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Mines, 1797.]

to the most dreadful situation possible; some of that compensation, justly due to his services, is refused him as a balm to his former woes by not attempting his release. This is the situation of the man for whom this House is asked only to express their desire for his comfort; this is the man who was met with pleasuro in every part of the United States; all the people rejoiced to express their gratitude to him; he was accompanied with testimonials of admiration and thanks from the whole Continent: and now we should not say that we will feel with pleasure measures taken towards obtaining; his liberty! We can pity him, and regret his situation, but refuse to lend him the least assistance *o soothe his distress. We do not call upon the House to vent its infantine sorrow, to show its womanish pity. No. We call on it to express a will, predominant throughout the United States, in the behalf of this unfortunate man. But it is said that we should get the ill will of the nations who persecuted him. Unless they bid adieu to all the tender feelings of humanity, they never can take offence. It has been also supposed it would be ineffectual; he had no doubt but the Executive would take those measures which would be most effectual and least endangering to the nation; it conld not make the situation of the sufferer worse, and if we succeed in procuring his liberty, it would give pleasure to every heart who can sympathize with the distressed, or feel gratitude for high obligations: and if it does not have that happy effect, still we may feel consolation at having done our duty. If these measures were taken, it would illuminate the loathsome horrors of a dungeon the most dreadful; it would sweep away the reproach "that Republicans know no gratitude;" that we, who had his best exertions whilst in prosperity, do not forget him in adversity. Mr. L. said he really believed that if he had not known the principles of liberty here, and helped us in our struggle for it, he would have never existed in misery in the dungeon at Ohnutz, and therefore the highest obligations were kid on the United States to exert herself in his behalf.

Mr. Hiath hoped, that, although the gentleman had labored to excite the pathetic, yet he would not charge the House with a want of Bepnblicanism if the measure was not adopted. Mr. H. thought it extremely improper to be introduced in the House. He said the President knew the will of the United States on the subject, and therefore, if he saw proper, he could take it up. He hoped the gentleman would remember this was a complicated case; for, ante he had left this country, he had become a amen of another country. Mr. H. said he felt f ir his unfortunate situation: he had fonght under his banner. We are not to be charged with a want of patriotism and feeling for this *uSerijng hero, because we think it imprudent to interest and involve ourselves in his behalf, •srely to indulge the flighty fancy of a few individuals. We might go, said he, and address

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the Pbesident to exert himself as far as he saw proper in his behalf, as a body of individuals, but not as a Legislature.

Mr. W. Smith could see no kind of impropriety in the measure. It had been said it was a new subject, and, therefore, ought not to be taken up now; but it was not introduced yesterday 1 Did gentlemen want an age to express an opinion which every member feels—which the whole nation feels? The motion only went to express a wish that measures may be taken according to the judgment of the Executive: if he had a thought or wish to adopt measures, this would encourage him to carry them into effect. Europe might feel a pleasure that we interested ourselves in his behalf. Did he not embaik his all for this country? It has been well said, said Mr. S., that if the motion had been made in 1779 or 1780, no previous question would then have been called—no opposition then made. Bead the journals of the National Representation for 1780 and 1783: there we find one member from each State was appointed to take leave of him in behalf of the whole. [Mr. S. here read the journals of that time, which insert at length the proceeding, address, and answer, attending the transaction.] There, said he, they expressed their zeal for his future welfare, and gratitude for his favors, accompanying it with a letter to the French King, requesting him to bestow his favors upon him. From the frequent respectful mention made of his services on the journals of the House, there appears to have been much attention paid to his services by Congress, Even the Parliament of Great Britain, he said, had discussed the question of his confinement; and should this House refuse, who are so much obliged by his services? Nothing that had been said, in opposition to it, could convince him but that we were called upon, by every tie of gratitude, to adopt the measure. The satisfaction of knowing that his services are not forgotten may render him more comfortable in his dungeon—may follow him into the deserts of Siberia, or wherever the cruel hand of oppression may send him.

Mr. Madison did not think there was time to do all the business requisite to render due justice to the motion, and he hoped the House would do more than was intended by the motion. He believed the only regular mode would be to appoint a committee to bring in a bill. He therefore moved that the House go into committee for that purpose.

Mr. Sitoeeaves said, according to the motion there was no necessity for this mode, as it was of a nature not to require the aid of another branch of the Legislature; it was quite sufficient if the House passed the resolution. He was sorry to hear the previous question called for to get rid of the subject, but he hoped it would not prevail: he thought this motion required early attention. He said attention was due to Lafayette; America was highly indebted to him. It is a debt of justice, and ought to be H. or R.]

General Lafayette.

paid; and while this House delays to interpose in his behalf he must remain in confinement. Those gentlemen who thought the House ought to interpose should think this is the very time, if any good is intended to be done: he therefore hoped they would not delay.

Mr. Haeper said, if the subject was on the sending an ambassador to negotiate for the liberation of this man, it might with more propriety bo opposed. He was surprised that any gentleman in the House should be opposed to expressing a wish for measures to be taken which may prove effectual for that purpose.

When he had no need of our caresses, the United States resounded with his name: he was then met with tokens of respect and congratulation wherever he went But now, pining under the cruel hand of despotic vengeance in a loathsome dungeon, weighed down by chains, with a scanty allowance; when we view his present, contrasted with his past, situation—embarking from the magnificent splendor of a French court, displeasing his sovereign—embarking himself, and hazarding every thing that was dear to him, in support of American liberty—is this the man, Mr. H. would ask, to whom America said, he should never cease to have her best wishes and endeavors for his good, when, in the most grievous captivity, we refuse to express a desire for a morsel of comfort to his depressed mind! What avail our toasts—our boasted recollections of him, and regret at his fate—if we take not every opportunity to alleviate that distress? But the worst of his misfortunes is not to lie in a dungeon: he is now racked with a fear of being sent into the inhospitable deserts of Siberia, whence is no hope ever to expect his return into the civilized world; and, with this unwelcome intelligence, the American Legislature refuses to express a wish for his deliverance! Who knows but the power in whose custody he is may expect America to interest herself in his favor? And by a pretext like this he might be liberated, or at least his fear of removal dissipated, and his present misery alleviated. Mr. H. said he was sure it would be highly gratifying to the citizens of America to hear of the measure; they had long expected it, and, if undertaken, he had the greatest hopes of its success, in a measure. If it should but tend to soften his present distress, it would be a happiness; but if its effcts should be to restore to liberty one to whom America is so much indebted, it would amply repay whatsoever trouble is taken towards its accomplishment.

Mr. W. Lyman did not doubt of the services of the Marquis Lafayette; he was always the subject of adoration and the toast of this country. Besides, it has made him liberal grants for his services, and he thought there could be no proof that we were wanting in marks of esteem for him. With respect to the motion, Mr. L. asked, to whom was application to be made? Does any gentleman on this floor know who

[march, 1797.

oonfined him, or by order of what government? No court are willing to avow it. Britain, France, and Prussia disavow it, and he believed the Emperor also. Until that was clear, the measure would be improper. May not the agitation of such a question in the House awaken a jealousy in some of those powers towards us, which may militate to our injury, and injure the man whom the attempt is meant to serve i Gentlemen-have depicted his sufferings in very lively colors, said Mr. L., and were it in my power, or were it consistently in the power of the House, I should be very happy to afford relief. Until some of the difficulties in its way were cleared, he said, he should be forced to put his negative to it. He thought gentlemen who saw the matter so necessary, and the way so clear, had reason to reproach themselves for letting it sleep so long, and for having introduced it at the last hour of the session of the Houses.

Mr. Haepee and Mr. Livingston said that nothing but the constant press of public business had prevented their motions sooner, and they thought there was even now time enough, as it only required the expression of a desire of the House for the object.

Mr. Buck said the services and sufferings of the Marquis were indelibly written on the hearts of all the citizens of America, and he thought there was no need of that torrent of oratory which had been displayed to affect the feelings of the House. He thought it would prove its weakness to suffer its feelings to predominate. We ought to give a decision only by the force of judgment, after due deliberation; for filling could not look forward to consequences.' Were we implicitly to obey it, we should take many bad steps. Do we not know, said Mr. B., that he is among the persons proscribed by France? and, considering the very brittle situafion of our peace with that country at present, we should be induced rather to strengthen than weaken our ties; for the motion goes to authorize the Pbesident to take any measures to support Lafayette. This being the situation, we know not where the measures may end, and it would be a serious thing to be plunged in a war with France on that account He hoped the House would not precipitate the business, but give themselves time to examine the consequences. This, Mr. B. said, had induced him to oppose the motion. Though congenial to his feelings, he therefore should vote for the previous, and against the main question.

Mr. Claibobne was against the previous question. He would hazard any thing for the happiness of a man we owe so much to—who sees, said he, the unfortunate man with his lady and daughter, under all the miseries that despotism and tyranny can inflict, in a wretched dungeon, without even tlie comforts of life! Here he appealed to the feelings of the members in a very forcible manner, and, with the most bitter invective, ardently wished the destruction of his cruel oppressors. He observed Much, 1797.]

General Lafayette.

on the uneasiness the members of the House were in if public business detained them half an herar after the usual time of their dinners, and applied the case to this unfortunate man in wntinual confinement, and after all with miserable fare.

The previous question was then put, "Shall the main question be now put?" and negatived —ares 25.

Mr. Livingston then brought forward a similar resolution, which caused very considerable debate, and was at length got rid of by the previous question. The principal objection to the adoption of this motion seemed to be the late period at which it was brought forward. All were agreed as to the merits and the misfor'tones of the man, and had the motion been infrodneed at any other time than on the eve of the rising of the session, there could be little donbt it would have been agreed to by a very large majority.*

Thanh to the Speaker. Mr. Blount said he wished to offer a resolution to the House, which, as he was certain there could be no opposition to it, would occupy little of their time. He should wish the

♦The resolution offered by Mr. Harper contemplated an official Interposition in behalf of Lafayette—a grave proceeding which President Washington had well considered beforehud, and matnrely decided agnl nst But unofficially he had be*n exerting himself to procure the release, or to mitigato the fete of the illustrious captive. A confidential person hid been sent to Berlin to solicit his discharge, his first captivity being in Prussia; but before the arrival of the messenger the well-guarded prisoner had been turned over to tits Emperor of Germany. Mr. Thomas Pinckney, the American Minister In London, had been Instructed to make known the wishes of the President to the Austrian Minister at that place, and the British Ministry had been solicited to take m Interest in the application: but all in Tain. As a last attempt, and at the moment of ceasing to be President, ho ■ddreaed a private letter to the Emperor of Austria, couched In noble and feeling terms, In which he solicited that Lafayette might be allowed to come to the United States. The ktter said: "I forbear to enlarge upon this delicate subject Permit me only to submit to your majesty's consideration, whether his long imprisonment, and the confiscation of his estate, and the indigence and dispersion of his family, and the painful anxieties incident to all these circumstances, do not form an assemblage of sufferings which recommend him te the mediation of hnmanity? Allow me, sir, on this occasion to be its organ; and to entreat that he may be permitted to come to this country on such conditions, and under Reh restrictions as your majesty may deem It expedient to prescribe." This touching appeal remained without effect; ■ad the romantic effort of Dr. Bollman having failed to save Tawji Hi, after snatching him from the dungeon of Olmutz, it remained for the glittering sword of the conqueror of Italy t« eommind what the noble letter of Washington failed to stain. After the Treaty of Campo Formic, an ald-de-camp af'Jt* th?n young General Buonaparte proceeded to Vienna -naked the release of Lafayette—and obtained it The Empercv. Francis the Second, might have appeared more gracefeBy la the transaction, if ho had yielded the release to the fetter of Washington.

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Clerk to read it, and take the sense of the House upon it. It was in the following words: "Resolved, That the thanks of this Honse be presented to Jonathan Dayton, in testimony of their approbation of his conduct in discharging the arduous and important duties assigned him while in the chair."

The Clerk accordingly put the resolution, and it was unanimously carried; when— The Speaker thus addressed the House: "Gentlemen: I feel myself deeply impressed with thij fresh proof of your approbation of my conduct in the chair. The confidence and support which you have in every instance afforded me, in the station assigned to me, have alone enabled me to discharge the important duty with satisfaction to myself, and with advantage to the public."

Adjournment of the Session.

A message was received from the Senate, informing the House that they had appointed a committee to join a committee of that House, to wait upon the President to inform him they had finished their business, and, except he had any further communications to make, they were ready to adjourn, without day.

The House then agreed to appoint a committee to join that of the Senate to wait upon the President, and Messrs. Sitgreavks, Parker, and Sherburne being named, they accordingly waited upon the President; and—

Mr. Sitgreavks reported that the President had no further communication to make, except "that he wished them a happy return to their families and friends."

The Speaker then adjourned the House sine die, at about eleven o'clock.*

* The close of the Fourth Congress terminates the presidency of General Washington, and presents a proper point for a retrospective view of tho working of the Government for the first eight years of Its existence. Such a vlow Is full of instruction, and deserves to be taken; and first of the finances. Moderate expenses, and moderate taxes were the characteristics of this branch of the service. The support of the Government, called the Civil List, and comprehending every object of civil expenditure, was, for the year 1796, (the Inst of Washington's administration,) $580,892, and the duties on imports about five millions of dollars—or nearly ten times as much as the support of the Government required—leaving nearly nine-tenths to go to the public debt, the preservation of peace with the Indian tribes, defence of tho frontiers, protection of commerce In the Mediterranean; and other extraordinary objects. This amount was produced by moderate duties—the ad valorem*. 10,12J, 15 and 20 per centum—and mainly produced by the two first rates, the two latter chiefly applying to objects of luxury not used by tho general mass. Thus: The amount of Imports subject to the 10 and the 12| rates was $28,267,000, while those subject to 15 were $7,850,000; and those subject to 20 per centum only the third of one million. The average of the whole was about 18 per centum. The specific duties were on the same moderate scale; and the cost of collecting the whole was 8.73 per cent The Interest on the public debt was three millions and a quarter; tho Military Department, $1,800,000; Naval Department, $WO,000; tribute to the Barbary powers, veiled under the name of foreign intercourse expense, was H. Of R]


$300,000; while the regular diplomatic Intercourse was only abont $40,000. The whole expenditure of the Government was about 5} millions: its whole revenne something more— the excise on distilled spirits producing some $400,000. Thus, order and economy were established In the finances. Abroad peace had been maintained. The proclamation of neutrality, unanimously agreed upon In the Cabinet, saved the United States from the calamity of being involved in the wars of the French Revolution. The commercial treaty with Great Britain stopped the depredations which the British had commenced upon American vessels carrying provisions to France, and obtained indemnity for depredations already committed. With Spain the serious question of the free navigation of the Mississippi was settled; and, in addition to the right of navigation, a place of deposit for American produce and merchandise was obtained at New Orleans—the right to be absolute for three years, and afterwards until an equivalent place should be provided. (It was the subsequent violation of this right of deposit which led

[march, 1797.

to the acquisition of all Louisiana.) Safety to the persons and property of American citizens in the Mediterranean Sea had been obtained, according to the means nanal at that time, and npon terms to be endured until strong enough to do better. The formidable Indian war in the North-west, and the troublesome hostilities in the South-west, had bees terminated, and peaco given to the young communities on the Kentucky and Cumberland Elvers which, commencing without authority, were laying the foundations of future great States. A domestic insurrection (that of Western Pennsylvania) had been quelled, and happily without bloodshed—the exhibition of a large force, with Washington at its head, being sufficient to forbid resistance, and a wise humanity sparing all punishment The new Government wis solidly established, and amidst difficulties which might have been insuperable under any other President Public credit, which had sunk so low under the Confederation, had risen to a high standard under the new Government; and a general commercial and agricultural prosperity pervaded the land.


ItiT, 1797.] Proceedings. [sknatb.





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uel W. Dana, James Davenport, C. Goodrich, Boger Orlswold, Nathaniel Smith.

New York.—David Brooks, John Cochran, Lucas Elmendorph, Henry Glenn, J. N. Havens, HezeklahL. Hosmer, E. Livingston, John E. Van Allen, Philip Van Cortlandt, John Williams.

New Jersey.—Jona. Dayton, James II. Imlay, James Schureman, Thomas Slnnlckson, Mark Thompson.

Pennsylvania.—David Bard, Robert Brown, John Chapman, William Flndlay, Albert Gallatin, Andrew Gregg, John A Hanna, Thomas Hartley, Joseph Heister, John W. Klttera, Blair McClenachan, Samuel Sltgreaves, John Swan wick, Richard Thomas.

Delaware.—James A Bayard.

Maryland.—George Baer, William Cralk, John Dennis, George Dent, William Hindman, William Matthews, Samuel Smith, Bichard Sprigg.

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 Machlr, Daniel Morgan, Anthony New, John Nicholas, Joslah Parker, Ahram Trigg, John Trigg, A B. Venable.

North Carolina.—Thomas Blount, Nathan Bryan, Dempsey Burges, James Gillespie, William B. Grove, Matthew Locke, Nathaniel Macon, Joseph McDowell, Bichard Stanford, Bobcrt Williams.

South Carolina.—Lemuel Benton, B. G. Harper, Thomas Plnckney, John Butledge, William Smith, Thomas Sumter.

Georgia.—A. Baldwin, John Milledge.

Tennessee.—William 0. 0. Claiborne.

Kentucky.—Thomas T. Davis, John Fowler.


The first session of the Fifth Congress, under tte Constitution of Government of the United Sates, commenced at the city of Philadelphia, Jsreesbly to the Proclamation of the President Thi United States, of the twenty-fifth day of March last and the Senate accordingly as*mbkd on this day, being

Monday, May 15,1797.


Thomas Jefferson, Vice President of the tufted States, and President of the Senate. Vol. II—8

JOun Langdon and Samuel Ltveemore, from New Hampshire.

Benjamin Goodhue, from Massachusetts.

Theodore Foster and William Bradford, from Rhode Island.

James Hillhouse and Uriah Tract, from Connecticut.

Isaac Tiohenor, from Vermont.

* This was an extra session, called In the early months of Mr. Adams' administration, for the causes stated In bis Message to the two Houses.

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