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Notombee, 1797.] Proceeding: [H. Op R.
FIFTH CONGRESS-SECOND SESSION.
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
Monday, November 13, 1797. This being the day appointed by law for the meeting of Congress, the House of Representatives assembled in their Chamber, and the following members answered to their names, to vit:
From New Hampshire.—Abiel Foster.
Prom Massachusetts.— Stephen Bullock, Samuel Lyman, John Read, William Shepard, Gweoe Thatcher, Joseph B. Vahnum, and Pelkg Wadswokth.
From, Connecticut.—John Allen, Joshua Corr, Roger Ghiswold, and Nathaniel Smith.
From New York. — Lucas Elmendorph, Hkby Glenn, Jonathan N. Havens, Hezekiah L Hosmkr, John E. Van Allen, and John Williams.
From New Jersey.—Jonathan Dayton, (Speaker,) and Thomas Sinniokson.
From Pennsylvania.—John Chapman, AlBkt Gallatin, Thomas Hartley, and John
From Maryland.—George Baer, junior, Wiluam Chalk, Gborge Dent, and Richard Spsiso, junior.
From Virginia.—John Dawson, D. Holmes, Jamb Machib, Daniel Morgan, and Anthony Kiw.
North Carolina.—Matthew Locke, NathanEl Maoox, and Richard Stanford.
South Carolina.—Robert Goodloe Harper, aid John Rutledge, junior.
Several new members, to wit: Isaac Parker, from Massachusetts; Thomas Tillinghast, retailed to serve as a member of this House, for the State of Rhode Island, in the room of Elisha *. Potter, who has resigned his seat; and William Edmond, returned to serve in this House, as a member for Connecticut, in the Koto of James Davenport, deceased, appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats in the House.
Bat a quorum of the whole number not being present, the House adjourned until to-morrow "wiling, eleven o'clock.
Tuesday, November 14.
Several other members, to wit: from Massachusetts, Harrison G. Otis; from Rhode Island, Christopher G. Champlin; from Connecticut, Samuel W. Dana and Ohauncey Goodrich; from Vermont, Matthew Lyon; from Pennsylvania, Blair Moclenaohan and Richard Thomas; from Delaware, James A. Bayard; from Virginia, Richard Brent; from North Carolina, Robert Williams ; from South Carolina, William Smith; and from Georgia, Abraham Baldwin, appeared, and took their seats in the House.
But a quorum of the whole number not being present, the House adjourned until tomorrow morning, eleven o'clock.
Wednesday, November 15.
Several other members, to wit: from New Jersey, James H. Imlay; from Pennsylvania, William Findlay; and from Maryland, WilLiam Hindman, appeared, and took their seats in the House.
And a quorum, consisting of a majority of the whole number, being present, the oath to support the Constitution of the United States was administered, by Mr. Speaker, to the following new members, to wit:
Isaac Parker, Thomas Tillujgiiast, and William Edmond, who took their seats in the House on Monday last.
A message was then sent to the Senate, to inform them that a quorum of the House is assembled, and were ready to proceed to business.
Thursday, November 16.
Several other members, to wit: from Vermont, Lewis R. Morris; from New York, James Cochran, and Edward Livingston; from Virginia, Matthew Clay, Thomas Evans, Walter Jones, Abram Trigg, and John Trigg; and from North Carolina, William Barry H. Of R.]
Grove, appeared, and took their seats in the House.
And then the House adjourned until to-morrow morning, eleven o'clock.
Friday, November 17.
Two other members, to wit: from New Jersey, Mask Thomson; and from Pennsylvania, John A. IIAnna, appeared, and took their seats in the House.
Monday, November 20.
Several other members, to wit: from New Hampshire, Jonathan Freeman and William Gordon; from New Jersey, James Schureman; from Maryland, William Matthews; and from Virginia, Abraham Vknable, appeared, and took their seats in the House.
Tuesday, November 21.
Several other members, to wit: from Massachusetts, Dwioht Foster; from New York, PniLip Van Cortlandt; and from Virginia, Carter B. Harrison, appeared, and took their seats in the House.
Wednes»ay, November 22. Two other members, to wit: from Pennsylvania, David Bard, and Samuel Sitoreaves, appeared and took their seats.
Thursday, November 23.
Two new members, to wit: William C. C. Claiborne, from the State of Tennessee; and Thomas Pinckney, returned to serve as a member of this House for the State of South Carolina, in the room of William Smith, appointed Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Court of Lisbon, appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats in the House; the oath to support the Constitution of the United States being first administered to them by Mr. Speaker, according to law.
Two other members, to wit: from Virginia, Thomas Claibob Ne and John Clopton, appeared, and took their seats in the nouse.
The hour of twelve being near at hand, the Speaker announced it, and a message was sent to the Senate to inform them that they were met, and ready to receive the communications of the President Of The United States, agreeably to his appointment.
The members of the Senate attended accordingly, and about a quarter after twelve the President Of The United States (after visiting the Senate Chamber) entered the House, accompanied by his Secretary and the Heads of Departments, and being seated, rose and delivered the following Address. (See Senate proceedings, ante.)
Having concluded his Speech, and delivered copies of it to the President pro tern, of the Senate, and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President retired, the Speaker resumed the chair, and the House being come to order, he, as usual, read the Speech from the chair. This being done, on motion, it was referred to a Committee of the whole House, and made the order for to-morrow. It was ordered also to be printed.
Monday, November 27.
A new member, to wit: Bailey Bartlett, returned to serve in this House as a member for Massachusetts, in the place of Theophilus Bradbury, who has resigned his seat, appeared, produced his credentials, and took his seat in the House; the oath to support the Constitution of the United States being first administered to him by Mr. Speaker, according to law.
Several other members, to wit: from Mas: sachusetts, Samuel Sew All; from New York, Davhj Brooks ; from Maryland, John Dennis; from Virginia, JonN Nicholas and Josiah Parker; and from North Carolina, Thomab Blount, appeared and took their seats in the House.
Address to tte President.
Mr. Otis, from the committee appointed to draft an Address in answer to the Speech of the President Of The United States, reported the following, which was twice read, and referred to a Committee of the Whole for to-morrow:
Sir: While our sympathy is excited by the recent sufferings of the citizens of Philadelphia, we participate in the satisfaction which you are pleased to express, that the duration of the late calamity was so limited, as to render unnecessary the expense and inconvenience that would have been incident to the convention of Congress in another place: and we shall readily attend to every useful amendment of the law which contemplates the event of contagious sickness at the seat of Government.
In lamenting the increase of the injuries offered to the persons and property of our citizens at sea, we gratefully acknowledge the continuance of interior tranquillity, and the attendant blessings of which you remind us, as alleviations of these fatal effects of injustice and violence.
Whatever may be the result of the mission to the French Republic, your early and uniform attachment to the interest of our country; your important services in the struggle for its independence, and your unceasing exertions for its welfare, afford no room to doubt of the sincerity of your efforts to conduct the negotiation to a successful conclusion, on such terms as may be compatible with the saiety, honor, and interest of the United States. We have also a firm reliance upon the energy and unanimity of the people of these States, in the assertion of their rights, and on their determination to exert, upon all proper occasions, their ample resources in providing for the national defence.
The importance of commerce, and its beneficial Influence upon agriculture, arts, and manufactures, have been verified in the growth and prosperity of our country. It is essentially connected with the other XoVEWBKH, 1797.]
Answer to the President') Speech.
great interest* of the community. They must flourish and decline together; and while the extension of our navigation and trade naturally excites the jealousy, and tempts the avarice of other nations, we are firmly persuaded, that the numerous and deserving class of citizens engaged in these pursuits, and dependent on them for their subsistence, has a stroug and indisputable claim to our support and protection.
The delay of the Spanish officers to. fulfil the treaty existing with His Catholic Majesty is a source of deep regret. We learn, however, with satisfaction, that yon still indulge hopes of removing the objections which have been made to its execution, and that yon have continued in readiness to receive the posts. Disposed to perform, with fidelity, our national engagements, we shall insist upon the same justice from others which we exercise towards them.
Our abhorrence cannot be too strongly expressed of the intrigues of foreign agents to alienate the affections of the Indian nations, and to rouse them to acts cf hostility against the United States. No means in our power should be omitted of providing for the suppression of such cruel practices, and for the adequate punishment of their atrocious authors.
Upon the other interesting subjects noticed in your Address, we shall bestow the requisite attention. To preserve inviolate the pnblic faith, by providing for the due execution of our treaties; to indemnify those who may have just claims to retribution upon the United States for expenses incurred in defending the property and relieving the necessities of our unfortunate fellow-citizens; to guard against evasions of the laws intended to secure advantages to the navigation of our own vessels; and especially, to prevent, by all possible means, an unnecessary accumulation of the public debt, are duties which we shall endeavor to keep in view, and discharge with assiduity.
We regard, with great anxiety, the singular and portentous situation of the principal powers of Europe- It was to be devoutly wished that the United States, remote from this seat of war and discord; unambitious of conquest; respecting the rights of other nations; and desirous, merely, to avail themselves of their natural resources, might be permitted to behold tbe scenes which desolate that quarter of the globe with only thoee sympathetic emotions which axe natural to the lovers of peace and friends of the hem an race. But we are led by events to associate with these feelings a sense of the dangers which menace onr security and peace. We rely upon your assurances of a zealous and hearty concurrence in such measures as may be necessary to avert these dangers; and nothing on our part shall be wanting to repel them, which the honor, safety, aji prosperity of our country may require.
Tuesday, November 28.
Samtjkl Smith, from Maryland, appeared and took his seat.
Address to the President.
Mr. Coit moved for the order of the day on the reported Answer to the President's Speech.
The motion being agreed to, the House accordingly resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole upon that subject, and the Address having been read through by the Chairman, it was again read by paragraphs. The first four were read, without any objection being offered to them. The fifth being gone through,
[H. or R.
Mr. Pincknet said, he had to propose a small alteration to this clause: he wished to make the hitter part of it a little less harsh. Instead ot saying, "we shall insist upon the same justice from others," &c, he thought it would have the same effect, and the terms would be less objectionable, if the passage ran thus: "Nothing shall be wanting on our part to obtain the same justice from others," &c. The expression used, he said, might be perfectly justifiable, but, if we could obtain what we wished without the possibility of giving offence, he thought that mode ought to be preferred. It was on this account that he wished the phraseology to be changed.
Mr. Rutledgb said, as a member of the committee who reported the Address, he did not feel tenacious as to the wording of it. At first, he thought with his colleague, who proposed the amendment, that the word insist was rather harsh; but, upon a little reflection, his objections to the phrase were removed. Indeed, he thought the proposed amendment would make the passage stronger than it was in the original. They might insist, he said, in argument; looking upon the treaty as a good one, they might insist upon its execution; but if it were not to be effected without going to war, they might afterwards relinquish it. The amendment he thought more forcible. It said "nothing shall be wanting to obtain," &c.; which would be to say, we look upon the treaty as a good one, and nothing shall be wanting on our part to obtain its fulfilment. The words might even be considered to say, that we are determined to have the treaty carried into effect, though war should be the price of the determination.
Mr. Dayton (the Speaker) approved of the amendment of the gentleman from South Carolina, but not from the reasons which that gentleman had urged in support of it, but for those which his colleague had produced against it; not because it was more smooth, but because it contained more of decision and firmness. He thought, in this respect, this country had been trifled with, and any opinion expressed by them upon this subject ought to be done with a firmness of tone.
The question on Mr. Pinoxney's amendment was put and carried, there being sixty-two members in the affirmative.
The remainder of the Address was then gone through, without further observation.
Mr. Otis, from the committee appointed to wait upon the President, to know when and where it would be convenient for him to receive the Address in answer to his Speech, reported that they had attended to that service, and that it would be convenient for him to receive it at his house to-morrow at twelve o'clock.
Wednesday, November 29. Address to the President. Mr. Lyon said, when the motion was proposa Of R.]
Answer to the President's Speech.
ed yesterday on the subject of waiting upon the President, he should have opposed it, only that he did not wish to deprive some gentlemen of the gratification of attending the ceremony; and now he hoped those gentlemen would consent to gratify him by agreeing to a similar resolution to that of last session, excusing him from an attendance upon the occasion.
Mr. Macon observed, that whether the resolution was agreed to or not, the gentleman might doubtless remain behind if he chose, as he had no idea that the House could compel members to go about parading the streets of Philadelphia. The gentleman might have conscientious scruples, and if the ceremony were meant to be respectful to the President, members should attend it freely, or not at all. He should wish, therefore, that gentlemen disinclined to do the service, would not join it.
Mr. Otis hoped the motion would not prevail. He presumed no gentleman there was particularly anxious for the society of the gentleman from Vermont on this occasion. No doubt he would grace the procession, but it would be sufficiently long without him, and if he chose to remain behind, he need be under no apprehensions of being called to account for his conduct It was not becoming the dignity of the House to pass the resolution in question. It appeared to him that the gentleman was in full health and spirits, and every way fit for business; and as the House had resolved the thing should be done, he had no idea of admitting the protest of an individual upon their journals against the measure.
Mr. Gallatin said he should be in favor of the previous question, but not for the reasons assigned by the mover of it, hut for those offered by the gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr. Maoon,) viz: because he did not believe there existed any power in that House to compel any member to wait upon the President with the Address; therefore it would be improper to grant an indulgence to a member from doing what there was no obligation upon him to do. He did not recollect the words of the resolution which had been agreed to. [The Speaker repeated them. They were, " that the Speaker, attended by the House of Representatives, shall wait upon the President, &c."] This, Mr. G. said, must be understood in a qualified sense, as the House of Representatives had no existence out of those walls. When the Speaker presented the Address, the House was not present; they could not debate nor do any act as a House. The Address was, therefore, strictly speaking, presented by the Speaker, followed by the members of the House of Representatives—as he did not conceive the House had any power without the walls of the house. They could, indeed, appoint committees to do business out of doors, but could not call out the members as a body. Upon this ground he was, therefore, in favor of the previous question.
Mr. Lyon said, understanding the matter in the light in which it had been placed by the
gentleman from Pennsylvania, he would withdraw his motion.
The Speaker announced the arrival of the hour which the President Of The United States had appointed to receive the Address of the House in answer to his Speech; and the SpeakEr, attended by the members, accordinglywaited upon the President, athia house, and presented to' him the Address: to which the President made the following reply:
Gentlemen of the Haute nf Representatives:
I receive this Address from the House of Representatives of the United States with peculiar interest.
Your approbation of the meeting of Congress in this city, and of those other measures of the Executive authority of Government communicated in my Address to both Houses, at the opening of the session, afford me great satisfaction, as the strongest desire of my heart is to give satisfaction to the people and their representatives by a faithful discharge of my doty.
The confidence you express in the sincerity of my endeavors, and the unanimity of the people, does me much honor, and gives me great joy.
I rejoice in that harmony which appears in the sentiments of all the branches of the Government, on the importance of our commerce and our obligations to defend it, as well as in all other subjects recommended to your consideration, and sincerely congratulate you and our fellow-citizens at large on this appearance, so auspicious to the honor, interest, and happiness of the nation.
JOHN ADAMS. United States, November 29, 1797.
The Speaker and members then returned to the House, and order being obtained, the SpeakEr, as usual, read the Answer of the President from the chair.
Thursday, November 30. Thompson J. Skinner, from Massachusetts, appeared, and took his seat.
Memorial of Quakers. Mr. Gallatin presented the following memorial of certain citizens, called Quakers, in the name of the annual meeting of that body, lately held in Philadelphia.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of Ae United States in Congress assembled:
The memorial .and address of the people called Quakers, from their yearly meeting held in Pliuadelphia, by. adjournments from the 25th of t lie 9th month, to the 29th of the same, inclusive, 1797, respectfully showeth:
That, being convened, at this our annual sob mnity, for the promotion of the canse of truth and rig iteousness, we have been favored to experience n ligions weight to attend our minds, and an anxious d ssire to follow after those things which make for peace; among other investigations the oppressed stab of our brethren of the African race has been brou< bt into view, and particularly the circumstances of oi e hundred and thirty-four in North Carolina, and many others whose cases have not so fully come to our
Memorial of Quakers.
Memorial of Quakers.
'were set free by members of our re
"^ie^ and reduced into cruel bondage, S^tht auinorityXxUdng or retrospecUve law,; S^nds and wives, and children, separated one ^^tC which, we apprehend to be an abomi^r£ed v. Indwith other acts, of a similar nain other States, has a tendency to ^P<£wnthe judgments of a righteous God upon
This city and neighborhood, and some other parts, hxtt been visited with an awful calamity, which cogbt to excite an inquiry in the cause and endeavors edo away those things which occasion the heavy ciwds that hang over us. It is easy with the Almighty to bring down the loftiness of men by diversified judgments, and to make them fear the rod and Him that hath appointed it.
We wish to revive in your view the solemn engagement of Congress, made in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, as follows:
■ And, therefore, we do for ourselves, and the inhabitants of the several colonies, whom we represent, firmly agree and associate, under the sacred ties of virtue, honor, and love of our country, as follows:
"Article 2. We will neither import nor purchase toy slaves imported after the first day of December nest, after which time we will wholly discontinue the slave trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our commodities or manufactures to those who are concerned in it,
"Article 3. And will discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially horse-racing, and all kinds of gaming, cockfighting, exhibitions of shows, plays, and other expensive diversions and entertainments."
This was a solemn league and covenant, made with the Almighty in an hour of distress, and He is now «-»Mi"g upon yon to perform and fulfil it; but how has this solemn covenant been contravened by the wrongs and cruelties practised upon the poor African race, the increase of dissipation and luxury, and the countenance and encouragement given to phiybooses, and other vain amusements! And how grossly is the Almighty affronted on the day of the celebration of Independence 1 What rioting and drunkenness, chambering and wantonness! to the great grief of sober inhabitants, and the disgrace of Tj national character.
National evils produce national judgments; we therefore fervently pray the Governor of the Universe may enlighten your understandings and influence your minds, so as to engage you to use every exertion in your power, to have these things redressed.
With sincere desires for your happiness here and hereafter, and that, when you come, to close this life, you may individually be able to appeal as a ruler did formerly: "Remember now, 0 Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee, in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy right,"
We remain your friends and fellow-citizens.
Clerk to the meeting thit year.
The memorial having been read by the Clerk,
Iiabpib hoped not. This was not the
first, second, or third time, that the House had been troubled with similar applications, which had a tendency to stir up a class of persons to inflict calamities which would be of greater consequence than any evils which were at present suffered; and this, and every other Legislature, ought to set their faces against remonstrances complaining of what it was utterly impossible to alter.
Mr. Thatcher hoped the petition would have a second reading, and be committed. It appeared to him that this would be the regular way of getting rid of the difficulty which was apprehended. The gentleman who had just sat down said, that this was not the first, second, or third time, that the House had been troubled with similar petitions. This, he said, was natural. If any number of persons considered themselves aggrieved, it was not likely they should leave off petitioning, until the House should act upon their petition. He thonght this was what they ought to do. If the Quakers thought themselves aggrieved, it was their duty to present their petition, not only three, five, or seven times, but seventy times, until it was attended to.
Mr. Rut-ledge should not be opposed to the second reading and reference of this memorial, if he thought the strong censure they deserved would be the report of a committee. This censure, he thought, this body of men ought to have; a set of men who attempt to seduce the servants of gentlemen travelling to the seat of Government, who were incessantly importuning Congress to interfere in a business with which the constitution had said they had no concern. If he was sure this conduct would be reprobated, he would cheerfully vote for a reference of the present petition; but not believing this would be the case, he should be for its laying on the table, or under the table, that they might not only have done with the business for to-day, but finally. At a time when some nations were witnesses of the most barbarous and horrid scenes, these petitioners are endeavoring to incite a class of persons to the commission of similar enormities. He thought the matter of the greatest importance, and that the reference ought by no means to be made.
Mr. Swanwiok was sorry to see so much heat produced by the introduction of this petition. He himself could see no reason why the petition should not be dealt with in the ordinary way. If the petitioners asked for any thing which it was not in the power of the House to grant, it would be of course refused; but this was no reason why their petition should not be treated with ordinary respect. In this memorial, ho said, sundry things were complained of; not only slavery, but several other grievances. For instance, play-houses were complained of, whether justly or not, he was not about to decide. With respect to the grievance mentioned in North Carolina, something perhaps might be done to remedy it, without affecting the property which gentlemen seemed so much alarmed