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H. of R.
be no doubt that the people of this country, of all descriptions, will rally around the Constitution. France had heretofore supposed she possessed a party in this country, but there was not a man os sense in the country who believed it. Foreign nations would err in this way, having no correct knowledge of the sentiments of the people. If we were soon to be involved in war, it was proper that no distrust should exist in one part of the community against another; and he therefore regretted that a complete investigation could not be had before the papers were published. Mr. RANDolph wished to say one word, and only a word. in addition to his previous observations. He rose for the purpose of suggesting to the House whether, if it were their intention to act with anything like despatch or efficacy in this business, it was not necessary immediately to decide whether these papers should or should not be referred to a committee, and that committee clothed with power to send for persons and papers. For it was perfectly obvious, if this day's session was spun out on the mere question of printing, it was giving the party, whom it would certainly be the object of the committee to examine, fair notice to abscond; for, whatsoever may have been the rank and grade of the gentleman, and however respectable in some eyes it might appear, he would hardly be ambitious of exhibiting himself here. Mr. R. said he could only say, as he was up— he should certainly not have risen for the purpose of saying it—to the gentleman from Kentucky, that when he had examined the subject, he would give that gentleman and the House his opinion on it. Until then he must be excused. I had much rather, said Mr. R., my opinion should follow an examination than precede it. Mr. Boyd made some remarks in favor of printing. This was the old course of Britain—divide and conquer. The existence of such agencies was sufficiently known before. These papers only went to prove it. The President would not have sent these papers publicly to Congress if he had not intended they should go to the public. Mr. WRIGHT rose in explanation of his former remarks. He wished it to be distinctly understood that he had no objection to the publication of these papers. Mr. MILN or said his purpose in rising now was to express the anxious desire he felt that on this question there might not be the least division of sentiment manifested in the House. He should be extremely sorry at any time; above all, at a period of our national progress when it was thought that a change of circumstances of the most important kind was about to take place ; that at this time an opinion should be imbibed that any portion of the people of this country were favorable to England. The candor of the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. WRight) redounded to his honor. He was extremely glad to find gentlemen acknowledge, with respect to the party in which he stood enrolled, whatever might be our internal differences, &c.; that they could not be suspected of hostility to the Union;
there could be no idea entertained by sensible men of either party that there was among us any considerable portion of men who are inimi*|| disposed to the union of the States. hat these papers proved a dishonorable attempt on the part of the British Government, Mr. M, said he had no doubt. Although a strong sensation would probably be produced by the discovery of this circumstance, and it might be perverted much to the injury of the feelings of particular individuals, he hoped the good sense of the community would induce them, while they properly appreciated this attempt of a foreign Government, not to be led into rash or injudicious measures. He really wished the affair might be probed to the bottom; and that the British Minister having in one case come forward with a disavowal for his Government, would say in some shape or other what was the real state of the case now before the House. Mr. RhEA again spoke in amplification of his former remarks. He said that be this man, Mr. Henry, who he might, he had done an important service to the country in exposing the views of the British Governinent; and it behooved the House to ascertain their truth, &c. The motion for printing was unanimously agreed to. Mr. Bibb moved to amend his motion for reference to the Committee of Foreign Relations, so as to give the committee power to send for persons and papers. Mr. TRoup said that on occasions of this kind, great care should be taken lest the House be hurried by a momentary excitement into an act of precipitancy. He had confidence in the discretion of the Committee of Foreign Relations, but the vesting such a power in the committee might be considered as an instruction by the House to proceed under any circumstances to bring Mr. Henry before them. He had no doubt in his own mind that the communication had been voluntary on the part of Mr. Henry, but he entertained as little that there may have been certain stipulations and conditions which the Executive would feel itself under the strongest obligations of good faith to comply with, and which would exempt the individual making the disclosure from any responsibility of any kind. Whatever may be thought of the motives of Mr. Henry in making the disclosure, or whatever the epithets applied to him in debate, certain it was, Mr. Henry had done service to the country, and ought to be protected by it. If the committee should, on examination, think proper to proceed to summon persons, or call for papers, the House would not hesitate to vest them with the necessary powers. Mr. GRUNDY stated what was his impression as to the course he should incline to pursue as a member of the Committee of Foreign Relations, if these papers should be referred, as proposed, to that committee. If any engagement, express or implied, had taken place between the Administration and Mr. Henry, that he should be free from detention, &c., he should not, as one of the committee, consent to violate that engagement.
Mr. Bibb said, as there appeared to be considerable difference of opinion on this subject, and as the committee could apply for the power if they wished it, he should for the present withdraw his motion.
Mr. RANDolph renewed it.
Mr. Pitkin spoke in favor of the motion. He thought this course due to the people in that section of the Union whose character was implicated in these papers.
Mr. Fisk said there was no fear of of this person absconding; he was not that sort of a man. But were this man out of the world, there is evidence enough to prove the truth of all he had said without a syllable from him. As to this course being due to those implicated, Mr. F. said he came from one of the States (Vermont) about which most was said in Henry’s letters, and he felt no uneasiness on that score; and he could not see why others should.
Mr. Bibb accepted Mr. RANDolph's proposition as a part of his motion, as he had only o induced to withdraw it by a desire to accommodate.
Mr. MAcon required a division of the question; and
The question on reference was carried unanimously.
The question to clothe the committee with compulsory power was carried—104 to 10, as follows:
YEAs—William Anderson, Stevenson Archer, Ezekiel Bacon, John Baker, Burwell Bassett, William W. Bibb, Abijah Bigelow, William Blackledge, Harmanus Bleecker, James Breckenridge, Elijah Brigham, Robert Brown, William A. Burwell, William Butler, John C. Calhoun, Epaphroditus Champion, Langdon Cheves, Martin Chittenden, Matthew Clay, James Cochran, Lewis Condict, William Crawford, John Davenport, jun., Roger Davis, John Dawson, Joseph Desha, Samuel, Dinsmoor, Elias Earle, William Ely, James Emott, Asa Fitch, Meshack Franklin, Thomas Gholson, Thomas R. Gold, Charles Goldsborough, Peterson Goodwyn, Isaiah L. Green, Felix Grundy, Bolling, Hall, Obed Hall, John A. Harper, Jacob Husty, Richard Jackson, jun., Joseph Kent, Philip B. Key, William R. King, Abner Lacock, Lyman Law, Joseph Lewis, jun., Peter Little, Robert Le Roy Livingston, William Lowndes, Aaron Lyle, Thomas Moore, Archibald McBryde, William McCoy, Samuel McKee, Alexander McKim, Arunah Metcalf, James Milnor, Samuel L. Mitchill, Jeremiah Morrow, Jonathan O. Moseley, Hugh Nelson, Thomas Newton, Stephen Qrmsby, Joseph Pearson, Israel Pickens, Timothy Pitkin, jun., James Pleasants, jun., Benjamin Pond, Peter B. Porter, Elisha R. Potter, Josiah Quincy, John Randolph, William Reed, William M. Richardson, Henry M. Ridgely, Samuel Ringgold, John Rhea, William Rodman, Ebenezer Sage, Thomas Sammons, John Sevier, Adam Seybert, Samuel Shaw, Daniel Sheffey, George Smith, John Smith, Richard Stanford, Silas Stow, Lewis B. Sturges, Samuel Taggart, John Taliaferro, Uri Tracy, Charles Turner, jun., Pierre Van Cortlandt, jun., Laban Wheaton, Leonard White, Robert Whitehill, William Widgery, Thomas Wilson, and Robert Wright.
Nars—Willis Alston, junior, David Bard, Adam
Boyd, James Fisk, John M. Hyneman, Nathaniel Macon, Jonathan Roberts, Ebenezer Seaver, John Smilie, and George M. Troup.
Tuesday, March 10.
Mr. WRight, from the committee appointed on that part of the President's Message which relates to filling the ranks and prolonging the enlistments of the regular troops, to detachments of militia, and to such a preparation of the great body as will proportion its usefulness to its intrinsic capacity, to whom was referred the bill from the Senate “to establish a Quartermaster's Department, and for other purposes,” reported several amendments thereto ; which were read, and, together with the bill, committed to the Committee of the Whole to-morrow. A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed the bill “concerning the Naval Establishment,” with amendments; in which they desire the concurrence of this House. An engrossed bill for the relief of Thomas Wilson was read the third time, and passed. An engrossed bill for the relief of Thomas Orr was read third time, and passed. The bill from the Senate “respecting the enrolling and licensing of steamboats” was read the third time and passed. The amendments proposed by the Senate to the bill “concerning the Naval Establishment” were read, and, together with the bill, referred to the committee appointed on that part of the President's Message which relates to the Naval Establishment. The House proceeded to consider the report of the Committee of the Whole on the report of the Committee on the Public Lands, made on the petition of the Mayor and Aldermen of the city of New Orleans; and the question that the House do concur with the Committee of the Whole in their disagreement to the resolution contained in the report of the Committee on the Public Lands, being taken, it was determined in the negative. The resolution was then agreed to, and the Committee on the Public Lands instructed to bring in a bill. The bill giving further time to the purchasers of public lands northwest of the river Ohio to complete their payments; passed through a Committee of the Whole, and was ordered to be read the third time to-morrow. The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill making an appropriation for building a jail in Alexandria county, in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes; and, after some time spent therein, the Committee rose and had leave to sit again. GENERAL ST. CLAIR. An engrossed bill for the relief of Arthur St. Clair was read the third time; and on the question that the same do pass, it was resolved in the affirmative–yeas 67, nays 39, as follows: Yeas—John Baker, Abijah Bigelow, William Blackledge, Harmanus Bleecker, James Breckenridge, Elijah Brigham, William A. Burwell, William Butler, Lang
District Courts—Bank of the United States.
don Cheves, Martin Chittenden, Matthew Clay, John
An engrossed bill providing for the removal of the causes depending in the respective District Courts of the United States, in case of the disability of the Judges thereof, was read the third time, and passed: Whereupon, a motion was made by Mr. Newton, that the House do recon. sider the vote on the passage of the bill, and the question thereon being taken, it was determined in the negative—yeas 30, nays 80, as follows: YEAs—Willis Alston, jr., William Anderson, David Bard, William Blackledge, Robert Brown, William A. Burwell, William Butler, Matthew Clay, James Coch. ran, Lewis Condict, William Crawford, Roger Davis, Joseph Desha, Isaiah L. Green, Bolling Hall, John A. Harper, Jacob Hufty, John M. Hyneman, Abner Lacock, William McCoy, Alexander McKim, Thomas Newton, John Rhea, Ebenezer Sage, Samuel Shaw, William Strong, John Taliaferro, Charles Turner, jr., and Robert Whitehill. Nars—Stevenson Archer, Ezekiel Bacon, John Baker, Burwell Bassett, William W. Bibb, Abijah Bigelow, Harmanus Bleecker, Adam Boyd, James Breckenridge, John C. Calhoun, Langdon Cheves, Martin Chittenden, John Davenport, jun., Elias Earle, William Ely, James Emott, William Findley, James Fisk, Asa Fitch, Thomas Gholson, Thomas R. Gold, Charles Goldsborough, Peterson Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, Felix Grundy, Obed Hall, Richard Jackson, junior, Joseph Kent, William R. King, Lyman Law, Joseph Lefever, Joseph Lewis, jun., Peter Little, Robert Le Roy Livingston, Aaron Lyle, Thomas Moore, Archibald McBryde, Samuel McKee, Arunah Metcalf, James Milnor, Samuel L. Mitchill, Jeremiah Morrow, Jonathan O. Moseley, Hugh Nelson, Anthony New, Stephen Orms
by, Joseph Pearson, Israel Pickens, Timothy Pitkin, junior, James Pleasants, jun., Benjamin Pond, Peter B. Porter, Elisha R. Potter, Josiah Quincy, William Reed, William Richardson, Henry M. Ridgely, Samuel Ringgold, William Rodman, Thomas Sammons, John Sevier, Daniel Sheffey, John Smilie, George Smith, Richard Stanford, Philip Stuart, Silas Stow, Lewis B. Sturges, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, Uri Tracy, George M. Troup, Pierre Van Cortlandt, jr., Laban Wheaton, Leonard White, William Widgery, Thomas Wilson, Richard Winn, and Robert Wright.
Wednesday, March 11.
Mr. MoRRow, from the Committee on the Pubsie Lands, presented a bill for relinquishing to the Corporation of the city of New Orleans the use and possession of a lot in said city; which was read twice and committed to a Committee of the Whole to-morrow. Mr. MoR Row, from the same committee, also presented a bill making provision for certain persons claiming lands under the several acts for the relief of the refugees from the British Provinces of Canada and Nova Scotia; which was read twice and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Friday next. A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed the bill “authorizing a loan for a sum not exceeding eleven millions of dollars,” with an amendment; in which they desire the concurrence of this House. A motion was made by Mr. RhEA, that the select committee appointed on the letter from Cowles Mead, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Mississippi Territory, enclosing a presentment of the Grand Jury of Baldwin county, against Harry Toulmin, Judge of the Superior Court of Washington District, in that Territory, be discharged; which was negatived. An engrossed bill giving further time for the purchasers of public lands northwest of the river Qhio to complete their payments, was read the lin ime, and passed. The amendment of the Senate to the bill, “authorizing a loan for a sum not exceeding eleven inillions of dollars” was read, and concurred in by the House. The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill to enable the people of the Mississippi Territory 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, after some time spent therein, the Committee rose, and had leave to sit again. BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.
The House proceeded to consider the bill repealing the tenth section of the act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the United States, reported by the Committee of the whole House: When, a motion was made by Mr. Roberts, to amend the bill by striking out the words “shall be, and the same is hereby repealed,” and to insert, “is hereby declared to have expired on the fourth day of March, 1811.”
It was determined in the negative–yeas 9, nays 38, as follows: YEAs—Willis Alston, jr., Burwell Bassett, Robert Brown, Matthew Clay, Bolling Hall, Peter Little, Thos. Newton, Jonathan Roberts, and Robert Wright. NAys—William Anderson, Stevenson Archer, Ezekiel Bacon, John Baker, David Bard, William W. Bibb, Abijah Bigelow, William Blackledge, Harmanus Bleecker, Adam Boyd, James Breckenridge, Elijah Brigham, William A. Burwell, William Butler, John C. Calhoun, Langdon Cheves, Martin Chittenden, James Cochran, Lewis Condict, William Crawford, John Davenport, jr., Roger Davis, Joseph Desha, Samuel Dinsmoor, Elias Earle, William Ely, James Emott, William Findley, James Fisk, Asa Fitch, Meshack Franklin, Thomas Gholson, Charles Goldsborough, Peterson Goodwyn, Isaiah L. Green, Felix Grundy, Obed Hall, John A. Harper, Aylett Hawes, Jacob Husty, John M. Hyneman, Richard Jackson, jun., Joseph Kent, Philip B. Key, William R. King, Abner Lacock, Lyman Law, Joseph Lewis, jr., Robert Le Roy Livingston, William Lowndes, Aaron Lyle, Nathaniel Macon, Thomas Moore, Archibald McBryde, William McCoy, Alexander McKim, Arunah Metcalf, James Milnor, Jonathan O. Moseley, Hugh Nelson, Thomas Newbold, Stephen Ormsby, Joseph Pearson, Israel Pickens, Timothy Pitkin, jr., James Pleasants, jr., Peter B. Porter, Elisha R. Potter, Josiah Quincy, William Reed, William M. Richardson, Henry M. Ridgely. Samuel Ringgold, John Rhea, William Rodman, Ebenezer Sage, Thomas Sammons, Ebenezer Seaver, John Sevier, Adam Seybert, John Smilie, George Smith, Richard Stanford, Philip Stuart, Silas Stow, William Strong, Lewis B. Sturges, John Taliaferro, Benjamin Tallmadge, Uri Tracy, George M. Troup, Charles Turner, jr., Laban Wheaton, Leonard White, Robert Whitehill, William Widgery, Thomas Wilson, and Richard Winn. A motion was made by Mr. McKim, that the bill be postponed until the first day of June next: which was determined in the negative ; and the bill was then ordered to be engrossed, and read the third time to-morrow.
Thu Rs DAY, March 12. *
Mr. B. H.All called for the consideration of the resolution some time ago submitted by him, authorizing each State to pay its proportion of the direct tax in clothing, &c. The House refused to take it up. The SPEAKER laid before the House a report of the Secretary of War, and the Secretary and Comptroller of the Treasury, Commissioners under the act for the relief of the refugees from the British Provinces of Canada and Nova Scotia, on the claims of the heirs of General Moses Hazen, and of the heirs of James Boyd. On motion of Mr. HARPER, a committee was appointed to inquire into the state of the public printing for the House of Representatives, and to report such regulations for the same, in future, as they may deem expedient; and Mr. HARPER, Mr. Pleasants, and Mr. BLAckledge, were appointed the committee. An engrossed bill repealing the tenth section of the act to incorporate the subscribers to the
Bank of the United States, was read the third time and passed.
DUTY ON EXPORTS. Mr. Mitchill observed that he wished to submit to the House a proposition which he had long revolved in his mind. It was an amendment of the Constitution, in the section forbidding a duty laid upon articles exported from the several States. The Convention, who formed that in valuable instrument, had guarded with a jealous caution the products of our land and industry. They had foreseen an inconvenience that might have arisen from imposing export duties upon certain articles, as beef, pork, potash, tobacco, cotton, or breadstuffs; for example, in their bearing upon particular members of the confederacy, or upon selected classes of proprietors and their business. Considering the inhabitants as chiefly engaged in the pursuits of agriculture, it was declared that no money should be levied, even by Congress, upon the surplus articles of their plantations and farms on transportation to foreign parts. There were, he owned, strong reasons in favor of this provision originally. But time, and the varied condition of society, had reinarkably diminished their force. Since the formation of the Constitution in 1787, and its ratification by the States in 1788, great alterations had taken place in our domestic condition. And changes yet more considerable had been experienced, with those parts of the world with which we held the closest connexion. In the lapse of twenty-four years, our people had become proficients in manufactures. The native materials of the country had been, by the labor and skill of the inhabitants, worked up into a thousand forms. Raw materials from abroad had been subjected to similar processes of art; and the distilled spirits, the cotton and hempen yarn, the preparations of leather, wool, wood, and iron, and many other things, were studiously sought after by persons beyond the seas. He believed it would be just and proper to raise money on foreign consumption. This might be effected by a moderate and discreet export duty upon the products of our agriculture and manufacture, as they departed from our ports on their destination to distant markets. The efficacy of such a measure made him regret that the Legislature did not possess the authority to adopt it. In our commercial competitions with other nations, we were always crippled through the want of such a power. It was an engine which they employed most severely against us. In our attempts to countervail these regulations, however adverse, and to meet their system by a corresponding and retaliatory system, we were constantly settered and hampered by a Constitutional restriction. The Western sovereignties of Europe, and, indeed, commerce itself, had suffered such turnings and overturnings, that he believed we ought to disengage ourselves as quickly as we conveniently could srom the prohibitory clause of our Constitution. While the belligerent Empires threw so many impediments in the way
of liberal and advantageous intercourse, it was our duty to remove from the path an obstruction placed there by ourselves. Mr. M. said he was particularly desirous of inviting attention to the subject at this juncture. By the diminution which our imports had undergone, there was a serious defalcation of the revenue heretofore derived from the impost. The expenses of the Government had, at the same season, been exceedingly increased. The wisest heads had been engaged in devising a plan for raising the requisite supplies. The amendment, which he meditated, might be considered as containing a substitute for some of the less agreeable of war taxes. Or, if further ways and means were necessary, this might be an auxiliary to the projected, or any other mode of replenishing the Treasury. And thus, by a per centage from produce exported as well as imported, there would be a twofold chance, a double opportunity, of collecting money for the public service. The method. Mr. M. thought, would be both cheap and easy; and, in other respects, as unexceptionable as any he could think of. He nevertheless begged the House to observe, that he did not intend to press an immediate decision. If, by bringing the matter forward, he should be fortunate enough to excite a serious inquiry into its merits, he should feel high gratification; and should the proposal be eventually found worthy of support, he should experience additional pleasure. In the hope of such a result, he asked leave to lay his motion on the table, for consideration, in the following terms to wit: Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatires of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of both Houses deeming it necessary.) That the following article 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 Legislatures, shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution, to wit: The sentence consisting of the words “no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State,” in the ninth section of the first article of the Constitution, is hereby repealed : and in the place thereof is inserted the following: “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, and imposts, as well upon exports as imports.”
The unfinished business of yesterday, the bill for enabling the people of the Mississippi Territory to form a constitution and State government, being taken up— Mr. RhEA moved to postone the bill until Monday week. This motion, after debate, was negatlved, 52 to 38. Mr. Stow moved to postpone the bill to Monday next. Motion lost without a division. The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the said bill. Mr. Poin DextER said, that on the general printiples of the bill under consideration, he presumed there will be but little difference of opinion. The Population of the Territory proposed to be erected
into an independent State, is unquestionably sufficient to authorize the measure agreeably to the present ratio of representation ; and from the vast influx of emigration to that section of the Union since the last census, I am fully satisfied that it might be demanded as a matter of right under the compact with the State of Georgia. But, sir, the wise and magnanimous policy of the General Government has uniformly conferred on the respective Territories the rights of State sovereignty, so soon as their numbers would fairly entitle them to one member in the House of Representatives of the United States. Ohio was admitted with a population of thirty-seven thousand souls. In the next Congress, that State will be entitled to six Representatives, besides a very large fraction which was thrown on her by the apportionment made during the present session. All the other new States received into the Confederacy since the adoption of the Constitution, have grown into importance, and now constitute some of the firmest pillars in the Temple of Liberty. Permit, me, Mr. Chairman, to express a hope, that while gentlemen delight to bask in the sunshine of freedom at home, they will on every occasion manifest their liberality and philanthropy, by extending its cheering rays to the remotest regions of our beloved country. Emancipate us from the trammels of colonial vassalage; place us on the high eminence of a free, sovereign, and independent Commonwealth; and we shall at all times be ready, with our lives and fortunes, to assert the rights and vindicate the honor of our common country. I am aware, sir, of the pecuniary responsibility which we shall incur by the contemplated change in our political situation. Besides the ordinary expenditures incident to the administration of local State governments, we must bear an equal proportion of the direct tax which is about to be imposed to meet the approaching crisis. Although these burdens, when combined with the annual payments which we are required to make, on the purchase of the public lands, cannot fail to produce some embarrassments among the laboring class of our citizens, I am persuaded they will regard them as inferior considerations, compared with the permanent benefits inseparable from our advancement to the rank of a sister State in the Union. Yes, sir, I should do injustice to the feelings, the valor and patriotic ardor of the people who have honored me with their confidence by omitting to tender the most unequivocal assurances of their readiness to share the expense and danger which may be necessary to redress the multiplied wrongs and avenge the violated honor of the nation. We will not shrink from the contest so long as there is a solitary right to be secured, or a remaining injury unatoned. In return we ask the inestimable boon of self-government, without which no people can be either magnanimous or happy. With respect to the limits recommended by the committee, including all that tract of country of which possession was taken by virtue of the Proclamation of the President of the United States, bearing date the 27th of October, 1810,