Page images

MARCA, 1797.)
General Lafayette.

[H. OP R to the most dreadful situation possible ; some the PRESIDENT to exert himself as far as he saw of that compensation, justly due to his services, proper in his behalf, as a body of individuals, is refused him as a balm to his former woes by but not as a Legislature. not attempting his release. This is the situa- Mr. W. Smith could see no kind of improtion of the man for whom this House is asked priety in the measure. It had been said it was only to express their desire for his comfort ; a new subject, and, therefore, ought not to be this is the man who was met with pleasure in taken up now; but it was not introduced yesevery part of the United States; all the people terday ! Did gentlemen want an age to express rejoiced to express their gratitude to him; he an opinion which every member feels which was accompanied with testimonials of admira- the whole nation feels? The motion only went tion and thanks from the whole Continent: and to express a wish that measures may be taken now we should not say that we will feel with according to the judgment of the Executive: if pleasure measures taken towards obtaining his he had a thought or wish to adopt measures, liberty! We can pity him, and regret his situa this would encourage him to carry them into tion, but refuse to lend him the least assistance effect. Europe might feel a pleasure that we to soothe his distress. We do not call upon the interested ourselves in his behalf. Did he not House to vent its infantine sorrow, to show its embark his all for this country? It has been womanish pity. No. We call on it to express well said, said Mr. S., that if the motion had & will, predominant throughout the United been made in 1779 or 1780, no previous quesStates, in the behalf of this unfortunate man. tion would then have been called—no opposiBut it is said that we should get the ill will of tion then made. Read the journals of the Nathe nations who persecuted him. Unless they tional Representation for 1780 and 1783 : there bid adieu to all the tender feelings of humanity, we find one member from each State was apthey never can take offence. It has been also pointed to take leave of him in behalf of the supposed it would be ineffectual; he had no whole. [Mr. S. here read the journals of tbat doubt but the Executive would take those mea- time, which insert at length the proceeding, adsures which would be most effectual and least dress, and answer, attending the transaction.] endangering to the nation; it could not make There, said he, they expressed their zeal for his the situation of the sufferer worse, and if we future welfare, and gratitude for his favors, acsucceed in procuring his liberty, it would give companying it with a letter to the French King, pleasure to every heart who can sympathize requesting him to bestow his favors upon him. with the distressed, or feel gratitude for high From the frequent respectful mention made of obligations: and if it does not have that happy his services on the journals of the House, there effect, still we may feel consolation at having appears to have been much attention paid to done our daty. If these measures were taken, his services by Congress. Even the Parliament it would illuminate the loathsome horrors of a of Great Britain, he said, had discussed the dungeon the most dreadful; it would sweep question of his confinement; and should this away the reproach " that Republicans know no House refuse, who are so much obliged by his gratitude;" that we, who had his best exertions services? Nothing that had been said, in opwhilst in prosperity, do not forget him in ad-position to it, could convince him but that we versity. Mr. L. said he really believed that if were called upon, by every tie of gratitude, to he had not known the principles of liberty bere, adopt the measure. The satisfaction of knowand helped us in our struggle for it, he would ing that his services are not forgotten may renhave never existed in misery in the dungeon at der him more comfortable in his dungeon-may Olunutz, and therefore the highest obligations follow him into the deserts of Siberia, or wherWere laid on the United States to exert herself ever the cruel hand of oppression may send in his behalf.

Mr. Heath hoped, that, although the gentle Mr. Madison did not think there was time to man had labored to excite the pathetic, yet he do all the business requisite to render due juswould not charge the House with a want of tice to the motion, and he hoped the House Republicanism if the measure was not adopted. would do more than was intended by the moMr. H. thought it extremely improper to be in- tion. He believed the only regular mode would troduced in the House. He said the PRESIDENT be to appoint a committee to bring in a bill. knew the will of the United States on the sub- He therefore moved that the House go into ject, and therefore, if he saw proper, he could committee for that purpose. take it up. He hoped the gentleman would Mr. SITGREAVES said, according to the motion remember this was a complicated case ; for, there was no necessity for this mode, as it was since he had left this country, he had become a of a nature not to require the aid of another citizen of another country. Mr. H, said he felt branch of the Legislature; it was quite sufficient for his anfortunate situation : he had fought if the House passed the resolution. He was under his banner. We are not to be charged sorry to hear the previous question called for with a want of patriotism and feeling for this to get rid of the subject, but he hoped it would suffering hero, because we think it imprudent not prevail : he thought this motion required to interest and involve ourselves in his behalf, early attention. He said attention was due to merely to indulge the flighty fancy of a few in- LAFAYETTE; America was highly indebted to dividuals. We might go, said he, and address him. It is a debt of justice, and ought to be



H. OF R.]
General Lafayette.

[March, 1797. paid ; and while this House delays to interpose, confined him, or by order of what governin his behalf he must remain in confinement. ment? No court are willing to avow it. Brita Those gentlemen who thought the House ought ain, France, and Prussia disavow it, and he beto interpose should think this is the very time, lieved the Emperor also. Until that was clear, if any good is intended to be done: he there the measure would be improper. May not the fore hoped they would not delay.

agitation of such a question in the House awakMr. HARPER said, if the subject was on the en a jealousy in some of those powers towards sending an ambassador to negotiate for the lib- us, which may militate to our injury, and injure eration of this man, it might with more propri- the man whom the attempt is meant to serve? ety be opposed. He was surprised that any Gentlemen have depicted his sufferings in very gentleman in the House should be opposed to lively colors, said Mr. L., and were it in my expressing a wish for measures to be taken power, or were it consistently in the power of which may prove effectual for that purpose. the House, I should be very happy to afford re

When he had no need of our caresses, the lief. Until some of the difficulties in its way United States resounded with his name : he were cleared, he said, he should be forced to was then met with tokens of respect and con- put his negative to it. He thought gentlemen gratulation wherever he went. But now, pin- who saw the matter so necessary, and the way ing under the cruel hand of despotic vengeance so clear, had reason to reproach themselves for in a loathsome dungeon, weighed down by letting it sleep so long, and for having introchains, with a scanty allowance; when we duced it at the last hour of the session of the view his present, contrasted with his past, sit- Houses. uation-embarking from the magnificent splen- / Mr. HARPER and Mr. LIVINGSTON said that dor of a French court, displeasing his sove- nothing but the constant press of public busireign-embarking himself, and hazarding ev-ness had prevented their motions sooner, and ery thing that was dear to him, in support of they thought there was even now time enough, American liberty—is this the man, Mr. H. as it only required the expression of a desire of would ask, to whom America said, he should the House for the object. never cease to have her best wishes and en- Mr. Buck said the services and sufferings of deavors for his good, when, in the most griev- the Marquis were indelibly written on the hearts ous captivity, we refuse to express a desire for of all the citizens of America, and he thought a morsel of comfort to his depressed mind! there was no need of that torrent of oratory What avail our toasts our boasted recollec- which had been displayed to affect the feelings tions of him, and regret at his fate—if we take of the House. He thought it would prove its not every opportunity to alleviate that dis-weakness to suffer its feelings to predominate. tress? But the worst of his misfortunes is not We ought to give a decision only by the force to lie in a dungeon: he is now racked with a of judgment, after due deliberation ; for feeling fear of being sent into the inhospitable deserts could not look forward to consequences. Were of Siberia, whence is no hope ever to expect his we implicitly to obey it, we should take many return into the civilized world; and, with this bad steps. Do we not know, said Mr. B., that unwelcome intelligence, the American Legis- he is among the persons proscribed by France? lature refuses to express a wish for his deliver- and, considering the very brittle situation of ance! Who knows but the power in whose our peace with that country at present, we custody he is may expect America to interest should be induced rather to strengthen than herself in his favor ? And by a pretext like weaken our ties; for the motion goes to authis he might be liberated, or at least his fear thorize the PRESIDENT to take any measures of removal dissipated, and his present misery to support Lafayette. This being the situation, alleviated. Mr. H. said he was sure it would we know not where the measures may end, and be highly gratifying to the citizens of America it would be a serious thing to be plunged in a to hear of the measure; they had long expected war with France on that account. He hoped it, and, if undertaken, he had the greatest the House would not precipitate the business, hopes of its success, in a measure. If it should but give themselves time to examine the conbut tend to soften his present distress, it would sequences. This, Mr. B. said, had induced him be a happiness; but if its effets should be to re- to oppose the motion. Though congenial to his store to liberty one to whom America is so feelings, he therefore should vote for the premuch indebted, it would amply repay whatso- vious, and against the main question. ever trouble is taken towards its accomplish- Mr. CLAIBORNE was against the previous ment.

question. He would hazard any thing for the Mr. W. LYMAN did not doubt of the services happiness of a man we owe so much to who of the Marquis Lafayette; he was always the sees, said he, the unfortunate man with his lady subject of adoration and the toast of this coun- and daughter, under all the miseries that destry. Besides, it has made him liberal grants potism and tyranny can inflict, in a wretched for his services, and he thought there could be dungeon, without even the comforts of life! no proof that we were wanting in marks of es. Here he appealed to the feelings of the memteem for him. With respect to the motion, Mr. bers in a very forcible manner, and, with the L. asked, to whom was application to be made? most bitter invective, ardently wished the deDoes any gentleman on this floor know who struction of his cruel oppressors. He observed

MARCH, 1797.)


[H. OF R.

on the uneasiness the members of the House Clerk to read it, and take the sense of the were in if public business detained them half House upon it. It was in the following words: an hour after the usual time of their dinners, 1 " Resolved, That the thanks of this House be preand applied the case to this unfortunate man in

sented to JONATHAN DAYTox, in testimony of their continual confinement, and after all with mis approbation of his conduct in discharging the arduerable fare.

ous and important duties assigned him while in the The previous question was then put, “Shall chair.” the main question be now put ? ” and negatived | The Clerk accordingly put the resolution, -ayes 25.

and it was unanimously carried; whenNr. LIVINGSTON then brought forward a sim- The SPEAKER thus addressed the House : llar resolution, which caused very considerable “GENTLEMEN: I feel myself deeply impressed with debate, and was at length got rid of by the pre- | this fresh proof of your approbation of my conduct vious question. The principal objection to the in the chair. The confidence and support which adoption of this motion seemed to be the late you have in every instance afforded me, in the staperiod at which it was brought forward. Alltion assigned to me, have alone enabled me to diswere agreed as to the merits and the misfor- charge the important duty with satisfaction to mytunes of the man, and had the motion been in- self, and with advantage to the public." troduced at any other time than on the eve of the rising of the session, there could be little

Adjournment of the Session. doubt it would have been agreed to by a very A message was received from the Senate, inlarge majority.*

forming the House that they had appointed a

committee to join a committee of that House, Thanks to the Speaker.

to wait upon the PRESIDENT to inform him Mr. BLOUNT said he wished to offer a resolu- | they had finished their business, and, except he tion to the House, which, as he was certain had any further communications to make, they there could be no opposition to it, would oc- were ready to adjourn, without day. cupy little of their time. He should wish the | The House then agreed to appoint a commit

tee to join that of the Senate to wait upon the

PRESIDENT, and Messrs. SITGREAVES, PARKER, • The resolution offered by Mr. Harper contemplated an

and SHERBURNE being named, they accordingly official interposition in behalf of Lafayette-a grave proceeding, which President Washington had well considered before

waited upon the PRESIDENT; and hand, and maturely decided against. But unofficially he had

Mr. SITGREAVES reported that the PRESIDENT

had no further communication to make, except been exerting himself to procure the release, or to mitigato the fate of the illustrious captive. A confidential person

“that he wished them a happy return to their had been sent to Berlin to solicit his discharge, his first cap

families and friends." tivity being in Prussia; but before the arrival of the mes. The SPEAKER then adjourned the House sine senger the well-guarded prisoner had been turned over to die, at about eleven o'clock.* the Emperor of Germany. Mr. Thomas Pinckney, the American Minister in London, had been instructed to make * The close of the Fourth Congress terminates the presiknown the wishes of the President to the Austrian Minister dency of General Washington, and presents a proper point at that place, and the British Ministry had been solicited to for a retrospective view of the working of the Government take an interest in the application : but all in vain. As a last for the first eight years of its existence. Such a view is full attempt, and at the moment of ceasing to be President, hoof instruction, and deserves to be taken; and first of the addressed a private letter to the Emperor of Austria, couched finances. Moderate expenses, and moderate taxes were the In Doble and feeling terms, in which he solicited that Lafay-characteristics of this branch of the service. The support ette might be allowed to come to the United States. The of the Government, called the Civil List, and comprehending letter said : * I forbear to enlarge upon this delicate subject. every object of civil expenditure, was, for the year 1796, Permit me only to submit to your majesty's consideration, (the last of Washington's administration,) $530,892, and the whether his long imprisonment, and the confiscation of his | duties on imports about five millions of dollars-or nearly etate, and the indigence and dispersion of his family, and ten times as much as the support of the Government rethe painfal anxieties incident to all these circumstances, do quired-leaving nearly nine-tenths to go to the public debt, not form an assemblage of sufferings which recommend him the preservation of peace with the Indian tribes, defence of to the mediation of humanity! Allow me, sir, on this the frontiers, protection of commerce in the Mediterranean; occasion to be its organ; and to entreat that he may be per- and other extraordinary objects. This amount was produced mitted to come to this country on such conditions, and under by moderate duties--the ad valorems, 10, 12, 15 and 20 per each restrictions as your majesty may deem it expedient to centum-and mainly produced by the two first rates, the two preseribe." This touching appeal remained without effect; latter chiefly applying to objects of luxury not used by the and the romantic effort of Dr. Bollman baving failed to save general mass. Thus: The amount of imports subject to the Layette, after snatching him from the dungeon of Olmutz, | 10 and the 124 rates was $28,267,000, while those subject to it remained for the glittering sword of the conqueror of Italy 15 were $7,850,000; and those subject to 20 per centum only to command what the noble letter of Washington failed to the third of one million. The average of the whole was obtain. After the Treaty of Campo Formio, an aid-de-camp about 13 per centum. The specific duties were on the same d the then young General Buonaparte proceeded to Vienna moderate scale; and the cost of collecting the whole was 8.73

asked the release of Lafayette--and obtained it. The Em-1 per cent. The interest on the public debt was three milferor, Francis the Second, might have appeared more grace- lions and a quarter; the Military Department, $1,800,000; fally in the transaction, if he had yielded the release to the Naval Department, $440,000; tribute to the Barbary powers, letter of Wasbington.

veiled under the name of foreign intercourse expense, was


H. OF R]

[MARCH, 1797.

8300,000; while the regular diplomatic intercourse was only to the acquisition of all Louisiana.) Safety to the persons about $40,000. The whole expenditure of the Government and property of American citizens in the Mediterranean Ses was about 6f millions: its whole revenue something more had been obtained, according to the means usnal at that the excise on distilled spirits producing some $400,000. time, and upon terms to be endured until strong enough to Thus, order and economy were established in the finances. do better. The formidable Indian war in the North-West, Abroad peace had been maintained. The proclamation of and the troublesome hostilities in the South-west, had been neutrality, unanimously agreed upon in the Cabinet, saved terminated, and peaco given to the young communities on the United States from the calamity of being involved in the the Kentucky and Cumberland Rivers which, commencing wars of the French Revolution. The commercial treaty without authority, were laying the foundations of future with Great Britain stopped the depredations which the great States. A domestic insurrection that of Western British had commenced upon American vessels carrying Pennsylvania) had been quelled, and happily without blood. provisions to France, and obtained indemnity for depreda- shed-the exhibition of a large force, with Washington at its tions already committed. With Spain the serious question head, being sufficient to forbid resistance, and a wise huof the free navigation of the Mississippi was settled; and, in manity sparing all punishment. The new Government was addition to the right of navigation, a place of deposit for solidly established, and amidst difficulties which might have American produce and merchandise was obtained at New been insuperable under any other President Public credit, Orleans—the right to be absolute for three years, and after which had sunk so low under the Confederation, had risen to wards until an equivalent place should be provided. (It was a high standard under the new Government; and a general the subsequent violation of this right of deposit which led commercial and agricultural prosperity pervaded the land.

May, 1797.]








uel W. Dana, James Davenport, C. Goodrich, Roger Gris

wold, Nathaniel Smith. Need Hampshire.- John Langdon, S. Livermore.

Nero York.-David Brooks, John Cochran, Lucas ElmenVermont.-Nathaniel Chipman, Elijah Paine.

dorph, Henry Glenn, J. N. Havens, Hezekiah L. Hosmer, E. Massachusetts. -Benj. Goodhue, Theodore Sedgwick.

Livingston, John E. Van Allen, Philip Van Cortlandt, John Rhode Island.-Theodore Foster, Ray Greene.

Williams. Connecticut.-James Hillhouse, Uriah Tracy.

New Jersey.-Jona. Dayton, James H. Imlay, James Now York-John S. Hobart, John Laurance.

Schureman, Thomas Sinnickson, Mark Thompson. Yer Jersey.--John Rutherford, R. Stockton.

Pennsylvania.-David Bard, Robert Brown, John ChapPennsylvania.-William Bingham, James Ross. Delaware.-Henry Latimer, John Vining.

man, William Findlay, Albert Gallatin, Andrew Gregg,

John A. Hanna, Thomas Hartley, Joseph Heister, John Maryland.-John E. Howard, James Lloyd,

W. Kittera, Blair McClenachan, Samuel Sitgreaves, John Virginia.-Stevens T. Mason, Henry Tazewell. North Carolina, Timothy Bloodworth, Alexander Mar

Swanwick, Richard Thomas.

Delaware.- James A. Bayard.

Maryland.-George Baer, William Craik, John Dennis, South Carolina.-John Hunter, Jacob Read.

George Dent, William Hindman, William Matthews, Samuel Georgia. - James Gunn, Josiah Tattnall. Terassica Joseph Anderson, Andrew Jackson.

Smith, Richard Sprigg. Kentucky.John Brown, Humphrey Marshall.

| Virginia.-Richard Brent, Samuel J. Cabell, Thomas Claiborne, Matthew Clay, John Clopton, Isaac Coles, John Dawson, Thomas Evans, Carter B. Harrison, David Holmes,

Walter Jones, James Machir, Daniel Morgan, Anthony REPRESENTATIVES.

New, John Nicholas, Josiah Parker, Abram Trigg, John Vero Hampshire.-Abiel Foster, Jonathan Freeman, Trigg, A. B. Venable. William Gordon, Peleg Sprague.

North Carolina.-Thomas Blount, Nathan Bryan, DempVermont.-Matthew Lyon, Lewis R. Morris.

sey Burges, James Gillespie, William B. Grove, Matthew Massachusetts.-Bailey Bartlett, Stephen Bullock, Dwight Locke, Nathaniel Macon, Joseph McDowell, Richard StanFoster, Nathaniel Freeman, Samuel Lyman, Harrison G. ford, Robert Williams. Otis, John Read, Samuel Sewall, William Shepard, Thomp- South Carolina.-Lemuel Benton, R. G. Harper, Thomas son J. Skinner, George Thatcher, Joseph B. Varnum, P. Pinckney, John Rutledge, William Smith, Thomas Sumter. Wadsworth

Georgia.-A. Baldwin, John Milledge.
Rhode Island.-0. G. Champlin, Thomas Tillingbast. Tennessee.-William C. C. Claiborne.
Connecticut.-John Allen. Jona. Brace, Joshua Coit, Sam-! Kentucky.-Thomas T. Davis, John Fowler.


The first session of the Fifth Congress, ander| JOHN LANGDON and SAMUEL LIVERMORE, from the Constitution of Government of the United New Hampshire. States, commenced at the city of Philadelphia, BENJAMIN GOODHUE, from Massachusetts. agreeably to the Proclamation of the PRESIDENT | THEODORE FOSTER and WILLIAM BRADFORD, OF THE UNITED STATES, of the twenty-fifth day from Rhode Island. of March last, and the Senate accordingly as- JAMES HILLHOUSE and URIAH TRACY, from sembled on this day, being

MONDAY, May 15, 1797.

Isaad TICHENOR, from Vermont.

* This was an extra session, called in the early months of TAOVAS JEFFERSON, Vice President of the Mr. Adams' administration, for the causes stated in bis Mes. Caited States, and President of the Senate.

sage to the two Houses. VOL. II-8

« PreviousContinue »