« ForrigeFortsett »
ceive it: that we shall not render it as a debt due to him, but as a gratification of our own feelings, and of the feelings of this nation. And, notwithstanding what has occurred here, 1 trust he will accept the off r, not as his right to receive, but as ours to give, as a gratification to ourselves, and as a small testimony of the gratitude of the nation. Mr. McD. trusted that the House would not attempt to investigate what cannot be proved, and will not; that it would not descend to the investigation of facts which are known to the whole world, and are in terwoven with the most interesting and important parts of our own history. Mr. MANGUM, of North Carolina, expressed his deep regret that, at this stage of a business which must for three weeks past have occupied a considerable portion of the attention of the members of this House, a motion should have been made to recommit this bill to investigate facts in the case : and he said he could not view the present motion in any other light than as one which was in effect to test the success of the present measure. On this subject, Mr. M. said, he most heartily concurred in the views of the gentleman who had just taken his seat. What, said he, is the object of this reference 2 To go into a calculation of pounds, shillings, and pence, with our distinguished benefactor, which he would reject with disdain, and which could not but fill his breast with scorn at the proposition. Such an investigation would be, besides, absolutely impracticable, except by submitting the private concerns and feelings of this distinguished person to a scrutiny which he would shrink from, and which we ought not to require. Are we to call upon that individual to lay before us his vouchers for voluntary donations for our benefit forty years ago Are we thus to compensate those services which are known even to every school-boy in our country I should deem such an examination, if its institution was thought necessary, fatal to this bill, because the objects which it would profess to seek after could never be obtained. And is it believed, by the mover and supporters of this proposition, that General Lafayette, his fortunes being reduced, has been invited to our shores in the imposing manner we have seen; that he has been received every where with an enthusiasm which does honor to the sons of heroes—to be called upon here to produce vouchers for his claims upon our gratitude 2 I have great respect, said Mr. M. for the scruples of gentlemen on the score of precedent; but, for myself, "I believe that such a case as this can never again occur; and, if it shall, will this people shrink from meeting it * The gentleman from Louisiana has given an exposition which, it appears to me, must satisfy every one who heard it as to the right of General Lafayette to receive compensation from the United States for services and sacrifices. But, sir, are we to spread a Procrustean bed for the feelings of that distinguished individual to be tortured upon 2 Are we to give the exact pound of flesh, without one jot of blood? Is such the feeling in which the proceeding towards General Lafayette originated If it is, the reproach is yet just, the adage is ratified, that Republics are ungrateful. I hope, sir, that the bill will not be recommitted, and that this House will not undertake to render Justice to merits and services such as Lafayette's under the influence of a petifogging disposition adapted to no higher vocation than litigation in small affairs before inferior courts. I could wish, for the honor of the American name, and still more for the honor of this House, that no such affair as this should have been meditated, unless we get out of the discussion of it in a manner more reputable than 1 begin to apprehend we shall. Mr. M. said he did not understand, from what had been said, that any opposition was made to this bill on the score of principle. If we turn over our records, said he, we shall find divers instances of appropriations in a much stronger manner impugning the principles advan
ced against this bill, than this bill does—instances of money granted merely in the way of gratuity, the present case being by no means one of that character. Was it, at this day, to be seriously argued that General Lafayette stood, in relation to our Revolution, on the footing of one of the people whose liberties were asserted by it The correct distinction between the two cases had been drawn elsewhere, that, where a foreign enemy invades a country, all its inhabitants are equally embarked in the contest, and must abide by the consequences of it, it not being in the power of the government to indemnify all individual losers in such a war. But was that the case with a generous foreigner, whose fortune and talent are liberally embarked in the defence of the oppressed party in the contest ? Surely not. It never can be the feeling of America that we should deal to him precisely the measure of strict right. But, let the present case be put even on that ground: it was proved by the exposition of the gentleman from Louisiana, and by facts of historical notoriety, that the proposed grant would still be inadequate to the demands of justice. Mr. M. therefore expressed an earnest hope, that, as Gen. Lafayette had set up no claim in this case, inasmuch as he was not a plaintiff in this action, and the case was not to be tried upon technical pleadings, that the services which he rendered in the morning of his fortunes, would be met by this nation in a corresponding spirit, now that he is in the eve of his life. The present motion, said Mr. M. I must consider as testing the strength of the bill; and sure I am, that, if we listen to the voice of all those people, who, in their person, felt the horrors and privations of the Revolution, or of the true descendants of their fathers who did feel them, we shall very much misrepresent them if we refuse to make the old age of Lafayette easy and comfortable. As one of the committee, I have felt it my duty to say that I decline a technical examination of the services of this veteran, because his services were never rendered in that spirit, and the people do not wish to meet them in it. Mr. HERRICK, of Maine, then rose, and said, that from the motion that he had submitted to the House, it might be supposed that he was in favor of the indefinite postponement of the bill, as being opposed to the bill itself. He was glad to have an opportunity to explain his views, and remove any false impression which might have been made in this particular. So far from being opposed either to the principle or to the form of the bill, he was, on the contrary, prepared to vote for almost any sum which the House should think fit to give, and had flattered himself that the bill, as introduced by the committee, would have passed the House without opposition: he did hope that there would not even be one word of discussion on the subject; but, from the course which things had already taken, he felt apprehensive that any thing which the House might now do would be ineffectual, as he greatly doubted whether, after what had happened, the individual concerned would accept the donation, should it be made. This was one of those acts, of which it might emphatically be said, that, if done at all, it must be done quickly. If we are to sit, in cold debate, discussing and disputing the minutiae of such a bill, our passing it, he feared, would be in vain. Yet, still, if gentlemen shall conclude to pass this bill, they might rely upon it, that he, for one, would never oppose its passage, when that question was fairly presented to him. Mr. BARTLETT said, that he rose, not to discuss the measure before the House, but to submit a proposition, which he hoped would render discussion unnecessary. He should regret deeply to see the Journal burdened with records of yeas and nays, motions and amendments, in a case like this. He had hoped that this bill would have passed in a manner as spontaneous as unanimous. He had hoped that, when we sent for Gen. Lafayette, and invited him, by a public act, to our shores, it was not to ask who he is, what he has done, and why we have called him; he had supposed that we knew who Gen. Lafayette was, and that none needed to ask what he had done. But he had had reason, since the delay and opposition which had occurred to such a bill as this, to think that it would be more honorable to the country, that yet further delay should now take place, in order, if possible, to give unanimity to its act on the subject. I cannot but remember, said he, that it is scarce ten days since we passed, with great unanimity, a bill to reward our own services, and I did suppose that the services of
H. of R.] Gratitude to Lafayette. [Dec. 22, 1824.
Lafayette were at least as well known, and as highly esHe was desirous that the bill should
timated, as ours. pass, not as a forced, but as a deliberate measure. He was unwilling to press it against an opposition which, if persevered in, must operate to take away all the grace of our gratuity. And, under these impressions, he was desirous of postponing the motion to recommit, and this whole subject, till Monday next. Mr. CAMPBELL, of Ohio, then rose, and observed, that, having yesterday kad the courage, perhaps some would say the audacity, to make some little opposition to this bill, which had been precipitated into this House like a comet through the atmosphere, it might be expected that he should give some explanation of the reasons which had influenced him. He did not rise to oppose the resolution for postponement, for he was him. self in favor of it. He wished, for himself, some further time for reflection, and he could not but say that there was some little ill nature in the remark of the gentleman from North Carolina, (and he was sorry to say so, for no gentleman on that floor was, in general, more decorous in debate,) that two weeks had already been spent in this subject. But why had this time been allowed the committee, unless to give them opportunity, by reflection, to mature the measure they should present to the House. The gentleman should remember, that to the House nothing like this time had been allowed—indeed no time at all. And though the minds of the gentlemen of the committee might be fully made up, yet they were not to expect that, therefore, the minds of other gentlemen must also be so. It was not strange that, on a subject like this, there should exist some diversity of opinion. For his own part, Mr. C. said, he had never been opposed to the principle of the bill, and he would candidiy state how far he had felt willing to go. He would have been in favor of granting a sum of $50,000, and allowing General Lafayette the pay of a Major General for life. Had this been done, would it not have been quite as decorous, as attempting to force the bill through the House in its present form, without one word of explanation from the committee? Let us, said Mr. C. have time to commune with each other, and with the gentlemen who brought in the bill, as they have had time to commune with each other; but, if we must be taken by surprise now, I, for one, shall oppose, the bill, and am willing to meet the consequences of that opposition, be they what they may—even though I may be so unhappy as to incur the displeasure of the gentleman from Louisiana, whose good opinion I confess I value as much as that of any other citizen I know. I feel that I have a duty to perform; I certainly shall perform it, nor can any power of man prevent me from doing it. With these observations, Mr. CAMParlı expressed a hope that the motion of the gentleman from New Hampshire (Mr. BARTLett) would prevail, for a postponement of this question ior a few days. After some explanation from the SPEAKER, as to the point of order, Mr. TUCKER, of Va. moved to lay the bill on the table, his object being to give time for conciliating an unanimous vote on the bill. The question being taken, this motion was negatived by a large majority. Mr. MERCER, of Virginia, then rose, not, he observed, to wound the feelings of the House, by debating the
principle of the bill before them, for, on that topic, he was persuaded there existed within those walls but one sentment. He rose chiefly with the view of corrobo| rating some of the statements which had been submitted to the House by the honorable member from Louisiana, (Mr. Livingston.) In doing so, he thought he should be able to win to the support of the bill the honorable | member from Ohio, (Mr. Campbell ;) and, in so designating him, he did not use the language of ordinary courtesy, for he cherished habitual respect for his nonorable friend. He rose, Mr. M. said, with no faint hope, however feeble his resources for the task, that he should prevail on all the gentlemen, who, to his great regret, differed from the majority of the House on the details of the bill, and for whose scruples he entertained the most indulgent respect, to unite with the friends of the bill in an unanimous vote. The question presented by the opponents of the bill, admitted of but two doubts, of the facts or the inferences from them, on which the assertion is grounded, that the grant proposed by the bill, to our illustrious guest, falls short of his pecuniary claims upon our justice. Having been himself the medium through whom the manuscript which had been just read, had passed into the hands of the honorable member from Louisiana, he felt it to be incumbent on him to verify its authenticity. On its very face, which bore marks of antiquity correspondent with its ancient date, it carried strong internal evidence of its truth, which was corroborated by a knowledge of the highly respectable channel through which it had very recently reached America. It moreover referred to a prior document submitted by the writer, who had charge of the estates of General Lafayette, to the Bureau of Emigrants of the Department of the Seine, early in the year 1793; at a time when the Revolutionary government of France sought to accomplish two purposes by inquiring into the condition and the causes of the dilapidation of the estates of General Lafayette, then proscribed, and driven from France by their crimes and their injustice. This agent, Mons. Morizet, with a modesty derived from the example of the amiable man he served, reduces the sum of those expenditures which General Lafayette had incurred in the service of the United States, the cost of two voyages to France, and had. in this account, stricken from the entire sum of 1,033,000 francs, 333,000. But, as these voyages, attended at the time with peculiar hazard, were undertaken at the request of General Washington, and for the obvious benefit of the United States, these expenses, instead of being deducted, should be added to the account. To a sum, therefore, exceeding two hundred thousand dollars, should be added the interest for the forty three years which have elapsed since the last expenditure of this long acceount, which would swellit to thrice the amount of the proposed appropriation. The honorable member from Louisiana very justly computed the half pay equitably due to General Lafayette, for the same period; but, in omitting to notice the interest as equitably due on it, he left out a sum which would have swelled that single item to an amount equivalent to the object of our present debate. With respect to the generous release, by General Lafayette, of the land which he had acquired near New Orleans, under our own grant, Mr. M. said he was perfectly acquainted with all the circumstances attending the transaction, through the voluntary communication of the Commissioner of the Land Office; and that they left no doubt on his mind of the validity or value of the title which General Lafayette had released, with equal generosity and delicacy. The United States granted to General Lafayette, in part as his legal bounty, and in part as a manifestation of their esteem, 11,540 acres of land, to be chosen out of any of the public lands of the United States. He chose,
Dec. 22, 1824.] Gratitude to
for the location of a part of it, to use a term borrowed from our laws, an ungranted territory, which nearly environed the city of New Orleans. A large part of this location has since become the heart of the city. In the midst of it stands the custom house; it is the theatre of extensive trade, and covered with numerous and snlendid edifices The title of General Lafayette to this land, under our own grant, was indisputable. Some years after he had appropriated it to his use, the Corporation of New Orleans petitioned Congress to grant to them the portion of the public territory within a distance of six hundred yards around their city, and the National Legislature, unapprized of the claims of the prior occupant, conceded what they asked. Of the superior title of General Lafayette, to the land covered by this subsequent grant, there could be no doubt. Why he did not prosecute and maintain his claim to this estate, so honorably and justly acquired, has been already fully stated to the House. This donation had been made him without his knowledge, in the fullness of our hearts, touched as they were with a knowledge of his wants, as a token of our sympathy, esteem, and gratitude ; and he felt that it did not become him to question the precise extent of such a grant. The value of the land which he so magnanimously relinquished, has, doubtless, not been over-rated, at four hundred thousand dollars. Can there remain a question, then, but that the equitable claims of General Lafayette upon the United States, were he disposed to substantiate them, would exceed a million of dollars For himself, said Mr. M. he had hoped that the stock which the Senate had proposed to issue—and he greatly preferred their bill to that which had originated in this House, instead of being made redeemable among the last debts of the nation, would have been irredeemable forever, that it might forever remain a memorial of the gratitude of the American People to their illustrious benefactor. He had hoped that the land presented with the stock, instead of being limited to a poor township, would have reached such an extent, as to realize, in its future appreciation, to the descendants of General Lafayette, the entire debt of this nation to their generous ancastor. He did not mean to comprehend our debt to this, our benefactor, for his services, but for his pecuniary advances and their accruing interest. As to his services to our cause—the cause of freedom in Europe and in America, their value is immeasurable. There is not a man who now, or may hereafter tread our soil or breathe our air, with the elastic spirit of liberty, who is not, or will not owe him an inestimable debt —a debt te be felt, not to be computed. I defy the united powers of Euclid and Archimedes to calculate or measure the height and depth, the length and breadth of the obligation of America to her benefactor. It is here, said Mr. M. (laying his hand upon his heart.) It belongs to the soul, and no gauge can graduate it. Are gentlemen alarmed at what is called the example, the precedent, we are about to offer to our successors? I have labored, said Mr. M. with all the powers of memory, to recall to my mind an example of disinterested and heroic benevolence which can form a parallel to the conduct of Lafayette; and if the history of the past affords none, why need we not trust the future ? The only spirit of prophecy which is not of diwine inspiration, exists in the analogy which infers the future from the past. But what is the character of the example from which this unfounded apprehension arises was it not to our fathets, is it not to us, and will it not be to our posterity, invaluable Need we go back to the crusades to denonstrate the influence, the contagion of chivalrous enthusiasm No sooner was the consecrated banner of Peter the Hermit unfurled for the recovery of the Redeemer’s sepulchre from the infidel Saracen, than one
spark of inspiration electrified all Europe; one common soul pervaded all Christendom, and poured her armed nations on the plains of Asia. Contrast the heroism of that age with the solitary self. devoticn of Lafayette When I look back to the early period of our Independence, and behold our own unrecognized ministers in France, with a tenderness which does them immortal honor, remonstrating with the young enthusiast on the hazard and hopelessness of his rojected enterprise in our behalf—when I hear them, in a tone of generous remonstrance, tell him that our cause was sinking, and they had not even a vessel to of. fer him for his perilous voyage, and hear him reply, I have, then, no time to lose I cannot, turning from this scene to that before me, bring myself to believe, that gentlemen, who differ from the obvious majority of this House, need to rest three nights upon their pillow, before they can arrive at unanimity upon this bill. I cannot but believe, sir, that, when we come to the vote, we shall do it with one heart, and that we are now as well prepared as we shall be on Monday next. We have now met our opponents in the spirit of friendly explanation ; we have complied with their wishes—stated, recapitulated; and, I fervently trust, they are ready to act with us for the honor of our common country. Mr. STORRS, of New York, then rose, and said, that, as one of the members of the committee to whom this subject had been confided by the House, he felt it his duty to that committee, and to himself, to say a few words in vindication of the course which had been pursued in relation to this bill. Complaints had been urged by some members of the House, that no statement had been produced of what seemed to be considered as “the accounts” of Gen. Lafayette. The committee had never insulted that individual by asking, in any quarter, for such things as his accounts. After the President of the United States had, in his solemn address to both Houses of Congress, recommended the services and sacrifices of General Lafayette as worthy of legislative regard, and had advised that such a provision should be made for him as “might correspond with the sentiments of the American people, and be worthy of the character of this nation,” what had a committee to whom that recommendation was committed by this House, to do with his accounts? Were they to erect themselves into a Committee of Claims where no claim was made; and what was more, where no such thing as a claim would be endured by that House, as violating the feelings of a man whom it wished to honor Ask for his accounts' Sir, I would not perform such a task. Not even were you to order me, could I do it without insulting him. No, sir, we had no such matters as the accounts of General Lafayette to lay before the House. Sir, let us remember that the eyes of Europe are this moment upon us. Her monarchs, her people, are anxiously waiting to see how we shall act. The despots of the old world are anxious to know whether, after inviting Lafayette to our shores—after offering to send a national ship to bring him over—after welcoming him from city to city, we are about to send him back and subject him to the sneers of royalty, and, with him, to expose ourselves and the cause of free government to their reproaches. The question we are called to decide is, whether America, for whom he shed his blood, devoted his fortune, and dedicated his talents and his virtues, is about to send back her benefactor in the face of Europe, to be the object of their scorn, and leave the record of our proceedings as a monument of the feelings of the American people. The question before us is, whether we will support the principles of our own government in our conduct towards one who has been considered on both continents as the great Apostle of Liberty, and justly so considered; for, next to the great Apostle of the Gentiles himself, has this man served the best interests
of mankind. Next in value to those which the one dis
minated, are the blessings which the other has labored to spread among the nations of the world. The question is, whether his services are worth a memorial? This, it is true, is not needed for his character; as has been well said on a public occasion, “history has already, taken charge of his fame;” but, as was justly observed by the presiding officer of this House, General Lafayette now stands among posterity, and our act this day is to be the judgment of posterity on his merits and his fame. Are we then here to record our value for civil liberty and all the blessings it bestows, or is it that we may send one of the greatest benefactors her cause has ever known, back to his country as a witness of the ingratitude of Republics? But I said I would not speak of his services, nor will I. Whoever has known or read our history can be no stranger to what he has done for us. . It is to be known to-day what we think to be due at least to our character as a nation. The question was then taken, on the motion of Mr. SLOANE, and decided in the negative. The question was then taken, on the motion of Mr. GAZLAY, to strike out 200,000 dollars, the amount proposed to be paid to General Lafayette, and to insert 100,000, and decided in the negative by a large maiority. J o: question was then taken on ordering the bill to be engrossed, and decided in the affirmative by a large majority. It was then ordered that the bill should be read a third time to-day. The bill was then read a third time, accordingly, and the question thereupon decided, on request of Mr. BEECHER, by Yeas and Nays, as follow: YEAs.-Messrs. Abbot, Adams, Alexander, of Vir. Alexander, of Tenn., Allen, of Mass., Allen, of Tenn., Allison, Archer, Bailey, Baylies, Barber, of Con, P. P. Barbour, J. S. Barbour, Bartlett, Bartley, Bassett, Blair, Breck, Brent, Brown, Buchanan, Buckner, Cambreleng, Campbell, of S.C. Carter, Carey, Cassedy, Clark, Cocke, Collins, Conner, Cook, Craig, Crowninshield, Culpeper, Cushman, Day, Durfee, Dwinell, Dwight, Eaton, Eddy, Edwards, of Penn., Ellis, Farrelly, Floyd, Foot, of Con., Foote, of N. Y., Forsyth, Forward, Frost, Fuller, Garrison, Gatlin, Govan, Gurley, Hall, Hamilton, Harris, Harvey, Hemphill, Henry, Herrick, Hobart, , Hogeboom, Holcombe, Hooks, Houston, Ingham, Isacks, Jenkins, Jennings, J. T. Johnson, Kent, Kidder, Kremer, Lathrop, Lawrence, Lee, Leftwich, Letcher, Little, Livingston, Locke, Long, Longfellow, McArthur, McDuffie, McKean, McKee, McKim, McLane, of Del., Mangum, Mallary, Markley, Martindale, Marvin, Matlack, Mercer, Miller, Mitchell, of Penn., Mitchell, of Md., Moore, of Ken., Moore, of Ala., Morgan, Neale, Nelson, Newton, O'Brien, Olin, Owen, Patterson, of Pen., Plumer, of N. H., Plumer, of Pen., Poinsett, Rankin, Reed, Reynolds, Richards, Rose, Saunders, Sandford, Sharpe, Arthur Smith, Alexander Smyth, Wm. Smith, Spaight, Standefer, A. Stevenson, J Steph, nson, Stewart, Stoddard, Storrs, Swan, Talliaferro, Tattnall, Taylor, Ten Eyck, Test, Thompson, of Penn., Thompson, of Geo., Tomlinson, Tracy, Trimble, Tucker, of Va., Tyson, Udree, Vance, of N. C., Van Rensselaer, Van Wyck, Warfield, Wayne, Webster, Whipple, Whitman, White, Wickliffe, Williams, of Va., Williams, of N. C., James Wilson, Henry Wilson, Wilson, of S. C., Wolfe, Wood, Woods, Mr. Speaker—166. Nays.-Messrs. Beecher, Buck, Burleigh, Campbell, of Ohio, Crafts, Gazlay, Gist, F Johnson, Lincoln, Livermore, McCoy, McLean, of Ohio, Matson, Metcalfe, Patterson, of Ohio, Ross, Scott, Sloane, Sterling, Thompson, of Ken., Tucker, of S. C., Vance, of Ohio, Winton, Whittlesey, Wilson, of Ohio, Wright—26. When the yeas and nays had been called and recorded, the SPEAKER rose, and observing that, having been
precluded, by the place he held, from the expression of his sentiments in relation to either the principle or the form of the bill, he requested of the House that he might be permitted so far to give expression to his feelings, in relation to both, as to record his vote with those of the other members; and, leave having been promptly given, the Clerk called the Speaker's name, and his vote was recorded in the affirmative. When the House adjourned.
IN seNATE–December 23, 1824.
The bill passed by the House of Representatives, “concerning General LAFAYETTE,” was brought to the Senate for concurrence.
The bill was read the first time, and ordered to be read a second time; it was then, on motion of Mr BARBOUR, read a second time, without objection, and taken up in committee of the whole. No amendment or objection being made to the bill in committee of the whole, it was reported to the Senate, and, on the question of ordering the bill to a third reading, it was carried with but one audible dissenting voice.
The bill was then, on motion of Mr. SMITH, and by unanimous consent, read the third time, passen, memine contradi cente, and returned to the other House with a message acquainting that House there with.
HOUSE UF REPRESENTATIVES.—s AME DAY.
After the minutes of yesterday’s proceedings were read— Mr. HERKIMER, of New York, rose, and stated, that he had yesterday been prevented by indisposition from voting on the passage of the bill “concerning General LAPAYETTE,” and that he now asked permission of the House to have his vote taken and recorded on that bill. The SPEAKER put the question, and, it appearing that one member voted against granting permission, by which Mr. HERRIMen was precluded from voting, (the Rules of the House requiring an unanimous vote to suspend a rule)— Mr. HERKIMER then asked the indulgence of the House to say, that, if he had heen in the House, he would cordially have voted in favor of the bill. Mr. LITCHFIELD, of New York, and Mr. FINDLAY, of Pennsylvania, were in the same situation, and were in the same manner precluded from expressing their sentiments in favor of the measure.
TRANSACTIONS OF LAST SESSION.
Mr. RANDOLPH rose, and said, that a letter addressed by him to his constituents having become, on the last day of the last session of Congress, a subject of animadversion on this floor, he felt it to be due to himself, as well as to his constituents, to state to the House as succinctly as he might, the facts having reference to that occasion, leaving every thing like inference or argument to be deduced by others. I say then, continued Mr. R., that when I entered the room of the cominittee to whom was referred the memorial of Mr. Edwards, on the 28th of April—I go by the dates on the Journal—there was a naked proposition of an honorable member before that committee, which it is not necessary for me here to recite. To that proposition I moved an amendment, which it is equally unnecessary to recite, when I was informed that a similar proposition had been already rejected by the committee; and I then learned, for the first time, that the original proposition consisted of two substantial propositions, the latter of which had been discarded. I asked to read the proposition which had been so discarded, and pointed out the difference between mine and that, which was obvious to every one who would compare the two. That proposition of mine, however, not meeting the favor of the committee, I proceeded to
suggest such considerations as occurred to my mind, why it should be adopted; and, during that discussion, the honorable member from Louisiana (Mr. Livingston) joined the committee. I stated to him the proposition pending before the committee. He readily coincided in opinion with me on the subject, stating his concurrence of opinion in these words: that “he could not see what other course could be resorted to.” Then, and not till then, was there a general acquiescence in this proposition—then, and not till then, were all the committee present—then, and not till then, was my proposition adopted. It is unnecessary for me to say, that in nothing that I have written or said, could I have had reference to the ulterior decision of the committee i and, if any proof were wanting to satisfy the most incredulous, it would be found in the fact, that, on the 11th of the ensuing month, as appears from the minutes of the committee, a proposition was made by me to lay the minutes of the committee, including this very transaction, up to that day, before th House. I have no wish to go further into this subject. It was incumbent on me—it was my bounden duty, to take the earliest opportunity to make this statement to you and to the House; and I have availed myself of the earliest moment to do so. Mr. LIVINGSTON, of Louisiana, said that the statement of facts which had been made by the gentleman from Virginia, was precisely correct, according to his (Mr. L’s) recollection of what passed in the committee. The misunderstanding on this subject, Mr. L. said, had arisen from a misconstruction of the letter which had been written by the gentleman from Virginia on that occasion. That letter, he must be allowed to say, was so worded as to justify the construction, that a majority of the committee had, with much difficulty, been prevailed upon to give the Secretary of the Treasury an opportunity of being heard. This he understood to be now disavowed by the gentleman from Virginia, and the circumstance, which he had stated, of his motion to lay the minutes of the proceedings of the committee before the House, convinced Mr. L. that such was not his intention, and he took pleasure in stating this impression. Mr. OWEN then observed, that, as he was a member of the committee on the memorial of Ninian Edwards, it might be proper in him to take some notice of the remarks and statements which had been made by the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. RANDolph.) He had had some conversation since he came to the city, with other members of the committee, and endeavored to bring the facts which occurred to his more distinct recollection; and he believed that the statement now given by the gentleman from Virginia, was substantially correct. When he entered the committee room, a proposition, in relation to submitting the memorial of Mr. Edwards to the Secretary of the Treasury might have been the subject of conversation, but he now felt satisfied that the proposition had been disposed of by the committee before the gentleman entered, and that his was a distinct proposition. The conversation, he believed, had relation rather to the manner of submitting the charges in the memorial to the notice of the Secretary of the Treasury, against whom they were directed, than to the measure itself. He thought, (as far as he could recollect,) the proposition of the gentleman from New York, (Mr. TAylon,) was to submit the entire memorial, and let the Secretary answer such parts of it as he might deem proper. But Mr. owes’s own impression was, that, in the then present situation of that officer, it would be improper that all the language of that memorial should be submitted to his eye. It would submit various charges which were unimportant, but which he might think himself bound to answer; while he might esteem others of too little consequence to be answered, of which the committee might think differently; and he, therefore, had thought it would be best to specify the particular points which he was expected to answer. To this it was replied,
that if all were submitted, the Secretary would have a fair opportunity to judge for himself in a way better than any others could judge for him. Then it was, and not till then, that the gentleman from Virginia offered the proposition to which his published letter seemed to allude, Mr. WEBSTER then rose, and said, that he had not had occasion to refresh his recollection of the occurrences alluded to, since the last session, either by reference to the minutes of the committee, or conversation with other members of it. But that he did not think a material circumstance. All he had now to say was, that the address of the honorable member to his constituents appeared to him (Mr. W.) and he presumed to others, to convey plainly the idea, that it had been with difficulty that a majority of the committee had been prevailed on by the honorable member to consent that the Secretary of the Treasury should have an opportunity to answer the charges made against him in the memorial of Ninian Edwards. If he, (Mr. W.) was now to understand that the honorable member did not mean to convey such an idea, then he was willing to take the gentleman's statement to that effect, and ready, therefore, to say, that what he had observed on a former occasion, was said under a misapprehension of the honorable member's meaning. But if it had been intended to be represented in the honorable member's letter to his constituents, that a majority of the committee were reluctant, or unwilling, or needed to be prevailed upon, by any efforts of the honorable member, to allow the Secretary an opportunity to answer the charges, then the statement which he (Mr. Webster) had formerly made, was not only just, but necessary. He (Mr. W.) thought then, and still thought, that if the honorable member intended a reflection on a majority of the committee, it was incumbent on him to be explicit—to state of whom that majority consisted—that every individual gentleman might have an opportunity to answer for himself. The only matter, therefore, as he (Mr. W.) thought, which called for explanation, was this, viz: Did the honorable member intend to represent, that a majority of the committee were unwilling to give the Secretary the fullest opportunity to answer the charges against him Mr. RANDOLPH.-I have stated as clearly as I could, and I could recapitulate, were it necessary to trouble the House with it, the facts as they occurred. Mr. M*ARTHUR then rose, and said, that he should like to understand from the gentleman from Virginia, whether he wished to be understood as having stated that the committee consented, with reluctance, that the charges in the memorial should he submitted to the Secretary, that he might answer them. If such, said Mr. M“A. was his impression, it certainly was not mine. If the gentleman says he did not mean to convey this idea, I am satisfied—but, if he says he did mean to express such a meaning, and to apply it to a majority of the committee, I deny the proposition of the gentleman. Mr. FLOYD, of Virginia, said, that it would, perhaps, be recollected, that, at the time the inquiry on this subject was introduced at the close of the last session, he was not in the House—he was not present when the gentleman from Massachusetts made his statement to the House as to what had passed in the committee, nor did he know that he had made such a statement until after he had himself spoken. At that time he thought he observed some reluctance in that gentleman to answer; but he was persuaded then, as now, that there was some misapprehension. The statement now made by the gentleman from Virginia was a true one. He believed that many supposed the language of the letter he had written to refer to a vote of the committee—but his own understanding of it had always applied it to the general conversation which took place among the members of the committee while in the committee room. Suppos,