H. OF R.

District of Columbia.


few words, his reasons for the vote he should give. lation. In the next place, the Government would In the last Congress he had voted against the as- be very diverse from that in the other parts of the sumption. and he had heard no reasons since to Union. He would rather see the Government in change his opinion on the propriety of that vote. the United States uniform. Here the citizens He should, therefore, rote now for a retrocession. would be governed by laws, in the making of which He never could understand the reason for giving they have no voice-by laws not made with their Congress an exclusive jurisdiction over ten miles own consent, but by the United States for themsquare. He believed ihere was but one reason: by men who have not the interest in the laws It had been thought good policy to introduce this made that legislators ought always to possess-by article into the Constitution to facilitate its adop- men also not acquainted with the minute and local tion, as it was known that all parts of the Union interests of the place, coming, as they did, from were anxious to have the seat of Government. It distances of 500 to 1,000 miles. From these condid not appear to him, in any proper point of view, siderations, he inferred their incompetency to lenecessary that Congress should possess such ex- gislate for this District, whatever their disposition clusive jurisdiction. There was no doubt that, let might be. These were the principal reasons that Congress sit where they would, they would always influenced his mind. They might however, perhave sufficient power to protect themselves. Un- haps, be easily obviated by the reasons of other fortunately, however, there was on this subject gentlemen, which he would be glad to hear. an association of ideas in the minds of many per- Mr. Huger was opposed to the resolutions, first, sons, not in the least connected, which was, that because he was not inclined hastily to make alterthe residence of Congress in this place, and their ations in the great national compact that held us possessing exclusive jurisdiction, was the same together. It appeared to him that, though they thing. If the exercise of exclusive jurisdiction might not always understand the reasons on which could have any effect on his mind, as to the other a part of it was founded, yet it was prudent not to point, it would be directly opposite, as he would change it until experience had clearly proved its much rather sit here without than with exclusive inconvenience. Il must be obvious that it was jurisdiction, as we cannot possess this authority easier to perceive its present inconvenience than without depriving the citizens of rights which were to foresee the effects that may ensue from a change. the most dear to them. When he looked around The Constitution contemplates the exercise by him, and saw no man, unless a stranger, who was Congress of exclusive legislation over ten miles not a political slave, he felt the most painful square. It must impress itself upon the mind of sensations. Under our exercise of exclusive juris every gentleman that the wise men who framed diction the citizens here are deprived of all polit- the Constitution deemed it proper. Congress also ical rights, nor can we confer them. If Congress had thought it proper, as well as two of the most cap derive no solid benefit from the exercise of respectable States in the Union-the one by rethis power, why keep the people in this degraded ceiving and the other by granting the territory. situation ?' It is true, this place may be settled by All these considerations impressed his mind with foreigners; but can we suppose that any native a disinclination hastily to alter the course that had citizen, who values his political rights, will come been pursued. here? For the honor of the country, he must Another reason which weighed with him was suppose there would be none. Why not then re- that, though they had been here three winters

, store the people to their former condition ? Mr. S. they had no reason to believe that a majority or concluded by declaring that the act of retrocession any considerable portion of the people wished to would have no effect upon his mind as to staying be receded. here.

Great force has been attached to an agreement Mr. Bacon said he would state, in a few words, derived from the present situation of the people the reasons that influenced him in submitting these of the Territory-from their deprivation of rights

. resolutions. In the first place, he knew of no He felt for them. But, because they are now disadvantage which the United States derived from franchised of their rights, it does not follow that retaining the exclusive jurisdiction of this District. they are always to remain so. He hoped they Therefore, if the States to which it originally be would not recede them on this account. He looked longed were disposed to take it back, there could forward to the period when the inhabitants, from be no objection derived from this consideration. their numbers and riches, would be entitled to a In the second place, it appeared, from their short representation on this floor. And, with respect to experience, that the exercise of exclusive legisla- their local concerns, when they grow more numertion would take up a great deal of time, and pro- ous and wealthy, there would be no difficulty in duce a great expense to the nation; and it was giving them a Territorial Legislature. probable that, in the course of events, the trouble The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. BAand expense would increase with the increasing con) founded one of his arguments on the idea number of the inhabitants. Should justice be that the Government of the United States could done to the exercise of this power, it was likely derive no advantage from the ten miles square. that as much time would be spent in legislating While, however, he (Mr. H.) felt a great respect for this District as for the whole Uoited States. for the States, he must think that the Government It was certain that very considerable time would of the United States should be placed where it be consumed. They would likewise be subjected might find its own convenience. Though under to other expenses than those attendant on legis- the States it might in most cases proceed without


District of Columbia.

H. OF R.


material inconvenience, yet he could suppose some of the Constitution which gave Congress exclucircumstances that might expose the Government sive jurisdiction over a district of ten miles square to great inconvenience. This was one reason on wise and proper, and that a government whose which the article of the Constitution was grounded. | laws were to pervade the whole United States Such an occurrence had taken place at Phila- ought not to be subjected to the whim or caprice delphia, where Congress had been surrounded by of any part of the United States. the soldiery, and had not been able to get aid to It was extraordinary to assert (and the whole relieve them.

system of our legislation went to prove it) that Another argument against the retrocession was the possessing exclusive jurisdiction should be his belief that it would affect property injuriously. made the sine qua non of accepting a trifling spot Citizens in various parts of the Union, and for- for a light-house or a fortification, and yet, in an eigners, had made purchases in consequence of the affair of so much importance as the present, that cession. Without pretending to say that prop- jurisdiction should be abandoned. If in the former erty would be less safe under State Governments, cases sole jurisdiction was insisted upon, it was he could conceive that foreigners might consider infinitely more important to have a control over it more safe under the protection of the National that district in which the Government itself exerGovernment.

cised its powers. But, in the second place, it It is said that much time is taken up, and great evident that these resolutions, if agreed to, cannot expense incurred, in attending to the affairs of the have the effect of restoring the people to the siluTerritory. When a day or two is taken up in any ation in which they were placed before the cession. discussion, we are always told of the expense. The provision in the Constitution is imperative; But, to prove that the expense would be dimin- and it is impossible by any act of ours to divest ished if we had not these objects to attend to, it ourselves of the ultimate jurisdiction over the was necessary to show that the session would be Territory. For the Constitution declares "that shortened. He believed if there was not one-third Congress shall have power to exercise exclusive of the usual business before Congress, the session legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such would not be terminated before the 3d of March. District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, Besides, much of the inconvenience we now expe-| by cession of particular States, and the acceptrience arises from the novelty of the business. "A ance of Congress, become the seat of Governsufficient attention has not been yet paid to the 'ment of the United States." organization of the Territory, which, when prop- By exclusive legislation, he understood the exerly arranged, will remove a great share of our clusion to the States of all participation in legis. trouble. He had no doubt that, when the Gov- lation. He admitted that it was competent to ernment became acquainted with the wants and Congress to sanction the acts of Maryland and the wishes of the people, the government of them Virginia ; but he believed that no one would conby the United States would be rendered as agree-tend that Congress could divest themselves of an able to them as that of the States.

ultimate control. They might admit the LegisGentlemen, in looking at the inconvenience latures of Maryland and Virginia to legislate for attached to the people of the Territory, do not the Territory, but Congress possessed the power sufficiently regard the superior convenience they of controlling or modifying their acts. He would possess. Though the citizens may pot possess full wish to know what advantage there could be in political rights, they have a greater influence upon giving this legislative agency to those States? If the measures of the Government than any equal given, no doubt could be entertained of many acts number of citizens in any other part of the Union. passed by them being disagreeable to the people

Mr. H. concluded by observing that he felt no of the Territory, who would apply to Congress to disposition to go at large into the discussion. He repeal them. The next Congress, too, would have had barely made these remarks to show that the the power of resuming the jurisdiction, or, more propriety of a retrocession was not so plain a case properly speaking, the jurisdiction would still as mighi be inferred from the arguments of gen- remain in Congress. Under such a qualified cestlemen who had preceded him.

sion, he presumed the Legislatures of Virginia Mr. Dennis regretted that he had been called and Maryland would refuse to act; for, why should out of the House when this subject was taken up, they legislate for people not within their limits? as, in the remarks which he considered it his duty The power of legislation might as well be vested to make, he could not avail himself of the ideas in the Legislature of Massachusetts. The truth suggested by other gentlemen, and as he might is, that our jurisdiction would be paramount, and repeat what had been perhaps already said. He the acts of Maryland and Virginia would go into would undertake, however, to show that the pro-operation merely by our permission, and Congress posed resolutions were objectionable in every point might repeal and amend them whenever and howof view that could be taken of them. They pre-soever they pleased. We should, therefore, be sented two aspects. Admitting, in the first place, then relieved from no trouble that we now expethat they could be carried into effect, so far as to rience. There would then be as many applicarestore the people of the Territory to the situation tions to pass laws as there are now. in which they were placed before the cession, yet In another point of view he was astonished at it appeared to him a strong objection that all the these propositions, and at the quarter from which advantages of exclusive jurisdiction would be they came. The gentleman from Massachusetts thereby lost. He had always thought that partl (Mr. Bacon) has iold us that his resolutions are


Amendment to the Constitution.


bottomed on the broad basis of the rights of man; on the petition of George Mason. The Commitbut he would ask how this could be, when the res- tee rose, and reported their agreement to the report olutions went to transfer twenty thousand men, of the Commiitee of Claims, which provides for without their consent, to a Government different the allowance of pensions to soldiers of the South from that under which they now live? Gentlemen Carolina line unprovided for. The House took up are going to imitate some of the extraordinary the report, concurred, and directed the Committee scenes that have lately occurred in Europe, and of Claims to bring in a bill. propose to transfer this District with the same Mr. Bayard offered a resolution for the appointfacility that in that quarter of the globe they have ment of three legal characters by the President, to transferred an Italian dukedom or a German prin- revise the laws of Maryland and Virginia, and cipality.

form therefrom a uniform system for the District Mr. 'D. thought the situation of Congress in of Columbia ; and to report the same to Congress. relation to the people of this Territory was not Mr. Mirchill moved the appointment of a joint sufficiently understood. He knew that it was committee of both Houses to inquire into the state always troublesome to legislate for any people: he of the public buildings, what repairs are required, foresaw these inconveniences when they removed and the expense attending the same. to this place. He had thought then, as he thought Mr. Eustis offered two resolutions, the one for now, that some legislative government must be making provision by law for making such alteraprovided for the District. In this opinion he had tions in the Capitol, as are required for the future never varied, but had, from successive events, be- accommodation of Congress; the other appropriacome more confirmed in its accuracy. But, ifling the sum of - dollars. gentlemen object to vesting the people with the The above resolutions were ordered to lie on the power of government, he thought he could suggest table. a plan better than that of retrocession, to wit: to vest the President with the power to revise the

AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. laws of Maryland and Virginia, and make a report

Mr. GRISWOLD moved that the House should to the next session of Congress. The laws of Ma- resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on ryland and Virginia were generally agreeable to the state of the Union. in order to take up the prothe people, but they experienced many inconve- posed amendment to the Constitution respecting niences from local and peculiar circumstances.

the election of President and Vice President. Mr. D.concluded by observing that he had risen After some conversation, the question was taken without methodising his thoughts; but he con

on Mr. Griswold's motion by yeas and nays, and ceived the resolutions of so mischievous a tendency, lost-yeas 28, nays 54, as follows: so infractive of the Constitution, and (if adopted) YEAS—James A. Bayard, Thomas Boude, John so nugatory, that he conceived it his duty to raise Campbell, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, Abiel his voice against them.

Foster, Calvin Goddard, Roger Griswold, Seth Hastings, The Committee rose, and obtained leave to sit Archibald Henderson, Samuel Hunt, Thomas Lowndes, again.

Ebenezer Mattoon, Lewis R. Morris, Thomas Plater,
Nathan Read, John Rutledge, William Shepard, John

Cotton Smith, Josiah Smith, John Stanley, Benjamin
WEDNESDAY, February 9.

Tallmadge, Samuel Tenney, Samuel Thatcher, Thomas The Speaker laid before the House a letter from Tillinghast, George B. Upham, Peleg Wadsworth, and

Lemuel Williams. the Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting two statements of the importations in American and ley, Phanuel Bishop, Richard Brent, Robert Brown,

Nays—Willis Alston, John Bacon, Theodorus Baiforeign vessels, commencing the first of October: William Butler, Samuel J. Cabell

, John Clopton, John one thousand eight hundred, and ending on the Condit, Richard Cutts, Thomas T. Davis, John Daw. thirtieth of September, one thousand eight hundred

Peter Early, Lucas Elmendorf, William Eustis, and one, in pursuance of a resolution of this House Edwin Gray, Andrew Gregg, John A. Hanna, Daniel of the twenty-ninth of May, one thousand seven Heister, Joseph Heister, William Helms, William Hoge, hundred and ninety-eight; which were read, and James Holland, David Holines, George Jackson, Wilordered to lie on the table.

liam Jones, Michael Leib, David Meriwether, Samuel Mr. Eustis moved to postpone for one hour the L. Mitchill, Thomas Moore, James Mott, Anthony New, unfinished business of yesterday, in order to take Thomas Newton, jr., Joseph H. Nicholson, John Ranup a bill to provide an additional armament for dolph, jr,, John Smilie, John Smith, of New York, John the protection of the seamen and commerce of the Smith, of Virginia, Samuel Smith, Henry Southard, United States. Carried.

Richard Stanford, Joseph Stanton, John Stewart, John The House accordingly went into a Commit- Taliaferro, jr., David Thomas, Philip R. Thompson, tee of the Whole on that bill. The Committee John Trigg, Philip Van Cortlandt, Joseph B. Varnum, reported the bill without amendment. The House Isaac Van Horne, Robert Williams, Richard Winn, and concurred in the report, and ordered the bill to be

Thomas Wynns. engrossed for a third reading to-morrow.

Mr. Dawson moved that the Committee of the Mr. Gregg moved the order of the day on the Whole on the state of the Union should be disreport of the Committee of Claims on the petition charged from the consideration of two propositions of George Mason.

of amendment to the Constitution, the one preThe House then went into a Committee of the scribing the designation of the persons voted for Whole, on the report of the Committee of Claims as President and Vice President, the other pre


District of Columbia.

H. OF R. scribing that representatives and electors shall be represented here? We ought not to decide this chosen in districts.

question until the people express their desire to Mr. Davis said he would second the motion to return to the Stales. relieve gentlemen from the apprehensions enter- But there is a more serious consideration relatained of these amendments being taken up at a tive to the people of the Territory. It is prolate period of the session when the House might posed to recede the District to Maryland and be thin. And if the motion prevailed, he would Virginia. Once take that step, and what obligamove a postponement of the consideration of the tion was there in Congress to remain here ? He amendments till the first Monday of November. felt there was none. The obligation to remain Both motions were carried without a division. arises, in a great measure, from the cession, and

by destroying that, you extingnish the sense of DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

the obligation to stay. This may be the object of The House then resolved itself into a Commit- gentlemen. A number of the measures lately tee of the Whole on the resolutions of Mr. Bacon proposed appeared to have that tendency. One to recede 10 the States of Maryland and Virginia motion had been made to concentrate the public the District of Columbia.

buildings. Violate one stipulation of the GovMr. BAYARD hoped the Committee would not ernment, or disappoint a reasonable expectation agree to the resolutions. He did not believe ihat that had been excited by the measures of the Gova Constitutional power existed enabling the Government, and the ruin of hundreds follows. Now, ernment of the United States to recede the Ter- a motion is made to recede. Combine these two ritory: The Territory had been acquired by the operations. Unfix the Capitol, and recede the direction and under the permission of the Consti- District, and, believe me, Congress will soon take tution. The Constitution also allows the cession wings and fly to some other place. It had been by particular States. When, therefore, gentlemen ruly remarked, on a similar occasion, by those say Congress has the power to recede, he was at interested, though these things may be sport to liberty to call upon them to exhibit that part of you, they are death to us. Not a motion of this the Constitution that conferred the power. He kind had been made, or could be made, that did had looked over the Constitution with a vigilant not depreciate the interests of the place, and fruseye, and he could see nothing to this effect. Can trate the object professed. By such means, our iť be done without power? Do gentlemen recol. accommodations will be impaired, all enterprise lect that the Government of the United States is be subdued, and industry languish. He hoped, federative, and of course possessed of limited therefore, that the House, by a decided vote, powers; and what is not delegated does not exist; would reject these resolutions, and put all similar and that there is an express provision that powers ones to sleep. not expressly given shall not be assumed by im- Mr. Gregg said he had expected that this quesplication ? It was difficult to point out a non- tion would have been decided by a silent vote. entity. If gentlemen contend for an entity, they He, for his part, had no intention of having troushould distinguish it. If Congress have the power bled the Committee with any observations of his to recede this Territory, they have also the power on the subject, but as other gentlemen had 'seen to recede the others, the Indiana and Mississippi proper to enter into a discussion of it, he would Territories. It is an extremely different thing to beg the indulgence of the Committee while he receive a cession and to recede it after it is re- assigned, as concisely as possible, the reasons that ceived. Congress has the power to do the one, would influence his vote. Having been a membut not the other. How can the retrocession be ber of the Legislature at the time the act was made? Gentlemen say, by law. That law may passed for assuming the jurisdiction of the Terbe repealed. If receded, what would be the situa- ritory, he foresaw pretty clearly most of the diffition of the Territory? It could be no affair of culties in which we are now involved by that act, contract. For a contract cannot exist without a and therefore had given it his opposition in every consideration. Though, on the cession, there was stage of its passage. A majority of the Legislaa consideration, in receding there would be none. Lure, however, at that time, entertained a different Would there be a power in Virginia and Mary- opinion, and made the assumption. From that land, if receded, to prevent a resumption ? Such moment he had considered a contract to be fully a measure showed but little respect for the people complete and ratified between the States of Maryof the Territory. As far as he knew the senti- land, Virginia, the people of the Territory of ments of the people, it was not their wish to be Columbia, and the Government of the United receded. They were willing to live under the States. That contract he considered as of perprotection of Congress. The gentleman from manent obligation, not to be done away, but by Pennsylvania has called them slaves. They may the unanimous consent of all the parties. not thank him for the appellation. If they were Among the specific powers of Congress enuslaves, there must be some corollary; and if so,merated in the eighth section of the first article we must be their tyrants. But they are not slaves; of the Constitution, there is this one, “ Congress they are children, over whom it is not our wish 'shall have power to exercise exclusive legislation, to tyrannise, but whom we would foster and nur- : in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not ture. Are we, in the character of Representa- exceeding ten miles square) as may, by the cession tives of the United States, to be considered as of particular States and the acceptance of Contheir tyrants, because they are not immediately gress, become the seat of Government of the

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H. of R.
District of Columbia.

FEBRUARY, 1803. United States.” Now, the States of Maryland from Delaware, he would call on him to point out and Virginia have made this cession, with the con- in the Constitution the prohibition. His colleague sent and approbation of the people in the ceded Ter- talked of a moral obligation to keep the Territory. ritory, and Congress has accepted the cession, and This might exist, if it were proposed to force this assumed the jurisdiction. Are they then at lib- Territory on the States without their consent. erty, or can they relinquish it without the consent The gentleman seems to have taken offence at of the other parties ? It is presumed they cannot. the expression which had fallen from him of In his opinion, they were constitutionally and slaves. For his part, he had never been accusmorally bound to proceed in the exercise of that tomed to courtly language, but to the expression power regularly assumed, either immediately, by of his ideas plainly and openly as he conceived themselves, or by the intervention of a Territo-them. He certainly had not used the expression rial Legislature, 'chosen, and acting under a spe- with any intention to treat the people of this Tercial act of Congress for that purpose. To relin- ritory with disrespect; but to express his regret at quish the jurisdiction at this time, and recede the the degraded situation of those who were former Territory, would, in his view, exhibit a surprising ly in possession of the full rights of citizenship. inconsistency of conduct in the Legislature. It The gentleman seems also offended at the epithet would discover such a versatility, such a disposi- of tyrants applied to us. tion to change, as could not fail to unsettle the Mr. S. would ask the gentleman from Delminds of the people, and shake their confidence aware, if ever he knew a Government possessed in the Government. All the arguments that had of unlimited power, who had not abused it. This been drawn from expense and inconvenience, he was the condition of this Government, which he thought admitted of an easy answer. A Territo- hoped, however, if continued, would be moderate. rial Legislature would remove every difficulty He had expected that gentlemen opposed to the arising from those sources. It would transact all retrocession would have shown the benefit derived the business, now crowded on us, respecting the to the United States from retaining the jurisdicinternal concerns of the place. The people of tion. If there were none, it was useless and danthe Territory had heretofore been averse from that gerous, inasmuch as it could only be done at the measure; and no doubt that aversion had consid- expense of the rights of the people. He was surerable influence in preventing Congress from prised yesterday at the remarks of the gentleman adopting such a provision. He believed, how- from Maryland, (Mr. Dennis,) that this measure ever, that the people were fast changing their would deprive iwenty thousand people of their opinions on that subject; they were beginning to rights. How could this be, when they had no see the necessity of a Legislature of their own right to be depriv ed of? You may give them a and he expected that the period was not very re-charter, But of what avail will this be, when mote when there would be a universal concur. Congress may take it away at any moment? rence of sentiment in favor of it. He said he They would continue forever to be ultimately considered, as highly improper, every proposition governed by a body over whom they had no conwhich might be considered as pointing, either trol, Mr. S. concluded by again observing that directly or indirectly, at a removal of the seat of he had always thought the assumption wrong; Government from this place. The evident, the but that he had no idea of connecting that coninevitable tendency of such motions, was to dis- sideration with the removal of the Government. courage adventurers, 10 check improvement, and it could have no influence on his mind. He greatly to impede the prosperity of the place. In-would go further, and say that he had no idea stead of doing this, he thought Government ought of removing; nor did he believe they could to protect and encourage it as far as encourage- remove. ment could be given, without resorting to taxes Mr. Bacon said, he was the more confirmed in on the other citizens of the United States. He the propriety of bringing forward his resolutions never would agree to let his constituents be taxed by the remarks which had been made by gentleone single cent, to be laid out on improvements men opposed to them. The question to-day has in the city, farther than what might be necessary turned on the Constitutional power of Congress to erect, and keep in repair suitable buildings for to recede. Gentlemen say that there is no power the accommodation of Government. But he given to Congress to recede. He would allow would allow it every advantage, every encourage that there were no express words in the Constitument, to be derived from an explicit, unequivocal tion; but he considered the general powers given and decided assurance. that it should for ever re- as fully competent, without any such particular main the seat of the Government of the United expressions. The words in the Constitution are: States. With this view of the subject, and under - The Congress shall have power to exercise exthese impressions, he should give his decided nega-clusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over tive to ihe propositions now on the table, and to í such district, (not exceeding ten miles square,) all others of a similar nature and tendency: as may, by cession of particular States, and the

Mr. Smilie could not agree either with the gen- acceptance of Congress, become the seat of Govtleman from Delaware or with his colleague (Mr. ernment of the United States, and to exercise Gregg) on the Constitutional question. We had like authority over all places purchased by the a power to accept the cession, or not to accept it; . coosent of the Legislature of the State in which from which necessarily resulted the power of the same shall be, for the erection of forts, mag. recession. Instead of arguing as the gentleman lazines, arsenals, dock yards, and other needsúl


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