H. OF R.]

Duty on Spirits.

(Jan. 21, 1791.

ry of

This motion was seconded from various quar- spirits is a mere duty of impost. As to checks, ters, and occasioned a considerable debate. he did not think any additional ones were ne

Mr. BURKE said, he was sorry to see such a cessary. If the officers already appointed to disposition in many of the members of this collect the revenue are not sufficient for that House to extend the powers of the Executive. purpose, let them be increased; but as to any The excise bill is universally odious; and gen- / further checks he considered them altogether tlemen seem to be trying to render this more superfluous. It is acknowledged, said-he, on odious, by urging one exceptionable clause after all hands, that the patriotism and punctuality of another. He hoped this clause would be struck the importers has been such as to produce a out, and that the Legislature would retain the very strict compliance with the revenue laws. power of disposing of their own money. He Nr. GERRY read several clauses in the bill, said, that his ideas on the subject had been call- to show that it was something more than a mere ed chimeras—but this was a stale trick, which impost law. had been long practised by those who are in fa- Mr. Giles said, he hoped the bill would not vor of strengthening the arm of the Executive; be precipitated; there are a number of proposiit was always made use of in that country whosetions on the table calculated to amend the seveprecedents we often recur to; but, for his part, ral defects it contains, he therefore hoped the no such observations should deter him from bill would be recommitted for the purpose of placing every possible guard round the liberties amending those defects. He fully objected to of the people, and checking the undue exten- sending the bill up to the Senate in a confessedsion of the Executive arm.

ly imperfect state, and hoped no such preceThe motion for striking out was carried-dent would ever receive the sanction of the 29 to 27.

House, especially in a money bill. A motion from Mr. Clymer, as a substitute Mr. Sedgwick called the attention of the for the fourth section, was then read. This House to the process of this business; much proposed an Inspector for each State, at a sala- time was spent in the discussion of it last ses

— dollars per annum, with power to siun; we are now past the middle of the preappoint such number of Deputy Inspectors as sent; more than three weeks have already been they may think proper; these Deputy Inspec- spent in the business, and now, at this late petors to receive

per cent. on the gross riod, gentlemen come forward with proposiamount of the sums by them respectively col- tions that strike at the very principles of the lected.

bill. He hoped no such motion would take Mr. SEDGWICK proposed that this motion place. should be referred to a Select Committee, with Mr. Vining objected to a recommitment for other motions now on the table.

general purposes. Mr. Vining was opposed to referring it to a The question on recommitting generally was Select Committee. He said the consequence lost—30 to 27. of a reference would be an unnecessary prolon- A motion was then made for recommitting for gation of the business. He thought it might as a particular purpose, which was lost–24 to 33. well be taken up and decided upon at the present time as any.

Friday, January 21. Mr. LAWRENCE was in favor of referring this

BANK OF THE UNITED STATES. motion to a Select Committee. The SPEAKER observing that it would not be

The act to incorporate the subscribers to the in order to commit this motion, except in con

Bank of the United States, received from the nexion with the whole clause, Mr. CLYMER Senate yesterday, was read the first and second withdrew it for the present.

time, and referred to a Committee of the whole Mr. Lee then moved, that the bill should be House on Wednesday next. recommitted for the purpose of bringing in a

NEW REVENUE BILL. clause devising a proper mode of collecting the Mr. SEDGWICK moved for a committee to revenue. Mr. Livermore seconded the motion, and in of the Inspectors of the duties on distilled spi

bring in a bill to provide for the compensation a few general remarks condemned the bill al- rits. The motion was agreed to, and a comtogether. Mr. STONE also spoke against the bill, and in mittee, consisting of Messrs. SEDGWICK, MADI

Son, and LAWRENCE, was appointed. support of the motion for a recommitment. Mr. Gerry objected to the motion, especially forming the House that they have concurred in

A message was received from the Senate, inas it was contemplated to make an arrangement the vote of the House, in appointing a commitby which the duties of the officers of the reve- tee, on their part, to consider and report a time nue, already established, are to be blended with for the commencement of the next Congress. those of the officers to be appointed by this law; this would deprive the Government of that check

DUTY ON SPIRITS. which it has in view by this bill.

The House resumed the consideration of Mr. LIVERMORE said, that he did not con- the new Revenue Bill. ceive there was any thing like an excise con- Mr. Jackson proposed an amendment, by templated by the bill. The duty proposed on adding a clause to prevent Inspectors, or any

Jax. 21, 1791.]

Duty on Spirits.

[H. of.R.

officers under them, from interfering, either di- extend to all other revenue officers. He gave rectly or indirectly, in elections, further than a short account of the nature of Civil Governgiving their own votes, on penalty of forfeiting ment; no forın, said he, is stationary, they are their offices.

always verging either to Democracy or MoThis being seconded,

narchy, or to Aristocracy and Despotism. Mr. Sherman said, he should propose an ad- From hence, he drew an influence favorable to dition to the amendment, and that was to ex- a provision which should tend to abate and tend the prohibition to every other person what- lessen the influence of the Executive power in ever. He supposed that to practise the arts of certain cases. electioneering would be as criminal in persons Mr. Ames objected to the motion. He said, in general as in the officers of the revenue; but the circumstances of this country and Great it any provision is necessary in the case, he Britain were not sinilar. That country is thought it might be made in some other bill. without a Constitution; the United States are

Mr. LIVERMORE approved the motion. These blessed with one, which defines the rights of officers, said he, will hold their places under the the electors and the elected; rights of which Government, and, from the duties assigned they cannot be deprived. The law which the them, will acquire such a knowledge of persons gentleman referred to was not passed till the and characters, as will give them great advanabuses it was intended to remedy had arisen to tages, and enable them to influence elections an enormous height. If ever there should be a to a great degree. He thought the proposition necessity for a similar law in this country, inportant, and merited the attention of the which he by no means expected, it will then be House.

time enough to make the regulation; but this Mr. Vining observed, that the motion went clause will muzzle the mouths of freemen, and to disfranchise a great number of citizens of the take away the use of their reason. rights of suffrage. It appeared to him, also, to Mr. Bloodworth replied to Mr. Ames. He be unconstitutional, as it will deprive them of observed, that corruptions had taken place; speaking and writing their minds; a right of elections have been influenced, and human nawhich no law can divest them. He offered ture being the same the same evils are to be exsome observations on the eligibility of the duty pected. He thought it would be best to prevent now contemplated, in preference to direct taxes; the evil if possible by enacting a law in season, and then urged the bad policy of rendering the and not wait till the mischiet is done. law odious, by fixing a stigma on the officers Mr. SENEY was in favor of the clause. He appointed to execute it.

thought it would be a salutary provision, and no Mr. Jackson replied to the observations infringement on the rights of the people, as it against his motion. He said the experience of would be optional to accept the offices or not, Great Britain showed the propriety of the pro- with this restriction. hibition. He read a section from a law passed Mr. Srone was in favor of the motion. He in the reign of William and Mary on this subject. observed, that it was a painful consideration that A law was found necessary in that country to a number of citizens should be distranchised, prevent the interference of excise-officers in and deprived of their reason and speech, but elections, though the excise law then in exist- this is a dilemma to which we shall be reduced ence was only for ten years, and that now be by means of this excise law; we must either fore us is a perpetual law; for it is to exist till deprive the excise officers of this privilege of the whole State debts are extinguished. He de interfering or give up the freedom of elections. nied that it was a disfranchisement of the citi- Mr. Vining controverted the oft repeated obzens; they will have the same right to vote at servation, that there was an analogy between elections as other citizens; it only goes to de- the two countries, Great Britain and America. fining an offence, which may be of pernicious He urged an acceleration of the bill; delays he consequence. Did I consider it as depriving thought did not produce conviction, they only the citizens of the rights of suffrage, I would serve to inflame; he hoped the clause would be the last to vote for it. He adverted particu- not be agreed to, nor the bill recommitted. larly to the dangerous influence that some fu- Mr. LAWRENCE was sorry that there were so ture Presidents would acquire, by virtue of the many impediments thrown in the way of this power which he will possess of removing these bill." He could wish that the clause might be officers. He read some clauses from the Bri- deferred, and made the subject of a separate tish Excise Law, to show its resemblance to discussion. He objected to it as not extensive the law now under consideration. He added enough. It ought to include ali the officers of the some strictures on the bill, and regretted that Government. At present, he should waive any it had not been recommitted; but to render it further remarks, but hoped the motion would less odious and mischievous he strongly urged not be agreed to at this time, but wished that the necessity of the section he had proposed. the bill might be finished.

Mr. Benson said, there appeared to him to be Mr. SEDGWICK opposed the inotion. He an absurdity to say a man shall forfeit an office said, the natural tendency would be to render which he holds during pleasure.

the law odious; to deprive the Government of Mr. Gerry objected to the motion, because the services of the best men in our country. he thought it did not go far enough; it ought to Let me ask gentlemen, if they, or any of their

H. OF R.]

Dully on Spirits.

[Jan. 24, 1791.

connexions, would accept an appointment un- by the act should be applied. This was superder this law, with such an exceptionablc clause seded by a motion to recommit the bill, which in it? He observed on the total difference in was lost. the circumstances of this country and those of Several amendments were offered to that secGreat Britain; and asked, shall we transplanttion, which underwent some discussion, but the corrupt maxims of that country to this? I were postponed for further consideration. hope we shall not.

Mr. Gerry replied to the several objections which had been offered against the motion. It

MONDAY, January 24. will be too late, said he, when the evil takes Mr. Heister presented a memorial and replace to apply the remedy. The President monstrance from a number of the citizens of will then have it in his power to intluence the Philadelphia, against Excise Laws, and partielections in such manner as to procure a Legis- cularly against the bill now pending in the lature that would not consent to a law for ap- House, laying duties on distilled spirits. plying a remedy.

Read, and laid on the table. Mr. Ames reprobated the motion in very The following messages were received from pointed terms, as impolitic in respect to the the President of the United States: law, as repugnant to the Constitution, and as degrading to human nature. Besides, he ob

United States, January 24, 1791. served, that it was nugatory in itself, because Gentlemen of the Senate it goes to deprive the citizens of an unalienable

and House of Representatives: right, which you cannot take from them, nor can they divest themselves of it.

I lay before you a statement, relative to the fronMr. Jackson made a short reply to Mr. tiers of the United States, which has been submitted Ames. He observed, that he had always sup- to me by the Secretary for the Department of War. posed that the English nation possessed a Con- I rely upon your wisdom to make such arrangestitution, and that the violation of the freedom ments as may be essential for the preservation of of elections was the greatest infringement on good order, and the effectual protection of the fron

tiers. that Constitution.

GEO. WASHINGTON. Mr. SHERMAN observed, that this motion went to create a positive offence. He said he

UNITED STATES, January 24, 1791. could not conceive any reason why this offence should be chargeable on one description of offi- Gentlemen of the Senate cers only; he thought it ought to go through,

and House of Representatives: and include every class. He replied to the se

In execution of the powers with which Congress veral objections arising from the influence of

were pleased to invest me, by their act, entitled the President; and observed, that fixing such a

“An act for establishing the temporary and permastigma would oblige the President to appoint nent seat of the Government of the United States, mean and ordinary characters-characters fit to and on mature consideration of the advantages and make tools of; for persons of credit and re- disadvantages of the several positions, within the lispectability will not accept of appointinents un mits prescribed by the said act, I have, by a Proclader such a disqualification.

mation, bearing date this day, a copy of which is The question was determined in the nega- herewith transmitted, directed Commissioners, aptive, the yeas and nays being as follows: pointed in pursuance of the act, to survey and limit

Yeas.—Messrs. Ashe, Baldwin, Bloodworth, a part of the territory of ten miles square, on both Brown, Burke, Floyd, Gerry, Grout, Hathorn, sides of the river Potomac, so as to comprehend Heister, Jackson, Livermore, Matthews, Moore, Par. Georgetown in Maryland, and to extend to the Eastker, Rensselaer, Seney, Sylvester, Stone, Tucker, ern Branch. and White.--21.

I have not, by this first act, given to the said terriNays.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Boudinot, Bourne, tory the whole extent of which it is susceptible, in Cadwalader, Carroll, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Foster, the direction of the river; because I thought it imGale, Gilman, Goodhue, Griffin, Giles, Hartley, portant that Congress should have an opportunity of Huntington, Lawrence,, Leonard, Madison, P considering whether, by an amendatory law, they Muhlenberg, Schureman, Scott, Sedgwick, Sevier, I would authorize the location of the residue of the Sherman, Sinnickson, Smith, of Maryland, Smith, of lower end of the present, so as to comprehend the South Carolina, Steele, Sturges, Thatcher, Trum. Eastern Branch itself, and some of the country on its bull, Vining, Wadsworth, Williamson, and Wyn- Alexandria, in Virginia. jf, however, they are of

lower side in the State of Maryland, and the town of koop.--37.

opinion that the Federal Territory should be bound

ed by the water-edge of the Eastern Branch, the loSATURDAY, January 22.

cation of the residue will be to be made at the upper DUTY ON SPIRITS.

end of what is now directed.

I have thought best to await a survey of the terriThe House resumed the consideration of the tory, before it is decided on what particular spot, new Revenue Bill.

on the Northeastern side of the river, the public An additional section was proposed, pointing buildings shall be erected. out the purposes to which the revenuc raised


JAN. 24, 1791.]

Duty on Spirits.

(H. OF R.


Will gentlemen say that the system is so saThe House then resumed the consideration cred that it can never be touched? He inquirof the new Revenue Bill.

ed, if in its operation any system is found to be Mr. Tucker proposed a clause to limit the contrary to the Constitution, ought it to be held duration of the bill. He urged this motion from sacred. He then adverted to the impression consideration of the security it would afford to under which the Constitution had been adopted, the people, that the duties and burthens would and said, that if the people had then supposed not be continued after the necessity of their be that they subjected themselves by it to perpeing laid should cease. He observed, that a fu- tual burthens, which could never be controlled ture House might agree to renew the law, or to by the Representatives of the People, not one originate a new one; nor did he conceive that in a hundred would ever have consented to its the creditors of the United States would be adoption. He asked, on what is the public placed in a worse situation with this liipitation faith founded? Is it founded on the fiscal reguthan without it; for a House that would refuse lations of this House? Is it founded on the to renew the act, or originate a new one, on a funding system? I hope not. It is founded, principle of justice to the creditors, would not sir, on the integrity of the United States, and hesitate to repeal this law.

their ability to pay their debts. He was afraid Mr. Sherman observed, that a clause already there was too great a sympathy with the public agreed to supersedes the necessity of this creditors in the House; such a sympathy as did amendment. That clause expressly provides, not properly combine with it the interests and that other duties or taxes, of equal value, may feelings of the people at a distance. He consibe substituted, in case the present should prove dered the power of regulating the resources of burthensome or inconvenient.

the United States, as at present situated, proMr. JACKSON supported the motion. He ob perly lodged; and he trusted it would not be served, that it was the indispensable duty of delegated to any other body whatever. I hope, this House to keep the purse-strings in their said he, we shall not arm the Executive with hands; for his part, he never would consent to the golden nerve of the United States. He cona perpetual law, which in its operations might sidered the Executive as possessing already the prove odious to the people; and he maintained necessary powers; he wished they might not be that this law would be perpetual, inasmuch as extended; much less could he consent that the it was to be commensurate with the debt of the funding system should be superior to the ConUnited States. He urged the adoption of a li- stitution of the United States. miting clause from a variety of considerations. Mr. LAWRENCE, adverting to the Constitution,

Mr. LAWRENCE objected to the motion. He specified the powers thereby vested in the Lesaid, it not only interfered with the acts alrea- gislature of the United States; they are emdy passed, making provision for the public debt, powered to lay excises, imposts, and other taxes. and which have express reference to part of the He wished gentlemen would be explicit when duties contemplated by this bill, but it also con- they taxed others with a design to violate the travenes the clause which makes it optional with Constitution. He had read the Constitution, the United States to substitute other taxes in perhaps not so much as the gentleman from lieu of those proposed to be raised by this bill. Virginia, still he had read it sufficiently to con

Mr. GERRY objected to the proposition of vince him that nothing in the funding system, Mr. TUCKER, on similar principles with Mr. nor in the bill now before the House, was conLAWRENCE. He added, that it would prove a trary thereto. He then adverted to the propoviolation of the public faith, inasmuch as it sition of limiting the present bill, and said that would make part of the provision temporary, it must appear to be a palpable violation of the whereas the honor of the Government is pledged public faith as pledged by the funding system. to provide those funds that are permanent. Mr. It goes to converting not only the present fund G. enlarged on the importance and sacredness into a temporary one, but also converts part of of the public faith, observing, that it had alrea- that which is now a permanent fund into a temdy been sufficiently trifled with; he hoped more porary one. He then adverted to the observaconsistency would mark the public councils in tion which tended to affix a stigma of odium on future.

the bill. He remarked on the subject of taxes Mr. Giles thought the provision proposed, or generally, and said, there never was such a something similar, so important, that he should thing as a popular tax, strictly speaking; still think himself deficient in duty if he did not the people submitted to them on principles of offer some observations on it. He denied the patriotism, and when it was said that the people motion violated the funding system; but if it are pleased with any particular mode of taxadid, he should prefer such violation to a vio- tion, it only means that some are less exceplation of the Constitution. He read a clausetionable than others; this he conceived to be the from the funding system, and said the terms case in the present instance. ** permanent funds” meant established, fixed Mr. JACKSON, adverting to the bill, said, that funds, such as Congress may hereafter deem the clause which empowers Congress to substinecessary; it could not mean that Congress are tute new taxes in lieu of the excise, plainly not at liberty to vary these funds at pleasure, shows that this bill is not a permanent bill. provided they are always made competent. The proposition is therefore no violation of any

H. OF R. ]


[Jan. 26, 1791.

principle in the bill, it is merely declaratory

TUESDAY, January 25. of what is fairly implied in the above clause.

Mr. HEISTER was in favor of the limitation.
Mr. Bloodworth said, he had seconded the

Mr. LAWRENCE, from the committee to whom motion with a view that if the bill should not which evidences of the debt of the United

was referred the bill directing the mode in prove agreeable to the people other measures may be adopted. Suppose the people should States which may be lost or destroyed shall be not consent to the law, is one part of the people renewed, presented an amendatory bill; which to be marched against another? It will be in was twice read, and committed. vain for us to pass a law that shall be opposed

DUTY ON SPIRITS. to the popular prejudices; gentlemen talk of the The House resumed the consideration of the bill's being agreeable to the people; bis experi- new Revenue Bill. Alter spending some furence taught him very differently; no system ther time upon it, the question of ordering it to could be devised more odious to the people of be,engrossed for a third reading was carried by the Southern States.

yeas and nays, as follows: Mr. Gerry further opposed the motion. Mr. Tucker rose to obviate some of the ob- Cadwalader, Carroll, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyal,

Yeas.--- Messi's. Ames, Benson, Boudinot, Bourne, jections which had been offered to his motion. Foster, Gale, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Grout, HuntIt the operation of it went to repeal any part of ington, Lawrence, Lee, Leonard, Livermore, Madithe funding law, he was content to have it al- son, Partridge, Schureman, Scott, Sedgwick, Shertered so as to avoid that consequence. He then

man, Sylvester, Sinnickson, Sturges, Thatcher, entered into a particular reply to the several | Trumbull, Vining, Wadsworth, white, and Wynobjections which had been offered. He invali- koop.--35. dated that which arose from the danger of trust- Nars.--Messrs. Ashe, Baldwin, Bloodworth, ing a future Congress, by instancing the situa- Brown, Burke, Griffin, Giles, Hathorn, Hartley, tion of the deferred part of the debt, which is Heister, Jackson, Matthews, P. Muhlenberg, Parker, lelt entirely to the integrity of a future Con-Rensselaer, Seney, Sevier, Steele, Stone, and Tuckgress. That the public creditors do not consider er.--20. the perpetuity of the law making provision for the public debt as of any superior consequence,

COMMENCEMENT OF NEXT CONGRESS. is evident from the increasing value of the de- Mr. Tucker, from the Joint Committee apferred debt.

pointed to consider and report the time for the Mr. Stone said, the motion would counter- commencement of the next Congress, brought act the clause in the funding system which had in a report, which is in substance that the busiappropriated the duty on rum as a permanent ness now before Congress may be finished by fund. He had been opposed to the United the 4th of March, and that it will not be necesStates pledging their faith for the payment of sary for the new Congress to commence immetheir debts; he was for a more dignified mode diately after; but the Joint Committee could of procedure, but as the Legislature had thought not agree as to the precise time, when their first proper to provide a permanent fund in one in- session should begin. stance, he thought it proper they should do it in another; and with respect to excise, if that

WEDNESDAY, January 26. is the best possible resource for paying the in- COMPENSATION TO WIDOWS, &c. terest on the assumed debt, it ought to be con

Ordered, That Messrs. SMITH, (of S. C.)

. tinued on the same principle tillithe object is Stone, and TRUMBULL, be a committee to bring obtained. Mr. Sherman offered a few observations orphans, and invalids, in certain cases.

in a bill for making compensation to widows, against the motion. Mr. Seney spoke in its favor, and proposed

APPROPRIATION BILL. a modification of it to avoid the objection of its And that Messrs. LAWRENCE, Clymer, and interfering with the funding system.

BOUDINOT be a committee to bring in a bill The question was taken on the original mo making appropriationis for the service of the tion and lost-39 to 19.

current year. The yeas and nays were as follows:

YEAS.-Messrs. Ashe, Baldwin, Bloodworth,
Brown, Burke, Giles, Hartley, Heister, Jackson,

The House proceeded to consider the Report Matthews, Moore, P. Muhlenberg, Parker, Scott, of the commitiee to whom was referred the peSeney, Sevier, Steele, Tucker, and Williamson.--19 titions of the merchants of Wilmington and

Nays.--Messrs. Ames, Benson, Boudinot, Bourne, Fayetteville, and said Report, which recomCadwalader, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd, Foster, mended that a bill be brought in to repeal so Gale, Gerry, Gilman, Goodhue, Griffin, Grout, Ha- much of the act in relation to the Judiciary as thorn, Huntington, Lawrence, Lee, Livermore,Leon relates to holding the District and Circuit ard, Madison, Partridge, Rensselaer, Schureman, Courts in Newbern only. Sedgwick, Sherman, Sylvester, Sinnickson, Smith,

DR. FRANKLIN. of Maryland, Smith, of South Carolina, Stone, Sturges, Thatcher, Trumbull, Vining, Wadsworth, A message was received from the President White, and Wynkoop.--39.

United States, accompanied with a letter

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