H. OF R.

Tennessee Land Claims.


between the claimants and the Commissioners, during the present session, the several memorial he believed, because the latter considered the con- and petitions of the "Franklin Association," and veyance not an equitable grant. Whether it was of other journeymen printers, of sundry combor was not an equitable grant, in order to prevent makers, gunsmiths, corkcutters, calico-printers further trouble in settling this land, and as it was cordwainers, papermakers and letter founders; of a matter of great expectation to ihe claimants, sundry manufacturers of umbrellas, brushes, stonewho constituted a respectable portion of the citi- ware, gunpowder, bats, and starch, within the zens of the United States, he was of opinion that United States; praying for protecting duties to the House should not refuse this request. be laid on the importation of articles used in their

Mr. BACON was in favor of the resolution. respective manufactures, made a report thereon;

Mr. RANDOLPH expressed his embarrassment on which was read and considered : Whereupon, the occasion; he did not wish to oppose the reso- Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury lution, nor did he think the House had time to be, and he is hereby, directed to prepare and lay hear them the present session. If the House should before Congress, early in their next session, a plan refuse to hear them, it would not decide their for the levying new and more specific duties on case-they could then resort to a court of justice. goods, wares, and inerchandise, imported into the They would not accept the offer of the Commis- United States, so as that the same shall, as near sioners, because they though their chance greater as may be, neither increase nor diminish ihe pres. at a law suit. He thought they were no more ent revenue arising to the United States from bound to those people (the claimants) than any imports. others who had a law suit. He should be glad to The bill to incorporate the Directors of the Cohear them if they had leisure. But they (the lumbian Library Company, which was received House) were not to be the judges; if a compro- and ordered to lie on the table, on the nineteenth mise was not to be effected, they would finally re-instant, was read twice and committed to a Comsort to a court of justice.

mittee of the Whole on Thursday next. Mr. Griswold said, the object of the law ap- An engrossed bill making an appropriation for pointing Commissioners to act on that subject the support of the Navy of the United States for was, to make a compromise if possible. What the year one thousand eight hundred and three, was the situation of these people? They had, by was read the third time and passed. passing that act, brought ihe claimants from all An engrossed bill concerning the insurance of parts of the Union, at a great expense, the Com- buildings, goods, and furniture, in the county of missioners had reported, and now could they with Alexandria, in the Territory of Columbia, was any propriety refuse to go any further? He thought read the third time ard passed. they were bound, by principles of justice, to hear Mr. Robert Williams called up his resolution, them. He hoped the question would be immedi- making it a standing rule of the House that all ately decided. He believed, also, with the gentle- questions, respecting priority of business, should man from Maryland, (Mr. Nicholson) ihat it be decided without debate.-Carried without a would be a saving of time.

division. Mr. RANDOLPH was sorry to come under the

The House went into a Committee of the censure of the gentleman from Connecticut. He Whole, on the amendments of the Senate to the was not opposed to hearing them, but was in doubt bill providing an additional armament for the prowhether they could hear them at any time, with-tection of commerce and seamen of the United out omitting other business which was absolutely States. necessary to be done at this session. If counsel The Senate propose a new section, authorizing were admitted, they might speak till 12 o'clock at the President to build a number of gunboats, not night on the 3d day of March, to the neglect of exceeding fifteen, and appropriating fifty thousand business on which the safety of the United States dollars therefor. depended. Besides, there was no violation of

Mr. Griswold moved the recommitment of the justice-they still had their resort to a court of bill to a select committee.---Lost, ayes 17. justice.

The amendment of the Senate was then Mr. Bacon said, the conclusion of the gentle agreed to. man from Virginia (Mr. RANDOLP.) not to hear The House went into a Committee of the these claimants

, was not conducting business in a Whole, on the bill making an appropriation for manner becoming the dignity of that House. He the support of Government for the year 1803. was not afraid of their trespassing on the patience The several blanks were filled and the bill reportof the House; we wanted no better security ed agreed to in the House, and ordered to a third against that than their own interest. He hoped reading to-morrow.. Among the appropriations the resolution would obtain, and that it would be of the bill is one of between three and four thoudecided immediately.

sand dollars for completing the jail in the City of The question on the resolution was carried in Washington. the affirmative-45 voting in favor of it.

The House went into a Committee of the Whole, on a bill in addition to, and modification

of, the propositions contained in an act admitting MONDAY, February 21.

the Northwestern Territory into the Union. Mr. S. Smith, from the Committee of Com- The Committee rose, and reported the bill withmerce and Manufactures, to whom were referred, l out amendment.


Military Land Warrants, Naturalizalion.

H. OF R.

The House took up the report of the Commit- who was residing within the limits and under the juristee, concurred, and ordered the bill to a third read- diction of the United States at any time between the ing to-morrow.

eighteenth day of June, one thousand seven hundred

and ninety-eight, and the fourteenth day of April, one MILITARY LAND WARRANTS.

thousand eight hundred and two, and who has continuThe House took into consideration the bill ex-ed to reside within the same, may be admitted to betending the time for the location of military land come a citizen of the United States, or any of them, warrants, &c.

without a compliance with the first condition specified Mr. Dawson.-Some days ago I moved a post- in the first section of the act, entitled "An act to estabponement of the consideration of that report. lish an uniform rule of naturalization, and to repeal the This did not arise from any disposition unfriendly acts heretofore passed on that subject." to it, or objections to its provisions. In my judg- The question was put on the passage of the bill. ment they ought to be extended; for I hold it io Mr. Goddard observed that, at this late period be our duty, and it ought to be our pride to render of the session, when almost every gentleman who justice by every means in our power to those who spoke complained of the want of time to comrendered service to us during our Revolutionary plete the public business, he was not a little surwar; and, I am happy to observe, that this appears prised to find this bill, from day to day, pressed to be the general sentiment of this Legislature. It upon the House. He ihought there were no peris known to you, sir, and to every gentleman of sons less entitled to occupy the time of the House this Committee, and I may add, to every citizen at this period than these petitioners. He thereof these States, that General Lafayette rendered fore moved to postpone the further consideration to us essential services during that period, . At of the bill until the first Monday in November the commencement of that war, he entered into next. He was induced to make this motion not the service of the United States, and continued only because the time of the House was wanted in it until the close, at his own expense and ex- for other and more important business, but from penditure of his private fortune. Since then, sir, the circumstances under which the petitions upon various have been his fortunes. At one time he which the bill was founded had been introduced has been at the head of a great pation; at ano into the House. They were at first expressed in ther buried in the dungeons of a despot. At that language so indecent that the House refused to moment, Congress, feeling for his misfortunes, act upon them, or even to commit them. Only and remembering his services, passed a law grant- two days after, they were presented again with ing him, in specie, the amount of his certificates. the same signatures and in the same words, with This aci, sir, relieved his distresses, and was noth- the exception of one passage, which was thought ing more than justice on our part.

most improper. It was impossible that the petiHaving entered into our service as a Major tions should have been sent back to the subscribGeneral, never having been attached to any par-ers, at a distance of several hundred miles, and ticular line, he never has received any land as again returned to the House. He presumed, other officers did. His fortunes are now much re- therefore, that some person had taken the liberty duced, and I am persuaded that I do an act bene- of new modelling the memorial and of presenting ficial to him, and honorable to my country, by it in the names of persons who had never seen it offering to you the following amendment, which, in its present form. If there were no other arguI trust the wishes of every gentlemen of the Com- ment against passing the bill, this would be suffimittee have anticipated.

cient with him. He thought the petition ought (Here Mr. D. read a new section, allowing to be sent back to the subscribers, and they ought General Lafayette a quantity of land equal to that to be informed that the House had refused to act allowed to officers of a similar rank.] I will only observe that I have placed General it appeared.

upon it on account of the improper form in which

But if the bill should now be passed, Lafayette on the Virginia Establishment because the greater part of them would never know that the quantity of land will be greater, because in any objection had been made to the liberties that State he rendered most of his services, and which they took with the Government and the was generally attached to that line.

House. They would merely know that their reMr. T. Morris hoped a decision would not quest had been promptly complied with, then be pressed, as there was scarcely a quorum in Mr. Dana took a review of what had been done the House. He did not know whether he should for the petitioners at the last session of Congress. finally vote for or against it; or whether he should He mentioned various important subjects which not move to extend the provision to other officers. had lately been postponed for want of time to act He, therefore, moved an adjournment; which

These petitions, he remarked, had was carried-ayes 30.

been introduced since the subject of discriminatNATURALIZATION.

ing duties—a subject recommended to the conThe bill in addition to an act, entitled "An act sideration of the Legislature by the President of to establish an uniform rule of naturalization,” the United States himself—had been postponed &c., was read a third time.

professedly for want of time. The subject of The bill is as follows:

amending the bankrupt law, which was considerBe it enacted by the Senate and House of Represented as very important to the United States, had atives of the United States of America in Congress been postponed for the same reason. A number assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, of pressing petitions from our own citizens had

upon them.

H. OF R.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

been disposed of in the same way and on the same Minister will show whether this is true or not. grounds. He thought, therefore, that unless these [Mr. S. here read the following extract from a aliens were entitled to more attention than any letter of Mr. King to one of the Irish State prisdescription of our own citizens, and even than the oners:] President of the United States himself, the House “You must be sensible that I possess no sufficient could not consistently act upon those petitions at means of forming an opinion respecting your sentithe present session.

ments; but the motives which lead me to interfere with Mr. Smilie.—This bill is objected to on two your Government, to retain the emigration of the pergrounds: first, that there is not time to consider sons above alluded to, oblige me to observe a due cauit, and, secondly, from the phraseology of the pe- tion on the present occasion." titions. But the remarks of gentlemen cannot After hearing this language, I think the House apply to the language contained in the first peti- will not be disposed to think the language of the tions, as they were not committed, and as the petitioners too plain. I do not believe the Presipresent bill is founded on other petitions, in which dent or the Minister was authorized to interfere ihe exceptionable language is not to be found. I in such cases. I know of no law authorizing such therefore know no reason for mentioning the first conduct. I do know of a law which authorized petitions, on which no order has been taken. I the President to banish aliens, but I do not know hope, however, since they have been brought up, of any law which authorized him to prevent emithat I may be indulged in a few remarks, to ex- gration. The alien law authorizes the President amine whether they are so objectionable as has to order all such aliens as he shall judge dangerbeen contended.

ous to the peace and safety of the United States, Mr. Nicholson inquired whether such remarks or shall have reasonable grounds to suspect are were in order.

concerned in any treasonable or secret machinaMr. Smilie said those petitions had been allud-1'tions against the Government thereof, to depart ed to in debate, and he was only replying to the out of the territory of the United States." This remarks made. He then read the following part is a memorable law! Now, what does the Conof the petitions:

stitution say of the rights of all men in this coun“ That your memorialists submit the circumstances

try? Hear: under which those of them residing here from the Summer of 1798 until the Spring of 1801 were placed. the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy Every alien, distinguished for his attachment to the jury of the State and district wherein such crime shall principles of liberty, was incessantly abused in the pa- have been committed; which district shall have been prepers coutenanced by the Administration then in power. viously ascertained by law; and to be informed of the The American Minister at St. James notified, in the name of Government, that the Irish state prisoners with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory

nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted would not be permitted to reside in this country; and the British Government made this the pretext for de process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have

the assistance of counsel for his defence." taining them in dungeons, for the space of four years, in open violation of solemn compact. The Presidency

Compare this Constitutional declaration with was then in the hands of a man notoriously hostile to the character of the alien law. Remember that aliens of republican principles; and the President was the Constitutional provision is not confined to cutauthorized by law to banish any alien at his pleasure, izens ; the words are, "In all criminal prosecuwithout trial, and without appeal. Under these circum- tions, the accused,” &c. By the alien law, all aliens stances your candor will allow that an alien resident are placed at the mercy of the President; they are could have no inducement to declare his intention of not convicted on an impartial jury trial; they are becoming a citizen; for, by so doing, he placed his name not even tried by the President himself; but, on on a list of proscription, and subjected himself to the mere suspicion, are banished from the country! arbitrary will of an individual.”

This is the state in which all aliens were placed This, said Mr. S., is the obnoxious paragraph. by this law. When under these circumstances, I have said before, and now repeat it, every word I say, it is not extraordinary that they should come is true. I allow that telling the truth is some forward and express their opinions. Is this an times disagreeable, and this may be one of those offence? Be this as it may, the present bill does cases, but I could never despise the man who speaks not originate in these petitions, but in others, whose the truth. The petitioners first say, " that every language is unexceptionable. And where is the

alien, distinguished for his attachment to the prin- danger of admitting this description of aliens of 'ciples of liberty, was incessantly abused in the five years' residence, when all others are admitted papers countenanced by the Administration then on the same terms, barely because they did not in power.” On this point, I need say nothing, signify their intention to become citizens, when a as every gentleman here must be sensible of its period of fourteen years' residence was required ? truth. In the second place, they say the Presi- A person, before he signifies his intention, must be dent was not friendly to aliens. This is true, or of age: could, therefore, the age be expected ? he would not have signed the bill, in the face of I mentioned the other day what, I considered it, the Constitution, to put into his power every alien a duty which we owe to these people: I will now in the United States. In the third place, it is stated mention a duty that we owe ourselves. Is not our that the American Minister interfered and pre- wealth increased by emigrations? He who brings vented them from coming to this country. A with him nothing but his person, brings his labor passage which I shall read from the letter of the land that, in a country thai only requires improre



H. of R.

ment to be productive, is considerable. But there a different language from that which they meant are many emigrants who bring positive wealth to express. into the country. But gentlemen are apprehen- The gentleman from Pennsylvania has told us sive lest those foreigners, by interfering in our that the facts stated in these petitions are true present political system, will injure or destroy it. and that the President had authority, under the This idea has always appeared to me ridiculous. alien law, to banish all aliens. Will he say why Foreigners, in my opinion, will be soon merged he had this authority? It was given in consewith ourselves, and instead of introducing among quence of their unceasing interference in the us their sentiments, will soon take up ours. This affairs of the Government, and in consequence of objection has appeared to me, too, the more extra- their restless and rigorous behaviour, thai Governordinary, inasmuch as it is raised against foreign- ment thought it necessary to protect themselves ers, not because they are the subjects of monarchs from their impertinent interference. The law and tyrants, but because they have too high ideas grew out of these circumstances. The gentleman of liberty. Where, then, can be the danger of is now for opening the door still wider to this their coming among us, and, after a reasonable description of persons who have manifested themresidence, participating in our Government? If selves to be of the most turbulent and factious I excepted any from exercising this right, it would tempers, and who are constantly employed in be from the instruments of tyranny in other coun- disseminating their poison among the people. I tries, and not those who, by their republicanism, verily believe, that, in less than five years from have rendered themselves obnoxious to tyrants. this time, we shall be obliged to re-enact the law But when it is remembered that this bill only ap- for requiring fourteen years residence before citiplies to a particular class of men, to whom three zenship is conferred. I shall not, indeed, be suryears are saved, and without which a residence of prised at our soon having a petition from those eight years will be necessary, I do hope that the men to amend the Constitution, and to admit an House will so far indulge us as to pass the bill for alien to be President of the United States. the relief of this class of persons; for, however At the request of these petitioners, we are about unimportant it may be to the Eastern and South- to infract the Constitution. The Constitution ern States, in the Middle States the mere consid- says that Congress shall have power “to establish eration of labor is of the last importance in im- an uniform rule of naturalization.” At the last proving the value of their land; and I trust that session we passed a law on this subject containing gentlemen, whose constituents cannot be injured four rules. The first rule prescribes that every by it, will suffer it to go into existence, for the applicant for admission to citizenship, shall have benefit of those States which will derive a great declared on oath, or affirmation, three years at advantage from it.

least before his admission, that it was his intenMr. Bacon observed that the subject had been tion to become a citizen. The bill on our table is ably disc ussed, both in public and private, as well lo exempt a certain class of aliens from the operby those who were learned as by those who were ation of this rule. Is this right, equitable, or Conunlearned. As every member must be ready to stitutional ? To one description of aliens you vote upon it, he hoped much time would not be apply four rules, while to another description you spent in debate.

apply but three. You thereby infract the ConstiMr. Davis wished the gentleman from Massa- tution; and if this is not the meaning of it. I do chusetts would give them example instead of pre not understand it. But on the sole ground of the cept. Had he done so, he would have saved that pressure of other more important business, if time the loss of which he deplored. Indisposition other reasons were wanting, I should vote against having prevented him from attending the House the passage of the bill. for eight or ten days, he had not had an opportu- Mr. Dana called for the yeas and nays. nity of opposing the progress of this bill. He was Mr. Goddard was not disposed to consume the surprised at the sentiments of the gentleman from time of the House ; but, in answer to the gentlePennsylvania, (Mr. Smilie,) and at the turn which man from Massachusetts, (Mr. Bacon,) he must this business had taken. A petition had been pre- be permitted to say, if it was the sincere object of sented, and after examination, on account of its gentlemen on that side to save time, they would insolent language, had been refused to be com- evince their sincerity by not pressing on the mitted.

House business against which there were reasonAfterwards similar petitions had been present- able objections. The gentleman from Pennsyled, which the House were about to treat in the vania tells us that this bill is not introduced on same way; when they were informed that the the petitions so often referred to in this debate. exceptionable language was not in them. How All that I know is derived from the gentleman persons, so distant as the petitioners, could, in a himself, who informed us lately that the petitions few days, have corrected their petitions and sent on which he last offered were precisely similar to others was most astonishing. "Pardon me for say- those which he had previously presented. Such, ing that the new petitions must have gone to press 100, was the statement of another gentleman from here, and the names of the petitioners have been Pennsylvania, (Mr. LEIB,) who stated that the transcribed. If so, we are now acting upon last petitions were precisely like the first, except forged petitions; and immediate steps ought to be ing the paragraph deemed exceptionable, which taken to protect us from so gross an imposition, had been stricken out; and that both petition were by which the petitioners are represented to hold signed by the same persons. Now, the objection

H. OF R.



made to the first petition again recurs. The our public affairs. He considered that partiality House did refuse to commit the first petitions on which the gentleman had manifested for ihe counaccount of the indecent expressions they con try of his birth as one of the strongest and most tained. The House pronounced the language in-amiable of the propensities of the human mind, decent and insolent. Gentlemen on both sides yet upon that floor he could wish to see those parexpressed the same sentiment, and he rejoiced to tialities circumscribed within the limits of the hear it. The first petitions were not comınitted; United States. the last were committed, as had been expressed Mr. Leis said that the gentleman from Delaby the gentleman from Massachusetts, to show ware had completely answered and refuted his the more marked disapprobation of the first. But own arguments; for if there were no aliens in no sooner are they referred than a bill is ushered the situation to be relieved by the bill, and no into the House. If it were proper to pass such a application had been made by them for the reliet law it ought to be on petitions couched with more contemplated by it, his apprehensions can have decency. I believe, with the gentleman from Ken-no foundation of course, and the bill was no more tucky, that these petitions have not traversed four than a dead letter. According to this gentleman's or five hundred miles and got back again. I be conception, then, the fears of the gentleman from lieve they do not express the sense of the peti-Connecticut must likewise be groundless, and all tioners whose names are signed to them. For his anticipations of perjuries which would be this reason I would not sanction them by passing committed by the aliens, should the bill pass, must this bill. But there are reasons of greater force prove as visionary as his argument; for where against the passage. This is the same Congress there existed no temptation for perjury: none certhat has already acted upon these very petitions. tainly would be committed. Why depart from our ordinary and established But there were many in this situation, and they course of proceeding in this case? At the last had applied for relief. He had presented memosession, similar petitions were acted upon, and no rials from a great number, praying for the amendnew evidence to change our minds is now al- ment to the naturalization law contemplated by leged. The gentleman, however, from Pennsyl- the bill. The gentleman from Maryland had likevania, says, we are noi averse to the prayer of wise presented a memorial from the aliens in these petitions, because those who offer them Baltimore to the same effect. It was therefore have lived under a monarchy, but because they apparent that many were aggrieved, and the bill are republican too much. They are, Mr. Speaker, provided a remedy. republican too much! If to be the enemies of all

The gentleman from Connecticut had been very regular government be republican, then I have no liberal in his denunciations of aliens; he seemed hesitation to say, I disclaim the title.

to derive peculiar gratification from this indulMr. G. concluded by saying, that in every point gence of his feelings; but for his part, said Mr. L.. of view in which he could consider the subject, he could not enter into that gentleman's sensaas well on its own merits as from a want of time, tions, nor subscribe to his opinions. It was true, he thought the House would be justified in post- that, in the State which he had the honor to repponing it.

resent, there was a lawless banditti to whom the Mr. Dana hoped that he should not be thought remarks of the gentleman from Connecticut would wanting in due respect to the age and logical tal- apply, who seemed to regard neither laws nor ents of the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. morals, and who had occasioned much trouble, Bacon,) even though he should refuse to relin- vexation, and expense, to the State, but they were quish his opinion, and his right of debate, in con-not aliens, but Connecticut intruders. sequence of that honorable gentleman's friendly The gentleman from Delaware had said much admonition, an admonition which was probably in favor of the declaration called for by the existintended to operate as a command. He thought ing law. What was it? Was there a magic in if that gentleman was really disposed to econo-it-a kind of legerdemain-which, by hocus pocus, mise the time of the House, he might do it more converted aliens suddenly into a fitness for citieffectually by omitting to bring forward measures zenship? What was its slight-of-hand process, which were known to be disagreeable-measures that it gave to the alien an impromptu knowledge that were not in themselves necessary, and that of our Constitution and our laws ? Did it possess were not expected to be acted upon, rather than an alchymical power, capable of an instantaneous by attempting to prevent gentlemen from expres- transmutation of a base into a pure being ? For sing their objections to measures introduced as his part, he believed that the residence required the bill had been.

by law occasioned the safest and surest transmu. Mr. D. was not surprised to find the gentleman tation. It was this which gave the knowledge and from Pennsylvania, (Mr. SMILIE,) warmly at- feeling, and gave the opportunity, for the intertached to the interest of the emigrants from Ire- course that amalgamated the aliens with us, and land. He understood that the gentleman himseli gave them a common interest. It was the surest was from that country, and thought it extremely standard by which to test the desire for citizennatural that he should feel an attachment to his ship; it was action, and not declaration; it was ountrymen; but he thought also that the very fact and not theory. He therefore felt more discirujmstance ought to caution the House against posed to rely upon it than upon the empty sound too suddenly admitting persons, who feel similar of declaration, which to the gentleman from Delattachments, to a participation in the direction of aware appeared so emphatic.

« ForrigeFortsett »