« ForrigeFortsett »
as to make it express the opinion of the House, as to the impropriety of publishing the proceed
ngs. Mr. PATTON accepted of the modification of the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Dhayton.) He wished to answer the objection made to his resolution—that it would infringe the liberty of the press. Did not the shield of the constitution extend to courts just as well as the press? Were not the liberty and right of the citizen secured by it with a sanction as sacred as the freedom of the press? And yet, gentlemen who talked of the freedom of the press, had no hesitatation to infringe on the right of the citizen, by aiding in the spread of a publication so improper he had at one time thought it unlawful as that to which he had alluded. He trusted he had as sacred a regard for the freedom of the press, as any man within the sound of his voice, or within the broad limits of this empire. At the request of many friends, he would accept the modification offered, having no other wish than that the House should express its opinion on the subject. Mr. PATTON subsequently expressed his willingness to withdraw the resolution, and it was accordingly withdrawn. Precisely at one o'clock, Mr. Houston, attended by the Sergeant-at-Arms, and accompanied by his counsel, Francis S. Key, Esq. was brought to the bar of the House. The SPEAKER said, Samuel Houston, are you now prepared to proceed to your trial? SAMUEL Housto N.—I am. The Speaken.—The letter of Mr. Stanberry will now be read to you, and I will then proceed to put the interrogations ordered by the House. A paper was then presented by the accused, protesting against the jurisdiction of the House, as a preliminary step. The counsel for the accused requested leave to submit a motion that inasmuch as one of the members of the House had formed, expressed, and publicly declared an opinion upon the case, he should not be permitted to pronounce upon the decision of the case. At the request of Mr. CLAY, of Alabama, the paper was again read by the Clerk of the House. On the motion of Mr. WAYNE, leave was granted for the motion to be made. A discussion of some length arose upon the legality and constitutionality of challenging one o: court, which was closed at length by leave being granted to withdraw the notice, and it was accordingly withdrawn by the counsel for the accused. The SPEAKER then put the first interrogatory. Do you admit or deny that you assaulted and beat the said Stanbery, as he has represented in the letter which has been read, a copy of which has been delivered to you by the order of the House? Mr. Houston—My Counsel will respond. Mr. Key, the Counsel, then read as follows:
beat the said Stanbery as he has represented in
the letter which has been read. He admits that he felt great indignation on reading in the National Intelligencer, remarks there stated to have been made on the floor of the House of Representatives by the said Stanbery, imputing to the accused, by name, a offence of which he knew himself to be innocent, and the dissemination of which throughout the country, by such publication, was evidently calculated to affect his honor and character. Under these circumstances, the accused was induced to inquire of said Stanbery, in a respectful note, whether the report of what he had said was truly set forth in said paper?— To which inquiry, thus made, said Stanbery refused to give any answer, in a manner calculated still #. the accused. The accused admits that he was greatly excited by these provocations, and that under the influence of feelings thus excited, he did, on accidentally meeting the said Stanbery, assault and beat him, the accused being unarmed with any other weapon than a common walking cane, and believing the said Stanbery to be, as he in fact was, armed with pistols—that the meeting took place several hours after the adjournment of Congress, about 8 o’clock in the evening, on Pennsylvania Avenue, and nearly half a mile from the Capitol, and on the opposite side of the Avenue from where Mr. Stanbery's board. ing-house is situated; and that, at the time of this occurrence, he was neither seeking for, nor expecting to see the said Stambery. The accused denies that he intended to com mit, or that he believed he was committing, any contempt towards the House of Representatives, or any breach of its privilege, or the privilege of any of its members. He denies that the act complained of constitutes any such contempt or breach of privilege, and is prepared to justify his conduct, so far at least as the rights and privileges of this House and its members are concerned, by proof. The Speaken then put the second interrogatory— “Do you admit or deny that the same assault and beating were done for and on account of words spoken by said Stanbery, in the House of Representatives, in debate?” The accused replied, that his answer to the first interrogatory was as full and complete as any in his power to give. He was then conducted from the bar; and on motion of Mr. DAVIS, of Massachusetts, fur. ther proceedings in the trial were postponed till to-morrow. Mr. DAVIS of Massachusetts was, on motion, excused from serving further on the Committee to conduct the trial; and the Committee was further instructed to search for precedents. On motion of Mr. DODDRIDGE, to-morrow week was assigned for the consideration of the business of the District of Columbia. Some conversation took place on a motion of Mr. POLK, for the appointment of a person under the report of the Committee of Privileges,
The accused denies that “he assaulted and
to write down the testimony.
Mr. DAVIS, of Massachusetts moved, that the resolution, inasmuch as each House had a Joseph Gales, Jun., Esq., be appointed as ste-|right, under that instrument, to lay down rules nogmpher, or some other suitable person, to for its own proceeding. He was convinced the takedownthe testimony in the case. . resolution would have a salutary effect. The motion was agreed to. - Mr. JEWETT demanded the yeas and nays, Mr. CONNER offered a resolution, providing and they were ordered. . for the admission of Samuel Houston to bail on Mr. McKENNAN supported the resolution. iving sufficient security for his appearance, The House had already adopted several rules, m day to day, and from time to time, at the restraining, in some cases, the liberty of membar of House until the termination of his trial. bers in addressing the House. The rules adoptUpon this motion a debate ensued, but before led by the House for this very trial were liable to
the question was disposed of the same objection; in which, however, he saw The House adjourned. very little force.
Mr. BATES, of Maine, took the same view.
Fain AY, APRIL 20. The experience of yesterday had shown that it
Mr. CLAY, of Alabama, moved the follow- was only necessary for the counsel of the reing as a rule to be observed in the farther trial spondent to throw some bone of contention inof Samuel Houston: to the House, and a whole day would be lost in
Rakul, That in the further prosecution of debate. At this rate they were likely to sittill the trial of Samuel Houston, the examination of midsummer. witnesses, and the discussion of questions aris- Mr. WICKLIFFE moved to lay the resolution ing out of testimony, shall be confined to the on the table. . . committee appointed to conduct the examina-| On that question Mr. McKENNAN demandtion on the part of the House, and to the coun-led the yeas and nays, but the House refused to sel of the accused, but any member may pro-order them ; and the motion was then carried— pose questions in writing through the commit-ayes 80, noes 52. So the resolution was laid tee.” on the table.
Mr. CLAY supported his resolution by a Mr. ADAMS again offered the following resofew brief remarkson the consumption of time lution, which he had yesterday withdrawn :
which had occurred and the tendency of this Resolved, That a select committee be appoint
rule to preventit. ed in the case of the trial of Samuel Houston, Mr. DODDRIDGE suggested a modification for a breach of the privileges of this House, to of the resolution, the object of which he highly examine the precedents in cases of contempts approved. He said that thirty-five members had and breaches of privilege, and report thereon Yesterday spoken, and most of them had ad-from time to time to the House. * the House more than once, some of His object, Mr. A. said, was to save time,and them four or five times. he hoped that such would be the result. It Mr. JEWETT proposed to amend the rule was, he believed, the usual process in all Parli*0 asto confine its operation to those thirty-five amentary proceedings of this kind. members: he believed if those gentlemen should Mr. ELLSWQRTH wished the resolution be kept silent, there would be little need of made more definite. No committee of five with
gogging the rest of the House. in the time this trial would probably continue, After some conversation, Mr. J. consented to could examine the whole body of existing prewithdraw his amendment. cedents.
Mr. COULTER rose to correct a misappre- Mr. HUNTINGTON moved to amend the hension with respect to the duties of the Com-resolution by striking out “the Committee of muce of Privileges. They had been spoken Privileges,” and inserting “a Select Commitof in some of the reports, and elsewhere, as tee.” thogh they had been appointed to manage the . Mr. ADAMS accepted of this as a modificaoillon the part of the House. The committeetion. His intention had not been that the com* no so understand the resolution undermittee should examine the whole body of Pakwhich they atted. They were appointed only|liamentary precedents, but only such as related online the witnesses, and they had confined to the questions which might be expected to themselves to that duty alone. They had notarise in a proceeding of this kind, so as to be consulted with the complainant, or with any prepared to meet them as they might occur other person: they did not even know what from day to day. . As he was upon two commitwitnesses were to be produced, or what facts ittees already, he hoped the Speaken would exwas intended to provč. cuse him from serving on the Committee he had
Mr. CHAIG opposed Mr. Clay's motion, as proposed. being without any warrant in the Constitution, Mr. HALL, of N.C., could see no practical and against the genius of our Government. The utility in adopting the resolution. The mem.
only gag he would ever cheerfully wear, was bers would have as much time to consult pre- .
that imposed by his own discretion. cedents as such, a committee could have ; and Mr. CORE admitted and deplored the evil of could as well judge how far they applied.
much speaking, but thought that, great as it. These precedents, when consulted, could be of
** = less evil than the remedy proposed by no obligation on the House ; and as to those
his colleague. - in our own history, there were but two or three Mr. CLAY defended the constitutionality of of them.
Mr. LECOMPTE was opposed to the resolution, as unnecessary. The case was novel, and common sense would be a sufficient guide, He moved to lay the resolution on the table, which motion prevailed—Ayes 62, Noes 49.
So the resolution was laid on the table.
Mr. PLUMMER resumed his discussion on
The interrogatory of the counsel was then again É. to the witness; who had proceeded but a few moments, when o, Mr. WAYNE objected to his being allowed to proceed. Mr. WAYNE being called on by the CHAIR to state the ground of his objection, withdrew
the subject of the Wiscasset Collector, which it, having made it under a misapprehension of
he continued until the expiration of the hour. Mr. Houston was now ałain placed at the
bar of the House. Mr. STANBERY requested that his testimo
ny, as yesterday recorded, might be again read to proceed.
the terms of the question. The witness having gone a sentence further
in his testimony— Mr.JEWETTobjected to his being permitted
It was not competent to a witness
to him, as he wished to correct one part of it, to declare his opinion as to facts. Whether a which, on reflection, he believed to be not quite certain transaction, in which the President and
He then stated that his first impres-late Secretary of War were said to be involved,
sion had been, that he had been knocked down! did or did not amount to a fraud, was a matter by the club of his assailant, on the first, or se- of opinion, and wholly irrelevant astestimony.
cond blow; but, from finding some of his wast
Mr. WAYNE explained. He had made his
coat buttons gone, and his shirt bosom torn, he former objection under a misapprehension, was induced to believe that he might have been|having at the moment forgotten that the House
thrown down in the scuffle.
had sanctioned the interrogatory. He disclaim.
Mr. KEY explained the nature of the motion ed any thing like concert with the gentleman
he had yesterday made.
It was not leave abso-|from New York, in the interruption of the wit.
lutely to withdraw the interrogatory he had of |ness, and was in favor of his being permitted to
fered ; but to substitute another in such a form proceed. as to obviate the difficulty which had arisen.
The question being whether the witness
The SPEAKER now put the question on the should be allowed to proceed—
motion of the respondent’s counsel, which, af.
Mr. VANCE demanded the yeas and nays,
ter a remark or two by Mr. WICKLIFFE, and which were ordered.
Mr. BEARDSLEY, was, on motion of Mr. HUNT, laid upon the table—Ayes 86, Noes 69.
After some further remarks from Mr. JEWETT, and a disclaimer, by Mr. STANBERY,
The question then recurring on the motion of of all intention to acquit the respondent of fraud.
Mr. ARCHER, as modified, viz:
Mr. ALEXANDER moved for a reconsidera
That “the House consider the interrogatory|tion of the vote of the House permitting the in
as having been sufficiently answered.”
terrogatory to which the witness was now an:
Mr. McDUFFIE warmly remonstrated against swering, to be put.
stopping the witness from completing his an
The question of reconsideration was argued
swer in whatever manner he might deem neces.|by Messrs. JEWETT, DODDRIDGE, Mt.
sary to vindicate his character.
He considered|BUFFIE, BURGES, BoulplN, PATTON, &
it a monstrous proceeding, and hoped that the SUTHERLAND, in very animated speeches.
gentleman from Virginia would consent to with-|
draw his motion.
Mr. ARCHER did not admit that there was
Mr. STEWART, of Penn., moved the previous question. The House sustained the motion; the previous
anything irregular or “monstrous” in the pro-Question was put and carried; and the main position he had made. On the contrary, it was question being on the reconsideration—
absurd to require the witness to state evidence
Mr. H. EVERETT demanded the yeas and
in support of an imputation which he disclaimed nays, which were ordered; and, being taken,
having made. But, as the gentleman from
, Ohio might perhaps consider it a hardship not
stood as follows—yeas, 62—hays, 114, Mr. STANBERY, at his own request, was.
to be allowed to preceed, Mr. A. would consent excused from voting.
Mr. BEARDSLEY, after commenting upon the interrogatory, was going into an argument to show the impropriety of requiring the wit. ness to produce evidence of an imputation which he denied, when he was called to order by
Mr. FELDER, as arguing a question which had been twice settled by a vote of the House.
Mr. BEARDSLEY then moved that the wit. ness be precluded from stating his belief of any fraud having been committed by Gen. Houston, he having disclaimed the intention of imputing fraud to him in his printed speech. Mr. WICKLIFFE said, this was not the question the gentleman had argued. He hoped the question would be taken without debate. Mr. MERCER inquired whether it would be in order to move the question of consideration' The CHAIR replied in the negative; when
= M. BEARDSLEY supported his motion by wool margument drawn from the practice of courts|bit of making such a motion as he should now rol of justice, and the received rules of evidence. make, but this measure was of such an extraor| Mr. C. ALLAN moved to amend the motion|dinary character that he must demand the yeas
the following words:
*ience of any fraud committed by, or partici. pated in, by Samuel Houston; and which is not i. printed speech of said witness imputed to
Mr. STANHERYinquired what part of the testimony it was which the gentleman objected to? Aftersome discussion as to order, the amendment of Mr. Tarion was rejected. Mr. CRAIG offered an amendment, a copy of which could not be obtained; but which was uno toprecludealltestimony relating to the tlet. Mr. CARSON demanded the previous ques
But the CHAIR decided that the motion could not be received under the rules. Mr. CRAIG's amendment was rejected. Mr. BATFS, of Maine, moved to amend the motion of Mr. Brahmsirr, by adding to it the words “but may be permitted to state any ficts going to prove it.” Mr. VANCE suggested a modification of the amendment, bystriking out the word “facts,” and inserting, in lieu thereof, the words “evidence he then had, or now has.” Mr. BATES accepted the modification, and hemotion, as thus amended, was agreed to, in the following form: “That he witness be precluded from stating his belief of fraud committed by Gen. Hous. *hutmay be permitted to state any evidence he then had, or now has, going to prove it.” Mr. BEARDSLEY was about to offer another resolution, when Mr. SUTHERLAND objected to it as out of *krinasmuch as the rules of proceeding requited that, when an objection had been dis*ed, and decided on, the examination of the witness should proceed. The CHAIR sustained the objection. The witness then resumed his testimony; but *isid only a few words, when Mr. BEARDSLEY moved his resolution, in
“That the witness be precluded from giving
Mr. McDUFFIE said, he was not in the ha
and nays. Mr. DICKSON moved to postpone further proceedings in the trial until 12 o'clock to-morrow, in order to allow an opportunity for having one of the rules of proceeding altered. Mr. IRVIN remonstrated against the attempt: to shackle the witness. Mr. BURGES requested Mr. Dicksox to withdraw his motion. Mr. DICKSON complied, and withdrew his motion for postponement. Mr. WINTON now-moved to lay Mr. BEARds. LEY’s motion upon the table. The CHAIR pronounced this motion not in order. Mr. WINTON appealed from that decision to the House, on the ground that the motion of Mr. BEARnsley did not come within the rules of proceeding referred to by the Chair; when, af. ter a rather brisk discussion on the point of order, between Mr.VINTON and the SPEAKER, Mr. BEARDSLEY withdrew his resolution. The witness now proceeded, and, in the course of his testimony, produced an affidavit of Luther Blake, relating to certain conversations between himself and the respondent, touching bids for a contract for rations to the emigrating Indians, in which the accused had proposed to him to buy up the bids of Prentiss and others, with a view to get the contract for themselves at a higher rate. Mr. KEY objected to having this affidavitreceived, unless he might be permitted, first, to put certain questions to the witness as to the manner in which it had been taken, The SPEAKER was about to put the question on granting this permission to the Counsel, when Mr. ADAMS observed, that it was not competent for the counsel to put any such queries to the witness. The question was, not whether this affidavit was good evidence or not; it formed a part of the witness' answer, and, though it might, in itself, be good for nothing, it was to be received as constituting a part of the testimony. The interrogatory required him to state what evidence he had, and the House had just determined that he should be permitted to give such evidence as he had, touching the question of fraud. The paper, therefore, must be received. The House would judge whether it was good evidence or bad. The counsel had no right to put any question to the witness respect. ing it. Mr. ADAMS was twice stopped by the Chair under the apprehension that he was discussin a question not in order, but, on explanation, was permitted to proceed. . Mr. KEY explained. He did not claim any right to ask the question he had referred to. His right was to object to the paper; and on that right he must insist, unless liberty should be granted him to question the witness respect
ing it. The interrogatory had called for evi
dence, not for every thing which the witness might suppose to be such. Mr. SUTHERLAND inquired as to the right of the counsel to make this objection. The CHAIR replied that he had supposed the counsel had a right to object to any evidence he thought improper, and he had therefore received the motion. Mr. HUNGTINGTON inquired whether, if the counsel objected to any piece of evidence, the counsel alone could discuss the question? The CHAIR replied in the affirmative. From this decision, Mr. ADAMS took an apeal. p After some explanation from the SPEAKER, Mr. ADAMS insisted on his objection to the counsel being permitted to exclude the paper offered by the witness. The CHAIR required the counsel to put his objection in writing; which having been done, The CHAIR received the motion. Mr. DAVIS, of Massachusetts, inquired whether the objection was not open to the discussion of all the House. The CHAIR, on farther reflection, decided that it was. Mr. ADAMS withdrew his appeal. Mr. ELLSWORTH, and Mr. COOKE, of Ohio, opposed the Counsel's motion, insisting
that even in an ordinary letter or parole informa
tion might be given in answer to the interrogatory, much more an affidavit. Mr. H. EVERETT called for the reading of the affidvavit. , Mr. KERR supported that motion. Mr. THOMPSON, of Georgia, strenuously opposed it. Mr. KENNON insisted that the witness had a right to produce any paper which he considered as evidence in support of the charge of fraud he had made. paper should first be read, to settle that question. The question being then put, Shall the paper now be read? it was decided in the affirmative; ayes 82, noes 71. So the House ordered the affidavit to be read, and it was"read at the Clerk's table accordingly. The objection of Counsel was also read; and the question being, Shall this question be received? * * Mr. VANCE demanded the yeas and nays. Mr. KERR now moved to postpone further proceedings in the trial until 12 o'clock tonorrow. Mr. L. CONDICT, with a view, as he said, to cut off the unprofitable, and worse than unprofitable, discussion which had so long occupied the morning of every day, moved to amend the motion by substituting 11 o’clock, which was agreed to. So the trial was postponed until to-morrow at 11 o'clock. The accused was conducted from the har, and the House adjourned.
There was no need that the
FROM THE JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE. FRIDAY, APRIL. 20.
The hour of 12 o'clock, meridian, having arrived, SAMUEL Houston, accompanied by his Counsel, was placed at the bar of the House, by order of the Speaker. Mr. STAN Benx' requested that his testimony delivered yesterday, be read—which being done, he gave the following explanatory testimony, Viz : “I believed during the evening of the contest, and the whole of the next day, that I had been knocked down by the club on the first or second blow; but on examining my waistcoat the next day, and perceiving that the buttons were some of them torn off, and my shirt, the bosom of which was torn, 1 began to doubt my first impressions, and was led to conclude that I might have been thrown down in the scuffle.” The question recurred on granting permission to the accused to, withdraw the interrogatory propounded by his Counsel yesterday, to Mr. STAN BEny, and which is as follows: “These remarks, thus published, impute a fraud to the accused. Had you then, or have you now, any, and what evidence of the correctness of such imputation?” and to substitute in lieu thereof another interrogatory, which is as follows: Did you or did you not impute a fraud or intend to impute fraud to the accused in the statement of your remarks in the Intelligencer of the 2d? - Which motion was subsequently withdrawn. The question then recurred on the motion made by Mr. Anch ER, yesterday, and which was pending when the accused moved for permission to withdraw the interrogatory and substitute another, as aforesaid; which motion is as follows: Resolved, That the House consider the witness as having sufficiently answered the interrogatory propounded. And after further debate thereon— Mr. Anchen withdrew his said motion. A motion was then made by Mr. Alexaspxh that the House do reconsider the vote taken yesterday, by which the said interrogatory was directed to be propounded to the Complainant, Wiz : “These remarks, thus published, impute a fraud to the accused—Had you then, or have you now, any, and what evidence of the correctness of such imputation?” And after debate, The previous question was moved by Mr. Stew ART, and being demanded by a majority of the members present— The said previous question was put, viz.:Shall the main question be now put? And passed in the affirmative. The said main question was then put, viz.:Will the House reconsider the said vote? And was decided in the negative. W.M. Sranarax was, at his request, excused
from voting on this question, as well as on any