« ForrigeFortsett »
be taken up; although he was not surprised at the Mint, received during the last session, stating the reluctance of those gentlemen who cherished the real and personal property attached to the the institution as one of the insignia of sover- Mint; that the machinery might last for one year; eignty, to act upon it. This aspect of the subject that the horses may last a year; that to conduct could not, however, be changed by any report of the operations of the Mint' to advantage, steam the detailed operations of the Mint. He, there should be used instead of horses; that the lot on fore, moved that the House, agreeably to the order which the Mint is erected was too small; and of the day, resolve itself into a Committee of the that a less annual sum than seventeen or eighteen Whole on the resolution to repeal so much of the thousand dollars would not provide for the establaws on the subject of the Mint as relate to the lishment.] establishing of a Mint.
Mr. Griswold observed that he was informed Mr. Gregg considered the motion to go into yesterday by a gentleman from Massachusetts, the discussion of the subject at this time prema- not now in his place, that the coins issued the ture. He was among those members who were current year would exceed in value five hundred not present at the late period of the last session thousand dollars. He did not state this from his when the repealing act passed, having previously own knowledge. But if it should appear from retired from the House. It would be recollected the report of the Director to be the fact, he thought that the appointed time for the Director of the it would satisfy every member, that though the Mint to make his annual report was the first establishment was an expense to the Treasury, Monday of January. That period is so near that yet it was no expense to the nation; for the exhe thought it most advisable not to proceed to portation of bullion to that amount, to be coined, act on the subject until possessed of the informa- and the importation of it thereafter, would cost at tion that document might furnish. Though the least five per cent. institution had not been considered as having op- Mr. Randolph said he would state a fact, which erated much to the public good, yet the operation was, that notwithstanding all the issues from the of it during the last year may perhaps change Mint, no member sees a coin. For himself he their opinions respecting it. He, therefore, moved had not seen a piece of gold coined in the Mint to postpone the consideration of the motion to the for two years. This he considered a sufficient second Monday in January.
answer to the remarks of the gentleman last up. Mr. Smilie said he did not concur in opinion Mr. Lowndes said the remark of the gentleman with his colleague. If members were absent from Virginia (Mr. RandolPH) was not correct, when this subject was acted upon, it was their as he had seen many pieces of American coin. own fault; and that circumstance was certainly But he could assign a satisfactory reason for the no argument for delay. Did he, however, believe appearance of so little gold in ordinary circulathat any new information could rationally be ex- tion. It was the practice of the banks to count pected from the report of the Director of the over once a month the specie in their vaults. Mint, he should not be for taking up the subject This trouble was considerably lessened by deposit
But of this he had no expectation. At ing gold instead of silver. He had been credibly present, there was no business before the House. assured that there was now in the vaults of the The committees appointed would soon make their banks of the United States gold, in eagles and half reports, and then the House would be engaged eagles, to the amount of two millions of dollars. with other subjects, to the neglect of this. Let Mr. DENNIS was not for precipitating measures. us then take up this subject now, enter upon its He was one of those who were in favor of a seridiscussion, and if, in the progress of our inquiries ous and candid inquiry into the merits of the inwe want information, it will be then time enough stitution. He was not in favor of retaining it to postpone it.
merely as an emblem of sovereignty. He believed Mr. SOUTHARD was in favor of the postpone that the sun rising would set, and he believed also ment. There were now present a number of that the independence and sovereignty of the nagentlemen not members at the period of discus. tion could be as well preserved without as with sion during the last session. They have no docu- the Mint. But he believed it proper to receive ments, and cannot be correctly informed. He saw information that would enable them to decide no advantage in entering upon the discussion at whether the institution, so far from being useless, this time, as new and additional information may may not be useful and profitable. They were not be received from the report of the Director. It prepared to say whether the copper coinage at had been said there was no business before the least should not be retained. From some informHouse; but there was business; there was a bill ation received the last session, that department of upon their table, why not take that up and act the establishment appeared to be profitable.
Mr. D. said that, if, on full inquiry, the estabMr. Randolph called for the reading of a docu lishment appeared to be a drain on the Treasury, ment that would throw clear and full light upon he should be for abolishing it; but he should nos the subject; not light of that fleeting kind that on immature information, be for abolishing an may be derived from an annual report. From institution, coeval with the Government, and this document sufficient information could be had founded on good reasons. The reasons adduced to convince any member that we might act as by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. RANDOLPA) well now as at any other time.
were insufficient. So far as relaied to the horses, [The Clerk read a report from the Director of he believed there were only four employed, and
upon it ?
H. of R.
the purchase of four fresh ones would be a very on the question of engrossing the bill for a third unimportant consideration. Another argument reading, the House divided-ayes 34, noes 34. was drawn from the smallness of the lot on which The SPEAKER declaring himself in ihe negative the Mint stands. Though it might be better con- the bill was lost. ducted on a more extensive lot, yet he was not satisfied, notwithstanding present disadvantages, that it might not be profitably conducted, at least
Thursday, December 23. so far as regarded a copper coinage. For these reasons he ihought it proper to wait a few days from Vermont, appeared and took his seat in the
Another member, to wit: Lewis R. MORRIS, in order to receive information that would enable
House. them to understand the points on which their decision may ultimately turn.
A Message, was received from the PresidENT Mr. Huger assigned his reasons for being in
OF THE UNITED States, as follows: favor of a postponement, coincident with those Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : already given. He considered it proper to wait
In pursuance of the resolution of the House of Repuntil the Director's report was received. They resentatives, of the third of May last, desiring a statecould then avail themselves of the experience of ment of expenditures from January first, one thousand another year, under auspices more favorable, per: General and the Navy Agents, for the contingencies of
seven hundred and ninety-seven, by the Quartermaster haps, than those of preceding years. He thought naval and military establishments, and the navy conit proper to wait, that they might see whether tracts for timber and stores, I now transmit such statethere had not been more economy than usual in ments from the offices of the Secretaries of the Treasury, the expenses of the last year.
War, and Navy, where alone these expenditures are The question was then taken on Mr. Gregg's entered. motion to postpone the subject till the second Dec. 23, 1802.
TH. JEFFERSON. Monday in January, and carried-ayes 47, noes 28.
The said Message was read, and, together with DRAWBACKS.
the documents accompanying it, ordered to lie on On motion of Mr. S. Smith, the House resolved
The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter itself into a Committee of the Whole, Mr. VARNom in the Chair, on the bill to allow a drawback from Edward Tiffin, President of the Convention of duties on goods exported to New Orleans, and
of the State of Ohio, enclosing an address to this therein to amend the act entitled, “ An act to reg.
House from the said Convention, approving "the ulate the collection of duties on imports and prompt and decisive measures taken by Congress tonnage:” The bill is as follows:
at their last session, to enable the people of the “ Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Rep-nial government, and to assume a rank among the
Northwestern Territory to emerge from their coloresentatives of the United States of America in Con- sister States ; also, expressing " their unequivocal gress 'assembled, That the debentures for drawbacks approbation of the measures pursued by the presof duties on goods, wares, and merchandise, which ent administration of the General Government, have been exported from the United States, previous to and of both Houses of Congress, in diminishing the sixth day of February, one thousand eight hundred; the public burdens, cultivating peace with all nafor the port of New Orleans, on the river Mississippi
, tions, and promoting the happiness and prosperity may be paid at the respective offices of the customs, on the terms and conditions prescribed by law in cases of
of our country.”
The Speaker also laid before the House a letexportation, for the benefit of drawback, to any foreign port or place, other than the dominions of a foreign ter from Thomas Worthington, an agent appointState immediately adjoining the United States." ed by the Convention of the said State of Ohio, Mr. S. Smith spoke in favor of the bill, and and an ordinanee passed by the Convention, con
enclosing a copy of the Constitution of said State, explained the grounds on which it had been taining certain propositions for the consideration brought in, and its operation.
of Congress; which were read, and, together with Mr. ELMENDORF opposed it, and moved the ris- the address of said Convention to this House, and ing of the Committee, that it might be recom- the letter accompanying it, ordered to be referred mitted to the Committee of Commerce and Man- to Mr. RANDOLPH, Mr. ELMENDORF, Mr. Goddard, ufactures, with instructions to extend its provision Mr. HENDERSON, and Mr. ARCHER; that they do to cases wherein debentures of drawback had not examine the maiter thereof, and report the same, been issued-not pledging himself, however, to with their opinion thereupon, to the House. support it, even if so amended.
The House resolved itself into a Committee of Messrs. S. Smith, Mirchill, and Dana, spoke the Whole, Mr. Varnum in the Chair, on the reagainst the Committee rising, and in favor of the port of the Committee of Commerce and Manubill.
factures on the petition of John Holland, jr. The motion for the Committee to rise was lost
The report is in favor of granting the prayer of without a division.
the petitioner for a remission of duties, in proporMr. Macon then spoke against the bill, and Mr. tion to the damage sustained by his vessel taking s. Smith replied; when the Committee rose and fire on the night of entering the goods imported reported the bill without amendment. The House immediately took up the report, and
in her, and before they were landed.
The report was supported by Messrs. S. SMITH, 7th Con. 2d Ses.- 10
H. OF R.
Case of J. P. Van Ness.
Dana, and Eustis, and opposed by Messrs. Mason, ence to the directions of “ An aci supplementary and GREGG.
to the act, entitled 'An act to establish the TreaMr. Griswold, though from present impres- sury Department,” which were laid before the sions in favor of the report, thought it did not House on the twentieth instant, be printed for the comprehend all the facts necessary to form a full use of the members of this House. judgment respecting it. He therefore moved
CASE OF J. P. VAN NESS. the rising of the Committee. Mr. John C. Smith supported the motion,
Mr. Davis observed that he was of opinion that which was carried; when, on motion of Mr. Gris- a member of the House retained his seat contrary WOLD, the report was recommitted to the Com- to the spirit and sense of the Constitution. It mittee of Coinmerce and Manufactures.
therefore became his duty to offer a resolution for instituting an inquiry into the subject, in do
ing which he disclaimed all personal view. He Friday, December 25.
then made the following motion: Another member, to wit: William H. Hill, Resolved, That the Committee of Elections be, and from North Carolina, appeared, and took his seat they are hereby, instructed to inquire whether John P. in the House.
Van Ness, one of the members of this House from the The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter State of New York, returned by said State to serve as from the Secretary of State, transmitting abstracts one of its members in the seventh Congress of the of the returns made by the Collectors of the Cus of this House, and since he occupied a seat as a mem
United States, has not, since his election as a member toms within the United States, of registered and impressed American seamen; also, a report exhib- ber, accepted of, and exercised the office of a major of iting an abstract of communications received from militia, under the authority of the United States, within
the Territory of Columbia, and thereby forfeited his agents of the United States, for the relief and pro- right to a seat as a member of this House. tection of the said seamen ; which were read and
Mr. Mirchill considered the point as interestordered to lie on the table.
ing in two relations; that which involved the deOn motion, it was
cision of a principle, and that which went to de Resolved, That the Committee of Commerce prive the State, (New York,) one of whose repreand Manufactures be instructed to inquire into sentatives he was, of a member. For these reasons the expediency of making provision, by law, that he hoped the business would not be immediately Natchez be a port of delivery. Mr. Thomas called the attention of the House intimation he had received of the contemplation
pressed. He acknowledged this was not the first to a part of the unfinished business of the last ses- of such a motion ; but he had entertained a hope sion. A bill to extinguish the claims of the Uni- that the gentleman with whom it originated, had, ted States for balances reported against certain
on reflection, considered it not inconsistent with States, &c., was postponed during the last session his duty to abandon it. to the 4th Monday in November. He moved the
Mr. Davis replied, that he felt no disposition to reference of so much of the report of the Com- press a decision. He had communicated, the first mittee of Revisal and Unfinished Business as re- day he took his seat, bis ideas on the subject to lated to this subject to a select committee. Ayes certain members, the friends of the gentleman im. 26.- Lost.
Mr. Morris observed, that, if in order, he would plicated by the resolution, in hopes that he would move the reference of so much of the report of business. He supposed, however, that the reso
resign. He now entertained no wish to push the Revisal and Unfinished Business as related to the lution would, of course, go to the Committee of petition of C. L'Enfant to the Secretary of State. Elections. He repeated that he was governed by
The Speaker said this would be irregular, as it would involve the reference of a report of the duty. He concluded with saying he was in favor
no personal prejudice, but entirely by a sense of Committee of Claiins to the Secretary, which of the question of reference being immediately was contrary to the practice of the House.
taken. Mr. Morris afterwards moved the reference of the report of the Committee of Claims on the pe- some delay, Mr. Davis agreed to let the resolu
But on Mr. Mirchill repeating his desire for tition of Mr. L'Enfant to a Committee of the tion lie till to-morrow. Whole on Monday week. Carried.
Mr. M. then moved that the Secretary of State be directed to furnish this House with such docu
Tuesday, December 28. ments as are in his possession, relating to the claim
Two other members, to wit: from Virginia, of C. L'Enfant for services rendered in laying out John Stratton; and from North Carolina, Witthe City of Washington under the direction of LIAM Barry Grove, appeared and took their seats the President of the United States. Agreed to.
in the House.
A Message was received from the President of
the United States, transmitting a plan and estiMonday, December 27.
mates for a dry dock. The Message and the reOrdered, That five hundred copies, in addition ports and estimates referred therein, were read, to the number already printed, of the letter and and, together with the plans accompanying the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, and sun- same, ordered to be referred to the committee apdry accompanying documents, prepared in obedi- | pointed on so much of the President's Message of
H. OF R. the fifteenth instant, as relates to our navy yards, Mr. RANDOLPA said he wished only to observe, and the building of docks.
that there was but one principle (and that had
been stated by the Speaker) on which these papers LETTER OF JAMES McHENRY. The Speaker laid before the House a letter call for the reading of papers. To him, however,
ought to be read. Any member had a right to addressed to him from James McHenry, late Sec-it appeared that there was no occasion for inspiretary for the War Department, containing a va- ration to perceive that the papers, so far as read, riety of observations on the subject-matter of a
were in a bigh degree indecent, unworthy of any report presented to the House, on the twenty ninth man who had helå, or ought to hold, an office unday of April last, from the committee appointed der Government, and derogatory from the dignity to inquire and report, whether moneys drawn the House. Members were cited by name; infrom the Treasury have been faithfully applied to sults were offered to individual members; a comthe objects for which they were appropriated, and mittee was divided into different sects; on one whether the same have been regularly accounted class illiberal calumnies were thrown, while the for; and to report, likewise, whether any further other class was shielded from reflection. Was this arrangements are necessary to promote economy, decent or indecent? He congratulated himself enforce adherence to Legislative restrictions, and that he differed as widely on this subject as he secure the accountability
of persons entrusted with did on others from gentlemen. the public money," together with an appendix, Mr. Morris said, however widely he might comprising sundry explanatory statements in de- differ on this as well as other subjects from ihe fence of the official conduct of the said James gentleman from Virginia, he believed his own McHenry, whilst acting in the capacity aforesaid: ideas of what was decent or indecent as correct the House proceeded in the reading of the said as those of that gentleman. The letter states that letter, and having made some progress therein,
a report had been made during the last session Mr. Alston said that the paper which the Clerk implicating the character of the writer. It further was reading appeared to him to be a very volumi- staies that certain gentlemen on the commitnous one, and that he did not think the House tee did not concur in the report. This the writer were bound to listen to the reading of it. He con- knew from the debates upon the report. He ceived them only bound to attend to such docu- therefore, thought it his duty, in vindicating himments as might be received from public officers, self, to exonerate those members from censure. or to petitions for a redress of grievances. He Was this indecent ? He conceived not. did not believe the paper now before the House to Mr. M. said that when he had observed that be one of that description, or that the House ought there was not an indecent expression in the let. to take any notice of it. If the House were bound ter, he meant that there was no such expression to take notice of every letter any individual might applied to the House collectively. He did not think proper to write and address to the Speaker, mean to say there were no charges against invery little time might be left to do any other busi- dividual members. But if there were charges Dess. He concluded by saying he thought they against individual members, that was no reason ought to take no more notice of it than they should for the House refusing to hear it. That could of any paragraph in a newspaper which might be only be done when charges were made against enclosed to the Speaker. He therefore moved the House in its collective character. that the paper should not be read.
The SPEAKER read the rules of the House that Mr. Stanley observed that he did not perceive applied to the case before them. the difference stated by his colleague; nor did he Mr. Alston said he only rose to notice the know how the genileman could anticipate the observation of his colleague, (Mr. STANLEY,) who contents of a communication before read. We supposed he saw the inside of the communication shall be enabled to judge better of it when we before it was presented. This he denied. He hear it. By what inspiration could the gentle had grounded his motion exclusively on what he man form a judgment now? The communication had heard read. appeared to him of the utmost importance. He Mr. Bacon was at a loss to decide on the prohoped, therefore, it would be read.
priety of reading or not reading these papers. He Mr. Morris could not omit making a remark perceived that they contained not only a complaint, or two. From the communication, so far as read, but a high charge against a committee of the it appeared that it was charged thai the character House, stating that the major part assumed to act of a former public officer had been aspersed. The exclusively upon the business assigned to the House oughi, therefore, not only to read the com- whole committee, without consulting the other munication, but also to inquire into the complaint. members. This was a high charge. Whether There was not an indecent expression in it. The proper, or regularly made, he did not know. It writer complains that his character has been at- was rather his opinion that the House ought to tacked; he thinks unjustly attacked. It will be proceed in reading the papers, and afterwards to the height of injustice to refuse him an opportu- pass proper order on them. nity of being heard.
The SPEAKER declared the rule for reading imThe SPEAKER said that it was a rule of the perative, and Mr. Alston withdrew his motion ; House that when the reading of a paper is called on which the Clerk proceeded in the reading, for, it shall be read, unless dispensed with by which was continued for more than an hour'; general consent.
H. OF R.
Case of John P. Van Ness— Amendment to Rules.
Mr. Davis renewed the motion for suspending be appointed a committee pursuant to the said the further reading. He asked what reason there resolution. was in consuming the time of the House in having Mr. Gray addressed the House in the followlong papers read, on which, when read, ihe House ing words: could not act? He read a rule of the House en- Mr. SPEAKER: I rise to offer to the considerajoining upon every member or the Speaker, be- tion of this honorable House a subject of an unfore presenting any paper, briefly to state its con- common nature. In order that the crime of murtents; and asked of what avail this rule could be, der may no longer be deemed honorable, and with unless it were in the power of the House to re- a view to mark with disgrace a wicked and perfuse the reading ?
nicious practice, which has lately destroyed the The SPEAKER again declared his opinion that social harmony of some of our fairest cities, and the reading was imperative, unless dispensed with brought some of our most valuable citizens to an by unanimous consent.
untimely end, 1 move the following resolution : Mr. Mirchill was proceeding to make some Mr. G. then offered a resolution for the appointremarks, when Mr. Griswold called him to or- ment of a committee, with instructions to inquire der; as 'the decision of the Speaker had settled into the expediency of disqualifying any person the point, unless an appeal was made therefrom. from holding an office under the Government of
Mr. Davis said he was so tired with the papers, the United States, who shall hereafter be conand thought the precedent so bad a one, that he cerned in a duel, or in sending or carrying a chalappealed from the decision of the Chair.
lenge. Ordered to lie on the table. Mr. Dana called for the yeas and nays.
CASE OF JOHN P. VAN NESS. The question was taken, according to a rule, without debate, on the question “ Is the decision the Committee of Elections to inquire whether
Mr. Davis called up his resolution instructing of the Chair in order ?" Carried in the affirmative-yeas 62, nays 16, as
Mr. Van Ness had not forfeited his seat, by acfollows:
cepting the appointment of Major in the Militia
of the Territory of Columbia.
, representative of an important State, he was not
so indifferent. He had no objection whatever to Gray, Andrew Gregg, Roger Griswold, William Barry the decision of an important principle, it deserved Grove, Seth Hastings, Joseph Heister, William Helms, Archibald Henderson, William H. Hill, William Hoge, great attention. He had no doubt of the inquiry David Holmes, Samuel Hunt, George Jackson, Thomas being made with that candor and fairness which, Lowndes, Ebenezer Mattoon, David Meriwether, Tho- in most cases, characterized the proceedings of the mas Morris, James Mott, Anthony New, Elias Per- House. He was far from imputing any impure kins, Thomas Plater, Nathan Read, John Smilie, Israel motives to the mover or seconder of the resoluSmith, John Cotton Smith, John Smith, of New York, tion. It would be as derogatory in him to imHenry Southard, John Stanley, Joseph Stanton, jr., pute, as in them to entertain, any views dishonJohn Stratton, Benjamin Tallmadge, Samuel Tenney, orable or base. He had risen barely to state his Samuel Thatcher, Thomas Tillinghast, Abram Trigg, wish that an inquiry might be made. George B. Upham, Joseph B. Varnum, Isaac Van Mr. ELMENDORF proposed a verbal amendment, Horne, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Peleg Wadsworth, which was not agreed to. Lemuel Williams, Henry Woods, and Thos. Wynns.
The resolution was then adopted without a diNays—Theodorus Bailey, Thomas Claiborne, Mat- vision. thew Clay, Thomas T. Davis, Lucas Elmendorf, James Holland, Michael Leib, Samuel L. Mitchill, Thomas seats improperly held, he hoped another member
Mr. Davis said, that while on the subject of Moore, Thomas Newton, jr., John Randolph, jr., John would, by resigning, relieve the House from the Smith of Virginia, Josiah Smith, Richard Stanford, John Taliaferro, jr., and John P. Van Ness.
necessity of deciding on his case. He questioned
whether a Territorial delegate could represent a The House then proceeded in the further read- State. He alluded to the State of Ohio. It aping of the said letter; and, having gone through peared to him that a State must be represented
it was ordered that the said letter, with in a full manner, by representatives entitled as the appendix accompanying it, do lie on the table. well to vote as to debate. The gentleman, there
fore, who held his seat as the Representative of WEDNESDAY, December 29.
the Territory could not remain in that character Resolved, That a committee be appointed to
after the Territory had become a State, inasmuch inquire into the propriety of granting further time as he had been appointed under the Territorial to proprietors or holders of military land war
Government. Mr. D. concluded by giving norants to obtain and locate the same; and that the tice that, unless the gentleman resigned, he should committee have leave to report by bill or other offer a motion to vacate bis seat. wise.
AMENDMENT TO RULES.