« ForrigeFortsett »
District of Columbia.
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'buildings." Now, he took it that the power of The same gentleman has expressed his astonCongress extended equally and alike to all these ishment that these resolutions should come from places accepted in consequence of the cession of this quarter of the House. He has intimated that particular States, and it was equally absolute he (Mr. Bacon) predicated his ideas on the broad upon Congress to retain all, the one as well as the basis of the rights of man. Mr. B. believed that other. He was apprehensive that the argument this would be the effect of his resolutions. One of gentlemen, if it proved anything; proved too view he had was to revest the citizens of this Dismuch. He doubted whether' gentlemen would trict with the rights of suffrage, and how they contend, that when Congress once accept a piece would be made slaves by a restoration to the of ground for an arsenal or a dock yard, they rights of suffrage, and the common rights of their thereby oblige themselves to retain the exclusive fellow-citizens, he could not conceive. jurisdiction forever. The practise of the House Mr. B. terminated his remarks by observing, this very session disproved it; for they had very that as he had heard of no advantages derived to lately passed an act giving away the corner of a the United States from retaining exclusive jurisnavý yard. But the words of the Constitution diction, as there was nothing in the Constitution are not imperative; they do not say that Congress repugnant to a retrocession, as it was clearly aushall exercise exclusive jurisdiction over the thorized, with he consent of the contracting parplaces thus ceded by the States. What is the ties, as it would not in the least affect the quessituation of the territory at present? The laws tion of removal, as the citizens of the Territory of the States from which it was ceded, are still in would be benefited by it, and as a great expense force in some instances.
of time and treasure would be saved, he considIt is said to-day that this District was ceded to ered it expedient to make the retrocession, proCongress under a contract. But this contract was vided it received the consent of the contracting not made by the individual citizens, but by the parties. States. If, then, by this contract between Con- Mr. RANDOLPH said that, whatever reasons might gress and the States, Congress have obtained their be advanced on the ground of expediency against jurisdiction by the common consent of the parties, the adoption of the resolutions, he wished to say it may be done away; and this is all that is pro- a few words on the Constitutional objections posed by the resolutions.
which had been offered to them. The gentleman Gentlemen have observed that this and every from Delaware (Mr. BAYARD) told us, on a very other similar motion have the effect of depreciat- late occasion, that the power to create involved ing property in this place. This Mr. B. doubted the power to destroy; and although I may not be very inuch. If he were a citizen, he would con- willing to adopt this maxim in all the latitude in sider his property more valuable under the juris- which it was urged by that gentleman, I have no diction of laws, in the formation of which he par- hesitation in averring my belief that Congress ticipated, than when he had no participation. "He possess the right, with the assent of these States, thought, therefore, that the adoption of his resolu- respectively, to cede the several portions of this tions would rather appreciate property, by placing territory to Maryland and Virginia. Nor, in my those who held it on the same broad basis as to opinion, does this doctrine militate against that the possession of political rights with the other construction of the Constitution, which regards citizens of the United States.
that instrument in the light of a limited grant of The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Grego) power,
In this construction I heartily concur conceives that the decision of this question will with the gentleman from Delaware, or rather, if affect the permanent seat of Government. But it he will permit me to say so, I am glad to find he could have no such effect. The continuance of agrees with me, as I have retained my opinion, this place as the seat of Government was con- whilst he seems to have changed his. I readily nected with a contract made with individuals, admit that Congress possesses no power but that which was binding on the Government to remain. which is devolved on them by the Constitution, The Government had received from the individ- explicitly, or which is evidently included in, or uals a valuable consideration, and had, in return, deducible from its plain provisions. The Constigiven the individuals the consideration attached tution no where gives Congress the express powto their remaining here, and the Government er of repealing laws; but the repeal of laws is could not remove without a violation of this con- essentially connected with the power of passing tract. This was his idea. The Government could them, as in this case, the right to recede is involved not remove without the consent of these indi- in the right to accept the cession. The parties viduals.
to this compact are the United States, of the one The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Dennis) part, and the States of Maryland and Virginia, of has observed that all the advantages contemplated the other. We speak the voice of the United by Congress from an exclusive jurisdiction, would States, and, among others, of Maryland and Virbe frustrated by the adoption of these resolutions. ginia, in their confederate capacity. The LegislaBut he has not named a single one of these con- tures of those States answer for ihem in their intemplated advantages. Though called upon to dividual capacity. If all these parties are agreed name them, he had not named one. He must, to revoke their act, I wish to know who is to therefore, conclude that no one had occurred to dissent to it, or what obstacle can prevent its behim ; and, until they were named, he must doubt ing rescinded ? whether the United States derived any benefit Mr. R. said, that he was of the number of those from the exclusive jurisdiction.
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FEBRUARY, 1803. who voted against assuming the jurisdiction of the aggression of large and powerful States. Hapthis territory. He did it from a predilection for pily, our security is more amply provided for; it those principles in which the American Revolu- results from the command which has been given tion originated. From the firm belief that men us over the sword and the purse of the Union.
ght not to be bound by laws in whose forma- Our protection is not in a mathematical linetion they had no influence. It was the violation which would oppose but a feeble resistance to an of that principle, and not the extent to which it invading foe. But let gentlemen ask themselves, was carried, which laid the foundation of our in- why the inhabitants of this District should be dependence. For, let it be remembered that the less formidable if disposed to insurrection, because demand of Great Britain went only to a pepper- under our own jurisdiction ? Look at Paris! was corn; but that we disdained the admission of so the insurrection of the fourteenth of July, which odious a doctrine, and commenced a determined humbled into the dust the ancient monarchy of and successful resistance. But it is denied that France, the effect of a want of jurisdiction ; of a this territory is in a state of slavery, because, says want of power in the Government over the lives the gentleman, it implies that we are tyrants and fortunes of the people? Did the city afford The term slavery, sir, excites in the mind of man the Government a defence ? No, it was in insuran odious idea. There are, however, various spe- rection. Did the military send its aid? On the cies of this wretched condition. Domestic slavery, contrary, it joined the insurgents. What was the of all others, the most oppressive; and political fact at Philadelphia ? That Congress was insulislavery, which has been well defined, to be that ed by its own troops. Would the civil jurisdicstate in which any community is divested of the tion of the town have repelled the bayonet ? No, power of self-government, and regulated by laws it was not in parchment to afford this defence. It to which its assent is not required, and may not has left us an awful lesson against standing arbe given. Nor have I ever before understood that mies; and if we shall ever be so infatuated as 10 slavery, particularly of the last description, neces- multiply armies about us, we may rely in vain on sarily implied tyranny, although it too frequently the lines of circumvallation which the limits of is productive of it. But, so far from being slaves, our exclusive jurisdiction form. The Constituthe people within this territory are, it seems, our tion, therefore, has failed in its endeavor to give children, who are to experience every indulgence 10 Congress any other security than that which at our hands. Sir, the form of government, such public opinion and the command of the national as has been described, however mild and benefi- resources afford. cent it may be in its administration, places those But, whilst I have no douht on the subject of subjected to it in a state of political slavery, and our Constitutional right. I am opposed to the resothey are as completely divested of self-control as lution on the ground of expediency. It appears the infant who is dandled on the knee of its par- to have disseminated a great alarm among the ent. As to the existence, then, of this species of people of our immediate neighborhood. At a slavery, it mattered not whether the people within proper time, when great unanimity can be obtained, the limits of this District were regarded as the la- it may be carried into effect. If now passed, it is vorite son, and feasted on the satied calf, or were irrevocable; and I have no indisposition to give the exposed to the cruel rigor of a stepmother. question the most mature deliberation, and to give
An idea had been held out from a very respect- it a fair operation on the public mind. I could able quarter that this District inight, in time, be- wish, indeed, to see the people within this District come a State. As to Congress, what difference restored to their rights. Men in such a situation will they find between being under the jurisdic- are, as it had been wisely and eloquently said, fit tion of the State of Columbia, or the State of Ma- instruments to enslave iheir fellow-men. This ryland. But, if this objection were removed, it is species of Government is an experiment how far impossible that this territory can become a State. freemen can be reconciled to live without rights; The other States can never be brought to consent an experiment dangerous to the liberties of these that two Senators and, at least, three electors of States. But, inasmuch as it has been already President, shall be chosen out of this small spot, made, inasmuch as I was not accessary to it, and and by a handful of men.
as, at some future time, its deleterious effects may The Constitution seems to have intended, by be arrested, I am disposed to vote against the resoits provision on this subject, to guard the General lutions. I view them as a fatal present to this Government against the undue influence of any House, although I respect the motives in which I particular States wherein it might sit. An insur- believe them to have originated ; as tending to rection in Philadelphia is mentioned by some gen- disunite those who ought ever to act in concert; tleman as having given rise to this clause in the and I have no hesitation on a question of expeConstitution. The Constitution, no doubt, had a diency to declare my disposition to concede somewise end in view, but it has failed in the means of thing to the wishes and fears of those around me. attaining it. No man has a higher respect than In their present shape, at least, I shall therefore myself for the talents of the framers of that in- vote against the resolutions. strument. But let it be remembered, that they Mr. Eustis was opposed to the resolutions, for were making a great experiment, and to have the reasons which had been staled, and for other failed in but a single object, is the highest proof reasons not mentioned, though they might have of their wisdom. The physical force of this small occurred to the minds of gentlemen. He thought District would prove but a poor defence against it right to express a difference of opinion with the
District of Columbia.
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gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. RANDOLPH.) on this question was disposed of, he would lay some an important question, the exclusive jurisdiction such resolution on the table. of Congress to the ten miles square. He was not Mr. THATCHER said, he was not prepared to go prepared to pronounce the provision of the Con- fully into the subject, but he wished to add a few stitution on this subject deficient or unwise. It ideas to those which had been already expressed. rather appeared to him to be founded in the na- He considered these resolutions as having a tenture of the Government. A Government on parch- dency to distract and obstruct the operations of ment, and without force, was no Government at business in the territory. Congress had experiall. It had been stated this provision grew out enced considerable inconveniences in this place; of a transaction at Philadelphia, and asked what but they had been calculated upon when the Govdependence was to be placed on a military force ernment was removed; and he believed, if simwhen that force was itself the aggressor ? But ilar questions had not been so frequently agitated, that transaction suggested a different result. Had the accommodations of Congress would, before the militia been well equipped and ready for ser- this time, have been much better. He hoped this vice, and under the immediate control of Congress, would be the last time such resolutions would be would the military force have been suffered to offered. His colleague (Mr. Bacon) had sugoverawe them? This very case furnished an ar- gested the expense and trouble of legislating for gument for investing Congress with the complete ihe District. As to the expense, he did not see command of the militia force of the territory, to any; and as to the trouble, the business was not screen them from insult, and to protect them from managed in the best way. He understood that it the application of force that might destroy delib- was contemplated to give the citizens a local Leeration. They had already taken a course calcu- gislature to manage their own concerns. lated to prove the soundness of this mode of pro- But gentlemen say, the people of the territory tection. Their laws had recognised the militia are now deprived of their righis. But this remark of the territory; and some measures had been was extraordinary from a gentleman who had taken to organize them. The militia was the offered a resolution for transferring them, like so physical force Congress must rely on. Suppose many Polish or Russian surfs, without their that militia were under the command of Mar consent. land, and Congress was about to pass a law obnox- Mr. T. went at some length into the discussion, ious to that State. Suppose the militia of Mary- and coincided in opinion with the gentlemen who land to be mutinous, and to surround these walls. had preceded him in their opposition to the resoluMust you resort to Maryland for protection, and tions; and concluded, with saying, that he was wait on her measures ? No; the situation of the clearly of opinion, that Congress ought not to territory and your immediate power over the mi- retrocede the territory. He felt as great personal litia must furnish you with the means of protec- inconvenience, as well as his constituents, from tion. He therefore thought it one of the best pro- the distance of their residence, as any member on visions of the Constitution, to submit the physical the floor, or his constituents could feel. But he force near the Government to its direction. The pledged himself and his constituents, that, howsame reasons that give a command over the mili- ever great these inconveniences, they would subtia to the States apply to the Federal Government mit to them, in order that they might have a more strongly, and dictate the propriety of the common Capital, and afford security to the Govmeasure by a more imperious necessity: What ernment. has happened may happen again. Congress may Mr. CLAIBORNE spoke in favor of the said resochance to pass laws obnoxious to the States, or lutions. the territory. He would ask if, to-day, they were Mr. SOUTHARD rose only to make one observaabout to pass such an obnoxious law, and there tion, which has been touched on but lightly in was no organized militia, where would be their the course of the debate. It appeared to him that protection ? He hoped the Government would when Congress assumed the exclusive jurisdiction give support to the system for organizing the mi- of the ten miles square, they had, in the first litia of the District, so that they may be an effi- instance, entered into a contract with the Legislacient and respectable protection. The principle tures of Virginia and Maryland. He had no doubt on which the militia was founded, was, as far as that, if the contract had ended here, they might, practicable, a sound one; it was a democratic with their consent, make a retrocession. The principle, which put arms into the hands of every second step, however, taken, was a contract becitizen, and placed him under the command of tween the agents of Government and the proprithe Federal Government.
etors, in order to obtain the soil. This contract He acknowledged the difficulties of legislating appeared to him to be solemn and binding. In for the territory. But it was a duty which they entering into the contract, the proprietors gave could not forego, until the government of the peo- the General Government sites for the public ple was provided for in some other way; and that, buildings, and half the residue of the land within he thought, should be by an internal Legislature the city plot. He conceived that this was a conAs to the retrocession of the territory, it was im-tract founded on express stipulations that Congress politic, in point of time. He hoped that Congress should exercise exclusive jurisdiction. The propriwould, before they rose, by some act, show that I etors had no idea, at the time they made the conthey were impressed with an obligation to make tract, that their property would be retroceded ; this the permanent seat of Government. After and the Government had since received more
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than one million's worth of real property which was the fit time to retrocede the territory he did they now enjoyed. He would ask, whether a re- not know; but he believed the time would come trocession, under such circumstances, would not when the citizens of the territory will be in favor have a retrospective effect, and impair those obli- of it. gations which the United States were bound to It appeared to him that the ideas of his colleague observe? For this reason, he thought a retroces-(Mr. Eustis) respecting the militia, ought to be sion improper, as it would be a violation of con- repelled. Hé has said that, unprotected by physitract with ihe people of the territory. It appeared cal force, Maryland or Virginia may bring a force to him that, while they were satisfied, the General against the Government, and overawe it. Every Government ought to be satisfied.
man, however, knows that the whole militia of Various inconveniences had been stated, to which the United States are under the control of the the Government was exposed; and the people of United States, and the President has now as full a the territory had been represented as in a state of command over the militia of Maryland or Virginia, slavery. But he looked forward to the time, as as over the militia of Columbia. There was no not distant. when they would have the right of difference between them, unless the militia of Cogoverning themselves through a territorial legisla-lumbia were to be used by the Executive in cases ture; in which event there would be no time lost where there was neither invasion nor insurrection. to the councils of the nation.
How far they would be a proper instrument to The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Bacon) carry particular plans of the Executive into effect, has compared the proposed transfer to that of a gentlemen must determine for themselves. litile piece of soil for a turnpike road. But the Mr. V. did not know how true it was, that the cases were not parallel; as, in the last instance, United States had received one, two, or three milthere were no individuals to be transferred. lions of dollars. But if it were so, it was so ap
Mr. S. had but one more observation to make. plied as not to render any use to the Government. Such resolutions tended to destroy the confidence it was certain there were great piles of buildings of the people in the Government. When their erected; but every gentleman who looked through proceedings fluctuated and became unstable, the them will be of opinion that they would be more Government became uphinged, and the liberties valuable if the materials of which they were comof the nation ceased to be secure. From the ten- posed were thrown down, than to remain as they dency of these resolutions he did expect that, be- now do. It was true that these buildings were, fore ihis time, another resolution would have been in great part, erected with money derived from brought forward, to remove the Government. But the sale of lots; but it was also true that large he hoped these resolutions would be rejected by sums had been granted from the Treasury. so decided a majority, as to prevent the proposi- Look at the situation of the territory-there tion of any similar ones.
were three incorporate bodies. But what was Mr. VARNUM called for the reading of the docu- the situation of the other parts of the territory? ment alluded to, as he had never seen it. Are they under any government at all? Do we
Mr. Southard said, he did not know that there not see, too, that the citizens of the incorporations was any such official document; but he had seen are directly opposed to each other, from their pesuch a statement, of the authenticity of which culiar situation. From these inconveniences, Mr. he entertained no doubt; and he presumed the V. said, he wished to relieve them; and he pergentleman was as well possessed of the facts as ceived no way so effectual as by a retrocession. himself.
He had no doubt of the Constitutional power of Mr. VARNUM doubted the reality of the observa- Congress. But still, as the people are noi willing tion of the gentleman from New Jersey. He sus- to enjoy the benefits, in his opinion, to be derived pected there was no such contract in existence. It from a retrocession, he was willing to wait until was not the interest of the Government of the they were prepared for it. United States to do anything that would injure Messrs. BAYARD and RANDOLPH spoke a second this District. He therefore supposed that every time against the resolution. gentleman who voted on this occasion, would act Mr. Smilie stated the circumstances of the for the interest of his country. If he thought it case at Philadelphia, which had been so often alpossible for Congress to legislate for the territory, luded to by gentlemen. At the close of the late he should have no objection to retaining the juris- war there had been a mutiny among the troops diction. But, when he considered that Congress who had surrounded Congress. Not a drop of were appointed to legislate on great objects, and blood had, however, been spilt. This was the not on minute local concerns, he did not think mighty incident of which so liberal a use had them competent to legislate for the persons situ- been made. He would ask whether, in countries ated in the Territory of Columbia. 'He did not over which the Government had complete jurisknow whether, if the jurisdiction was retained, it diction, worse things had not happened? He would not be proper to indulge the citizens with a would ask, whether this menace of Congress were territorial legislature. But to this, the people to be compared with the mob of Lord Gordon in themselves object. Virginia objects to a union a country over which the Government had an with Maryland. There were, manifestly, hostile entire jurisdiction ? interests which could not easily be united. And The question was then taken on the first resoif there shall be a territorial legislature. still Con-lution, for receding to Virginia the territory gress has a right over their acts. Whether this I originally attached to that State, and lost-ayes 22.
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When the question was taken on the second the people of the territory were ceded by Maryresolution, and lost, without a division.
land and Virginia with their consent? The Committee rose, and reported their disa- Mr. Bayard asked, what the gentleman from greement to the resolutions.
Virginia meant by consent? The people had The House immediately took up their report. been ceded, with the consent of their RepresentMr. Nicholson called for the yeas and nays. atives in the Legislatures of Maryland and Vir
Mr. CLAIBORNE spoke in favor of the resolu- ginia. He was opposed to the proposition of the tions.
gentleman as it could not relieve Congress from It was proposed to take the question upon both any of their present difficulties. But, to relieve resolutions together.
Congress from the trouble they experienced, he Mr. Dawson moved to divide the question. He had drawn a resolution, which, at a convenient said he should vote for the first resolution that time, he would propose—to authorize the Presiretroceded to Virginia that portion of territory dent to appoint three persons, learned in the law, originally attached to her; and for the second, to report to Congress a uniform system of legislawith the exception of the City of Washington, tion for the territory. which, he thought, ought to be reserved.
Mr. S. Smith.—The gentleman from Virginia Mr. ELMENDORF observed, that of the Consti- says, if the people of the territory were ceded tional power of Congress to retrocede the terri-without their consent, they may be retroceded tory, he had entertained no doubt. He therefore without their consent. I do not know that the viewed the present question as a question of ex- gentleman can carry his recollection back to the pediency; and, in this view, he could not conceive period of the cession. But other gentlemen would how a single gentleman could conceive it expe- recollect that the people of Alexandria were very dient to continue to legislate for a people who anxious to be admitted into the ten-miles-square; were not represented.
and they were admitted. If he recollected right, Mr. Randolph said, as he believed the House there had been many petitions to that effect from incompetent to legislate for the people of Colum- different portions of the District. He believed, bia; as he believed the interests of the several therefore, that the people had been ceded with parts of the territory were as hostile as any in the their consent. Before he could vote for the proUnion, as it was manifest there was an Alexan- posed measure, he must be first certain that the dria, a Georgetown, and a city interest; and even, people wish to be ceded; when, if the States likewithin the city, a Capitol-hill interest, and a wise agreed, he would not withhold his consent President's-house interest—which were irrecon- to a retrocession with the reservation of the city. cileable; he should vote for the amendment of his But he would object to any such measure, until colleague, (Mr. Dawson.). To attempt to legis- these things were shown. late for the District was, in effect, to constitute Mr. RANDOLPH.-We are told the people of this the chairman of the committee, or, at any rate, territory were ceded with their consent; and the committee itself on the affairs of the territory, wherefore? Because the Government, of which the Solon or Lycurgus of the place. It was well they formed a part, agreed to the cession. And known that the indolence of the other members, what follows? That we, who represent the whole or their indifference, inseparable from the situa- people of the United States, in their confederate tion in which they were placed, would prevent capacity, and the States who represent them in Congress from legislating with a full understand their individual capacity, bave an an equal right ing of the objects before them. He, therefore, to retrocede. With respect to the remark of the thought it expedient to retrocede all the territory, gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. S. Smith,) I excepting the City of Washington. This dispo- reply that I consult the interests of the people of sition of the territory would leave entirely un- the whole United States; and I believe, also, that touched the question which arose from the inter- I consult the true interests of the people residing est of individuals who had made purchases of here. property under the faith of Congress retaining the Mr. BAYARD.-The gentleman from Virginia jurisdiction. It was probable that, in such event, first told us the people of this territory were slaves. a corporation might be established in the city Now, it seems we are their representatives. If so, that would answer the ends of Government, with they are not slaves. The people, in the act of out two-thirds of the time of the National Legis- cession, were represented in the only way that lature being consumed.
they can be represented in this country. Mr. S. Smith said, he had listened with great The question was then taken by yeas and nays, attention to the arguments of different gentlemen on concurring with the Committee of the Whole, during the debate. The gentleman from Virginia in their disagreement to the first resolution, and (Mr. Randolph) had told the House, in that de carried-yeas 66, pays 26, as follows: bate, that Congress were not competent to legis
Yras—Theodorus Bailey, James A. Bayard, Thomas late for the territory; and yet he is now about to Boude, Richard Brent, Robert Brown, John Campbell
, legislate for them in a concern of the utmost im- John Clopton, John Condit, Manasseh Cutler, Samuportance by giving them away, without their con el W. Dana, John Davenport, Thomas T. Davis, Wilsent, to the States.
liam Dickson, Peter Early, William Eustis, Abiel FosMr. HOLLAND spoke in favor of a retrocession. ter, Calvin Goddard, Edwin Gray, Andrew Gregg, Mr. Randolph, in reply to the gentleman from Roger Griswold, William Barry Grove, John A. Hanna, Maryland, (Mr. S. Smith,) would ask whether Daniel Heister, William Helms, Joseph Hemphill, Ar