« ForrigeFortsett »
“1st, In the event of its appearing, on opening all the certificates, and counting the votes given by the electors of the several states for President, that no person has a majority of the votes of the whole number of the electors appointed, and the result shall have been declared, the same shall be entered on the journals of this House.” This rule, having been read, was agreed to. The second rule, on motion of Mr. BASSETT, was amended, by inserting, after the word “called”, the words “by states;” and, thus amended, it reads as follows: * 2d, The roll of the House, shall then be called, by states, and, on its appearing that a member or members from two-thirds of the states are present, the House shall immediately proceed, by ballot, to choose a President from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as Presi. dent; and in case neither of those persons shall receive the votes of a majority of all the states on the first ballot, the House shall continue to ballot for a President, without interruption by other business, until a President be chosen.” And, thus amended, it was agreed to. The third rule having been read, a motion was made to strike out the last clause, which orders the galleries to be cleared at the request of the delegation of any one state. On this question, Mr. M'DUFFIE rose, and observed, that he left it to the House to determine on whom the responsibility rested, of giving to the present discussion the extensive range which it had taken. For himself, he had adopted as a constant rule, not to consume the time of the House by any remarks which had not a direct reference to the subject before it, or, which were not drawn out, by topics brought into the discussion by other gentlemen. As to the present discussion, he had considered the gentleman from Delaware as assuming, at the commencement of it, as the ground on which he thought it wise policy to clear the galleries, that members of this House, when engaged in electing a President, did not act as the delegates of the people, and were not responsible to them. The reply which he himself had made, was directed only to this principle. It went no further. In replying to his remark, the gentleman from North Carolina and the gentleman from Delaware, had extended the discussion still further, and had made a theoretical discussion of the powers of the House to bear on the question immediately before it. And now, at the close of one of the most eloquent and imposing arguments ever delivered in this House, a member rises in his place and suggests the impolicy of continuing the argument. He felt very great respect for that member, but he considered the matter to be discussed as of the greatest importance. The principle laid down had a very wide and extensive bearing, and he felt it his duty to submit to the dictates of his own judgment, and give the principle that discussion which he consideredit entitled to receive. The responsibility rested upon him, and he well knew the impatience of the House, and was aware of the lateness of the hour; but he was compelled, notwithstanding these disadvantages, to go into the argument, and to reply both to the gentleman from North Carolina and the gentleman from Delaware. Both of those gentlemen had put cases, urged with a great deal of ingenuity, to show that the doctrine for which he contended, viz.: that, in electing a President, the people have a right to instruct their delegates, would operate, in practice, to defeat the election. Sir, said Mr. M'D. if that consequence can be shown to be fairly deducible from the principle I advocate, I will abandon it. But I think, that, so far from this being the case, the danger exists only in the imagination of the gentlemen who urge it. What is the case supposed by the gentleman from North Carolina o That there are three candidates; and that eight states vote for each of them. well, take that case. The gentlemen say, if the people
have a right to instruct their delegates, then, instructions once given, cannot be resisted, and so the delegate must go on voting to the end, for the candidate designated by his own state, and thus the election will be prevented altogether. But this statement arises from an entire misapprehension of the ground I take. I did not contend that the delegate must go on voting to the end as he began, and so defeat the election. I only contended that the popular will of the state is as binding on me, as they say the dictate of conscience is binding on them. I will, therefore, turn the gentlemen's case upon themselves. Suppose there are three candidates, and the members from eight states hold themselves bound in conscience to vote each of them, can there be an election in this case ? No, sir. They say, that if the popular will is to bind me, I must continue to submit to it. Well, sir, if conscience is to bind them, they must continue to submit to it. I do not say that the people have a legal right to instruct their delegates, but— [Here, Mr. WEBSTER observed, that he rose with great pain. He hoped the gentleman from South Carolina would do him the justice to believe, that nothing but an imperious conviction of duty induced him to interrupt an argument which he knew it would give him pleasure to hear, but he submitted whether it was in order to go into an argument in the House in reply to an argument urged in committee of the whole, any more than if it had been urged in a select committee.] The SPEAKER decided that the observations of Mr. M’DuffIE were not in order, on the ground stated, and that they were not in order for another reason, viz. that the whole scope of the debate was irrelevant to the question actually before the House. Mr. M'DUFFIE, upon the latter ground, submitted to the decision of the Chair. The question was then put on the amendment, and carried, Mr. WRIGHT moved further to amend the rule, by inserting, after the words “Senators,” the words “Stenographers;” which was carried. And the rule, as amended, was adopted, and read, as follows: “3d, The doors of the Hall shall be closed during the balloting, except against members of the Senate, Stenographers, and the Officers of the House.” The fourth rule was then read, and adopted as follows: “4th, From the commencement of the balloting, until an ekection is made, no proposition to adjourn shall be received, unless on the motion of one state, seconded by another state; and the question shall be decided by states. The same rule shall be observed in regard to any motion to change the usual hour for the meeting of the House.” The fifth rule was then read, in the words following: “5th, in balloting, the following mode shall be observed, to wit: The Representatives of each state shall be arranged and seated together, beginning with the seat at the right hand of the Speaker's chair, with the members from the state of Maine; thence, proceeding with the members from the states in the order the states are usually named for receiving petitions, around the Hall of the House, until all are seated; A ballot box shall be provided for each state; The Representatives of each state shall, in the first instance, ballot among themselves, in order to ascertain the vote of their state, and they may, if necessary, appoint tellers of their ballots; After the vote of each state is ascertained, duplicates thereof shall be made out, and, in case any one of the persons from whom the choice is to be made, shall receive a majority of the votes given, on any one balloting, by the Representatives of a state, the name of that person shall be written on each of the duplicates; and, in case the votes so given shall be divided, so that neither
of said persons shall have a majority of the whole number of votes given by such state on any one balloting, then the word “divided,” shall be written on each duplicate; After the delegation from each state shall have ascertained the vote of their state, the Clerk shall name the states in the order they are usually named for receiving petitions; and, as the name of each is called, the Sergeant-at-Arms shall present to the delegation of each two ballot boxes, in each of which shall be deposited, by some Representative of the state, one of the duplicates made as aforesaid, of the vote of said state, in the presence, and subject to the examination, of all the members from said state then present; and, where there is more than one Representative from a state, the duplicates shall not both be deposited by the same person. When the votes of the states are thus all taken in, the Sergeant-at-Arms shall carry one of the said ballot boxes to one table, and the other to a separate and distinct table ; One person from each state, represented in the balloting, shall be appointed by its Representative to tell off said ballots; but, in case the Representatives fail to appoint a teller, the Speaker shall appoint; The said Tellers shall divide themselves into two sets, as nearly equal in number as can be, and one of the said sets of Tellers shall proceed to count the votes in one of said boxes, and the other set the votes in the other box; When the votes are counted by the different scts of Tellers, the result shall be reported to the House, and if the reports agree, the same shall be accepted as the true votes of the states: but, if the reports disagree, the states shall proceed, in the same manner as before, to a new ballot.” Mr. HAMILTON, of S. C. then moved to amend this rule, by striking out what follows the words, “a ballot box shall be provided for each state,” and inserting the following: “Labelled, with the name of the state, placed in front of the Speaker's chair, on the Clerk's table—placed in the order of the states. The Clerk shall then proceed to call each delegation in the order in which petitions are called, and the member of each delegation shall place his ballot in the box labelled with the name of the state. After all the states have thus voted, then the members of each delegation shall nominate a member of their delegation to act as Teller, who shall proceed, with the rest of the Tellers appointed by the several delegations, to count the votes of each state, commencing in the order in which they are called; at the close of which count, the separate vote of each state shall be declared by the senior member of the Committee of Tellers, as well as the result of the aggregate ballot. Should the delegation of any state fail to appoint a Teller, then the Speaker shall nominate one, and where there is but one member of a state, he shall act as Teller. These rules shall be observed in each successive ballot, until a choice is produced, in conformity with the provisions of the constitution of the United States.” Mr. HAMILTON rose, and observed that, in offering this amendment, he disclaimed any intention to provoke a debate on a subject which might be susceptible of extended and various considerations. My object, (said Mr H.)is to endeavor to adopt, within the provisions of the constitution, some mode by which the vote of each state, (not the members of the several states,) may be ascertained. To the members composing the delegations l know that the privilege of a secret ballot is secured. This I do not propose to violate ; but I do propose that some mode should be adopted, by which the vote of the state, when given, should be put on record on the journals of this House, and the people be enabled, in an authentic form, to know how their Representatives have given the vote of the states which they represent.
Election of President.
: each state having one vote.
[Feb. 7, 1825.
Now, by the mode reported by the committee, there are to be twenty-four distinct and secret colleges, each state acting under its own discretion, and the strange result might occur, that, in one delegation, blank votes would be counted, and, in another, rejected, and by this clashing it might, in effect, arise, that an election should he produced, which was not the result of a majority of the states. The amendment he had submitted, provided that the vote of each state should be in a separate ballot box, and be thus told and declared. He felt satisfied that, although it seemed in its operation to disclose the vote of a member, when that person represented alone a whole state, yet this was an accident either of good fortune or bad, according to the pride and regret with which such gentlemen might view their situation. Besides, he did not suppose that any gentleman on that floor would desire to have any result, produced by his acts, attributed to another, which, in the portentous darkness which was about to veil their proceedings in relation to the mode of balloting, might occur. In conclusion, he would say, that we were bound, as far as it was admissible, within the secret ballot, accorded to each member, to allow the people to understand, at least in our condescension, how the vote of their different states have been given, in a shape more authentic than rumor, or even a newspaper report. He defied any man, in the odious contest of 1801, to determine how the states had voted, from the journals of this House; and he thought such a mysterious mode of choice suited rather the muffled secrecy of a Venetian Senate, than an assembly representing a free people. Let us have no approach, even in appearance, in our transactions on this eventful occasion, to that terrible image of jealousy, se. crecy, and prostration of public freedom, exhibited by the brazen lion of Venice, which, with his gaping mouth, receives a vote which comes whence nobody knows, and for which nobody is responsible. Mr. WEBSTER requested leave to make a single remark, which might save further discussion. The rule, as proposed by the gentleman from South Carolina, would be in direct violation of the constitution. The constitution says, that the states shall vote by ballot. But the proposed amendment would defeat that intention. Some of the states are represented only by a single delegate; and, if the proposed amendment prevail. ed, each of these gentlemen is compelled to declare in what way he has voted. Mr. HAMILTON observed, in reply to the gentleman from Massachusetts, that, on a question involving a construction of the constitution, he would advance his own opinions with some deference, in opposition to the opinions of that gentleman. But he contended that, substantially, by his mode, the vote was given by states, which was all the constitution renders necessary; that, so long as the mode by which the sense and vote of each state were ascertained was by ballot, all the requisitions of the constitution were complied with. His amend. ment, in fact, merely provided for a separate ballot box for each state, rather than a general one, by which the vote of the several states would be wholly unknown. Mr. H. then dwelt very briefly on several public cons. derations, which rendered such knowledge important, and concluded by saying, that, fron the lateness of the hour, and the short time which was allowed them now for the passage of the rules, he would not press the discussion further. Mr. WRIGHT, of Ohio, observed, that if gentlemen would examine the rule reported by the committee, and the amendment proposed by the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. HAMilton,) with the constitution, they would find the rule was, and the amendment was not, consistent with it. The constitution requires the choice to be made by ballot; the votes to be taken by states, The amendment goes upon
the principle, that you must present to the House one vote for each member from a state, instead of one vote for each state, without regard to the number of members. The difference must be obvious. The rule prescribes the manner in which each state shall ascertain its vote, and when ascertained, how that vote shall be presented to the House, and be told off; the amendment seeks to deprive the states of a vote by ballot, and to confer power on the Tellers, who shall ascertain, by counting the ballots of the members, how the state would vote, to give that vote viva voce, not by ballot. The House, constitutionally, has little to do in determining the vote of the states. Its main power on the subject commences when that vote has been determined. The amendment is objectionable in another point of view. It leaves to the Tellers to settle the disputed question, (without the control of the delegation or the House,) whether the vote or ballot of a state shall result from a bare plurality, or depend on a majority, of the ballots in each delegation. This is a question, sir, of too much importance to leave for adjustment in such a way. It should be settled by the House, voting per capita, and before any result is known, calculated to influence the decision—it should be settled now. For himself, Mr. W. said, having carefully examined the provisions of the constitution relating to the election of President, with a view to understand its literal meaning, as well as to discover its spirit, he entertained no doubt, but a majority of the delegation of any one state was necessary to determine its vote, and that nothing short of it would do. He felt confident the House would so determine. Mr. HAMILTON spoke in reply, and made some observations to show that his proposal was in conformity with the constitution. He hoped that at least so much of it as provides twenty-four separate ballot boxes would be adopted. He insisted, that it ought to be known publicly and officially, how each state had voted, and regretted the want of this knowledge touching the election of 1801. Mr. M*DUFFIE advocated the amendment of the gentleman from South Carolina. The question now was, whether the constitution was to be so interpreted as to throw an impenetrable veil over the proceedings of this House, in so important an act as the choice of a Chief Magistrate. He felt bound to protect the honor of his state, and his own honor; but the rule, as it at present stood, rendered it impossible for him to show that he had been faithful to his constituents. Mr. M'D. quoted the constitution, and insisted that the amendment was not inconsistent with it—that the constitution did not require that the vote of the states should be concealed ; nor did it ever mean to screen the votes of the delegates themselves from the public scrutiny. In declaring that the votes should be by states, it meant no more than that all the states should have an equal voice. It directed not that they should vote by states, but that they should be counted by states. If it happened that some of the states had only one delegate, that did not alter the requirements of the constitution, nor the propriety of the plan proposed by his colleague. The constitution would still be obeyed. He had no suspicion that the gentleman from Delaware, or any other of those gentlemen who stood alone in representing states, had any wish to conceal the vote that they should give, and he expressed a hope that they would support the amendruent. Mr. COOK, of Illinois, disclaiming all wish to have his vote concealed, was yet opposed to the adoption of the amendment now proposed, which he considered as striking a deadly blow at the constitution. A fundamental principle of that instrument was, that the Legislative and Executive Departments should be kept entirely separate. While, on the one hand, the President was protected from having an improper influence exerted over
him by members of this body, it was proper, on the
other hand, that the members of this House should be protected from his resentment, arising from a knowledge that any particular portion of them were opposed to his election. It was not proper that the President should know officially from whence his power was derived. He should receive it from the whole people, and exercise it alike for the good of every portion of them. When the constitution was revised in 1801, this great fundamental principle was preserved untouched. The rule proposed by the gentleman from South Carolina was calculated to render the Chief Magistrate the President of a party, not the President of the nation. The practical tendency was to array some of the states against the President, and the President against them, to cherish the seeds of faction, and to give to party spirit still greater bitterness. It was the duty of the House to be um
, pres, not agitators—to pacify the nation, not to irritate it.
Mr. W RIGHT again spoke in opposition to the amendment. He had supposed, he said, that no one could have doubted that the constitution required only one vote for each state, instead of one for each member of the House—in the present case twenty-four ballots instead of two hundred and thirteen; and he had supposedit equally clear, the framers of the constitution never contemplated that the proceeding should stop the moment you had ascertained whether the state intended to vote, before the ballot or vote was prepared and deposited ; but in this he found himself mistaken. He should despair of removing those doubts, and would forbearfurther argument as to it. It is urged that the plan proposed by the rule makes the proceedings among the members of the states secret, and that you have no way to find out how each man voted. Why should that be known What good could result from it Does the constitution authorize you to require publicity in this proceeding * I think not. Individually, I have no desire to keep my vote secret—I am willing to proclaim it to the world. The gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Cook,) has presented to you, much better than I could do, some of the principles which govern elections by ballot, and urged some forcible reasons why the votes should be secret. I agree with the gentleman in the views he has submitted. The requisition upon a voter by ballot, to endorse his name on the ballot, or to rise when about to vote, and proclaim for whom he voted, would entirely defeat the object of voting by ballot, and breakdown all the guards the constitution has established to protect the elector in the free enjoyment of this right.
Mr. STEWART, of Pennsylvania, regretted that time was not allowed more maturely to examine so important a proposition as that now before the House, before it was voted on. From the short consideration he had been able to give it, he could not perceive that it was inconsistent with the constitution, and he should vote for it because he perceived that its object was to remove every thing like secrecy from the transaction which was approaching. It was well known that the proceedings of this House on that occasion would be regarded by the people with suspicion. Was it a likely way of removing this to throw a mantle of secrecy over its proceedings? Was not this the way to set the tongue of slander in motion ? When an allegation was made, affecting the purity of any individual, would they be removed by his skulking and shrinking from observation ? Would not this rather rivet the suspicion ? If a man was charged with theft, was it a way to remove the charge, if he shut his door, and refused all admittance and observation 2 But, if he threw open the suspected place, invited observation, and displayed a frank, open, and candid deportment, the report would be disbelieved. So long as shadows, clouds, and darkness, were suffered to test on any of the doings of this House, the suspicions of the people would only be fixed and confirmed. With a view, however, to the further examination of the amendment, he moved that the House adjourn,
This motion was negatived by a large majority.
Mr. STEWART then demanded, that, when the question was taken on the amendment, it should be taken by yeas and nays. The House refused to order them.
The question was then put on Mr. HAMILTON'S amendment, and decided in the negative. Ayes 52– Noes 115.
And the rule, as above stated, was agreed to.
The remaining rules were then successively read, and adopted, as follows:
“6th, All questions arising after the balloting commences, requiring the decision of the House, which shall be decided by the House voting per capita, to be incidental to the power of choosing a President, shall be decided by states, without debate ; and, in case of an equal division of the votes of states, the question shall be lost.
7th, When either of the persons from whom the choice is to be made shall have received a majority of all the states, the Speaker shall declare the same, and that that person is elected President of the United States.
8th, The result shall be immeuiately communicated to the Senate by Message; and a committee of three persons shall be appointed to inform the President of the United States, and the President elect, of said election.”
And then the House adjourned.
IN SENATE–Tuesday, February 8, 1825. ELECTION OF PRESIDENT, &c. The committee on the part of the Senate, appointed to join such committee as might be appointed on the part of the House of Representatives, to ascertain and report a mode of examining the votes for President and Vice President of the United States, and of notifying the persons elected of their election, report, in part, the agreement of the Joint Committee to the following resolution : “Resolved, That the two Houses shall assemble in the Chamber of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the 9th day of February, 1825, at 12 o'clock; that one person be appointed teller on the part of the Senate, and two persons be appointed tellers on the part of the House, to make a list of the votes as they shall be declared; that the result shall be delivered to the Prestdent of the Senate, who shall announce to the two Houses, assembled as aforesaid, the state of the vote, and the person or persons elected, if it shall appear that a choice hath been made agreeably to the Constitution of the United States, which annunciation shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the person or persons elected, and, together with a list of the votes, shall be entered on the Journals of the two Houses. [The committee which made this report consisted, on the part of the Senate, of Mr. Tazewell, Mr. Wax Dyke, Mr. KING, of Alab. On the part of the House of Representatives, Mr. Taylon, Mr. Aitchen, Mr. Thompson, of Pa.] Mr. TALBOT suggested some difficulty in the order of proceeding recommended by the committee, and Mr. HOLMES, of Maine, proposed some amendment, but which he subsequently withdrew. These suggestions gave rise to some discussion of the subject, in which Messrs. Hol.MES, of Maine, TALBoT, TAzEwell, Low RIE, BARBOUR, Johnson, of ky. KING, of Alab. and VAN DYKE, participated. Mr. TAZEWELL went, at some length, into an explanation and Justification of the course adopted by the committee. In some points, in which the committee on the part of the Senate would have preferred a different arrangement, they were overruled by the committee on the part of the other House, which had its rights as well as the Senate. The mode reported by the committee
was precisely, however, the same as that adopted by the Senate, and agreed on by the two Houses, on similar occasions, from the year 1805 to 1817, inclusive. Mr. EATON then moved to add the following as an amendment: “If any objection shall arise to the vote or votes of any state, it shall be filed in writing and entered on the Journals of the Senate and House of Representatives; but the two Houses shall not separate until the entire votes are counted and reported, which report shall be liable to be controlled and altered by the decision to be made by the two Houses, after their separation, relative to any objections that may be made, and entered on the journals, provided no objection taken shall be considered valid unless concurred in by the two Houes.” This amendment was opposed by Mr. HAYNE and Mr. VAN BUREN, on the ground that it was now tou late to attempt to provide in anticipation for such an occur. rence ; that the Senate had, at the last session, passed a bill providing for every possible contingency for which the Constitution prescribed no rule, which bill the House of lepresentatives had not acted on; that, there. fore, if any difficulty should arise on the present occasion, the Senate could not be reproached for it; that as it was now too late to expect the two Houses to concur in any regulations of the kind, in time for the government of the proceedings to take place to-morrow, it was better to leave the remedy to be provided for in any case of difficulty that might unexpectedly arise, &c. &c. Mr. EATON replied, and urged the necessity of making an effort to provide for possible difficulty before hand, &c. The question was then taken on his amendment, and negatived without a division; and The report of the committee was concurred in. Mr. TAZEWELL was appointed teller on the part of the Senate.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.—saxe pay.
Mr. TAYLOR, from the Joint Committee, appointed to consider the mode of counting the votes for President and Vice President of the United States, made a report, in part; which was read.
The report is the same as that stated above in the Senate proceedings.]
The House agreed to the resolutions reported, and Mr. P. P. BARBOUR and Mr. TAYLOR were appoint. ed tellers according thereto.
CHE APEAKE AND OHIO CANAL.
Mr. MERCER moved that the bill to confirm an act of the General Assembly of Maryland, confirming an act of the General Assembly of Virginia to incorporate the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, be taken up. The motion prevailed—and the bill was taken up. Mr. COCKE observed, that he considered it dangerous to take up a bill of such importance, and pass it at once to a third reading, without due consideration, and inti. mated his belief that the passage of the bill would, with out doubt, be the precursor of a demand for a large appropriation of money for the object embraced by it. Mr C. concluded, by moving to refer the bill to a committee of the whole for further consideration. After a few observations from Mr. MERCER, denying that this bill was of any more importance in principle than other acts which had been passed as matter of course, such as those authorizing Turnpikes to be continued within the District, after passing the line from Maryland and Virginia, &c. The question was taken on committing the bill to a committee of the whole, and decided in the negative,
After a few words between Mr. MERCER, "Mr. LA.
Tilkop, and Mr. McKIM, as to the phraseology of the section
Feb. 8, 1825.] Chesapeake and Ohio Canal—Military Appropriations. [H. of R.
Mr. RANKIN, of Mississippi, rose, in opposition to the bill, as proposing to accomplish the object of it in the most exceptionable form. He believed the people of the United States were ready to go into a system of internal improvements, and there were two modes in which that object might be effected. The first was by the Go
vernment’s aiding individual efforts, by subscriptions to
stock, where a measure was of such a kind that the individuals could accomplish it themselves. The other was that, where individuals were incompetent to an object by their own private resources, the Government should take that design wholly into its own hands, and effect it by the public means. But the course proposed by the present bill was neither the one nor the other of these. It is a compound measure, between the United States, Virginia, and Maryland, who are all equally parties to it. The gentleman from Virginia had said, that the object of this bill is only to permit the cutting of a Canal through the District of Columbia. But this, Mr. R. said, was not all. The bill pledged the sanction of the United States to the Canal through its whole course. The Government would be committed by it to go quite through to the Ohio. The authority of this Government is asked, in connection with that of Virginia and Maryland, for a chain of Canals from the Chesapeake to Lake Erie. The Government had already done much. Surveys, plans, and estimates had been made—and in every report on the subject, this Canal had been selected as one of the most important objects. Why should it be put into the hands of Companies, when the Government was already doing every thing for it From considerations of this nature, Mr. R. was opposed to the passage of the bill at this timue, and moved its reference to a committee of the whole. Mr. MERCER replied, that he felt satisfied, that, if the honorable gentleman from Mississippi had devoted as much attention to this object, as he was in the habit of devoting to those which emanated from that committee of which he was the distinguished chairman (Committee on Public Lands,) he could not have so much mistaken the nature and object of the bill. The United States were called on to assent to the cutting of the Canal through the District of Columbia, where it was to terminate ; in the same way as the state of Delaware or Maryland would have been called on had it terminated in either of them. The assent of each must be given to the same object, as far as its territory was intersected, and that assent was as necessary for a Canal of two miles long, as it would be for one of two thousand. . It had been a question in the Convention of respectable gentlemen which assembled in this City some eighteen months ago, whether it was best to call on the states of Virginia and Maryland, for an appropriation of money, or to adopt the present course. Virginia was known to have constitutional scruples, adverse to the measure. There were but slender funds in Maryland, and if they called on the General Government prematurely for an
appropriation for the object, they would only defeat it. .
They therefore determined to call on those two states, and on the General Government, merely to assent to the act of incorporation, without asking for any appropriation of money whatever. If the bill had not been thus guarded, it would never have passed the Legislatures of Virginia or Maryland. It came before Congress with the sanction of both those states, to receive its sanction in its capacity of the Legislature for the District of Columbia. The bill, therefore, was not what it had been represented to be by the gentleman from Mississippi. That gentleman had proposed that further plans and estimates should be obtained previously to passing such on act. Does not the gentleman know, said Mr. M. that the General Government has no power over a great Part of this Canal? That, so long ago as 1783, in the
days of General Washington, a Company was incorporated, entitled the Potomac Company, to whom the control of the undertaking was given It is now proposed to organize another Company, with the consent of the old Company, for the purpose of carrying the design further than was then contemplated. Even the state of Virginia had so far recognized the authority of the Potomac Company, that it asked the consent of that Company before it would incorporate the Shenandoah Company. The gentleman was mistaken in supposing that the General Government had ordered any surveys of the Potomac. That river had already been carefully surveyed by other authority, and there existed no doubt of the possibility of forming the Canal. But did that gentleman ever hear of surveys being made by a Turnpike Company before the Company was incorporated 2 Did any body ever hear of such a thing The Company must first be created, and it is for the purpose of creating it that the present bill has been reported. Gentle. men would have us wait, said Mr. M. for a general system of Internal Improvement. This idea had been near paralyzing the measures improving the country at the present session, and he hoped it would not be suf. fered to mar this measure. The friends of the Canal might have asked a subscription to the stock of the Potomac Company as already organized, if they had not considered it wiser to take the present course. Mr. M. made some further remarks, in which he contended that there was no difference between incorporating a Turnpike Company, and incorporating a Canal Company. Congress had granted the one through the District without hesitation, and why not the other f He strongly represented the danger of delay, and the anxiety of the many thousands who were concerned in this great undertaking, and anxiously looking for the sanction of Congress. The bill took nothing from the soil, Mr. M. said, but, on the contrary, gave every thing to it.
Mr. STEWART, of Pa. stated that the books of subscription for this Canal, could not be opened until the present act was passed, as no body would subscribe to the Canal before they were sure that Government would permit it to enter the District of Columbia. Nor would Virginia or Maryland do any more without the same assurance. Mr. S. was going on in some general remarks on the importance of the Canal, which the Speaker interrupted, as not being pertinent to the motion for commitment, which is a question not of principle, but as to the mode of proceeding only.
The question was then taken, on referring the motion to a committee of the whole, and decided in the affirmative, 73 to 67.
MILITARY APPROPRIATIONS, &c.
The House having resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the bill making additional appropriations for the Military Service, and another for Fortifications— and The bill for Fortifications being under consideration, Mr. HAMILTON, as Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, moved to insert in the bill the following amendment : “For the establishment of a school of practice for the Light Artillery, $9,940.” In support of the amendment— Mr. HAMILTON, observed, that he had moved the amendment by express direction from the Committee out Military Affairs, in consequence of a reference of the subject by the House to that committee. The communication of the President respecting it, was accompanied by a report from the Department of War, in which the utility and necessity of such a school as that mentioned in the amendment, were strongly urged. The original