« ForrigeFortsett »
Mr. VANCE, of Ohio, (by leave obtained,) offered the following, [which was adopted on the following day.]
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be requested to furnish this House with a statement showing what portion of the money paid in virtue of the act of 9th of April, 1816, and the subsequent acts amendatory thereof, and what moneys have been paid under the 9th section of the act of April 1816, and of that portion, what part was paid to the claimants on the Niagara frontier, and also designating on what claims the residue of the said money has been paid.
IN SENATE–THunsday, JANUAny 11, 1825.
The Senate resumed, as in committee of the whole, the bill for allowing a drawback on the exportation of cordage manufactured from foreign hemp in the United States.
Mr. RUGGLES explained the object of the bill, which was simply to allow persons to import raw hemp into the United States to manufacture it into cordage, and in exporting it again to receive a drawback. There was a considerable demand for cordage in South America, but this country was unable at present to compete with Great Britain, where no more duty was paid on the exportation of the manufactured article than was paid on the raw material. If this bill were passed, it would be a great encouragement to many persons who were ready to enter into the business of rope making, and would likewise encourage the growth of Flax in this country, by creating an increased demand for the article; and the bill effectually guarded against any fraud on the rewentre.
Mr. D’WOLF observed, that, in the formation of this Government, care had been taken to prevent Congress laying any tax on exports; it was certainly clear that this bill ought to pass, for the obvious reason that the present law, exacting a duty on the raw material, operated as a direct tax on the exportation of the articles made from it. This branch of industry began with the settlement of this country; and the people who were engaged in it were masters of their business, and were able to compete with any nation, if they could go into the market on an equality with them. If this measure were adopted, many of the gross manufactured ar. ticles of the United States could compete with those of other countries in the South American market; but he he had selected the article hemp, because he thonght it would strike both Houses of Congress more forcibly than any other he could name. This country would receive very little benefit from the South American market being thrown open, if it had to buy every thing of them and sell nothing; it was the interchange of the products of national industry that rendered commerce valuable, and it was this that every nation was looking to. In this business of making cordage, a large capital is already invested—the manufacturers wish to carry this produce to a foreign market, and will do so if you will remove the shackles that restrain them. The Constitution intended that every branch of industry should be brought to market on fair grounds and free from embarrassment--and what was asked in this bill was no more than justice.
After some verbal amendments, which were discussed by Messrs. LLOYD, of Mass. D’WOLF, HOLMES, of Maine, and SMITH, the bill was, on motion of Mr. DICKERSON, postponed, and made the order of the day for to-morrow.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-sAME nar.
Mr. CROWNINSHIELD, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, reported a bill, “providing additional means for the suppression of piracy;” which was twice read and committed to a Committee of the Whole on the state off the Union.
After the first reading of the bill, Mr. FORSYTH rose, and made a statement exculpating the Committee of Foreign Relations from any charge of neglect or delay on this subject. The moment the committee met, he said, application was made at the Department of State for the papers in relation to it, but none had yet been received.
Reciprocal explanations were further made by Messrs. CROWNINSHIELD and FULLER, the substance of which went to remove any idea of the Committees on Naval Affairs and of Foreign Relations, entertaining the least intention to interfere with each other's duties, or cast any imputation upon each other.
ACCOUNTS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE U. S.
Mr. INGHAM moved to refer the Message of the President of the United States, received on Thursday last, to a Select Committee. Mr. BARTLETT said, that, among the considerations which are stated, in the Message, to have induced the President of the United States to call the attention of Congress to this subject, one was, that the proposed investigation would operate as a salutary precedent for the future. Now, Mr. B. said, the Message referred to matters of different kinds: a part of it referred to the private claims of the President upon the Government, and a part of it to his official transactions. The Message asks that the accounts of the President shall be treated and investigated in the same Inanner as the claims or accounts of any other individual. To comply with the invitation of the Message, in this respect, and to give full effect to the precedent to be established in this case, Mr. B. moved to refer so much of the Message as refers to the private claims, or accounts of the President, to the Committee of Claims, and if this motion succeeded, would move to refer so much of it as relates to the disbursements, by the President, of Public Moneys, to such other standing committee of the House, as might properly have cognizance of the matter. The reason for this course was, that the Committee of Claims, besides being a diligent committee, versed in such matters, had also established rules of decision in regard to the principles of claims, &c. which it could readily apply in this case. Such a disposition of the Message, also, would obviate the imputation which,whether justly or unjustly, often attends the reports of select committees, of partiality in their reports, &c. by reason of which a report from a select committee on this subject would be much less effective, in regard to future legislation, than if it had been made by a standing committee. He hoped, therefore, the same course would be taken in the present case as though it were the case of an individual. Mr. INGHAM assigned some reasons why he had proposed to refer the President's Message to a Select Committee. Since the Message had been laid on the table, he had abstained from renewing the motion for reference; and he had not learned, in the interval, from any gentleman, that any other disposition of the Message than that was desired. The Message, Mr. I said, was of a compound character: it involved considerations of a very delicate nature, which had been the principal inducements to the President to transmit it to Congress. With regard to whatever accounts the investigation of the subject might involve, it would be extremely difficult to separate them. Hence he had moved the reference to a select committee. If, however, it should appear to that committee, on examination, that the accounts furnished a proper subject of investigation for the Committee of Claims, if of a private nature, or for the Committee of Foreign Relations, if for services abroad, they could so report, &c. Mr. I. said he had himself no personal knowledge on this subject, nor any special anxiety. He thought it proper, however, that the Message should be respectfully disposed of. Mr. BRENT, of Lou. suggested, as a reason why the
Message should not go to the Committee of Claims, that it would be out of the power of that committee, from the pressure of business already before it, to act upon the Message during the present session, and it was the very object of the President, as therein expressed, that whatever investigation took place should take place during the present session, that his situation might enable him to facilitate the inquiry. Mr. MERCER, of Va. said, that there was no member of the House who felt greater confidence in the Committee of Claims than he did, or entertained a higher opinion of the unwearied assiduity, talents, and integrity, of the chairman of the committee, whom he might emphatically denominate his friend, and for whom he had ever cherished sentimerts of the highest respect—yet he must object to giving the present document that direction—for, in the first place, it was not certain that any thing was due to the President. For aught that appeared, the result of the inquiry might shew that the President was, on the contrary, indebted to the Government. If a select committee is appointed, it will be their duty to report what is the true state of the fact. This is all that the message asks for. The President asks for no bill—he expressly says that he will sign no bill in his own favor—and he presumes that none, intended to bring him in debt to the nation, will be presented to him for his signature, (though he did not doubt for a moment, that, should such a bill be presented to him from this House, he would sign it without hesitation.) Should the select committee discover that part of the expenses, to which the message alludes, had been incurred by the President while in his diplomatic character, that part of the accounts might afterwards go to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. If the supposed claim was found to touch the Executive expenditures, there was a standing committee to which that part of it might go. But he thought that a select committee was most proper, because they would devote their attention exclusively to the object, and would be enabled to report a statement of facts during the present session, and while the President was still in Washington. It would certainly not be treating that venerable person with the respect to which his years and long services entitled him, to drag him from his retirement, after he shall have left his high station, and compel him to come to Washington to attend to a settlement of accounts; and, besides, it might then be viewed by him as indelicate to apply for al lowances after his time of service shall have expired. It could not be doubted that the claims of the President were, in his own view of them, founded in justice, and the investigation he had asked for was honorable to him, and ought not to be refused. Mr. McLANE, of Delaware, then rose, and observed, that it did not appear to him to be very material to what committee the document was referred, if the House determine to consider the subject now at all. But, before he voted, he should like to have some information as to the nature of the difficulties to which the message seems to allude. He was perfectly ready to aid in any investigation which was requested, so far as his situation in the House might give him any facilities in so doing; but, as a private member, he wished to know what is the nature of the accounts alluded to. Are they accounts which have been settled 2 If they are not settled,
why, then there is the most imperious obligation that they should be settled as soon as possible; but, if they have been settled, and there is no balance against the | President, he did not clearly perceive what was the object he had in view. He hoped the genueman from
Pennsylvania, (Mr. Isgram,) would consent to let the paper lie upon the table for the present, until some farther information could be obtained to guide the House as to the proper course to be taken. For one, he pro
fessed himself to be in utter ignorance on the subject. |
Mr. McCOV, of Virginia, hoped the message would
not be sent to the Committee of Claims—which was already sufficientiy burthened with business. It was not in the contemplation of the President, it was evident, that any thing definitive should be done the present session in relation to the subject of his message. The investigation of it would obviously be a business of considerable labor, as it appeared that private as well as public accounts were to be investigated, and these running back for many years. The Committee of Claims was, of all other standing committees of this House, least able to undertake an investigation of this nature and extent—and he concurred with the gentleman from Delaware, (Mr McLANE,) in a wish that the Message might lie on the table till the House were better advised what to do with it. Mr. BARTLETT again rose, to express a hope that he had not been misunderstood in the remarks he had made when first up. As his motion had been to refer so much only of the message as relates to the private and personal claims of Mr Moshoe, to the Committee of Claims, if it should appear that there were no claims of this kind referred to by the Message, then his motion would have no effect; but if there were any such claims, then it would go to refer then to a conmittee, the special object of which was claims of such a description. He wished to say one word in reply to the gentleman from Louisiana, (Mr. BRExt,) who objected to sending it to the Committee of Claims, because that committee had already so much business that it could not attend to this during the present session. Mr. B. said, he would only observe, that, if this were a valid objection, it was equally valid against sending any other claim whatever to that committee from now to the end of the session. But, for himself, such was his confidence in the diligence as well as the ability and fidelity of that committee, that with him this objection had little weight. He denied having any other object than to aid the views expressed by the President in setting a precedent which might be the most proper and most salutary. He attached no suspicion whatever to any select committee of this House to which the subject night be referred— but he thought it was most fit in itself that an individual personal claim, though that of a citizen in the highest office of the State, should go where other claims went of the same kind. Mr. LIVERMORE, of N. H. objected to any division of the subjects of the Message as inconvenient. There was a strong precedent for the appointment of a select committee, to examiue the accounts of the President, in the case of the accounts of the Vice President, which were thus examined. It was indeed true, that his accounts had first been presented at the Treasury: but they had ultimately been submitted to a select committee of this House. He admitted the general principle, that all who ask justice at our hands, should stand alikebut it does not therefore follow, that the same rule of business should be applied to all cases. It was also true, that there were standing committees of the House, to which all business of a particular kind was erdinarily referred; and yet it was a frequent practice to send business of the same kind to a select committee. He hoped a select committee would be appointed, and that the whole matter would be entrusted to them for investigation. Mr. HAMILTON, of S. C., said, that he thought that it was not an unimportant portion of the inquiry before the House, in reference to the direction which it was proper to give the message of the President, to ascertain what had been its usual practice, in similar cases: and, whilst he cordially subscribed to the republican doctrine of the gentleman from New Hampshire, that the chief magistrate of this nation was entitled to no higher privileges of justice than the humblest man in our country, he would undertake to say, that, in the present instance, it was merely attempted to give to this
JAN. 11, 1825.]
officer the same measure of justice and comity which was usually accorded to a private claimant under similar circumstances. Without going over an infinity of private claims, in which their merits had been investigated and discussed by select committees, he would allude to two cases at the last session, because they were familiar to the memory of all who heard him. These were the accounts of the Vice President, Mr. Tompkins, and the claims of Major Piatt-cases which would be recollected, as they had challenged a large portion of the interest and sympathy of the House. Nor was it necessary to advert to the reference made to a select committee during the present session, for the purpose of considering the services and sacrifices of a distinguished individual,
exceptit might be for the mere purpose of indulging in the
delightful gratification which had been felt among ourselves, and by the country at large, at the manner in which that committee had so nobly discharged their duty. Mr. H. said, that it was a sound rule of practice in
that House, to refer claims of a miscellaneous charac-.
ter to select committees; and, in the present instance, what did the President ask of us * That all his pecuniary transactions with the Government, spread over a useful life of upwards of forty years public service, should be investigated, and even upon the strictest principles, if he should be found a debtor, that he might discharge the consequent obligation, and have the evening of his life undisturbed even by the breath of suspicion. That the President was not a mere volunteer in this matter would be obvious, when it was recollected, at the last session, that something had been intimated that at least a portion of his pecuniary transactions, with an agent of the Public, required explanation. The gentleman from Delaware had asked what this committee was to investigate, as no specific claims had been stated 2 Mr. H. said, that he did not pretend to know, from any source of authority, what were the precise extent, nature, and character of the claims in question; but if he had even less information than he really had on the subject, he would at least be disposed to do the Executive the justice to believe, that, when he sent a message founded on their alleged existence, that they not only existed, but were entitled to the respect and attention of this House. He had, however, no objection to state, that he had casually learnt that the claims in question were, for services rendered by the President in a diplomatic character abroad, and expenditures incurred in such services; and that, whilst the claims of other persons had been admitted, precisely of the same character, the adjustment of his own had been injuriously withheld, immediately after his return from Europe. The cause of the delay in their settlement, prior to his coming to the Department of State, during the period of his retirement in Virginia, those who knew him could easily solve, by his habitual disregard for money, and from the easy generosity which characterized his efforts in relation to all gains that were personal to himself. But really, Mr. H. said, he presumed that the object of every gentleman was the same, a precise ascertainment of the facts connected with these claims, and with the accounts of the President generally, whilst this individual was at the seat of Government, and would have it in his power to furnish both testimony and explanation. The President did not ask, but had expressly repudiated the idea of any decision on the justice of the claims during the term of his office. All he wished of you was, that, when evidence could be collected without inconvenience, that you should take the proper means of collating it. Indeed, he had all along, even when Secretary of State, or whilst in public office, refrained from pressing a settlement, from a scrupulous delicacy, that was worthy of the highest commendation. The simple question then is, ought these claims to be refer.
red to the Committee of Claims, constantly and oppressively burdened with a superabundance of business, or ought they not rather to be sent to a Committee raised specially for the purpose, who could have time to investigate them fully, notwithstanding their possibly miscellaneous character, and report the facts for an ulterior and future decision of this House, when the distinguished individual to whom they relate, should be beyond the | exercise of power and patronage This was all that he asked, and as little as we could well accord to him. Mr. H. said, in concluding, he had but one remark to make in reply to the observations of the gentleman from | New Hampshire, “that select committees were usually partial.” He thought this observation was practically ob. viated by the power which the Speaker had, at least in this case, to make his selection of the committee from the whole House, without the smallest limitation whatsoever, except as to number. The judicious exercise of the power, by the person who now fills the chair, was guarantied by the intelligence, firmness, and inde. pendence, which uniformly characterized his conduct. He, therefore, hoped that the gentlemen who had opposed it would perceive the reasonableness of making the reference to a select committee, and not to the Com. mittee of Claims, both on the grounds of precedent, right, and expediency, and would afford to their vene. rable Chief Magistrate the same privilege and facilities which had been yielded to others. Mr. COCKE, of Tennessee, observed, that it had not been his intention to say a single word on this subject; but it would be recollected that, at the last session, the gentleman from South Carolina had thrown out some insinuations with regard to himself, when some accounts of the President had been alluded to, and great exceptions were taken to the idea of having those accounts investigated. He should not now pursue the same course as to the insinuations referred to. He had, in his hands, evidence in respect to these transactions, which he would not offer to the House, intending to make a dif. ferent use of it, which any gentleman was free to examine, and which he believed would remove every er. roneous impression in regard to himself, from the mind of every one who did so. As for the subject now before the House, he, for his own part, cared very little to what committee the papers should be sent. The accounts of the Vice President had been referred, he believed, not to a select committee, but to the Committee of ways and Means—but he might be mistaken. Mr. HAMILTON said he would state, for the information of the House, that he had himself been a member of the Select Committee to whom the accounts of the Vice President were referred. They had, indeed, after. wards gone to the Committee of Ways and Means, but it was merely for a financial purpose. Mr. A. STEVENSON, of Va. begged to make a single suggestion to the House, as to the destination which this subject ought to take. There were but two inqui. ries, in his opinion, which it was necessary to make: Was there sufficient information now before the House, to enable it to act and, if so, ought it to be referred ; and to what committee It was to these points the attention of the House ought to be directed. Mr. S said, he did not concur in the opinion which he had understood his friend from Delaware (Mr. M'LANE) to express, that the information now in their possession was insufficient to authorize the reference of the subject to the consideration of a committee. He believed the message would be found to contain, upon this point, all that could be required. In it, the President tells us, that he has had control over the public moneys, to a vast amount—that he has “long been in the public service, abroad and at home,” and that there are matters of account and claims between himself and his country, which are u::seutled, and ought to be adjusted. That the cause of the delay, in presenting these claims, shall be explained to the
committee to whom the subject may be referred. Here then is distinct information, as to the fact of unsettled accounts between this officer and the Government. which not only authorize but require us to act. What other information can be required, at this stage of the business Mr. S. thought none. But to what committee ought the subject to go There was, Mr. Stev ENson said, no standing committee of the House, whose duties would embrace the whole subject. These claims might not have arisen in the same character. Those which relate to his diplomatic character, would belong, appropriately, to the Committee on Foreign Relations— those in his individual character, to the Committee of Claims, and those as President of the United States, to a Select Committee. Was it expedient or proper to cut up the subject and refer it to three distinct committees, when the whole can be acted upon by one 2 Mr. S. said, he thought not; and should, therefore, prefer the latter course. Let the whole subiect be referred to an intelligent select committee—let the facts be reported, and we shall then be fully competent to apply the rules and principles which ought to govern us in the adjustment of claims against the Government. . The President will then stand upon the same ground with every other citizen, who comes here for relief. This had been asked by the President as a matter of sheer justice and right. He had long been in the public service, and was anxious that the evening of his life should be peaceful and undisturbed. So far, Mr. S. said, as this inquiry would be the means of accomplishing this object, it should have his support. He should, therefore, vote for the original proposition of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. INgh AM.) Mr. M'LANE, again rose. All that he wished, he said, was information as to the nature of the claims alluded to in the message of the President. He should, he said, cheerfully afford to the President of the United States any inquiry he might wish, through a committee of this House, whether for the settlement of his accounts, or to resist any aspersion, founded or unfounded, on his character. His objection to acting on this subject, was to the indefiniteness of the nature of the claim which had been presented to the House. If, said he, this is a mere matter of account--if the object be only to adjust and settle existing aceounts between the United States and the President, it is not a subject within our province. If it be a matter of claim, founded on injustice done to him in the settlement of his accounts, in which the officers of Government have been govern. ed by strict and rigorous construction of law, but in regard to which, there are equitable considerations, which place it fairly before us, then is it properly presented here, and ought to be deliberately examined, &c. Under such circumstances, it would stand on the same footing with other cases which had been referred to as precedents. Mr. M'LANE said, he did not believe, that a case had ever arisen, in which an individual had come to this House to settle his accounts, where no legal obstacle stood in the way of their settlement. If, in the settlement of his public accounts, a balance had been found against Mr. Monroe; or, if items of his account against the Government had been rejected, Mr. M'LANE granted, that it would have been a fair subject to justify the interposition of this House, and he would be willing to give it that direction. If the message really involved a variety of accounts between the Government and Mr. Monroe, then it ought to go to a select committee, for in that case, Mr. M'LANE agreed with the gentleman from Virginia, that the very diversity of those accounts furnished a strong reason why a select committee, embracing the powers of all the committees of the House, should be appointed to take it into consideration. He should like to know, he said, what these accounts were. No balance had been reported against the President, and he was very well satisfied that none could be. But, if
he had accounts not yet settled, Mr. M'L' submitted that the Proper course would be, for a settlement of these accounts of the President to take place. If there were any items of his accounts with the Government which could not be settled under existing laws, but which had equity for their support, it would be time enough, when that fact was ascertained, for Congress to undertake to adjust them. Whilst up, Mr. M'LANE said, he would take occasion to express his regret, that this distinguished individual, had thought it necessary for his reputation—it was certainly not necessary for his reputation—or for his interest, to take the course he had done in this matter. Mr. BUCHANAN, of Pennsylvania, said, that, as to himself, he would rather the President had exhibited his claim before the House in a precise and distinct form, and demanded its payment. He did not conceive it necessary for the character of that distinguished individual, that he should request a general investigation of his pecuniary transactions with the Government. But, said he, that was a proper subject for the exercise of his own discretion ; and he has determined otherwise. What, then, is it right, we should do? A well tried, and a faithful public servant, who, for eight years, has occupied the most distinguished station in this country, thinks it necessary for his reputation, to ask of you a general investigation into all his pecuniary transactions with the Government. He considers that his character in this particular has been unjustly assailed; and, about to retire from office, he wishes it to be placed beyond suspicion before the world. For this purpose he has requested of us to inquire into his public conduct, so far as it regards his accounts with the Government. Can we, upon any just principle, refuse this request? Certainly not. He has a right to demand it. By what committee, then, shall this investigation be made 2 Gentlemen who think the subject properly belongs to the committee of claims, have, in my opinion, said Mr. B., taken a view of it much too narrow. It is certain that the message of the President asserts the existence of a claim against the government; and if this were all which it contained, it would be a proper subject of reference to the Committee of Claims. But, it is equally certain, it proceeds much further. It asks an investigation of his pecuniary transactions, as a public servant, during the long series of years to which he has been in the employment of the nation. To divide the message and refer a portion of it to one standing committee, and a portion to another, as has been suggested, would separate into parts a subject which is, in its nature, entire. Mr. B. therefore, preferred its reference to a select committee which would possess powers sufficient to grasp the whole subject. Again, said Mr. B., the message seems to have been misunderstood by gentlemen, in regard to another particular. You are not asked to legislate upon it. No money is, at this time, demanded from you. . The President would not make such a request, whilst he stands in his present relation to this House. All he asks is, that a committee shall investigate and report to the House the testimony which he may exhibit, together with his own personal explanations. After his term of office shall have expired, he does not wish to leave his retirement for the purpose of attending to this investigation. The message expressly disclaims any view to legislation during the present session: it only asks that such prelimi: nary inquiries may be made as will render his personal attendance hereafter unnecessary. Said Mr. B. business of this peculiar nature certainly does not properly belong to any standing committee of this House. After the testimony shall have been reported, it may be proper, at the next session of Congress, to refer a part of it to one of the standing committees, and a part to another. Mr. B. concluded by observing, that it would be both JAN. 11, 1825.]
unjust and unkind to refuse to the President the appointment of a select committee upon the subject. Mr. TRIMBLE, of Kentucky, said, he thought that light enough had been thrown upon the subject to enable the House to vote a reference to some committee, standing or select; and it did not appear to him that any further discussion would be useful. There must, of course, be some delicate considerations involved in any matter of account brought up for settlement on the part of the Chief Magistrate. Some members propose to treat it as a claim made by a private citizen—and nothing could be more correct, as a general rule-but that did not establish the propriety of referring the case to any of the standing committees. How would it be if a claim was set up against the President for moneys due the Treasury Would an inquiry moved against him be sent to a standing committee Certainly not. And why should his demand against the Treasury be treated otherwise than it would be, if it were a demand by the Treasury upon him. Perhaps it was just to say that something in the shape of courtesy was due to the person who claims this inquiry into his accounts. He ought at least to have the facilities of other citizens, and heretofore it had been usual to refer miscellaneous claims of this description to select committees. Standing committees were established by the rules of the House, for convenience, and the despatch of business, but, after 40 years of public service, a request to raise a select committee, and refer the accounts to it, was but a small favor, and probably not more than was due to the House, and the nation, and the claimant, and the station which he fills. The name of the committee would not change the responsibility of the members placed upon it, and there could be no doubt that any select committee would do full justice to the claimant and the nation. Mr. MERCER again rose, and said, that, the President having deferred an exposition of the nature of his claims until the appointment of a committee on the subject, it seemed to be due to him, on the part of those who might be in possession of any information on the subject, to withhold it. But, after what had been said, he might be excused both by the House and the President, for referring to facts which came to his knowledge twelve or fourteen years ago, long before Mr. Mox Roe became President, the statement of which might serve to remove the only objection which had been seriously urged to an investigation of the subject of the message. Mr. M. here gave a brief statement of the rendition, by Mr. Moxaos, of his accounts for settlement, after his return from his diplomatic service in Europe—of the settlement of them being deferred, &c. You very well know, said Mr. M. (addressing the chair, then temporarily occupied by Mr. P. P. Bannoun,) how unwilling the state which we represent has been at all times to present any claims of hers to this House—how sensitive every individual Representative of that State on this floor has been in preventing the presentation of the claim of that commonwealth for interest on money advanced by her for the use of the United States during the late war, and that surfive or six years it has been kept back, from that consideration alone. The very same motive must have influenced Mr. Moxhoe in refraining from presenting to the then President, an inhabitant of his own state, a disputed account for settlement. I know, said Mr. M. that this consideration alone prevented him from doing it.time afterwards, Mr. Mercer said, in a list of persons reported to Congress as indebted to the government, had appeared the name of James Monroe, as indebted some $80,000. In a wretched state of health, he had immediately mounted his horse and come hither from his residence in Albermarle county. He presented his vouchers, and his accounts were settled, and a balance found due to him, although a large amount of his account against the United States yet remained suspended. That, Mr. M. hoped, would be considered a suffiVol. I.-12.
cient reason for a reference of this subject to a commit. tee, which, from the miscellaneous character of the accounts of the President, ought to be a select committee. What other course, Mr. M. asked, would gentlemen have the President to pursue * Would they have him present himself before an Auditor of his own appointment, and present a claim for settlement? What character would the settlement of such a claim wear to this House? Would not such a course be indiscreet in the President, in reference to his own character? That course, it must be admitted, he could not have taken; and, if not, this was the only other left open to him. * Mr. FARRELLY said, he hoped the message woul go to a select committee. Such a reference would only be complying with the wishes of the President as expressed in it, (here Mr. F. quoted the message, and commented on its several clauses.) It was manifest that the subject, if not referred to a select committee, must go to various standing committees of the House, each of which might report a bill. Thus, there might be half a dozen bills before the House at once, and as many differ. ent reports. . The gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. M“LANE,) wishes to know the nature of claims, and what they are founded on, before he refers them to any committee; but, Mr. F. said, the President purposely avoided this, and said that he would disclose the nature of the claims to the committee, when it was appointed. The President also expressly desired that whatever was done, might be done before the session was closed, and he had stated a good reason why he had called on this House, as the only proper and competent tribunal, to pass upon his integrity in the pecuniary trusts which the nation'has committed to him. Mr. Monroe had received the highest trust upon earth; and in relinquishing it, he demanded an investigation of his conduct. Shall we not gratify him, said Mr. F. Is it not an honorable request – Surely; and the proper respect due to it, is the appointment of a select committee to make the investigation. Mr. INGHAM rose for the purpose of satisfying the gentleman from Delaware. He was able, from inquiry, to assure that gentleman, that no balance existed on the books of the Treasury against the President. It could not be expected, from his situation, as having brought forward the present motion, that he should press for the appointment of a select committee." He would, however, make one remark on what the gentleman from New Hampshire (Mr. BARTLETT) had said, in relation to improperbias operating on select committees. The remark must either have relation to the honorable speaker, (whose duty it would be to appoint the committee,) or to himself. But the Speaker could not be alluded to; his conduct, in the discharge of the duties of the chair, was notoriously such as to forbid such a thought: it must then be himself, to whom the gentleman alluded. But, Mr. 1. said, he would assure that gentleman, that he was as independent, in the discharge of his duties, as a Representative of this floor, as the gentleman himself; and he thought it was too much, for any one member of the House to assume the guardianship of the independence of all the other members. For one, he could not suffer the exercise of such guardianship, as respected himself. Mr. REYNOLDS observed, that the gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. BuchanaN,) had told the House much about the faithful services of the President for forty years, &c. All this, Mr. R. said, was well enough known. But the question was, whether there was any thing on the face of this document which required the appointment of any committee at all? Is this House, asked Mr. R. constantly to be interrupted for every squib that may be thrown, in the House or out of it, at the conduct of the President He believed, for his own part,