Page images

H. or K.]

but he expressed his intention of renewing the proposition when the hill came in.

The question then returned upon the original resolution; when

Mr. Harper went at length into a defence of the measure, (in the course of which he charged Mr. Gallatin with being mistaken $12,000 as Ito the amount of the drawback allowed,) and insisted that it was a fair and proper tax, and that so small an advance upon the present duty cculd not operate oppressively upon any part of the community.

Mr. NicnoLAs" followed in opposition. He dwelt considerably on the unjust and unequal manner in which this tax would operate. He said he did not view this question as deciding merely whether an additional tax of eight cents should be laid upon salt; but whether that necessary of life should be called upon for every thing Government should want. He was in favor of a direct tax, which should fall equally, though it-might, in the origin, be attended with some considerable expense; but, if they went on raising partial sums in this way by indirect means, the expense of instituting a direct tax would always be an obstacle, and indirect taxes would always be had recourse to. He did not believe it to be absolutely necessary to provide a revenue this session, as he believed money might as well be borrowed without as with additional revenue, and, at the next session, the subject could be fully gone into.

Mr. Lyon spoke of the discontent which had always been shown in the part of the country from whence he came, which, he said, would be greatly increased by this addition. It was not only a duty of eight cents, every cent would be made four before the salt reached them. There was no kind of tax which his constituents would not sooner bear. It had been said that a land tax would cost twenty-five per cent, to collect it; but what was twenty-five compared with three hundred per cent.? Nor did he believe this tax would prevent a land tax. He believed they should go on taxing the people until they would be greatly dissatisfied. He would much rather a tax of eight cents was laid upon tea, which would produce an equal sum.

The question was taken by yeas and nays, and decided in the affirmative—47 to 41.

Wednesday, July 5. Duty on Salt. The House went into Committee of the Whole on the bill for laying an additional duty on salt; when

Mr. Gallatin moved to strike out all that related to the allowing of a drawback to vessels employed in the fishing trade, on the ground that he yesterday stated, viz: that the allowance at present made was too large by $40,000 a year, taking the year 1794 for his data; but it appeared that in the year 1795 there was a deficiency in that trade, owing principally, it was supposed, to the great demand for seamen

[jolt, 1797.

in the merchant service. He, therefore, would take the calculation of the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Harper,) made yesterday, and, instead of calling the amount of drawback allowed $90,000, he would state it to be $78,000; and even then, he said, the drawback at present allowed would exceed by two thousand dollars the drawback to which they would be entitled, if the present duty took place.

He spoke generally against the tax 83 oppressive to the back country; but if the gentleman from Massachusetts, and others, were determined to increase the tax, he should wish their part of the country to pay their share of it.

This motion was supported by Messrs. TenaBle, Nicholas, Clay, Mcdowell, and Macox.

It was opposed by Messrs. Sewall, Otis, Harper, Coit, Brooks, Kittera, J. Williams, and Dayton.

The calculation of the quantity of salt estimated to be necessary to be used for a quintal ot fish, (one bushel,) was said to be stated too low; that the sum allowed was not only meant as a drawback of the duty, but also as a bounty on the fishing trade—as being a nursery for seamen, and serving as a kind of naval militia for the United States.

If it should appear, however, that the present allowance was too great, (which, by some gentlemen in favor of this motion, which was in blank, seemed to be acknowledged,) a less allowance might be made in this bill; but they could not consent to the bill passing without a drawback.

The question for striking out the clause was taken, and negatived—49 to 41.

Mr. Corr moved to fill the blank with 50 per cent., instead of 66§, which was the drawback allowed by the present law.

Mr. Hartley thought this sum too high.

Mr. Williams moved 33\ per cent, which was carried without a division.

Mr. Nicholas moved a limitation clause, to continue the act in force for two years, and from thence to the end of the next session of Congress.

This motion was carried—42 to 89.

The committee rose, and the House agreed to the amendments. The yeas and nays were called upon the limitation clause, and were taken, and stood—yeas 47, nays 43.

The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading this day; and before the Honse rose, it received it, and passed. The yeas and nays on its passage stood 45 to 40, as follows:

Yeas.—John Allen, James A. Bayard, David Brooks, Stephen Bollock, John Chapman, Christopher G. Champun, Joshua Coit, William Craik, Samuel W. Dana, James Davenport, John Dennis, George Dent, Thomas Evans, Abiel Foster, Dvright Foster, Jonathan Freeman, Henry Glenn, Channcey Goodrich, Roger Griswold, Robert Goodloe Harper, William Hindman, Hezekiah L. Hosmer, James H. Imlav, John Wilkes Kittera, Samnel Lyman, William Matthews, Lewis R. Morris, Harrison G. Oris, Elisha R. Potter, John Read, John Rutledge, jun., James ha, 1797.]

Duty on Salt.

Shnreman, Samuel Sewall, William Shepard, Thomas iiinickson, Samuel Sitgreavea, Jeremiah Smith, NaiaU Smith, William Smith, (of Charleston,) John ^nawick, George Thatcher, Mark Thompson, John L Vn Allen, Peleg Wadsworth, and John Wilhams. Nats.—Abraham Baldwin, David Bard, Lemuel Thomas Blount, Richard Brent, Nathan Brjtn, Dempsey Burges, Samuel J. Cabell, Thomas i"iiboroe, Matthew Clay, John Clopton, Thomas T. Daiii, John Dawson, Lncas Elmendorph, John Fowls. Albert Gallatin, James Gillespie, Wm. B. Grove, JciiA, Hanna, Jonathan N. Hareus, David Holmes, Kilter Jones, Matthew Locke, Matthew Lyon, Natimie] Macon, Blair McClenachan, Joseph McDowell, !'im Mihedge, Daniel Morgan, Anthony New, John Stfholsj, Thompson J. Skinner, William Smith, (of Plainer District,) Richard Sprigg, jun., Richard ^onford, Thomas Sumter, Abram Trigg, John Trigg, J«ph B. Varnnm, and Robert Williams.

Saturday, July 8. Lavs in the German Language. Kr. Holmes said that he thought it necessary, a order to enforce a general compliance with the laws of the United States, that they should be printed in the German language, as well as a the English, since there were very many inhibitants in this country who could read no other. He therefore proposed a resolution to the following effect:

"Retdttd by the Senate and House of ItepretentaSn if the United States, That a number of copies eftke laws of this session, not exceeding eight thouand copies, shall be printed in the German language, ad distributed by the Secretary of State amongst the Eiecotives of the several States, for the information 4 the German inhabitants of each State respectively."

Mr. Lton thought it wonld be proper to pass s resolution of this kind. He did not know *tat number might be necessary. He also ttanght that some measures should be taken for a general publication of their laws in the Eng64 language; at present, it was merely hy fiance if the people in his district came to a knowledge of them. He thought all laws of general import should be inserted in every K*«paper throughout the Union.

Mr. Con said if they were to promulge their Ml in the German language, it would be neces^ that they should all become critically acquainted with it, for if they were to authorize &t translation, great mischiefs might arise from its not being correct.

Mr. Gallatin said that the weight of the ob,*«ion urged by the gentleman last up, had

[H. Of R.

always been thought sufficient in the Legislature of Pennsylvania, in which State there was a greater proportion of Germans than in any other. There was also another objection to the measure. If it were to be passed, it must be accompanied with an appropriation law, which the advanced state of the session would not admit.

The resolution was put and negatived.

Monday, July 10.

On motion of Mr. Dent, a committee was appointed to wait upon the President Of Thb United States, in conjunction with a like committee from the Senate, to inform him the two Houses were about to adjourn. The committee waited upon the President accordingly, and reported his acquiescence, and his good wishes for the safe arrival of the members at their several hci. es.

On motion of Mr. Sitgreates, the resolution entered into some time ago, calling upon the President for an account of the quantity of arms in the possession of the United States, and at what place they were lodged, was suspended.

Mr. S. said, he wished to make a report upon a subject which would require the galleries to be cleared. He, therefore, moved that they be cleared, and the doors were closed for the remainder of the sitting, at the conclusion of which the House adjourned till the second Monday in November next.*

* Tills extra session having been called on account of expected hostilities with the French Republic, the labors of Congross were consequently limited to the two objects of defence and revenue—preparation for defence, and providing the additional revenuo which the defence required. Both objects were accomplished. The three frigates—Constitution, Constellation and United States, which afterwards earned themselves a place in history—were finished and manned. A detachment of 80,000 militia was authorized. A stamp duty was imposed—a loan authorized—and the salt tax increased: the latter as a temporary measure, and with an express clause agaln6t continuance, without which it could not havo passed, and In contravention of which it was continued. Defence was the great object of the session: invasion the danger: and Its repulse by sea and land the remedy. Preparation against invasion was, at that time, a proper policy: the progress of science, and of the arts of peace, has superseded such policy In our day. The electric telegraph, and the steam car, havo opened a new era in defensive war. Accumulated masses of volunteers, summoned by electricity and transported by steam, rushed upon the invaded point and giving incessant attacks with fresh arrivals, would exterminate any invading force; and give the cheap, effective and extemporaneous defence which the exigency required.


Senate.] Proceedings. [november, 1797.




Monday, November 18, 1797. The second session of the fifth Congress of, the United States commenced this day, at the city of Philadelphia, conformably to law; and the Senate assembled accordingly in their Chamber.


Samuel Liveemobe, from New Hampshire.

Theodore Foster, from Rhode Island.

Uriah Tract, from Connecticut.

Elijah Paine, from Vermont.

William Bingham, from Pennsylvania.

Humphrey Map.shall, from Kentucky.

Alexander Martin and Timothy BloodWorth, from North Carolina.

Jacob Read, from South Carolina.

The number of members present not being sufficient to constitute a quorum, the Senate adjourned to 11 o'clock to-morrow morning.

The number of members present not being sufficient to constitute a quorum, the Senate adjourned.

Saturday, November 18. No quorum being present, the Senate adjourned.

Monday, November 20. James Gunn, from the State of Georgia, attended.

No quorum being present, adjourned.

Tuesday, November 14.

John Lauranoe, from the State of New York, and Henry Latimer, from the State of Delaware, severally attended.

The number of members present not being sufficient to constitute a quorum, the Senate adjourned.

Wednesday, November 15.

Benjamin Goodhue, from the State of Massachusetts, attended.

The number of members present not being sufficient to constitute a quorum, the Senate adjourned.

TnuRSDAY, November 16. The Senate assembled, and the number of members present not being sufficient to consti tute a quorum, the Senate adjourned.

Friday, November 17. John Langdon, from the State of New Hampshire, attended.

Tuesday, November 21.

Ray Greene, appointed a Senator by the State of Rhode Island, in the place of William Bradford, resigned, produced his credentials.

Richard Stockton, from the State of New Jersey, attended.

No quorum being present, the Senate adjourned.

Wednesday, November 22.

The Vice President being absent, the Senate proceeded to the choice of a President pro tempore, as the constitution provides; and Jacob Read was duly elected.

Joseph Anderson, appointed a Senator by the State of Tennessee, for the remainder of the term which the late Senator Whjjam Bloust had drawn, and was entitled to have served, produced his credentials; which were read.

Nathaniel Chipman, appointed a Senator by the State of Vermont, in the place of Isaac: Tiohenob, elected Governor, produced his credentials; which were read.

The credentials of Ray Greene were read.

Andrew Jackson, appointed a Senator by the State of Tennessee, produced his credentials; which were read.

The oath required by law was administered by the President, to Messrs. Anderson, ChipMan, Greene, and Jackson, they having severally taken their seats in the Senate.

SoTEH&EB, 1797.]

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate, that a quorum of the House is assembled, and ready to proceed to business.

Ordered, That the Secretary acquaint the Honse of Representatives that a quorum of the Senate is assembled, and are ready to proceed to business; and that, in the absence of the Yice-pbesident, they have elected Jacob Read, President of the Senate pro tempore.

Rmked, That each Senator be supplied, during the present session, with copies of three such newspapers, printed in any of the States, as he may choose, provided that the same are furnished at the rate of the usual annual charge for such papers.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate, that the Honse have appointed a joint committee on their part, together with such committee as the Senate may appoint, to wait on the President Of The United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any communications that he may be pleased to make to them.

Retained, That the Senate do concur in the appointment-of a joint committee, and that Messrs. Bingham and Tract be the committee on the part of the Senate.

Booked, That two Chaplains be appointed to Congress for the present session, one by each Honse, who shall interchange weekly; and that the Right Rev. Bishop White be Chaplain on the part of the Senate.

Mr. Bingham reported, from the joint committee, that they had waited on the President Of The United States, and had notified him that a quorum of the two Houses is assembled; and that the President Of ins United States acquainted the committee that he would meet the two Houses, in the Representatives' Chamber, at 12 o'clock to-morrow.

Thursday, November 23.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the House are now ready to meet the Senate in the Chamber of that House, to receive such communications as the Peesidest Of The United States shall please to make them.

The Senate then repaired to the Chamber of the House of Representatives for the purpose above expressed.

The Senate returned to their own Chamber, and a copy of the Speech of the President Of The United States, this day addressed to both flooses of Congress, was rend:

Gtstlenum of the Senate, and

Gentlemen of tie Home of Representative*: I was for some time apprehensive that it would be Mceaarr, on account of the contagious sickness which •Sicted the city of Philadelphia, to convene the National Legislature at some other place. This measure 4 was desirable to avoid, because it would occasion anch pnblic inconvenience, and a considerable public


expense, and add to the calamities of the inhabitants of this city, whose sufferings must have excited the sympathy of all their fellow-citizens. Therefore, after taking measures to ascertain the state and decline of the sickness, I postponed my determination, having hopes, now happily realized, that, without hazard to the lives or health of the members, Congress might assemble at tin's place, where it was next by law to meet. I submit, however, to your consideration, whether a power to postpone the meeting of Congress, without passing the time fixed by the constitution, upon such occasions, would not be a useful amendment to the law of one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four.

Although I cannot yet congratulate you on the reestablishment of peace in Europe, and the restoration of security to the persons and properties of our citizens from injustice and violence at sea, we have nevertheless abundant cause of gratitude to the Source of Benevolence and Influence, for interior tranquillity and personal security, for propitious seasons, prosperous agriculture, productive fisheries, and general improvements; and, above all, for a rational spirit of civil and religious liberty, and a calm, but steady determination to support our sovereignty, as well as our moral and religious principles, against all open and secret attacks.

Our Envoys Extraordinary to the French Republic embarked, one in July, the other early in August, to join their colleague in Holland.* I have received intelligence of the arrival of both of them in Holland, from whence they all proceeded on their journey to Paris, within a few days of the nineteenth of September. Whatever may be the result of this mission, I trust that nothing will have been omitted on my part, to conduct the negotiation to a successful conclusion, on Buch equitable terms as may be compotible with the safety, honor, and interests of the United States. Nothing, in the mean time, will contribute so much to the preservation of peace, and the attainment of justice, as a manifestation of that energy and unanimity of which, tin many former occasions, the people of the United States have given such memorable proofs, and the exertion of those resources for national defence, which a beneficent Providence has kindly placed within their power.

It may be confidently asserted, that nothing has occurred since the adjournment of Congress, which renders inexpedient those precautionary measures recommended by me to the consideration of the two Houses, at the opening of your late extraordinary session. If that system was then prudent, it is more so now, as increasing depredations strengthen the reasons for its adoption.

Indeed, whatever may be the issue of the negotiation with France, and whether the war in Europe is or is not to continue, I hold it most certain that perfect tranquillity and order will not soon be obtained. The state of society has so long been disturbed; the sense of moral and religious obligations so much weakened; public faith and national honor have been so impaired; respect to treaties has been so diminished, and the law of nations has lost so much of its

» An illustrious mission, nationally composed of the most eminent citizens, three in number, and taken from different parts of the Union, and from both political parties: Charles Cotesworth Finckney, from South Carolina; John Marshall, from Virginia; Elbridge Gerry, from Massachusetts—the two first federal; Mr. Gerry, republican.

President'/ Speech.


force; while pride, ambition, avarice, and violence, have been so long unrestrained, there remains no reasonable ground on which to raise an expectation, that a commerce, without protection or defence, will not be plundered.

The commerce of the United States is essential, if not to their existence, at least to their comfort, their growth, prosperity, and happiness. The genius, character, and habits of the people are highly commercial; their cities have been founded, and exist, upon commerce; our agriculture, fisheries, arts, and manufactures, are connected with and depend upon it; in short, commerce has made this country what it is, and it cannot be destroyed or neglected without involving the people in poverty and distress; great numbers are directly and solely supported by navigation—the faith of society is pledged for the preservation of the rights of commercial, and seafaring, no less than of the other citizens. Under this view of our affairs, I should hol"d myself guilty of a neglect of duty, if I forbore to recommend that we should make every exertion to protect our commerce, and to place our country in a suitable posture of defence, as the only sure means of preserving both.

I have entertained an expectation, that it would have been in my power, at the opening of this session, to have communicated to you the agreeable information of the due execution of our treaty with His Catholic Majesty, respecting the withdrawing of his troops from our territory, and the demarkation of the line of limits; but by the latest authentic intelligence, Spanish garrisons were still continued within the limits of our country, and the running of the boundary line had not been commenced. These circumstances are the more to be regretted, as they cannot fail to affect the Indians in a manner injurious to the United States; still, however, indulging the hope that the answers which have beeu given, will remove the objections offered by the Spanish officers to the immediate execution of the treaty, I have judged it proper that we should continue in readiness to receive the posts, and to run the line of limits. Further information on this subject will be communicated in the course of the session.

In connection with the unpleasant state of things on our western frontier, it is proper for me to mention the attempts of foreign agents to alienate the affections of the Indian nations, and to excite them to actual hostilities against the United States; great activity has been exerted by these persons, who have insinuated themselves among the Indian tribes, residing within the territory of the United States, to influence them, to transfer their affections and force to a foreign nation, to form them into a confederacy, and prepare them for war, against the United States.

Although measures have been taken to counteract these infractions of our rights, to prevent Indian hostilities, and to preserve their attachment to the United States, it is my duty to observe, that, to give a better effect to these measures, and to obviate the consequences of a repetition of such practices, a law, providing adequate punishment for such offences, may be necessary.

The Commissioners appointed under the fifth article of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, between the United States and Great Britain, to ascertain the river, which was truly intended, under the name of the St Croix, mentioned in the Treaty of Peace, met at Possamoquoddy Bay in October, 1796, and viewed the mouths of the rivers in question, and the adjacent shores and islands; and being of

[november, 1797.

opinion, that actual surveys of both rivers to their sources, were necessary, gave the agents of the two nations instructions for that purpose, and adjourned to meet at Boston in August; they met; but the surveys, requiring more time than had been supposed, and not being then completed, the Commissioners ain adjourned to meet at Providence, in the State Khode Island, in June next, when we may expect a final examination and decision.

The Commissioners appointed in pursuance of the sixth article of the treaty, met at Philadelphia in May last, to examine the claims of British subjects, for debts contracted before the peace, and still remaining due *> them, from citizens or inhabitants of the United St&tes. Various causes have hitherto prevented any determinations; but the business is now resume*', and doubtless will be prosecuted without interruption.

Several decisions on the claims of the citizens of the United States, tor losses, and damages, sustained by reason of irregular and illegal captures, or condemnations, of their vessels or other property, have been made by the Commissioners in London, conformably to the seventh article of the treaty; the sums awarded by the Commissioners have been paid by the BritiEk Government; a considerable number of other claims, where costs and damages, and not captured property, were the only objects in question, have been decided by arbitration, and the sums awarded "to the citizens of the United States have also been paid.

The Commissioners appointed agreeably to the 21st article of our Treaty with Spain, met at Philadelphia in the summer past, to examine and decide on the claims of onr citizens for losses they have sustained in consequence of their vessels and cargoes having been taken by the subjects of His Catholic Majesty, during the late war between Spain and France ; their sittings have been interrupted, but are now resumed.

The United States being obligated to make compensation for the losses and damages sustained byBritish subjects, upon the award of the Commissioners acting under the sixth article of the Treaty with Great Britain, and for the losses and damages sustained by British subjects, by reason of the capture of their vessels and merchandise, taken within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, and brought into their ports, or taken by vessels originally armed in ports of the United States, upon the awards of the Commissioners acting under the seventh article of the same treaty, it is necessary that provision be made for fulfilling these obligations.

The numerous captures of American vessels bycruisers of the French Republic, and of some by those of Spain, have occasioned considerable expenses, in making and supporting the claims of our citizens before their tribunals. The sums required for this purpose have, in divers instances, been disbursed by the Consuls of the United States; by means of the same captures, great numbers of our seamen have been thrown ashore in foreign countries, destitute of all means of subsistence, and the sick, in particular, have been exposed to grievous suffering.

The Consuls have, in these cases also, advanced moneys for their relief; for these advances they reasonably expect reimbursements from the United States. The Consular act relative to seamen requires revision and amendment; the provisions for their support in foreign countries, and for their return, are found to be inadequate, and ineffectual. Another provision seems necessary to be added to the Consular act; some foreign vessels have been discovered sail

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »