Page images

May, 1798.]
Presents to Ministers.

[H. OF R. when a country was attacked upon its own sideration; but he wished to state his reasons territory, that was not the time to talk about for wishing this motion to be withdrawn, lest expense. It appeared to him, in such a situa- it should seem to have been brought forward tion, our defence would not so much consist of by his consent. He was grateful for the good money as of individual exertion. In his opin. intentions of his colleague, because he doubtless ion, free men fought for liberty, and slaves for thought the vote which had passed on the premoney.

ceding day might cast some imputation upon The House was told that if this money was his, Mr. Pi's, character. But he also wished it not wanted, it would be safe in the Treasury, or to be withdrawn, because it was founded on applied to the reduction of the public debt; but at least a doubtful suggestion, viz: that it is not he believed it would not be in the power of the customary for the United States to make pregentleman from South Carolina to convince sents to foreign Ministers leaving this country. him, or the people of this country, that the He believed it was customary to do so. Būt money will not remain as safe in the pockets of another reason for wishing it to be withdrawn the people, until it is wanted, as in the Treasury. was, that the discussion of it might not subject He believed the willingness of the people to him to a species of trial as to his public conduct, give the money when it is wanted cannot be in which he should not be at liberty to make questioned; and if that gentleman had all the his defence. He should never shrink from any reliance upon the people which he pretends to authorized investigation of his conduct; but he have, he would not wish to take their money should wish to avoid any unauthorized proceedwhen he was not certain it would be wanted. ing of that kind.

As to our late despatches, containing the con-| But his principal reason for troubling the versations of X, Y, and 2, which gentlemen House was to assign his reasons for addressing a seemed so much to rely upon, he confessed his letter to Congress on this subject, apparently of opinions had not been at all changed by them. so trifling a nature. With respect to the preHe believed, before they were communicated, sent offered to him by the Court of Spain, it that this country had been greatly injured by would have been improper for him, under any France, and he was not ready to take any step construction of the constitution, to have renow that he was not ready to take before. He ceived it, as he was at that time also Minister believed that he, and others who voted with to Great Britain. Upon this ground it was him, should be as willing to defend the country, that he wrote to the Spanish Minister declining in case of danger, as those gentlemen who are the acceptance of the present offered to him continually raising up military phantoms for the from that Court, except he should obtain leave purpose of knocking them down again. He of Congress to do so. This being the case, hoped the amendment would be agreed to. whatever might have been the propriety of ac

À motion was made and carried to adjourn, cepting of the present offered to him by the without the question being taken.

Court of Great Britain, there would have been at least an appearance of inconsistency to have

received a present from one Court and not from MONDAY, May 7.

the other. He therefore gave the same answer Presents to Ministers.

to both. Mr. PINOKNEY said, he rose to request leave to! This he hoped would account satisfactorily withdraw the resolution which had yesterday for having troubled Congress with any applicabeen laid upon the table by his colleague, Mr. tion on this subject. It was from a respect HARPER, without his knowledge, respecting a which he thought due to the Court of Spain, business which had already been decided rela- from the favorable treatment he had received tive to himself, as it was founded upon a from them, and being fully satisfied with all ground which was at least doubtful, and he their conduct towards him, that he thought it thought out of order.

proper to make the application. The other, The SPEAKER interrupted Mr. P. to say that respecting Great Britain, was inyolved with it. he would save him the trouble of any farther Mr. P. said, he did apprehend there would observations, by saying that he deemed the have been a propriety in this House, at the motion out of order.

time they rejected the resolution sent from the Mr. PINCKNEY hoped, notwithstanding, he Senate, to have assigned a reason why they did should be permitted to make a few remarks on so. He would say why he thought so. He the subject.

thought the constitution expressly allows, that, The SPEAKER replied, that any remarks upon in some cases, presents may be received from a & business already decided would not be in foreign power, but that the power of deciding order, and could not be admitted without gen. upon this shall be left in the hands of the Legiseral consent. A pretty general cry of “I hope lature, as a check upon officers that they may the gentleman will be permitted to proceed," not improperly receive any presents from a being heard, Mr. PINCKNEY went on,

foreign power. But, considering this power to He said, it was with reluctance he took up have been intended as a check upon the impro- . the time of the House a moment in a matter per conduct of officers, it must strike the minds relating to himself, particularly at present, when of the public when they are told that an officer 80 much important business pressed for con- I was refused this privilege, that he had not done

H. OF R.]
Additional Revenue.

(MAY, 1798. his duty, especially if the refusal was unquali- | caused so much agitation, was made with good fied, and unaccompanied with any reason for the intentions; that it was not designed to embarrefusal, and that the refusal was intended as a rass the measures of Government, or with a censure upon his conduct.

view to prevent a provision of revenue adequate It was in this point of view, that he conceived to the present or probable future exigencies; or the conduct of the person to whom this privilege from any reluctance on his part to concur in was refused, was implicated, without an oppor- every measure requisite for an effectual defence tunity of being heard in his defence. He should of our country. To the uniform tenor of his be far from wishing any resolution to be entered conduct, on all occasions, since he had the honor into approving of his conduct; but there was a of a seat in this House, he would cheerfully ap. great distinction between approving and disap- peal. Those with whom he associated knew proving; between censure and applause; and that nothing was more dear to his heart than although he did not desire applause, he could the honor, the dignity, the liberty, and the inhave wished to have avoided censure. All that dependence of his country. He did not, therehe wished had been done was, that the House fore, consider many of the remarks which had should have stated something of this kind, been made on this subject, as applicable to him“deeming it improper that the diplomatic agents self, nor should he take any measures whatever of the United States should receive a present to repel them. If his friends intended he from any foreign Prince or State, the request should make a personal application, their object cannot be complied with ;" as, without this, the was lost. Alike indifferent to censure as apnatural inference must be, that there has been plause, when unmerited, he had ever done, and, some misbehavior in the officer, or the usual as far as he could be informed, he would contiprivilege would not have been refused. He nue to do, what, at the time, appeared to be his called it usual, because whenever it had hereto- duty. fore been applied for, it had been invariably He was as deeply impressed as any gentlegranted, and the rejection of the resolution from man of this House could be, with a sense of the the Senate, must, therefore, be looked upon as necessity and importance of sufficient and proestablishing an imputation upon his character. ductive sources of revenue. Measures for deIt was saying to the world, “Every other per- fence must be expensive; without the means to son in a similar situation, has been permitted to carry them into effect, all our acts and resoluaccept of these presents, but you, and you alone tions are vain and futile. are an exception; you cannot receive them.” | Protection to our commerce, defence to our Such a person may have been worthy of con- frontiers and seacoasts, security to our rights as demnation; he may have betrayed the interest a nation, energy and respectability to the operaof his country; but it was injustice to that per- tions of Government, are not to be obtained son to condemn him without a trial.

| without money, and if the present revenues are Mr. P. said, he thought it necessary, in justice not sufficient, more must undoubtedly be proto himself, to make these observations before the vided. House, from a regard which he felt, in common Although he did not mean to pledge himself with other gentlemen, for his reputation-more that he would vote for it, he should be glad to particularly as this matter would appear upon see a bill before the House, that opportunity the journals of the House, and night not only might be given to examine the subject in dereflect upon himself, but upon his children after tail. Since the motion he had submitted bad him; they might be pointed at by the finger of been thought so exceptionable, he was willing scorn, as the offspring of a man who had be- for the present to modify it. If gentlemen trayed the interests of his country. It was would concur with him in a substitute, he would under the impression of these ideas that he had withdraw the motion to strike out the word been led to trouble the House, and he trusted " annually," and propose to add, as an amendhe should stand excused for having done so. ment at the end of the resolution, the following

Mr. McDOWELL rose, bu' was prevented from words: speaking by the SPEAKER, who declared that “To be collected for a term not exceeding nothing more could be admitted on a subject years; provided the Legislature of the 'United States which was not before the House.

shall at all times be at full liberty to substitute other Mr. HARPER rose. He was also checked by duties or taxes of equal value in lieu thereof, for the the SPEAKER, but not before he had declared he purpose of discharging any debts or loans which may brought forward the motion in question without

be contracted on the credit of said tax." the knowledge of his colleague.

Mr. HARPER rose to second the motion, be.

cause it concurred with his ideas on the subject, Additional Revenue.

that the revenues ought to be coinmensurate The House then proceeded to the order of with the debts incurred. He need not repeat, the day, when the SPEAKER having stated the he said, that he had always been opposed to a question to be to strike out the word annually land tax, except in the case of a war, or of prein the first resolution,

paration for war; but he now believed it necesMr. D. FOSTER rose, and observed that, for a sary. justification of himself to those who knew him, Mr. Macon hoped this motion would not pre he need not declare that the motion, which had vail. In the State from which he came, they

MAY, 1798.)
Additional Revenue.

[H. OF R. had an annual land tax, and found no inconve- I law was passed for one year, he could confinience from its being annual. He had no idea dently rely on future Congresses to renew it, if of a permanent tax on land, as all the State the situation of the country should require it. Governments collected their revenues from this It would not hereafter be convenient for him to source, or from a capitation tax, every other take any farther share in the public councils, object having been seized upon by the United but he should not distrust the wisdom and paStates. The idea of the tax being laid for atriotism of those who might follow him; and to number of years, would make it more unpopular do away the charges continually made against than any thing else. All our revenue laws are himself and others, that they were not willing temporary. But it was said it was necessary to defend the country, he should call the yeas that this tax should be permanent, in order to and nays upon every question of defence which obtain loans upon it. He believed loans might came before the House. very well be obtained upon it, though it were Mr. S. SMITH did not like the amendment; passed annually; for certainly those who loaned but he should vote for it, because, if he could the Government money would have so much not get all he wished, he would get all he could. confidence in it as to believe that it would pay If the blank was to be filled with two or three all its contracts fairly and honorably. He did years, (as had been intimated,) it would not go not believe that all the money appropriated far enough to induce moneyed men to rely upon could be expended before the next session of it as a permanent security. Congress. Besides, there is a surplus million in There seemed to be no difference of opinion the Treasury, ready for any purpose which the as to the propriety of laying a direct tax; it Executive may think proper to apply it to only seemed to be as to the length of time

- But it had been said, advantage ought to be which it ought to be laid. He agreed with taken of the present moment to get this tax. those gentlemen who assert that money cannot The same thing was said with respect to the be borrowed, except a permanent fund be proNavy. He did not think it necessary to take vided. But gentlemen say, where are your exadvantage of the present enthusiasm of the penses ? Certain expenses have been agreed to, people to collect a tax; the people would always which are proposed to be met by a direct tax of obey the laws.

two millions; but could it be supposed that the Mr. FINDLAY said, it was admitted, on all proceeds of this tax could be brought into the hands, that it depended on a contingency I'reasury in less than eighteen months? They whether this tax would be wanted at all. For could not, and something must be done in the his own part he was under no apprehension of mean time to raise the money already voted, any formidable invasion of this country taking whether any war takes place or not. How was place before Congress meets again. If France this to be done? By loans alone. But what is desirous of making conquests, there are more inducement will there be to moneyed men to preferable objects to this country nearer home. lend money, except a permanent revenue be The difficulties which have so long agitated made the security? You hold out the credit of Europe are not yet so far settled as to suffer the United States, which has not heretofore France to send out any formidable force here. been injured. This is true. But heretoforo Let the conduct of the French Government we have not been engaged in war; we have have been as bad as it can be painted, it cannot had nothing to impede our revenue. But if a be said that it has ever wholly lost sight of its war takes place, it is possible our revenue may own interest, and it would not be her interest suffer very materially; and Congress are about to make an invasion of this country at this to provide a fund which, in the opinion of some, time; and, therefore, there is no necessity for will leave no permanency, and in the opinion of going into measures as if an invading army was others, very little. And would it not require immediately expected amongst us.

a great degree of patriotism in gentlemen to A land tax was with him a favorite tax. He lend twenty shillings for twenty shillings, when had long wished it. He was for adopting it they can go into the market and purchase them some time ago, and for taking advantage of a with sixteen. The difference of opinion on low market, to bring up the public debt. But this subject, he was convinced, arose from the when he came to inquire into the subject, he different pursuits of the members of that House. found that many of the States had laid direct certain gentlemen believed moneyed men would taxes for the support of their own Government. advance money without a permanent tax as There is now an appearance of necessity for this a security. He believed the contrary; for, tax; but being a new tax under the General however great a confidence they may have in Government, and not likely to be very sat-the honor of future Congresses, they would wish isfactory to some parts of the Union, it would to see this Congress do something for their sebe proper to make the law of short duration.curity. He feared gentlemen were not in earUpon constitutional ground he was against con- nest when they spoke of defending the country. tinuing a direct tax longer than two years ; | | We have men, said he, but we want money. every Congress ought to pass a vote upon it; He did not agree with the gentleman from bat, in the present instance, he believed the law North Carolina (Mr. WILLIAMS) that slaves would be best if passed for one year.

| fought for money, and freemen only for liberty. Mr. F. concluded by observing, that if this if he commanded a regiment of militia, he be

H. OF R.]

Naturalization Law.

(MAY, 1798.

lieved they would expect to be paid, and he | The gentleman from South Carolina, on Satcould not believe he would term them slaves. urday, brought into view our situation with Money must be had.

respect to France, and our liableness to an atThe gentleman from Pennsylvania was afraid tack from that nation. He alluded to the conof making the revenue permanent, because, as versation which took place between our Envoys our revenue increased, it had been usual, not to and X, Y, and Z, and thence inferred that it repeal our revenue laws, but to increase our ex- was probable that this country would be at. penses. Whence did he collect this information? tacked by France. He could not say that all Not from the documents on the table ; for there the propositions made by these unauthorized he would find that there was an unexpend-persons were not from the Directory; but there ed surplus of one million nine hundred thousand was no evidence of this, and therefore he could dollars, which were in 1797 applied by the not believe it, especially as the agents themCommissioners of the Sinking Fund to the re-selves declared they were not. He thought, duction of the public debt. We have, said he, therefore, if we wished to preserve peace with gone on decreasing our expenses. It was true, France, that we ought not to be too forward in that our dispute with Algiers, and a war with believing all which was said by X, Y, and Z, the Indians, had cost a great deal of money; was authorized by the French Government. but when the war with the latter was at an He hoped it would prove to be the contrary, end our expenses were decreased. And now an and that when the Directory shall discover what income of expense is asked for to repel threat- has been done, they will punish these persons ened danger, and gentlemen have voted mea-for their conduct. sures of defence; but now they come to touch The question was put and negatired-46 the expense, they flinch. Men may moralize to 35. and talk about defence as much as they please, Mr. D. FOSTER then renewed his motion to it will avail nothing without money.

strike out the word " annually," which was carMr. VARNUM hoped the motion under con- ried, there being sixty votes for it. sideration would be negatived. The gentleman The question on the amendment providing from Maryland (Mr. S. SMITH) gave two reasons for the taking of anew census, was put and caron Saturday against striking out the word an- ried, there being 57 votes for it." nually. One was, that it was necessary the tax Mr. Read moved an amendment, which went should have some permanency, in order that to strike out the provision which proposes that money might be borrowed upon it; and another, the tax should be laid by a uniform rule through that it might be a substitute for indirect taxes. all the States, with the view of inserting in its That gentleman allowed, and he perfectly agreed place the following words : with him in opinion, that in case of war, the “And upon such other estates within each particudefalcation in our revenue, he did not suppose, lar State as are taxable according to the established would be large, and that in our present situa- rule of direct taxation in each State." tion he had no idea of a defalcation. If, then, The motion was negatived, there being only a defalcation of our revenue was not to be ex- | twenty-one votes for it. pected, he thought he should be able to make it

The report was referred to the Committee of appear that the proposed tax is not necessary | Ways and Means, to report bills accordingly. at all; and, of course, that it will not be right to pass it for more than one year. But the gentleman from Maryland says the people ought

TUESDAY, May 8. to be relieved from indirect taxes, because, for

Naturalization Law, every 123 per cent. duty, the consumer pays 273. / Mr. Sewall called for the order of the day on Does that gentleman wish, then, that the mer- l the third resolution reported from the Commitchant should be deprived of a profit of 15 per l tee of the Whole, on the subject of aliens, and cent. on the duties which he now pays? If so, I the consideration of the following amendment this might be very well effected, without doing being resumed, viz to add to it these words: away the duty, and substituting a land tax in

"Between which and the United States, there shall its place, by the merchants lowering the price

exist a state of declared war :" of their goods 15 per cent. But the gentleman added another reason for

It was agreed to; and referred to the select passing the law for a number of years, viz: that

that. committee on commerce and defence, to report a this tax might be at any time repealed. But. bill accordingly.

The following is the resolution as amended by although this House might consent to a repeal of this tax, it was by no means certain that the

the House:

" Resolved, That provision be made, by law, for the other House would consent to its repeal. In

apprehending, securing or removing, as the case may deed, it was his opinion, that if this tax was established as a permanent tax, that the people of

| require, of all aliens, being males, of the age of four

teen years and upwards, who shall continue to reside, this country would not be relieved from it for or shall arrive within the United States, being natives, many years. Many objects, he had no doubt,

citizens, or subjects, of any country between which would be found out by gentlemen, ever fruitful and the United States there shall exist a state of de in this respect, upon which to expend any sur-clared war, or the Government of which shall threatplus which might arise from this tax.

| en, attempt, or perpetrate, any invasion or predatory

MAY, 1798.]
Provisional Army.

[H. OF R. incursions upon their territory, as soon as may be, man had made, that, therefore, the lower after the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES shall country was very weak in point of force to opmake proclamation of such event; providing, in all pose an invasion. And here he deemed it procases where such aliens are not chargeable with actual per to notice the attempt which had been made hostility, that the period settled by any treaty with to draw invidious distinctions between the milisuch hostile nation, or other reasonable period, accord

tia force of our country and what are termed rem ing to the usage of nations, and the duties of humanity, shall be allowed, for the departure of such aliens,

'gulars-attempts constantly made by the advowith all their effects, from the territory of the United

w the territory of the United cates of standing armies, not only on this occaStates ; and excepting all cases of such aliens to sion, but on many others not only on this floor, whom passports or licenses of residence may be but in the other branch of the Legislature, and granted, consistently with the public safety."

very lately, in a pointed manner, by his colleague, (Mr. HARPER,) who pressed the establish

ment of a standing army by depressing the THURSDAY, May 10.

manly character of his fellow-citizens : he (Mr.

HARPER) had said he was well acquainted with Provisional Army.

the Southern States; that the inhabitants on the GENERAL SUMTER'S VINDICATION OF THE SOUTH seaboard are few, that for fifty or sixty miles CAROLINA MILITIA,

they are still fewer, that the strong population is This favorite scheme of raising a standing quite remote, that the whole in general are army must be pushed forward by every aid of badly armed, many altogether without arms; fact and fiction, and that its success may be in that they are not well organized, and even it sured, the Southern members are to be terrified they were, they are not to be depended upon, into its adoption, for we are told that the South- unless headed and aided by regular troops; in ern States have much to fear, that there is every short, that no good can be expected from the reason to believe the Southern States will be militia, unless they are supported by regulars. speedily invaded by a merciless and vindictive It is an unpleasant thing, said Mr. S., for me foe from the West Indies. That at this moment to have to make any remarks on a subject of thousands may be disgorging on our shores; this sort; but so frequently have gentlemen that they are prepared to strike. And the gen- made invidious distinctions between the courage tleman from South Carolina (Mr. HARPER, one and efficacy of militia and regulars, and with so of his colleagues) has, in the height of his zeal much injustice to the former, that I cannot perfor American defence, or his fears for the safety mit their assertions any longer to pass without of the Southern States, or from some other notice. For doing this, I do not mean to derocause, which he did not pretend to divine, by gate from the merit of the late American regular his nice and minute delineations of the condition army, nor more particularly from that part of it of the Southern States, shown to the House a which served to the Southward, of whose conterrifying picture of Southern imbecility, and dition I can better judge than of that which had also published to this cruel, malicious, and served in the Middle and Eastern districts; as to insidious enemy, (as he terms them,) an enemy them I am bold to say, they were not inferior, sufficiently penetrating without his aid, every under all circumstances, to any army of equal point, every avenue, every position, most ad numbers and equal opportunities which I have vantageous for them to take in attack; he has heard or read of in any time or in any place; exposed our most vulnerable parts to their in-but, then, it must also be remembered, whatveteracy, and our wealthiest part to their rapa- ever gentlemen may here say to the contrary, city. The policy or prudence which dictated the that the militia were as serviceable and as sucdetail, he did not stop to examine, but went on cessful as any regulars whatever. to ask, supposing these marauders were disposed He said he would take a cursory review of the to invade the Southern States, whether it would services of the militia in one of the Southern not be allowed that they were too fully and States, which would tend to support his last decompletely occupied nearer home, to be at claration. liberty to execute at this time their intentions of He would quote only a few cases out of a such an invasion? For his part he thought such great number where the militia had acted alone, Was their condition, and expected it would con- without any co-operation or support from the tinue to be so for some time to come; but, admit- regulars, and that against the veteran and conting that it is possible for the man who has been quering cavalry and infantry of British corps, mentioned, to invade our coast with the three or and in which actions they were distinguished four thousand men spoken of, the consequences for their bravery and success. It may be repredicted are not likely to follow. The reason-membered that very partial, if any, impressions ing of his colleague being admitted, perhaps his had ever been made by our regular troops on conclusions might also; but the former not be- the British corps of cavalry during the early ing jast, the latter could not result.

period of war; and it seemed to be reserved to He was aware that the number of inhabitants the Southern militia to convince them that their of the lower country, of the States of Georgia, equals existed in our country. It is not to be South Carolina, and North Carolina, as stated by attributed to the want of courage or discipline in his colleague, was not very great; but he did our regular corps that this had not been done not consent to the deduction which the gentle before, but to imperious circumstances which no

VOL. II.-18

« PreviousContinue »