the conduct of the judge has undoubtedly prevailed. Whether he is
wrongfully accused I will not say; but the dissatisfaction is manifest;
for the representatives of two respectable States lately came forward and
opposed his being assigned to circuits which embraced their States. This
single fact ought to make an impression on the House.

It is alleged that there is no proof before the House; but one thing is
notorious--is universally known. It is this, that this man (Fries) was
tried before that judge for his life, and was tried without being heard.
This fact cannot be disputed. When we consider the importance of the
life of a citizen, and know that such an event has taken place, is it
not the duty of the only body competent to inquire into the fact? With
other gentlemen, I believe that the fountains of justice ought to be kept
pure; I believe also that the judges are like other men, and that like
them they are subject to the common frailties of human nature; and I do
believe that when the frailties of human nature produce such effects, the
House cannot be justified to themselves or their country without making
an inquiry. Our duty to our country calls for it; our duty to the man
who is implicated also calls for it. If innocent, a proper regard to his
character claims it; and his friend from Maryland informs us that he will
rejoice at this opportunity of coming forward and vindicating himself.
If, then, the inquiry be equally necessary for placing the character
of the man upon its proper footing, and for preserving the purity of
justice, how can the House resist it?

Mr. DENNIS said he had only expressed an opinion that such an
investigation would be rather solicited than avoided by Judge Chase.

Mr. LEIB.--I am by no means an enemy to inquiry, but I am not a friend to
the partiality of this resolution. We are told that it is grounded on the
misconduct of the Circuit Court in Philadelphia on the trial of Fries.
If one judge of that court was guilty of misconduct, the other attending
judge must have been equally guilty. The conduct complained of was the
act of the court, and not of an individual judge. This resolution ought
therefore to embrace both the attending judges. My opinion is that both
are criminal, and ought to be brought to the bar of justice. I therefore
move an amendment of the resolution by introducing the name of Richard
Peters, so as to embrace an inquiry into the conduct of both judges, and
call for the yeas and nays on the amendment.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH.--I wish to state for the information of those gentlemen
who were not in the last Congress, that the gentleman from Pennsylvania,
whose statement, thus made, is the groundwork of the present inquiry,
did not offer any matter which tended to impeach the conduct of Mr.
Peters, while there was a specific charge of misconduct brought against
the other judge. In consequence of this charge I conceived it my duty to
make an inquiry into the official conduct of Judge Chase. I mention this
circumstance to show that however the charge of partiality may apply to
the resolution, it cannot apply to the mover.

Mr. LEIB.--I do not charge the mover with partiality, but the resolution
with embracing one judge instead of two. Judge Peters was on the bench
at the time. This outrage upon justice was the act of the court. How the
conduct, therefore, of one judge shall claim investigation, while that
of the other is passed over in silence, to me is mysterious. I think
impartial justice calls for an investigation into the conduct of both.

Mr. SMILIE said there could be no doubt that if the court was agreed,
Judge Peters had been equally guilty of misconduct. On the trial of
Fries, Mr. Chase presided, and Mr. Peters attended. If Judge Peters
concurred in the decision, he was equally culpable.

Mr. NICHOLSON.--This resolution is grounded upon a statement made
during the last session, by a member from Pennsylvania, implicating the
character of one of the justices of the Supreme Court. Upon information
thus given, my friend from Virginia has thought himself bound to bring
the business before the House, that an inquiry may be made into his
conduct. For myself I will never hesitate, I care not who the person
implicated may be, and however exalted his station, to give my vote for
inquiring into his official conduct, when a member of this House rises
in his place, and states that, in his opinion, he has been guilty of
misconduct. For this reason I shall vote for the amendment; it having
been stated by a member that Judge Peters was on the bench and did concur
with Judge Chase.

And on the question that the House do agree on the said amendment, it was
resolved in the affirmative--yeas 79, nays 37, as follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, jun., Nathaniel Alexander, Phanuel
    Bishop, William Blackledge, John Boyle, Robert Brown, Joseph
    Bryan, William Butler, John Campbell, Joseph Clay, John
    Clopton, Jacob Crowninshield, Richard Cutts, John Dennis,
    William Dickson, Peter Early, James Elliot, Ebenezer Elmer,
    John W. Eppes, William Eustis, William Findlay, James
    Gillespie, Edwin Gray, Andrew Gregg, Thomas Griffin, John A.
    Hanna, Josiah Hasbrouck, Seth Hastings, William Hoge, James
    Holland, David Holmes, Benjamin Huger, John G. Jackson, Walter
    Jones, William Kennedy, Nehemiah Knight, Michael Leib, Joseph
    Lewis, jun., Thomas Lowndes, John B. C. Lucas, Andrew McCord,
    David Meriwether, Nicholas R. Moore, Thomas Moore, Jeremiah
    Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas Newton, jun., Joseph H. Nicholson,
    Gideon Olin, John Patterson, Oliver Phelps, John Randolph,
    jun., Thomas M. Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea
    of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Erastus Root, Thomas Sammons,
    Thomas Sanford, Ebenezer Seaver, Tompson J. Skinner, James
    Sloan, John Smilie, John Smith of Virginia, Richard Stanford,
    Joseph Stanton, James Stevenson, John Stewart, David Thomas,
    Philip R. Thompson, John Trigg, Philip Van Cortlandt, Isaac
    Van Horne, Joseph B. Varnum, Daniel C. Verplanck, Marmaduke
    Williams, Richard Wynn, Joseph Winston, and Thomas Wynns.

    NAYS.--Simeon Baldwin, David Bard, George Michael Bedinger,
    Silas Betton, Adam Boyd, William Chamberlin, Martin Chittenden,
    Clifton Claggett, Manasseh Cutler, Samuel W. Dana, John
    Davenport, Gaylord Griswold, Roger Griswold, David Hough,
    Samuel Hunt, Thomas Lewis, Henry W. Livingston, William
    McCreery, Nahum Mitchell, Samuel L. Mitchill, James Mott,
    Beriah Palmer, Thomas Plater, Samuel D. Purviance, Joshua
    Sands, John Cotton Smith, John Smith of New York, Henry
    Southard, Samuel Taggart, Samuel Tenney, Samuel Thatcher,
    George Tibbits, Abram Trigg, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Peleg
    Wadsworth, John Whitehill, and Lemuel Williams.

Mr. LOWNDES.--Were I to be governed by considerations other than those
resulting from a sense of duty, I should vote for this resolution, as
I believe it would afford the character implicated the readiest mode
of vindication. But I do not feel so high a respect for the opinion of
any one member as to give up my opinion to his, as to the course most
proper to be pursued on this occasion. The gentleman who has offered this
resolution says, that the facts on which it is founded are within his own
knowledge. Let the gentleman then lay them before the House. Otherwise we
shall legislate, not on the facts before us, but merely on the opinion
of a single member, on facts only known to himself. We are told that
this motion is founded on the statement of an honorable gentleman from
Pennsylvania. What is that statement? That one of the counsel in the
trial of Fries informed him that the judge declared the counsel had no
right to argue a point of law after the mind of the court was made up. I
ask if any gentleman is prepared to say that the judge was wrong? I am
not prepared to say so. While, too, I am unwilling to detract from the
respect due to the statement of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, I am
equally unwilling to subscribe to his opinions. He may have misconceived
the information communicated to him. It is said that it is necessary to
preserve pure the streams of justice. I agree in this remark, and I say
that the resolution on the table goes to destroy the independence of the
judges, and of consequence to pollute the streams of justice; to make the
judges the flexible tools of this House. It is impossible that under such
circumstances men of talents and integrity will take seats on the bench,
when their character shall be liable to be scrutinized without any facts
being previously adduced.

I think it absolutely necessary that this resolution should not pass. For
if it passes, it will establish a precedent that any member may procure
an investigating committee to inquire into the conduct of any executive
or judicial officer merely upon his opinion, unsupported by facts, that
such an inquiry is necessary. Suppose parties to be nearly equally
divided; a member has only to propose an inquiry into the conduct of any
officer to whom he may feel inimical, and thereby throw a cloud upon his
character, and render him the object of suspicion. Thus do I fear that
this precedent will furnish the instrument of vengeance of one party
against another. The price we pay for our liberties is the existence
of parties among us; but it becomes us rather to restrain than to
invigorate their passions. If we establish this precedent we shall render
impeachment so easy, as greatly to facilitate the means of oppression.

Mr. LOWNDES concluded by saying, that in this affair he threw party
considerations entirely out of view. He was personally unacquainted with
Judge Chase, and if there was a single affidavit of his misconduct, the
appointment of the committee of inquiry should have his vote; but that,
under the circumstances attending it, he considered the measure improper
in every point of view in which he could consider it.

Mr. FINDLAY observed, that though the abstract right of the members
to move for an inquiry into the conduct of public officers, in order
to find whether presumptions against their character afforded ground
for impeachment, was not expressly denied, yet the manner in which the
opposition to the present resolution was conducted was equal to denying
the right. He trusted, however, that the House would support this right,
as it was one of the most important of any with which they were vested.
It grew out of the power of impeachment, and it was necessary for the
exercise of that power, and was justified by precedents. By the rules of
the House any member has a right to have the doors shut, in order to move
such a resolution as he thinks proper. This has been usual in cases of
impeachment in Britain, from which we derive the forms of impeachment.
There it has been common to shut the doors, and for a member to move for
an impeachment of a public officer, and to procure the officer impeached
to be taken into custody before there was time or opportunity to take
any other testimony than the information stated by the member who moved
the resolution, probably supported by public fame. Taking the party into
custody was necessary to the circumstances of that country and the extent
of punishment, which might not only affect the liberty and property, but
even the life of the party found guilty. It was necessary, because of the
influence of the powerful nobility, who might have it in their power to
stand in their defence; but, as all the penalties in the power of this
Government to inflict by impeachment only affect the official trust and
character, taking into custody is unnecessary.

He observed, that the arguments in opposition to the resolution turned
chiefly on the ground of expediency and of precedent.

In his opinion, it appeared not only expedient but necessary, from the
notoriety of facts on which the resolution was founded; that they were
publicly known and had impaired confidence in these judges, could not
be denied. That it was known to Congress during the last session was
acknowledged. It was not only known, but Congress acted on it. A bill was
in progress before this House, appointing the attendance of judges to
particular districts--the members of two respectable States, in which,
by the bill, Judge Chase was appointed to attend, objected unanimously
to that appointment, because they had not confidence in him; and the
facts on which the resolution is founded were stated on the floor, upon
which the House altered the bill and appointed another judge to that
district. This was a strong testimony that Congress believed that this
open expression of want of confidence in that gentleman was justified by
the facts that had been stated. He said, that though he had not at that
time a seat in the House, he had expected an inquiry to be made into the
causes of this want of confidence at that time. Perhaps it was prevented
by the shortness of the session.

It is expedient for the character of the gentlemen and for the public
good; for the gentlemen themselves, if they are innocent or have acted
on justifiable ground; it is necessary that their characters may be
vindicated, and confidence in their public conduct restored. It is
expedient for the public good, because if the judges are guilty in the
manner stated--if they have justly lost the confidence of the people and
of Congress, as it appears, by the transaction of last session, one of
them has done, the case ought to be examined and the citizens protected;
for if he was unfit to preside on the bench for one district, he is unfit
to preside in another. It is expedient, in order to secure the confidence
of the citizens in the Government itself.

But precedents are called for by the gentlemen opposed to the resolution,
and several of them contend that such special facts should be stated as
would be unexceptionable ground of impeachment, before the inquiry is
gone into. A gentleman from Vermont, (Mr. ELLIOT,) who argued yesterday
in favor of postponement for further information on the subject, in the
same argument said that he never would agree to the appointment of a
committee of inquiry, until the charges were first stated and proved to
his satisfaction. Mr. F. said he was astonished at this inconsistency.
If the facts were first stated and established, appointing a committee
of inquiry would be an absurdity. What would they inquire after but what
they already knew? That gentleman and others, in order to defeat the
resolution, gave the object of it an odious designation: they called it
an inquisition, and spoke of it in such terms as if it was the well-known
Spanish law of that name. The character of that court was too well known
to the members of this House to require definition; it was sufficient
to say that in it witnesses were examined without the knowledge of the
party accused; that it compelled the accused to give testimony against
themselves, and had authority to pass sentence of the most dreadful
kind, without appeal. The gentlemen knew that no such thing was intended
by the resolution. The character of the judges had been impeached in
public opinion by numerous citizens of all descriptions. Congress on
that account gave a decisive testimony of want of confidence in one of
them. The object of the resolution was to inquire whether there was a
real foundation for this want of confidence and ill fame. If Congress
did not make inquiry in such cases, who was to do it? It did not by
the constitution belong to any other authority; every other method of
proceeding would be as ingeniously objected to as the one proposed, by
those who wished to prevent further proceedings in the case; denying the
means of bringing forward impeachment, had the same effect as if the
power of impeachment was renounced.

The power of this House has been asserted to be similar to that of a
grand jury; this seems to be conceded on both sides, but though it bears
a resemblance, it was not strictly so--it was more extensive. Grand
juries were authorized to present such indictments or such complaint or
information as were submitted to them by the Attorney General, or which
they knew of their own knowledge. The attorney also inquires if there
is probable ground for the complaint, and brings the witnesses before
the jury, who examine them to establish the facts alleged; but this
House has no officers authorized to make inquiry and bring forward the
business in due form; therefore the House possess both the power of the
Attorney General and the grand jury, with relation to impeachment; for
where a power of decision is given, all the powers necessary to carry
that decision into effect are implied. The making inquiry, procuring
witnesses, or other testimony, and preparing the case in due form, is the
object of the resolution; and if the House does not do it in this or some
other such method, there is no other agent authorized to do it.

With respect to precedent and parliamentary usage, Mr. F. said he had
formerly examined many, but was not prepared to state them at this
time, and did not think them necessary on this occasion. In all the
examples of impeachment by the British Parliament, from the reign of
Henry VIII., when parliamentary power was reduced to a mere shadow, till
the present time, when the parliamentary power has been amply enlarged
and established, and their proceedings become more uniform, there will
be shades of difference found in all of them, arising from various
circumstances; we have few precedents of our own, and of these few none
of them apply to the present case. It is the constitutional duty of this
House to impeach, when impeachment is necessary, and of the Senate to
decide on impeachments; but with respect to the manner in which each
House should proceed, they are not trammelled by forms nor entangled in
precedents.

There are, however, examples of proceedings both with the British
Parliament and with us, as similar to the method now proposed as the
various cases would admit. With ourselves, the case of the unfortunate
Western expedition mentioned by my colleague (Mr. GREGG) yesterday,
was much more to the purpose than the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr.
GRISWOLD) was willing to admit. Mr. F. said he had the honor to be one
of the committee of inquiry which sat on that subject a great proportion
of two sessions. The expedition was too late in setting out to the Indian
country; they were said to have been illy provided with necessaries,
and long detained for want of them; a large proportion of the army were
killed or taken by the savages, and all the stores with the army left.
The citizens were discontented, and numerous complaints were heard, but
none knew with certainty whom to blame; a committee was appointed to
examine witnesses and report the testimony to the House, in order to
discover the party who had been to blame. Some had charged it on the
commanding General, others on the Secretary of War, and others on the
Commissary of Military Stores, and these last endeavored to wrest the
blame from themselves and fix it on the General. It was certain that a
great misfortune had happened, but it was not certain that any officer
was to blame; no charge had been made to Congress against any officer,
yet Congress thought proper to make an inquiry, and it was not opposed on
account of want of form, or want of precedents, by any of the friends of
the parties. Towards the close of the first session, the committee made a
concise report, referring to a great amount of testimonies. Some of the
parties implicated by the report thought themselves injured by it, and
it was alleged that other witnesses ought to be examined. Consequently,
at the next session, the business was recommitted to the same committee,
and as it was near the close of the last session of that Congress, before
all the witnesses were procured and examined, and the parties heard by
the committee, each of the parties wrote and delivered to the committee
a large book of explanations and defence. The committee reported a large
wooden box full of testimony, of original letters and instructions,
and the three books of explanations and defence accompanied with some
observations. It was not possible for that Congress to enter on the
business, and the cause being of a transient nature, and the parties who
applied for the second inquiry not wishing a disclosure of the testimony,
the business was not afterwards entered on; but the mass of testimony,
&c., is yet in possession of Congress. This, it is presumed, applies well
in favor of the present resolution.

Gentlemen object to the resolution because of the indelicacy of
implicating the character of a judge. They seem to believe the character
of a judge to be sacred and immaculate. But are not judges men? Are they
not men subject to like passions and like feelings as other men? Judges
and other official characters voluntarily surrender a part of the rights
they enjoyed in common with other citizens, in return for the honors and
emoluments of office; others have a right to the privilege of trial by
jury, in the decision of all charges against them; but public officers,
by accepting of office, subject themselves under this Government, to
trial by impeachment. Subjecting judges to impeachment, indicates,
unequivocally, a constitutional opinion that judges would be even more
liable to transgress than other citizens, and might transgress in a more
aggravated manner than mere citizens. This mode of trial, however, in
this country, is become almost a harmless thing; it is deprived of more
than half its terrors. It does not reach life or property, but only the
official character.

Mr. F. said he was a friend to the independence of judges, but that
all independence in all Governments had its limits and restraints. It
was not provided for the aggrandizement of the judges, but for the
protection of the citizens. So far as it is applicable to this purpose,
it is necessary, but any further, it is injurious and subjected to
restraint. Under no Government with which we are acquainted are the
judges rendered so independent as that of the United States. In Britain,
from which we have derived the mode of our judiciary, the judges were
appointed during pleasure; till, little more than a century ago,
they were rendered independent by the Revolution Parliament for the
security of the people against the encroachments of the Monarch, and
the overbearing influence of a very powerful nobility; and for this
purpose it was not only salutary, but absolutely necessary. But even with
that boasted independence, that Judiciary is subjected to restraints
and modes of correction not provided in the Federal Constitution. The
judges are liable to be removed from office by the vote of both Houses
of Parliament, without trial. They are liable to be removed, or their
standing changed by act of Parliament. That Parliament, on whose act
their independence depends, can repeal the act; the two Houses of
Parliament can make and unmake their Kings. They are also liable, by an
act of attainder, not only to lose their office, but their estate, the
honor of their families, and even their lives.

The Judiciaries in all the States of the Union are rendered less or more
independent; some are appointed for shorter and some for longer periods.
In New Jersey, they are appointed for seven years; they were so in
Pennsylvania formerly; since the revision of the constitution they are
appointed during good behavior; they are, however, subjected not only
to removal by impeachment, but also by the vote of two-thirds of each
House, for any cause which the House do not think a sufficient cause of
impeachment; but in the Federal Government there is no method provided
for removing them for the most scandalous indiscretions or incapacity,
as even when they may unfortunately be under mental derangement, except
by impeachment, which is inapplicable to official crimes, and conducted
with tedious forms. The power of impeaching being the only shield
provided by the Government for the protection of the citizens from
judicial oppression, and this House being the only constitutional organ
for obtaining information of official excesses, and bringing forward
articles of impeachment, ought not to bind up their own hands from doing
their duty, and this they will do if they reject the resolution now on
the table.

But while the gentlemen consider the character of these judges so sacred
that their conduct cannot be inquired into, notwithstanding such proofs
of want of confidence in them, and that as a gentleman near me from South
Carolina (Mr. LOWNDES) has said that he is afraid of impeachment, and
grounds his fears on the incapacity or the unfitness of the members of
this House, or because the members of this House may abuse the power;
Mr. F. asked, were not the members of this House selected and qualified
for the discharge of this necessary duty? Were they not appointed by a
respectable authority as the judges? Were they not under a solemn oath
of office for the faithful discharge of this as well as every part of
their high trust? And were they not protected by special privileges and
protection during the discharge of their trust equally with the judges,
and their stations as respectable as the judges’? They are not only
protected from civil actions, but are not subjected to impeachment for
misbehavior in office as the judges are. They are, in their official
capacity, subjected only to the censure of public opinion. If this is
true, it is improper, it is impolitic, for the members of this House to
degrade their own character: it amounts to saying they are not capable
of discharging the trust they are solemnly bound to discharge, and
ought not to have been invested with. He knew, however, that this was
only introduced as an excuse for unwillingness. But the same gentleman
adds, as a reason for opposing the resolution, that he is not acquainted
with the history of the business. That is probably the case with him
and others, especially such as had not a seat in the last session of
Congress, or who resided at a great distance from the scene alluded to in
the resolution. Admitting this to be true, the best and the only regular
way to become acquainted with the history of the case, is to carry the
resolution into effect--to have a committee appointed with such power as
would enable them to procure such information as that gentleman and every
other member could depend on. The gentleman’s objection, in fact, is one
of the strongest arguments in favor of the resolution. The gentleman
from South Carolina has, however, offered one other objection to the
resolution, which merits some notice. He has said that if a committee is
appointed for the object proposed by the resolution, men of character and
talents will not accept of appointments in the Judiciary. The solidity
of this objection will be best examined by the test of observation and
experience. It has been already mentioned that several States have
appointed their supreme judges for short periods, and that others have
vested the Legislature with the power of removing judges from office
without impeachment, merely on their own opinion. Can the gentleman
from South Carolina say--can any member on this floor, where all the
States are represented, say--that these States are deficient in judges
of respectability and talents? They cannot say so--there is no such
complaint. The Judiciary of New Jersey, where the judges are chosen but
for seven years, is as respectable, and the application of her laws as
well brought home to the security and happiness of her citizens as they
are in the States where judges are appointed for life. The same may be
asserted with confidence of the State of Pennsylvania before the revision
of her constitution, as they are since. There is this difference,
however: where they have been appointed for limited periods there have
been no impeachments or removals, and generally, if not always, the
judges were reappointed, and justice was well administered; but since
they have been appointed for good behavior, there have, at least in
Pennsylvania, been both, and more complaints of inattention, expense, and
delays, in the administration of justice than had been formerly. Many
of the judges, however, are very respectable, and enjoy a high degree
of confidence, but not more confidence than they did before the change
of the constitution. There has been no attempt to remove or impeach the
judges of the Supreme Court of that State.

To inquire into the conduct of the judges when confidence is evidently
wanting, is the only true way to secure the respectability of the
Judiciary. If that necessary confidence is withdrawn without cause,
an official inquiry will restore confidence and the usefulness of the
judges. This observation is supported by precedent and parliamentary
usage. In that country from which precedents are so frequently sought,
one precedent offers itself to recollection. In the year 1730, a
committee of the British House of Commons was appointed to examine the
jails. In the course of examination, the committee discovered that
Sir Robert Eyres, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, a judge of very
respectable character, was suspected, not of tyranny on the bench, or
of putting any man’s life in jeopardy, but of having held an improper
correspondence with a person confined for crime or misdemeanor, and this
suspicion chiefly supported by anonymous letters. A committee of the
House of Commons were appointed to make inquiry, and it was found, to the
satisfaction of the committee and of the people, that the allegations on
which the suspicion was founded were false, and the judge’s character was
vindicated and restored.

Mr. F. said this precedent applied well to the present case. If the
judges mentioned in the resolution had done their duty, their characters
would be vindicated by the inquiry, and the public confidence in their
integrity restored; if they were guilty, and not entitled to confidence,
they ought to be removed from office, and neither the one nor the other
could be done unless the inquiry proposed was authorized.

He said that the inquiry was necessary to secure the purity, honor,
and usefulness of the Judiciary Department. If that House refused
or neglected to exert the powers vested therein for securing public
confidence in the Judiciary, unprincipled men would find means of
recommending themselves to appointments, and would vitiate the streams
where justice is expected to flow, and the citizens would be oppressed
without the means or hopes of redress, and would feel the effects of
tyrannical power in the administration of a government which, in its
other departments, was the greatest and best of any in the world. Let
proper inquiries be made where they are necessary; let the character of
judges unjustly charged be vindicated, and the vicious and unworthy be
removed, and improper characters will cease to intrude themselves; their
friends will not dare to recommend, and Congress will have confidence
that the laws which they pass will be applied agreeably to their genuine
principles, to the protection and ease of the citizens; if we do not
provide for this, we had better cease to make laws.

If virtuous men are appointed and the vicious discouraged, Congress
may, from particular circumstances, be called on to make inquiries,
but very rarely indeed to be employed in impeachments, (no men of
real virtue and talents would refuse a seat on the bench for fear of
inquiry or impeachment.) He said that the judges of the Supreme Court
in the State he had the honor of representing, though they differed in
political opinions, administered justice with such purity and diligence,
that though some of them had been long in office, they enjoyed the
confidence of the citizens, were in no danger of impeachment or removal
by vote, and he believed would not shrink from inquiry if necessary.
The more extensive the confidence of the citizens that was reposed in
the Judiciary, the easier it would be to supply vacancies with men of
character and talents. He said that among several other observations
which occurred to his mind, with offering which he would not now detain
the House, he had once thought of stating other charges against the
official conduct of these judges, of which he had been well informed, but
on due reflection he declined mentioning them, and thought it most for
the public good to insist on the appointment demanded by a member on the
responsibility of his own official character, and as a matter of right,
and would do nothing that would impair the weight of the precedent that
he hoped would be set by agreeing to the resolution as it stood.

Mr. F. said that having so long engaged the attention of the House he
would conclude by observing, that as the case now stood it is proper for
all the members to vote for the resolution; those that believed as he
did, that there was a want of necessary confidence in those judges, and
that this want of confidence was occasioned by their unauthorized and
oppressive conduct, were obliged in conscience to vote for the inquiry;
and every member who believed the judges to have done their duty, and
that the public confidence is withdrawn from them without cause, are
bound in duty to vote for the resolution, in order that the judges may
have an opportunity to vindicate their character, that confidence in them
being restored they may become useful to the public; therefore, in every
light he could view it, he was convinced it was his duty to vote for the
resolution, and would act accordingly.

Mr. JACKSON.--As, Mr. Speaker, this subject is novel in its nature,
and may be important in its consequences, I presume there exists a
disposition to hear the reasoning which any gentleman may be disposed to
offer upon it. It is with this view that I rise to express my opinion
in favor of creating a committee of inquiry. I consider this House as
the grand inquest of the nation, whose duty it is to inquire, on a
proper representation, into the conduct of every official character
under the Government. Like a grand jury, we ought, in my opinion, at the
instance of any member, to send for all persons possessed of information
calculated to throw light upon the conduct of any individual inculpated.
A contrary doctrine would lead to the most unfortunate consequences.
It would lead to this, that a minority would never be able to inquire
into the conduct of a State offender, unless such inquiry were favored
by the majority. As it is now contended that the inquiry is not a
matter of right which any member may demand, but a matter of favor, to
be granted according to the pleasure of the majority, it may be said
that, if a majority favor an individual, he will always escape without
an impeachment. But I believe otherwise; and that the Senate, like a
virtuous judge, will not suffer an atom of prejudice or partiality to
fall into the scales of justice.

But, say gentlemen, though it may be the duty of the House to impeach
an officer, it is necessary that facts, warranting such an impeachment,
should be first presented. This is not the course pursued in cases where
a grand jury is called upon to act. If a murder is committed, it is their
duty to inquire, and diligently inquire, who is guilty of the act, and to
send for all persons capable of giving information respecting it. Such is
the practice. If it shall be required to furnish facts, as is urged by
gentlemen, the consequence will be that offences of the highest nature
will be committed with impunity. It has been observed that it is odious
to undertake the task of a public informer. But what the constitution
and laws make our duty, so far from being odious, is honorable; because
we thereby discharge a duty imposed upon us by our oaths, and because we
show ourselves unawed by the vicious conduct of bad men. If the character
of a public informer be odious, are we to expect that private individuals
will come forward with affidavits? In such a case, to say the least of
it, the duty would be of an unpleasant nature.

We have, in the course of this debate, been frequently called upon
for precedents, and been told, that, when found, they ought to
be adhered to. In a country from which we are accustomed to draw
precedents--England--common report has been considered as a sufficient
authority for similar inquiries. We do not, however, ask for an inquiry
in this case on common report, but on the declaration of a member of
this House, made in his place. Suppose there was no such declaration,
has not a common report, from Maine to Georgia, condemned the conduct
of the judge in the case of Fries and others, at Philadelphia, in the
case of a grand jury in Delaware, whom he directed to inquire for
seditious practices, and in the case of Callender, in Virginia? Has
not the general sentiment of the country charged him with having, in
these cases, abused his powers as a judge by tyrannizing over those who
were brought before him? If we possess the right to inquire, on common
report, surely we ought to institute this inquiry on the prevalence of
so general a sentiment. To such an inquiry I would unhesitatingly agree,
if the character of the President were implicated, the opinion of the
gentleman from Vermont to the contrary notwithstanding. I would likewise
agree to make the same inquiry in any other case; because the inquiry
would redound to the honor of the individual implicated, if innocent; and
because, if guilty, he ought to be punished.

I am sorry my friend from Pennsylvania stated any facts, as I do not
consider it necessary that the House should be acquainted with any facts
to make this inquiry; and because I think the facts, stated as grounds
of impeachment, are not such as will warrant an impeachment. I have
always understood that it was the right of a judge to expound the law,
and I have known frequent instances where the court have refused the
counsel the liberty of discussing the law on points on which they have
made up their minds. While I am free to declare that the conduct of the
court in the trial of Fries is not, in my opinion, such as to require
an impeachment, yet I am in favor of instituting the inquiry. But, say
gentlemen, by the passage of this resolution, we shall censure the judge.
I believe not. If I believed so, I would first require testimony; for I
hold it a good principle, that no man ought to be condemned until he has
been heard. In my opinion, this resolution will have no such tendency;
as, if the judge has not been guilty of misconduct, the inquiry will
redound to his honor, and as it is the duty of a virtuous man to demand
an inquiry whenever charged with an offence.

Gentlemen, in opposition to this measure, say they wish to guard against
suspicion. But suspicion has long since gone forth; has been heard and
re-echoed from every part of the Union; and the only way of defeating it,
if ill-founded, is to institute an inquiry, and if the character of the
judge be innocent, to pronounce it so. I am surprised to find gentlemen,
who profess a friendship for the character of one of the persons
implicated, opposed to this inquiry, when they believe him innocent.
I should suppose it their peculiar duty to call for the inquiry, that
the accused might have an opportunity of proving to the world that his
character has been assailed without cause.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD.--After what has passed on this floor, there can be
no doubt that the gentlemen whose characters are implicated by this
resolution will ardently desire an investigation of their conduct; and
if, on this floor, we were merely to consult our own wishes, we should
unanimously agree on an investigation. But this is not our duty; our duty
is to take on this, as well as on all other occasions, a correct course;
to take those steps only which are warranted. It is because I doubt,
after considerable deliberation, whether this course is warranted, that
I am opposed to it. What, I ask, is the nature of the resolution on the
table? It contains no charges against the judges implicated; it only
proposes to raise a committee to inquire whether their official conduct
has been such as to justify the interposition of the constitutional
power of this House. If a committee of inquiry is raised, what will be
their powers? One thing will certainly follow. They will be clothed with
a power to send for persons, and probably for papers. Is it consistent
with principle to appoint a committee, which, from its nature, must be
secret, with power to ransack the country in the first instance for
accusations against the judges, and then for proofs to support them? Is
this correct? Are gentlemen prepared to say so? to seek for accusations,
and then for proofs to support those accusations, against high officers
of the Government? For one, I believe that this course is not correct. I
believe it to be dangerous. I agree with the gentleman from Vermont, that
it operates in the nature of an inquisition. A committee will be raised
to act in secret, first to find an accusation, and next to prove it. If
there is now any accusation against the judges, let it be made; let it be
made on this floor; and, as the gentleman from New Jersey has observed,
let us ascertain, if true, whether it will be a sufficient ground for
an impeachment. This will be a correct course, and it will be the only
safe course. If, on the contrary, we proceed in the manner proposed, it
will be attended with this consequence: at the commencement of every
session we shall raise a secret committee, to compose an inquisition, to
ascertain whether there are not charges against some public officer, and
to search for proofs to justify them. Is the Government of this country
founded on this principle? I know that this secret course of procedure
is practised by the Spanish Government, and by some others, but I never
thought that it would be the practice of this Government. When a charge
is made against a public officer, it ought to be boldly made. It ought to
be made here, and should be committed to writing. Instead of this being
done, there is no charge made. The resolution contains none. It is merely
calculated to raise a secret committee. Why? Because the gentleman
from Virginia is of opinion that it is proper. Is his opinion, or the
opinion of any other gentleman, to govern this House? Are we brought to
this? I trust this is not the case. I trust that gentlemen will think it
necessary not only to consider his opinion, but to form their own. What
can gentlemen say, if they agree to this resolution? That they voted
to investigate the conduct of two judges. Why? Because the gentleman
from Virginia says it is necessary to investigate. Why investigate?
Because the gentleman demands it. This is the language of that gentleman
yesterday. Because a gentleman of this House gives his opinion of the
course proper to be pursued on this occasion, it does not follow that we
are to be governed by it. We may respect it; but we must respect our own
opinions still more, if we faithfully discharge our duty. I am sensible
that some facts have been mentioned by the gentleman from Pennsylvania,
or rather, that that gentleman has heard a story; but it is mere hearsay.

I ask, also, how this formidable charge has rested to this day? When
and where did the transaction, on which it is founded, happen? In
Philadelphia, and in the winter of the year 1800, when Congress were in
session within twenty rods of the place where the court was held. The
gentleman from Virginia, as well as other members on this floor, were
then in the House. The case being, I believe, the only one in which there
was a charge of treason, excited, in a considerable degree, the attention
of members, many of whom attended the trial. How comes it, then, that
this charge was not then made? If it shall be said the House did not
interfere at that time because the criminal was lying under sentence
of death, it will be recollected that, in 1801, Fries was pardoned.
Why was not the inquiry then made? If it shall be said that it would
have been imprudent to make it on account of the party then in power,
why was it not made in the seventh Congress, when a change of men took
place? How can gentlemen reconcile this great delay with the high regard
they profess for the purity of the streams of justice, and for justice
itself? For such is the respect they entertain for justice, that they
have determined to bring to conviction this unjust and criminal judge.
Gentlemen ought to account for this culpable neglect. It is impossible
that they should have been ignorant of the trial of this man. It was not
a sudden or a hidden thing, done in a corner; it was done in public, in
the face of the Legislature, and yet it has slept to the present day.
Under such circumstances, I submit it to the House, whether much respect
ought to be paid to the hearsay of the gentleman from Pennsylvania. The
very delay, and other circumstances attending this transaction, show
that it is not of the serious nature contended. I therefore think that,
if properly brought before the House, and suffered to rest upon proof,
it would constitute no ground for impeachment. As to the proposed
form of proceeding, if we examine precedents, we shall find that it
is not warranted by them. None mentioned compare with the case under
consideration. The precedent in the case of Lord Bolingbroke does not
compare with that. In that case the House of Commons raised a secret
committee to examine the negotiations made for a peace. The committee
was not raised to impeach Lord Bolingbroke, but to investigate the
negotiations of the Ministry; and on the disclosure of facts, which took
place on that occasion, the impeachment was grounded. Such, also, was
the case in the instance of the Western expedition. The House appointed
a committee vested with general powers to inquire into the causes of its
failure, without particular reference to the conduct of any person.

If we turn our attention to British precedents, we shall find that
a committee has never failed to investigate the official conduct of
any person contemplated to be impeached. In the case of Hastings, Mr.
Burke came forward and moved an impeachment directly. In all cases this
course has been pursued in the British House of Commons. So far as we
have precedents in this country, a similar course has been pursued. In
the instance of Governor Blount, the Executive transmitted documents
to this House, which contained, as it was supposed, evidence of his
guilt; they were referred to a committee to examine them, and also to
determine whether it was proper to print them. The committee reported
that, in their opinion, they contained evidence of his guilt, and he
was impeached. In the case of Judge Pickering, the same course has
been pursued. The Executive transmitted documents to the House which
contained, as it was supposed, proofs of misconduct, and the House
proceeded to an impeachment. These precedents confirm the principle of
those drawn from the practice of the British House of Commons. What
course is now proposed? Without any charge against the judges, without
any man saying they are guilty of any misconduct, we are about to appoint
a secret committee, to determine whether any charges can be made, and
whether any proofs to support them can be found. Although I am willing
that the conduct of these gentlemen shall be investigated, for I am sure
they must desire it, and although I have no objection to impeach them,
if gentlemen wish it, and exhibit proper proofs on which to ground it,
yet I cannot consent to pursue a course so improper as that now proposed.
For this reason I am against the resolution, not because I am hostile to
an investigation, but because I cannot consent to the appointment of a
secret committee to search, in the first instance, for an accusation, and
to look for proofs to justify it.

Mr. FINDLAY rose to explain. He said it was not the object of the House,
in their investigation of the causes of the failure of the Western
expedition, to make new arrangements, but to inquire into the conduct of
certain officers who had directed it, viz: the Secretary of War, the
Commander-in-chief, and the Commissary.

Mr. NICHOLSON said, he happened not to be in the House yesterday at the
moment when the resolution under consideration was introduced; and when
he entered he found the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. R. GRISWOLD) on
the floor, who concluded his remarks by moving a postponement. Mr. N. did
not think it then correct to offer remarks upon the main question, but as
the resolution itself was now under consideration, and the subject of no
common nature, he could not think of passing a silent vote upon it.

When he rose to-day, for a few moments, on the motion to amend, by
inserting the name of Judge Peters, he had then declared, and he now
begged leave to repeat it, that whenever any member of the House should
rise in his place and state that any officer of the Government had been
guilty of official misconduct, he had no hesitation in saying, that he
would consent to an inquiry. He cared not how exalted his station, or how
far he was raised above the rest of the community; the very circumstance
of his superior elevation would prove an additional incitement. Such, he
said, was the nature of the Government, and so important the duty in this
respect devolved upon the House of Representatives, that the conduct of
the Chief Magistrate himself, as far as his vote could effect it, should
be subjected to an inquiry whenever it was demanded by a member. The
greater responsibility, the more easy and more simple should be the means
of investigation. Were he, indeed, the friend, personal or political, of
the officer charged, and he believed that impeachment would be the result
of inquiry, it was possible that his feelings as a man might induce
him to forget his duty as a Representative, and urge him to resist the
inquiry; but, were he convinced of his innocence, he would do all in his
power to promote it, in order that he might stand justified to the nation
and to the world.

Upon the present occasion, he begged that he might not be understood to
say that the offence with which these judges were charged, was such as
would warrant an impeachment. But, while he meant not to commit himself
on a question of such high moment, he could not avoid expressing his
astonishment that the conduct stated should not only be defended upon
the floor of the House, but entirely approved; that gentlemen should
venture to declare that the court acted strictly in the line of their
duty, in refusing to hear counsel on a point of law which involved the
guilt or the innocence of the prisoner. A man was charged with the
highest offence against the Government, and, if guilty, was subject to
the severest and most ignominious punishment recognized by our laws. High
treason was the crime, and death the penalty. The constitution declared
that treason against the United States should consist only in levying
war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and
comfort. The framers of the constitution intended to be as precise as
possible in their definition of treason; they were anxious that no room
should be left for doubt afterwards. They had seen to what an infinite
variety of objects the crime of treason had been extended in England,
and wisely confined it here to the only two offences which could be said
to strike at the existence of the Government. The laws of the United
States had declared that resistance to the execution of a law should only
be considered as sedition, and had provided the punishment of fine and
imprisonment. Fries was charged with resisting the execution of a law,
and this offence the court determined to be treason, without hearing his
counsel, and refused to permit them to address the jury on the subject,
although the jury were the judges as well of the law as the fact. A
resistance to the execution of a law, they construed to be treason, in
the face of the act of Congress, which declared it to be a misdemeanor
only, punishable with fine and imprisonment. These constructive treasons,
he said, had been reprobated by the wise and good in all ages, and at a
very early period in the history of English jurisprudence had received
the pointed disapprobation of the Parliament. He adverted to what he
called a wise and humane provision in the statute of Edward III., by
which the judges were prohibited from declaring any thing to be treason
not so expressly defined by the letter of the statute. That the court had
given such an opinion, was not now, however, the point of charge against
them; that they extended the doctrine of treason beyond both the letter
and spirit of the constitution, was not now the foundation of the present
motion. The accusation was that, in a case involving the life or death of
a freeman, the party was condemned without a hearing; that he was denied
the assistance of counsel, which was secured to him by the constitution
of his country; that the right of the jury to decide both the law and the
fact was refused; for it amounted to a refusal when the court would not
permit the jury to be assisted by the arguments of counsel. He asked if
gentlemen would consider it correct in a court, upon an indictment for
murder, to prohibit the prisoner’s counsel from contending before the
jury, that the offence charged amounted to manslaughter only? Surely not.
The question, in the case of Fries was, whether the act of which he had
been guilty amounted to treason, or to a misdemeanor? and this the court
refused to suffer the jury to have an argument upon. He declared that,
in all criminal prosecutions, the jury had a clear, undoubted right to
decide, as well the law as the fact; they were not bound by the direction
of the court; and that, in capital cases, it was a right which they ought
always to exercise. But, in Fries’s case, the law was not permitted to
be brought into the view of the jury by his counsel; the court denied
to the prisoner the assistance of counsel, which was secured to him by
the constitution, and he was condemned to an ignominious death, which he
must have suffered but for the subsequent interference of the Executive.
Mr. N. said, he had thought proper to make these remarks in answer to
those gentlemen who had undertaken to pronounce the conduct of the court
to be strictly correct. Although he did not mean to commit himself by
declaring that this afforded sufficient ground for impeachment, yet he
could not avoid saying, that the refusal to hear counsel in defence of
the prisoner, did not meet his approbation.

The gentleman from Connecticut had doubted whether the present proceeding
was conformable to principle. He thought that we ought to have the proof
before we take any steps to procure it. Mr. N. begged leave to ask
how proof was to be procured before inquiry was made? In what manner
information was to be obtained before it was sought for? If a member
had stated upon oath that a judge had been guilty of improper conduct,
which would warrant an impeachment, the motion would not be, in the first
instance, to inquire, but to impeach. If information was necessary, how
was it to be procured? By sitting here, and writing for depositions to be
sent in? Surely not. If a person was in the lobby, acquainted with all
the facts, how were they to be communicated to the House? Was he to come
to the bar, and offer a voluntary affidavit, or would it be correct to
introduce him without any previous proceeding? In that case, would it not
be necessary to declare, by a prior resolution, that we would commence an
inquiry before testimony could be offered at the bar? If a member should
state that a witness was at hand who could prove official misconduct
in a judge, the correct course would be to introduce a resolution,
declaring that the House would inquire, and it could not be resisted.
What, he asked, was the proposed course? Instead of making the inquiry
in the House, it was requested that it might be made by a committee.
Instead of using our power to bring witnesses before us, it is proposed
to authorize a committee to examine them. This would be more convenient
and more proper. To bring them before the House would be attended with
inconvenience, and unnecessary delay. He could not tell what the mode of
proceeding before the House of Representatives would be, but, generally,
he believed, it was the practice for a member to propound the question to
the Speaker; the Speaker then to propound it to the witness; the answer
to be made to the Speaker, and by him reverberated back again to the
House. He asked, if the House would consent to this? If they would agree
to a course of proceedings so tedious, so procrastinating, so evidently
embarrassing? And yet this must be the course, unless that proposed was
adopted.

It was said by a gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. R. GRISWOLD,) that
we were about to appoint a committee to ransack the country for an
accusation, and afterwards to search for proof to support it. He
complains that no accusation is made. Mr. N. averred that an accusation
was made; it was made during the last session, and again repeated during
the present. He asked, if it was no charge to declare that a judge had
condemned a man to the most ignominious death, without a hearing; without
allowing him those benefits which he claimed under the constitution? Was
it a trivial circumstance for a member of this House to declare that a
freeman had been indicted for a high capital offence; that he appeared
at the bar and pleaded not guilty; that his counsel were ready to prove
the truth of the plea, but that the presiding judge had refused to hear
them? If this was not a charge, and a charge, too, of a most solemn
nature, he did not understand the meaning of the words. It was brought
forward as boldly as the gentleman from Connecticut could wish, and the
only question now was, in what manner shall we inquire into the truth of
it? Shall we appoint a committee to make the inquiry by calling witnesses
before them, or shall we dismiss it without investigation? Shall we give
it the go-by, and suffer the character of the judges to rest under an
imputation so heavy? Shall we proclaim our own dishonor, by publishing
abroad that a heavy charge had been made, in the face of this House,
against one of the highest judicial officers of the Government, and that
we were too pusillanimous to notice it?

What the gentleman meant by comparing the proposed committee to the
Spanish Inquisition, Mr. N. did not really understand. Did the gentleman
wish to make a false impression upon the public mind? Was he anxious
to cast an odium upon the proceeding by calling it an inquisitorial
committee, and affecting to believe that it was to be clothed with the
powers of the Holy Inquisition? The Inquisition had the power to seize
the person of the party, to deny him all access to his friends, to
confine him in a cell, and refuse him all assistance whatever; to stretch
him on the wheel, and rack and torture him into confession. Does the
gentleman wish to induce a belief that this committee is to be clothed
with the same powers? All committees appointed to inquire, might, to be
sure, be called Inquisitorial, because they were to make inquiry, but the
epithet of Spanish Inquisition was intended to convey an idea totally
incorrect.

The gentleman had asked why this charge had been suffered to rest so
long? The facts upon which it was made were said to have taken place in
1800. Mr. N. thought it would be fair to reply to the gentleman that,
possibly, he himself had, in some measure, accounted for the delay; the
proper time had not before arrived. But if the act upon which the charge
was grounded was criminal at that day, was it less so now? If Justice had
slept so long, did it follow that she was dead? He hoped and trusted not.
Though she had lain dormant till she was almost trampled to death, she
was again roused to her accustomed vigilance, would pursue her victims,
and drag them to punishment. The day of retribution, he hoped, was at
hand.

The gentleman from Connecticut had declared that the proposed course
was not warranted by precedent. He had noticed, but had not explained
away, the precedents introduced by the gentleman from Pennsylvania,
(Mr. FINDLAY.) His own precedent, derived from the impeachment of Mr.
Hastings, instead of being in his favor, was directly against him.

In that case it was not pretended that the proof was before the House
of Commons. Mr. Burke had derived his information from certain papers
relative to Indian affairs, which some years before had been produced and
referred to a select committee. In the year 1786, Mr. Burke rose in his
place, not as a member of that committee, and charged Warren Hastings
with high crimes and misdemeanors. About the same time he presented a
written paper containing a specification of these charges. But this was
not the impeachment. The written paper stated that as Governor General
of Bengal he had disobeyed the instructions of the court of directors;
that he had acknowledged himself perfectly acquainted with their wishes,
but instead of obeying, had used his utmost endeavors to defeat them; and
much more of an important nature. This he moved might be referred to a
Committee of the whole House, in order that an inquiry might be made; and
there was not a single dissenting voice. He did not adduce the proofs in
the first instance, but stated his opinions that Mr. Hastings’s conduct
had been criminal, and demanded an inquiry. The Commons of England did
not hesitate--they instantly resolved to inquire. No one was heard to
declare that there was no charge, because there was no proof. Witnesses
were brought to the bar and there examined by a Committee of the Whole,
in support of the charges; nor was there a motion to impeach until the
testimony was gone through. On the contrary, the facts proved were
reported by the Committee of the Whole, who likewise expressed an opinion
that Warren Hastings had been guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors,
and ought to be impeached. The impeachment therefore was not upon the
motion of Mr. Burke, but upon the report of a committee, who under the
instruction of the House had made an inquiry.

What then, Mr. N. asked, was the course now proposed? His friend from
Virginia had called the attention of the House to certain alleged
misconduct of a judge, which had been stated by a member in his place
during the last session. That statement had again been repeated in the
House yesterday, not in writing, indeed, but in language so clear and
in terms so unequivocal that none were so stupid as not to understand
it. Like Mr. Burke, he asked that a committee should be appointed to
inquire into the truth of the charge. The House of Commons had referred
the subject before them to a Committee of the Whole, and the House of
Representatives were moved to refer the subject before them to a select
committee. A select committee was proposed, because it would be more
convenient and more expeditious. If the subject might with propriety be
referred to a Committee of the Whole, with equal propriety might it be
referred to a select committee.

He had noticed this precedent, not because he thought it necessary
to cross the Atlantic for authorities, but because the gentleman had
introduced it as favoring his own doctrines. If there was already no
precedent, in his opinion the House ought to make one; but he believed
their own journals would furnish them with one. At the first session
of the seventh Congress, in a very few days after the House met, Mr.
N. said he had risen in his place, and stated that he had seen in the
public prints, during the preceding summer, charges of a serious nature
against an individual who had filled one of the highest stations under
the Government, that he had misapplied considerable sums of public money,
and was a defaulter to a very large amount. Upon this vague rumor, he had
moved that the accounts of the former Secretary of State should be laid
before the House. No gentleman then declared that it was necessary to
have proof before an inquiry took place. No one dreamt that information
as to facts was to be had, before it was sought for. Some indeed had
asked how far the motion was to extend; whether it was to embrace all the
other Secretaries of State? Others desired that the accounts from all the
departments should be called for, and finally it was determined to let
the resolution lie for a short time. In a few days after, on the 14th of
December, he modified the resolution, in conformity with the wishes of
several gentlemen, and it passed directing that “a committee should be
appointed to inquire and report, whether moneys drawn from the Treasury
had been faithfully applied to the objects for which they had been
appropriated, and whether they had been regularly accounted for,” &c. A
precedent more in point he thought could not be desired. The inquiry was
produced, not upon proof, not even upon the suggestion of a member, but
because a report as to the misapplication of public money had circulated
through the public prints of the day. He might be told perhaps that this
was an inquiry of a general nature. But general as it might be, it was
directed at the conduct of individuals, and under other circumstances
might have furnished materials for an impeachment. The gentleman from
Connecticut was a member of that committee, and Mr. N. asked him if he
would pretend to say that it was a secret committee, as he had called
that now asked for? Or was this only another attempt to impose upon the
public?

Another precedent, he thought, might be furnished from the Journal, but
he was unwilling to refer to it.

It had been said, too, that impeachments would be cheap if they were to
be made upon the suggestion of a member. It appeared to him that the
motion to inquire had been constantly mistaken for a motion to impeach.
Did gentlemen suppose that an impeachment must necessarily follow an
inquiry? It would seem as if they entertained a poor opinion of those
whose conduct was the subject of discussion. But they ought to recollect
that the impeachment could not be the act of any individual, nor of the
committee, but of the House; and this, too, after all the facts were
collected and presented, with the evidence to support them. If this
mode was not to be adopted, he did not know any other manner in which
an impeachment could be instituted, unless where the President thought
the peace of the country or the revenue were endangered, and gave
the information himself, as in the case of Governor Blount and Judge
Pickering. Nor did he think this could affect the independency of judges,
unless they were to be made independent of the laws, the constitution,
and the people.

Had it not been for the debate which had taken place on this subject, he
should have imagined that the friends to the judge would have been the
first to promote the inquiry after it was moved for. If he was innocent,
the inquiry ought to be wished for: after passing through the ordeal,
he would come out like pure gold from the crucible. If guilty, no man
ought to feel a disposition to screen him from punishment. Mr. N. could
not avoid on this occasion alluding to the recent conduct of a judge in
a neighboring State, upon whose character an imputation of the blackest
nature had been thrown by a miscreant. That judge, conscious of his own
rectitude, and disdaining to shelter himself from inquiry, demanded
an investigation of the charge, and the consequence was an entire and
honorable acquittal.

Mr. ELLIOT.--When, in the course of a late debate in this House, it was
observed that a member had advanced an anti-republican sentiment, the
supposed imputation was repelled by the remark, that the gentleman to
whom allusion had been made, had passed a political ordeal which few
had experienced, and which ought to place his character as a republican
above the reach of suspicion. I have myself suffered an ordeal of that
description, under circumstances of gloom and depression which have
fallen to the lot of but few young men of this country; and I am far
from being confident that one ordeal only will fill up the measure of
my humble fortune. A more anti-republican resolution than the one upon
your table, sir, I think I never saw. Reflection has confirmed me in
the opinion which I expressed yesterday, that it is unprecedented,
unparliamentary, and tends to the assumption, on the part of this House,
of a censorial and inquisitorial power over the Judiciary, unwarranted
by the constitution. The intention and object of the mover, however,
must have been extremely different; the motive is pure and the object
meritorious; but that honorable gentleman, with all his talents and
discernment, has, in my opinion, fallen into an error. I believe it a
sound principle, that no official measures should be taken to censure or
criminate the conduct of a public officer, until facts shall be stated
which amount to a specific and definite charge of misconduct. In the
present instance we have no written allegations, and what is the amount
of the verbal information with which we are furnished? A gentleman from
Pennsylvania has stated in his place that _he has heard_ that some one of
the judges, whose name appears in the resolution, was guilty of improper
and oppressive conduct, in the exercise of his judicial functions, on a
trial for treason some years since. And a gentleman from Virginia has
stated that he has received information which induces him to believe that
the inquiry he demands will lead to an impeachment. Is it our duty to
act upon the vague rumors of common fame, or the opinions of individual
members?

The resolution under consideration has been materially altered this
morning, and I gave my vote for the alteration, because I believed that
the misconduct of a court ought not to be attributed to a single judge.

I feel it my duty, Mr. Speaker, to remark, that the information which
is possessed by the members of this House, respecting the conduct of
those judges, is extremely contradictory. No gentleman has told us that
he possesses personal knowledge of the misconduct imputed to those
officers; and I possess information on the subject, derived soon after
the transaction, from a source which I considered as authentic, and which
produced so deep an impression upon my mind, that I should scarcely
abandon my belief of its authenticity, even from the general recollection
of persons who were present at the scene. I understand that the judges
did nothing more or less than decide a legal question in a legal manner.
They did not interdict the counsel for the prisoner from examining
a question of law, but they restricted them to what they considered
as their legal and constitutional limits. They told them that the
constitution of our country had clearly and explicitly defined the crime
of treason, and confined them to the plain field of the constitution,
inhibiting them from a resort to British authorities to prove that to be
treason which the constitution of our country had not made treason, or to
prove that what our constitution had made treason, was not recognized as
such by foreign precedents. This statement may be incorrect, and, if it
be correct, the conduct of the judges may have been improper and severe,
but it cannot justify an impeachment. And if the court went farther,
interrupted the counsel for the prisoner, informed them that it was the
province of the court to determine points of law, declared that their
opinion was fixed upon those points, and even forbade the counsel to
prolong their arguments upon them, it might still be questionable whether
the conduct of the court rendered its members liable to impeachment. A
venerable gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. FINDLAY,) who has long been
in the service of his country, has been incorrect in stating that I had
observed that I would never go into the inquiry without evidence; that
incorrectness must have been unintentional; if I used an expression of
that description, it was a _lapsus linguæ_: but I am confident that I
said, and I am certain that I intended to say, that I thought it improper
to institute the inquiry until some fact or facts should be stated as a
ground of accusation. A gentleman from Virginia (Mr. JACKSON) has told us
that common fame is sufficient ground for impeachment in Great Britain.
That gentleman has not adduced his authorities for this proposition, and,
had he adduced them, I am confident they would not have answered his
purpose, when contemplated in all their bearings, when examined with all
their qualifications. The same gentleman also observed, if I understood
him correctly, that were he satisfied that the conduct of the judges, in
the case alluded to, was legal and correct, he would still vote for the
inquiry. To me this declaration appears extraordinary. Why vote for an
inquiry when satisfied that no criminality existed?

A gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. SMILIE,) who contends that there is
no necessity for precedent in the present instance, as we are competent
to form precedents for ourselves, has yet thought proper to explore
the books for precedents, and has presented us with the result of his
labors. To guide our conduct on the present occasion, we are referred
to the case of the Earl of Strafford, over whose tomb genius and virtue
love to mourn, and will mourn in future ages! It cannot be possible
that that gentleman wishes to recommend for our imitation that flagrant
perversion of every principle of law and justice, that cruel catastrophe!
A gloomy and terrible precedent, one of the most dark and disgraceful
in the British annals, and utterly unsusceptible of application to
the principles of a Republican form of Government. The gentleman from
Maryland, (Mr. NICHOLSON,) to whom I listened with peculiar pleasure, and
who has certainly displayed ingenuity, has been equally unfortunate in
his selection of precedents, and in his application of them to the case
under consideration. He has cited cases, which, by his own statement,
militate against the principles he assumes. We are first presented
with the celebrated case of Warren Hastings. In that case, a member
rose in his place, and, after accusing Hastings of high crimes and
misdemeanors, exhibited specific charges of malconduct, in consequence
of which an inquiry was instituted. Here is a solid basis, and the very
basis which is wanting on the present occasion, upon which to erect
the superstructure of impeachment. That gentleman has also mentioned
a resolution introduced by himself in a former Congress, which was
expressed in general terms, and directed to general objects, and of
course was perfectly dissimilar to the present one.

Allusions have repeatedly been made to a remark of mine in the debate
of yesterday, that this House is the grand inquest of the nation. It
has been asked, if a grand jury were informed that a murder has been
committed, would they not send for evidence to ascertain the fact? We
are the grand inquest of the nation, and our practice ought, in many
respects, to be analogous to that of grand juries; but in becoming
that inquest, we do not entirely lose our deliberative and legislative
character. I believe it would be descending from the dignity of our
station, to listen to the murmurs of general rumor, and seek for guilt.
I have heard that one of the judges whom we are called upon to censure,
when in the exercise of his judicial functions, inquired of a jury, “Is
there no sedition here? Are there no seditious newspapers within your
jurisdiction?” I am ignorant whether this report be or be not founded on
fact. But if it be true, let me ask, shall we not pursue a similar course
by adopting the present resolution? Shall we not authorize a committee
to inquire, Is there no judicial guilt abroad in our land? Is there no
latent inquiry in some unexplored corner of our country? A grand jury
is sworn diligently to inquire, and true presentment make, of all such
offences against the laws of the land, as shall come to their knowledge.
Have we taken such an oath? Are we under such obligations? And are we not
about to attach to ourselves that character which gentlemen tell us is so
odious, the character of common informers? I am under no fears that the
stream of justice, which ought to be so pure, will become turbid, from
a want of accusers, when our judges shall be guilty of crimes. When our
courts shall become corrupt and despotic, patriotic motives will induce
our citizens to bring forward accusations. I am also sensible of the
propriety and force of the observation of the gentleman from Connecticut,
(Mr. R. GRISWOLD,) that the trial in question was a transaction of great
publicity, and all its circumstances must have been known to thousands of
our citizens. This induces me to believe that the conduct of the court
was not so oppressive and despotic as is now represented. Why has this
awful charge slumbered so long?

One or two remarks upon the allusions that have been made to my
observation, that we are about to assume censorial and inquisitorial
powers, and I will dismiss the subject. What is the language of the
resolution? Without the allegation of a single fact, it constitutes
a committee to inquire whether the judges have not so acted in their
official capacity as to render necessary the interposition of the
constitutional powers of this House. The expression is unequivocal;
the allusion to the power of impeachment is perfectly obvious. This is
what is called a _petitio principii_; it takes for granted, at least
in some degree, what remains to be proved, that the conduct of the
judges has been improper and illegal. Else why adopt a language which
implies suspicion and censure? But gentlemen are alarmed at the epithet
inquisitorial, and imagination teems with the horrors of the Spanish
Inquisition. If the creation of this committee be an unauthorized act, if
in creating it we transcend those limits which we ought, by a reasonable
construction of the constitution, to set to our own powers, it instantly
becomes inquisitorial in its nature and in its operation. We must
delegate to it more than general powers. We must authorize it to send for
persons, and probably for papers and records. The proposition is hostile
to republican principles, and, as a republican, I cannot give my vote in
its favor.

Mr. HOLLAND.--When I before addressed the House on this subject, I had no
doubt of the charge being sufficiently explicit to found an inquiry into
the conduct of the judges. My only doubt was whether it was proper to
proceed without affidavit. Since yesterday I have reflected on the course
pursued in similar cases; and I will state to the House the proceedings
adopted in two or three cases in the Legislature of which I was a member.
In the year 1796, a charge was preferred against certain judges of the
State of North Carolina for illegally extending their power. A committee
was appointed to inquire into their conduct, and the result was, that the
judges had exiled certain persons from the State. The proceedings did not
go so far as an impeachment; for the judges wrote an explanatory letter,
which gave satisfaction, and they were acquitted with honor. The other
charge, to which I have alluded, was against the board of army accounts;
that also was referred to a committee. The last case is the most recent.
A suspicion existed that the Secretary of State had been guilty of
misconduct. A letter had been received by the Governor from some citizens
to that effect; in consequence of which, and of other corroborating
circumstances, the Legislature appointed a committee of inquiry, of which
I had the honor to be a member. That committee was empowered to send for
persons and papers. There was no specific charge, but an impeachment was
contemplated, if the officer should appear to be guilty. The Secretary
was brought before the committee, who examined him on oath, and reported
the existence of frauds much more extensive than had been imagined; in
consequence of which the land office was shut up, and the Secretary
notified that articles of impeachment would be exhibited against him.
But the late period of the session not then admitting of a trial, it was
postponed to the next General Assembly. At the succeeding Assembly the
officer resigned, and superseded the necessity of an impeachment. He
was afterwards indicted at common law. These precedents, drawn from the
proceedings of the Legislature of the State which I have the honor to
represent, induce me to think that the course proposed is proper; and I
shall, accordingly, vote for the appointment of a committee of inquiry.

Mr. DENNIS said, he did not rise for the purpose of entering into an
investigation of the merits of the question, but principally for the
purpose of stating, in a few words, what appeared to be the difference
between the friends and the opponents of the resolution. He had never
experienced, on any occasion, a stronger conflict between inclination
and duty than in the present instance. On the one hand, he was confident
that, after the official conduct of the judges had been thus publicly
implicated, it must be desirable to them that an investigation of the
facts charged against them should take place, and it seemed to be a
duty due to those gentlemen, that they should have an opportunity of
being confronted with their accusers. On the other hand, we owe to the
laws and constitution, as well as to those considerations which must
always govern in the establishment of important precedents, a paramount
duty, which appeared in this case irreconcilable with the indulgence of
individual considerations. The true difference between the advocates and
the opponents of the resolution appeared to be this: That the one thought
it a proper procedure to raise an inquisitorial committee, without any
definite or assignable object, and without stating in the resolution any
specific charge. The other did not demand, as it had been supposed, the
production of all the evidence in the outset of the proceeding, which
might be necessary in the ulterior stages of the transaction, nor that
precise and technical specification of the charges which might be proper
in articles of impeachment, but only required that some fact should be
stated, or charge alleged, as the basis on which to erect a committee. He
believed, to create a committee by resolution, with general inquisitorial
powers, without specifying any charge, or stating any reason in the
resolution for the proceeding, was without precedent, and might become an
engine of oppression. In order to satisfy the friends of the resolution
on that, he did not wish to avoid that investigation which might be
founded on proper principles, and which he believed, after what has been
said, is rather courted than avoided by the judges in question. He would
beg leave to read, in his place, the form of a resolution, such as he
supposed ought to be the groundwork of a procedure like this:

    “Whereas information hath been given to the House, by one of
    its members, that in a certain prosecution for treason, on
    the part of the United States, against a certain John Fries,
    pending in the circuit court of the United States, in the State
    of Pennsylvania, Samuel Chase, one of the associate justices
    of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Richard Peters,
    district judge for the district of Pennsylvania, by whom the
    said circuit court was then holden, did inform the counsel
    for the prisoner that, as the court had formed their opinion
    upon the point of law, and would direct the jury thereupon,
    the counsel for the prisoner must confine themselves to the
    question of the fact only. And whereas, it is represented that,
    in consequence of such determination of the court, the counsel
    did refuse to address the jury on the question of fact, and
    the said John Fries was found guilty of treason, and sentenced
    by the court to the punishment in such case, by the laws of the
    United States, provided, and was pardoned by the President of
    the United States.”

He said he read this by way of argument, to show that the present
resolution ought to be rejected, and though he would not offer it
himself, in case the resolution before them should be rejected, yet
he would pledge himself to vote for such a one, if the gentleman from
Virginia or any other member would offer it. The resolution which
has been read, embraces all the facts stated by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania, which contains the only charge that has been exhibited. But
if any gentleman possesses a knowledge of any other facts or charges, let
him specify them, and he would be willing to vote for an extension of the
powers of the committee to them also; for he did not wish to confine the
inquiry to the specific charge stated by the gentleman from Pennsylvania,
if other gentlemen had charges to exhibit, and would state them in the
resolution. If they would specify a charge or charges of a serious
nature, and give us any reason to believe them true, although originating
from hearsay evidence, he would vote for the inquiry proposed; and he
begged that he should be understood as objecting rather on the ground
that no charge had been specified, than on the ground of incompetent
evidence. The vague charges verbally communicated by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania, and none of which are reduced to writing, give no grounds
of procedure; not only because, if true, they constitute no cause for
impeachment, but because they are not specified in the resolution.

The motion was then further amended to read as follows:

    _Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the
    official conduct of Samuel Chase, one of the associate justices
    of the Supreme Court of the United States, and of Richard
    Peters, district judge of the district of Pennsylvania, and to
    report their opinion whether the said Samuel Chase and Richard
    Peters, or either of them, have so acted, in their judicial
    capacity, as to require the interposition of the constitutional
    power of this House.

Mr. SPEAKER stated the question, that the House do agree to the
said motion, as so amended, when an adjournment was called for and
carried--yeas 61, nays 43.


SATURDAY, January 7.

Mr. NICHOLSON, from the committee appointed on the memorial of Alexander
Moultrie, agent for the South Carolina Yazoo Company, and of William
Cowan, agent of the Virginia Yazoo Company, made a report, going
considerably into detail, and concluding with a resolution adverse to the
prayer of the memorialist. Referred to a Committee of the Whole on Monday.


_Official Conduct of Judge Chase._

The House resumed the consideration of the question depending yesterday,
at the time of adjournment, “that the House do agree to the motion of
the fifth instant, as amended by the House, for the appointment of a
committee to inquire into the official conduct of Samuel Chase, one of
the associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, and of
Richard Peters, district judge of the district of Pennsylvania.”

Mr. J. RANDOLPH expressed his regret that the attempt which he had
made yesterday to reply to the very personal allusions of a gentleman
from Connecticut, (Mr. GRISWOLD,) whom he was sorry not to see in his
place, had, by the adjournment, proved abortive. Such was his regard
for the opinions of the House, that he should always, when called upon
from a respectable quarter, justify any conduct which he deemed it
proper to pursue in its deliberations. He felt it due to the respect in
which he held the Chair and those around it, to reply to the remarks
of the gentleman from Connecticut, and this consideration alone could
have induced him to offer any thing in addition to what he had already
advanced in favor of the motion. He should otherwise have left the
resolution to its fate. In that fate he did not feel himself personally
implicated. If it should be rejected, he would be satisfied in having
done his duty, and the House, he supposed, would feel equally satisfied
in having discharged theirs. It was asked, where was the mover of this
resolution at the time when the alleged misconduct took place? Did it
not, said the gentleman, pass under their own eyes? Were not their
deliberations held on the very spot? and why had the motion slept until
this day? He hoped he should be permitted to say that it did not pass
under his eyes; although he knew, at the time of the condemnation in
question, he did not become acquainted with the circumstances under
which it took place until long after their occurrence. It was true that
the deliberations of Congress were then held in Philadelphia, the scene
of this alleged iniquity, but, with other members he was employed in
discharging his duties to his constituents, not in witnessing, in any
court, the triumph of his principles. He could not have been so employed.
It would be recollected, that the information given by the gentleman
from Pennsylvania formed the groundwork of his proceedings, and he asked
whether it was more the duty of the mover of the resolution to have
brought it forward than every other member of the House who was a witness
of the statement made by that gentleman? This information, of an official
nature, given by a member in his place, of a transaction in open court,
and which it was the duty of them all to have noticed, had been called
a story related on hearsay; a rumor of an affair which had happened in
a corner; and the House was asked if they would take such evidence as
ground of proceeding, on the _dictum_ of any one member, however great
their confidence in him might be? If he really felt that respect for
the House which the gentleman from Connecticut had professed, he would
not have insulted their understandings by such language. He would not
have stood up, as _amicus curiæ_, to prevent their being precipitated
into absurdity and injustice by an influential member of their body.
That, however, was the station which the gentleman had assumed, and
he hoped the duties of it would be discharged with the fidelity which
they required. After clothing himself with this character, Mr. R. said
he expected to have seen him at his post--he regretted that he did
not see him there, and that his duty did not permit him to withhold
the observations which he was compelled to make. Whilst, however, the
gentleman was engaged in discharging the new and important function
with which he stood self-invested, he seemed cautious of replying to
the masterly statement of his venerable friend from Pennsylvania, and
which he believed had remained unanswered because it was unanswerable.
It must, said Mr. R., be a subject of high gratification to us all,
and I congratulate this House upon it, that age has not yet dimmed the
lustre of those talents which have so long presided in the councils
of this country. And if the time shall come when we are to resign our
understandings, and place ourselves under the direction of an individual,
I hope to be permitted to range myself under the banners of that tried
patriot, and not under those of the gentleman from Connecticut. In the
same spirit with which he challenged the confidence of the House, as a
friend unwilling to see them led into error and absurdity, that gentleman
had endeavored to alarm their pride by representing the motion as a
demand made upon them. It was so. It was (if he might so express it)
a writ of right, not of favor--and as such he demanded it, as such he
urged it. But an objection was taken that no act of misconduct had been
alleged. With his friend from Maryland he would say, that a fact of the
first importance had been adduced, on which he was sorry his friend had
not dwelled longer. It could not receive too much attention. On a trial
for life and death, the jury, who were the constitutional judges both
of the law and fact, were deprived of the right of a discussion of the
point of law, “what constitutes treason?” The rights of the jury and
of the accused were equally invaded. It was conduct not dissimilar to
this, in a case of libel, which drew forth from the English Parliament
the famous declaratory bill of Mr. Fox. Lord Mansfield had laid down the
doctrine that the jury had a right to decide only upon the bare facts
of printing and publishing, and not upon the question of guilt, which
was compounded of the law and the fact. This produced the declaratory
act which passed a strong censure on the practices of courts--since
it did not amend or alter the law, but declared what the law was--and
established the point resisted by the court, that the jury was the judge
both of the fact and of the law. If, then, on a question of criminal
law, where the punishment was only fine and imprisonment, the conduct of
a judge was deemed highly reprehensible in encroaching upon the rights
of the jury, what shall we say of him who usurps those rights in a case
of life and death, in a case of treason? This denial to the prisoner and
the jury of the right of having the point of law discussed, seemed to be
the first step towards assuming those powers in cases of treason, the
exercise of which, in cases of libel, had drawn down upon the English
courts the censure of their Parliament. Would the gentleman say this was
nothing? Would he affirm that if a man were under trial for murder, the
court would be justified in saying to his counsel, You may, if you can,
disprove the fact with which the prisoner stands charged, but you shall
not endeavor to show that it does not amount to the crime with which he
stands charged? If you admit the killing, you shall not argue the point
that such killing does not constitute murder. Would the gentleman contend
that treason is better defined than murder? What is murder? Killing with
malice aforethought; can any definition be clearer? What is burglary?
Breaking in during the night. What is treason? The constitution defines
it as levying war against the United States; adhering to their enemies;
giving them aid and comfort. But what had definitions to do with the
case? Because murder was defined, had counsel ever been stopped in an
attempt to show that the killing with which their client stood charged
was not a killing with prepensive malice, a killing which constituted
murder? What was more common than to see the facts admitted, and the
crime not only denied, but disproved to the satisfaction of the jury;
and upon what principle shall counsel be arrested in the attempt to show
that the facts charged in an indictment for treason do not amount to
such a levying of war, or an adherence or aid to such enemies as would
constitute treason? Mr. R. said that the fact mentioned by the gentleman
from Pennsylvania was of a remarkable nature. He had never heard of a
similar proceeding, and he rejoiced that another instance of so black a
nature could not probably be furnished by any tribunal in this country.

The gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. DENNIS,) however, had entirely
abandoned the ground taken by his friend. He agrees that there is a
charge of an important nature exhibited, and if it was incorporated into
the resolution, and the inquiry confined to that subject only, he would
vote for it. The object of the one gentleman was only to confine the
inquiry, whilst that of his friend was to deny it altogether. He could
not thank the gentleman for his liberality. He would have what he asked
or nothing. He would never consent to confine the inquiry; if it could
not be full and free, let it be denied.

The gentleman from Maryland had, with very little dexterity, endeavored
to confound the resolution of inquiry with the articles of impeachment
which may follow from it, and said that if the House would consent to
confine the inquiry to any particular charge he would vote for it. It
was true that after articles of impeachment should have been exhibited
against the accused, the House would not be permitted to prefer any
new accusation, or to adduce testimony to prove any guilt other than
that which was charged in those articles. In the same manner as when
a criminal was indicted, evidence would not be suffered to be brought
forward to prove any act of criminality not contained in some one of the
counts of the indictment. But would gentlemen persist in confounding
things so entirely different, as to confine an incipient inquiry by the
same rigid rules which would govern a criminal trial? It was trifling
with the judgment of the House. The gentleman was eager for inquiring,
but the charge must be incorporated into the resolution, and the inquiry
confined to a specific point, before he could be brought to consent
to it. Whatever other misdemeanors might come to the knowledge of the
committee in the course of the investigation, he would not agree to have
them reported to the House. And at the same time he told them of the
struggle between his inclination and his sense of duty--his inclination
as a friend of the accused to grant the inquiry, his duty as a member of
the House and a friend of justice to refuse it. Mr. R. was sorry to find
the gentleman in this awkward predicament; he regretted that it was out
of his power to gratify him by narrowing the inquiry. This his duty would
not suffer him to do. He hoped, however, the strength of the gentleman’s
constitution would carry him through the arduous struggle in which he was
involved, by his wishes on the one hand, and his principles on the other.

Whilst so much was said on the subject of precedent, he hoped he might
offer a few cases to their consideration. He did not come to the House
armed with precedents. Neither his health nor leisure permitted him to
search for them. Gentlemen of greater industry, and who attached more
importance to them than himself, had furnished him with them. For his
part he thought precedents had nothing to do with the case, but for the
sake of those who thought differently, he would show the course which he
advocated was not destitute even of their support. Here Mr. R. referred
to Mr. Hatsell’s precedents. “On the 21st of April, 1626, Mr. Glanvylee,
from the select committee appointed to consider of the charges against
the Duke of Buckingham, reports that they desire the House will resolve
whether common fame is a ground for this House to proceed upon?” It is
resolved to consider this the next day. After a long debate the House
resolve that, “common fame is good ground of proceeding of this House,
either to inquire of here, or to transmit the complaint, if the House
find cause, to the King or Lords.”

Mr. R. begged to call the attention of the House to the opinion of a
gentleman, delivered during the debate, to which he must be permitted to
attach more importance than to that of the gentleman from Connecticut.
When he mentioned the name of Selden, he believed he should stand
justified in the opinion of the gentleman himself, and in that of his
warmest admirers. “These cases (said Mr. Selden) are to be ruled by the
law of Parliament and not by the common or civil law.” Mr. Littleton
says, “this is not a House for definitive judgment, but for information,
denunciation, or presentment, for which common fame is sufficient.”
Mr. Noy says, “There are two questions--first, Whether a common fame?
Second, Whether this fame be true? We will not transmit without the first
inquiry: but without the second we may; for peradventure we cannot come
by the witnesses; as if the witnesses be in the Lords’ House.”

Again, on the 16th October, 1667, the House being informed “that there
have been some innovations of late in the trials of men for their lives
and deaths, and in some particular cases restraints have been put upon
juries, the matter is referred to a committee.” This case (Mr. R. said)
was precisely in point. “On the 18th of November, this committee are
empowered ‘to receive information against the Lord Chief Justice Keeling,
for any other misdemeanors besides those concerning juries.’” Thus on a
particular fact, innovation in trials for life and death, a committee was
raised, and yet they were not confined to the examination of that single
charge, but empowered to inquire generally into the misconduct of the
judge. A stronger or more pointed precedent could not be conceived.

By the constitution, Mr. Randolph said, that House was vested with the
sole power of impeachment. How this power was to be exercised must
depend on their discretion, and on no other law or principle whatever:
for “these cases are not to be ruled by the common or civil law, but by
the law of Parliament.” That law of Parliament it remained with them
to establish. It could not be matter of surprise that he, one of the
leading principles of whose politics it was to support the weight of that
branch of the Government, and to be jealous of executive influence--it
could not surprise any one, that he should exert himself in behalf of
the constitutional rights of that House. When he saw the importance
which was attached to precedent, he was more than ever solicitous for
that which they were then about to establish. He trusted that they
would not consent to abridge the power with which the constitution had
invested them--to reduce it below the standard which the English House
of Commons had fixed as the measure of their own power in similar cases.
A time might come when a wicked President and his flagitious ministers
might so conduct themselves in office, as to make every man regret the
proceedings of that day, in case they should suffer their power to sleep.
The refusing to exercise it, then, would hereafter be adduced as a denial
of its existence. Such might be the circumstances of the times, that no
private man would dare to step forward with a specific charge against the
Executive. If they should deny an inquiry without a specific charge, they
would do all in their power to screen such a President and such ministers
at a future day. It had been remarked that, in this government, an
officer found guilty, on an impeachment, could not be punished capitally.
The sentence could only remove him from office, and disqualify him, for
ever after, from holding one under the United States. If, in a country
where the accused may be brought to the block, free, unfettered inquiry
is warranted against any rank however exalted--would it be denied here,
where the punishment was comparatively light? Should they hold the other
departments of the Government more inviolable than they were considered
even in England? Would they afford to a criminal, Executive or Judiciary,
a shelter denied by the law of that government? He hoped they would not.
He trusted that they would give an example of their readiness to bring
every offender to justice, however great might be his station.

Mr. GRIFFIN.--I had hoped that no subject would have been agitated during
this session which should have interrupted the tranquillity or disturbed
the harmony of this House, so necessary to the faithful and correct
discharge of our public duties; but, sir, I perceive, from the turn which
the debate upon the resolution now before the House has taken, that
sensations have been excited which I fear it will be difficult to allay.

The proposition now before the House, nursed with so much secrecy, and
forced on us so suddenly and unexpectedly, comes in such a questionable
shape, that I must beg the attention of the House for a few moments while
“I speak to it.”

What, sir, does the resolution demand of us? That a committee be
appointed to inquire into the official conduct of Samuel Chase and
Richard Peters, &c. But how is this inquiry to be conducted? Are there
any data by which the committee are to be guided? Is there any specific
charge to which their attention or inquiries are to be directed? None.
And who, sir, before this enlightened day ever heard of a committee of
inquiry being raised, without possession of a single subject to direct or
guide the inquiry? What, sir, erect an inquiring committee vested with
all the rights of a Star Chamber, and yet assign them no specific objects
of their duty! But, sir, the official conduct of these judges has given
offence--and are we now, sir, to probe and search the whole judicial
lives of these gentlemen, for causes of complaint and censure? Are the
records of the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania now to be ransacked,
for evidences of their guilt and cause of impeachment? I never have and
never shall deny the right of this House to inquire into the conduct of
public officers--but, sir, if the honorable mover of the resolution is
serious----

[Here Mr. RANDOLPH interrupted, and desired the gentleman to explain his
meaning by the word serious.]

Mr. GRIFFIN continued. I will answer the gentleman: my meaning is, that
if the gentleman believes there are just grounds for impeachment--if
he is in possession of information or facts, let him declare them,
and if they appear to my mind to be sufficient whereon to ground an
impeachment, let him demand it and I will join with him. Let him specify
the instances of malfeasance of which these judges have been guilty, and
I will unite with him--let him declare the malconduct of these public
functionaries, and I will cordially co-operate with him. If these judges
have travelled beyond the line of their duty, if they have wantonly
exceeded the limits of their power, I will aid in the infliction of such
punishment as they may merit; but, sir, I cannot, I will not, in this
indirect manner, wound the feelings or censure the characters of men,
holding high responsible offices under your Government. Could I induce
myself to believe that the course now proposed to be pursued is correct,
I will gladly give it my assent; but for reasons very different from
those the advocates of this measure adduce: could I deem it correct, I
would support the resolution because I believe the characters implicated
therein will safely pass the ordeal preparing for them, and that the
inquiry will redound to their honor. I would cheerfully support the
resolution, because, by the impeachment which I predict will follow,
an opportunity will be offered to remove the load of unmerited calumny
under which the Federal Judiciary of the United States have too long
labored, and with which our public prints have been long filled. But the
course is incorrect--the measure in its present shape appears to me to
be fraught with incalculable mischief to our country, and I never will
assist in the establishment of a precedent which may at some future day
be made an engine of persecution, as “wicked as intolerant.” Mr. Speaker,
let me ask of you, sir, to remember the consequences which may flow from
the adoption of this resolution--let me conjure this House to reflect
upon the dreadful effects which must arise to us, if, upon the bare
assertion of a single gentleman, unsupported by any direct allegation,
a committee of this nature shall be raised, a precedent of this kind
established, what public character will be safe? nay, sir, how soon may
not we ourselves feel its baneful influence? Far be it from me, sir, to
impute to the honorable mover of the resolution any impurity of motives.
I believe his conduct has proceeded from a consciousness of duty, and
from a similar consciousness of duty I must oppose the measure. I cannot
deny the power of this House to adopt the resolution upon your table, but
I beg of you to pause ere you take the fatal step, and do not, because
“dressed with a little brief authority, play such fantastic tricks before
high heaven as make e’en angels weep.”

Sir, I have endeavored to discharge what I conceived to be my duty upon
this occasion, and when experience shall fatally convince us of the
dreadful effects of the precedent we are now about to establish, I shall
derive consolation from the reflection, that I lent my feeble aid to
check the overwhelming torrent.

Mr. EUSTIS said, he did not view this subject in the same light with the
gentleman last up; he did not see those awful consequences which he had
pointed out. He hoped the time would never come, when an inquiry into the
conduct of an officer of the Government should be deemed a subject of
alarm in that House. It was the first principle of the constitution, that
every man was amenable to the constitution and laws of his country; and
however elevated any one might be, that he could not be raised above the
reach of inquiry. The observations of the gentleman who had last spoken,
and of others who had preceded him, were predicated on a principle that
was not correct. If the resolution on the table was to impeach the judge,
those observations would be relevant, but they were incorrect on the
preliminary motion to inquire.

In making up, said Mr. E., my judgment on this subject, I have endeavored
altogether to avoid the inquiry, whether the officer implicated in this
resolution, has so conducted himself as to require impeachment by this
House. I have not accepted the opinion of the mover of the resolution,
and I have excluded all the other information adduced in the debate;
because I consider it as alone applicable to the question of impeachment,
which is not now before the House. The question before the House is a
very different one, and, in my opinion, it is plain and simple. What
is it? It is that a committee be raised to inquire into the official
conduct of a certain public officer. When a member of this House, under
the obligations of honor, and the additional obligations of an oath,
rises and takes upon himself the responsibility of moving an inquiry into
the official conduct of a public officer, which can only be effected in
virtue of the impeaching power of this House, which power it exclusively
possesses, I view the request for an inquiry in the nature of an
information laid before the House as the grand inquest of the nation.

When this proposition was made, the mind of every gentleman was naturally
cast about for the situation of the officers in question. If it shall be
the opinion of the House that their conduct is such as to afford grounds
for an impeachment, it will be granted that it is an indispensable duty
to make the inquiry. If, on the other hand, the House are of opinion that
no testimony can be produced which will lead to an impeachment, then it
is due to the officers to institute an inquiry. The object of an inquiry
is two-fold--arising from the duty to the people, and that due to the
officer whose conduct is impeached. If gentlemen are of opinion that, in
this case, there are no grounds for impeachment, then it is clear that
the conduct and character of the officer ought to be vindicated, and
the inquiry instituted to afford him the means. If they are of opinion
that there are grounds for an impeachment, then the duty they owe to the
people urges them to the inquiry. In the constitution I find no excuse,
no justification, on which to ground a refusal to institute an inquiry
into the conduct of any public officer charged with misbehavior.

To such an inquiry, what is objected? That the power may be abused.
Indeed, the objection is, that it is abused in this instance. How abused?
To argue from abuse of the power against the use of it, is no argument at
all. If the House believe either alternative I have mentioned, and one
or the other you must believe, it is their duty to make the inquiry. But
it is said that the committee are to be clothed with power to send for
persons and papers. Granted. That power is indispensably necessary. It is
said their powers are to be inquisitorial. This is not true. Will not the
committee be accessible by every member of the House, and what are their
ulterior powers but to collect facts, and to express an opinion whether
they afford grounds for an impeachment? That opinion they will eventually
submit to the House, and, without its approbation, it will be settled.

It is further said that no specific charge is adduced, and if there
were, gentlemen say they would vote for the inquiry. But if a specific
charge were made, I ask if any member would be enabled to give a more
enlightened vote than on the present resolution? I consider the general
power to inquire as most important, and that it is the duty of the House,
on such occasions as the present, to enlarge rather than to narrow the
field of inquiry.

It is further said that this course of proceeding will discourage
respectable men from accepting the offices of Government. But certainly
every officer, from the President to the most menial, knows that he holds
his office subject to inquiry, to impeachment, and to punishment, in case
of criminality.

If the House do not pursue the present course, from what quarter are
they to expect the origination of an inquiry? Is it to be supposed that
it will come from the citizen, when his life and fortune are probably
at the disposal of particular officers charged with misconduct. This
line of inquiry ought, in my opinion, to be courted and encouraged; more
especially in this instance, after the course which the debate has taken,
and after specific charges have been adduced. The debate has given an
importance to the inquiry, which its original merits may not, perhaps,
have entitled it to.

When this subject was first introduced, it appeared to me novel, and
that there were no precedents in point under the Federal Government. It
is time that this precedent should be established. It is time that every
officer should know that this House is ready at any time to inquire
into his official conduct, if charged with misbehavior; and instead of
declining the inquiry, in this instance, from a false delicacy to the
officer, it becomes the House to embrace the resolution and make the
inquiry. If evidence shall be collected, and it appears that there are
no grounds for impeachment, the officer will be restored to the public
confidence, and will be acquitted. If, on the other hand, it appears
that he has been guilty of malfeasance in office, a duty will be imposed
upon the House, from which they cannot recede, to bring him to trial.

Mr. THATCHER.--As gentlemen seem to consider the decision of the court
in the trial of Fries as unprecedented, I beg leave to refer them to
the cases of the United States _versus_ Vigol, and the same _versus_
Mitchell, 2 Dallas’s Reports, 346 to 357. They will find that the
decision of the court, in the case of Fries, was exactly conformable to
cases adjudged in 1795. Without troubling the House with the whole of
those cases, I beg leave to read the decision of the court in the last
case. “The charge of the court, says the reporter, was delivered to the
jury in substance as follows. Patterson justice. ‘The first question
to be considered is, what was the general object of the insurrection?
If its object was to suppress the excise offices, and to prevent the
execution of an act of Congress, by force and intimidation, the offence,
in legal estimation, is high treason: it is a usurpation of the authority
of Government; it is high treason by levying of war.’” The decision,
sir, is also conformable to the English authorities. The charge then
against Judge Chase and Judge Peters, after divesting it of the coloring
which imagination has given it, amounts to this--that, in the trial of
Fries for treason, the court prevented the counsel from arguing to the
jury against a point of law long settled by that and other courts of
the United States. I have attended closely to the statement made by the
gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. SMILIE,) and I believe I am correct.

The very point which the counsel of Fries would have argued to the jury,
was that which had long before been settled by the courts of the United
States. I contend, sir, that this court did no more than they had a right
to do--no more than is practised by every well regulated court. They
prevented counsel from arguing law in the face of the authorities, and of
the opinion of the court. That this is usual, I appeal to gentlemen of
the law who are present. This, sir, is the only fact stated to the House
upon which the motion is founded.

The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. RANDOLPH) has said, that he has been
informed of facts, which convince him that an inquiry ought to be made.
But that gentleman has not stated to the House what those facts are.

It has been contended, that where a member of this House shall state
that he is convinced that an inquiry ought to be made, the House ought
to institute such an inquiry. Precedents have been adduced to prove
that this has been done in the British Parliament. There certainly has
been no case cited where an inquiry has been commenced upon the motion
without stating his facts or his evidence. But whatever may have been the
practice in England I can never consent to vote upon any impressions or
convictions but my own.

If the official conduct of the judges upon the trial of Fries was such
as to require the interposition of this House why, (as the gentleman
from Connecticut, Mr. GRISWOLD, has asked,) why was not this inquiry
sooner announced? This trial, I am told, was in February, 1800. It took
place within the hearing of Congress. It was the subject of universal
attention. Why has it slept four years? Upon what ground shall we invest
a committee with power to ransack the country for charges against our
judges? Shall we, upon the motion of a member--shall we, upon the
statement of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. SMILIE,) commence
an inquiry, troublesome and expensive--an inquiry, which must attach
suspicion to the official conduct of the judges? Sir, I respect the
conduct of the gentlemen who attempt to remove obstructions from the
stream of justice, but I must be convinced that obstructions now exist,
before I can vote for this resolution.

Mr. EARLY.--Like other gentlemen who have gone before me in this
discussion, I do not consider myself at liberty to vote against the
resolution on the table. Like them, I deem myself bound to vote for an
inquiry into the conduct of any public officer, when that inquiry is
demanded by a member of this House. After the view taken of the merits
of this measure by the gentlemen from Pennsylvania and Virginia, I did
expect that all further opposition to it would have ceased. In this
expectation I have been disappointed.

I feel constrained to vote in favor of this resolution, because I
believe that the inquiry it contemplates is an act of justice due to
the people of the United States on one hand, and to the characters of
the individuals charged, on the other. A charge of high crimes and
misdemeanors has been made on this floor against two individuals, and
two members of this House have demanded an inquiry into their official
conduct. To this demand may be added the weight of public opinion. I am
apprized of the delicacy of this ground, and when I resort to it, it is
my wish to be understood as meaning that when charges of a high nature
are instituted and reiterated from one end of the Union to the other,
so as to create a general belief, so as to destroy confidence in the
principle and integrity of those who administer justice, and to beget
a suspicion that justice cannot be obtained equally by all men; under
such circumstances the public voice demands an inquiry into the truth of
the charges. Is this a fact, or is it not, in relation to the officers
implicated in this resolution? I presume that it is the fact to a great
extent will not be denied. Every gentleman on this floor, in the habit
of reading the public prints, must have had so forcible an impression
made on his mind on this subject, as not to have lost a recollection of
the conduct charged upon one of the judges named in this resolution, in
the case of Fries, Cooper, and Callender. I cannot, therefore, refuse my
assent to the inquiry, because I believe it due to the public, as well
as to the individuals charged with the improper conduct, and who, if
they were on the spot, would undoubtedly memorialize us for an inquiry.
Indeed one of the officers referred to in the resolution, if conscious
of his innocence, ought, in my opinion, long since, to have demanded
an inquiry into his official conduct, when he witnessed the strong and
numerous charges against him in the public prints from one end of the
continent to the other.

It is objected to this resolution that no proof has been adduced to
the House of the truth of the allegations preferred. In my mind there
is all the difference that can be imagined between an inquiry and
an impeachment; and almost all the arguments urged on this occasion
apply exclusively to an impeachment. A strong proof of this has been
given by the gentleman who has just sat down. That gentleman (Mr. R.
GRISWOLD) has taken this remarkable ground, that this House ought not to
inquire without proof. I suppose he meant, by proof, the depositions of
witnesses; this is, in other words, saying that we, whose constitutional
duty it is to inquire, may omit to do it, because they whose duty it is
not to inquire, have not done it.

The present resolution is nothing more than this: A certain officer of
the Government is charged, in the face of the nation, with malfeasance
in office, and a committee appointed to inquire into the truth of the
charge. Gentlemen allege that the committee is to be appointed to inquire
what accusations can be found, and then for testimony to sustain them.
But this is not so. The accusations have been long since made, and they
are not of a day, but of a year’s standing.

The analogy between the functions of this House and a grand jury, is
correct and forcible. Before a grand jury, it is the right of any
individual to apply for and demand an inquiry into the conduct of any
person within their cognizance; and it is more especially the right of
any member of the jury to make such a demand; and it is their bounden
duty, according to their oaths, to make the inquiry when so demanded.

The official conduct of the judges I view as more delicate and
important than that of any other description of officers; for, on their
impartiality the whole people of the United States depend for obtaining
justice in ordinary cases, and individuals depend, in the last resort,
for the preservation of their lives. Their official conduct should,
therefore, not only be correct, but likewise free from suspicion. Simply
to be charged ought to produce an inquiry; and I must confess that a
recent case, in which the integrity of a judicial officer was impeached,
excited my warmest approbation. I mean the case of a judge (Judge Tucker)
in a neighboring State, who, on a suggestion believed by no man, deemed
it a duty to himself and his country to demand an inquiry into his
conduct.

Another view, by no means unimportant, which may be taken, is, that the
reputation of the Government, of which the judges are a component part,
demands the inquiry in question. Will any gentleman pretend to say that
reputation is not at stake,--that it is not affected at home or abroad
by the charges which have been so long and so loudly made? I presume not.
Whether those charges are true or not, is not the question; for, whether
true or not, so long as they are generally believed, the reputation of
the Government is affected; its reputation for impartial justice is
affected, and deeply too. To refuse this inquiry would be to give weight
to this impression abroad--to add to the suspicion, at home and abroad,
that impartial justice is not done to all men. Let us, then, make the
inquiry, and restore the reputation of the Government, by inflicting a
proper punishment upon these officers, if guilty, and, if innocent, by
proving the charges against them calumnies.

Mr. EPPES.--If, in adopting the resolution before us, we were to attach
odium to the characters in question, I should feel no surprise at
the course pursued by the gentlemen who oppose this inquiry. In this
country the official conduct of every man is, and ought to be, subject
to examination. It is not the examination, but the result of that
examination, which attaches merit or demerit to a public character. In
a Government like ours no principle ought to be cherished with greater
care than a free inquiry into the conduct of public officers. So friendly
am I to this principle in its fullest extent, so necessary do I believe
it to be to the preservation of that purity in public officers essential
to a republic, that it will always be sufficient for me to vote an
inquiry, for a member to declare he considers an inquiry necessary. A
proper regard to his own reputation will always, I am certain, prevent
any member of this House from calling on us to exercise this important
duty on light or trivial grounds. As to the extensive field of inquiry to
which this doctrine may lead, I care not; and whenever a member of this
House shall rise in his place and declare that he considers an inquiry
into the conduct of a public officer or officers necessary, I shall be
ready to pass the whole circle in review, to begin with the first and end
with the last, to vote an inquiry into the conduct of each, and even to
go further, to vote an impeachment if necessary. I shall on every such
occasion consider it a duty I owe to the individual accused, and to the
community in whose behalf the accusation is made, to vote an inquiry.

Thus much for the general principle which would induce me to vote for
this resolution, if no specific charge had been made. In the present
case, however, a specific charge of a serious kind has been made by a
member from Pennsylvania; and, however gentlemen may have attempted to
weaken the force of this charge, it does substantially amount to this:
that, by the opinion of a judge, a citizen of the United States was
deprived of his constitutional right to counsel, when arraigned for his
life. I will not, however, dwell on this charge. It has been placed by a
gentleman from Maryland (Mr. NICHOLSON) in a point of view satisfactory
to myself, and, I believe, to the House. I consider it, however, my duty
on this occasion to mention a trial which took place in the Commonwealth
of Virginia, which affords another specific charge against Judge Chase. I
was not present at this trial, and am not personally acquainted with the
circumstances. I believe, however, that in the Commonwealth of Virginia
but one sentiment prevails as to the conduct of Judge Chase on this
occasion, viz: that it was indecent and tyrannical. In the course of
the trial he refused to allow a witness on the part of the prisoner to
be examined, because the witness could prove the truth of a part only,
and not the whole of the words laid in the indictment. By a system of
conduct peculiar to himself, he deprived the prisoner of the aid of Mr.
George Hay, as counsel, a man, who, although not as generally known as
some others in our State, is inferior to none in his profession. I do not
mention these circumstances as hearsay evidence, but as facts, which I
am induced to believe can be established by legal testimony. If, on this
statement, there is any gentleman who can refuse an inquiry, I am willing
to leave him in the enjoyment of his opinion. For my own part, I shall be
always ready, on the demand of any member of this House, to exercise my
constitutional right of inquiry, and, without partiality or prejudice,
pursue the course pointed out by my duty, whether it shall lead to
impeachment or an honorable acquittal.

Mr. NICHOLSON rose for the purpose of calling the attention of the
House to precedents. When he yesterday addressed them he had thought it
unnecessary to introduce authorities from foreign nations; but as they
had been insisted on by the opponents to the resolution, he would refer
to two or three; and he was more solicitous to do so at the present
moment, as he saw a gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. DANA) about to rise,
and he wished to call the gentleman’s attention to them, in order that
he might remark on them, and show, if it was to be done, that they did
not apply to the case under consideration. If gentlemen would refer
to the powers exercised by the Commons of England, for time almost
immemorial, and to those exercised by the several State Legislatures,
he believed that precedents innumerable would be furnished. The Commons
of England were the grand inquest of the nation. As such it was their
duty to inquire into the official conduct of all those intrusted with
the powers of Government. Every officer in the realm was liable to
impeachment by them. The same principle would be found to run through the
constitutions of most of the States, and it was wisely introduced into
the Constitution of the United States. The power to impeach is admitted
to be in the House of Representatives, and the only question is, as to
the manner in which this power shall be exercised. The proposed method
is called a loose one, and we are asked to show some precedent for it.
The House of Commons at the commencement of every session appoint what
is there called a committee of grievances and courts of justice. Many
of the State Legislatures appoint a similar committee annually, and,
in the State from which he came, the House of Delegates always appoint
a committee of grievances and courts of justice. It was one of their
standing committees, and the appointment was as regular and as usual as
the appointment of a committee of claims in this House. What then he
inquired was the duty, what the authority of this committee? In England,
in Maryland, and in every other State where it exists, it is their duty
to inquire into the conduct of every officer of the Government, to call
witnesses before them to prove official misconduct, to report offences to
the House from which their powers are derived, and recommend the proper
measures to be adopted.

This House, like the Commons of England, and the most numerous branch
in the State Legislatures, is the grand inquest of the nation; they are
to inquire into crimes and bring offenders to justice. It had not, he
said, heretofore been customary for this House to appoint a committee of
grievances and courts of justice, but he believed no man would deny the
power, and when appointed they would not only have the authority proposed
to be in this committee, but one infinitely more extensive. They would
have the right to inquire into the conduct of all civil officers, and to
report such facts as might come to their knowledge. If, then, we could
with propriety, and agreeably to precedent, authorize an inquiry into
the conduct of several hundred officers, could it be denied that the
same precedent would warrant an inquiry into the conduct of two only? In
5th _Comyn’s Digest_, page 204, it would be found that a committee of
grievances and justice was one of their standing committees, and in page
205 it was declared that they might “summon any judges and examine them
in person upon complaint of any misdemeanor in office.” He presumed it
had not been thought necessary heretofore to appoint a general committee
of this kind, but at present the necessity was apparent, as a complaint
had been made to the House of the official misconduct of two judges.
Again, in the same book, page 209, it is said, “The Commons are the
general inquisitors of the realm, and therefore if a Lord, spiritual or
temporal, commit oppression, bribery, extortion, &c., the Commons shall
inquire of it, and if, by the vote of the House, the crime appears to
have been committed, they transmit it, with the evidence, to the Lords.”
This, he said, would clearly show, what indeed he thought common sense
would teach every man, that the inquiry should be made before proof was
exhibited upon which an impeachment was to be grounded. In the same page
it would be seen that “common fame is a sufficient ground of a proceeding
in the House of Commons by inquiry, or by a complaint, if need be, to
the King or Lords.” And _Rushworth’s Historical Collection_, page 217,
is cited, it is said, by some of the ablest lawyers of that day that “if
common fame were not to be admitted as public accusers, great men would
be the only safe ones, as no private man would venture to complain of
them.” Mr. N. referred to these authorities at that particular stage of
the discussion, as he was desirous of giving gentlemen an opportunity of
commenting upon them. As he had no wish to prolong the debate, he would
not multiply observations upon that point, but could not sit down without
noticing what had fallen from a gentleman from Massachusetts, in which he
had again attempted to vindicate the conduct of the judges upon the trial
of Fries.

The gentleman had referred to a case in _Dallas’s Reports_, respecting
the Western Insurrection, in which he says the point of law determined
upon the trial of Fries, had been previously settled by one of the
federal courts, and from thence infers that Mr. Chase and Mr. Peters were
justified in preventing counsel from arguing it a second time. That such
conduct might be perhaps excusable in a civil cause he was not prepared
to deny; but, in a case of criminal jurisdiction, involving the guilt or
innocence of a man whose life was to be the forfeit, he held it totally
unjustifiable.

All men, he said, were acquainted with the circumstances of what was
generally called the Western Insurrection. Some of the Western counties
of Pennsylvania were opposed to the excise law. A considerable majority
of the people had resolved to oppose its execution, and took strong
measures to prevent individuals from accepting offices under it, and
compelled some of them to resign the places to which they had been
appointed. While they professed an attachment to the Government of the
Union they resolved to resist the execution of one of its laws. Among
these was a man by the name of Mitchell, and he was charged with high
treason before the circuit of Pennsylvania in which Judge Paterson then
presided. A doubt existed whether the resistance to the execution of a
law, even by force of arms, was such a levying of war within the meaning
of the constitution, as amounted to treason. What was the conduct of the
judge on that occasion? He had no disposition to preclude inquiry. He
had no wish to keep the jury in ignorance by forbidding fair and open
argument. On the contrary, it appeared from a note on page 348 that
he called the attention of the prisoner’s counsel to the point, and
requested that they would notice it in their observations. This was done
before the defence was opened, and he said he should beg leave to read a
part of the argument made in favor of the prisoner.

    “The counsel for the prisoner (E. Tilghman and Thomas) premised
    that they did not conceive it to be their duty to show that the
    prisoner was guiltless of any description of crime against the
    United States, or the State of Pennsylvania, but they contended
    that he had not committed the crime of high treason, and
    ought, therefore, to be acquitted on the present indictment.
    The adjudications in England upon the various descriptions of
    treason, had been worked incautiously, into a system, by the
    destruction of which the Government itself would be seriously
    affected; but even there, the best judges and the ablest
    commentators, while they acquiesce in the decisions that have
    already taken place, furnish a strong caution against the too
    easy admission of future cases, which seem to have a parity
    of reason. Constructive and interpretive treasons must be the
    dread and scourge of any nation that allows them--_1 Hale, P.
    C._, 132, 259--_4 Black. Com._, 85. Take, then, the distinction
    of treason by levying war, as laid down by the attorney of
    the district, and it is a constructive or interpretive weapon
    which is calculated to annul all distinctions heretofore
    wisely established in the grades and punishments of crimes,
    and by whose magic power a mob may be easily converted into a
    conspiracy, and a riot aggravated into high treason.”

Such, he said, was the opinion of two gentlemen ranking high in their
profession, and who would not be charged with having any feeling toward
the offence or the offender inconsistent with the rights or interests
of the Government. The whole argument was too lengthy to be read to the
House, but he considered it well worth the perusal of every American.
Able as it was, however, it had not the wished for weight with the court.
Judge Paterson gave the following charge to the jury: “The first question
is, what was the general object of the insurrection? If its object was to
suppress the excise offices, and to prevent the execution of an act of
Congress, by force and intimidation, the offence, in legal estimation,
is high treason; it is a usurpation of the authority of Government;
it is high treason by levying of war.” Sir, said Mr. N., this opinion
of the court may have been honest; I mean not to impeach the purity
of motive which dictated it, but I mean to show that the offence with
which Mitchell was charged, the resistance to the execution of a law,
was not considered as treason by the highest existing authority of this
country. Mitchell was pardoned by the President of the United States, and
Congress, not long after, expressed their opinion on the subject in the
most ample manner.

The trial of Mitchell which I have just quoted took place in 1795, and
in 1798 the subject was taken up by Congress, who, by the act of the
14th of July, 1798, provided that the resistance to the execution of a
law should be considered a high misdemeanor only, punishable by fine and
imprisonment. The act is in these words: “If any persons shall unlawfully
combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or
measures of the Government of the United States which are, or may be
directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of
the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a
place or office in or under the Government of the United States, from
undertaking, performing, or executing his trust or duty, he or they
shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and on conviction before
any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be
punished by a fine not exceeding $5,000 and by imprisonment during a
term not less than six months nor exceeding five years.” Here, sir, the
resistance to the execution of a law is declared to be a high misdemeanor
only, punishable by fine and imprisonment. Fries was tried in 1800,
two years after the passage of this law. The offence of which he had
been guilty was rescuing prisoners from the marshal by force, thereby,
in the language of the act, “preventing an officer of the United States
from performing and executing his duty,” and it was to show that he was
punishable under this act by fine and imprisonment only, that his counsel
were desirous of bringing the law before the jury. This, however, the
court refused; the man was convicted of high treason, and was sentenced
to a most ignominious death. Let such conduct be vindicated where and by
whom it may, I must declare that it can never meet my approbation.

Mr. DANA.--It is to be regretted, Mr. Speaker, that a resolution so
novel and of so much importance as that on the table was not postponed,
at least for one day after it was presented to the House. Had this been
done, gentlemen might have had some opportunity deliberately to examine
the subject, before they were required to make a decision. But as the
resolution was moved without giving any previous notice, and has been
pressed upon us immediately after it was moved, I do not feel myself
prepared, as I could have wished to be on such a question, before
attempting to deliver my sentiments in this House. Unprepared, however,
as I am, I request your indulgence while I offer a few remarks.

I will first attend to some precedents mentioned by the gentleman
from Maryland, (Mr. NICHOLSON.) He has stated that it has been usual
in the English House of Commons to appoint a committee for courts of
justice, with power to inquire into the proceedings of courts, and for
this purpose to call persons before them for examination. But, sir,
is not such a committee appointed for general purposes, not directed
against any individual, and therefore not affecting the character of any
magistrate? Their powers relate to the judicial system generally, and
do not implicate any one of the judicial officers. Does the resolution
on the table propose a committee of this kind? On the contrary, it is
explicitly directed against two of the judges. If gentlemen would justify
their proceedings by the practice of the British House of Commons, let
the resolution be made to have a general reference to all the courts,
instead of being pointed, as it now is, against particular persons.
In its present form it departs essentially from the principle of the
case mentioned by the gentleman from Maryland, and therefore cannot be
warranted by that precedent.

The gentleman has also stated that a committee was appointed by
the last Congress to investigate the accounts of the officers of
Government, merely upon common report. But it should be remembered
that those officers were officers of the Executive Departments. It is
the acknowledged duty of such officers--it is made their duty by law
to give information to Congress, whenever required, upon any of their
public transactions. And it is the peculiar right of the House of
Representatives, as guardians of the Treasury, at any time, to inquire
into the expenditures of public money. But are the judges of the United
States placed in the same situation with the Executive officers? Are
they to be under the same control, and equally dependent? You may indeed
impeach the judges, if guilty of impeachable offence. But what other
power over them is given you by the constitution? It should further
be remembered, that the resolution for appointing the investigating
committee did not criminate any particular officer. At first it was
proposed to examine only the accounts of the former Secretary of
State. But upon its being suggested by a gentleman from Massachusetts,
(Mr. EUSTIS,) who has been so strenuous an advocate for the present
resolution, that it would be improper in that manner to attack the
character of a particular officer, the resolution was made general, and
extended to the accounts of all the Executive Departments.

Upon the like principle, the resolution now on the table is improper. My
objection to it is, that it points out two particular officers as objects
of suspicion, and proposes a committee for inquiring into their conduct
without assigning any cause, and without specifying any subject of
inquiry. Gentlemen have expressed a dissatisfaction that such a committee
should be compared to the Star Chamber or the Inquisition. If they do not
perfectly resemble the Star Chamber, formerly known in England, or the
Inquisition of Spain, the proposed powers of the committee are certainly
indefinite and inquisitorial. Perhaps, if a comparison was necessary,
they might more properly be compared to the State inquisitors of Venice,
who are well known to have formed one of the most detestable tyrannies
ever tolerated in a country pretending to freedom.

If charges were specified in the resolution, a member of this House on
moving it might then have a right to demand an inquiry. But are the House
bound to investigate the conduct of a particular officer, without any
charge against him? Gentlemen have said much about the general right of
this House to inquire into the conduct of public officers, as if this
were the point in dispute. But who has denied the right of inquiry as
incident to the power of impeachment? When any officer is charged with
an impeachable offence, it is admitted to be, and from the nature of the
thing it might be, the right of the House to inquire into the truth of
such charge. I trust no gentleman in opposition to the present resolution
can be found so ignorant of the true principle on which it is opposed,
as to deny the responsibility of the public officers, or the right of
the House to inquire into their conduct. But, the right being admitted,
the question is made as to the exercise of that right in the manner now
proposed. When this House is called upon to direct the whole force of its
influence against a particular judge, is it not reasonable, is it not
just, that some charge should first be stated against him? This is but a
decent respect to judicial character. It is but a decent respect to the
character which becomes the assembled Representatives of a nation. The
person implicated might then be enabled to meet the inquiry and obviate
unfounded suspicion. Our power with respect to the judges is the power of
impeachment; but we are not, therefore, justified in wantonly assailing
their characters and sporting with their sensibility to reputation. The
right of inquiry relates to impeachable offences. Shall we, then, inquire
where no offence is stated? So far is the resolution from stating what
would warrant an impeachment, that it does not mention any offence, or
refer to any transaction.

The gentleman from Virginia, who moved the resolution, (Mr. J. RANDOLPH,)
has, indeed, declared his own conviction, that the judicial officer
in question had done wrong. Might not other gentlemen also have their
opinions and exercise their own judgments in forming them? They ask for
the reasons of his conviction before they vote for his resolution. His
information, he says, was received in such a manner that he does not
choose to disclose it. If any person has communicated any thing to him
confidentially, he is not desired to name his informant. The gentleman
shall not be desired by me to make any disclosure which would offend
against the most delicate sense of honor. But can it be improper for
him to state the general nature of the offence which he believes to
have been committed? Will this violate any honorary confidence? He is
desired to make such a statement that other members of the House may
have an opportunity of judging whether the believed offence will warrant
a vote of impeachment. In cases of this kind, is any member to be
deemed infallible? When a gentleman, in his place, states a fact as of
his own knowledge, his veracity is regarded as unquestionable; but his
infallibility is not supposed to extend to matters of mere opinion. Upon
the principle of its being possible for the gentleman from Virginia to
err in opinion, and its being equally the right of the other members to
judge what conduct amounts to an impeachable offence, it might have been
reasonably thought that he would at least state to the House the nature
of the facts on which he relies as the basis of his resolution. If he, or
any other member, declaring his conviction that a judge has misdemeaned
himself in office, will exhibit to the House a statement of any fact,
or series of facts, which would warrant an impeachment, I will be ready
instantly to vote for an inquiry. But nothing of this kind is exhibited,
and therefore the resolution on the table is now opposed. Before you
agree to oppress a judge with all that weight of suspicion which may be
imposed by a vote of this House, let him be permitted to know what part
of his conduct is supposed to be exceptionable, that opportunity may be
had in the progress of any inquiry to vindicate himself against unmerited
reproaches! Instead of a course of proceeding so fair and obviously
just, the resolution on the table marks two of the judges for public
suspicion, without specifying any supposed misconduct. It marks them as
public objects of suspicion throughout the whole of their judicial life,
and, without naming any thing, invites private enemies to accuse them of
every thing.

To support such a resolution, common fame has been mentioned in the
course of debate, as a sufficient ground of proceeding; and this idea is
supposed to be authorized by English precedent. Whatever may have been
done formerly, and in a period of rudeness or violence, the more improved
system of modern jurisprudence should discard such a doctrine if it ever
prevailed. But even that doctrine, if admitted, would not justify you in
adopting the present resolution. You cannot thence infer the propriety of
proceeding against a person who is not accused of any thing punishable.
Will it be pretended that the common fame, which is to be a ground of
proceeding, does not refer to any offence or to any transaction? Common
fame, if admitted for proof, must be supposed to apply to some subject of
complaint. On the principle even of this very questionable doctrine, a
statement of some charge is requisite. What, then, in the present case,
is the accusation which could be supported by common fame? If there be
any such, let it be stated.

The gentlemen who advocate the resolution in its present form fail in
their efforts to support it, notwithstanding all the aid which they have
sought from “the leading-strings and crutches of precedents,” (to use
the language of the gentleman from Virginia.) On general principles, on
the broad basis of universal right, the resolution is condemned; and no
precedent is adduced which can justify it. I do not wish to shield any
public officers, whether judges or others, who may merit impeachment,
but I wish the House, when acting as public accusers, to proceed in
such a manner as not to do injury to any individual. Justice is due to
the individual as well as to the public. No public duty can require
this House to adopt a resolution of general reproach, yet stating no
public offence. And it but illy accords with the principles of justice
to subject the judicial officers of the Union to all the inconvenience,
vexation, and expense, of being obliged to vindicate themselves against
secret accusations, which it may be more difficult to discover than to
overthrow.

You will observe, sir, that I do not enter into any particular
examination of the case referred to by the gentleman from Pennsylvania,
(Mr. SMILIE,) whether there was a controversy as to prerogative
and privilege between the court and the bar, in which the pride of
professional rank appeared in opposition to judicial authority. Whether
the judge very properly refused to yield to the counsel, or whether the
court committed an error in pronouncing the law, these are topics which
I think it needless to examine in considering the resolution now on the
table; for the resolution itself states nothing, and there is no case
before us for examination.

On so grave a subject as the present, when we are called upon to aid in
the administration of justice, it was to be desired that the advocates of
the resolution should so far regard their own exhortations as to refrain
from attempting to enkindle the animosity of party. The gentleman from
Pennsylvania (Mr. SMILIE) seems to have thought himself at liberty to
pursue a different course. But, considering the nature of the question
on which our votes are to be given, I hope to be excused if I deem it
not proper in this debate to reply to him on the various topics of party
discussion which he has chosen to mention, although the task might be
easy indeed to repel his charges against the former Administration. A
single observation, however, may be proper on a law to which he has
alluded in the language of censure. There was at least one prominent
feature which might recommend it to the friends of truth. It expressly
declared that the truth might be given in evidence.

Mr. DENNIS observed that in the course of the remarks which he had the
honor of making yesterday, he had declared himself in favor of the
proposed investigation, provided it were made on proper principles;
and, in order the more clearly to illustrate his ideas and evince his
sincerity, he had read in his place a resolution embracing all the
facts which had been suggested to the House as the foundation of this
proceeding. He had then said he would not pledge himself to offer a
resolution such as he then read, but would vote for it if offered by
others. As the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. RANDOLPH) had not accepted
his overtures, and in the course of his observations had done him the
honor of noticing some of his ideas expressed in yesterday’s debate, he
rose principally for the purpose of offering an amendment, and partly
for the purpose of replying to one or two of the gentleman’s remarks.
He was not a little surprised at the animated strain in which that
gentleman had addressed the House in the course of this morning, nor
did any thing appear to have fallen from any gentleman, in the course
of the discussion, which appeared to him calculated to produce so much
excitement as he had manifested. But as he did not claim to set up his
own feelings or his own conduct as the standard by which the feelings
or actions of others ought to be guided, and as the gentleman had
applied his observations without implicating motives, he had not at all
interrupted the equanimity of his disposition. He had exercised a right
which he should always be disposed to accord to that gentleman, and every
other member--the right of placing the observations of his opponents in
the most ludicrous point of view of which they were susceptible. In this
right he would also indulge himself whenever the subject required it.

The gentleman from Virginia, in replying to some of his observations,
had said that he had conceived the charge exhibited was of a very serious
nature, but did not appear to comprehend in what respect he considered
it so, and therefore he wished to explain in what manner he considered
it as such. He considered it as serious, inasmuch as it was calculated
to excite suspicion and asperse the official conduct of the gentlemen in
question; but did not mean to insinuate, but on the contrary repelled
the idea of its being serious as regarded its sufficiency, if true, as
a foundation of impeachment. In order to show that the conduct of the
judges had not been so highly censurable even as the statement of the
gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. SMILIE,) or his colleague and the
gentleman from Virginia, seemed to suppose, he begged leave to state
his ideas as to the rectitude of their conduct. Here he might use the
observation of the gentleman from Virginia, applied to one of his own
remarks, and say that gentleman had with no great dexterity confounded
two principles as distant from each other as the northern and the
southern pole. He seemed to assimilate the case in which the court have
arbitrarily withdrawn the question of law entirely from the jury, to
the conduct of the court in this case, which only went to restrict the
counsel from arguing before the jury a case already settled in the minds
of the court, by a train of judicial determinations in similar cases, and
in which they left both law and fact to the determination of the jury;
directing them as to the law upon the subject. He was warranted in his
opinion, because the gentleman from Virginia, in illustrating some of his
positions, had cited the case of libel as decided by Lord Mansfield, and
Mr. Fox’s celebrated declaratory bill, which grew out of that decision.
What analogy has that case to the case in question? Lord Mansfield
decided that in the case of a libel, all the jury had to do was to find
the fact of publication or not, and that whether when published it were
criminal or not, they had no right to determine, and thus withdrew
the question of law altogether from their decision. This was justly
regarded as a gross violation of that principle of the criminal law of
that country, which invests the jury with the right to decide as well
on the law as on the fact. This principle I fully acknowledge, and if
the court in the case of Fries had deprived the jury of that right, and
withdrawn the question of law from them, there might be some foundation
for this resolution. But, according to the statement of the gentleman
from Pennsylvania, the question of law and fact were both submitted to
the jury, with the instructions of the court on the legal question. He
had always been taught to believe that the court were the proper organ
through which the law was to be communicated to the jury, though he
did not deny but the jury had the right which they should cautiously
exercise, but which they would always exercise, when they discover an
inclination in the court to oppress the citizen or exculpate the guilty,
to reject the direction of the court and decide for themselves.

But the complaint is, that the court denied to the counsel the privilege
of arguing the law before the jury. Mr. DENNIS said he believed the court
possessed a power of this nature, to be regulated by a sound discretion.
If the court should believe that a question had been put at rest by a
long train of judicial decisions, such as was the case in this instance,
they not only have the right, but it becomes their duty to prevent a
useless consumption of time, and to prohibit the counsel from agitating
the question. Indeed it is indelicate in the counsel to impress on the
jury an opinion of law contrary to the known opinion of the court; nor
is there any court who will not take on themselves the right of checking
counsel, in an attempt to mislead the jury on a question of law. Such was
the practice of the courts in Maryland, and in that country from which we
derive all our notions of jurisprudence.

But though he did not conceive that there was any ground for impeachment
in the statement of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, yet he knew that
this discussion would produce a vague and undefined censure, which
he believed the judges in question ought to have an opportunity of
repelling. He therefore moved the following amendment, by way of preamble
to the resolution:

    Whereas information has been given to the House by one of
    its members, that, in a certain prosecution for treason on
    the part of the United States against a certain John Fries,
    pending in the circuit court of the United States in the State
    of Pennsylvania, Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices
    of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Richard Peters,
    district judge for the district of Pennsylvania, by whom the
    said circuit court was then holden, did inform the counsel for
    the prisoner, that as the court had formed their opinion upon
    the point of law, and would direct the jury thereupon, the
    counsel for the prisoner must confine their argument before
    the jury to the question of the fact only; and whereas it is
    represented, that, in consequence of such determination of
    the court, the counsel did refuse to address the jury on the
    question of fact, and the said John Fries was found guilty
    of treason, and sentenced by the court to the punishment in
    such case by the laws of the United States provided, and was
    pardoned by the President of the United States:

    _Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to investigate the
    truth of the said allegations, and to report a statement of
    facts in the case aforesaid, with their opinion thereupon,
    whether the said Samuel Chase and Richard Peters, or either of
    them, have so conducted themselves on the trial aforesaid as to
    render necessary the interposition of the constitutional powers
    of this House.

This amendment embraces all the facts stated by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania, points out a specific charge as the foundation of the
proceeding, and yet, when attached to the resolution, gives to the
committee the power of general inquiry.

We are told that the facts have been stated by a member on the floor,
and there is no reason for stating them in the resolution. Will the
statement of the gentleman from Pennsylvania appear on your journals,
and how will it hereafter be known that any fact was stated as the
foundation on which to erect a committee with general inquisitorial
powers? Posterity will only see the resolution, and to them it will be a
precedent which will justify the creation of a committee of inquiry into
the official conduct of any officer, without the allegation of a single
fact, whenever a member may choose to be of opinion that a vexatious and
expensive proceeding shall be instituted. It was therefore that he wished
to resist the principle, and for that purpose moved the amendment.

Mr. HUGER said he had before stated, and he now repeated, that he was not
averse to an investigation; but he did not consider himself bound to vote
for a resolution so general and vague. If the amendment of the gentleman
from Maryland were adopted, he should vote for the resolution.

Mr. NICHOLSON moved to amend the amendment, by striking out the whole of
it after the word “Whereas,” and by inserting--

    “Members of this House have stated in their places that they
    have heard certain acts of official misconduct alleged against
    Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme
    Court of the United States, and Richard Peters, judge of the
    district court of the district of Pennsylvania.”

Mr. HUGER had no objection to the insertion of the last amendment, but he
had to striking out the first. He therefore called for the yeas and nays
upon striking out.

The question was then taken by yeas and nays upon striking out, and
carried--yeas 79, nays 41, as follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, jun., Nathaniel Alexander, David Bard,
    Geo. Michael Bedinger, Phanuel Bishop, William Blackledge,
    Adam Boyd, John Boyle, Robert Brown, Joseph Bryan, William
    Butler, George W. Campbell, Levi Casey, Joseph Clay, John
    Clopton, Jacob Crowninshield, William Dickson, John B. Earle,
    Peter Early, Ebenezer Elmer, John W. Eppes, Wm. Eustis,
    William Findlay, John Fowler, James Gillespie, Edwin Gray,
    Andrew Gregg, John A. Hanna, Josiah Hasbrouck, William Hoge,
    James Holland, David Holmes, Walter Jones, William Kennedy,
    Nehemiah Knight, Michael Leib, John B. C. Lucas, Matthew Lyon,
    Andrew McCord, David Meriwether, Samuel L. Mitchill, Nicholas
    R. Moore, Thomas Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas
    Newton, jun., Joseph H. Nicholson, Gideon Olin, Beriah Palmer,
    John Patterson, Oliver Phelps, John Randolph, jun., Thomas M.
    Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee,
    Jacob Richards, Erastus Root, Thomas Sammons, Thomas Sanford,
    Ebenezer Seaver, Tompson J. Skinner, James Sloan, John Smilie,
    John Smith of Virginia, Richard Stanford, Joseph Stanton, John
    Stewart, David Thomas, Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg, John
    Trigg, Philip Van Cortlandt, Isaac Van Horne, Joseph B. Varnum,
    Matthew Walton, John Whitehill, Richard Wynn, Joseph Winston,
    and Thomas Wynns.

    NAYS.--Simeon Baldwin, Silas Betton, John Campbell, William
    Chamberlin, Martin Chittenden, Clifton Claggett, Manasseh
    Cutler, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, John Dennis, Thomas
    Dwight, James Elliot, Thomas Griffin, Gaylord Griswold, Roger
    Griswold, Seth Hastings, David Hough, Benjamin Huger, Samuel
    Hunt, Joseph Lewis, jun., Thomas Lewis, Henry W. Livingston,
    Thomas Lowndes, Nahum Mitchell, James Mott, Thomas Plater,
    Samuel D. Purviance, Joshua Sands, John Cotton Smith, John
    Smith of New York, William Stedman, James Stephenson, Samuel
    Taggart, Samuel Taney, Samuel Thatcher, George Tibbits, Killian
    K. Van Rensselaer, Daniel C. Verplanck, Peleg Wadsworth, Lemuel
    Williams, and Marmaduke Williams.

The question was now taken on inserting the amendment of Mr. NICHOLSON,
and carried.

The question was then put upon agreeing to the amendment thus amended.

Mr. PURVIANCE said he could not vote for it because it did not state the
fact. It declared that members of the House had stated that they had
heard of official acts of misconduct of both the judges, when but one act
had been charged against Judge Peters.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH observed that he perceived no reason for the preamble.
He hoped therefore it would not be agreed to. General inquiry was his
object, and, as going to limit it, he was against the preamble.

Mr. ELLIOT said that, had the amendment of the gentleman from Connecticut
prevailed, he might have reconciled it to his mind to vote for the
resolution thus amended. But as it stood, he could not.

Mr. NICHOLSON remarked that when he offered the amendment, the
incorrectness suggested by the gentleman from North Carolina had not
occurred to him. To obviate this incorrectness he would move to amend the
amendment by saying “a certain act of Richard Peters.”

The SPEAKER said this amendment was not in order.

Mr. NICHOLSON said that under such circumstances he must vote against the
whole amendment.

The question being taken, the amendment as amended was lost without a
division.

When the resolution for appointing a committee of inquiry was
carried--yeas 81, nays 40, as follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, jun., Nathaniel Alexander, David Bard,
    George M. Bedinger, Phanuel Bishop, William Blackledge, Adam
    Boyd, John Boyle, Robert Brown, Joseph Bryan, William Butler,
    Levi Casey, Joseph Clay, John Clopton, Jacob Crowninshield,
    Richard Cutts, William Dickson, John B. Earle, Peter Early,
    Ebenezer Elmer, John W. Eppes, Wm. Eustis, William Findlay,
    John Fowler, James Gillespie, Edwin Gray, Andrew Gregg, John
    A. Hanna, Josiah Hasbrouck, William Hoge, James Holland, David
    Holmes, John G. Jackson, Walter Jones, Wm. Kennedy, Nehemiah
    Knight, Michael Leib, John B. C. Lucas, Matthew Lyon, Andrew
    McCord, David Meriwether, Nicholas R. Moore, Thomas Moore,
    Jeremiah Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas Newton, jun., Joseph
    H. Nicholson, Gideon Olin, Beriah Palmer, John Patterson,
    Oliver Phelps, John Randolph, jun., Thomas M. Randolph, John
    Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards,
    Erastus Root, Thomas Sammons, Thomas Sanford, Ebenezer Seaver,
    Tompson J. Skinner, James Sloan, John Smilie, John Smith of
    Virginia, Richard Stanford, Joseph Stanton, John Stewart, David
    Thomas, Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg, John Trigg, Philip
    Van Cortlandt, Isaac Van Horne, Joseph B. Varnum, Daniel C.
    Verplanck, Matthew Walton, John Whitehill, Marmaduke Williams,
    Richard Wynn, Joseph Winston, Thomas Wynns.

    NAYS.--Simeon Baldwin, Silas Betton, John Campbell, William
    Chamberlin, Martin Chittenden, Clifton Claggett, Manasseh
    Cutler, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, John Dennis, Thomas
    Dwight, James Elliot, Thomas Griffin, Gaylord Griswold, Roger
    Griswold, Seth Hastings, David Hough, Benjamin Huger, Samuel
    Hunt, Joseph Lewis, jun., Thomas Lewis, Henry W. Livingston,
    Thomas Lowndes, Nahum Mitchell, Samuel L. Mitchill, James Mott,
    Thomas Plater, Samuel D. Purviance, Joshua Sands, John Cotton
    Smith, John Smith of New York, Wm. Stedman, James Stephenson,
    Samuel Taggart, Samuel Tenney, Samuel Thatcher, George Tibbits,
    Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Peleg Wadsworth, and Lemuel Williams.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. JOHN RANDOLPH, jun., NICHOLSON, JOSEPH CLAY,
EARLY, ROGER GRISWOLD, HUGER, and BOYLE, be appointed a committee
pursuant to the said resolution.


MONDAY, January 9.

Another member, to wit, WILLIAM HELMS, from New Jersey, appeared,
produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.


WEDNESDAY, January 11.

_Virginia Yazoo Company._

On a motion made and seconded,

    “That the agent or agents of the Virginia Yazoo Company,
    ‘claimants of compensation under the late cession and
    convention between the State of Georgia and the United States,
    and the acts lately passed by Congress thereon, as purchasers
    of land in the Mississippi Territory, in the year one thousand
    seven hundred and eighty-nine, from the said State of Georgia,’
    be heard in person, or by counsel, at the bar of the House, on
    Monday next:”

The question was taken thereupon, and resolved in the affirmative--yeas
61, nays 49.

On a motion made and seconded that the House do come to the following
resolution:

    _Resolved_, That the South Carolina Yazoo Company be heard by
    their agent, on Monday next, at the bar of the House:

And the said motion being twice read at the Clerk’s table, a motion was
made and seconded to amend the same, by striking out all the words from
the word “Resolved,” in the first line, to the end of the motion, and
inserting, in lieu thereof, the following words: “That this House will,
on Monday next, hear all the agents of the different companies claiming
lands south of the State of Tennessee, who may choose to speak at the bar
of this House.”

And on the question that the House do agree to the said amendment, it
passed in the negative. And the main question being taken that the House
do agree to the said motion, as originally proposed, it was resolved in
the affirmative--yeas 67, nays 46.


FRIDAY, February 3.

_Georgia Militia Claims._

The House went into Committee of the Whole on the report of the Committee
of Claims, on the petition of John M. Randolph and Randolph McGillis,
which is unfavorable to the prayer of the petitioners.

The petitioners claim their pay as militiamen, called out in the State
of Georgia for the protection of that State against the Indians. They
allege, that, being called out under the authority of the Government of
the United States, the General Government is bound to compensate them and
the other men called out for their services.

The Committee of Claims report that the petitioners are to look for
compensation to the State of Georgia, who, by the articles of cession
recently concluded, had agreed to receive one million two hundred and
fifty thousand dollars, in full for all demands for military service.

    [This debate, though nominally on a private claim, retains a
    surviving interest from its historic details, its connection
    with the Georgia cession, its references to the Yazoo
    speculation, and its dependence upon the question of protection
    between the Federal Government and a State.]

Mr. EARLY.--Mr. Chairman: I cannot but be sensible of the difficulty
which opposes itself to the present claim after an unfavorable report
from the committee to which it was referred. And it is impossible not
to discern that this difficulty is increased by the opinion of the
Attorney General upon the construction of the articles of cession
from Georgia to the United States. But as to that opinion, it may not
be improper to observe, that so far as it applies to the case of the
claimant, it is repelled by the positive certificates of two of the
Georgia Commissioners, gentlemen of veracity and legal talents equal
with himself. To give to the opinions, or rather the “private ideas and
recollections” of that officer, the weight and authority which have
been thereunto attached by the Committee of Claims, would be to adopt
in practice a principle at war with the maxims of all free Governments;
it would be to constitute the framer of an instrument the judge of its
construction. This is the essence of despotism. But I apprehend that
neither the principle laid down in that opinion nor the facts therein
stated do bear upon the case; but that the facts do negatively prove that
the claims now under discussion were not included in the compensation
stipulated to Georgia in the articles of cession and agreement. The
principles are, that the term “territory,” as used in the instrument,
meant not only the territory ceded, but that retained. Now, Mr.
Chairman, as I cannot possibly comprehend what bearing this has upon the
question before us, I must be excused if I leave the Attorney General in
the undisturbed enjoyment of his premises and pursue the discussion.

So early as the year 1787 the State of Georgia, being sorely distressed
by the violence of the Indians, passed a law directing the establishment
of two regiments of troops, to serve until a restoration of peace
could be secured. But the enlistments not having been completed, in
the following year a law was passed holding out additional inducement,
and in the year 1789 the present federal constitution having gone into
operation, and the rights of peace and war thereby vested exclusively
in the General Government, the Legislature of Georgia passed a law
discharging the troops which had been enlisted, and declaring the rate of
pay which they should receive. For this pay certificates were directed to
be issued, and these certificates constitute a debt unredeemed to this
day. [Mr. E. turned to the several laws above referred to, and read from
each extracts as proofs of his statement.] Here, Mr. Chairman, you have
unfolded a debt, which, without the least violence to construction, fills
up the description given in the articles of cession. Here are expenses
incurred by the State totally distinct from and unconnected with the
claims now under discussion. It is important also to observe, that every
attempt made by the State of Georgia prior to the cession to dispose
of her vacant territory, appears from the face of the acts to have
been dictated by a view of discharging the public obligations to those
troops. No less than three attempts at a disposition of her territory
were made prior to the cession. The first was an offer to cede to the
General Government, in 1788, provided Congress would pay the expenses
which had then accrued in defending the frontiers, and would yield the
wonted protection in future at their own expense. This was rejected. In
the following year a law passed for disposing of a part of the territory
to companies, notoriously with a view to raise money wherewith to meet
the same engagements. This also failed, for causes which have been amply
unfolded to the House on another occasion. The next attempt was in the
year 1795, which, in the very title of the law, is expressed to be made
to meet the particular engagements to the same soldiery. Of the result of
this transaction the House is also possessed. The last attempt was by the
articles of cession. Thus it appears that in no instance were the present
claims ever thought of as a debt to be met by the State of Georgia out of
the proceeds of her unlocated lands, but that the expenses incurred by,
and the engagements made to the troops in the years 1787, 1788, and 1789,
were uniformly the moving cause toward a disposition of her territory.

The Committee of Claims however, sir, notwithstanding they have
throughout their report endeavored to rest upon the Attorney General
the responsibility of the construction given to the cession, have at
the same time erected a pillar of their own to support it, where they
saw it must fall. They well perceived that all reasoning upon the
subject was idle, unless one principle could be established; this they
have boldly advanced to, and, instead of proving, have assumed as the
groundwork of their whole superstructure. It is, that the State was bound
in the first instance to compensate the soldiery, notwithstanding the
ulterior responsibility of the General Government. From this they infer
that the State had a right and by the cession did exercise the right
of exonerating the latter Government. Now, Mr. Chairman, grant to the
Committee their premises and there is an end to the question between us;
their consequences must result. But, sir, I must supplicate their pardon
if I refuse my assent to their position until my judgment is convinced.
And I must be pardoned for saying that the reasoning to which they have
resorted for the purpose of proving it, strikes my mind as the reverse
of sound; that it proves too much to prove any thing. It is, that the
State Government is in the first instance liable, because the troops
were called into the field by the State Executive. This reasoning, Mr.
Chairman, would go to prove that in every instance in which militia have
been called into the service of the General Government, the States from
which they were drafted were in the first instance liable for their
compensation, because, in every case which has taken place, they were
called into the field by State Executives. The truth is, sir, that in
every case the orders have issued from the Executive of the General
Government to that of the State Government, and that orders have from the
latter issued in consequence thereof, for making the requisite drafts;
so that the troops engaged in service under the immediate directions
of the State, but under the mediate directions of the United States.
This was the course pursued in both the insurrections in the State
of Pennsylvania; it was the course in the State of South Carolina in
relation to Indian invasion, at the same period at which the services
were performed in Georgia for which we are now claiming compensation.
It was the same course the other day with the troops ordered down the
Mississippi to occupy New Orleans and its dependency. In all these cases
the troops were compensated by the General Government in the first
instance. It never entered the heart of any man that the States from
which the drafts were made, were in the first instance liable, and that
resort must afterwards be had by the State Government against the United
States. I have always been taught that precedents established principles,
but it now seems that the Committee of Claims in the profoundness of
their researches have discovered that by assuming premises, principles
may be established in the face of a uniform current of precedents.

There are, Mr. Chairman, two modes marked out in the constitution in
which the militia may be called into service. The first is a case where
from necessity the war attribute of sovereignty is left in the individual
States. It is the case of invasion or such imminent danger thereof as
will not admit of delay. The other mode is that of issuing orders from
the Executive of the General, to the officers of the State Governments.
This is the usual method by which the militia of the States are drawn
into the service of the United States. And it is of importance to observe
here, that the act of Congress which was intended to give effect to
the constitutional powers of the General Government to “call forth the
militia,” authorizes the President “to issue his orders for that purpose
to such officer or officers of the militia as he shall think proper.”
For, inasmuch as there can be no other difference in a military point of
view, and for military purposes, between the Governor of a State and the
next highest military officer, than the difference of rank, the one being
first, the other second, in command, it must follow that if the militia
are to resort for pay to the State Governments because their orders have
passed through the Governor, they must also resort to the same source in
case their orders should pass through the second or third in command; the
principles upon which the committee found their reasoning apply equally
to both cases. The soundness of conclusions drawn by the committee is,
therefore, not merely questionable, but to me it appears not difficult to
prove that the conclusions themselves are at war with the most obvious
principles of justice.

I hold it, sir, accordant with the most common rules by which individuals
are regulated in a state of society, that when service is performed
the party for whom it was performed is the only one responsible for
the compensation. The rule applies with equal force to the case of
Governments, who are moral agents. Happily, Mr. Chairman, there is no
difficulty in ascertaining the party for whom the service was performed
in the case under discussion. Fortunately for the States in general, it
is made the constitutional duty of the General Government to “protect
each of them against invasion.” And fortunately for the State of Georgia
in the present instance, there is the recorded sanction of the Executive
of the Union, couched in the following words--“If the information which
you may receive, shall substantiate clearly any hostile designs of the
Creeks against the frontiers of Georgia, you will be pleased to take the
most effectual measures for the defence thereof, as may be in your power,
and which the occasion may require.” If, therefore, the principles and
reasoning of the committee be correct, it must follow that troops engaged
in performing the constitutional duty of the United States must resort
for their compensation in the first place to the States. To premises
leading to such conclusions, I will not, cannot yield assent.

Mr. Chairman: It is recollected that when this subject was under
discussion at the last session of Congress, a distinction was taken
between the situation of troops called into the field by order from the
General Government, and those called out by the State Executive in virtue
of authority given by the former. But, sir, I humbly apprehend that such
a distinction is one of words, and not of principles. And I must here
profess to the honorable Committee of Claims my profound acknowledgment,
for furnishing me with an idea, and a mode of phraseology most suited to
my purpose. They, in their report, have told the House that the “manner
of exhibiting” the demand assuredly cannot change its nature. Now, sir,
I repeat, in nearly their own words, that the manner of calling out
the troops, cannot change the nature of the service. It cannot change
the United States service into State service. And indeed the Committee
of Claims themselves have given us the strongest proofs, that with
them the distinction had no weight. For of claims which have been so
contradistinguished in the reports from the War Department, there were
committed to them both descriptions; but they draw no difference. Indeed,
their principles would admit of none.

But, sir, if a difference in principle did exist between claims of the
two kinds, it would prove nothing in the present case, because the
difference does not here appear in fact; and I cannot but consider it as
one of the unfortunate circumstances attendant upon our claims, that the
epithet _unauthorized_, has, without foundation, been attached to them,
because, as was supposed, they were founded upon services not specially
ordered. The fact is, Mr. Chairman, that they were not only _authorized_,
but they were _ordered_, by the General Government. I beg leave to
compare the tenor of the orders for drafting the militia in Georgia,
with the orders issued in other cases, about which no difficulty ever
occurred. The words used in the Georgia case are, “you will be pleased
to take the most effectual measures for the defence thereof,” &c. What
are the words used in the orders issued to the governors of four States,
to march militia to quell the insurrection in the Western counties of
Pennsylvania? “I have to request your Excellency,” &c. The words are the
same in every other instance in which militia have been ordered into
the service of the United States. They are the same which were used for
enlisting the one hundred horse and one hundred foot to serve upon the
frontiers of Georgia, about whose compensation there never has, until
the present moment, been any difficulty; they are the same under which
several corps were raised in the same quarter, whose services have long
since been remunerated.

Let us here pause for a moment, and view the extent to which we shall be
led by adopting the report. Sir, the principles of that report, and the
application therein made of those principles, lead to a conclusion from
which, if I mistake not, every gentleman upon this floor will revolt.
Sure I am, every State in the Union will reject it with horror. What,
sir! has the great, the all-important right of peace and war been yielded
up by the States to the General Government, and yet the States bound to
compensate for war services? It is no reply to this conclusion to be told
that the States are only liable in the first instance; for it is then
completely within the power of the General Government, by _withholding_,
to make them bear the burden altogether. And to that may be added, that
the expenditure might frequently be of such magnitude as to create
extreme oppression in the imposition of taxes, and, in some States, might
produce general ruin and bankruptcy.

Mr. J. C. SMITH observed that the Committee of Claims, in submitting to
the House the reports then before them, had not been influenced by the
magnitude of the sum claimed for services. The simple question considered
by them, was whether compensation had, or had not been rendered for those
services. The decision of this question depended on another question,
whether from the nature of our Government, the State of Georgia was to
be considered as, in the first instance, liable for the satisfaction
of these claims. If this should be admitted, he thought the proper
construction to be placed on the articles of cession was extremely plain.
There are two ways in which the militia of a State may be called out by
the Executive of the United States. The first is by a direct detachment
of any portion of the militia. It was not necessary, in any instance,
for the Government of the United States to call on the Executive of a
State for this purpose. It was in their power directly to call into the
public service a brigade or other division. This is one course, which
may be pursued, and in this case it is admitted that the soldiers are
soldiers of the United States, and that for their compensation they are
to look to no other Government than that of the United States, in the
first instance. The other course is that where a requisition is made by
the General Government on the Executive of a State. What is the state of
things in this case? It must be presumed that the citizens of a State,
thus called into service, are to look to their own State for compensation
in the first instance, though he admitted that the General Government was
in the last resort responsible. They are to look, in the first instance,
to the State Government, for this obvious reason: The Governor of a
State is not amenable to the General Government; and he consequently
cannot be punished for exceeding their orders. Is that Government then
bound at all events to pay the expenses incurred in consequence of the
orders of the State Executive, when they may be in direct violation of
the orders of the General Government? It is a clear position then, that
when the militia are called out by the Executive of a State they are to
look to the State in the first instance. Application may be made to the
General Government in the first instance, and if there shall have been no
disobedience to its orders it may make payment; but, put the case of the
orders of the General Government being disobeyed, will it be contended
that it will be obliged to remunerate services rendered in opposition to
its commands?

Contemplating the subject in this view, it must be admitted that the
militia are in the first instance to look to the State Government, which
may make a compromise with the General Government.

The second question is, what is the nature of the compromise made in this
case? The articles of cession purport to be [Mr. SMITH here quoted the
beginning of these articles.]

It may here be proper to premise that Georgia is the first State in the
Union that has ever received a compensation for her territory transferred
to the United States. That territory was acquired by the joint exertions
and blood of the citizens of all the States. Under such circumstances it
becomes necessary to inquire into the compensation stipulated to be given
by the United States to the State of Georgia; a compensation not given
for the land, but for expenses incurred by Georgia in relation to it.
The Attorney General tells us that these expenses were incurred for the
portion surrendered to the United States, as well as for the whole State.

It behooves the gentleman from Georgia to show the precise expenses
incurred. Were this once proved it would remove all doubt. The
Commissioners who formed the articles of cession, it may be presumed, had
before them the whole materials; and it must be inferred that the claims
now made were fully considered by them, and were, so far as they are
just, included in the settlement. Mr. S. concluded his remarks by saying
he felt no uncommon tenacity or zeal against the claims; but that he
would be very willing to allow them in case it should be satisfactorily
shown that they were not already compensated.

Mr. MERIWETHER and Mr. HOLLAND opposed the report, when a vote was passed
against the claims--yeas 73, nays 28; when the House, on the motion of
Mr. J. CLAY, postponed the further consideration of the subject till
Monday next.


MONDAY, February 13.

_Public Roads._

On motion of Mr. JACKSON, the House took up the bill making provision for
the application of the money heretofore appropriated to the laying out
and making public roads leading from the navigable waters emptying into
the Atlantic to the Ohio river.

Mr. J. CLAY moved to postpone the bill to the 1st Monday of December.
Lost--yeas 41, nays 40.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD moved so to amend the first section, as to vest the
President with a general power to appoint three Commissioners to
designate a route, to be reported to Congress for their ultimate
decision; which motion, after a short conversation, was agreed to by a
considerable majority.

Mr. LYON offered a motion for empowering the President to designate the
routes. Lost, without a division.

The committee rose and reported the bill with several amendments, in
which the House concurred, and ordered the bill to a third reading on
Wednesday.


TUESDAY, February 14.

_Importation of Slaves._

The following motion, offered by Mr. BARD, was taken into consideration
in Committee of the Whole:

    “_Resolved_, That a tax of ten dollars be imposed on every
    slave imported into any part of the United States.”

On motion of Mr. JACKSON, it was agreed to add after the words United
States, “or their territories.”

Mr. LOWNDES.--I will trespass but a very short time upon the attention
of the House at this stage of the business, but as I have objections to
the resolution, it may be proper that I should state them now. I will
do so briefly, reserving to myself the privilege of giving my opinion
more at length when the bill is before the House, should the resolution
be adopted, and a bill brought in. I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, to find
that the conduct of the Legislature of the State of South Carolina, in
repealing its law prohibitory of the importation of negroes, has excited
so much dissatisfaction and resentment as I find it has done with the
far greater part of this House. If gentlemen will take a dispassionate
review of the circumstances under which this repeal was made, I think
this dissatisfaction and resentment will be removed, and I should indulge
the hope that this contemplated tax will not be imposed. Antecedent to
the adoption of the constitution under which we now act, the Legislature
of South Carolina passed an act prohibiting the importation of negroes
from Africa, sanctioned by severe penalties. I speak from recollection,
but I believe not less than the forfeiture of the negro and a hundred
pounds sterling for each brought into the State; and this act has been
continued in force until it was repealed by the Legislature at its last
session. This long interdiction, I think, manifests, on the part of the
government of the State, a disinclination to the trade, and, had we
received the aid from Congress which was necessary to enforce the act,
the repeal which is now complained of would never, in my opinion, have
taken place. But, Mr. Speaker, the State was unable to enforce its laws.
It had given up to the Government of the United States all revenues
derived from foreign imposts, and was, therefore, necessarily divested
of the means of preventing the introduction into the country from sea of
whatever the excitements to gain might allure it into. The geographical
situation of our country is not unknown. With navigable rivers running
into the heart of it, it was impossible, with our means, to prevent our
Eastern brethren, who, in some parts of the Union, in defiance of the
authority of the General Government, have been engaged in this trade,
from introducing them into the country. The law was completely evaded,
and for the last year or two, Africans were introduced into the country
in numbers little short, I believe, of what they would have been had the
trade been a legal one. Under these circumstances, sir, it appears to me
to have been the duty of the Legislature to repeal the law, and remove
from the eyes of the people the spectacle of its authority being daily
violated.

I beg, sir, that from what I have said, it may not be inferred that I
am friendly to a continuation of the slave trade. So far from it that,
without adverting to considerations by which I know other gentlemen
are influenced, I think the period has passed when the interests of
the country required, and her policy dictated, that an end should be
put to it. I wish the time had arrived when Congress could legislate
conclusively upon the subject. I should then have the satisfaction of
uniting with the gentleman from Pennsylvania, who moved the resolution.
Whenever it does arrive, should I then have a seat in this House, I will
assure him I will cordially support him in obtaining his object. But, Mr.
Speaker, I cannot vote for this resolution, because I am sure it is not
calculated to promote the object which it has in view. I am convinced
that the tax of ten dollars will not prevent the introduction into the
country of a single slave. Gentlemen must be sensible of the truth of
this observation, when they are informed, and the fact is too notorious
even to be doubted, that, notwithstanding the expense and risk which
attend an illicit trade, they have been introduced in very great numbers.
Was I friendly to the trade, I should, without any hesitation, embrace
the proposition contained in the resolution, and I should consider it a
point gained of no small importance, that the Legislature of the General
Government had given a sanction to it--for I can regard the Government
deriving a revenue from it in no other light than a sanction. The
gentleman from Pennsylvania, and those who think with him, ought, above
all others, to deprecate the passing of this resolution. It appears to
me to be directly calculated to defeat their own object--to give to
what they wish to discountenance a legislative sanction; and, further,
an interest to the Government in permitting this trade after the period
when it might constitutionally terminate it. When I say that I am myself
unfriendly to it, I do not wish, Mr. Speaker, to be misunderstood; I do
not mean to convey the idea that the people of the Southern States are
universally opposed to it--I know the fact to be otherwise. Many of the
people in the Southern States feel an interest in it, and will yield
it with reluctance. Their interest will be strengthened by the immense
accession of territory to the United States by the cession of Louisiana.
Gentlemen cannot foresee what the situation of the country will be when
the period arrives when Congress may constitutionally interdict the
trade. The finances of the country, and the exigences of the times, may
be such as to prevent the Government from dispensing with any part of
its revenue. The tax, if imposed, will undoubtedly produce a revenue,
and in proportion to the amount of this revenue will be the interest of
the Government in the trade. But, Mr. Speaker, my greatest objection to
this tax is, that it will fall exclusively upon the agriculture of the
State of which I am one of the representatives. However odious it may be
to some gentlemen, and however desirous they may be of discountenancing
it, I think it must be evident that this tax will not effect their
object; that it will not be a discouragement to the trade, nor will the
introduction of a single African into the country be prevented. The only
result will be, that it will produce a revenue to the Government. I
trust that no gentleman is desirous of establishing this tax with a view
to revenue. The State of South Carolina contributes as largely to the
revenue of the United States, for its population and wealth, as any State
in the Union. To impose a tax falling exclusively on her agriculture
would be the height of injustice, and I hope that the Representatives
of the landed interest of the nation will resist every measure, however
general in its appearance, a tendency of which is to lay a partial and
unequal tax on agriculture.

Mr. BEDINGER observed, that the gentleman from South Carolina had so
fully expressed the opinions he entertained, that he should say but
little. Every body who knew his opinions on slavery might think strange
of the vote he should give against the resolution. There was not a member
on the floor more inimical to slavery than he was, still he was of
opinion that the effect of the present resolution, if adopted, would be
injurious. He should, therefore, vote against it.

Mr. BARD.--It was my wish that the question before the committee might be
taken without discussion, but, as the gentleman from South Carolina has
preferred a different course, I beg permission to offer a few thoughts on
the subject.

As to the constitutionality of the measure, I believe there can be but
one opinion. It is pretty well understood that the union of the States
was a matter of compromise; and, indeed, the language of the constitution
suggests the idea that the convention which formed that instrument, must
have had the emancipation of slaves under their consideration. They had
achieved liberty, and their object was to transmit it to posterity;
and we cannot permit ourselves to suppose that men whose minds were so
enriched with liberal sentiments, and who had so often reiterated the
sacred truth, “That all men were born equally free”--I say we cannot
suppose that they would consider slavery to be a subject unworthy their
discussion; and it appears to be equally suggested that the convention
were not all agreed to an absolute prohibition of the slave trade,
but yielded so far that a duty or tax might be imposed on the future
importation of that description of people. The question, then, is only on
the policy of laying this tax; and it appears that there can be no doubt
on this question.

The slave trade, in terms, makes African men mere articles of traffic,
and of course they must be as much a subject of commercial regulation as
any other species of foreign manufactures. The tax will be high or low,
in proportion to the price the article will bring. And if my information
is correct, a slave will bring four hundred dollars; the tax, then, is
but two and-a-half per cent., which is many degrees lower than any other
imported article pays. The tax is a general one; no State in the Union
is exempted; it will operate wherever its object can be found. It may
be that some States will pay more and some less, but it will be at the
option of any State how much, or whether it will pay any of this tax;
for it will be just as the State shall please to deal in this article of
commerce. And, on the score of uniformity, no objection can lie against
the tax--the slaves have already been the object of direct taxation,
and Vermont paid none of that tax, because she had none of that kind of
taxable property; and yet I never heard it complained of as not being
uniform. It is said the tax is impolitic, because it will not prevent the
importation of Africans into our country. This may, indeed, be the case;
and I believe it will be but a feeble check to the trade if not aided
by nobler motives. However, if any of the States engage in the trade,
the tax will have two effects--it will add something to the revenue, and
it will show to the world that the General Government are opposed to
slavery, and willing to improve their power, as far as it will go, for
preventing it. Both these ends are valuable; but I deem the latter to be
the more important one, for we owe it indispensably to ourselves and to
the world, whose eyes are on our Government, to maintain its republican
character. Every thing compared to a good name is “trash;” and it rests
with us whether we will preserve or destroy it. If our Government will
respect power only, and justify whatever it may be able to do, then will
our hands be against every man, and every man’s hand against us; and
Americans will become the scorn of mankind.

On what principles, whether moral or political, I do not know; but so it
was, that about the close of the Revolutionary war, the Quaker society
in South Carolina brought the slave trade, or perhaps slavery itself,
under their serious consideration, and declared it to be unjustifiable.
They afterwards, in 1796 or 1797, addressed Congress on the subject; but
failed in their object, and for no other reason, probably, than that the
powers of Congress did not reach it.

Some years ago the States, even those in which slaves abound most, loudly
exclaimed against the further importation of that class of people, and
by their laws prohibited their traffic. Either they did this on moral
principles or considerations of policy. In 1802, Congress stretched
out her arm to aid the State Governments against the evil they so much
deprecated, and passed a law inflicting fines and forfeitures on every
man who should be found importing slaves into the United States. What
might have been the issue of these combined exertions, or how far they
might ultimately secure their end, I cannot tell; but, as to South
Carolina, they have become nugatory; by repealing her prohibitory law she
has rejected the interference of Congress. Why that State has done so;
why she has abandoned a measure which, the other day, was considered so
much her interest, I know not, nor is it for me to offer any conjectures.
South Carolina is a sovereign State, and has a right to consult and
pursue her own interest, so far as the general good will permit; for
hitherto she may come, and no further. Every State has a right to import
slaves if it so chooses, and Congress has a right to tax all the slaves
imported; but when the powers of a State, though constitutional, operate
against the general interest, then the exercise of those powers is
politically wrong, because it is contrary to the fundamental principle of
society, the public good, which is paramount to law and the constitution
itself. And, in my opinion, the importation of slaves is hostile to the
United States: to import slaves is to import enemies into our country; it
is to import men who must be our natural enemies, if such there can be.
Their circumstances, their barbarism, their reflections, their hopes and
fears, render them an enemy of the worst description.

Gentlemen tell us, though I can hardly think them serious, that the
people of this description can never systematize a rebellion. I will
not mention facts, it is sufficient to say that experience speaks a
different language--the rigor of the laws, and the impatience of the
slaves, will mutually increase each other, until the artifices of the one
are exhausted, and until, on the other hand, human nature sinks under
its wrongs, or obtains the restoration of its rights. The negroes are
in every family; they are waiting on every table; they are present on
numerous occasions when the conversation turns on political subjects,
and cannot fail to catch ideas that will excite discontentment with
their condition. And what is to be expected from the people of this
description, but that they will some day, and especially if their
importation continues, produce a disturbance that may not be easily
quieted, or kindle a flame that may not be readily extinguished. If ten
thousand of them have been, as it is said, smuggled into the United
States, in the course of a year or two past, and if ten or fifteen
thousand of them may now be legally brought annually into our country,
for four years to come, it will hardly be imagined that the general
interest will be unaffected by such an importation.

If they are ignorant, they are, however, susceptible of instruction, and
capable of becoming proficients in the art of war. To be convinced of
this we have only to look at St. Domingo.

There the negroes felt their wrongs, and have avenged them; they learned
the rights of man, and asserted them; they have wrested the power from
their oppressors, and have become masters of the island. If they are
unarmed, they may be armed; European powers have armed the Indians
against us, and why may they not arm the negroes? And if they are already
as numerous as is consistent with safety, it must be extreme impolicy to
import more; it is to accelerate an event which we cannot contemplate
without pain.

Slavery is not only impolitic as it affects the strength and tranquillity
of the United States, but as it prevents their wealth, which can only
grow out of society where the arts, sciences, and manufactures, are
cultivated and improved. But, sir, I despise to argue on the advantages
or disadvantages of what is contrary to the genius of our Government;
what is radically unjust, and violates the principles of morality.

The Americans boast of being the most enlightened people in the
world--they certainly enjoy the greatest share of liberty, and understand
the principles of rational government more generally than any other
nation on earth. They have denounced tyranny and oppression; they have
declared their country to be an asylum for the oppressed of all nations.
But will foreigners concede this high character to us, when they examine
our census and find that we hold a million of men in the most degraded
slavery? This is nearly one-fifth of our whole population; in some of the
States nearly the half. Here, then, is a fact that must have weight to
sink our national character, in spite of volumes to support it. It is a
fact, from which foreigners will infer, that we possess the principles of
tyranny, but want the power to carry them into operation, except against
the untutored and defenceless African. If, then, we hold a consistency of
national character in any estimation, we will give every discouragement
in our power to the importation of slaves. It is in this view that the
tax contemplated by the resolution is principally to be considered, and
only incidentally as matter of revenue.

But, sir, I presume, on permission, to say, that the importation of
slaves is in direct contradiction to the principles of morality. On these
principles the Constitution of the United States is founded; on them
every law ought to be founded; otherwise legislation will progress in the
dark, and every step deviate still more from its true direction. “Do unto
others as you would that others should do unto you,” is a law paramount
to all human institutions; it is the fundamental law of human nature, of
Christianity, and of every rational Government; it is a law which we wish
all men to respect in their dealings with us; and it is a law which every
man confesses he ought to observe, and, in spite of all the sophistry of
depravity, must acknowledge himself subject to its cognizance. I need
not, nor will I, ask if we have observed this law as to the Africans; for
it must be obvious to every man that it is not possible to violate it in
a greater degree than we have done towards that unfortunate and wretched
people.

But, notwithstanding all the information our country enjoys, numbers
in the Eastern States have been embarked, for some years past, in the
cruel traffic of slaves, and smuggling them into other States. And it
is to be feared that many of them are, at this moment, preparing means
to stimulate the barbarous tribes of Africa to war against each other;
mutually to torture every human feeling; to violate the strongest ties
of nature and affection; to tear the husband from the wife, and the
wife from the husband; the parent from the child, and the child from
the parent; and are coolly and deliberately forging irons, that they
may have the infernal pleasure of coolly and deliberately riveting them
on the unfortunate men, women, and children, who may fall into their
hands. Such an enterprise, such a traffic as this, must affect our
national character; it is self-evidently wrong, and, at first view, must
receive the disapprobation of every disinterested man. The genius of our
constitution, the mildness of its administration, and the prevailing
sentiment of the nation, must sanction every measure to discourage the
further admission of a people whose numbers already excite most painful
sensations. In a word, the tax is constitutional; no article can bear a
tax better than the one here proposed; it is a uniform tax, and justified
on the ground of sound policy; and so far as it tends to discourage the
slave-trade, it is supported by every principle of virtue. If I have
uttered a word offensive to any member of the House, it will not be
attributable to design, but to an honest solicitude to promote the honor
and interest of our country.

Mr. BEDINGER said he differed widely, as to the effects of this motion,
from the gentleman who had just spoken. He was as hostile to the
slave-trade as any man in the Union; and if he could believe that the
imposition of a tax of ten dollars upon every imported negro would check
the importation, he would vote for it. But he believed the resolution
would have a different effect, and would rather sanction than discourage
the trade. In point of revenue, the tax was of little consideration.
Suppose a thousand slaves to be imported monthly, the amount of the tax
would be about $100,000 a year; which in four years, at the expiration of
which Congress would have power to prohibit the trade altogether, would
amount to $400,000--a sum too trifling to be put into competition with
the adoption of any measure that went to sanction such a trade.

Mr. MACON (the Speaker) believed the resolution was not founded in good
policy. All the declamation and appeal to the passions urged in its
behalf appeared to him unnecessary and irrelevant. The avowed object of
the proposed tax was to show the hostility of Congress to the principle
of importing slaves. How could this opposition of Congress be manifested,
when it would become the duty of the armed ships of the United States,
as soon as the tax was imposed, to protect this trade, as well as all
other trade on which taxes were laid? He asked whether vessels engaged in
this trade would not, under such circumstances, possess the same right
to the protection of the Government as any other vessels engaged in any
other kind of trade? Can this House tax this trade, and refuse it the
same protection that is extended to all other trade? The question is not
whether we shall prohibit the slave trade, but simply whether we shall
tax it. Gentlemen are of opinion that the State of South Carolina has
done wrong in permitting the importation of slaves. Suppose that this is
the case. May not this measure be wrong also? Will it not look like an
attempt in the General Government to correct a State for the undisputed
exercise of its constitutional powers? It appeared to him to be something
like putting a State to the ban of the empire. It will operate as a
censure thrown on the State. To this, said Mr. M., I can never consent.
As far as the law that may be founded upon this resolution can go, it
will hold forth an evidence of the opinion entertained by Congress of
the act of the Legislature of South Carolina. I know that these ideas
may be unpopular in some parts of the Union, but I, notwithstanding,
consider them just. There does not appear to me to be any necessity for
our interposition, as, since the adoption of the constitution, no slaves
have, I believe, been permitted to be imported, and as only four years
are yet to run before Congress will be possessed of the constitutional
right of prohibiting such importation altogether. And the simple question
now is, whether for a trifling revenue, we will undertake to protect
this trade. My idea is, that those who at present go into the traffic,
have no right to claim your protection; but once legalize it by taxing
it, and they will acquire the right thereto, and will demand it. All
that has been said on the circumstances connected with the slave trade
either here or in England, and on its morality or immorality, are in my
opinion foreign to the true point involved in this debate, which is, Is
the measure contemplated by the resolution politic, or is it not? In my
opinion it is impolitic, for the reasons I have assigned, and for many
others which might be added. I shall therefore, on this ground, vote
against it.

Mr. FINDLAY was of opinion that the policy of the measure embraced by
the resolution, and nothing else, was before them. Gentlemen seemed all
to unite in their abhorrence of the slave trade; they differed only
about the means of preventing it. It was well understood that a large
majority of the Federal Convention were inimical to the slave trade. That
convention had only acted upon it in a commercial point of view. As they
considered imported slaves an article of commerce, the House possessed
the same liberty of acting with regard to them, as with regard to other
articles of trade. In some of these articles, Congress had the right of
exercising unlimited taxation; in this case, their power was limited to a
certain amount. Imported goods, on an average, were subjected to a duty
of about 20 per cent. On this subject, a difference of opinion exists as
to the propriety of making imported slaves an article of revenue. This
is the true question, and not whether we shall cast a censure upon any
particular State. It does not follow, that, because we lay a particular
tax, we censure those who pay it. Considering this, then, as an article
of trade, the tax might have been long since laid, had not all the States
prohibited the traffic. Under those circumstances, it could not be taken
up as a subject of revenue.

Mr. F. observed, that, though it might be unbecoming in the House to be
influenced by resentment against the State of South Carolina, yet it
was proper that they should be influenced by the policy of the case.
As a profitable article of commerce, it appeared as eligible a subject
of taxation as could be found, and as justly liable to taxation as any
other. As to the disgrace, which some gentlemen were of opinion would
arise from taxing it, that arose from the existence of the slave trade.
In laying the tax, we shall do all we can to discourage it; and if we do
not like to use the money derived from taxing it in the common way, we
may apply it to special objects--to ameliorate the state of slavery, or
to any other object.

Mr. F. concluded his remarks by observing, that this question being
brought forward, he could not justify himself in neglecting to embrace
the opportunity it presented of discountenancing the importation of
slaves. He considered it proper that Congress should take up the subject
as the constitution presented it to them. At a certain period they would
possess the right of prohibiting it altogether, and until then they
enjoyed the power of taxation. This being the only constitutional power
they did possess, he trusted they would exert it.

Mr. S. L. MITCHILL declared his wish that the proposition of the
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. BARD) should be considered merely as a
subject of political economy. In the remarks which he proposed to offer
upon it, he should, therefore, confine himself to that object. He would,
therefore, say nothing on the immorality of a trade which deprived a
large portion of the human species of their rights. He should pass over,
in silence, every thing that might be urged to exhibit it as impious
and irreligious; and he would not utter a word on its repugnance to
the principles of our equal jurisprudence, and the spirit of our free
Government. The slavery of a portion of our species was a copious theme,
when viewed in either of these aspects; but, on the present occasion, he
was willing to waive them all. The proposition was to be considered only
in its commercial, economical, and fiscal relations; and on each of these
it would be proper to make a few observations.

It was much to be regretted that the severe and pointed statute
against the slave trade had been so little regarded. In defiance of
its forbiddance and its penalties, it was well known that citizens and
vessels of the United States were still engaged in that traffic. During
the present session, memorials had been presented to Congress praying
for exoneration from the exportation bonds, which had been given to
one of the collectors of the customs, to ensure the landing of a cargo
of New England rum in Africa, which it was not pretended to be denied
was bartered away for slaves. These voyages were said to be carried on
under the flag of a foreign nation; and the common practice, as was
alleged, was, to go to the island of St. Croix and procure Danish papers
and colors. Under this cover, the voyages were performed. To prevent
the confiscation of the vessels under the law, on conviction of being
engaged in the slave trade, it had been customary to sell that article of
property in a foreign port.

Mr. M. observed that the extent of this shocking commerce was very
considerable at this time. Some time ago, he had seen a list of the
American vessels then known to be hovering on the coast of Guinea
in quest of captive negroes. They were numerous and active, and so
fatally busy as to excite the apprehensions of the benevolent Sierra
Leone Company. In various parts of the nation, outfits were made for
slave-voyages, without secrecy, shame, or apprehension. The construction
of the ships, the shackles for confining the wretched passengers, and all
the dismal apparatus of cruelty, were attended to with the systematic
coolness of an ordinary adventure. Regardless of legal prohibitions,
these merciless men, as greedy as the sharks of the element on which they
sailed, collected their slaves along the shores, and at the factories
of Negroland, from the river Senegal to the countries of Congo and
Angola. Countenanced by their fellow-citizens at home, who were as ready
to buy as they themselves were to collect and to bring to market, they
approached our Southern harbors and inlets, and clandestinely disembarked
the sooty offspring of the Eastern, upon the ill-fated soil of the
Western hemisphere. In this way, it had been computed that, during the
last twelve months, twenty thousand enslaved negroes had been transported
from Guinea, and, by smuggling, added to the plantation stock of Georgia
and South Carolina.

So little respect seems to have been paid to the existing prohibitory
statute, that it may almost be considered as disregarded by common
consent. And, therefore, as was observed by a gentleman from South
Carolina, (Mr. HUGER,) the Legislature of that State had lately repealed
their restrictive law, and legitimated a trade which neither that
regulation of their common wealth, nor the concurrent authority of the
nation, could prevent. And it may be received as a correct general idea
on this subject, that the citizens of the navigating States bring negroes
from Africa, and sell them to the inhabitants of those States which are
more distinguished for their plantations.

Thus in spite of the spirit of our republican institutions, and the
letter of our laws, a commerce in slaves is carried on to an alarming
extent--a species of slavery peculiar in its form and character, and
unlike that which was practised in ancient or modern Europe--a kind of
servitude unheard of by the civilized world, until it was made known
among the discoveries of the Portuguese along the western coast of that
continent which reaches from Ceuta to the Cape of Good Hope. There it
seems to have been extant from time immemorial, among the barbarous
powers of a country who have eradicated all the tender relations of
society, and established in their place the forceful and ferocious
distinctions of MASTER and SLAVE. From those rude and uncivilized tribes,
did Christian people learn the lessons of negro slavery. Under such
instructors, and with such examples before them, have the Europeans and
their descendants carried those savage customs of Africans into the
New World, and most unfortunately tainted with them the manners and
ordinances of a more refined race of men. For a delineation of this
peculiar state of society, in its native regions, the world is much
indebted to the undaunted enterprise of Mr. Parke; as, for its baneful
effects upon the white nations who have adopted it, they will long
remember the disclosures of Mr. Wilberforce, and the researches of Mr.
Clarkson.

This doleful traffic it was not in the power of Congress to prevent by
any present regulations. By the 9th section of the first article of
the constitution the power of admitting such persons as they please
is reserved to the States, until the year 1808. South Carolina has
authorized the importation of negro slaves from Africa. This Congress can
neither prohibit nor punish. But the National Legislature can exercise
the authority granted by the same paragraph of the constitution, “of
imposing on such importation a tax or duty not exceeding ten dollars for
each person.”

There could be no doubt of the power of Congress to declare and levy such
an impost on imported slaves for four years to come. The only question
therefore was, whether it would be good policy to do so? Mr. MITCHILL
contended that it would. On this point he replied to a gentleman from
South Carolina, (Mr. LOWNDES,) who had argued that such a tax would
discourage agriculture. He contrasted the cultivation of lands by the
labor of freemen, with the more expensive management of them by slaves.
He compared the husbandry of the Northern and Middle States, with the
rural economy of the South. He examined in detail the moderate profits of
a plantation on which bread, corn, grass, and live stock, were raised,
and the enormous income derived to the proprietor of an estate employed
in the culture of tobacco, rice, cotton, and sugar. He examined the
smaller expense of feeding, clothing, and housing laborers in warm
than in cold climates. It has been computed by men of observation,
that a working slave on a cotton plantation would, besides supporting
himself, clear for his master a net sum of two hundred dollars a year.
On the average course of crops, where the plants were not attacked by
the cherille, this estimate was considerably below the mark. And on this
conviction he believed there was no important article whatever that would
bear an impost so well.

Mr. M. then replied to an argument of the gentleman from North Carolina,
(Mr. MACON,) that the imposition of the tax would be a recognition of
the right to trade in slaves, and bind the nation to protect it with
the force of the navy. He considered slavery already recognized in many
of the States, and permitted by the constitution. It was a fact that it
did exist, and Congress could not put an end to it. But this body might
interpose its authority, and discountenance it as far as possible; and by
laying the duty as high as the constitution permitted, a very desirable
addition would be made to the revenue. Two hundred thousand dollars might
be computed to be derived from this sort of merchandise imported into
the country. Nor would Congress be bound to protect the African commerce
on the high seas; the existing statute would be in force against it; the
trade would still be unlawful as far as the power of Congress extended.
And under the proposition now under debate, this species of traffic would
be so far from receiving encouragement, that it would be punished in
cases where Congress could punish it, and taxed in the cases to which the
power to punish it did not extend.

He then delineated the wretched condition of a man subdued by fraud or
force, deprived of the exercise of his will and judgment, subjected to
the dominion and caprice of another, robbed of his rights and privileges,
divested of moral power and agency, degraded from the rank of a human
being, and brutalized into a _chattel_--a _thing_--and divested of the
character of a _person_. In this point of view, such articles, bought and
sold publicly in the market, were to be considered as mere merchandise,
as working machines, or animals of labor? Distressing as the recollection
was to every sympathizing or patriotic heart, it was useless to dwell
upon it, as it was beyond our reach to grant relief. He would therefore
treat it strictly as a case of foreign merchandise heretofore admitted
free, but upon which it was now intended to impose a duty. For his own
part, he should be glad if it could be laid, _ad valorem_, upon the price
of the article. But, as the matter was circumstanced, there was no other
method that could be adopted than to impose it, _per capita_, upon the
individual persons imported. By laying the tax, he would imitate the ways
of Divine Providence, and endeavor to extract good out of evil.

Concluding thus that the tax was constitutional, that the subject would
bear it, and that it would be a seasonable and proper expression of the
Congressional sentiment on the subject. Mr. M. proceeded to show what an
abundance of excellent purposes could be answered by $200,000 collected
annually for four years.

In the course of his remarks, Mr. M. said, he had endeavored to avoid all
harshness of expression on a topic of a peculiarly delicate nature, and
prone to excite much sensibility in debate, but considered it strictly as
a matter of political economy. In his attempt to state his reasoning to
the committee, not as an abstract speculator, but as a man of business,
he hoped he had given no offence to any gentleman by any severity of
animadversion. He looked upon negro slavery as a dark spot on some of the
members of the national body, which was spreading wider, turning blacker,
and threatening a gangrene all around--and he felt a confidence that
all friends to the health of this body would take warning by its fatal
progress in a neighboring island--which had so mortified in St. Domingo,
as to make that extreme part rot and drop off from the system to which it
once belonged.

Mr. SLOAN said he rose to observe, in a few words, that however
afflicting it might be to contemplate a certain part of the creation used
as articles of traffic, imported and exported the same as cattle, he
did not consider the morality or immorality of the practice before the
House. We must take the constitution as we find it, and as it is not in
our power to prohibit the importation, the only question to be considered
is, whether we shall most encourage the traffic, by letting the articles
imported remain free of duty or by imposing a tax upon them. This view,
he believed, presented to the mind the true question, and believing
himself that a tax would, in some degree, discourage the importation, he
should vote for the resolution.

Mr. T. MOORE.--I am astonished to hear gentlemen, who advocate the
resolution now under consideration, reprobate a traffic as horrid and
infamous, and yet wish to draw a revenue from infamy, if it is an infamy.

I differ very widely in opinion from the honorable gentleman from
Pennsylvania, who thinks that a tax of ten dollars per head will operate
as a check to the growth of this horrid traffic. If I thought it would
have that effect I would cheerfully vote for the resolution. I believe a
tax of ten dollars will not prevent the importation of a single person of
this description.

The gentleman told us that he hoped the General Government were disposed
to discourage this traffic as far as they are authorized by the
constitution. I hope this House will discourage this impolitic act of
the Legislature of one of the Southern States--not by imposing a tax on
those unfortunate people imported into the United States, but by passing
a resolution expressive of its disapprobation of all acts permitting the
importation of certain people into the United States. As the General
Government cannot prohibit this traffic before the year 1808, I hope
this House will reject the resolution under consideration, and totally
disapprove every measure which attempts to draw revenue from an act that
rivets the chains of slavery on any of the human race.

Mr. HUGER regretted that he could not see the subject in the same light
with other gentlemen who had taken a part in the debate. He had no
hesitation in saying that he had always been hostile to the importation
of slaves. Nor had he any hesitation in saying that if he had the power
he would prohibit the importation. But the situation in which they
were now placed was very different from that in which they would find
themselves in the year 1808, when they would possess the constitutional
power to prohibit the introduction of slaves. The constitution was known
to be the offspring of concession and compromise, and in no part of
it was this feature more apparent than in that which related to this
subject. When the Southern States were admitted into the Union, they
were in the habit of carrying on this species of trade, and they, by the
express language of the constitution, retained the right of continuing
it until the year 1808. Under this constitution the State of South
Carolina enjoyed the exclusive right of judging of the propriety of
allowing the trade or of prohibiting it. Had he had the honor of a seat
in the Legislature of that State, Mr. H. certainly would have opposed
the passage of this law. But he was only one of that community, standing
here as their Representative, and after the State had exercised their
undoubted right, however he might dislike the measure, it was his duty to
defend the right which they had to adopt it. That State had in truth done
no more than she possessed a constitutional right to do, and he believed
there was in that State as much true compassion as in any other in the
Union. He said he could not therefore but feel sensibly the attempt to
single out this particular State to censure her for doing that which she
had an undisputed right to do.

This was not, as contended by some gentlemen, a mere question of revenue;
but it was a question whether the Government of the Union should come
forward and condemn the act of a State, which she was fully authorized
to pass. If it is necessary to increase the revenue, let us meet that
subject fairly and fully, and not single out a particular resource of
a particular State. It is on this ground that I principally object to
this measure. The gentleman from New York (Mr. MITCHILL) has endeavored
to prove that because in the Southern States the article of slaves
produces a great profit, it is therefore proper to make it the subject
of taxation. I ask if there should be a profitable species of trade
carried on in any other part of the Union, would it be deemed politic
or just on that account to lay an additional tax upon it? The fair
principle of taxation is, that every part of the Union should contribute
equally. When any branch of trade is profitable in New York, I, though
a Southern man, rejoice at it. When the fisheries of the Eastern States
prosper, I feel highly gratified--not because those whom I represent are
particularly interested in them, but because I consider myself as a part
of the whole, and that whatever advances the interests of any part of
this Union must promote the interests of every part of it.

With regard to the moral principle involved in the slave trade, we have
nothing to do with it. On this point the Union ought to be silent. On
this subject can any thing be more pointed than the provisions of the
constitution, which, contrary to most of the other provisions, cannot
be altered but with the consent of every State in the Union. Why then
shall we cry over what we cannot prevent, like a school boy? Each State,
so long as she confines herself within the limits of her constitutional
powers, must be the exclusive judge of her own conduct; and it becomes
not one State, influenced by different feelings, habits, and interests,
to pronounce upon the conduct of another. All, so far as regards
themselves, are judges of right and wrong. We, too, have as strong a
conviction of the propriety of our measures as those who differ from us
in sentiment on this subject. We may perhaps think it more blamable to
make slaves of white people than of the blacks.

I confess I have not been able clearly to understand the ideas of the
gentleman from New York (Mr. MITCHILL.) A few days since that gentleman
offered a report, the object of which was to free raw materials from
duty. Will the State of South Carolina profit by this? No. It will
conduce to the benefit of other parts of the Union; but we shall bear the
burden: and still, on this occasion, because we derive a certain profit
from a particular description of trade, the gentleman contends for taxing
it.

Let gentlemen also consider that we are not to be hurried away by our
feelings or passions. We are sent here to attend to the business of the
nation, and, to do that as it ought to be done, we must yield to a spirit
of mutual deference and compromise, we must act fairly and impartially.
All we ask in the present case is, to do as we would be done by. We
permit the Eastern States to import German redemptioners and others.
Let them then permit us to enjoy our constitutional right of importing
slaves, especially when that right will exist but for a short time.

We do not pretend to advocate the act, but the right of our State to
pass this law. It is not to be inferred that we are friendly to the
importation. I believe, on the contrary, every Representative of the
State on this floor is hostile to it. But how can gentlemen expect that
we will disregard the voice of our own State, and especially when the
measure may have been dictated by good and substantial reasons. One good
reason may be that the importation could not be prevented, and that the
restraining law was extensively broken. This we know was the fact. If
so, may it not have been sound policy in the State to repeal it? There
may have been another reason for the measure. It may have been conceived
to have been better to import slaves directly from Africa than to be
indebted for them to New York and other States, in which they may have
been surreptitiously introduced.

The gentleman from New York (Mr. MITCHILL) observes that it is
demonstrable that, even in a pecuniary point of view, slaves are an evil;
and that they impoverish those who hold them. What does this show, but
that in the North they kept slaves as long as their interest dictated,
and then got rid of them; and that because it is a misfortune to have
them, we must be punished for our poverty. Though young, I am happy to
state that I have seen the evil decreasing in the State I have the honor
to represent. Let us alone, and we will pursue the best means the nature
of the case admits of. Interfere and you will only increase the evil;
for, whenever the Government of the Union interferes in the peculiar
concerns of a State, it must excite jealousy and a spirit of resistance.

I beg gentlemen to lay aside, on this occasion, the prejudices to which
local circumstances and peculiar State interests and feelings expose
them. When I see the lowest of the animal tribe tortured, I feel for
them; but does it follow that my interference will mitigate their pain?
Do we not all know, that by interfering between a man and his wife,
we only aggravate the difference; and do we not likewise know that
any interference between a master and his slave induces the former to
be more severe. I believe the State of South Carolina has as great an
inclination as any State similarly circumstanced, to do away this evil.
But they must, and ought to take their own course. It is a circumstance
well known, that the people to the North, who make the most noise on this
subject, are those, who, when they go to the South, first hire, then buy,
and last of all turn out the severest masters among us.

Mr. LUCAS observed that, though much had been said on the merits of the
resolution, he would take the liberty of adding a few remarks. It was
a maxim that, to justify the raising of a revenue, a Government ought
previously to stand in need of money. The pecuniary wants of a Government
were absolute and relative. The fit objects of taxation were likewise
various. Some objects bore taxation better than others. When Governments
want money to satisfy indispensable demands, taxes must be laid; and even
when they are not in immediate want of money for pressing emergencies,
there are frequently important purposes that might be answered in case
they possessed resources. On this occasion it is said that the Government
is not in want of money, that the existing revenue meets the wants of the
nation, and that, consequently, a new tax ought not to be laid. This may
possibly, strictly speaking, be correct. But to say absolutely that we do
not want money, he must deny; for he believed if they had money in the
Treasury, not required for pressing exigencies, they could find abundant
occasions for spending it to good effect. It was known that there were
many claims preferred against the Government, of a meritorious kind,
and which had been disallowed, not so much on their intrinsic merits,
as from the operation of the statute of limitations. This limitation,
said Mr. L., it is my wish should be removed, and one way of effecting
that end will be to increase our revenue, as we shall thereby be enabled
to discharge all just demands exhibited. The laying out, likewise, of
roads was an important object. One is contemplated from this place to New
Orleans. Without going further into a view of the various demands on the
Government, we shall see the occasion that exists for more money being
drawn into our Treasury.

As to the nature of the slave trade, we must, in my opinion, consider
slaves imported as so much produce or merchandise. This article ought,
in my opinion, likewise to be taxed, because the trade is odious; also,
because it affords a great profit to those who carry it on. It was
yesterday stated by a gentlemen from New York that a slave employed in
the Southern States would pay for himself in two years; that is, that a
slave that costs four hundred dollars will give a profit to the owner of
two hundred dollars a year. As, therefore, no article imported into the
United States gives a greater profit, so no article can better bear a
tax. It ought also to be taxed, because the importation of slaves into
the United States operates injuriously on the poor whites who draw their
subsistence from labor. Their comparative situation in relation to the
rich, is reduced; for if you increase the black laborers, so as to make
them work for a lower compensation, you virtually reduce the value of the
labor of the whites, and proportionally lessen the chance of a poor white
man getting employment on favorable terms. It is well understood that
competition always reduces the price of an article in the market; and
although the blacks may not, in all respects, enter into a competition
with the whites, yet, so far as respects labor, the competition will be
complete. The rich part of the community will not employ a white man who
feels the spirit of a freeman, and who will not submit to be subservient
to the caprices of his employer, so long as they can employ a slave
whom they can control as they please, and at a smaller expense. The
indisputable effect, therefore, of the introduction of additional slaves
will be the reduction of the value of labor, and the augmented severity
of the lot of the poor white man, who is entirely dependent on his labor
for the support of himself and family.

Gentlemen tell us we ought not so closely to scrutinize the conduct
of the Legislature of South Carolina. I am, said Mr. L., far from
scrutinizing in this instance the conduct of that State. I respect the
people of South Carolina. Their situation may, perhaps, be such as in
a great measure to justify their conduct, though I am far from saying
that I approve it. But when we lay a tax on the importation of slaves,
it is a sufficient reply to such remarks to say that the tax is not laid
exclusively on slaves admitted into South Carolina. It does not therefore
apply to South Carolina alone. That State has an undoubted right to admit
the importation; but Congress have also an undoubted right of taxing
them. The resolution, therefore, does not encroach on the rights of that
State. The United States and South Carolina form two bodies politic, both
of which are possessed of constitutional rights. To the one belongs the
right of importing, to the other, the right of taxation; and this last
right may be exercised without involving any censure of the State of
South Carolina. The only necessary inquiry is, whether the proposed tax
will be oppressive or unjust. I believe it will be universally agreed
that an imported article worth four hundred dollars will not be taxed
high compared with other articles, when it pays a duty of ten dollars. As
to the constitutionality of the tax not a word need be said; that has not
and cannot be disputed.


WEDNESDAY, February 15.

_Importation of Slaves._

The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on Mr.
BARD’s resolution to impose a tax of ten dollars on every slave imported
into the United States; the debate on which occupied the remainder of the
sitting.

Mr. LUCAS supported, and Mr. HOLLAND opposed the resolution.

Mr. EARLE moved that the committee rise and report progress. His
reason for this motion was, that, from information received from South
Carolina, on which he placed much reliance, it was expected that the
Legislature would meet in April, and would then repeal the act admitting
the importation of slaves. Should the committee rise, he would move a
postponement of the consideration of the resolution to the first Monday
in May.

Mr. GREGG.--I hope the motion for the committee to rise will prevail;
and that any further proceeding on this subject will be postponed for
the present. It has been said by the gentleman from South Carolina
who made the motion, and I have heard it mentioned by others, that a
considerable ferment has been excited in that State by the passage of
the law authorizing the importation of slaves, and that it is highly
probable the Legislature, at its next session, will repeal that law. That
session, it is expected, will be held in April, the Governor having it
in contemplation to convene the Legislature at that time for the purpose
of submitting to their consideration the proposed amendment to the
constitution.

Let it not, Mr. Chairman, be inferred, from what I have said, that I am
in principle opposed to the effect which I am confident the mover of the
resolution expected it would produce. No member of this House is, or can
be, more decidedly opposed to slavery than I am. In the State from which
I come slavery is scarcely, if at all, known. I do not know whether,
at this moment, it has any existence there. However the inhabitants of
that State may differ on other points, on the subject of slavery we are
all united. All parties have joined in abolishing it. I sincerely wish
that Congress possessed a constitutional power to abolish it, or at
least to check its further progress in the United States. If they did
possess such power, I would most cordially concur in putting it into
operation. Instead of ten dollars, I wish the constitution would warrant
us in imposing a tax of one hundred, or of five hundred dollars on each
imported slave. I would willingly vote for that sum, because it would
amount to an entire prohibition of such importation, and effectually
destroy the traffic which I consider highly impolitic, as well as
contrary to the principles of justice.

When the present constitution was adopted, there were no laws in several
States to prohibit the importation of slaves. It is but a few years
since such a law was passed by the State of Georgia. During all that
period money was much wanted. The revenue was not adequate to the demand.
Government was compelled to have recourse to loans, and in some instances
had to submit to a heavy interest; yet in all that time the idea, I
believe, was never suggested in Congress of supplying the deficiency
by imposing a tax on slaves, although numbers were then imported. From
this it may be inferred, that at that time the power vested in Congress
by the constitution of imposing a tax of ten dollars on each person
imported into any of the then existing States, agreeably to its laws,
was not considered as given for the purpose of raising revenue. It was
given, it may be presumed, for the purpose of being used as a check to
the trade, and at the time the constitution was adopted, the exercise of
that power might have contributed to produce such effect. The price of
slaves was then low; their labor was not so productive to their owners,
and, of course, ten dollars in addition to the then current price might,
in some measure, have checked the spirit of purchasing. But soon after
that period, by the introduction of the cultivation of cotton, the labor
of slaves became more valuable, and their price enhanced in proportion.
Ten dollars then bore some proportion to the price of a slave, but at
this time it is comparatively as a cipher. A planter who can find his
advantage in giving four hundred dollars, which is said to be the present
current price of a good negro, will think but little of ten additional
dollars. In the present state of things, therefore, I take it the
proposed tax cannot effect the object contemplated by the mover of the
resolution--it can neither prevent nor remedy the evil; and as it has
the appearance of giving legal sanction to the trade, and may have an
influence on the Legislature of South Carolina, inasmuch as it is an
implied attack on their sovereignty, and a censure on them for passing
an act which, however important it may be in our view, the constitution
certainly did authorize them to pass, I think the further consideration
of the subject had better be postponed for the present; perhaps always,
until Government may have it in its power to adopt measures calculated to
produce an entire prohibition of the trade.

Mr. HUGER said the arguments urged by the friends of the motion were
two-fold. One class of gentlemen say they are not in favor of this tax
for purposes of revenue, but to manifest the opinion of the National
Legislature; while another class declares their only reason for laying it
is the revenue it will bring into the Treasury. A decision, therefore,
by the House, will settle no principle; for supposing that a majority
of the members shall be found in favor of the tax, one-half of them
will vote for it on one principle and one-half on another. Under these
circumstances, he appealed to gentlemen inclined to favor the resolution,
whether it would not be the best policy to wait until the Legislature
of South Carolina had an opportunity of repealing the obnoxious law. Is
it a pleasant thing to any gentleman on this floor to throw a stigma
upon a State? And will not gentlemen from the Middle and Eastern States
recollect that the situation of South Carolina is very different from
that of their States? Let them, then, do as much good as they can at
home; but let them, in God’s name, permit us to act for ourselves. It is
a very easy thing to make some harsh remarks on the conduct of particular
States, even of the State of Pennsylvania, much as that State is
deservedly respected. Mr. H. said he did not believe that State stood one
iota higher than other States in the Union. For he believed that peculiar
interest operated there as well as in other States.

Mr. H. said, from what had been expressed to-day, he did not believe the
people of South Carolina friendly to the act admitting the importation
of slaves. Every Representative of that State on this floor wished, he
believed, that it had never been passed. But as it had passed, they
conceived it to be their duty to resist a measure which went to censure
the State for the exercise of an undoubted right.

Mr. STANTON.--Mr. Speaker: I am highly gratified to find honorable
members in every part of the House who reprobate the infamous traffic of
buying and selling the human species. On this occasion but a few remarks
are necessary, if morality, humanity, and justice, are conducive to the
happiness of society. It is not my duty nor intention to criminate the
State of South Carolina, whose late conduct has created serious and well
founded alarm. It is a duty I owe to my constituents and myself not
to connive at a measure that, in my humble opinion, goes to shake the
pillars of public security, and threatens corruption to the morals of our
citizens, and tarnishes the American character. Sir, while I deprecate
the repeal of the non-importation act of South Carolina, I console myself
with the pleasing expectation that the State will retract the error they
have recently and unguardedly fallen into, and I cannot doubt but the
honorable members from that State, on this floor, will lend their aid to
effect so desirable a measure--to enact again the prohibitory statute.
We are told if the House adopt the resolution, it will irritate South
Carolina, notwithstanding the opposers of the resolution confess the
impolitic conduct of South Carolina. I wish not to offend any of our
sister States, much less, that important State whose wisdom, virtue, and
patriotism, have been conspicuous on every other occasion. The opposers
of the resolution inform us its adoption will both encourage and sanction
the importation, and that they have a constitutional right to import
until 1808. I grant it, but I hope better things of that State; and
things that accompany reformation. She has recently, with other States,
emancipated herself from tyranny and oppression, and will she sully her
fair fame by commencing tyrant herself? Sir, the speakers from the State
of South Carolina, and particularly the honorable member who offered a
resolution as a substitute for the one under consideration, delivered
himself in sentiments of the most admirable humanity, and constitutional
love and zeal for his country; and, if he were a member from any other
State in the Union, I should have the honor, I make no doubt, of voting
with him for the resolution on your table. Sir, I am sensible the General
Government cannot prohibit the traffic previous to the year 1808. This is
one of the most humiliating concessions made by that venerable convention
which framed the constitution, and we are bound by it. I ask, is the
policy of the measure embraced by the resolution sound? I believe it is.
I consider slaves a luxury--they are considered by the constitution,
three-fifths of them, to give a Representative, and I ask why not tax
them? It is a sound maxim that representation and taxation should go hand
in hand. To lay a tax being the only constitutional power the General
Government possesses, I think it good policy to exercise it.

The State of Rhode Island, from whence I came, passed a law declaring
negro children born posterior to 1784, as free as white children.
Mr. Speaker, I mention this statute merely to obviate the erroneous
impression, that otherwise might be made with a view to mislead the
public mind, that the citizens of Rhode Island are disposed to favor the
villanous traffic. I wish not to egotize, but I can assure the House this
traffic has been abhorrent to me upwards of forty years, and if I should
live to see 1808--that auspicious period in our national compact which
shall be exonerated from the tragic feature that has cast a shade on that
valuable instrument--if the important acquisition of Louisiana gave ample
cause for festivity, still greater cause shall we have when the glorious
period shall arrive of 1808. That shall be my jubilee.

After a few further remarks, by Mr. HUGER and Mr. LUCAS, the question was
taken on the rising of the Committee, and passed in the negative--yeas
58, nays 60. When the resolution was agreed to.

The committee rose and reported their agreement to the resolution, which
the House immediately took into consideration.

Mr. WYNN moved to postpone the further consideration of the resolution
till the first Monday in January, and required the yeas and nays.

The question was then taken on the postponement, by yeas and nays, and
passed in the negative--yeas 54, nays 62, as follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, jun., Nathaniel Alexander, George Michael
    Bedinger, Silas Betton, William Blackledge, Walter Bowie,
    John Boyle, William Butler, John Campbell, Levi Casey, Thomas
    Claiborne, Joseph Clay, Jacob Crowninshield, Richard Cutts,
    Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, John Dawson, William Dickson,
    Thomas Dwight, John B. Earle, Peter Early, James Elliot,
    William Eustis, John Fowler, Edwin Gray, Andrew Gregg, Roger
    Griswold, Samuel Hammond, Wade Hampton, Seth Hastings, Joseph
    Heister, James Holland, Benjamin Huger, Michael Leib, Thomas
    Lowndes, Matthew Lyon, Andrew McCord, David Meriwether, Thomas
    Moore, Joseph H. Nicholson, Thomas Plater, John Randolph, John
    Rhea of Tennessee, Thomas Sanford, Tompson J. Skinner, John
    Cotton Smith, James Stephenson, Samuel Tenney, Samuel Thatcher,
    Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Daniel C. Verplanck, Lemuel
    Williams, Richard Wynn, and Thomas Wynns.

    NAYS.--Isaac Anderson, John Archer, Simeon Baldwin, David Bard,
    Adam Boyd, Robert Brown, Joseph Bryan, William Chamberlin,
    Clifton Claggett, Matthew Clay, Frederick Conrad, Ebenezer
    Elmer, John W. Eppes, William Findlay, James Gillespie,
    Peterson Goodwyn, Gaylord Griswold, John A. Hanna, William
    Helms, William Hoge, David Holmes, David Hough, John G.
    Jackson, Walter Jones, William Kennedy, Nehemiah Knight, Joseph
    Lewis, jr., Henry W. Livingston, John B. C. Lucas, William
    McCreery, Samuel L. Mitchill, Nicholas R. Moore, Jeremiah
    Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas Newton, jr., Gideon Olin, Beriah
    Palmer, Thomas M. Randolph, Jacob Richards, Cæsar A. Rodney,
    Erastus Root, Thomas Sammons, Ebenezer Seaver, James Sloan,
    John Smilie, John Smith of New York, John Smith of Virginia,
    Henry Southard, Richard Stanford, Joseph Stanton, John Stewart,
    Samuel Taggart, Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg, John Trigg,
    Philip Van Cortlandt, Isaac Van Hornee, Joseph B. Varnum, Peleg
    Wadsworth, Matthew Walton, Marmaduke Williams, and Joseph
    Winston.

And then the main question being taken that the House do agree to the
said resolution, as amended to read as follows:

    _Resolved_, That a tax of ten dollars be imposed on every slave
    imported into any part of the United States:

It was resolved in the affirmative--yeas 71.

_Ordered_, That a bill or bills be brought in, pursuant to the said
resolution; and that the Committee of Ways and Means do prepare and
bring in the same.


FRIDAY, February 17.

_Importation of Slaves._

The House resumed the consideration of the unfinished business of
yesterday, viz: “What day should be made the order to the Committee of
the Whole to consider the bill laying a tax of ten dollars upon every
slave imported into the United States.”

Mr. LOWNDES moved that the further consideration of the bill should be
postponed till the first Monday in December.

Mr. LOWNDES.--In moving a postponement of the bill to the first Monday
in December next, my object is to get rid of it altogether. Gentlemen
have supported the resolution upon which this bill is founded, upon
such a variety of, and contradictory grounds, that their arguments are
not very susceptible of a reply. I am, however, very glad that it has
been conceded by every gentleman who has spoken upon the subject, that
this tax, if laid, would not have the effect of diminishing the number
of Africans imported into the country. When it was admitted that the
object for which the resolution was avowedly brought forward, would not
be obtained, I did hope that the resolution itself would not have been
persevered in. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. GREGG,) to whose
arguments I generally listen with pleasure, has told us that he would
not for the world give his vote for this tax, for the purpose of raising
revenue; but that he would be obliged to vote for the resolution, to show
his disapprobation of the trade. The gentleman did, however, manifest
a disposition to get rid of the question, without taking a direct vote
upon it. Another gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SMILIE) has told us,
that he too is averse to this tax with a view to revenue, but that he
must vote for it, for if he does not, it will be an admission, on his
part, that Congress is favorable to the trade. What am I to infer from
this observation? Am I to infer that Congress until this time has been
favorable to the trade; and am I to infer that the gentleman himself, who
has for so long a time been an active member of Congress, has also been
favorable to it? This trade has from the adoption of the constitution
until a few years ago, when it was first prohibited by Georgia, been
carried on; and yet Congress have never exercised their power of imposing
any tax, nor have I heard that the gentleman did ever bring forward a
resolution for the purpose. There is another description of persons
imported into the United States--I mean those bound to serve for a term
of years. The comparison I admit is not analogous throughout, but it is
to a certain extent. These persons are chiefly introduced into the States
of Pennsylvania and New York; none, or at least very few of them, into
New England. Were it proposed to embrace them by this tax, would the
Representatives from those States be satisfied with the arguments that
it was a tax upon merchandise, and a general one, and therefore fair?
Their discernment would quickly point out to them, that whatever was the
appearance, it was a tax principally falling upon those States, and they
would resist.

Entertaining the opinions which I have expressed against the principle
of the bill, and wishing to get rid of it in a manner most agreeable to
those gentlemen who feel a difficulty of voting directly upon it, I move
that the further consideration of the bill be postponed until December
next.

Mr. BEDINGER said he felt the greatest veneration for the honorable mover
of the resolution, as he thought it proceeded from the purest motives.
But as he thought the slave trade was but little better than murder,
he felt a difficulty in his mind as to the propriety of admitting one
shilling of it into the treasury of the United States, lest those traders
should think themselves entitled to protection; but as the mover and
many others declare their assent towards the appropriation of said tax
hereafter to humane purposes, he believed he should vote for a bill, if
drawn in correspondence with such principles.

Mr. FINDLAY observed that it was not his wish to go into a lengthy
argument on this subject; but merely to observe that this was the first
instance of a law prohibiting the importation of slaves being repealed,
and that it might not be the last; and that, therefore, if the argument
advanced by gentlemen was good against taking it up in the first
instance, it would be equally good against taking it up in case all the
States should repeal their prohibitory laws. He also wished gentlemen to
consider that the friends of the motion were conscience-bound as well as
they, and that they considered it a moral duty to restrain, as far as
they could, the continuance of the slave trade. As, however, a question
of expediency was involved in this measure, he entertained no desire
to hasten its decision; on the contrary, his wish was to allow ample
time for considering its merits. He should therefore vote against the
postponement to December; but would move a postponement to the 2d Monday
of March, not with the view of getting rid of the subject altogether, but
to allow an opportunity of considering it fully.

Mr. HUGER did not rise with the view of going into the merits of the
bill, but to impress the propriety of agreeing to the postponement. It
was a painful subject, which necessarily excited unpleasant feelings. He
thought, if gentlemen suffered it to lie over to the next session, there
was a probability that by giving the Representatives of South Carolina an
opportunity of returning home and expressing the sentiments of Congress,
the Legislature of that State would repeal the law; whereas, should the
tax be laid, it would prevent this desirable effect. Where we differ,
said Mr. H., it is proper for us to accommodate--to meet each other half
way.

Mr. EPPES, believing that either motion of postponement would defeat
the main measure, said he should vote against both. It was not his wish
to erect the Government of the United States into a national tribunal
to censure the proceedings of the Legislature of South Carolina, or to
wound their feelings; but he was not prepared to say that Congress,
in exercising a constitutional right, erected such a tribunal. It was
in some respects immaterial whether they interfered or not, so long
as the world knew that a Legislature of a respectable State, in the
eighteenth century, passed an act allowing the importation of slaves.
That Legislature ought not to complain if the United States availed
themselves of the measure to raise revenue from it. According to the
estimate of some gentlemen, there would probably be an importation of one
hundred thousand in four years, which if this tax shall be laid, will
produce a revenue of a million of dollars. And yet we are entreated by
the gentleman from South Carolina not to molest the trade. Mr. E. said he
was not surprised at this anxiety, as, by gaining a delay of one year,
that State might be saved from the payment of above one hundred thousand
dollars.

Mr. E. said he came from a Southern country, where slaves were as much
a subject of taxation as lands; and he did not know that the statute
books of Virginia or South Carolina were stained by imposing taxes upon
them. He believed them as fair a subject of taxation as any other species
of property. He believed it as fair to lay taxes upon them as to make
the poor pay a tax upon brown sugar and other articles of the first
necessity. For these reasons he was against the postponement either to
December or March.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD considered a postponement till December as destructive
to the bill. He said he would as soon meet it on its merits, but being
prepared, as far as his vote went, to reject the bill, he should vote
for what he considered equivalent, a postponement to December. He did
not think it proper for the House to go into the measure contemplated by
the bill. There were but two principles that would justify the laying
a duty on imported articles: the one to discourage the importation of
particular articles, and the other with a view to revenue. As to the
first principle, under the constitution as it at present stood, Congress
had no right to interfere; as the States had an undoubted right to admit
the importation of slaves until the year 1808. The constitution, on this
point, had gone so far as to restrict the right of the General Government
to a tax not exceeding ten dollars upon each slave imported. This would
not amount to a prohibition or prevention of the importation. Congress
was, therefore, precluded the right of taxing, with this view, until the
year 1808. This part of the argument, on which gentlemen support the
measure, must be laid, therefore, out of view. The question then recurs,
whether we shall lay this tax for purposes of revenue? For one, (said
Mr. G.,) I am unwilling to do this. I abhor the slave trade as much as
any member on this floor, and therefore I will not consent to give it a
legislative sanction. For this measure will certainly be viewed in that
light by the people of this country and by the civilized world. It will
appear to the world that Congress are raising a revenue from a commerce
in slaves. I am not for introducing such a law, calculated to have this
impression, on our statute book. Were it in our power to prohibit the
trade, there is not, I trust, a member on this floor that would not unite
in the prohibition. But on this point our hands are tied.

Mr. GREGG observed, that when this subject was on a former day before
the House, he assigned his reasons at some length, in favor of a
postponement. The same reasons would influence his vote this day, and
he should not trouble the House with a repetition of them. He only rose
to suggest to his colleague that, by attending to one consideration, he
would be induced, he thought, to change his opinion, and to vote for
the most distant day to which it was proposed to postpone this subject.
It had been stated by a gentleman from South Carolina, and he believed
correctly stated, that by the law lately passed in South Carolina, a
considerable ferment had been excited in that State, and that it was
probable that the Legislature would, at their next session, repeal it. If
it were probable that they would repeal this law in April, it appeared
to him improper to pass an act that would operate as a censure upon the
conduct of that State.

Mr. ALSTON was surprised how it was that he and his worthy friend from
Virginia (Mr. EPPES) differed so widely upon the present occasion,
living, as it were, in the same country, and owning property of the
same kind, and pursuing the same means of obtaining a living. My friend
advocates the resolution for laying a tax of ten dollars on each slave
imported into the United States, because a considerable revenue will be
derived from such a tax; it is for that very reason that he opposed it,
because he would not consent to pass a law which had for its operation
a partial effect. Can it be right to pass a law which will impose a
heavy tax upon one part of the community, and not a cent upon the
other? No State in the Union would be affected except South Carolina.
Gentlemen ought to take care how they acted towards a sister State, and a
respectable one too.

Mr. RODNEY said, he should not have troubled the House with any remarks
on the present occasion, had he not made up his mind to vote differently
from the vote which he had before given. He said he had before voted
against the postponement of the consideration of this subject; he should
now vote in favor of a postponement; and he would, in a few words,
assign his reasons. When the resolution for imposing a tax on imported
slaves was first laid on the table, he was of opinion that he could not
vote for it without sanctioning the practice it was meant to censure.
Reflecting further, he afterwards got his own consent to vote for it.
First thoughts were frequently best; we sometimes miss the mark by taking
sight too long. In this instance, after a more mature consideration, his
mind inclined to his original opinions, for reasons which he would assign.

It was agreed, on all hands, that the conduct of the Legislature of
South Carolina was such as to merit the disapprobation of the members
of that House. On many occasions there were political dissensions
within these walls. But he rejoiced that, when questions of this kind
presented themselves, they were sure to find us unanimous. Inhumanity
was considered as a common enemy, and so inhuman a practice was justly
reprobated by all. Every gentleman from the South, as well as the East,
deprecated the act and lamented its existence.

After a few additional remarks from several gentlemen, the question was
taken by yeas and nays on a postponement to the first Monday in December,
and passed in the negative--yeas 55, nays 62.

Mr. FINDLAY moved a postponement to the second Monday in March; which,
after some debate, prevailed--ayes 56, noes 50.

[To prevent an erroneous impression being made on the public by the above
proceedings, it is proper to remark that, during the whole discussion,
not a single voice was raised in defence of the act of the Legislature
of South Carolina, allowing the importation of slaves; but that, on the
contrary, while by some of the speakers its immorality and impolicy were
severely censured, by all its existence was deprecated. A large number
of those who voted for the postponement, advocated it on the express
and sole ground that it would give the Legislature of South Carolina an
opportunity, which they believed would be embraced, to repeal the act.]


MONDAY, February 20.

_Georgia Claims._

Mr. J. RANDOLPH said, the House would recollect that he had, on a former
day, offered a resolution barring any claims derived under any act of
the State of Georgia passed in the year 1795, in relation to lands ceded
to the United States. It was not his purpose in rising at this time to
trespass on the patience of the House; nor did he know that he should in
future offer any remarks additional to those he had already made. But he
conceived it his duty to place the subject in such a point of light that
every eye, however dim, might distinctly see its true merits. For this
purpose he withdrew the resolution which he had before offered, and moved
the following resolutions:

    _Resolved_, That the Legislature of the State of Georgia were,
    at no time, invested with the power of alienating the right of
    soil possessed by the good people of that State in and to the
    vacant territory of the same, but in a rightful manner, and for
    the public good:

    That, when the governors of any people shall have betrayed
    the confidence reposed in them, and shall have exercised that
    authority with which they have been clothed for the general
    welfare, to promote their own private ends, under the basest
    motives, and to the public detriment, it is the inalienable
    right of a people, so circumstanced, to revoke the authority
    thus abused, to resume the rights thus attempted to be
    bartered, and to abrogate the act thus endeavoring to betray
    them:

    That it is in evidence to this House, that the act of the
    Legislature of Georgia, passed on the seventh of January,
    one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, entitled “An act
    for appropriating a part of the unlocated territory of this
    State, for the payment of the late State troops, and for other
    purposes,” was passed by persons under the influence of gross
    and palpable corruption, practised by the grantees of the lands
    attempted to be alienated by the aforesaid act, tending to
    enrich and aggrandize, to a degree almost incalculable, a few
    individuals, and ruinous to the public interest:

    That the good people of Georgia, impressed with general
    indignation at this act of atrocious perfidy and unparalleled
    corruption, with a promptitude of decision highly honorable to
    their character, did, by the act of a subsequent Legislature,
    passed on the thirteenth of February, one thousand seven
    hundred and ninety-six, under circumstances of peculiar
    solemnity, and finally sanctioned by the people, who have
    subsequently ingrafted it on their constitution, declare the
    preceding act, and the grants made under it, in themselves
    null and void; that the said act should be expunged from the
    records of the State, and publicly burnt; which was accordingly
    done; provision at the same time being made for restoring
    the pretended purchase-money to the grantees, by whom, or by
    persons claiming under them, the greater part of the said
    purchase-money has been withdrawn from the treasury of Georgia:

    That a subsequent Legislature of an individual State has an
    undoubted right to repeal any act of a preceding Legislature,
    provided such repeal be not forbidden by the constitution of
    such State, or of the United States:

    That the aforesaid act of the State of Georgia, passed on
    the thirteenth of February, one thousand seven hundred and
    ninety-six, was forbidden neither by the constitution of that
    State, nor by that of the United States:

    That the claims of persons derived under the aforesaid act
    of the seventh of January, one thousand seven hundred and
    ninety-five, are recognized neither by any compact between the
    United States and the State of Georgia, nor by any act of the
    Federal Government: Therefore,

    _Resolved_, That no part of the five millions of acres reserved
    for satisfying and quieting claims to the lands ceded by the
    State of Georgia to the United States, and appropriated by
    the act of Congress passed at their last session, shall be
    appropriated to quiet or compensate any claims derived under
    any act, or pretended act, of the State of Georgia, passed,
    or alleged to be passed, during the year one thousand seven
    hundred and ninety-five.

On considering the resolutions, the House divided--ayes 53. Carried.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH then moved their reference to the Committee of the Whole
on the bill providing for the settlement of sundry claims to public lands
lying south of the State of Tennessee. Carried--yeas 50, nays 30.


WEDNESDAY, February 22.

_Naval Peace Establishment._

The House went into Committee of the Whole on the bill supplementary to
an act providing for a Naval Peace Establishment.

[This is the bill introduced at the instance of Mr. NICHOLSON, with a
view to a more economical and beneficial arrangement in relation to the
national ships laid up in ordinary.]

Mr. LEIB moved an additional section, virtually abolishing the office of
Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the Marine Corps, and authorizing the
President to make such other reductions of the subordinate officers as
he may think fit. The object of the bill being a reform of the expenses
attending the Naval Establishment, the measure contemplated in the
amendment was, in his opinion, a very proper one to be answered by it.
The bill, he said, contemplated an annual saving, in the single article
of provisions, of $7,000. By abolishing the office of Lieutenant Colonel
Commandant, a saving of sixty thousand dollars in addition might be
made. This officer made, it appeared, all the contracts, and it would be
seen by documents before the House, that while the price of the ration
in the War Department was fifteen cents, that fixed by this officer was
twenty cents--the difference made the sum of $3,750 a year. It would also
be seen that exorbitant sums were expended in postage and fuel. In the
single article of postage, $150 had been expended within three months.
The amendment was then agreed to--yeas 62.

Mr. EUSTIS moved a new section, for the allowance to captains, holding
themselves in readiness to enter the service, of the same rations they
are entitled by law to receive when in actual service. Disagreed to--yeas
37, nays 45.

The committee rose, and the House agreed to the amendment of Mr. LEIB
without a division.

Mr. JACKSON moved a new section, for the allowance to captains, required
to hold themselves in readiness for service, of the same rations they are
entitled to receive when in actual service.

Mr. NICHOLSON supported the amendment, to which the House agreed--yeas
44, nays 40; when the bill was ordered to a third reading to-morrow.

On motion, the House adjourned.


FRIDAY, February 24.

_Contested Election._

Mr. FINDLAY, from the Committee of Elections, to whom was referred a
memorial of Andrew Moore, of Virginia, respecting the election of THOMAS
LEWIS, a sitting member, made a report, which, after stating the bad
votes given for each of the candidates, concludes with the opinion that
THOMAS LEWIS is not, and that ANDREW MOORE is entitled to a seat in the
House. The report is as follows:

    “That, at an election held on three several days, in the month
    of April, in the year one thousand eight hundred and three,
    directed by the law of the State of Virginia, for a member
    of the House of Representatives of the United States for the
    district composed of the counties of Botetourt, Rockbridge,
    Kenawha, Greenbriar, and Monroe, in the western district of
    Virginia, it appears--

    “That, of the polls taken in the county of Botetourt, Thomas
    Lewis had one hundred and fifty-five votes, and Andrew Moore
    had three hundred and five votes; that, out of the persons
    who voted for Thomas Lewis, twenty-three were unqualified to
    vote; and that out of the persons who voted for Andrew Moore,
    twenty-eight were unqualified to vote.

    “That, of the polls taken in Rockbridge, Thomas Lewis had
    sixty-five votes, and Andrew Moore had three hundred and
    twenty-one votes; that out of the persons who voted for Thomas
    Lewis, there were four persons unqualified to vote; and out
    of the persons who voted for Andrew Moore, there were twenty
    persons unqualified to vote.

    “That, of the polls taken in Kenawha county, Thomas Lewis had
    one hundred and sixty-one votes, and Andrew Moore had one vote;
    that out of the persons who voted for Thomas Lewis there were
    ninety persons unqualified to vote.

    “That, of the polls taken in Greenbriar, Thomas Lewis had
    five hundred and thirty-nine votes, and Andrew Moore had one
    hundred and three votes; that out of the persons who voted for
    Thomas Lewis two hundred and two were unqualified to vote; and
    out of the persons who voted for Andrew Moore thirty-two were
    unqualified to vote.

    “That, of the polls taken in Monroe county, Thomas Lewis had
    eighty-four votes, and Andrew Moore had one hundred and two
    votes; that out of the persons who voted for Thomas Lewis
    thirty-six were unqualified to vote; and out of the persons who
    voted for Andrew Moore, forty-four were unqualified to vote.
    Hence it appears--

    “That all the persons who voted for Thomas Lewis in the several
    counties aforesaid, which compose the western district of the
    State of Virginia, were one thousand and four; and that all the
    persons who voted for Andrew Moore in the said counties were
    eight hundred and thirty-two.

    “It further appears, on a deliberate scrutiny, that, of the
    above votes, three hundred and fifty-five persons voted for
    Thomas Lewis who were unqualified to vote, and that one hundred
    and twenty-four voted for Andrew Moore who were unqualified to
    vote; and that, by deducting the unqualified votes from the
    votes given for each of the parties at the elections, Thomas
    Lewis has six hundred and forty-nine good votes, and Andrew
    Moore has seven hundred and eight good votes, being fifty-nine
    more than Thomas Lewis. Whereupon,

    “Your committee are of opinion that Thomas Lewis, not being
    duly elected, is not entitled to a seat in this House; and
    they are further of opinion that Andrew Moore, who has the
    highest number of votes, after deducting the before-mentioned
    unqualified votes from the respective polls, is duly elected
    and entitled to a seat in this House.”

_Ordered_, That the report be committed to a Committee of the whole House
on Wednesday next.


TUESDAY, February 28.

_Louisiana Territory._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill
sent from the Senate, entitled “An act erecting Louisiana into two
Territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof.”

The fourth section being under consideration, as follows:

    “SEC. 4. The Legislative powers shall be vested in the
    Governor, and in thirteen of the most fit and discreet persons
    of the Territory, to be called the Legislative Council, who
    shall be appointed annually by the President of the United
    States, from among those holding real estate therein, and who
    shall have resided one year at least in the said Territory,
    and hold no office of profit under the Territory or the United
    States. The Governor, by and with advice and consent of the
    said Legislative Council, or of a majority of them, shall have
    power to alter, modify, or repeal the laws which may be in
    force at the commencement of this act. Their Legislative powers
    shall also extend to all the rightful powers of legislation:
    but no law shall be valid which is inconsistent with the
    constitution and laws of the United States, or which shall
    lay any person under restraint, burden, or disability, on
    account of his religious opinions, professions, or worship;
    in all which he shall be free to maintain his own, and not
    burdened for those of another. The Governor shall publish
    throughout the said Territory all the laws which shall be made,
    and shall from time to time report the same to the President
    of the United States, to be laid before Congress; which, if
    disapproved of by Congress, shall thenceforth be of no force.
    The Governor or Legislative Council shall have no power over
    the primary disposal of the soil, nor to tax the lands of the
    United States, nor to interfere with the claims to land within
    the said Territory. The Governor shall convene and prorogue
    the Legislative Council, whenever he may deem it expedient. It
    shall be his duty to obtain all the information in his power
    in relation to the customs, habits, and dispositions of the
    inhabitants of the said Territory, and communicate the same,
    from time to time, to the President of the United States.”

Mr. LEIB observed that he did not like the provisions of this section,
and least of all that which gave the Governor the right of proroguing
the Legislative Council. It appeared to him that that body was the most
dependent thing of its nature in the United States; and when the power of
prorogation vested in the Governor was considered, it seemed to him that
the people would do much better without any such body. This was a royal
appendage which he did not like. He, therefore, moved to strike out the
words “and prorogue.”

Mr. GREGG said he was not only in favor of the motion of his colleague,
but against the section generally. It would require much further
amendment to induce him to vote for it. He was opposed to the power it
gave the President to appoint the members of the Legislative Council. It
appeared to him a mere burlesque to say they shall be appointed by the
President. How is the President to get information of the qualifications
for office? This could only be obtained from the officers appointed by
him, and principally from the Governor, who will not fail to recommend
to the President the appointment of persons favorable to his own views.
Mr. G. said that they would, therefore, rather vest the appointment of
the members of the Legislative Council in the Governor; the mode pointed
out in the bill was only calculated to rescue the Governor from the
responsibility attached to his office, by dividing it among others.

Mr. LEIB said his amendment did not in the least interfere with that of
his colleague, with whom he fully accorded in sentiment.

Mr. VARNUM was of opinion that the section in the bill provided such
a kind of Government as had never been known in the United States. He
thought sound policy, no less than justice, dictated the propriety of
making provision for the election of a legislative body by the people.
There was not only the common obligation of justice imposed upon Congress
to do this, but they were bound by treaty. The treaty with France
expressly says:

    “The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated
    in the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon
    as possible, according to the principles of the federal
    constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages,
    and immunities of citizens of the United States.”

The treaty makes it obligatory on the United States to admit the
inhabitants of Louisiana, as soon as possible, to the enjoyment of
all the rights, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United
States. In order to decide the principle of this section of the bill
by an expression of the sense of the committee, he would move that the
committee should rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit again, with
the view of refusing them leave, and afterwards referring the bill to a
select committee to receive a modification in conformity to the opinions
of the House.

Mr. HUGER trusted the committee would not rise. He knew not the
impressions on this subject on the minds of other gentlemen; but the
information lately received from Louisiana convinced him of the propriety
of proceeding with the bill immediately. In addition to the principles
contained in the section under consideration, there were others of great
importance. He thought it would be most advisable, in a future stage of
discussion, to commit the bill to a select committee, if any material
alterations should be made in it. It was best, at present, to deliberate
fully on the several provisions of the bill, and for gentlemen to make
an interchange of opinions. Were the bill now committed, the report of
the committee would not advance the business in the least, as that report
might be as objectionable to the House as the bill from the Senate.

Mr. ELLIOT, for like reasons assigned by the gentleman from South
Carolina, and for other reasons, hoped the committee would not rise. He
did not believe the section under consideration was, in its present form,
consistent either with the spirit of the constitution or the treaty; but
he believed that, by the introduction of a small amendment, the section
might be rendered perfectly consistent with them, and the passage of
the bill be greatly accelerated. He preferred a middle course between
the existing section and the amendment offered by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania. Whatever amendments were necessary would be easily offered
and discussed at present; whereas no desirable object could be effected
by a reference.

Mr. GREGG said it also appeared to him that no valuable purpose would
be answered by referring the bill to a select committee. What can such
a committee do? There exists no diversity of sentiment in the House on
principle. Some are for giving to the people of the Territory, instead of
the President, the power of electing members of the Legislative Council.
Here, then, are two distinct principles, and unless the House determine
which of them it will adopt, a select committee can do nothing. Let us
settle the principle of the bill first, and then refer it to a select
committee, to modify it in correspondence with them.

Mr. EUSTIS said this subject was, in his opinion, inferior to no other
discussed this session. With regard to the provisions of the section
under consideration, it was to be expected that there would be a
diversity of opinion. Gentlemen inimical to them had taken different
grounds. One gentleman desires the power of the Governor to prorogue the
Council to be rescinded; another gentleman wishes an entire change in
the formation of the Council; and a third is in favor of the committee
rising, that the bill may go to a select committee to report different
provisions for the government of the people of Louisiana from those
contained in the bill before us. This motion necessarily brings the
principle on which the Council is organized by the bill before us.

According to this bill, the Governor and Council are to make the laws.
Suppose the Council is in session, and the Governor possess no power to
prorogue them. Suppose they should engage in acts subversive of their
relation to the United States. Would not this power be of essential
utility? It appears to me indispensably necessary that a vein of
authority should ascend to the Government of the United States, until
the people of the Territory are admitted to the full enjoyment of State
rights. From that knowledge of this people which I have been able to
acquire, I have formed an opinion that authority should be constantly
exercised over them, without severity, but in such a manner as to secure
the rights of the United States and the peace of the country.

The government laid down in this bill is certainly a new thing in the
United States; but the people of this country differ materially from
the citizens of the United States. I speak of the character of the
people at the present time. When they shall be better acquainted with
the principles of our Government, and shall have become desirous of
participating in our privileges, it will be full time to extend to
them the elective franchise. Have not the House been informed from
an authentic source, since the cession, that the provisions of our
institutions are inapplicable to them? If so, why attempt, in pursuit of
a vain theory, to extend political institutions to them for which they
are not prepared? I am one of those who believe that the principles of
civil liberty cannot suddenly be ingrafted on a people accustomed to a
regimen of a directly opposite hue. The approach of such a people to
liberty must be gradual. I believe them at present totally unqualified
to exercise it. If this opinion be erroneous, then the principles of
the bill are unfounded. If, on the contrary, this opinion is sound, it
results that neither the power given to the President to appoint the
members of the Council, nor of the Governor to prorogue them, are unsafe
or unnecessary.

Mr. LUCAS was against the rising of the committee, inasmuch as the bill
under consideration offered the widest field of discussing the subject
before them, and inasmuch as it was proper, that the principles of it
should be settled by a majority, to enable a select committee to collect
the sense of the House. When this decision should have taken place, he
should have no objections to a recommitment for the purpose of modifying
the bill in consonance with it.

It was known, by the treaty, that the United States are bound to secure
to the people of Louisiana as large a portion of liberty and security of
rights, as though they remained under the Government of France and Spain;
and he trusted the bill as it stood secured to them much more. As an
instance, it might be mentioned that the privilege of habeas corpus had
never been enjoyed by them while they were connected with either Spain
or France. An argument was drawn from the treaty, that these people are
to be admitted to the absolute enjoyment of the rights of citizens; but
gentlemen would not deny, that the time when, and the circumstances under
which this provision of the treaty was to be carried into effect, were
submitted to the decision of Congress. It has been remarked, that this
bill establishes elementary principles of government never previously
introduced in the government of any Territory of the United States.
Granting the truth of this observation, it must be allowed that the
United States had never before devolved upon them the making provision
for the government of people under such circumstances. Governors must not
rest on theory, but must raise their political structures on the state of
the people for whom they are made. Mr. LUCAS said, that without wishing
to reflect on the inhabitants of Louisiana, he would say that they are
not prepared for a government like that of the United States. Governed by
Spanish officers, exercising authority according to their whim, supported
by a military force, it could not be said that a people thus inured to
despotism, were prepared on a sudden to receive the principles of our
Government. It was questionable whether there was a nation in Europe
whom these principles would be so advantageous to as they are to us.
It would be recollected by gentlemen, who so strenuously advocated the
abstract principle of right, that the people of Louisiana have not been
consulted in the act of cession to this country, but had been transferred
by a bargain made over their heads. It was a proof this act had not been
received with approbation by them, that when they saw the American flag
hoisted in the room of the French, they shed tears; this was a proof that
they were not so friendly to our Government as some gentlemen imagined.
He was persuaded the people of the Mississippi Territory would not have
acted in this manner. There is no doubt but that after they shall have
experienced the blessings of a free Government, they will wonder at their
having shed tears on this occasion; but they must, in the first instance,
feel these blessings.

Mr. L. said he was fully of opinion with the gentleman from Massachusetts
(Mr. EUSTIS) in the sentiments he had expressed. The United States had it
eminently in their power to make these people happy without an extension
to them of all our privileges. They will not be gratified from knowing
that the theory of liberty is extended to them, but from its practical
effects. The people of Louisiana know but little of political theories,
but they will feel the just operation of equal laws; and if they can
obtain practical justice, though it may not arise from an extension of
our elementary political principles, they will not find fault with it.

Mr. L. said he was not among those who considered the bill, in all its
provisions, perfect. He considered it susceptible of much amendment;
though not in the principle now under review. In this provision, by
declaring that the inhabitants of the Territory shall compose the
Legislative Council, a great point is gained by the people. For it
cannot be supposed that the inhabitants, thus called upon to discharge
high duties to society, will so far lose sight of their own permanent
interests as to sacrifice them, together with the good of the country, to
whim or corruption.

Their election by the President is another important security. Suppose
the Governor shall wish to render the Council his puppets. The President
will not feel an interest in gratifying his improper views. It is,
however, said that his information will be derived from the Governor. But
the fact is, he will receive it in part from the Governor, and in part
from others; and he will be sagacious enough to judge, not from a part,
but from the whole that reaches him.

A valuable effect will flow from composing the Council of the inhabitants
of the country; its members will thereby be initiated in the theory of
our Government and laws, and this knowledge will hereafter qualify them
for higher political trusts; they will acquire much political knowledge;
they will return home, and their conversation with their friends will
naturally turn on political topics, and on the laws they have passed;
thus will a spirit of inquiry and of political discussion spring up
in the country. When this effect shall be produced, it will be time,
and only then, to give them a government as liberal and free as that
contemplated by the amendment.

Mr. MACON (Speaker) observed that he coincided in opinion with the
gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. VARNUM,) whose object would, he
thought, be better tried by a motion to strike out the section. This
motion would bring the principle before the House. If the section should
be stricken out, the bill would be recommitted for new modification to
a select committee. Mr. M. accordingly moved to strike out the fourth
section.

This motion having been stated from the Chair,

Mr. MACON again rose. I will endeavor, said he, to compress my ideas on
this point in a few words. My first objection to the principle contained
in the section is, that it establishes a species of government unknown to
the laws of the United States. We have three descriptions of Government;
that of the Union, that of the States, and Territorial governments. I
believe the Territorial government, as established by the ordinance of
the Old Congress, the best adapted to the circumstances of the people
of Louisiana; and that it may be so modified as best to promote their
convenience. The people residing in the Mississippi Territory, are now
under this kind of government.[8] Is it not likely that the people
of Louisiana will expect the same form of government and laws with
their neighbors; and is it not desirable for the general peace and
happiness that there should be a correspondence between them? If they
are as ignorant as some gentlemen represent them, (and of this I know
nothing,) will they not expect the same grade of government with the
inhabitants of the Mississippi Territory, with whom they will have a
constant intercourse? Although they lived previously under the Spanish
Government, and although their number did not entitle them, when formed
into a Territory, to the second grade of government, no inconvenience
resulted. It is said, in reply to this observation, that a large number
of inhabitants of that Territory were Americans. It is true that many of
them were native Americans, but some also were Spanish.

The simple question is, what kind of government is most fitted to this
people? It is extremely difficult to legislate for a people with whose
habits and customs we are unacquainted. I, for one, declare myself
unacquainted with them; nor would I in fixing the government, unless
for the safety of the Union, do an act capable of disgusting the people
for whom it is adopted. It will be a wise policy to avoid whatever is
calculated to disgust them. My opinion is that they will be better
satisfied with an old-established form of government, than with a new
one. Why? Because they have seen it established in the adjacent Territory
of Mississippi, and know the manner in which it operates. If there are
bad men in Louisiana, will any thing be more easy than to disgust the
people against the General Government by showing that they have given
one kind of government to the people of the Mississippi Territory, and
a different kind to them? In my mind, it is sound policy to give them
no cause of complaint. We ought to show them that we consider them one
people.

I will not pretend to say that the people of Louisiana are prepared for
a State government, which differs most materially from a Territorial
government. The best way to prepare them for such a government, is to
take the system already known to our laws; one grade or the other of the
Territorial government. For myself, I would prefer the adoption of the
second grade, but I would prefer the first to any new system. For these
reasons, I hope the section will be struck out, and the bill referred to
a select committee.


WEDNESDAY, February 29.

_Government of Louisiana._

The House went again into a Committee of the Whole on the bill for the
government of Louisiana.

The fourth section of the bill being under consideration--

Mr. JACKSON said: As this section is the corner stone on which the whole
superstructure rests, and involves the most important principle of the
bill, I will ask the indulgence of the committee to make a few remarks
upon it. It presents two important questions; first, whether it is proper
on the broad principle of political justice to adopt it? And secondly,
whether it is consistent with our treaty with France? Two questions arise
out of the first proposition; first, Is the system consonant to the
habits of a free people? And, secondly, if not, is it the best calculated
to advance the happiness of those who have never tasted the blessings of
liberty? The first question requires no discussion; it will be answered
in the negative by every section of this Union. Every section has been
engaged in forming a constitution, and both the State and Federal
constitutions have decided this point in the negative, because neither
partake of the aristocratical or monarchical features contained in this
section.

It is urged by gentlemen, that we ought to give to this people liberty
by degrees. I believe, however, there is no danger of giving them too
much of it; and I am unwilling to tarnish the national character by
sanctioning the detestable calumny that man is not fitted for freedom.
What will the world say if we sanction this principle? They will say we
possess the principle of despotism under the garb of Republicans; and
that we are insincere, with whatever solemnity we may declare it, in
pronouncing all men equal. They will tell us that we have emphatically
declared to the American people and to the world, in our first act
evincive of emancipation from the tyranny of England, that all men are
equal; and that all governments derive their rightful power from the
consent of the governed; and that notwithstanding, when the occasion
offers, we exercise despotic power, under the pretext that the people are
unable to govern themselves.

Mr. HOLLAND.--As my ideas are very different from those of the gentleman
who has preceded me, and as I do not believe that either policy or moral
obligation recommends the adoption of a system such as he has avowed to
be proper, I will, in a few words, state the sentiments I entertain.

Can gentlemen conceive the people of Louisiana, who have just thrown
off their chains, qualified to make laws? Under the late system the
people had no concern in the government, and it was even criminal for
them to concern themselves with it; they were set at a distance from
the government, and all required from their hands was, to be passive
and obedient. Can it be supposed such a people made the subject of
government their study, or can it be presumed they know any thing about
the principles of the Constitution of the United States? Would persons
thus elected be of any service to the Government? So far from being an
assistance, they would be an encumbrance. Why then impose this burden
upon them? The object of this bill is to extend the laws of the United
States over Louisiana, not to enable the people of Louisiana to make
laws. This extension, so far from being an act of despotism, will be an
important privilege. If the laws of the United States were founded in
injustice they might have some right to complain, but we only apply to
them laws by which we ourselves consent to be governed.

The provisions of this section are said to be worse than those of the
first grade of Territorial governments; but this is incorrect. This plan
is not equal to the second grade, but it is certainly superior to the
first grade. The first grade gives the Governor and judges all the powers
granted by this section; and this section, in addition to the Governor
and judges, contemplates the appointment of thirteen councillors. Is not
this preferable to giving the whole power to the Governor and judges?

Mr. BOYLE said he should not have risen on this occasion but for the
impression that some arguments of weight had been omitted, or had not
been sufficiently dwelt on. In the few remarks he purposed to make,
he should endeavor to avoid a repetition of ideas already expressed.
It was not so much to the novelty, as to the nature of the plan of
government contained in the fourth section, that he was opposed. He did
not consider the Territorial government proposed to be substituted as
perfect, but he believed it infinitely preferable to that contemplated
in the bill. Preferring, therefore, either grade to this, said Mr. B., I
shall concur in supporting the substitution of the second grade as most
fitted to the circumstances of the people of Louisiana. I feel peculiarly
hostile to the mode of appointing the Legislative Council. The power of
appointing them is unnecessarily vested in the President. Waiving all
objection arising from the distance of the President from the men to
be appointed; from the necessity of his relying on the representations
of others as to their qualifications, and his liability to be deceived
by misrepresentations; still one objection remains, which, to my mind,
is most important. I am, said Mr. B., unwilling to extend executive
patronage beyond the line of irresistible necessity. For, I believe, if
ever this country is to follow the destiny of other nations, this destiny
will be accelerated by the overwhelming torrent of executive patronage.
I feel as high a veneration for the present Chief Magistrate as any man
on this floor. Early attached to him, I have retained the full force of
my regard for him. But, were he an angel, instead of a man, I would not
clothe him with this power; because, in my estimation, the investiture
of such high powers is unnecessary. My opinion is, that they will be
more properly exercised by the people. To give them to the President
is to furnish a dangerous precedent for extending executive power and
patronage; and as he has himself said, one precedent in favor of power is
stronger than a hundred against it. I am in favor of giving to the people
all that portion of self-government and independence which is compatible
with the constitution.


WEDNESDAY, March 7.

_Georgia Claims._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill
providing for the settlement of sundry claims to public lands lying south
of the State of Tennessee; to which Committee of the Whole were also
referred, on the twentieth ultimo, a motion containing sundry resolutions
“respecting claimants to the said lands under an act of the Legislature
of the State of Georgia, passed in the year one thousand seven hundred
and ninety-five.”

Mr. J. RANDOLPH called for the reading of sundry resolutions lately
offered by him on this subject. The resolutions having been read, Mr.
R. said, when he had submitted them, it was with the view of trying
the question then before the committee as he thought fairly. It was no
part of his intention to embarrass the operations of the friends of the
bill, further than to take the sense of the committee and of the House
on each specific proposition embraced by the resolutions. His wish,
therefore, was, that the sense of the committee, in the first instance,
should be taken on the resolutions. If they should be rejected, the vote
of rejection would be a virtual admission of the claims of 1795; and
gentlemen might then modify the bill in such manner as might best please
them to do.

Mr. MITCHILL.--These resolutions tend to involve Congress in the
proceedings of the State of Georgia. I consider myself as one of those
who, by assenting to certain acts heretofore passed by Congress, have
consented to a hearing and compromise with the grantees. If this
construction be correct, the Committee are precluded from adopting these
resolutions; nor is it proper, in my opinion, for Congress to go into
a view of the proceedings of Georgia on this occasion. That State is
sovereign to a certain extent, and this Government possesses no right to
interfere with her sovereignty. Attached to this sovereignty is the right
of granting land belonging to her. But it is alleged that Georgia was,
in the year 1795, in a disorderly state, and that a certain Legislature
in that year did a certain act which a subsequent Legislature declared
to be totally unauthorized. This may be so. It is certain the second
Legislature declared the act of the first null, under circumstances of
a very extraordinary nature. I do not, however, see that it is our duty
to give an opinion whether the Legislature of Georgia acted wickedly or
uprightly. Whichever course they may have pursued, I do not believe this
body to be a constitutional board of censors. We find frequent occasions
enough on which, without going out of our way, our duty calls upon us to
give our opinions. Believing this to be an occasion on which no opinion
is required from us, and one which it is most prudent to pass by without
giving such opinion, I wish not to vote for or against the resolutions. I
am, therefore, for the committee’s rising and reporting the bill.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH.--I had hoped that when these resolutions were sent from
the House to the committee, they would have received the respectful
attention to which every such reference is entitled; and that the
committee would at least have deemed them worthy of some expression
of opinion on them; that they would have deigned to say whether the
reasoning or facts contained in them are or are not erroneous and
unfounded. The gentleman from New York tells the committee that, by
an act passed at a previous session of Congress, a pledge has been
given to a certain description of claimants under the act of 1795, to
do something in relation to their claims. If so, is this a reason for
not acting on the resolutions? No; it is a reason for taking them up
and rejecting them. One of those resolutions says, and I am prepared
to prove it true, and I call on gentlemen to show its falsehood, “that
the claims of persons derived under the act of January first, 1795, are
recognized neither by any compact between the United States and the State
of Georgia, nor by any act of the Federal Government.” I deny that they
are so recognized. If they are, what can be easier than for the learned
gentleman to refer to the compact under which they are recognized? This
he cannot show, and hence his unwillingness to express an opinion. At an
antecedent session we passed a law on this subject. The gentleman may
have given his vote for this law under the impression he states, but it
does not follow that the Legislature acted under the same impression; on
the contrary, I know several gentlemen who voted for it, though hostile
to the claims under the act of 1795, because it contained a general
provision for claims, and did not particularly recognize those arising
under the act of 1795; and now, because Congress have passed an act of
a general nature, when it was notorious there are a variety of claims
besides those under the act of 1795, and none of which are mentioned
either in the compact or treaty with the State of Georgia, it is said
we have given a pledge, and we are called upon to fulfil it. And this
language is held by gentlemen who, in the same breath, have expressed a
disposition to reject another description of claims. Could absurdity
speak in stronger language? A general appropriation has been made by
Congress for claims; the claims preferred are of two classes--those
under the acts of 1789 and 1795. There might have been claims of a
hundred other descriptions--for all these Congress have made a general
appropriation--and yet we are told by gentlemen hostile to the claims of
1789 that we are pledged to provide for those of 1795. If we are pledged
to satisfy one description, are we not equally pledged to the other? But
the truth is, we have given no pledge. If we have, nothing is so easy
as to refer to the statute book, and to point it out. No such pledge
is recognized by our compact with Georgia. While I am up, permit me to
say, if the compact with Georgia be construed according to its letter,
the appropriation of $5,000,000 ought to be considered as not embracing
claims under the act of 1795, for the best reason in the world: the
statute book of Georgia shows the reason. But, say gentlemen, we possess
the power to satisfy these claims, though such satisfaction may not have
been contemplated by our compact with Georgia. There must, say they,
have been an understanding between the Commissioners of Georgia and our
Commissioners in favor of compromising them, and therefore it is inferred
that we ought to be governed more by the _quo animo_ with which the
compact was formed than by its strict letter; it is accordingly attempted
to be proved, that there was an understanding between our Commissioners
and those of Georgia, that relief should be extended to claimants under
the act of 1795. I am authorized by the Commissioners to say that this
was not the case. Whether, therefore, we are governed by the strict
letter of the contract, or by the _quo animo_, we cannot discover the
grounds for this opinion. I have been told, in a way which removes all
doubts, by the Commissioners on both sides, at least by a Commissioner of
the United States having a great participation in the business, and by
the Georgia Commissioners, that the stipulation in the compact was not
inserted at the instance of Georgia, but reluctantly inserted by them at
the instance of the Commissioners of the United States.

Mr. MACON (Speaker) remarked that this question, like many others
which presented themselves, had taken up a long time in discussing the
preliminary point that might have been required on the resolutions. To
rise and report the bill, without acting on the resolutions, would be
a virtual rejection of them; especially as the House had determined to
rise on the 19th. For one, Mr. M. said, he was ready to vote on the
resolutions. If it were wrong to vote on them, it was certainly proper
to vote against their reference. But why not vote on them? We may not
all agree; but have we not a right to think for ourselves? Let us then
meet them, and vote as we see best. Mr. M. said he was more desirous of
meeting the question, as he differed from those with whom he generally
coincided in opinion. It may be said the resolutions embrace an abstract
question. If so, gentlemen ought not to have allowed their reference.
In the present stage of the business, no question could be taken unless
in the committee, or on a motion to discharge the committee from their
further consideration. Mr. M. said, he thought it the right of every
member of a deliberative body to express his sentiments and record his
opinion on any subject before it. This had always been the practice. He
trusted, therefore, the committee would not rise, but proceed to the
discussion of the resolutions.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH.--I little expected to stand on this floor, in the list
of persons hostile to State rights--to be charged, as the gentleman
before me has expressed himself, with having brought forward propositions
subversive of the rights of the States. The sovereignty of the States
has ever been the cardinal principle of my political opinions, and in
the outset, I enlisted under the banner of State rights in opposition to
federal usurpation. The doctrine of exalting the General Government on
the ruin of the authority of the States, is at length exploded, and those
who have heretofore been most conspicuous in encroaching upon the rights
of the States, generally, and upon those of Georgia in particular, are
now foremost in displaying their zeal for both. I cannot but rejoice at
the acquisition which this cause has made. But to those of its friends
who are too new to it to understand its interests as yet, I would
recommend, that they would take the conduct of the Georgia delegation
as an evidence of the rights and interests of that State. They surely
are not so destitute of information or fidelity, as to misunderstand or
abandon the rights of the people whom they represent.--So long, however,
as I have the honor of concurring with them in opinion, I shall be very
easy under any clamor which the new friends of Georgia and of the rights
of States may endeavor to excite. If, however, gentlemen are unwilling
to rely on the opinions of so few, however respectable men, I refer them
to the act of the Legislature of Georgia herself, generally called the
rescinding act, passed under circumstances of unparalleled unanimity, and
confirmed by the general voice of the people, who subsequently recognized
it in, and ingrafted it upon their constitution. If still they remain
dissatisfied, I would ask them if the recognition of the claims against
Georgia, in the bill which they are so eager to pass, be not equally
a violation of the rights of that State, with the rejection of those
claims. Does not the bill before you, in pronouncing upon the validity of
the act of Georgia, equally involve the principle against which gentlemen
protest so loudly, with the resolutions themselves? They have their
choice either to pronounce the corrupt act of 1795, or the rescinding act
of 1796, invalid. Are not the rights of Georgia as much affected by the
one as by the other? and even more, by annulling the act of 1796, since
she alone recognizes that to be her own.

Here Mr. R. read the first and second resolutions:

    “_Resolved_, That the State of Georgia was at no time invested
    with the power of alienating the right of soil possessed by the
    good people of that State in and to the vacant territory of the
    same, but in a rightful manner and for the general good.”

Who will deny it? If Georgia has made a valid contract we must execute
it. If invalid, there is no obligation on us to perform it.

    “That when the governors of any people shall have betrayed
    the confidence reposed in them, and shall have exercised that
    authority with which they have been invested for the general
    welfare, to promote their own private ends, under the basest
    motives, and to the public detriment, it is the inalienable
    right of a people, thus circumstanced, to revoke the authority
    thus abused, to resume the rights thus attempted to be
    bartered, and to abrogate the act thus endeavoring to betray
    them.”

I am afraid if we deny this position we have no title to show for our own
existence as a nation.

Mr. R. here read the third resolution:

    “That it is in evidence to this House that the act of the
    Legislature of Georgia passed on the 7th of January, 1795,
    entitled an act &c., was passed by persons under the influence
    of gross and palpable corruption, practised by the grantees
    of the lands attempted to be alienated by the aforesaid
    act, tending to enrich and aggrandize, to a degree almost
    incalculable, a few individuals, and ruinous to the public
    interest.”

If there be any objection in my mind to this resolution, it is that
it does not sufficiently detail what it contains in substance; that
the vendors of this iniquitous bargain being at the same time the
vendees, the contract was therefore void. On a former occasion, when
this position was advanced, we were told that, on the same principle,
the sale of our western lands might be set aside, since members of the
Legislature speculated in them to a vast amount. However indecorous
and reprehensible this may have been in persons in their situation;
there was a wide and material difference between the sales made by the
United States and a pretended sale like this--not of a few acres, but
of millions; not of sections and half sections, but of thousands of
square miles; not measured by chains and perches, but by circles of
latitude and longitude; not made in the face of day, on public notice,
for a reasonable equivalent, and with the general participation of the
citizens, but bartered away in the dark by wholesale for the emolument
of the partners in the job, for a pretended consideration too paltry to
give an air of validity to the contract; and even this sum, pitiful as
it was, had since been drawn from the treasury of Georgia by those who
had paid it, or others claiming under them by an act yet more infamous
and disgraceful if possible than that by which it was deposited there.
But it is not my intention at this time to enter into the particulars
of this transaction. In the former stages of this bill I have endeavored
to give a faithful history of it. Weak and vain, however, must be every
effort to do justice to this enormous and atrocious procedure. Some
gentlemen indeed will tell you that we have no proof of these facts. The
depositions are _ex parte_, say they, and therefore in strictness of law
cannot be considered as evidence. But when was it known that men could
not legislate on less than legal evidence? Have we not the same evidence
of the fraud that we have of the existence of the claims? Are not the
evidences of both in the same report? the same proof of the corruption
as of the claims? They both hang together. Do not gentlemen themselves
admit the existence of the corruption? On what other principle could
they justify their proposition to withhold from these harpies the whole
of their glorious booty, and put them off with a comparative pittance?
Set aside the evidence of the corruption, and it cannot be denied, that
instead of five, they are entitled to fifty millions of acres. I repeat
they are entitled to all or nothing. We at least are consistent, we deny
their title to anything, and we propose to give them nothing. Gentlemen
on the other side can support the claim to the five millions, which they
propose to give, only by arguments which justify a claim to ten times
that amount.

Mr. R. here read the fourth resolution:

    “That the good people of Georgia, impressed with general
    indignation at the act of atrocious perfidy and unparalleled
    corruption, with a promptitude of decision highly honorable
    to them, did, by the act of a subsequent Legislature, passed
    on the 13th day of February, 1796, under circumstances of
    peculiar solemnity, and finally sanctioned by the people, who
    have subsequently ingrafted it on their constitution, declare
    the preceding act and the grants made under it, in themselves
    null and void; that the said act should be expunged from the
    records of the State and publicly burnt--which was accordingly
    done--provision at the same time being made for restoring
    the pretended purchase money to the grantees, by whom, or by
    persons claiming under them, the greater part of the said
    purchase money has been withdrawn from the treasury of Georgia.”

This is another of the resolutions not even substantially embraced in
the proffered amendment, which has been rejected by the committee. The
evidence of the facts contained in the former part of it is to be found
in the act of Georgia, which I hold in my hand, commonly called the
rescinding act. The report of our Commissioners furnishes the proof
of the withdrawal of the money, with a detailed statement of that
nefarious business, which in the former stages of this bill has been
amply explained. In the rescinding act the Legislature of Georgia take
other objections to the usurpation of 1795, besides those founded on its
corruption. They deny the constitutional right of their predecessors to
have made such an alienation of the public domain, even with honorable
views and for a fair equivalent. They declare that their constitution
prescribes a certain mode whereby vacant lands shall be sold and granted,
and that the pretended act of 1795 is void, not only from its corruption,
but from its contravening those provisions. This is a weighty and vital
objection. The slow yet equitable method known to the Constitution of
Georgia of laying off new counties, granting out the lands, when they
were appropriated and settled, laying off and settling others, was
ill-suited to the gigantic rapacity of the Assembly of 1795, and their
ravenous accomplices, who grasped at every acre within the nominal limits
of the State, whether covered by Indian titles, or whether those claims
were extinguished.

I must beg leave, in answer to the objection of some gentlemen here, to
repeat what was advanced by me in a former discussion of the subject.
Georgia ceded this territory to us subject to certain specified claims,
arising under Great Britain, under Spain, and under her Bourbon act, as
it is commonly called, which has no relation to any of the Yazoo acts,
as they are termed. For these claims we have stipulated to provide,
moreover paying her a certain sum out of the first proceeds of the lands,
as a consideration for the grant. Besides the above-mentioned claims
there were others not recognized by, or provided for, in our compact.
In relation to these, Georgia gives a reluctant assent, (which is to
be inferred as well from the expressions which are used in the treaty,
as from the declaration of the Commissioners on both sides,) that we
may apply, not exceeding five millions of acres to quiet other claims,
generally, without specifying what they are--the appropriation not to
exceed the amount above, and to be made within six months from the
ratification of the compact, or to revert back to Georgia. Among the
claims of this vague description may be ranked those of the Virginia
and South Carolina Yazoo Companies (under the act of Georgia of 1789,
and those arising under the corrupt act of 1795.) We are at liberty,
therefore, to give these reserved five millions of acres to either, or
to both, of those descriptions of conflicting claimants, but we are
certainly not bound to bestow an acre on one of them, either by compact
with Georgia or by our own act of appropriation. When that act passed it
was at the close of our session; there was not time to investigate any of
these claims. It was then understood that some of them were equitable,
and not founded in corruption. If we had not then made the appropriation,
the term within which we were permitted to make it, would have elapsed
before the next session of Congress. We therefore made the appropriation
in the same general terms of our compact with Georgia, pledging
ourselves to none, while we thereby reserved the right of examining and
recompensing all, in case they should thereafter be found to deserve
it. The day of investigation having arrived, you are invited to decline
it altogether, and hold that the reservation of the right to give, is
converted by some political magic into a duty, and that too by those who
propose to give nothing to the companies of 1789, although their claim is
embraced by the general provision of our compact with Georgia, and by the
terms of our act of appropriation as much as the claims of the companies
of 1795.


FRIDAY, March 9.

_Government of Louisiana._

The House went into a Committee of the Whole on the bill for the
government of Louisiana. The fifth section being read, as follows:

    “SEC. 5. The judicial power shall be vested in a superior
    court, and in such inferior courts, and justices of the peace,
    as the Legislature of the Territory may, from time to time,
    establish. The judges of the superior court, and the justices
    of the peace, shall hold their offices for the term of four
    years. The superior court shall consist of three judges,
    any one of whom shall constitute a court. They shall have
    jurisdiction in all criminal cases, and exclusive jurisdiction
    in all those which are capital, and original and appellate
    jurisdiction in all civil cases of the value of one hundred
    dollars. Its sessions shall commence on the first Monday of
    every month, and continue till all the business depending
    before them shall be disposed of. They shall appoint their own
    clerk. In all criminal prosecutions which are capital, the
    trial shall be by a jury of twelve good and lawful men of the
    vicinage; and in all cases, criminal and civil, in the superior
    court, the trial shall be by a jury, if either of the parties
    require it. The inhabitants of the said Territory shall be
    entitled to the benefits of the writ of _habeas corpus_; they
    shall be bailable, unless for capital offences, where the proof
    shall be evident, or the presumption great; and no cruel and
    unusual punishment shall be inflicted:”

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL moved to strike out “which are capital, the trial
shall be by a jury of twelve good and lawful men of the vicinage; and in
all cases, criminal and civil, in the superior court, the trial shall
be by a jury, if either of the parties require it,” and to insert “the
trial shall be by jury, and in all civil cases above the value of twenty
dollars.”

Mr. C. said he conceived that in legislating for the people of Louisiana,
they were bound by the Constitution of the United States, and that
they had not a right to establish courts in that Territory on any
other terms than they could in any of the States. Wherever courts were
established in a Territory, they must be considered as courts of the
United States, and of consequence cannot be otherwise constituted than
as courts in the States. The constitution expressly declares that, in
criminal cases the trial shall be by jury, and in all civil cases where
the sum in controversy exceeds the value of twenty dollars, the trial
shall be likewise by jury. In the ninth article of the amendments to the
constitution, we find the following words: “In suits at common law where
the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial
by jury shall be preserved.” The eighth article says: “In all criminal
prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public
trial by an impartial jury.”

I will observe that the right of trial given by this section, to wit: “if
either of the parties require it,” is a dangerous mode of proceeding, and
may tend unwarily to entrap them. The person brought before the court for
a misdemeanor, asked if he requires a jury trial, may be ignorant of the
evidence, and may not know the benefits of a trial by jury; he must at
all events show a want of confidence in the court, or waive a jury trial.
If he does the first, he may sour the minds of the court. The party
is thus put in a situation which may be worse than if he was deprived
altogether of the right of a trial, by the necessity of making a choice
which may operate more against him. The bill therefore does not secure
the right of a jury trial, as contemplated by the constitution.

Mr. SLOAN said a few words in support of the motion, which was lost--yeas
20.

[At this stage of the business we attended the trial of impeachment
in the Senate, and cannot with perfect correctness state the further
proceedings of the House on the bill. We understand, however, that the
new section, sometime since offered by Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL, providing
for the election of a Legislature by the people of Louisiana, instead
of their being governed according to the bill from the Senate by a
council appointed by the President, was disagreed to--yeas 37, nays
43.--_Reporter._][9]


SATURDAY, March 10.

_Georgia Claims._

Mr. J. RANDOLPH moved the taking up for consideration the resolution
offered by him on the claims under the act of Georgia of 1795.

Mr. ELLIOT moved the order of the day on the bill for the compromise of
those and other claims.

Mr. GREGG moved to postpone the further consideration of the resolutions
till the first day of December next. He was, he said, perfectly prepared
to act on the bill for the settlement of the claims, and to give it his
decided negative; and should have no objections, but for the lateness
of the session, and the great mass of important business that demanded
attention.

The SPEAKER said, the motion to consider the resolutions, being first
made, must be first put.

It accordingly was put, and carried--yeas 58.

Mr. JACKSON then moved a postponement of the resolutions until the 1st
Monday in December.

Mr. STANFORD inquired whether the motion of postponement was not
susceptible of a division, so as to apply to each resolution separately.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH hoped the question would be so taken.

Mr. RODNEY expressed the same wish, and that the yeas and nays might be
taken on each division of the question. He was opposed to a postponement.
He should not have risen at this late period but for the warm opposition
the resolutions had received from various quarters, and but for his
desire to avail himself of the opportunity to state his reasons for
giving them a firm support.

It is objected to these resolutions that they are abstract propositions.
By abstract principles, I understand axioms unapplied. But when they
are applied to facts, they cease to be considered in the abstract. In
geometry there are certain elementary principles which are the basis of
all reasoning on any proposition in that department of science. So in law
there are principles in the abstract while they remain unapplied, and
which bear in every case where facts admit of their application. So in
politics certain principles are held sacred, either in the view of right,
or in relation to the constitution of a State. But when these principles
are applied to a given state of things, they cease to be abstract. In
the Declaration of Independence there are several abstract principles,
such as “that all men are free,” &c. But when applied to a certain state
of things, they are no longer abstract. I apprehend, therefore, that my
worthy friend from Pennsylvania will, on more mature reflection, perceive
that the principles contained in the resolutions bearing on facts cease
to be abstract; on facts which it is necessary for us to decide, and
against examining the consequences of which no reason can be urged. But,
says another gentleman, we have no jurisdiction in the case; we have
nothing to do with the act of Georgia of 1795; we have no authority
over it. I confess myself really surprised to be assured, over and over
again, that the act of 1795 which gives the House all this trouble, is
the corner stone of the present claims, and without which there would
not be a shadow of claim, is not to be considered as blended with our
proceedings. What! when we are called upon to compromise claims, are we
not to go to the cause, to the fountain source, and decide whether they
have, or have not, a foundation in justice? Put the act of 1795 out of
the way, and would we have ever heard of this compromise? Remove it, and
would we have a single claimant before us soliciting a compromise? I
consider the act, to Georgia, as involving the all-important point; as
intimately and indissolubly blended with the question before us. That
question is whether we will consent to give five millions to effect a
compromise of claims, directly emanating from the act of 1795; and then,
as an incidental question, we are obliged to look at the act of 1795.
If the House have authority over the main question, _ex vi termini_,
they have authority over every question incidental to it; and common
sense teaches us that it is absolutely necessary to determine on the
validity of the act of 1795, in order to decide the justice or policy of
compromising claims arising out of it.

Having settled, as I conceive, these preliminary points, I will call the
attention of the House to the great point on which their decision must
turn. Either the act of 1795 or of 1796 is in force. If that of 1795 is
in force the claimants have a legal title to unascertained millions. If
that act is not binding, they have no claim at all. If that act is of
no authority, there is an end of their title. The tree is cut up by the
roots, and all its branches fall. They have either then a title to fifty
millions, or they have no title at all. Their case cannot be compared to
a common saying, which declares half a loaf better than no bread.

Now let us compare these facts and reasonings with the resolutions. When
I rose I intended to have taken them up in order, but as I have been
diverted by the course of the argument, I shall pursue the track I have
taken. One of the resolutions states “that a subsequent legislature of an
individual State has an undoubted right to repeal any act of a preceding
legislature, provided such repeal be not forbidden by the constitution of
such State, or of the United States.”

This is, I think, a plain and clear axiom. Both legislatures flow from
the same source, and are armed with equal powers. What one legislature
can do, another may undo, if the interest of the public prescribes it. I
know an ingenious distinction is taken, as to the power of a legislative
body, between municipal acts and those constituting contracts. The
distinction holds to a certain degree as to expediency, but not as to
power. When a legislative body forms a contract, it is a solemn thing,
and it ought not to be touched, except when the private evil arising from
its being annulled should rather be endured than the public calamity
arising from its continuance. But still the position of the resolution is
perfectly tenable. What one legislature has done another may undo; what
one has enacted, a subsequent one may repeal.

Let us examine whether there is any thing in the rescinding act of
Georgia at variance with the constitution of that State, or the
Constitution of the United States. The whole course of the business
shows the previous act to have been a violation of the Constitution of
Georgia. The Constitution of the United States declares that no State
“shall pass any _ex post facto_ law, or law impairing the obligation of
contracts.” That no contract has been impaired, is evident from attending
to the sense of the word. I know of no contract formed, either in a
legal or equitable sense. Did the Constitution of Georgia authorize her
Representatives to rob the people of their property? Or did it authorize
them only to dispose of it for their welfare? If they had a right to
dispose of it in a wrongful manner, it knocks up the argument at once. If
they were vested with a right to rob and plunder their constituents, I
give up the point. But until this is shown I shall remain of opinion that
they only had the right of disposing of it for the general good. I am not
about to travel through the fruitful wilderness of inquiry disclosed in
the progress of this affair. But gentlemen say that we have no evidence
of corruption. What do they want more than we possess? The whole business
has been referred to a set of Commissioners, whose comprehensive powers
embraced an investigation of every claim. They have fully examined the
claims under the act of 1795, and they have reported that--

    “A comparison of the schedule annexed to the articles, and
    which is declared to be a part of the agreement, with the yeas
    and nays on the passage of the act authorizing the sale, (E.)
    shows that all the members, both in the Senate and House, who
    voted in favor of the law, were, with one single exception,
    (Robert Watkins, whose name does not appear,) interested in,
    and parties to, the purchase.

    “The articles of agreement, and list of associates of the
    Tennessee company, which have been voluntarily furnished by
    one of the trustees, show that a number of the members of the
    Legislature were also interested in that company.”

This stubborn fact appears on the face of a report made by persons
duly authorized to investigate the whole transaction. The fact is
indisputable, and ought to satisfy the most reluctant and unwilling mind
of the enormity of the corruption attending this business. It is fully
satisfactory to my mind. But it is said that this statement is founded
on _ex parte_ depositions, and that no opportunity has been allowed to
cross-examine the witnesses. But where were they taken? In Georgia;
in probably the same House that witnessed the scene of disgrace; by a
tribunal competent to take them and to inquire into facts.

Upon the whole, it appears to me most evident, on referring to the acts
of Georgia, the articles of cession, and the laws of Congress, that the
claims under the acts of Georgia have no validity. If, therefore, we give
any thing, it must be from compassion, and not from the obligations of
justice. Let the House, ere it do this, reflect whether there are not
objects in the country equally worthy of their compassion. Let them
visit the straw shed of the war-worn soldier who bled in the defence
of our rights; the comfortless hut of the widow who lost her husband
in battle. With but little search we shall find a mountain of claims
that overhangs the justice of the country. If, after this view, we
shall consider any unfortunate victims of injustice in this transaction
entitled to compassion, I will agree to go as far as any man in affording
them relief. But were we as rich as Crœsus, I would first administer
relief to the Belisariuses of our country. Let us be just to these before
we are generous to other descriptions of claimants.

Mr. T. M. RANDOLPH.--Mr. Speaker: I hope the House will not consent to
postpone these resolutions. I hope it will, on the contrary, immediately
proceed to consider them, and conclude by adopting them, for, taken
generally, they meet my warm approbation as to the principles they lay
down, and I am anxious to see the last one, which is the fair corollary
of the other, incorporated into the bill now before us.

My opinion is, that it will cast a broad stain on the American character,
as it must be exhibited in future history, for this body which represents
it to grant compensation for their pretended losses, under whatever form
ingenuity may invent to disguise it, to any of those adventurers who made
the spurious contract with Georgia in the year 1795, for the purchase of
her western territory, upon the ground that the fictitious bargain gave
the least shadow of title to any part of that territory. This opinion is
a conviction irresistibly given to my mind by an impartial investigation,
that what were at that time called companies of land adventurers, were,
with the exception of one or two misled individuals, whose delusion and
consequent implication I lament, no other, in their conduct on this
occasion, than shameless bands of sharpers; what was impudently called a
contract, was, in reality, a fraud of unprecedented enormity, and what
has since been declared an unjust interposition of the primary sovereign
authority of the State, to cancel a fair bargain, was no more than the
regular and proper application of the only sufficient means which could
be used to redress a cheat upon the people of Georgia of unparalleled
audacity and magnitude. I am sorry, by entertaining this opinion, to
differ with so many on this floor, with whom it is my pride to think;
but I am not much surprised at that difference. Very rarely, indeed,
have I heard of important questions which did not divide opinions; never
have I been at a criminal trial where numbers did not doubt the reality
of the crime. Such is the difference in the impression made by the same
testimony upon different minds. Were it not for this extraordinary
circumstance in our nature, which almost precludes unanimity, and which
completely defies explanation upon any general principles of the moral
structure of man, there would be but one sentiment in this House upon the
question now before it. The information which has satisfied my mind, I
have derived from the declarations of the counties of Georgia, in their
petitions and remonstrances presented to the convention of that State,
which assembled in the month of May, 1795; from the acknowledgment made
by that convention of the dignity of those applications, and the respect
due to them, in the resolve which referred the matter they contained to
the consideration of the succeeding Legislature; from the proceedings
of the General Assembly of 1796, upon that matter, and the evidence
it collected and recorded relative thereto; and, lastly, from certain
declarations and provisions confirming those proceedings, and thereby
establishing that evidence, which were made by the convention of 1798,
and which exist now in the body of the present Constitution of Georgia.
The same means of information are within the reach of all; I ought to
say, should be possessed by all; I might say, should be satisfactory to
all; since the witnesses are the great body of the people of one of our
respectable States, and the testimony is authenticated, confirmed, and
preserved, as well by the constitutional as the ordinary code of that
State.

It has not been my object in making this inquiry, to learn in what
deep sharper’s brain this scheme was first engendered, which of the
associates stood most prominent in the development and execution of
it, how the price paid for the flagrant treason against posterity was
apportioned, or how the spoil obtained by such a stupendous larceny,
committed upon the inheritance of the unborn, was divided. I have not
desired to know, and it would be unimportant to the House to be informed,
which of the associates had no moral sense at all, whose conscience was
subdued by his avarice, or who, unthinkingly, gave the control of it
into the hands of his friend. I desire not to see any name consigned
to infamy; of those which have come to my knowledge, one or two I yet
respect; the remainder have not more distinct images annexed to them,
in my mind, than those of the men who conceived and executed the South
Sea cheat in England, or the Mississippi fraud in France. But, from the
investigation I have made, I have learned, as certainly as the actions
of men can be known to others than the actual beholders of them, that
the Legislature of Georgia, which commenced its session in the autumn of
1794, was assailed by every possible artifice of seduction, to procure
from it the act of 7th January, 1795, which constituted what has since
been impudently called the Yazoo contract. That it yielded to those
artifices, and a considerable majority of its members became treacherous
to their constituents, and deaf to the voice of their honor. That bribes
were daringly offered and unblushingly received for votes in favor of
the land. That the property of the State of Georgia, to the amount of
forty millions of dollars, at the most reasonable estimate, was sold
by those trustees of the people of Georgia for one half million, and
purchased by the sellers themselves in combination with certain abject
worshippers of gold, who had artfully infused into them their blind
fanaticism. That another offer of four-fifths of a million, made by other
men at the same time, was rejected, because the Legislature itself was
concerned in the first. That the Chief Magistrate of the State, after
one feeble effort of resistance, and a declaration which ought to have
bound him to an obstinate opposition, with a conduct which, to my mind,
manifests a thorough knowledge of the corrupt views of the Legislature,
as well as a want of energy to defeat them, yielded to the impulse, and
ratified the fraudulent sale. That the moment his irresolute hand gave
the illusive sanction to the vain and ineffectual deed, this ravenous
pack of speculators, keen with the hunger of avarice, unkennelled and
scoured the whole peopled territory of the Union in quest of their
appropriate game--the simple, the credulous, and those who are hoodwinked
by the excess of their own cupidity. The most voracious of them sought
the great cities, where numbers of the thirsty sons of gain became their
prey, while numbers more joined in the promising chase, led the way
to the victims, and fattened on their spoil. Many, more fell in their
nature, though less keen in their appetites for gold, traversed the
tranquil country of New England, scenting the homely purses which hung
in the smoky corner of peaceful cottages, into which the solitary dollar
had been dropped with religious punctuality every week, perhaps every
month only, by the hand of the provident father, from the time when the
first birth under his roof gladdened his heart. Great numbers of these
receptacles of hard-earned gain, with all their rusty treasure, the fruit
of long continued industry and frugality, destined to ensure to many of
the rising race the innocent joys of a life of wholesome exertion in
their own fields, were devoured by them, and that happy destiny in a
moment changed for a short period of certain pain, and, too probable,
vice, in the moving prisons of the ocean.

The promulgation of the law produced one general murmur of indignation
throughout the State of Georgia. The crime committed by the
Representatives of the people was strongly denounced by the grand juries
of all the succeeding courts. An assembly of special Representatives,
which had been summoned for constitutional purposes, meeting in the
succeeding spring, was addressed by all the counties of the State, and
by nearly the whole people of it, with memorials, remonstrances, and
petitions, according to the different degrees of excitement, all setting
forth in strong terms the nefarious act; complaining with bitterness
of the perfidy of the Legislature, requiring, urging, and imploring
the convention to proclaim the fact, and annul the fraudulent sale. No
laborious investigation into the huge and naked scheme of speculation,
no troublesome search after testimony to expose the framer of it was
necessary. Nothing was requisite but to receive, condense, and record
the decisive evidence voluntarily offered from all quarters. But this
legitimate and easy task the convention, naturally enough, thought fit
to decline, as many of its members were themselves openly concerned, and
many more secretly interested in the purchase. The pack of speculators
were then in full cry, the game were falling abundantly into their
jaws; it could scarcely be expected that those who had contributed so
much to set this chase on foot, who expected to share so largely in its
profits, should sound the horn of alarm to the objects of it. It quickly
occurred to a majority of this body, that a reference of these addresses
to the Legislature of the next year, would not only give time for the
continuance of the chase, but might be productive of something like
safety in the after possession of the spoils of it; while it promised
to afford some shield against the popular discontent and indignation
which a total neglect, so desirable to themselves, must inevitably have
brought on them. Notwithstanding, before midsummer of the same year,
the fraudulency and consequently invalidity of the sale must have been
unequivocally known throughout the Union, by the ferment in the State of
Georgia. Early in the succeeding year all the records of State relative
to this transaction were burned, and all recorded evidences of private
contracts which had arisen out of the land were cancelled, destroyed,
and forbidden to be renewed or afterwards admitted in the courts by the
Legislature acting under the authority to consider the matter, and of
course the power to redress the complaint of the petitions, which had
been given to it by the convention, and also under the express injunction
of the people themselves, laid on the individual members of that body at
the elections. But the speed of the sharpers had outstripped the slow
step of the State. They had, in a great measure, executed their swindling
scheme; a number of their dupes were already, instead of amusing their
own credulity, insincerely, and I will say, insolently, accusing the
perfidy of Georgia.

The question was then taken by yeas and nays on the postponement, until
the first Monday of December, of the following resolution:

    “_Resolved_, That the Legislature of the State of Georgia were,
    at no time, invested with the power of alienating the right of
    soil possessed by the good people of that State, in and to the
    vacant territory of the same, but in a rightful manner, and for
    the public good:”

And passed in the negative--yeas 51, nays 52.

So much of the said original motion as is contained in the second clause
thereof, being again read, in the words following, to wit:

“That, when the Governors of any people shall have betrayed the
confidence reposed in them, and shall have exercised that authority with
which they have been clothed for the general welfare, to promote their
own private ends, under the basest motives, and to the public detriment,
it is the inalienable right of a people, so circumstanced, to revoke
the authority thus abused, to resume the rights thus attempted to be
bartered, and to abrogate the act thus endeavoring to betray them:”

The question was taken that the House do agree to the motion for
postponement of the said second clause of the original motion; and
resolved in the affirmative--yeas 52, nays 50.

So much of the said original motion as is contained in the third clause
thereof, being twice read, in the words following, to wit:

    “That it is in evidence to this House, that the act of the
    Legislature of Georgia, passed on the seventh of January, 1795,
    entitled ‘An act for appropriating a part of the unlocated
    territory of this State, for the payment of the State troops,
    and for other purposes,’ was passed by persons under the
    influence of gross and palpable corruption practised by
    the grantees of the lands attempted to be alienated by the
    aforesaid act, tending to enrich and aggrandize, to a degree
    almost incalculable, a few individuals, and ruinous to the
    public interest:”

The question was taken that the House do agree to the motion for
postponement of the said third clause of the original motion; and
resolved in the affirmative--yeas 54, nays 49.

So much of the said original motion as is contained in the fourth, fifth,
sixth, and seventh clauses thereof, being again read, in the words
following, to wit:

    “That the good people of Georgia, impressed with general
    indignation at this act of atrocious perfidy and of
    unparalleled corruption, with a promptitude of decision highly
    honorable to their character, did, by the act of a subsequent
    Legislature, passed on the thirteenth of February, 1796, under
    circumstances of peculiar solemnity, and finally sanctioned
    by the people, who have subsequently ingrafted it on their
    constitution, declare the preceding act, and the grants made
    under it, in themselves null and void; that the said act should
    be expunged from the records of the State, and be publicly
    burnt, which was accordingly done; provision at the same time
    being made for restoring the pretended purchase-money to the
    grantees, by whom, or by persons claiming under them, the
    greater part of the said purchase-money has been withdrawn from
    the treasury of Georgia.”

    “That a subsequent Legislature of an individual State has an
    undoubted right to repeal any act of a preceding Legislature;
    provided such repeal be not forbidden by the constitution of
    such State, or of the United States.”

“That the aforesaid act of the State of Georgia, passed on the thirteenth
of February, 1796, was forbidden neither by the constitution of that
State, nor by that of the United States.”

“That the claims of persons derived under the aforesaid act of the
seventh of January, 1795, are recognized neither by any compact between
the United States and the State of Georgia, nor any act of the Federal
Government.”

The question was taken that the House do agree to the motion for
postponement of the said fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh clauses of the
original motion; and resolved in the affirmative--yeas 53, nays 50.

And then the residue of the said original motion, contained in the eighth
and last clause thereof, being twice read, in the following words, to
wit:

    “_Therefore, Resolved._ That no part of the five millions
    of acres reserved for satisfying and quieting claims to
    lands ceded by the State of Georgia to the United States,
    and appropriated by the act of Congress passed at their last
    session, shall be appropriated to quiet or compensate any
    claims derived under any act, or pretended act of the State of
    Georgia, passed, or alleged to be passed, during the year 1795:”

The question was taken that the House do agree to the motion for
postponement of the said residue of the original motion; and resolved in
the affirmative--yeas 54, nays 51, as follows:

YEAS.--Willis Alston, jun., Simeon Baldwin, Silas Betton, Phanuel Bishop,
John Campbell, William Chamberlin, Martin Chittenden, Clifton Claggett,
Jacob Crowninshield, Manasseh Cutler, Richard Cutts, Samuel W. Dana, John
Davenport, John Dawson, William Dickson, Thomas Dwight, James Elliot,
Ebenezer Elmer, William Eustis, William Findlay, John Fowler, Andrew
Gregg, Gaylord Griswold, Roger Griswold, Seth Hastings, William Helms,
David Hough, Benjamin Huger, Nehemiah Knight, Henry W. Livingston, Thomas
Lowndes, Matthew Lyon, Nahum Mitchell, Samuel L. Mitchill, Jeremiah
Morrow, Joseph H. Nicholson, Thomas Plater, Erastus Root, Tompson J.
Skinner, John Smilie, John Cotton Smith, Joseph Stanton, William Stedman,
James Stephenson, Samuel Taggart, Samuel Tenney, Samuel Thatcher, David
Thomas, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Joseph B. Varnum, Daniel C. Verplanck,
Peleg Wadsworth, Lemuel Williams, and Marmaduke Williams.

NAYS.--Isaac Anderson, David Bard, George Michael Bedinger, William
Blackledge, Adam Boyd, Robert Brown, Joseph Bryan, William Butler, Levi
Casey, Joseph Clay, Matthew Clay, John Clopton, Frederick Conrad, John B.
Earle, James Gillespie, Peterson Goodwyn, Thomas Griffin, Samuel Hammond,
John A. Hanna, Josiah Hasbrouck, James Holland, William Kennedy, Michael
Leib, Joseph Lewis, jun., Andrew McCord, David Meriwether, Andrew Moore,
Nicholas R. Moore, Anthony New, Thomas Newton, jun., Gideon Olin, Beriah
Palmer, John Randolph, Thomas M. Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania,
Jacob Richards, Cæsar A. Rodney, Thomas Sammons, Thomas Sanford, Ebenezer
Seaver, James Sloan, John Smith of Virginia, Henry Southard, Richard
Stanford, John Stewart, Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg, Isaac Van Horne,
Matthew Walton, Richard Wynn, and Joseph Winston.[10]


WEDNESDAY, March 14.

_Government of Louisiana._

The House went into a Committee of the Whole on the bill from the Senate,
providing for the government of Louisiana.

Mr. SLOAN moved an amendment, inhibiting the admission of slaves into
Louisiana, as well from the United States as from foreign places.

Mr. S. concisely stated his reasons in favor of this provision, when the
question was taken, and the amendment agreed to--ayes 40, noes 36. Mr.
G. W. CAMPBELL proposed an amendment, withholding from the parties to a
civil suit the right of waiving a jury trial. The bill provides a jury
trial in all cases in which either party shall require it.

This amendment, after being supported by Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL, and opposed
by Messrs. HOLLAND, SOUTHARD, and DANA, was negatived--ayes 12.

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL moved to strike out that part of the bill which
renders every person settling on lands of the United States liable to a
fine of one thousand dollars, and to one year’s imprisonment.

This produced a debate of some length and more animation, in which the
motion to strike out was urged by Messrs. G. W. CAMPBELL, LYON, and
CLAIBORNE; and opposed by Messrs. GREGG, NICHOLSON, BOYD, SMILIE, MACON,
SLOAN, and HOLLAND.

The question was taken, and the amendment was negatived--ayes 23.


SATURDAY, March 17.

_Government of Louisiana._

The bill erecting Louisiana into two Territories, and providing for the
temporary government thereof, was read the third time.

Mr. DAWSON moved a recommitment of the bill for amendment.

Mr. ALSTON was against a general recommitment of the bill, but friendly
to a recommitment for the purpose of limiting its duration.

Messrs. NICHOLSON, SMILIE, EARLY, and S. N. MITCHILL, opposed the
recommitment.

Mr. BEDINGER advocated the recommitment.

The motion to recommit was then negatived--ayes 39, noes 43.

Mr. ALSTON said, if there was no objection, he would move the insertion
of a clause to limit the period of the bill, on account principally of
the great powers conferred on the Executive.

This motion being objected to, by Mr. LYON, was declared out of order.

The question was then put on the passage of the bill.

Messrs. LYON, SLOAN, JACKSON, and BEDINGER opposed, and Mr. SMILIE
supported its passage.

Mr. VARNUM moved to recommit, for amendment, that part of the bill that
vests equity powers in the courts of Louisiana.

Motion negatived--ayes 39, noes 44.

A motion was made to recommit the fourth section, which was lost--ayes 15.

Mr. BEDINGER moved to recommit the last section for the purpose of
obtaining a limitation to the act.

Motion carried--ayes 52.

The House went into a Committee of the Whole on the last section,

When Mr. NICHOLSON moved an amendment limiting the act to two years, and
to the end of the next session thereafter.

Mr. BEDINGER said, he would like its limitation to one year better, but
would, if it were the sense of the House, be satisfied with two years.

Mr. NICHOLSON’s motion was agreed to without a division.

The House agreed to the amendment; when the final question was put on
the passage of the bill, and carried in the affirmative by yeas and
nays--yeas 66, nays 21, as follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, junior, Isaac Anderson, David Bard,
    George Michael Bedinger, Walter Bowie, Adam Boyd, John Boyle,
    Robert Brown, Levi Casey, Thomas Claiborne, Joseph Clay,
    Frederick Conrad, Jacob Crowninshield, Richard Cutts, William
    Dickson, John B. Earle, Peter Early, Ebenezer Elmer, William
    Eustis, William Findlay, James Gillespie, John A. Hanna,
    Josiah Hasbrouck, Joseph Heister, William Hoge, James Holland,
    Benjamin Huger, Walter Jones, William Kennedy, Nehemiah
    Knight, Michael Leib, Andrew McCord, William McCreery, David
    Meriwether, Samuel L. Mitchill, Andrew Moore, Nicholas R.
    Moore, Thomas Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas
    Newton, junior, Joseph H. Nicholson, Gideon Olin, Beriah
    Palmer, Thomas M. Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea
    of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Erastus Root, Thomas Sammons,
    Thomas Sandford, Ebenezer Seaver, Tompson J. Skinner, John
    Smilie, John Smith of Virginia, Richard Stanford, John Stewart,
    David Thomas, Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg, John Trigg,
    Philip Van Cortlandt, Isaac Van Horne, Marmaduke Williams,
    Richard Wynn, and Joseph Winston.

    NAYS.--John Archer, Silas Betton, Martin Chittenden, Clifton
    Claggett, Matthew Clay, John Clopton, Samuel W. Dana, John
    Davenport, John Dawson, James Elliot, Gaylord Griswold, Roger
    Griswold, Seth Hastings, John G. Jackson, Henry W. Livingston,
    Matthew Lyon, Thomas Plater, James Sloan, John C. Smith, Samuel
    Tenney, and Lemuel Williams.[11]

WEDNESDAY, March 21.

_Tripolitan War and Mediterranean Fund._

Mr. NICHOLSON, from the Committee of Ways and Means, presented a bill
further to protect the commerce and seamen of the United States against
the Barbary Powers.

[The bill provides that an additional duty of two and a half per centum
be laid upon all imported goods at present charged with a duty ad
valorem, and an additional duty of ten per cent. on all such duties
payable on goods imported in foreign vessels. The proceeds of these
duties are to constitute a fund to be called the Mediterranean fund. The
duties to cease within three months after a peace with Tripoli, in case
the United States are not engaged in war with some other of the Barbary
Powers, in which case they are to cease within three months after a peace
with such powers. The President is authorized to cause to be purchased
or built two vessels of war, to carry sixteen guns each, and as many
gunboats as he may think proper. One million of dollars, additional to
the sum heretofore appropriated, is placed under the direction of the
President for the naval service, which sum he is authorized to borrow at
a rate of interest not exceeding six per cent.]

Mr. NICHOLSON moved that this bill should be made the order for this day.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD moved to-morrow.

The question on “to-morrow” was lost--yeas 33, nays 50, when Mr.
NICHOLSON’s motion prevailed.


_Duties on Imports._

The bill laying more specific duties on certain articles, and imposing
light-money on foreign vessels entering the ports of the United States,
was read the third time.

Mr. HUGER moved its postponement to the first Monday of December, under
the impression that its merits, and the principles it contained, had not
received that full and deliberate examination to which they were entitled.

Mr. J. CLAY observed that a postponement would be virtually a rejection
of the bill.

Mr. MITCHILL concisely advocated the principles of the bill.

Mr. BLACKLEDGE also defended it.

Mr. R. GRISWOLD opposed it, principally on the ground that it increased
the existing rate of duties.

Mr. J. CLAY replied, and allowed that the duties imposed by the bill
would produce more revenue than that heretofore received, but contended
that this would arise from the fraudulent practice heretofore in use
of making out invoices of articles subject at present to ad valorem
duties. In removing this evil, the necessary effect would be an increase
of revenue, not exceeding, however, the probable receipt in case the
invoices were fairly made out.

Mr. HUGER followed, in a speech of considerable length, in which he
contended that the operation of the bill would be to promote the
manufactures of the Eastern and Middle States, to the great detriment of
the Southern States. Principally, though not entirely on this ground, he
declared himself hostile to the bill.

After a few remarks from Mr. BOYD in defence, and of Mr. CLAIBORNE
against the bill, the question of postponement was taken by yeas and
nays, and lost--yeas 40, nays 68.

Mr. KENNEDY moved a recommitment of the motion imposing a specific duty
on printed calicoes and lime.

Motion rejected--yeas 34.

The question was then taken on the passage of the bill, and carried in
the affirmative by yeas and nays--yeas 65, nays 41.[12]


THURSDAY, March 22.

_Protection against the Barbary Powers._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill
further to protect the commerce and seamen of the United States against
the Barbary Powers.

Mr. GRISWOLD moved to strike out the first section, which is as follows:

    “_Be it enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That, for
    the purpose of defraying the expenses of equipping, officering,
    manning, and employing such of the armed vessels of the United
    States, as may be deemed requisite by the President of the
    United States, for protecting the commerce and seamen thereof,
    and for carrying on warlike operations against the Regency of
    Tripoli, or any other of the Barbary Powers, which may commit
    hostilities against the United States, and for the purpose also
    of defraying any other expenses incidental to the intercourse
    with the Barbary Powers, or which are authorized by this act,
    a duty of two and a half per centum ad valorem, in addition
    to the duties now imposed by law, shall be laid, levied, and
    collected upon all goods, wares, and merchandise, paying a
    duty ad valorem, which shall, after the thirtieth day of June
    next, be imported into the United States from any foreign port
    or place; and an addition of ten per centum shall be made to
    the said additional duty in respect to all goods, wares, and
    merchandise, imported in ships or vessels not of the United
    States, and the duties imposed by this act shall be levied and
    collected in the same manner, and under the same regulations
    and allowances, as to drawbacks, mode of security, and time of
    payment, respectively, as are already prescribed by law, in
    relation to the duties now in force on the articles on which
    the said additional duty is laid by this act.”

Mr. G. said, that it was much to be regretted that gentlemen had thought
proper, upon this occasion, to connect with the great and ostensible
object of the bill, any provisions which should produce a disunion in
the House. The unfortunate event in the Mediterranean called loudly for
vigorous and decisive measures, and he trusted there would not exist on
the floor a difference of opinion on that point. For himself, he was
disposed to clothe the President with all the power, and to furnish him
with all the means which were necessary to bring the war with Tripoli to
a successful and speedy termination. And when this was done, to make him,
as he ought to be, responsible for the event.

It is always improper, said Mr. G., to connect in the same bill two
subjects which are in their natures distinct; and much more improper upon
this occasion, to tack to the provisions for the Mediterranean service,
upon which there could be no difference of opinion, a new tax, in respect
to which gentlemen could not agree.

The first section of the bill, which he had moved to strike out, imposed
a new tax of two and a half per centum ad valorem on all goods now liable
by law to an ad valorem duty. Goods paying at this time an ad valorem
duty were divided into three classes--the first class was liable to a
duty of twelve and a half per cent.; the second, to a duty of fifteen per
cent.; and the third, to a duty of twenty per cent.

The addition of two and a half per cent. now proposed, would increase
the duties to fifteen, seventeen and a half, and twenty-two and a half
per cent., when the goods were imported in American bottoms; and if they
were imported in foreign bottoms, the duties would be further increased
by the addition of ten per cent.

This view of the import, said Mr. G., will satisfy gentlemen that the
duties are already high, and that the proposed addition will render them
enormous. This step, therefore, ought not to be hazarded, unless the
necessities of the Government are absolutely imperious, and no other
means can be resorted to for obtaining the money.

The proposed tax, if fairly collected, would produce at least $750,000
per annum. This result might be seen from a view of the imports into
the United States of goods now liable to an ad valorem duty. From the
last official report, it appeared that the importation of goods of
that description, amounted in that year to about forty millions of
dollars--the two and a half per cent. on the whole sum would, of course,
produce one million, but, allowing for the drawback of duties on goods
exported, the net revenue could not be less than $750,000. Why, then,
impose a tax of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars to meet an
expenditure which will not probably exceed four or five hundred thousand
dollars?

Mr. NICHOLSON.--We are now about to authorize a greater expense than
usual, and the Legislature are called upon to provide means for its
discharge. For one, said Mr. N., I can never consent to add to the public
debt, while the resources of the country are adequate to its wants.
These are my ideas; and I feel somewhat surprised at the calculation of
the gentleman from Connecticut, on the expense about to be incurred. He
estimates this expense at $388,000; though yesterday when this subject
was laid before the Committee of Ways and Means, and it was contemplated
to provide $750,000, he moved to strike out $750,000, and insert
$1,000,000. And yet he now tells us that only $388,000 are required.
As to the specie in the Treasury, the gentleman states that on the 1st
of October there were $5,000,000. But with what disbursements is this
chargeable? Out of it there are to be paid American citizens for French
spoliations the sum of $3,750,000 in cash, which must remain in the
Treasury, that just claims may be paid as soon as presented. Under the
British Convention there is to be paid $800,000; and there is likewise
to be paid the interest on Louisiana stock, amounting to $685,000; the
aggregate of which sums is $5,235,000. Not having made this calculation
until the gentleman made his observation, it is possible it may not be
perfectly correct.

When the loss of the Philadelphia was announced, my first inquiry of
the Secretary of the Treasury was what money could be spared from the
Treasury for the prosecution of vigorous measures. His answer was, that
the greatest sum which could be spared would not exceed $150,000. I did
not, like the gentleman, go to the clerks or to the navy yard; but I got
the best information I could.

The gentleman from Connecticut, who appears willing to incur an expense
of a million of dollars, while he is unwilling to provide the means
of meeting it, objects to the mode of raising revenue proposed by the
Committee of Ways and Means, without proposing any other. He objects to
the laying additional duties on imported goods. In his remarks he has
made an erroneous statement of the quantity of goods on which ad valorem
duties are paid. His error has arisen from not deducting the amount of
drawbacks. By an official statement made this session, it will be found
that during the year 1802, goods paying ad valorem duties were as follows:

       _Rate._       _Amount._       _Duty._
    12½ per cent.   $23,377,717    $2,922,214
    15     ”          7,888,614     1,183,292
    20     ”            439,830        87,966
                    -----------    ----------
      Amounting to  $34,706,161    $4,193,472

The average duty on goods charged ad valorem is about thirteen and a
half per cent. Let us consider the duties paid by other articles. The
gentleman says in laying duties there is a point beyond which we cannot
go in safety on account of the temptation to smuggling. This is true.
But of all goods imported those chargeable with ad valorem duties are
the most difficult to smuggle. The invoices are made out in the country
from which they are imported. These must be authenticated, and presented
at the custom-house and sworn to. If the collector has any reason to
suspect that there are goods on board of a vessel, not in the entry, he
is to make a thorough examination of the vessel. If he sees a bale in
which he suspects there are goods not stated in the invoice, it is in
his power to have it examined. I believe there is but little smuggling
at this time; but that the articles on which there is most smuggling are
rum and coffee. If the gentleman allows that the duty on articles charged
specifically is not so high as to encourage smuggling to any great or
dangerous extent, he will allow the same in the case of articles charged
ad valorem. The great articles from which revenue is obtained, are

Spirits, which pay an average duty of twenty-nine and two-tenth cents,
and which produce $2,253,496, and cost the importer from twenty-five to
fifty cents per gallon. Spirits which pay twenty-five cents a gallon do
not cost the importer more than fifty cents, and consequently pay a duty
of fifty per cent. on the price of the article. Spirits of the third
proof pay twenty-eight cents, and do not cost more than fifty-six cents
a gallon, which is equal to a duty of fifty per cent. So with spirits
of higher proof. From this article is derived more than a fifth of our
revenue, and yet I never heard the amount of the duty complained of,
until a few days since a petition was presented from the merchants of
Connecticut. It is certain that Congress have never considered it so high
as to encourage smuggling.

Of imported sugars 39,443,814 lbs. are consumed within the United States,
which pay, on an average, a duty of two and a half cents per pound. The
price of brown sugar to the importer is about five or six dollars the
hundred. The duty is therefore between forty-five and fifty per cent. Is
this duty considered so high as to encourage smuggling? If not, shall
gentlemen complain when we are about to lay an additional duty of two and
a half per cent. upon articles now chargeable with duties of from twelve
and a half to twenty per cent.?

Of salt there is consumed 3,244,309 bushels in the United States. It pays
a duty of twenty cents a bushel. In many instances this is equal to the
first cost; and amounts therefore to one hundred per cent.

The consumption of wines amounts to 1,912,274 gallons, and the average
duty is thirty-three cents. The duty on Madeira wine is fifty-eight
cents, and it costs the importer one dollar and twenty-five cents. The
duty therefore amounts to near fifty per cent. If the cost be taken at
one dollar and fifty cents, the duty will be thirty-three and a third per
cent. And yet it is not complained that it encourages smuggling.

The greater part of goods charged ad valorem are woollens, linens,
manufactures of steel, brass, and articles of a similar kind, and
muslins. In a muslin gown the additional duty will make a difference of
about five cents. India muslins cost about fifteen cents a yard, and
English about twenty-five cents. The additional duty will therefore
be about three-eighths of a cent on India, and about three-fourths of
a cent on English muslins. This I consider a burden which no one can
feel. The additional duty on linens will be equally unfelt. In a bale of
osnaburgs, which costs twenty cents, the additional duty on a hundred
yards will not exceed fifty cents. So as to Irish linens and woollens.
The difference in a coarse suit of clothes for a common man will not be
more than twenty-five cents, and that of a better kind will not exceed
one dollar and twenty-five cents. I am surprised, after taking this view
of the operation of the proposed duty, that gentlemen should dwell upon
the great burden it will impose, when it can, in truth, scarcely be felt
by the poorest man in the country. It is indeed of no consideration but
on account of the money raised by it, which I have estimated at about
$750,000.

The gentleman from Connecticut thinks he has discovered in the second
section a design that is not avowed, to wit: to liberate the present
resources from their application to the support of the Navy. I wonder,
however, that the gentleman, before he made this unguarded remark, did
not read the section through. He would then have seen that the fund
established by this act is to exist no longer than three months after
the discontinuance of war in the Mediterranean. Nor is it true that the
whole expenses of the Navy are in the Mediterranean. It is true, that at
this time they are principally there. But there is likewise considerable
expense incurred here in the navy yard on the ships, and on the half-pay
of officers not in actual service. Whence the gentleman deduces the
inference, when the bill itself declares that the new duties shall cease
three months after the end of the war, I am altogether at a loss to
comprehend. The duties are to cease with the occasion which produced
them. When we shall no longer be at war, the war duties will be at an end.

Mr. DANA.--The gentleman from Maryland must surely have committed a
mistake, when he said that there is no measure proposed on his side
of the House which does not meet with opposition. When the President
considered vigorous measures necessary against the Emperor of Morocco,
the Journal will show that we entered into them unanimously. Nor is
the objection now urged in any way an objection to the general measure
contemplated. The only objection is to the imposition of unnecessary
taxes. If the force necessary to be sent into the Mediterranean will not
exceed an expense of $380,000, the necessity of the imposition of the
proposed taxes surely does not exist. I admit that, after the force is
raised, the President, in virtue of his authority as commander-in-chief,
is to have its whole direction; but it is perfectly novel to me to learn
that we are not previously to be informed of the extent to which it is
proposed to carry it. If to the present number of vessels in service we
add two frigates and five smaller vessels, they will require only an
additional appropriation of $354,000. This, I believe, is the full extent
of the additional force contemplated. As to raising money to that amount,
I make no objection. Though I dislike laying duties thus in gross, yet I
do not know that there can be any great objection to it. The sum proposed
to be raised will give $750,000, which is more than double the sum
necessary.

Is it proper thus to raise these duties, and hold forth to the nation
that the commerce of the Mediterranean is so expensive? The late disaster
in the Mediterranean is not of itself an adequate cause for the measure.
I object to this measure, because it goes to give an improper impression
of the causes of the bill.

Mr. NICHOLSON said, the gentleman from Connecticut seemed to consider the
object too general; he would, in case the committee refused to strike out
the first section, move to limit the application of the fund “to protect
the commerce and seamen of the United States in the Mediterranean.”

The question was then taken on striking out the first section, and passed
in the negative--ayes 26.

Mr. N. then offered the amendment just stated.

Mr. EUSTIS hoped the gentleman from Maryland would withdraw his
amendment, as in a subsequent part of the bill the object is distinctly
specified. It is altogether unnecessary; and if agreed to, it will be
necessary to add, “or adjacent seas.”

Mr. NICHOLSON said, he considered the amendment as unnecessary; but as he
had promised to make it, he could not withdraw it.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH said he would suggest one reason why it ought not
to obtain. One of the Barbary Powers possessed a coast out of the
Mediterranean. If the misfortune of the United States should dispose
this power, (Morocco,) already predisposed to hostility, to war upon
the United States, it would not be in our power to block up the port of
Sallee, and several other ports out of the Mediterranean.

The question was taken on the amendment, which was lost without a
division.

The committee then rose and reported the bill without amendment.

The House immediately took it up--when Mr. R. GRISWOLD renewed his motion
to strike out the first section.

The question on striking out the first section was taken by yeas and
nays--yeas 28, nays 77.


FRIDAY, March 23.

_District of Columbia._

Mr. DAWSON moved that the House should resolve itself into a Committee
of the Whole on the resolutions offered by him, for the recession of the
District of Columbia.

Mr. HUGER said this point had been fully and ably investigated the last
session. He did not expect, after the decision then made, that the House
would have been again called upon to discuss it. He believed the mind of
every member was made up respecting it. He hoped, therefore, the House
would not agree to go into committee.

Mr. J. LEWIS said he should vote against the House resolving itself
into a Committee of the Whole, and should that motion be negatived, he
would move to discharge the Committee of the Whole from all further
consideration of the resolutions. The question was taken on going into
committee, and lost--yeas 20.

Mr. J. LEWIS then moved to discharge the committee. This motion was
carried without debate--yeas 53, embracing a great majority of the
members present.


MONDAY, March 26.

_Impeachment of Judge Chase._

Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH, from the committee appointed on the thirteenth
instant, to prepare and report articles of impeachment against Samuel
Chase, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United
States, made a report thereon, which was read.

_Ordered_, That the said report be printed for the use of the members of
both Houses; and that the Clerk of this House be directed to transmit
to each of the members of the two Houses of Congress, a copy of the said
report, as soon as the same shall be printed.

_Ordered_, That there be a call of the House to-morrow morning at eleven
o’clock.

The House adjourned until four o’clock, post meridian.


_Four o’clock, p. m._

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed
a resolution, that the resolution of the two Houses authorizing the
President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives to
adjourn their respective Houses on this day, be rescinded; and that the
said President and Speaker of the House of Representatives be authorized
to close the present session, by adjourning their respective Houses on
Tuesday, the 27th of this month; to which they desire the concurrence
of this House. The Senate adhere to their amendment, disagreed to by
this House, to the bill, entitled “An act supplementary to the act,
entitled ‘An act providing for a Naval Peace Establishment, and for other
purposes.’”

The House proceeded to consider the resolution of the Senate to rescind
the resolution of both Houses, of the thirteenth instant, for an
adjournment of the two Houses of Congress, on this day; and authorizing
the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives,
to close the present session, by adjourning their respective Houses on
Tuesday the 27th of the present month: whereupon,

_Resolved_, That this House doth agree to the said resolution of the
Senate--yeas 49, nays 44.

The House proceeded to reconsider the amendment disagreed to by this
House, and adhered to by the Senate, to the bill, entitled “An act
supplementary to the act, entitled ‘An act providing for a Naval Peace
Establishment, and for other purposes,’” whereupon,

_Resolved_, That this House doth recede from their disagreement to the
said amendment.


TUESDAY, March 27.

_Specific Duties._

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed
the bill, entitled “An act for imposing more specific duties on the
importation of certain articles, with amendments, and also for levying
and collecting light-money on foreign ships or vessels.”

The House proceeded to consider the amendments proposed by the Senate
to the bill, entitled “An act for imposing more specific duties on the
importation of certain articles, and also for levying and collecting
light-money on foreign ships or vessels,” whereupon,

_Resolved_, That this House doth agree to the said amendments.


_Half-past four o’clock, p. m._

Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH, from the committee appointed on the part of this
House, jointly with the committee appointed on the part of the Senate,
to wait on the President of the United States and notify him of the
proposed recess of Congress, reported that the committee had performed
that service; and that the President signified to them he had no farther
communication to make during the present session.

_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
adjourn until the first Monday in November next; and that the Clerk of
this House do go with the said message.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate, having
completed the Legislative business before them, are now ready to adjourn.
Whereupon the SPEAKER adjourned the House until the first Monday in
November next.



EIGHTH CONGRESS.--SECOND SESSION.

BEGUN AT THE CITY OF WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 5, 1804.

PROCEEDINGS IN THE SENATE.


MONDAY, November 5, 1804.

The second session of the Eighth Congress, conformably to the act passed
at the last session, entitled, “An act altering the time for the next
meeting of Congress,” commenced this day; and the Senate assembled at the
City of Washington.


PRESENT:

AARON BURR, Vice President of the United States and President of the
Senate.

SIMEON OLCOTT and WILLIAM PLUMER, from New Hampshire.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, from Massachusetts.

URIAH TRACY, from Connecticut.

CHRISTOPHER ELLERY, from Rhode Island.

STEPHEN R. BRADLEY and ISRAEL SMITH, from Vermont.

JOHN CONDIT, from New Jersey.

SAMUEL WHITE, from Delaware.

SAMUEL SMITH, from Maryland.

ABRAHAM BALDWIN, from Georgia; and

THOMAS WORTHINGTON, from Ohio.

WILLIAM B. GILES, appointed a Senator by the Executive of the
Commonwealth of Virginia, in place of Abraham B. Venable, resigned, took
his seat, and his credentials were read.

The VICE PRESIDENT gave notice that he had received a letter from WILLIAM
HILL WELLS, a Senator from the State of Delaware, resigning his seat in
the Senate.

The number of Senators present not being sufficient to constitute a
quorum, the Senate adjourned.


TUESDAY, November 6.

JESSE FRANKLIN, from the State of North Carolina, GEORGE LOGAN, from
the State of Pennsylvania, and TIMOTHY PICKERING, from the State of
Massachusetts, severally attended.

ANDREW MOORE, appointed a Senator by the Executive of the Commonwealth of
Virginia, in place of Wilson C. Nicholas, resigned, took his seat, and
his credentials were read.

The PRESIDENT administered the oath to Mr. GILES and Mr. MOORE, as the
law prescribes.

_Ordered_--That the PRESIDENT be requested to notify the Executive of
the State of Delaware of the resignation of Mr. Wells.

No quorum being present, the Senate adjourned.


WEDNESDAY, November 7.

ROBERT WRIGHT, from the State of Maryland, attended.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary notify the House of Representatives that a
quorum of the Senate is assembled and ready to proceed to business.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that a
quorum of the House of Representatives is assembled and ready to proceed
to business. The House of Representatives have appointed a committee on
their part, jointly, with such committee as the Senate may appoint, to
wait on the President of the United States, and notify him that a quorum
of the two Houses is assembled and ready to receive any communications
that he may be pleased to make to them. The House of Representatives have
also passed a resolution that two chaplains, of different denominations,
be appointed to Congress for the present session, one by each House, who
shall interchange weekly; in which several resolutions they desire the
concurrence of the Senate.

The Senate took into consideration the resolution of the House of
Representatives for the appointment of a joint committee to wait on the
President of the United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two
Houses is assembled; and concurred therein, and Messrs. SAMUEL SMITH and
BALDWIN were appointed the committee on the part of the Senate.

The Senate took into consideration the Resolution of the House of
Representatives for the appointment of two chaplains to Congress during
the present session, and, having agreed thereto, proceeded to the choice
of a chaplain on their part; and the Rev. Mr. MCCORMICK was duly elected.

Mr. SAMUEL SMITH reported, from the joint committee, that they had waited
on the President of the United States, agreeably to the resolution of
this day, and that the President of the United States had informed the
committee that he would make a communication to the two Houses to-morrow
at 12 o’clock.


THURSDAY, November 8.

JONATHAN DAYTON, from the State of New Jersey, and JAMES HILLHOUSE, from
the State of Connecticut, severally attended.

The following message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:--

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    To a people, fellow-citizens, who sincerely desire the
    happiness and prosperity of other nations, to those who justly
    calculate that their own well-being is advanced by that of
    the nations with which they have intercourse, it will be a
    satisfaction to observe, that the war which was lighted up in
    Europe a little before our last meeting, has not yet extended
    its flames to other nations, nor been marked by the calamities
    which sometimes stain the footsteps of war. The irregularities,
    too, on the ocean, which generally harass the commerce of
    neutral nations, have, in distant parts, disturbed ours less
    than on former occasions. But, in the American seas, they have
    been greater from peculiar causes; and even within our harbors
    and jurisdiction, infringements on the authority of the laws
    have been committed, which have called for serious attention.

    While noticing the irregularities committed on the ocean by
    others, those on our own part should not be omitted, nor left
    unprovided for. Complaints have been received that persons
    residing within the United States have taken on themselves to
    arm merchant vessels, and to force a commerce into certain
    ports and countries in defiance of the laws of those countries.
    That individuals should undertake to wage private war,
    independently of the authority of their country, cannot be
    permitted in a well-ordered society. Its tendency to produce
    aggression on the laws and rights of other nations, and to
    endanger the peace of our own, is so obvious that I doubt not
    you will adopt measures for restraining it effectually in
    future.

    With the nations of Europe, in general, our friendship and
    intercourse are undisturbed, and from the governments of the
    belligerent powers especially, we continue to receive those
    friendly manifestations which are justly due to an honest
    neutrality, and to such good offices consistent with that as we
    have opportunities of rendering.

    The activity and success of the small force employed in the
    Mediterranean in the early part of the present year, the
    reinforcements sent into that sea, and the energy of the
    officers having command in the several vessels, will, I trust,
    by the sufferings of war, reduce the barbarians of Tripoli to
    the desire of peace on proper terms.

    The Bey of Tunis having made requisitions unauthorized by our
    treaty, their rejection has produced from him some expressions
    of discontent. But to those who expect us to calculate whether
    a compliance with unjust demands will not cost us less than a
    war, we must leave as a question of calculation for them; also,
    whether to retire from unjust demands will not cost them less
    than a war. We can do to each other very sensible injuries by
    war; but the mutual advantages of peace make that the best
    interest of both.

    In pursuance of the act providing for the temporary
    government of Louisiana, the necessary officers for the
    Territory of Orleans were appointed in due time, to commence
    the exercise of their functions on the first day of October.
    The distance, however, of some of them, and indispensable
    previous arrangements, may have retarded its commencement in
    some of its parts; the form of government thus provided having
    been considered but as temporary, and open to such future
    improvements as further information of the circumstances of our
    brethren there might suggest, it will of course be subject to
    your consideration.

    The act of Congress of February 28, 1803, for building and
    employing a number of gunboats, is now in a course of execution
    to the extent there provided for. The obstacle to naval
    enterprise which vessels of this construction offer for our
    seaport towns; their utility towards supporting, within our
    waters, the authority of the laws; the promptness with which
    they will be manned by the seamen and militia of the place in
    the moment they are wanting; the facility of their assembling
    from different parts of the coast to any point where they
    are required in greater force than ordinary; the economy of
    their maintenance and preservation from decay when not in
    actual service; and the competence of our finances to this
    defensive provision, without any new burden, are considerations
    which will have due weight with Congress in deciding on the
    expediency of adding to their number from year to year, as
    experience shall test their utility, until all our important
    harbors, by these and auxiliary means, shall be secured against
    insult and opposition to the laws.

    The state of our finances continues to fulfil out expectations.
    Eleven millions and a half of dollars, received in the course
    of the year ending the 30th of September last, have enabled us,
    after meeting all the ordinary expenses of the year, to pay
    upwards of three million six hundred thousand dollars of the
    public debt, exclusive of interest. This payment, with those
    of the two preceding years, has extinguished upwards of twelve
    millions of the principal and a greater sum of interest within
    that period; and, by a proportionate diminution of interest,
    renders already sensible the effect of the growing sum yearly
    applicable to the discharge of the principal.

    These, fellow-citizens, are the principal matters which I have
    thought it necessary, at this time, to communicate for your
    consideration and attention. Some others will be laid before
    you in the course of the session; but, in the discharge of
    the great duties confided to you by our country, you will
    take a broader view of the field of legislation. Whether the
    great interests of agriculture, manufactures, commerce, or
    navigation, can, within the pale of your constitutional powers,
    be aided in any of their relations; whether laws are provided
    in all cases, where they are wanting; whether those provided
    are exactly what they should be; whether any abuses take place
    in their administration, or in that of the public revenues;
    whether the organization of the public agents, or of the public
    force, is perfect in all its parts: in fine, whether any thing
    can be done to advance the general good, or questions within
    the limits of your functions, which will necessarily occupy
    your attention. In these and all other matters which you in
    your wisdom may propose for the good of our country, you may
    count with assurance on my hearty co-operation and faithful
    execution.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    NOVEMBER 8, 1804.

The message was read, and with the documents therein referred to, ordered
to be printed for the use of the Senate.


FRIDAY, November 9.

THOMAS SUMTER, from the State of South Carolina, attended.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the
House have appointed the Rev. WILLIAM BENTLEY a chaplain to Congress on
their part during the present session.


MONDAY, November 12.

WILLIAM COCKE, from the State of Tennessee, and DAVID STONE, from the
State of North Carolina, severally attended.


THURSDAY, November 15.

SAMUEL MACLAY, from the State of Pennsylvania, and JOHN SMITH, from the
State of New York, severally attended.


TUESDAY, November 20.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the
House have passed a “resolution expressive of the sense of Congress of
the gallant conduct of Captain Stephen Decatur, the officers and crew of
the United States ketch Intrepid, in attacking in the harbor of Tripoli,
and destroying a Tripolitan frigate of forty-four guns,” in which they
desire the concurrence of the Senate.

The resolution last mentioned was read and passed to the second reading.


THURSDAY, November 22.

The resolution of the House of Representatives expressive of the sense of
Congress of the gallant conduct of Capt. Stephen Decatur, the officers
and crew of the United States ketch Intrepid, was read the second time,
and referred to Messrs. BRADLEY, BALDWIN, and GILES, to consider and
report thereon to the Senate.


FRIDAY, November 23.

The PRESIDENT laid before the Senate the credentials of JAMES A. BAYARD,
appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Delaware, in place
of WILLIAM HILL WELLS, resigned, and the credentials were read.

SAMUEL L. MITCHILL, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of New York,
in place of John Armstrong, whose seat has become vacant by his mission
to France, took his seat in the Senate, and produced his credentials,
which were read, and the oath was administered to him by the PRESIDENT,
as the law prescribes.


FRIDAY, November 30.

JOHN SMITH, from the State of Ohio, and JOHN BRECKENRIDGE, from the State
of Kentucky, severally attended.


MONDAY, December 3.

BENJAMIN HOWLAND, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State
of Rhode Island, in the place of Samuel J. Potter, deceased, took his
seat and produced his credentials; which were read, and the oath was
administered to him by the PRESIDENT, as the law prescribes.


TUESDAY, December 4.

JAMES JACKSON, from the State of Georgia, attended.


THURSDAY, December 6.

JOSEPH ANDERSON, from the State of Tennessee, attended.


MONDAY, December 17.

The credentials of WILLIAM B. GILES, appointed a Senator by the
Legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the room of Wilson C.
Nicholas, resigned, and the credentials of ANDREW MOORE, appointed a
Senator by the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the room
of Abraham B. Venable, resigned, were severally read, and the oath was
administered to them, respectively, as the law prescribes.


WEDNESDAY, December 26.

JOHN BROWN, from the State of Kentucky, attended.


MONDAY, January 7, 1805.

The letter of PIERCE BUTLER, Esq., announcing the resignation of his seat
in the Senate, was read.


MONDAY, January 14.

_Mourning for the Honorable Mr. Potter._

On motion, it was

_Resolved_, That the members of the Senate, from a sincere desire
of showing every mark of respect to the Honorable SAMUEL J. POTTER,
deceased, late a member thereof, will go into mourning for him one month,
by the usual mode of wearing a crape round the left arm.[13]


TUESDAY, January 15.

The VICE PRESIDENT being absent, the Senate proceeded to the choice of a
President _pro tempore_, as the constitution provides, and the Honorable
JOSEPH ANDERSON was elected.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary wait on the President of the United States
and acquaint him that, the VICE-PRESIDENT being absent, the Senate have
elected the Honorable JOSEPH ANDERSON President of the Senate _pro
tempore_.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary make a like communication to the House of
Representatives.

JAMES A. BAYARD, from the State of Delaware, attended. His credentials
having been presented and read on the 23d of November last, the oath was
administered to him by the President, as the law prescribes, and he took
his seat in the Senate.


THURSDAY, January 17.

_General Moses Hazen._

The bill entitled “An act for the relief of Charlotte Hazen, widow and
relict of the late Brigadier General Moses Hazen,” was read the third
time, further amended, and the blank filled with the words “two hundred;”
and on the question, Shall this bill pass as amended? it was determined
in the affirmative--yeas 20, nays 8, as follows:

    Yeas.--Messrs. Anderson, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown, Cocke,
    Condit, Ellery, Franklin, Howland, Logan, Maclay, Mitchill,
    Moore, Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, Smith of Vermont,
    Stone, Sumter, Worthington, and Wright.

    Nays.--Messrs. Adams, Baldwin, Dayton, Hillhouse, Olcott,
    Plumer, and Tracy.

So it was _Resolved_, That this bill do pass as amended.


MONDAY, January 21.

_African Slavery._

Mr. LOGAN presented a petition signed Thomas Morris, clerk, on behalf
of the meeting of the representatives of the people called Quakers,
in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, &c., stating that the petitioners, from
a sense of religious duty, had again come forward, to plead the cause
of their oppressed and degraded fellow-men of the African race; and
on the question, Shall this petition be received? it passed in the
affirmative--yeas 19, nays 9, as follows:

    Yeas.--Messrs. Adams, Bayard, Brown, Condit, Franklin,
    Hillhouse, Howland, Logan, Maclay, Mitchill, Olcott, Pickering,
    Plumer, Smith of Ohio, Smith of Vermont, Stone, Sumter, White,
    and Worthington.

    Nays.--Messrs. Anderson, Baldwin, Bradley, Cocke, Jackson,
    Moore, Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, and Wright.

So the petition was read.


TUESDAY, January 29.

_Government of the Territory of Orleans._

Mr. GILES, from the committee to whom was referred, on the 4th instant,
the petition of the merchants, planters, and other inhabitants of
Louisiana, reported a bill further providing for the government of the
Territory of Orleans; and the bill was read, and ordered to the second
reading.

The bill is as follows:

    A Bill further providing for the government of the Territory of
    Orleans.

    _Be it enacted, &c.,_ That the President of the United States
    be and he is hereby authorized to establish within the
    Territory of Orleans, a government in all respects similar
    (except as is herein otherwise provided) to that now exercised
    in the Mississippi Territory, and shall, in the recess of the
    Senate, but to be nominated at their next meeting, for their
    advice and consent, appoint all the officers necessary therein,
    in conformity with the ordinance of Congress, made on the 20th
    day of July, 1787, and that from and after the establishment
    of the said government, the inhabitants of the Territory
    of Orleans shall be entitled to and enjoy all the rights,
    privileges, and advantages, secured by the said ordinance, and
    now enjoyed by the people of the Mississippi Territory.

    Sec. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That so much of the said
    ordinance of Congress as relates to the organization of a
    General Assembly, and prescribes the power thereof, shall,
    from and after the ---- day of ---- next, be in force in the
    said Territory of Orleans; and in order to carry the same into
    operation, the Governor of the said Territory shall cause to
    be elected twenty-five representatives, for which purpose he
    shall lay off the said Territory into convenient election
    districts, on or before the ---- day of ---- next, and give
    due notice thereof throughout the same and first appoint the
    most convenient place, within each of the said districts, for
    holding the elections; and shall nominate a proper officer or
    officers to preside at and conduct the same, and to return to
    him the names of the persons who may have been duly elected.
    All subsequent elections shall be regulated by the Legislature;
    and the number of representatives shall be determined, and
    the apportionment made in the manner prescribed by the said
    ordinance.

    Sec. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That the representatives
    to be chosen as aforesaid, shall be convened by the Governor,
    in the city of Orleans, on the ---- day of ---- next. The
    General Assembly shall meet at least once in every year, and
    such meeting shall be on the ---- Monday in ---- annually,
    unless they shall by law appoint a different day. Neither
    House, during the session, shall, without the consent of the
    other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place
    than that in which the two branches are sitting.

    Sec. 4. _And be it further enacted_, That the laws in force in
    the said Territory, at the commencement of this act, and not
    inconsistent with the provisions thereof, shall continue in
    force, until altered, modified, or repealed by the Legislature.

    Sec. 5. _And be it further enacted_, That the second paragraph
    of the said ordinance, which regulates the descent and
    distribution of estates; and also the sixth article of compact
    which is annexed to and makes part of said ordinance, are
    hereby declared not to extend to, but are excluded from all
    operation within the said Territory of Orleans.

    Sec. 6. _And be it further enacted_, That the Governor,
    Secretary, and Judges, to be appointed by virtue of this
    act, shall be severally allowed the same compensation which
    is now allowed to the Governor, Secretary, and Judges, of
    the Territory of Orleans. And all the additional officers
    authorized by this act shall respectively receive the same
    compensations for their services, as are by law established
    for similar offices in the Mississippi Territory, to be paid
    quarterly out of the revenues of import and tonnage, accruing
    within the said Territory of Orleans.

    Sec. 7. _And be it further enacted_, That whenever it shall
    be ascertained by an actual census or enumeration of the
    inhabitants of the Territory of Orleans, taken by proper
    authority, that the number of inhabitants included therein
    shall amount to at least ---- thousand souls, which shall be
    determined by adding to the whole number of free persons,
    including those bound to service for a term of years, and
    excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons,
    the inhabitants of the said Territory, upon application to
    Congress for that purpose, and upon producing satisfactory
    proof that the number of souls included therein, ascertained
    as aforesaid, does actually amount to at least ---- thousand,
    shall thereupon be authorized to form for themselves a
    constitution and State government, and be admitted into the
    Union upon the footing of the original States, in all respects
    whatever, conformably to the provisions of the third article
    of the Treaty concluded at Paris, on the 30th of April,
    1803, between the United States and the French Republic:
    _Provided_, That the constitution so to be established, shall
    be republican, and not inconsistent with the Constitution of
    the United States, nor inconsistent with the ordinance of
    the late Congress, passed the 13th day of July, 1787, so far
    as the same is made applicable to the Territorial government
    hereby authorized to be established: _Provided, however_,
    That Congress shall be at liberty, at any time prior to the
    admission of the inhabitants of the said Territory to the
    rights of a separate State, to alter the boundaries thereof as
    they may judge proper: except only, that no alteration shall be
    made which shall procrastinate the period for the admission of
    the inhabitants thereof to the rights of a State Government,
    according to the provision of this act.

    Sec. 8. _And be it further enacted_, That so much of an act
    entitled, “An act erecting Louisiana into two Territories,
    and providing for the temporary government thereof,” as is
    repugnant with this act, shall, from and after the ---- day of
    ---- next, be repealed.


WEDNESDAY, January 30.

_Army Uniform._

The PRESIDENT laid before the Senate the petition of Andrew Jackson,
Major General, and sundry other militia officers and other citizens
of the State of Tennessee, praying Congress to amend the articles and
rules for the future government of the army, in respect to certain parts
of their dress and uniform; and, on the question, Shall this petition
be referred to the committee appointed on the 25th instant, who have
under consideration the bill, entitled “An act for establishing rules
and articles for the government of the armies of the United States?” it
passed in the affirmative--yeas 16, nays 15, as follows:

    Yeas.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Baldwin, Bayard, Bradley,
    Cocke, Condit, Franklin, Hillhouse, Maclay, Mitchill, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, Stone, and Worthington.

    Nays.--Messrs. Breckenridge, Brown, Dayton, Giles, Howland,
    Jackson, Logan, Moore, Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York,
    Smith of Ohio, Smith of Vermont, Sumter, White, and Wright.


THURSDAY, January 31.

JOHN GAILLARD, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
South Carolina, in the room of Pierce Butler, resigned, took his seat
in the Senate, and the oath prescribed was administered to him by the
PRESIDENT.[14]


TUESDAY, February 12.

_Opening and Counting Votes for President and Vice President._

_Resolved_, That the Senate will be ready to receive the House of
Representatives in the Senate Chamber, on Wednesday the 13th instant,
February, at noon, for the purpose of being present at the opening and
counting the votes for PRESIDENT and VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
That one person be appointed a teller on the part of the Senate, to
make a list of the votes for President and Vice President of the United
States, as they shall be declared, and that the result shall be delivered
to the President of the Senate, who shall announce the state of the vote,
which shall be entered on the Journals, and, if it shall appear that a
choice hath been made agreeably to the constitution, such entry on the
Journals shall be deemed a sufficient declaration thereof.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary do carry this resolution to the House of
Representatives.


WEDNESDAY, February 13.

_Counting of Electoral Votes for President and Vice President._

About twelve o’clock the Senators took their seats; and immediately after
the SPEAKER and members of the House of Representatives entered; the
SPEAKER and Clerk occupying seats on the floor on the right side of the
PRESIDENT of the Senate, and the members of the House being seated in
front.

Mr. SAMUEL SMITH, teller on the part of the Senate, and Mr. JOSEPH CLAY,
and Mr. ROGER GRISWOLD, tellers on the part of the House, took seats at
a table placed in front of the Chair, in the area between the Senate and
House.

The Secretary of the Senate read the resolutions of the two Houses,
previously agreed to.

The PRESIDENT (Mr. BURR) stated that, pursuant to law, there had been
transmitted to him several packets, which, from the endorsements upon
them, appeared to be the votes of the Electors of a President and Vice
President; that the returns forwarded by the mail, as well as the
duplicates sent by special messengers, had been received by him in due
time. You will now proceed, gentlemen, said he, to count the votes as
the constitution and laws direct; adding that, perceiving no cause
for preference in the order of opening the returns, he would pursue a
geographical arrangement, beginning with the Northern States.

The PRESIDENT then proceeded to break the seals of the respective
returns, handing each return, and its accompanying duplicate, as the
seals of each were broken, to the tellers through, the Secretary; Mr. S.
SMITH reading aloud the returns, and the attestations of the appointment
of the Electors, and Mr. J. CLAY and Mr. R. GRISWOLD comparing them with
the duplicate return lying before them.

According to which enumeration, the following appeared to be the result.

    ------------------+----------------------+-----------------
                      |   President.         |   V. Pres’dt
                      +-----------+----------+---------+-------
    STATES.           |    Th.    |  C. C.   |  Geo.   |Rufus
                      |Jefferson. |Pinckney. |Clinton. |King.
    ------------------+-----------+----------+---------+-------
    New Hampshire     |     7     |     -    |     7   |
    Massachusetts     |    19     |     -    |    19   |
    [A]Rhode Island   |     4     |     -    |     4   |
    Connecticut       |     -     |     -    |     -   |   9
    Vermont           |     6     |     -    |     6   |
    New York          |    19     |     -    |    19   |
    New Jersey        |     8     |     -    |     8   |
    Pennsylvania      |    20     |     -    |    20   |
    Delaware          |     -     |     3    |     -   |   3
    Maryland          |     9     |     2    |     9   |   2
    Virginia          |    24     |     -    |    24   |
    North Carolina    |    14     |     -    |    14   |
    South Carolina    |    10     |     -    |    10   |
    [B]Georgia        |     6     |     -    |     6   |
    Tennessee         |     5     |     -    |     5   |
    Kentucky          |     8     |     -    |     8   |
    [C]Ohio           |     3     |     -    |     3   |
    ------------------+-----------+----------+---------+-------
    Total             |  162      |    14    |   162   |  14
    ------------------+-----------+----------+---------+-------

    [A] In this return, after stating the whole number of votes given
    for Thomas Jefferson and George Clinton, each Elector certifies
    distinctly his vote for Thomas Jefferson as President, and for
    George Clinton, as Vice President.

    [B] The return certifies the votes to have been given as stated in
    an enclosed paper.

    [C] In this return, the votes are not certified to have been given
    by ballot, but agreeably to law.

After the returns had been all examined, without any objection having
been made to receiving any of the votes, Mr. S. SMITH, on behalf of the
tellers, communicated to the PRESIDENT the foregoing result, which was
read from the Chair; when, the VICE PRESIDENT said, upon this report it
becomes my duty to declare, agreeably to the constitution, that THOMAS
JEFFERSON is elected President of the United States, for the term of
four years from the third day of March next, and that GEORGE CLINTON is
elected Vice President of the United States, for the term of four years
from the third day of March next.

[Previous to the above proceedings, a short debate arose in the Senate on
the keeping of the doors open or shut during the counting of the votes.
Mr. WRIGHT submitted a motion for their being kept open, which, after
some opposition, was agreed to.]


SATURDAY, February 16.

_Absent Members._

A motion was made,

    “That a call of the Senate take place every morning at the
    hour to which the Senate is adjourned, and that absent members
    be not permitted to take their seats until a satisfactory
    excuse be made, or the opinion of the Senate be had thereon.”


WEDNESDAY, February 20.

_Tripolitan War._

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    I communicate, for the information of Congress, a letter of
    September 18th, from Commodore Preble, giving a detailed
    account of the transactions of the vessels under his command,
    from July the 9th, to the 10th of September last past.

    The energy and judgment displayed by this excellent officer,
    through the whole course of the service lately confided to
    him, and the zeal and valor of his officers and men, in the
    several enterprises executed by them, cannot fail to give high
    satisfaction to Congress and their country, of whom they have
    deserved well.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    FEBRUARY 20, 1805.


FRIDAY, February 22.

The bill freeing from postage all letters and packets to and from AARON
BURR, was read the second time.


SATURDAY, February 23.

Mr. LOGAN gave notice that he should, on Monday next, ask leave to bring
in a bill to prohibit the granting clearances to vessels bound to St.
Domingo.


MONDAY, February 25.

_Commodore Preble._

Mr. JACKSON laid on the table a motion expressive of the high sense
Congress entertain of the gallant and meritorious services of Commodore
Edward Preble, and the officers, seamen, and marines, under his command;
and the motion was read; and it was agreed that it be referred to a
select committee.


WEDNESDAY, February 27.

_Franking Privilege to Aaron Burr._

The Senate resumed the second reading of the bill freeing from postage
all letters and packets to and from AARON BURR; and, on the question,
Shall this bill pass to the third reading? it was determined in the
affirmative--yeas 18, nays 9, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Baldwin, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown,
    Cocke, Condit, Dayton, Franklin, Gaillard, Giles, Jackson,
    Mitchill, Moore, Smith of Maryland, Smith of Ohio, Smith of
    Vermont, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Ellery, Hillhouse, Howland, Logan, Olcott,
    Pickering, Plumer, Sumter, and Worthington.[15]


THURSDAY, February 28.

The VICE PRESIDENT being indisposed, the Senate proceeded to the choice
of a President _pro tempore_ as the constitution provides, and the Hon.
JOSEPH ANDERSON was elected.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary wait on the President of the United States,
and acquaint him that, the VICE PRESIDENT being absent, the Senate have
elected the Hon. JOSEPH ANDERSON President of the Senate _pro tempore_.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary make a like communication to the House of
Representatives.

The following Messages were received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES:

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    I now lay before Congress a statement of the militia of the
    United States, according to the returns last received from the
    several States. It will be perceived that some of these are not
    recent dates, and that from the States of Maryland, Delaware,
    and Tennessee, no returns are stated. As far as appears from
    our records, none were ever rendered from either of these
    States.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    FEBRUARY 28, 1805.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States_:

    I now render to Congress the account of the fund established by
    the act of May 1st, 1802, for defraying the contingent charges
    of Government. No occasion having arisen for making use of any
    part of the balance of $18,560, unexpended on the 31st day of
    December, 1803, when the last account was rendered by Message,
    that balance has been carried to the credit of the surplus fund.

                                                     TH. JEFFERSON.

    FEBRUARY 28, 1805.

The messages and documents therein referred to were severally read, and
ordered to lie for consideration.

_Franking Privilege to Col. Burr._

The bill freeing from postage all letters and packets to and from
AARON BURR was read the third time; on motion to postpone the further
consideration thereof until the first Monday in December next, it passed
in the negative--yeas 12, nays 18, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Ellery, Franklin, Hillhouse, Howland,
    Logan, Maclay, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, Stone, and Sumter.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown,
    Cocke, Condit, Dayton, Gaillard, Jackson, Mitchill, Moore,
    Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, Smith of Ohio, Smith of
    Vermont, Worthington, and Wright.

On the question, Shall this bill pass? it was determined in the
affirmative--yeas 18, nays 13, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown,
    Cocke, Condit, Dayton, Gaillard, Jackson, Mitchill, Moore,
    Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, Smith of Ohio, Smith of
    Vermont, White, and Wright.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Baldwin, Ellery, Franklin, Hillhouse, Howland,
    Logan, Maclay, Olcott, Pickering, Plumer, Stone, Sumter, and
    Worthington.

So it was _Resolved_, that this bill do pass, that it be engrossed, and
that the title thereof be “An act freeing from postage all letters and
packets to and from Aaron Burr.”


SATURDAY, March 2.

_Resignation of Vice President Burr._

BURR’S ADDRESS.

The VICE PRESIDENT took an affectionate leave of the Senate, in substance
as follows:

    “Mr. BURR began by saying, that he had intended to pass the day
    with them, but the increase of a slight indisposition (sore
    throat) had determined him then to take leave of them. He
    touched lightly on some of the rules and orders of the House,
    and recommended, in one or two points, alterations, of which he
    briefly explained the reasons and principles.

    “He said he was sensible he must at times have wounded the
    feelings of individual members. He had ever avoided entering
    into explanations at the time, because a moment of irritation
    was not a moment for explanation; because his position (being
    in the chair) rendered it impossible to enter into explanations
    without obvious danger of consequences which might hazard the
    dignity of the Senate, or prove disagreeable and injurious in
    more than one point of view; that he had, therefore, preferred
    to leave to their reflections his justification; that, on his
    part, he had no injuries to complain of; if any had been done
    or attempted, he was ignorant of the authors; and if he had
    ever heard, he had forgotten, for, he thanked God, he had no
    memory for injuries.

    “He doubted not but that they had found occasion to observe,
    that to be prompt was not therefore to be precipitate; and that
    to act without delay was not always to act without reflection;
    that error was often to be preferred to indecision; that his
    errors, whatever they might have been, were those of rule and
    principle, and not of caprice; that it could not be deemed
    arrogance in him to say that, in his official conduct, he had
    known no party, no cause, no friend; that if, in the opinion
    of any, the discipline which had been established approached
    to rigor, they would at least admit that it was uniform and
    indiscriminate.

    “He further remarked, that the ignorant and unthinking affected
    to treat as unnecessary and fastidious a rigid attention
    to rules and decorum; but he thought nothing trivial which
    touched, however remotely, the dignity of that body; and he
    appealed to their experience for the justice of this sentiment,
    and urged them in language the most impressive, and in a manner
    the most commanding, to avoid the smallest relaxation of the
    habits which he had endeavored, to inculcate and establish.

    “But he challenged their attention to considerations more
    momentous than any which regarded merely their personal honor
    and character--the preservation of law, of liberty, and the
    constitution. This House, said he, is a sanctuary; a citadel
    of law, of order, and of liberty; and it is here--it is here,
    in this exalted refuge; here, if any where, will resistance be
    made to the storms of political frenzy and the silent arts of
    corruption; and if the constitution be destined ever to perish
    by the sacrilegious hands of the demagogue or the usurper,
    which God avert, its expiring agonies will be witnessed on this
    floor.

    “He then adverted to those affecting sentiments which attended
    a final separation--a dissolution, perhaps for ever, of those
    associations which he hoped had been mutually satisfactory. He
    consoled himself, however, and them, with the reflection, that,
    though they separated, they would be engaged in the common
    cause of disseminating principles of freedom and social order.
    He should always regard the proceedings of that body with
    interest and with solicitude. He should feel for their honor
    and the national honor so intimately connected with it, and
    took his leave with expressions of personal respect, and with
    prayers, and wishes,” &c.[16]

Whereupon, the Senate proceeded to the choice of a President _pro
tempore_, as the constitution provides; and the Honorable JOSEPH ANDERSON
was elected.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary wait on the President of the United States,
and acquaint him that, the VICE PRESIDENT being absent, the Senate have
elected the Honorable JOSEPH ANDERSON President of the Senate _pro
tempore_.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary notify the same to the House of
Representatives.

_Resolved unanimously_, That the thanks of the Senate be presented to
AARON BURR, in testimony of the impartiality, dignity, and ability, with
which he has presided over their deliberations, and of their entire
approbation of his conduct in discharge of the arduous and important
duties assigned him as President of the Senate.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. SMITH of Maryland, and WHITE, be a committee to
communicate to him this resolution.


SUNDAY, March 3.

_Reply of Vice President Burr to the Vote of Thanks._

Mr. SMITH of Maryland, from the committee appointed for that purpose,
reported that they had waited on the VICE PRESIDENT, agreeably to the
resolution of yesterday, to which he made the following reply:

    _To the Senate of the United States_:

    GENTLEMEN: Next to the satisfaction derived from the
    consciousness of having discharged my duty, is that which
    arises from the favorable opinion of those who have been the
    constant witnesses of my official conduct; and the value of
    this flattering mark of their esteem is greatly enhanced by the
    promptitude and unanimity with which it is offered.

    I pray you to accept my respectful acknowledgments, and the
    assurance of my inviolable attachment to the interests and
    dignity of the Senate.

                                                           A. BURR.

    MARCH 3, 1805.

_Adjournment._

On motion,

_Resolved_, That Messrs. ADAMS, and SMITH of Maryland, be a committee
on the part of the Senate, with such as the House of Representatives may
join, to wait on the President of the United States, and notify him that,
unless he may have any further communications to make to the two Houses
of Congress, they are ready to adjourn.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary acquaint the House of Representatives
therewith, and desire the appointment of a committee on their part.

Mr. ADAMS, from the committee, reported that they had waited upon the
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, who informed them that he had no further
communications to make to the two Houses of Congress.

The Secretary was then directed to inform the House of Representatives
that the Senate, having finished the business before them, are about to
adjourn. Whereupon, the Senate adjourned.


MARCH 4, 1805.

_Inaugural Speech._

On Monday, at 12 o’clock, THOMAS JEFFERSON, President of the United
States, took the oath of office, and delivered the following Inaugural
Speech in the Senate Chamber, in the presence of the members of the two
Houses, and a large concourse of citizens:

    PROCEEDING, fellow-citizens, to that qualification which
    the constitution requires before my entrance on the
    charge conferred on me, it is my duty to express the deep
    sense I entertain of this new proof of confidence from my
    fellow-citizens at large, and the zeal with which it inspires
    me so to conduct myself as may best satisfy their just
    expectations.

    On taking this station, on a former occasion, I declared the
    principles on which I believed it my duty to administer the
    affairs of our commonwealth. My conscience tells me I have, on
    every occasion, acted up to that declaration, according to its
    obvious import, and to the understanding of every candid mind.

    In the transaction of your foreign affairs, we have endeavored
    to cultivate the friendship of all nations, and especially
    of those with which we have the most important relations. We
    have done them justice on all occasions; favor, where favor
    was lawful, and cherished mutual interests and intercourse on
    fair and equal terms. We are firmly convinced, and we act on
    that conviction, that with nations, as with individuals, our
    interests, soundly calculated, will ever be found inseparable
    from our moral duties; and history-bears witness to the fact,
    that a just nation is trusted on its word, when recourse is had
    to armaments and wars to bridle others.

    At home, fellow-citizens, you best know whether we have done
    well or ill. The suppression of unnecessary offices, of useless
    establishments and expenses, enabled us to discontinue our
    internal taxes. These, covering our land with officers,[17]
    and opening our doors to their intrusions, had already begun
    that process of domiciliary vexation, which, once entered,
    is scarcely to be restrained from reaching, successively,
    every article of property and produce. If, among these taxes,
    some minor ones fell, which had not been inconvenient, it was
    because their amount would not have paid the officers who
    collected them; and because, if they had any merit, the State
    authorities might adopt them instead of others less approved.

    The remaining revenue, on the consumption of foreign articles,
    is paid chiefly by those who can afford to add foreign luxuries
    to domestic comforts. Being collected on our seaboard and
    frontiers only, and incorporated with the transactions of our
    mercantile citizens, it may be the pleasure and the pride of an
    American to ask, what farmer, what mechanic, what laborer, ever
    sees a tax-gatherer of the United States? These contributions
    enable us to support the current expenses of the Government;
    to fulfil contracts with foreign nations; to extinguish the
    native right of soil within our limits; to extend those limits;
    and to apply such a surplus to our public debts, as places,
    at a short day, their final redemption; and that redemption,
    once effected, the revenue thereby liberated may, by a just
    repartition of it among the States, and a corresponding
    amendment of the constitution, be applied, _in time of peace_,
    to rivers, canals, roads, arts, manufactures, education, and
    other great objects, within each State.[18] _In time of war_,
    if injustice by ourselves, or others, must sometimes produce
    war, increased, as the same revenue will be, by increased
    population and consumption, and aided by other resources
    reserved for that crisis, it may meet, within the year, all
    the expenses of the year, without encroaching on the rights
    of future generations, by burdening them with the debts of
    the past. War will then be but a suspension of useful works;
    and a return to a state of peace, a return to the progress of
    improvement.

    I have said, fellow-citizens, that the income reserved had
    enabled us to extend our limits; but that extension may
    possibly pay for itself before we are called on; and, in the
    mean time, may keep down the accruing interest: in all events,
    it will replace the advances we shall have made. I know that
    the acquisition of Louisiana has been disapproved by some, from
    a candid apprehension that the enlargement of our territory
    would endanger its union. But who can limit the extent to
    which the federative principle may operate effectively? The
    larger our association, the less will it be shaken by local
    passions: and, in any view, is it not better that the opposite
    bank of the Mississippi should be settled by our own brethren
    and children, than by strangers of another family? With which
    should we be most likely to live in harmony and friendly
    intercourse?

    In matters of religion, I have considered that its free
    exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the
    powers of the General Government. I have therefore undertaken,
    on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to
    it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under
    the direction and discipline of the Church or State authorities
    acknowledged by the several religious societies.

    The aboriginal inhabitants of these countries I have regarded
    with the commiseration their history inspires. Endowed with the
    faculties and the rights of men, breathing an ardent love of
    liberty and independence, and occupying a country which left
    them no desire but to be undisturbed, the stream of overflowing
    population from other regions directed itself on these shores.
    Without power to divert, or habits to contend against it, they
    have been overwhelmed by the current, or driven before it. Now
    reduced within limits too narrow for the hunter state, humanity
    enjoins us to teach them agriculture and the domestic arts; to
    encourage them to that industry which alone can enable them to
    maintain their place in existence; and to prepare them in time
    for that state of society which, to bodily comforts, adds the
    improvement of the mind and morals. We have therefore liberally
    furnished them with the implements of husbandry and household
    use; we have placed among them instructors in the arts of
    first necessity; and they are covered with the ægis of the law
    against aggressors from among ourselves.

    But the endeavors to enlighten them on the fate which awaits
    their present course of life, to induce them to exercise
    their reason, follow its dictates, and change their pursuits
    with the change of circumstances, have powerful obstacles to
    encounter. They are combated by the habits of their bodies,
    prejudices of their minds, ignorance, pride, and the influence
    of interested and crafty individuals among them, who feel
    themselves something in the present order of things, and fear
    to become nothing in any other. These persons inculcate a
    sanctimonious reverence for the customs of their ancestors;
    that whatsoever they did, must be done through all time; that
    reason is a false guide, and to advance under its counsel in
    their physical, moral, or political condition, is perilous
    innovation; that their duty is to remain as their Creator made
    them; ignorance being safety, and knowledge full of danger.
    In short, my friends, among them, also, is seen the action
    and counteraction of good sense and of bigotry. They, too,
    have their anti-philosophists, who find an interest in keeping
    things in their present state; who dread reformation, and exert
    all their faculties to maintain the ascendency of habit over
    the duty of improving our reason, and obeying its mandates.

    In giving these outlines, I do not mean, fellow-citizens, to
    arrogate to myself the merit of the measures--that is due, in
    the first place, to the reflecting character of our citizens
    at large, who, by the weight of public opinion, influence
    and strengthen the public measures. It is due to the sound
    discretion with which they select from among themselves those
    to whom they confide the legislative duties. It is due to
    the zeal and wisdom of the characters thus selected, who lay
    the foundations of public happiness in wholesome laws, the
    execution of which alone remains for others; and it is due
    to the able and faithful auxiliaries, whose patriotism has
    associated them with me in the executive functions.

    During this course of administration, and in order to disturb
    it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us,
    charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or
    dare. These abuses of an institution, so important to freedom
    and science, are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend
    to lessen its usefulness, and to sap its safety. They might,
    indeed, have been corrected by the wholesome punishments
    reserved to, and provided by, the laws of the several States
    against falsehood and defamation; but public duties, more
    urgent, press on the time of public servants, and the offenders
    have therefore been left to find their punishment in the public
    indignation.

    Nor was it uninteresting to the world, that an experiment
    should be fairly and fully made, whether freedom of discussion,
    unaided by power, is not sufficient for the propagation and
    protection of truth; Whether a Government, conducting itself in
    the true spirit of its constitution, with zeal and purity, and
    doing no act which it would be unwilling the whole world should
    witness, can be written down by falsehood and defamation.
    The experiment has been tried. You have witnessed the scene.
    Our fellow-citizens looked on cool and collected. They saw
    the latent source from which these outrages proceeded. They
    gathered around their public functionaries; and when the
    constitution called them to the decision by suffrage, they
    pronounced their verdict honorable to those who had served
    them, and consolatory to the friend of man, who believes that
    he may be trusted with the control of his own affairs.

    No inference is here intended, that the laws provided by the
    States against false and defamatory publications, should not
    be enforced. He who has time, renders a service to public
    morals and public tranquillity, in reforming these abuses by
    the salutary coercions of the law. But the experiment is noted
    to prove, that, since truth and reason have maintained their
    ground against false opinions, in league with false facts, the
    press, confined to truth, needs no other legal restraint. The
    public judgment will correct false reasonings and opinions, on
    a full hearing of all parties; and no other definite line can
    be drawn between the inestimable liberty of the press, and its
    demoralizing licentiousness. If there be still improprieties
    which this rule would not restrain, its supplement must be
    sought in the censorship of public opinion.

    Contemplating the union of sentiment now manifested so
    generally, as auguring harmony and happiness to our future
    course, I offer to our country sincere congratulations. With
    those, too, not yet rallied to the same point, the disposition
    to do so is gaining strength. Facts are piercing through the
    veil drawn over them: and our doubting brethren will at length
    see that the mass of their fellow-citizens, with whom they
    cannot yet resolve to act, as to principles and measures, think
    as they think, and desire what they desire: that our wish, as
    well as theirs, is, that the public efforts may be directed
    honestly to the public good; that peace be cultivated; civil
    and religious liberty unassailed; law and order preserved;
    equality of rights maintained; and that state of property,
    equal or unequal, which results to every man from his own
    industry, or that of his father. When satisfied of these
    views, it is not in human nature that they should not approve
    and support them. In the mean time, let us cherish them with
    patient affection; let us do them justice, and more than
    justice, in all competitions of interest; and we need not doubt
    that truth, reason, and their own interests, will at length
    prevail; will gather them into the fold of their country, and
    will complete that entire union of opinion which gives to a
    nation the blessing of harmony, and the benefit of all its
    strength.

    I shall now enter on the duties to which my fellow-citizens
    have again called me, and shall proceed in the spirit of
    those principles which they have approved. I fear not that
    any motives of interest may lead me astray. I am sensible of
    no passion which could seduce me, knowingly, from the path of
    justice; but the weaknesses of human nature, and the limits
    of my own understanding, will produce errors of judgment,
    sometimes injurious to your interests. I shall need, therefore,
    all the indulgence which I have heretofore experienced from my
    constituents. The want of it will certainly not lessen with
    increasing years. I shall need, too, the favor of that Being
    in whose hands we are; who led our fathers, as Israel of old,
    from their native land, and planted them in a country flowing
    with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered
    our infancy with His providence, and our riper years with His
    wisdom and power; and to whose goodness I ask you to join in
    supplications with me, that He will so enlighten the minds
    of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their
    measures, that, whatsoever they do, shall result in your good,
    and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation
    of all nations.

After which, the Chief Justice of the United States administered to him
the oath of office prescribed by the constitution; and the oath was, in
like manner, administered to GEORGE CLINTON, Vice President of the United
States; after which, the PRESIDENT and VICE PRESIDENT retired.



Trial of Judge Chase.


TRIAL OF SAMUEL CHASE, AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
UNITED STATES, IMPEACHED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR HIGH CRIMES
AND MISDEMEANORS, BEFORE THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

[TAKEN IN SHORT-HAND BY SAMUEL H. SMITH AND THOMAS LLOYD.]

This trial was one of the events of the day, greatly exciting party
passions, and taking a scope which gives it historic interest, both for
the persons concerned, and the matters involved. The account of it is
greatly abridged here, but it is believed all is still retained which is
necessary to the full knowledge of the case, and to a just conception of
the skill, learning, eloquence and ability with which the trial (both
the prosecution and the defence) was conducted. The formal charges are
omitted, as being sufficiently shown in the pleadings; the testimony of
witnesses limited to their principal statements; and the speeches only
given in their essential parts.

    [The following report of the trial of SAMUEL CHASE has been
    drawn up with the greatest care. To guard against misconception
    or omission, two individuals, one of whom is a professional
    stenographer, were constantly engaged during the whole course
    of the trial; and the arguments of the managers and counsel
    have in most instances, and whenever it was attainable, been
    revised by them. It is with some satisfaction that the editor
    of this impression is enabled, under these circumstances,
    to submit to the public a tract, whose fidelity and
    comprehensiveness, he hopes will amply reward the interest so
    deeply excited by the progress and issue of this important
    trial.--_Editor National Intelligencer._]

MEASURES PRELIMINARY TO THE TRIAL.

On the fifth day of January 1804, Mr. J. RANDOLPH, a member of the House
of Representatives of the United States, rose and addressed that body to
the following effect:

He observed “That no people were more fully impressed with the importance
of preserving unpolluted the fountain of justice than the citizens of
these States. With this view the Constitution of the United States, and
of many of the States also, had rendered the magistrates who decided
judicially between the State and the offending citizens, and between man
and man, more independent than those of any other country in the world,
in the hope that every inducement, whether of intimidation or seduction,
which should cause them to swerve from the duty assigned to them, might
be removed. But such was the frailty of human nature, that there was
no precaution by which our integrity and honor could be preserved, in
case we were deficient in that duty which we owed to ourselves. In
consequence, sir,” said Mr. Randolph, “of this unfortunate condition
of man, we have been obliged, but yesterday, to prefer an accusation
against a judge of the United States, who has been found wanting in his
duty to himself and his country. At the last session of Congress, a
gentleman from Pennsylvania did, in his place, (on a bill to amend the
judicial system of the United States,) state certain facts in relation
to the official conduct of an eminent judicial character, which I then
thought, and still think, the House bound to notice. But the lateness of
the session (for we had, if I mistake not, scarce a fortnight remaining)
precluding all possibility of bringing the subject to any efficient
result, I did not then think proper to take any steps in the business.
Finding my attention, however, thus drawn to a consideration of the
character of the officer in question, I made it my business, considering
it my duty, as well to myself as those whom I represent, to investigate
the charges then made, and the official character of the judge, in
general. The result having convinced me that there exists ground of
impeachment against this officer, I demand an inquiry into his conduct,
and therefore submit to the House the following resolution:

    “_Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire into
    the official conduct of SAMUEL CHASE, one of the Associate
    Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, and to report
    their opinion, whether the said SAMUEL CHASE hath so acted in
    his judicial capacity as to require the interposition of the
    constitutional power of this House.”

A short debate immediately arose on this motion, which was advocated by
Messrs. J. RANDOLPH, SMILIE, and J. CLAY; and opposed by Mr. ELLIOT.
Several members supported a motion to postpone it until the ensuing day,
which was superseded by an adjournment of the House.

The House, on the next day, resumed the consideration of Mr. RANDOLPH’s
motion, which was supported by Mr. SMILIE, and, on the motion of Mr.
LEIB, so amended as to embrace an inquiry into the official conduct of
Richard Peters, district judge for the District of Pennsylvania. On the
motion, thus amended, further debate arose, which occupied the greater
part of this and the ensuing day. It was supported by Messrs. FINDLAY,
JACKSON, NICHOLSON, HOLLAND, J. RANDOLPH, EUSTIS, EARLY, SMILIE, and
EPPES; and opposed by Messrs. LOWNDES, R. GRISWOLD, ELLIOT, DENNIS,
GRIFFIN, THATCHER, HUGER, and DANA. Some ineffectual attempts were
made to amend the resolution, when the final question was taken on the
resolution, as amended, in the following words:

    “_Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the
    official conduct of Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices
    of the Supreme Court of the United States, and of Richard
    Peters, district judge of the district of Pennsylvania, and to
    report their opinion, whether the said Samuel Chase and Richard
    Peters, or either of them, have so acted in their judicial
    capacity, as to require the interposition of the constitutional
    power of this House:”

And resolved in the affirmative--yeas 81, nays 40.

Whereupon, Messrs. J. RANDOLPH, NICHOLSON, J. CLAY, EARLY, R. GRISWOLD,
HUGER, and BOYLE, were appointed a committee pursuant to the foregoing
resolution.

On the 10th of January, the committee were authorized by the House to
send for persons, papers, and records; and on the 30th day of the same
month they were authorized to cause to be printed such documents and
papers as they might deem necessary, previous to their presentation to
the House.

On the 6th day of March, Mr. RANDOLPH, in the name of the committee, made
a report, “That in consequence of the evidence collected by them, in
virtue of the powers with which they have been invested by the House, and
which is hereunto subjoined, they are of opinion, 1st. That Samuel Chase,
Esq., an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, be
impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors.

“2d. That Richard Peters, district judge of the district of Pennsylvania,
has not so acted in his judicial capacity as to require the interposition
of the constitutional power of this House.”

This report, accompanied by a great mass of printed documents, embracing
various depositions taken before the committee, as well as at a distance,
was made the order of the day for the Monday following.

On that day the House took up the report, and after a short debate
concurred in the first resolution by the following vote--yeas 73, nays
32, as follows:

    YEAS.--Willis Alston, jun., Isaac Anderson, John Archer,
    David Bard, George Michael Bedinger, William Blackledge,
    Walter Bowie, Adam Boyd, John Boyle, Robert Brown, Joseph
    Bryan, William Butler, Levi Casey, Thomas Claiborne, Joseph
    Clay, Matthew Clay, John Clopton, Frederick Conrad, Jacob
    Crowninshield, Richard Cutts, John Dawson, William Dickson,
    John B. Earle, Peter Early, James Elliot, William Findlay, John
    Fowler, James Gillespie, Peterson Goodwyn, Andrew Gregg, Samuel
    Hammond, James Holland, David Holmes, Walter Jones, William
    Kennedy, Nehemiah Knight, Michael Leib, Matthew Lyon, Andrew
    McCord, William McCreery, David Meriwether, Andrew Moore,
    Nicholas R. Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, Anthony New, Thomas Newton,
    jun., Joseph H. Nicholson, Gideon Olin, John Patterson, John
    Randolph, Thomas M. Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John
    Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Cæsar A. Rodney, Thomas
    Sammons, Thomas Sanford, Ebenezer Seaver, James Sloan, John
    Smilie, Henry Southard, Richard Stanford, Joseph Stanton, John
    Stewart, David Thomas, Philip R. Thompson, Abram Trigg, John
    Trigg, Isaac Van Horne, Joseph B. Varnum, Marmaduke Williams,
    Richard Wynn, and Joseph Winston.

    NAYS.--Simeon Baldwin, Silas Betton, John Campbell, William
    Chamberlin, Martin Chittenden, Clifton Claggett, Manasseh
    Cutler, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, Thomas Dwight, Thomas
    Griffin, Gaylord Griswold, Roger Griswold, Seth Hastings,
    William Helms, Benjamin Huger, Joseph Lewis, jun., Henry W.
    Livingston, Thomas Lowndes, Nahum Mitchell, Thomas Plater,
    Samuel D. Purviance, John Cotton Smith, John Smith of Virginia,
    William Stedman, James Stevenson, Samuel Taggart, Samuel
    Tenney, Samuel Thatcher, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Peleg
    Wadsworth, and Lemuel Williams.

The second resolution was agreed to unanimously.

Whereupon, it was ordered, that Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH and Mr. EARLY be
appointed a committee to go to the Senate, at the bar thereof, in the
name of the House of Representatives, and of all the people of the United
States, to impeach Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices of the
Supreme Court of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors; and
acquaint the Senate that the House of Representatives will, in due time,
exhibit particular articles of impeachment against him, and make good the
same. It was also ordered, that the committee do demand, that the Senate
take order for the appearance of the said Samuel Chase, to answer to the
said impeachment.

On the 13th of March, Messrs. J. RANDOLPH, NICHOLSON, J. CLAY, EARLY,
and BOYLE, were appointed a committee to prepare and report articles of
impeachment against Samuel Chase, and invested with power to send for
persons, papers, and records.

On the 14th, a message was received from the Senate, notifying the House,
that they would take proper order on the impeachment, of which due notice
should be given to the House.

On the 26th, Mr. RANDOLPH, from the committee appointed for that
purpose, reported articles of impeachment against Samuel Chase. No order
was taken on the report during the remainder of the session, which
terminated the next day.

At the ensuing session of Congress, on the 6th of November, 1804, on the
motion of Mr. J. RANDOLPH, the articles of impeachment were referred to
Messrs. J. RANDOLPH, J. CLAY, EARLY, BOYLE, and J. RHEA of Tennessee.

On the 30th of November, Mr. RANDOLPH reported articles of impeachment
against Samuel Chase, in substance not dissimilar from those reported at
the last session, with the addition of two new articles.

This report was made the order for the 3d of December. On that and the
ensuing day the House took the articles into consideration, to all of
which they agreed, according to the following votes:

                    Yeas.     Nays.
    Art. 1           83        34
         2           83        35
         3           84        34
         4           84        34
         5           72        45
         6           73        42
         7           73        42
         8 1st sec.  74        32
         8 2nd sec.  78        32

On the 5th, the House proceeded to the choice, by ballot, of seven
managers to conduct the impeachment; and on counting the votes, Messrs.
J. RANDOLPH, RODNEY, NICHOLSON, EARLY, BOYLE, NELSON, and G. W. CAMPBELL,
appeared to be elected.

On a subsequent day, Mr. NELSON having declined his appointment, on
account of absence, Mr. CLARK was chosen in his place.

The following resolution was then adopted:

    _Resolved_, That the articles agreed to by this House be
    exhibited in the name of themselves, and of all the people
    of the United States, against Samuel Chase, in maintenance
    of their impeachment against him, for high crimes and
    misdemeanors, be carried to the Senate by the managers
    appointed to conduct the said impeachment.

The Senate having appointed the 7th of December for receiving the
articles of impeachment, the managers repaired on that day, at 1 o’clock,
to the Senate Chamber. Having taken seats assigned them within the bar,
and the Sergeant-at-Arms having proclaimed silence, Mr. J. RANDOLPH read
the foregoing articles: whereupon the President of the Senate informed
the managers that the Senate would take proper order on the subject of
the impeachment, of which due notice should be given to the House of
Representatives. The managers delivered the articles of impeachment at
the table and withdrew.

On the 10th of December, the Senate, sitting as a High Court of
Impeachments, adopted the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That the Secretary be directed to issue a
    summons to Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices of
    the Supreme Court of the United States, to answer certain
    articles of impeachment exhibited against him by the House
    of Representatives on Friday last: That the said summons be
    returnable the 2d day of January, and he served at least
    fifteen days before the return day thereof.

On the 24th and 31st of December, the Senate adopted the following rules
of proceeding, to be observed in cases of impeachment.

    1. Whensoever the Senate shall receive notice from the House of
    Representatives, that managers are appointed on their part, to
    conduct an impeachment against any person, and are directed to
    carry such articles to the Senate, the Secretary of the Senate
    shall immediately inform the House of Representatives, that
    the Senate is ready to receive the managers for the purpose of
    exhibiting such articles of impeachment, agreeably to the said
    notice.

    2. When the managers of an impeachment shall be introduced to
    the bar of the Senate, and shall have signified that they are
    ready to exhibit articles of impeachment against any person,
    the President of the Senate shall direct the Sergeant-at-Arms
    to make proclamation; who shall, after making proclamation,
    repeat the following words: “All persons are commanded to keep
    silence, on pain of imprisonment, while the grand inquest of
    the nation is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States,
    articles of impeachment against ---- ----;” after which the
    articles shall be exhibited, and then the President of the
    Senate shall inform the managers, that the Senate will take
    proper order on the subject of the impeachment, of which due
    notice shall be given to the House of Representatives.

    3. A summons shall issue, directed to the person impeached, in
    the form following:

    _The United States of America, ss._

    The Senate of the United States, to ----, greeting:

    Whereas, the House of Representatives of the United States of
    America, did, on the ---- day of ----, exhibit to the Senate
    articles of impeachment against you, the said ----, in the
    words following, viz: [here recite the articles] and did demand
    that you the said ---- should be put to answer the accusations
    as set forth in said articles; and that such proceedings,
    examinations, trials, and judgments, might be thereupon had,
    as are agreeable to law and justice: You, the said ----, are
    therefore hereby summoned, to be, and appear before the Senate
    of the United States of America, at their Chamber in the City
    of Washington, on the ---- day of ----, then and there to
    answer to the said articles of impeachment, and then and there
    to abide by, obey, and perform such orders and judgments as
    the Senate of the United States shall make in the premises,
    according to the Constitution and laws of the United States.
    Hereof you are not to fail.

    Witness, ----, Vice President of the United States of America,
    and President of the Senate thereof, at the City of Washington,
    this ---- day of ----, in the year of our Lord ----, and of the
    Independence of the United States, the ----.

Which summons shall be signed by the Secretary of the Senate, and sealed
with their seal, and served by the Sergeant-at-Arms to the Senate, or by
such other person as the Senate shall specially appoint for that purpose;
who shall serve the same, pursuant to the directions given in the form
next following:

4. A precept shall be endorsed on said writ of summons, in the form
following, viz:

    _United States of America, ss._

    The Senate of the United States, to ----, greeting:

    You are hereby commanded to deliver to, and leave with ----,
    if to be found, a true and attested copy of the within writ of
    summons, together with a like copy of this precept, showing
    him both; or in case he cannot with convenience be found, you
    are to leave true and attested copies of the said summons and
    precept, at his usual place of residence, and in whichsoever
    way you perform the service, let it be done at least ---- days
    before the appearance day mentioned in said writ of summons.
    Fail not, and make return of this writ of summons and precept,
    with your proceedings thereon endorsed, on or before the
    appearance day mentioned in said writ of summons.

    Witness, ----, Vice President of the United States of America,
    and President of the Senate thereof, at the City of Washington,
    this ---- day of ----, in the year of our Lord ----, and of the
    Independence of the United States, the ----.

Which precept shall be signed by the Secretary of the Senate, and sealed
with their seal.

5. Subpœnas shall be issued by the Secretary of the Senate, upon
the application of the managers of the impeachment, or of the party
impeached, or his counsel, in the following form, to wit:

    To ----, greeting:

    You, and each of you, are hereby commanded to appear before the
    Senate of the United States, on the ---- day of ----, at the
    Senate Chamber, in the City of Washington, then and there to
    testify your knowledge in the cause which is before the Senate,
    in which the House of Representatives have impeached ----. Fail
    not.

    Witness, ----, Vice President of the United States of America,
    and President of the Senate thereof, at the City of Washington,
    this ---- day of ----, in the year of our Lord ----, and of the
    Independence of the United States, the ----.

Which shall be signed by the Secretary of the Senate, and sealed with
their seal.

Which subpœnas shall be directed, in every case, to the Marshal of the
district, where such witnesses respectively reside, to serve and return.

6. The form of direction to the Marshal, for the service of the subpœna,
shall be as follows:

    The Senate of the United States of America, to the Marshal of
    the district of ----:

    You are hereby commanded to serve and return the within
    subpœna, according to law.

    Dated at Washington, this ---- day of ----, in the year of our
    Lord ----, and of the Independence of the United States, the
    ----.

                                         _Secretary of the Senate._

7. The President of the Senate shall direct all necessary preparations in
the Senate Chamber, and all the forms of proceeding, while the Senate are
sitting for the purpose of trying an impeachment, and all forms during
the trial, not otherwise specially provided for by the Senate.

8. He shall also be authorized to direct the employment of the Marshal
of the District of Columbia, or any other person or persons, during the
trial, to discharge such duties as may be prescribed by him.

9. At twelve o’clock of the day appointed for the return of the summons
against the person impeached, the legislative and executive business
of the Senate shall be suspended and the Secretary of the Senate shall
administer an oath to the returning officer, in the form following, viz:
“I, ----, do solemnly swear, that the return made and subscribed by me,
upon the process issued on the ---- day of ----, by the Senate of the
United States, against ----, is truly made, and that I have performed
said services as therein described. So help me God.” Which oath shall be
entered at large on the records.

10. The person impeached shall then be called to appear, and answer the
articles of impeachment exhibited against him. If he appears, or any
person for him, the appearance shall be recorded, stating particularly,
if by himself, or if by agent or attorney; naming the person appearing,
and the capacity in which he appears. If he does not appear, either
personally, or by agent or attorney, the same shall be recorded.

11. At twelve o’clock of the day appointed for the trial of an
impeachment, the Legislative and Executive business of the Senate shall
be postponed. The Secretary shall then administer the following oath or
affirmation to the President:

“You solemnly swear, or affirm, that in all things appertaining to the
trial of the impeachment of ----, you will do impartial justice according
to the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

12. And the President shall administer the said oath or affirmation to
each Senator present.

The Secretary shall then give notice to the House of Representatives,
that the Senate is ready to proceed upon the impeachment of ----, in the
Senate Chamber, which Chamber is prepared with accommodations for the
reception of the House of Representatives.

13. Counsel for the parties shall be admitted to appear, and be heard
upon an impeachment.

14. All motions made by the parties, or their counsel, shall be addressed
to the President of the Senate, and if he shall require it, shall
be committed to writing, and read at the Secretary’s table; and all
decisions shall be had by yeas and nays, and without debate, which shall
be entered on the records.

15. Witnesses shall be sworn in the following form, to wit: “You ---- do
swear, (or affirm, as the case may be,) that the evidence you shall give
in the case now depending between the United States and ----, shall be
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you God.”
Which oath shall be administered by the Secretary.

16. Witnesses shall be examined by the party producing them, and then
cross-examined in the usual form.

17. If a Senator is called as a witness, he shall be sworn, and give his
testimony standing in his place.

18. If a Senator wishes a question to be put to a witness, it shall be
reduced to writing and put by the President.

19. At all times, whilst the Senate is sitting upon the trial of an
impeachment, the doors of the Senate Chamber shall be kept open.


HIGH COURT OF IMPEACHMENTS.

WEDNESDAY, January 2, 1805.

The Court having been opened by proclamation,

The return made by the Sergeant-at-Arms was read, as follows:

    “I, James Mathers, Sergeant-at-Arms to the Senate of the United
    States, in obedience to the within summons to me directed, did
    proceed to the residence of the within named Samuel Chase, on
    the 12th day of December, 1804, and did then and there leave a
    true copy of the said writ of summons, together with a true
    copy of the articles of impeachment annexed, with him the said
    Samuel Chase.

                                                   “JAMES MATHERS.”

After which the Secretary administered to him the oath as follows:

    “You, James Mathers, Sergeant-at-Arms to the Senate of the
    United States, do solemnly swear, that the return made and
    subscribed by you, upon the process issued on the 10th day of
    December last, by the Senate of the United States, against
    Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme
    Court, is truly made, and that you have performed said services
    as therein described. So help you God.”

SAMUEL CHASE, having been solemnly called, appeared.

The PRESIDENT of the Senate (Mr. BURR) informed Mr. CHASE, that having
been summoned to answer to the articles of impeachment exhibited against
him by the House of Representatives, the Senate were ready to receive any
answer he had to make to them.

Mr. CHASE requested the indulgence of a chair,[19] which was immediately
furnished.

After being seated for a short time, Mr. CHASE rose, and commenced the
following address to the Senate, which he read from a paper that he held
in his hand:

“Mr. President: I appear, in obedience to a summons from this honorable
Court, to answer articles of impeachment exhibited against me, by the
honorable the House of Representatives of the United States.

“To these articles, a copy of which was delivered to me with the summons,
I say that I have committed no crime or misdemeanor whatsoever, for which
I am subject to impeachment according to the Constitution of the United
States. I deny, with a few exceptions, the acts with which I am charged;
I shall contend, that all acts admitted to have been done by me were
_legal_; and I deny, in every instance, the _improper_ intentions with
which the acts charged are alleged to have been done, and in which their
supposed criminality altogether consists.”

The PRESIDENT reminded Mr. CHASE that this was the day appointed to
receive any answer he might make to the articles of impeachment.

Mr. CHASE said his purpose was to request the allowance of further time
to put in his answer.

The PRESIDENT desired him to proceed.

Mr. CHASE proceeded in his address; and having finished it, was desired
by the PRESIDENT, if he had any motion to make, to reduce it to writing,
and hand it to the Secretary.

Whereupon, Mr. CHASE submitted the following motion:

    “I solicit this honorable Court to allow me until the first day
    of the next session, to put in my answer, and to prepare for my
    trial.”

The PRESIDENT informed Mr. Chase, that, the Court would take time to
consider his motion.[20]

The Senate withdrew to a private apartment, where debate arose on the
question, whether it was not incumbent on the Senators to take the
oath required by the constitution, before they took into consideration
the motion of Mr. Chase, which issued in the adoption of the following
resolution:

    _Resolved_, That, on the meeting of the Senate, to-morrow,
    before they proceed to any business on the articles of
    impeachment before them, and before any decision of any
    question, the oath prescribed by the rules, shall be
    administered to the President and members of the Senate.

On the ensuing day, previously to the entrance of the Senate into the
public room, considerable debate took place on the motion of Mr. Chase,
without any decision being made.


THURSDAY, January 3.

The Court was opened by proclamation about two o’clock.

The oath prescribed was administered to the President by the Secretary.

The PRESIDENT administered the oath prescribed to the following members:

Messrs. Adams, Anderson, Baldwin, Bradley, Breckenridge, Brown, Condit,
Dayton, Ellery, Franklin, Giles, Hillhouse, Howland, Jackson, Mitchill,
Moore, Olcott, Pickering, Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, Smith of
Ohio, Smith of Vermont, Sumter, Tracy, White, Worthington, and Wright.

And the affirmation was administered to Messrs. Logan, Maclay, and Plumer.

The PRESIDENT stated that he had received a letter from the defendant,
enclosing an affidavit that further time was necessary for him to prepare
for trial; which affidavit was read, as follows:

    _City of Washington, ss_:

    Samuel Chase made oath on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God,
    that it is not in his power to obtain information respecting
    the facts alleged in the articles of impeachment to have
    taken place in the city of Philadelphia in the trial of John
    Fries; or of the facts alleged to have taken place in the city
    of Richmond, in the trial of James T. Callender, in time to
    prepare and put in his answer, and to proceed to trial, with
    any probability that the same could be finished on or before
    the fifth day of March next. And further, that it is not in his
    power to procure information of the names of the witnesses,
    whom he thinks it may be proper and necessary for him to
    summon, in time to obtain their attendance, if his answer could
    be prepared in time sufficient for the finishing of the said
    trial, before the said fifth day of March next; and the said
    Samuel Chase further made oath, that he believes it will not be
    in his power to obtain the advice of counsel, to prepare his
    answer, and to give him their assistance on the trial, which he
    thinks necessary, if the said trial should take place during
    the present session of Congress; and that he verily believes,
    if he had, at this time full information of facts, and of the
    witnesses proper for him to summon, and if he had also the
    assistance of counsel, that he could not prepare the answer he
    thinks he ought to put in, and be ready for his trial, within
    the space of four or five weeks from this time. And further,
    that his application to the honorable the Senate, for time
    to obtain the information of facts, in ord