Jan. 13, 1791.]

Vacancy in the Presidency.

[H. OF R.

Mr. Gerry regretted that the subject should were analogous. He was a kind of assistant to have been taken up at this moment, when so the Chief Magistrate, and would, therefore, much important business is before Congress. very properly supply his place; besides, he was He adverted to the motivn, and said, that the always at the seat of Government. character which now fills the office of Secreta- Mr. BURKE said, that he had consulted a genry of State undoubtedly possessed the confi- tleman skilled in the doctrine of chances, who, dence of the Legislature in the fullest manner, after considering the subject, had informed him, and very justly; but when the exigency shall that there was an equal chance that such a conarrive for which we now are about to provide, tingency would not happen more than once in a character may fill that office who would be a eight hundred and forty years. He hoped, scourge to the Union. Besides, said he, if the therefore, that the committee would not spend office of Vice President was now to be filled, any more time upon the subject, but postpone the Secretary of State would be ineligible, com- it altogether. ing from the same State with the President. Mr. Giles conceived, that the probability of He stated other objections from the Constitu- the event's taking place was much greater than tion. He thought the nomination should not Mr. Burke seemed to think. According to the be confined to officers of the United States. He doctrine of politics, he said, it was not more supposed the views of Government may be ex-than fifty to one that it would not happen in two tended even to officers of the several States. months. However, even if the chance was He, however, wished the whole business post. much less, it was the duty of the llouse to make poned; but if this idea is overruled, he suggest-provision for the accideut before it occurred. ed the propriety of filling the blank with the If it was left till the case actually took place, constitutional clause respecting the highest can- it would then be too late to think of remedying didates who are primarily voted for as President the evil; for it was to be provided for by a Leand Vice President.

gislative act, which could not be made comMr. Smith remarked, that there appeared to plete without the President's approbation and be so great a diversity of opinion on the subject siguature, and could therefore not be obtained before the House, that he doubted the possibi- when the chair was vacant. Then, if the event lity of procuring a majority for either of the should happen before it was provided for, there motions that had been made. There would be would be, he conceived, an end to this Governobjections, he conceived, to any proposition ment. that could be offered; but the committee should He used another argument to urge the necesdetermine on that to which there were fewest. sity of a speedy provision. Suppose, said he, To the Secretary of State he thought there were the Vice President should die, then the fate of less than to any other officer proposed. Those this Government would remain in the hands of against the Chief Justice he thought unanswer the President who by resigning would destroy able. Indeed, the gentleman who proposed its organization, without leaving a constitutional him had not offered any answer to the objec- mode of filling the vacancy. tions made to that officer.

In addition to the loss of this Government, The duties of the President of the Senate, would not every member of the Legislature, and those of the President of the United States, he asked, lose his character, credit, and repuappeared to him incompatible. The first was tation. the Representative of a particular State, and Having shown the necessity of making immebound to obey the instructions of it. If he was diate provision for a case of so much importance to be deprived of his seat in the Senate bis to the very existence of the Government, Mr. State would lose a vote there, and the balance Giles declared he was in favor of filling up the of that branch of the Legislature would be de- blank with the Secretary of State. He chiefly stroyed.

rested his opinion on the idea, that if the ConHe recapitulated the objections that had al- stitution had not intended that the vacancy ready been made to the Chief Justice's filling should be filled by some officer not there menthe chair. His power of expounding treaties tioned, they would bave determined who it woull be improperly mixed with that of making should be. them; that of condemning for offences, with a Mr. SEDGWICK was sorry that the business power of granting reprieves and pardons. Then had been brought forward, and more so that the Chief Justice could not act with propriety gentlemen should discover a zeal on the occaas Commander in Chief of the army and navy. sion which indicated too much of taking a perIt had been said, he observed, that the Judicia- sonal interest in the question. ry business might go on for some time without He did not apprehend the consequences which the assistance of the Chief Justice. He thought would follow, if the accident should occur, not; there were three Circuit Courts, and would be so dreadful as the gentleman last up two Judges for each, including the Chief Jus appeared to think. There was more danger, tice. If he was absent, the business of one of he conceived, in ruffling men's tempers now, by the Circuits could not proceed; besides, he designating one officer heir apparent (if he should preside in the Supreme Court.

might be allowed the expression) to the office He concluded by saying, that the office of of Chief Magistrate. Secretary of State and the duties of President He objected to filling up the blank with the H. OF R.)

Electors of President.

[Jan. 14, 1791.

Secretary of State; it would be putting in the the whole on the bill determining the time hands of the President (or of the Vice Presi- when the Electors of President and Vice President) a power of appointing his successor. The dent shall be chosen, Mr. Boudinot in the chair. authority with which the Chief Justice is vested, A motion by Mr. Smith (ofS. C.), to strike the respect which his station commands, and his out a clause in the first section, which referred independence, induced him, he said, at first to to vacancies happening from special contingenthink him the most proper person to be at the cies, after a short discussion was disagreed to. head of affairs in case of vacancy in the Chief Mr. BENSON, who was one of the committee Magistracy. However, if it could not be agreed which reported the bill, then stated the reasons to postpone the business, he should now vote for which influenced the committee in the arrangethe President of the Senate pro tem.

ment of the times of choosing the Electors, and Mr. BENSON said, that an honorable gentle. their giving in their votes. man (Mr. Smith) had remarked, that he had Mr. Sedgwick said, he supposed that the de. not attempted to answer the objections which sign of the provision on this subject in the Conwere made to the Chief Justice's being desig- stítution was to prevent, as far as possible, the nated to fill the vacancy, and had drawn the practices of corruption and intrigue in the busiconclusion that the objections were unanswer: ness of elections. To effect this salutary obable. He was sensible that there might and ject he thought it necessary that the time of would be objections to any officer that could be choosing Electors should be fixed, and that as mentioned; but those against the Chief Justice short a period as possible should be suffereil to he did not think unanswerable. It had been elapse between the time of choosing and the objected that there would be an impropriety in time when the Electors should give in their his condemning as Chief Justice, and pardon- votes; the bill, said he, proposes eight weeks; ing as President. But soniething like this is he thought that too long a period. frequently the case. He supposed that who- Mr. BENSON observed, that the term of eight ever exercised the office of Chief Magistrate weeks was thought not more than sufficient to would for the time resign his first office. He accommodate the circumstances of some of the only mentioned this to show that the objections States; a shorter period might have suited made to the Chief Justice had not been an others; but the idea of uniformity rendered it swered because they were deemed unanswer- necessary to fix on a particular period. able. But his wish was to see the vacancy fill- Mr. GOODHUE objected to assigning one pared by an independent officer; he had, there. ticular day for all the States, as, he observed, fore, no objection to the President of the Senate the modes of election in the several States are

different. In some the Electors are chosen Mr. Jackson moved, that the consideration immediately by the people at large; in others of this business be postponed, which was agreed they are chosen by the State Legislatures; this to. The committee rose, and reported. will render it extremely difficult to comply with

the law, if they are to be chosen on one and the Friday, January 14.

same day throughout the Union. Mr. White, from the committee appointed

Mr. CARROLL said, that it appeared to him for the purpose, reported a bill for establishing necessary, in the first place, to determine who a land-office for the sale of the unappropriated shall choose the Electors. For his part, he was lands in the Western Territory; read the first fully convinced that this power is exclusively and second time, and referred to a Committee vested in the people by the Constitution. of the whole House.

Mr. Jackson observed, that the difficulties Mr. Fitzsimons, froin the committee to which mentioned by the gentleman from Massachuwas referred the petition of sundry officers of setts would accrue from fixing on a particular the navy of the Revolutionary war, brought in day in the State of Georgia; there the Electors a report, which was

are chosen by the Legislature, which meets at That the prayer of the said petition cannot be a particular season of the year. This clause granted, and that the petitioners have leare to with will render two sessions necessary, which draw their petition.

would be exceedingly inconvenient. He mov

ed, therefore, that the clause which appoints a This report was accepted by the House.

particular day when the Electors shall be choMr. SEDGWICK's motion for appointing, a sen should be struck out, and that the time committee to bring in a bill providing for the when they shall meet and give in their votes payment of the debt due to foreign officers, was should only be designated. This motion was taken up, and referred to a committee, consist - seconded. ing of Messrs. Sedgwick, Benson, and Senty. Mr. Giles said, that he conceived but one

Mr. Madison laid before the House a memo- mode of choosing Électors was contemplated by rial and three resolutions of the Legislature of the Constitution; the State Legislatures he the State of Virginia, on the subject of the thought ought not to choose them; they ought funding law, which were read and laid on the to be chosen by the people. He adverted to the table.

Constitution; the words are:

“ That each State shall choose,” &c. The House went again into a Committee of This plainly implies that the Legislatures are

pro tem.

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Jan. 17, 1791.]
Duty on Spirisl.

[H. of R. not authorized to exercise that power them but still contended that uniformity pointed out selves. Congress has a power to say when they the necessity of one day's being fixed on; this, shall be chosen; this imposes a necessity for one he supposed, might be done in perfect conmode, and that the mode should be uniform, sistency with the clause in the Constitution. and be by the people; for the Legislatures, from Mr. Seney was in favor of striking out the the different circumstances of the States, must words. meet at different periods. He wished this point Mr. Sherman showed from the Constitution, to be settled. He thought the people ought to that Congress possess the power of appointing choose the Electors.

the time of choosing the Electors, and the time Mr. Jackson contended that the power was when they should meet to give in their votes. left discretionary with the State Legislatures. He was in favor of Congress exercising this

Mr. Goodave said, this was plainly the case, power, in order to guard against all intrigue, by the express words of the Constitution. and this he conceived was agreeable to the peo

Mr. Ames moved, that the clause should be ple, for in none of the Conventions was an amended, so as to include the words of the Con- amendment of this article ever moved for. stitution:

Mr. Vining was against striking out the “ In such manner as the Legislature thereof may words, as he thought that uniformity was an esdirect.”

sential object to a free and independent elecThis motion was seconded by Mr. STONE.

tion; with that uniformity, the equal rights of Mr. LIVERMORE was also in favor of the mo

the citizens is inseparably connected. The tion.

manner of choosing may be left with the LegisMr. Madison said, a question arose here, latures; but the time of choosing and voting, which was, whether the power of Congress ex.

said he, should be determined by Congress. tends to determining the manner of choosing,

Mr. LAWRENCE showed, that the operation of by virtue of possessing the power of determin- this principle of uniformity would be to proing the time of their being chosen. He was, I duce the very evil apprehended. Should the however, disposed to think that the best idea time come, when the States are reduced to a was that suggested by the gentleman from Mas-size more proportionate to each other, this unisachusetts.

formity may be introduced. Mr. SEDGWICK said, he was in favor of the

Mr. Williamson was in favor of striking out motion of the gentleman from Georgia; and in the words proposed by Mr. Jackson. this view of the subject-he was opposed to the

The vote being taken, the words were struck opinion of the genileman from Virginia (Mr. out: so that the time of choosing Electors is left Giles) as interfering with the Legislative rights by the bill with the State Legislatures. of the several States.

The next clause respects the time when the Mr. Tucker was opposed to the idea of a par

votes shall be counted. ticular interference of the General Govern

Some of the members supposed that the votes ment, in respect to the time and mode of choos. should be counted by the old Congress. ing the Electors. He wished therefore that the

Mr. BENSON said, if the votes should be motion for striking out the words should ob- ) counted by the new Congress, they may be tain; if that was done, le should move a clause counted by men chosen with a special reference to this purport, that the Electors shall be con- tion was made in this clause.

to influence finally in the election; no alterastitutionally chosen. Mr. LAWRENCE was in favor of leaving the

The discussion of the bill being finished, the time of choosing to the several State Legisla- committee rose and reported the same, with the tures; a general regulation could not be agreed amendments agreed to; which being taken into opon, which would not involve the difficulty consideration, they were adopted by the House, that gentlemen appeared solicitous to guard

and laid on the table. against, and that was the opportunity which would necessarily be given for caballing, in

MONDAY, January 17. consequence of the great extent of some States,

GEORGE GALE, from Maryland, appeared and and the confined limits of others; it appears,

took his seat.

DUTY ON SPIRITS. therefore, said he, absolutely necessary to leave the time of choosing to the State Legislatures of the Committee of the whole on the bill re

The House proceeded to consider the Report and this will put it in their power to reduce the interval between choosing and voting, in such pealing, after a certain time, the duties heretomanner as circumstances may dictate, to pre-l in their stead.

fore laid on distilled spirits, and laying others vent the inconveniences contemplated. Mr. Giles said, he believed he had been miss the thirteenth section, and the yeas and nays

It was moved by Mr. Jackson, to strike out understood, he did not mean to invade the rights of the State Legislatures; so far from that, he on the question being taken, it passed in the was averse from every measure which had

negative; yeas 16, nays 36. The yeas and nays tendency to that point. He then enlarged on the being as follows: ideas he had before suggested. He had no objec- Burke, Heister, Jackson, Matthews, Moore, P. Muh

YES.— Messrs. Baldwin, Bloodworth, Brown, tion to the mode of expression proposed by the lenberg, Parker, Scott, Sevier, Steele, Stone, Tuck. gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. Ames,) er, and williamson.–16.


H. OF R.)

Duly on Spirits.

[Jan. 18, 1791.

Nays.-Messrs. Ames, Benson, Boudinot, Bourne, revenue proposed to be raised by this bill would Cadwalader, Clymer, Fitzsimons, Floyd, Foster, Gil- not be wanted, he was still of opinion, that no man, Goodhue, Griffin, Grout, Giles, Lawrence, excess of any consequence would be produced. Lee, Leonard, Livermore, Madison, Partridge, Van He objected to the commutation proposed in Rensselaer, Schureman, Sedgwick, Seney, Sherman, lieu of the specific duty, and showed how disSylvester, Sinnickson, Smith, of Maryland, Smith; advantageously to the revenue this would opeof South Carolina, Sturges, Thatcher, Trumbull

, Vi- rate; with respect to a perfect definition of what ning, Wadsworth, White, and Wynkoop.-36. is to be understood by a city, town, or village,

Sundry other amendments were proposed, he conceived that no possible evil would result but postponed until to-morrow.

from vesting a discretionary power with some

officer of the United States, to determine what Tuesday, January 18.

shall be understood by either of the terms.

Mr. Boudinot ubjected to any alteration in A message from the President of the United the section; he thought it sufficiently precise, States was laid before the House, stating the and from recurring to certain authorities, he amount of the expenditures out of the contin-showed that these terms were sufficiently un. gent fund of last session; enclosing a letter from derstood to preclude the necessity of burthen, the Governor of Virginia, with sundry reso- ing any officer with the task of describing and lutions of the Legislature of that State, re- determining what number of inhabitants shall specting the lands Northwest of the Ohio, grant- respectively constitute a city, town, or village. ed by an act of Congress to the oflicers and sol- Mr. LIVERMORE said, in bis opinion, the diers of that State. A petition from the officers terms, city, town, or village," comprehended therein referred to; and a letter from the Go- the whole and every part of the United States. vernor of Maryland, enclosing an act of the Mr. Jackson observed, that as two days had Legislature of that State, empowering the war- been nearly spent in considering this question, dens of the port of Baltimore to collect the and it appearing to be impossible to agree in duty therein mentioned.

what constituted a village, he thought it would Mr. Goodhue moved, that the Secretary of be to no purpose to introduce any amendment the Treasury be directed to report to the House to the section, but leave it to be determined by whether any, and what, further provision is ne- a due course of law. He supposed that quescessary to be made for the respective officers tions would arise to be determined by the judiemployed in the collection of the revenue; cial authority of the United States. !! this which motion was agreed to.

should not appear to be agreeable to the House, A committee, consisting of Messrs. SENEY, he would propose that it should be referred to Smith, of Maryland, and MATTHEWS, was ap- the College of Physicians; those gentlemen of pointed to report a bill declaring the assent of the squirt, who, as they had attempted to squirt Congress to a certain act of the State of Mary- morality and instruction into the minds of the land therein mentioned.

members, perhaps may also be able to squirt

understanding into the House on this subject. DUTY ON SPIRITS.

Mr. PARKERcontroverted certain calculations The additional amendments proposed to the offered by Mr. FITZSIMONS, as to the quantity new revenue bill were taken into consideration. of liquor which a still might make. He then

The amendment to add a clause after the entered into a general consideration of the bill, words city, town, or village,” in these words, and adverting to the discontents in some of the containing not less than families, being States, and the utter aversion of many inhabiunder consideration,

tants to excises, he said he should continue his Mr. White offered some general observa- opposition to the last. tions on the bill, and on this part in particular, Mr. Moore offered another modification of which would, in its operation, be very disagree- the section. able to a considerable proportion of the people; The question on adding the words was put he wished to have it so modified as to leave it and negatived. as little exceptionable as possible, and if in do- Mr. BOUDINOT called the attention of the ing this a diminution of the sum proposed to be House to the fourth section, which authorizes raised by the bill should take place, still he the President of the United States, by the adthought ihere would, according to the estimates vice and consent of the Senate, to appoint such which had been laid before the House, be a suf- a nuinber of oflicers as he may think necessary. ficient amount brought into the Public Treasu- He thought that the most, if not the only excepry; but if there should not, he should be willing tionable clause of the bill. His opinion was, in some other way to make up the deficiency; that the number of officers should be limited. and for this purpose Congress may have a ses. He moved this addition to the section—"prosion as early as September.

vided the number do not exceed He gave notice, that in some future stage of county, city, town, or village.” He objected the bill he should move to have this section re to the clause as establishing a dangerous prececommitted.

dent. Mr. Fitzsimon's observed, that notwithstand- Mr. BloodWORTH seconded this motion. ing all that had been offered to show that the Mr. PARKER said, he was in favor of this mo

in any

JAN. 20, 1791.]

New Revenue Bill.

[H. OF R.

tion, because he wished to have the number of and China; praying that an additional duty these officers as small as possible.

may be laid on all goods imported into the UniMr. Boudinot's motion occasioned consider ted States from India or China in foreign botable debate. It was said, that the number of toms. Referred to the Secretary of the Treaofficers is virtually restricted by the compensa - sury. tion to be received. This allowance cannot be A message was received from the Senate, inexceeded, so that the number of officers cannot forming this House that they have passed a bill be increased beyond what may be necessary; if | for incorporating the subscribers to the Bank of they are, the President of the United States the United States; to which they desire the must pay them out of his own pocket, or they concurrence of this House. must receive a less sum.

NEW REVENUE BILL. It was said in answer to this, that experience The House resumed the consideration of the. shows when once the object is obtained in the amendments proposed to the new Revenue Bill. appeiatment of these officers, ways and means An amendment was proposed by Mr. Sengwill be found to pay them; in confirmation of WICK, to strike out part of the fourth section, this idea it was said, there are already two mo- which respects the compensations to the Intions on the table for enhancing the compensa - spectors, and to introduce a substitute, to limit tions to the officers of the revenue.

their compensations to a certain sum. Mr. Boudinot's motion was negatived. Mr. Sherman said, he should prefer striking

Several other amendments were proposed by out the whole clause, and passing the bill withdifferent members, and rejected.

out it; and leave the compensations to be pro

vided for in a separate bill. WEDNESDAY, January 19.

Mr. Gerry proposed an amendment, which A bill, declaring the assent of Congress to a he conceived was not liable to the objections certain act of the State of Maryland, being read which apply to the original clause, and to the a second time, was referred to a Committee of amendment at present under consideration, and the whole.

which arise from their giving the President the Mr. SEDGWICK, from the committee appoint power of establishing offices. ed for that purpose, reported a bill, authorizing Mr. SEDGWICK stated certain principles of the President of the United States to cause the conciliation which had induced him to move the debt due to foreign oflicers, the interest where- amendment now under consideration. He showon is now payable in Paris, at the rate of six per ed by a variety of particulars, that the services cent. per annum, to be paid and discharged; will be various, and merit in some cases a much being read a first and second time, was referred greater compensation than in others. to a Committee of the whole.

Mr. AMEs objected to the amendment proA letter from the Directors of the Library, posed, on principles of economy, both of time Company of Philadelphia, making an offer of and money. The time is already so exhausted the use of the books in said library to the mem- that there will be scarcely sufficient in the prebers of both Houses of Congress, was communi- sent session, to finish the bill; and if the amendcated by the Speaker.

ment is adopted, it will follow, that in order to Mr. HUNTINGTON presented a memorial from make adequate provision in all cases you must, the Baptist Association in the State of Connec- in many instances, make that compensation too ticut, requesting the interposition of Congress to much. He urged the importance of passing the prevent incorrectness in future editions of the law with such a power as would enable the ExBible, published in the United States; read and ecutive to apportion the compensations in prolaid on the table.

portion to the merits and services of the respecMr. Fitzsimons, from the committee appoint- tive officers. This law is said to be obnoxious ed to consider the petition of Joshua Barney, to the disa pprobation of the people. It therelate an officer in the American navy, reported fore becomes our duty to make the compensa a resolution, that a committee be appointed to tions such as may command the services of prepare and bring in a bill, to allow to Captain men of responsibility, in point of property and Joshua Barney, the sum of dollars.

character; men of prudence and judgment. He DUTIES ON SPIRITS.

conceived the power of apportioning the salaries

might be left with the Supreme Executive. Agreeable to the order of the day, the House Nor did he conceive there was any thing in the proceeded in the further consideration of the Constitution contrary to this idea. Gentlemen amendments proposed to the new Revenue Bill. have cautioned the House against exceeding A motion to recommit the bill was negatived. the powers of the Constitution by implication; It was then moved to recommit the fourth section, which specifies the compensations to the refrain from exercising the full powers indis

he supposed that it was equally reprehensible to Inspectors; this also was negatived. The fur- putably vested in the Legislature by the Conther consideration of the bill was postponed. stitution. Thursday, January 20.

Mr. Boudinot, agreeable to the idea of Mr.

SHERMAN, moved that the clause should be Mr. Frrzsimons presented a memorial from struck out, and leave the compensations to be the merchants of Philadelphia, trading to India provided for in a subsequent bill.

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