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Ordered, That a committee be appointed to prepare and report such standing rules and orders of proceeding as may be proper to be observed in this House:
And a committee was appointed, of Mr. Muhlenberg, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Ames, and Mr. Smith, (of New Hampshire.)
Petitions from sundry persons, praying to be appointed to the offices of serjeant-atarms, doorkeeper, and assistant doorkeeper, were presented to the House and read: Whereupon,
The House proceeded by ballot to the appointment of a serjeant-at-arms; and, upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the whole House was found in favor of Joseph Wheaton.
The House proceeded, in the same manner, to the appointment of a doorkeeper and assistant doorkeeper; and, upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the whole House found in favor of Gifford Dalley, as doorkeeper, and of Thomas Claxton, as assistant doorkeeper.
Ordered, That the said Gifford Dalley and Thomss Claxton do severally give their at: tendance accordingly.
A message from the Senate, by Mr. Otis, their Secretary:
Mr. Speaker: The Senate have appointed a committee, jointly, with the committee appointed by this House, to wait on the President of the United States, to inform him that a quorum of the two Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any communications he may think proper to make to them. And then he withdrew.
On motion, Resolved, that two chaplains, of different denominations, be appointed to Congress for the present session; one by each House, to interchange weekly.
Ordered, That the Clerk of this House do carry the said resolution to the Senate, and desire their concurrence.
Mr. Smith, (of South Carolina,) 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 as. sembled, and ready to receive any communications he may be pleased to make to them, reported that the committee had, according to order, performed that service, and that the President was pleased to say that he would make a communication to both Houses of Congress, to-morrow at twelve o'clock, in the Senate Chamber.
A message from the Senate, by Mr. Otis, their Secretary: Mr. Speaker: The Senate agree to the resolution of this House for the appointment of two chaplains to Congress, for the present session, and have elected the right Reverend Bishop White on their part. And then he withdrew.
And then the House adjourned until to-morrow morning eleven o'clock.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25. Several other members, to wit: from New Jersey, Abraham Clark, Jonathan Dayton, and Aaron Kitchell, appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats in the House; the oath to support the Constitution of the United States being severally administered to them by Mr. Speaker, according to law. Another member, to wit
: Israel Jacobs, from Pennsylvania, appeared, produced his credentials, and took his seat in the House, an affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States, being administered to him by Mr. Speaker, according to law.
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 Reverend Mr. Blair. Ordered, That the Clerk of this House do acquaint the Senate therewith. A message from the Senate, by Mr. Otis, their Secretary:
Mr. Speaker: The Senate are now ready, in the Senate Chamber, to attend this House in receiving the communication from the President of the United States, agreeably to his notification to both Houses yesterday. And then he withdrew.
The Speaker, attended by the Members of this House, then withdrew to the Senate Chamber, for the purpose expressed in the message from the Senate; and being re. turned,
Mr. Speaker laid before the House a copy of the speech delivered by the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress, in the Senate Chamber, as fdloweth: Fellor Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
I meet you, upon the present occasion, with feelings which are naturally inspired by a strong impression of the prosperous situation of our common country, and by a persuasion equally strong, that the labors of the session which has just commenced, will, under the guidance of a spirit, no less prudent than patriotic, issue in measures conducive to the stability and increase of national prosperity:
Numerous as are the providential blessings which demand our grateful acknowledgmentsthe abundance with which another year has again rewarded the industry of the husbandman, is too important to escape recollection.
Your own observations, in your respective situations, will have satisfied you of the progressive state of agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation; in tracing their causes, you will have remarked, with particular pleasure, the
happy effects of that revival of confidence, public as well as private, to which the Constitution and laws of the United States have so eminently contributed. And you will have observed, with no less interest, new and decisive proofs of the increasing reputation and credit of the nation. But you, nevertheless, cannot fail to derive satisfaction from the confir mation of these circumstances, which will be disclosed in the several official communications that will be made to you in the course of your deliberations.
The rapid subscriptions to the Bank of the United States, which completed the sum allowed to be subscribed in a single day, is among the striking and pleasing evidences which present themselves, not only of confidence in the Government, but of resource in the community.
In the interval of your recess, due attention has been paid to the execution of the different objects which were specially provided for by the laws and resolutions of the last session. Among the most important of these is the defence and security of the Western frontiers. To accomplish it on the most humane principles, was a primary wish. Accordingly, at the same time that treaties have been provisionally concluded, and other proper means used to attach the wavering, and to confirm in their friendship the well disposed tribes of Indians-effectual measures have been adopted to make those of a hostile description sensible that a pacification was desired upon terms of moderation and justice.
These measures having proved unsuccessful, it became necessary to convince the refractory of the power of the United States to punish their depredations; offensive operations have therefore been directed; to be conducted, however, as consistently as possible with the dictates of humanity. Some of these have been crowned with full success, and others are yet depending. The expeditions which have been completed, were carried on under the authority, and at the expense of the United States, by the militia of Kentucky; whose enterprize, intrepidity, and good conduct, are entitled to peculiar commendation.
Overtures of peace are still continued to the deluded tribes, and considerable numbers of individuals belonging to them have lately renounced all further opposition, removed from their former situations, and placed themselves under the immediate protection of the United States.
It is sincerely to be desired, that all need of coercion, in future, may cease, and that an intimate intercourse may succeed, calculated to advance the happiness of the Indians, and to attach them firmly to the United States.
In order to this, it seems necessary
be so defined and regulated, as to obviate imposition, and, as far as may be practicable, controversy, concerning the reality and extent of the alienations which are made. That commerce with them should be promoted under regulations tending to secure
an equitable deportment towards them, and that such rational experiments should be made, for imparting to them the blessings of civilization, as may, from time to time,
suit their condition. That the Executive of the United States should be enabled to employ the means to
which the Indians have been long accustomed for uniting their immediate interests
with the preservation of peaceAnd, that efficacious provision should be made for inflicting adequate penalties upon all
those, who, by violating their rights, shall infringe the treaties, , and endanger the peace of the union.
A system corresponding with the mild principles of religion and philanthrophy towards an unenlightened race of men, whose happiness materially depends on the conduct of the United States, would be as honorable to the national character, as conformable to the dictates of sound policy.
The powers specially vested in me by the act laying certain duties on distilled spirits, which respect the sub-divisions of the districts into surveys, the appointment of officers, and the assignment of compensations, have likewise been carried into effect.
In a matter, in which both materials and experience were wanting to guide the calcu. lation, it will be readily conceived that there must have heen difficulty in such an ad. justment of the rates of compensation as would conciliate a reasonable competency, with a proper regard to the limits prescribed by the law. It is hoped that the circumspection which has been used will be found in the result to have secured the last of the two objects ; but it is probable that, with a view to the first, in some instances a revi. sion of the provision will be found advisable.
The impressions with which this law has been received by the community, have been, upon the whole, such as were to be expected among enlightened and well-disposed citizens, from the propriety and necessity of the measure. The novelty, however, of the tax, in a considerable part of the United States, and a misconception of some of its provisions, have given occasion in particular places to some degree of discontent. But it is satisfactory to know, that this diposition yields to proper explanations and more just apprehensions of the true nature of the law. And I entertain a full confidence, that it will, in all, give way to motives which arise out of a just sense of duty, and a virtuous regard to the public welfare.
If there are any circumstances, in the law, which, consistently with its main design, may be so varied as to remove any well-intentioned objections that may happen to exist, it will consist with a wise moderation to make the proper variations. It is desirable, on all occasions, to unite with a steady and firm adherence to constitutional and necessary acts of Government, the fullest evidence of a disposition, as far as may be practicable, to consult the wishes of every part of the community, and to lay the foundations of the public administration in the affections of the People.
Pursuant to the authority contained in the several acts on that subject, a district of ten miles square, for the permanent seat of the Government of the United States, has been fixed, and announced by proclamation ; which district will comprehend lands on both sides of the river Potomac, and the towns of Alexandria and Georgetown. A city has also been laid out, agreeably to a plan which will be placed before Congress : And as there is a prospect, favored by the rate of sales which have already taken place, of ample funds for carrying on the necessary public buildings, there is every expectation of their due progress:
The completion of the census of the inhabitants, for which provision was made by law, has been duly notified (excepting in one instance, in which the return has been informal
, and another, in which it has been omitted or miscarried;) and the returns of the officers who were charged with this duty, which will be laid before you, will give you the pleasing assurance, that the present population of the United States borders on four millions of persons.
It is proper also to inform you, that a further loan of two millions and an half of floins has been completed in Holland ; the terms of which are similar to those of the one last announced, except as to a small reduction of charges. Another, on like terms, for six millions of florins, had been set on foot, under circumstances that assured an immediate completion. Gentlemen of the Senate:
Two treaties which have been provisionally concluded with the Cherokees, and Six Nations of Indians, will be laid before you for your consideration and ratification. Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:
In entering upon the discharge of your legislative trust, you must anticipate with pleasure, that many of the difficulties, necessarily incident to the first arrangements of a new Government, for an extensive country, have been happily surmounted by the zealous and judicious exertions of your predecessors in co-operation with the other branch of the Legislature. The important objects which remain to be accomplished, will, I am persuaded, be conducted upon principles equally comprehensive, and equally well calculated for the advancement of the general weal.
The time limited for receiving subscriptions to the loans proposed by the act for making provision for the debt of the United States, having expired, statements from the proper Department will, as soon as possible, apprise you of the exact result. Enough, however, is known already to afford an assurance that the views of that act have been substantially fulfilled. The subscription in the domestic debt of the United States, has embraced by far the greatest proportion of that debt; affording at the same time, proof of the general satisfaction of the public creditors with the system which has been proposed to their acceptance, and of the spirit of accommodation to the convenience of the Government with which they are actuated. The subscriptions in the debts of the respective States, as far as the provisions of the law have permitted, may be said to be yet more general. The part of the debt of the United States which remains unsub. scribed, will naturally engage your further deliberations.
It is particularly pleasing to me to be able to announce to you, that the revenues which have been established, promise to be adequate to their objects, and may be per. mitted, if no unforeseen exigency occurs, to supersede, for the present, the necessity of any new burthens upon our constituents.
An object which will claim your early attention, is a provision for the current service of the ensuing year, together with such ascertained demands upon the Treasury, as require to be immediately discharged, and such casualties as may have arisen in the execution of the public business, for which no specific appropriation may have yet been made ; of all which, a proper estimate will be laid before you. Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
I shall content myself with a general reference to former communications for several objects, upon which the urgency of other affairs has hitherto postponed any definitive resolution their importance will recall them to your attention ; and I trust that the progress already made in the most arduous arrangements of the Government will afford you leisure to resume them with advantage.
There are, however, some of them of which I cannot forbear a more particular mention : these are, the Militia—the Post Office and Post Roads—the Mint-Weights and Measures-a provision for the sale of the vacant lands of the United States.
The first is certainly an object of primary importance, whether viewed in reference to the national security, to the satisfaction of the community, or to the preservation of order. In connection with this, the establishment of competent magazines and arsenals, and the fortification of such places as are peculiarly important and vulnerable, naturally present themselves to consideration. The safety of the United States, under Divine protection, ought to rest on the basis of systematic and solid arrangements i exposed as little as possible to the hazards of fortuitous circumstances.
The importance of the Post Office and Post Roads, on a plan sufficiently liberal and comprehensive, as they respect the expedition, safety, and facility of communication, is increased by the instrumentality in diffusing a knowledge of the laws and proceedings of the Government; which, while it contributes to the security of the People, serves also to guard them against the effects of misrepresentation and misconception. The establishment of additional cross-posts, especially to some of the important points in the Western and Northern parts of the Union, cannot fail to be of material utility.
The disorders in the existing currency, and especially the scarcity of small change, a scarcity so peculiarly distressing to the poorer classes, strongly recommend the cars rying into immediate effect the resolution already entered into concerning the estab. Tishment of a mint. Measures have been taken, pursuant to that resolution, for procuring some of the most necessary artists, together with the requisite apparatus.
An uniformity in the weights and measures of the country is among the important objects submitted to you by the Constitution, and if it can be derived from a standard at once invariable and universal, must be no less honorable to the public councils than conducive to the public convenience.
A provision for the sale of the vacant lands of the United States, is particularly urged, among other reasons, by the important considerations, that they are pledged as a fund for reimbursing the public debt ; that, if timely and judiciously applied, they may save the necessity of burthening our citizens with new taxes for the extinguishment of the principal ; and that, being free to discharge the principal, but in a limited proportion, no opportunity ought to be lost for availing the public of its right.
G. WASHINGTON. United States, October 25, 1791.
On motion, Ordered, That the said speech be committed to the consideration of a Committee of the Whole House to-morrow.
And then the House adjourned until to-morrow morning eleven o'clock.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26. Several other members, to wit: from Massachusetts, Theodore Sedgwick ; from Virginia, Abraham Venable ; and from North Carolina, Nathaniel Macon; appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats in the House ; the oath to support the Constitution of the United States being administered to them by Mr. Speaker, accord. ing to law.
The Speaker laid before the House a letter from the Treasurer of the United States, accompanying his accounts of the receipts and expenditures of the public moneys, from the first of October, one thousand seven hundred and ninety, to the thirtieth of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one; which was read, and ordered to lie on the 'table.
On motion, Resolved, that the rules and orders of proceeding established by the late House of Representatives, shall be deemed and taken to be the rules and orders of proceeding, to be observed in the House, until a revision or alteration of the same shall take place.
A message, in writing, was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Lear, his Secretary, as follows :
UNITED STATES, OCTOBER 26, 1791. Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
I lay before you copies of the following acts, which have been transmitted to me during the recess of Congress, viz.
An act passed by the Legislature of New Hampshire, for ceding to the United States the fort and light-house belonging to said State :
An act of the Logislature of Pennsylvania, ratifying, on behalf of said State, the first article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as proposed by Congress : and,
An act of the Legislature of North Carolina, granting the use of the jails within that State to the United States.
G. WASHINGTON, Ordered, That the said message and papers do lie on the table.
A petition of James Rumsey, by Joseph Barnes, his attorney in fact, was presented to the House and read, praying that the act, entitled “ An act to promote the progress of useful arts,” may be amended, and rendered more effectual for securing to original inventors, property in their respective discoveries. Also,
A petition of Jeremiah Allen, sheriff of the county of Suffolk, in the State of Massachusetts, praying that some provision may be made by law for declaring the bounds or liberties of the prison rules, in cases of confinement under the authority of the United States. Also,
A petition of the distillers of spirits in the town of Boston and its vicinity, in the said State of Massachusetts, praying a reduction of duties, and farther revision and amendment of the act passed at the last session, for laying duties upon spirits distilled within the United States.
Ordered, That the said petitions do lie on the table.
A petition of Thomas 0. Elliott, executor of the late colonel Bernard Elliott, who died in the service of the United States, was presented to the House and read, praying the benefit of the commutation for half-pay, in favor of the infant son and heir of the şaid Bernard Elliott.
Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Secretary of War, with instruction to examine the same and report his opinion thereupon to the House.
A petition of William Whitlock, of the town of Petersburg, in the State of Virginia, was presented to the House and read, praying the liquidation and payment of a claim against the United States.
Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Secretary of the Treasury, with instruction to examine the same, and report his opinion thereupon to the House.
The House, according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the speech of the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress; and, after some time spent therein, Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Muhlenburg reported that the committee had, according to order, had the said speech under consideration, and come to a resolution thereupon; which he delivered in at the Clerk's table, where the same was twice read, and, on a question put thereupon, agreed tp by the House, as followeth:
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that a respectful address ought to be presented by the House of Representatives to the President of the United States, in answer to his speech to both Houses of Congress at the commencement of this session, containing assurances that this House will take into consideration the various and important matters recommended to their attention.
Ordered, That Mr. Madison, Mr. Laurance, and Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, be appointed a committee to prepare an Address, pursuant to the said resolution.