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H. OF R.)
(DECEMBER, 179€ ately antecedent to the operation of the Government, ' “GENTLEMEN : To a citizen whose views were on and to contrast it with the calamities in which the ambitious, who preferred the shade and tranquillity a state of war still involves several of the European private life, to the splendor and solicitude of elevate nations, as the reflections deduced from both tend to stations, and whom the voice of duty and his countr justify as well as to excite a warmer admiration of could alone have drawn from his chosen retreat, n our free constitution, and to exalt our minds to a reward for his public services can be so grateful a more fervent and grateful sense of piety towards public approbation, accompanied by a consciousnes Almighty God for the beneficence of His providence, that to render those services useful to that countr by which its Administration has been hitherto so re- has been his single aim; and when this approbatio markably distinguished.
is expressed by the Representatives of a free and en "And while we entertain a grateful conviction that lighted nation, the reward will admit of no addition your wise, firm, and patriotic Administration has Receive, gentlemen, my sincere and affectionat been signally conducive to the success of the present thanks for this signal testimony that my service form of government, we cannot forbear to express the have been acceptable and useful to my country. Th deep sensations of regret with which we contemplate strong confidence of my fellow-citizens, while it ani your intended retirement from office.
mated all my actions, ensured their zealous co-opera “As no other suitable occasion may occur, we tion, which rendered those services successful. Th cannot suffer the present to pass without attempting virtue and wisdom of my successors, joined with th to disclose some of the emotions which it cannot fail patriotism and intelligence of the citizens who come to awaken.
pose the other branches of Government, I firm! “The gratitude and admiration of your countrymen trust, will lead them to the adoption of measure are still drawn to the recollection of those resplendent which, by the beneficence of Providence, will gix virtues and talents which were so eminently instru stability to our system of Government, add to its sud mental to the achievement of the Revolution, and of cess, and secure to ourselves and to posterity tha which that glorious event will ever be the memorial. liberty which is to all of us so dear. Your obedience to the voice of duty and your country, "While I acknowledge, with pleasure, the sincer when you quitted reluctantly, a second time, the re- and uniform disposition of the House of Representa treat you had chosen, and first accepted the Presidency, | tives to preserve our neutral relations inviolate, and afforded a new proof of the devotedness of your zeal with them, deeply regret any degree of interruptio in its service, and an earnest of the patriotism and of our good understanding with the French Republic success which have characterized your Administra- I beg you, gentlemen, to rest assured that my endea tion. As the grateful confidence of the citizens in vors will be earnest and unceasing, by all honorabl the virtues of their Chief Magistrate has essentially means, to preserve peace, and to restore that harmon contributed to that success, we persuade ourselves and affection which have heretofore so happily sub - that the millions whom we represent, participate sisted between our two nations; and with you, with us in the anxious solicitude of the present occa cherish the pleasing hope that a mutual spirit of jud sion.
tice and moderation will crown those endeavors wit “Yet we cannot be unmindful that your modera success. tion and magnanimity, twice displayed by retiring "I shall cheerfully concur in the beneficial mea from your exalted stations, afford examples no less sures which your deliberations shall mature on th rare and instructive to mankind, than valuable to a various subjects demanding your attention. An Republic.
| while directing your labors to advance the real in * Although we are sensible that this event, of terests of our country, you receive its blessings ; wit itself, completes the lustre of a character already con- perfect sincerity my individual wishes will be offere spicuously unrivalled by the coincidence of virtue, for your present and future felicity. talents, success, and public estimation ; yet we con
“G. WASHINGTON." ceive we owe it to you, sir, and still more emphatically to ourselves and to our nation, (of the language
The members then returned to the House ose hearts we presume to think ourselves at I and having resumed their places, the SPEAKE this moment the faithful interpreters,) to express the presented a copy of the PRESIDENT'S Answert sentiments with which it is contemplated.
the Clerk; which he read. “ The spectacle of a free and enlightened nation offering, by its Representatives, the tribute of un
MONDAY, December 19. feigned approbation to its first citizen, however novel JOHN HATHORN, from New York, and Jom and interesting it may be, derives all its lustre (a MILLEDGE, from Georgia, appeared and too lustre which accident or enthusiasm could not bestow, I their seats. and which adulation would tarnish) from the tran- A new member, to wit. Eligia R. POTTER, fror scendent merit of which it is the voluntary testimony. Rhode Island, in the place of BENJAMIN BOURNI “May you long enjoy that liberty which is so dear me
I resigned, appeared, produced his credentials, wa to you, and to which your name will ever be so dear; . may your own virtues and a nation's prayers obtain
qualified, and took his seat in the House.
qui the happiest sunshine for the decline of your days
MONDAY, December 26. und the choicest of future blessings. For our country's sake, for the sake of Republican liberty, it is our
National University. earnest wish that your example may be the guide of Mr. HARPER moved the order of the day, fo your successors; and thus, after being the ornament the House to go into a committee on the estat and safeguard of the present age, become the patri- lishment of a National University. The Hous mony of our descendants."
accordingly formed itself into a committeeTo which the PRESIDENT made the following Mr. Coit in the chair.
| When the report was read, Mr. Macon sai
(H. or R. there was the word “appropriation” in the re- | intention to give fifty shares in the Potomao port. He did not recollect any having been canal whenever there was proper authority to made for that purpose. He wished to know receive endowments. It appears that there is what was meant ?
no authority at present. The memorial goes no Mr. ORAIK said, authority was given for the further than to authorize them to receive such PRESIDENT to appropriate about twenty acres benefactions as may be made, and hold them in of land for the erection of this building ; this trust. How far, then, this went towards inhe supposed to be what was meant.
volving this House in its support, he should Mr. NICHOLAS said, that some time or other leave the good sense of gentlemen to judge. the institution of a Seminary in this District Mr. H. thought the amount of this memorial may be of use, but at present, and in the man- could not have any evil tendency, but it may ner contemplated in this report, it would not have a good one; for which reason he hoped it do. If carried into effect thus, it will some would be agreed to. time need an appropriation. We are now, said | Mr. Baldwin did not know any thing, accordMr. N., going into the subject, but we know ing to his present views, which could be innot to what lengths it may carry us; we do not jurious in the report. At present it seemed know where it will end. He did not think the favorable to him. He had two principal ideas time had arrived to incorporate a company for | in his mind, which made it appear so; if neither building a National University. It would be of which was cleared up otherwise, he should taking money from those districts of country | vote for it. The first thing he should ask was, which can do for themselves, and would receive is such a thing desirable? And then, Is there no benefit from this institution. It would be a Seminary so near the spot contemplated, as to inconvenient and inconsistent for people living make it hostile in this House to encourage this at a considerable distance to send their children University? He believed there was none that to this University; besides, he thought, the this will injure, but that an establishment like further children are from home, by being less this would be very agreeable in that District. under the eye of their parents, the more their If it was desirable, who could undertake it, morals would be injured. If it be a National who encourage it, like this House? They could University, it must be for the use of the nation. not do it themselves. If, then, the step is a It will then be necessary to open funds for the proper one, it can never be too soon to compurpose of its support. It is recommended by mence it, although it may be many years before the PRESIDENT, it is true; but this is no argu- it may be wanted. The objection may be, that ment why we should precipitate the business: it would be wrong to incorporate a Literary it is the last time he will have an opportunity Society; but we have frequent instances of into address this House, and it being an object he corporation, and nothing can prove it improper, shonld like to see encouraged when it was prac- since no pecuniary aid is required, no grant of ticable, he took that opportunity to express it. money is asked. If it was, I should, like the We are not now in a situation to forward its gentleman before me, (Mr. NICIOLAS,) disapestablishment. It may be done at some time, prove of it, but not now seeing reason to object, but Mr. N. thought it would be many years first. I shall vote for the report. That district of country would be many years Mr. Craik. After the caution the committee before it could encourage the hope of such a had observed in forming their report, to prevent plan prospering. He thought gentlemen from objections, I am sorry they should be charged other parts of the Union would not say they with things they do not in the least merit. If wanted it for their youth. He thought if the the report contemplated the raising a fund for House once entered into the subject, the respon. the support of this institution from the United sibility would fall on it to keep up the insti- States, there might have been some ground for tation.
gentlemen's objections; but, as there is not the Mr. HARPER said, it did not appear to him most distant view of such a thing, I am surthat the gentleman last up had attended suffi-prised to hear it objected to. I did not expect ciently to this report, for he seemed to be much it from that gentleman, (Mr. NICHOLAS.) I did mistaken as to its principle. There was noth- | not expect to hear him say, that institutions of ing in it that contemplated pledging the United this kind were not wanted there; it might have States to find funds for its support; nor was it come better from gentlemen residing in more the object of the report to establish a National distant parts of the United States. University. He agreed with the gentleman, If this subject was now before the House, sir, that we were not arrived at a period for such I should not be against proving, at this time, an institution. But gentlemen would see that that it is the duty of the United States to estabthe object of the commissioners was not to lish a University, and that the sooner it was establish a National University or obtain money done the better. But, as this is not the case, from the United States, but their direct object as we are only asked to permit its encouragewas, to be incorporated, so as to be enabled to ment, by allowing these people to receive beneReceive such legacies and donations as may be factions, how can we refuse? Shall we shut presented to the institution, and hold it in trust the door against individual benevolence? There for that purpose. The PRESIDENT had already are appropriations already made to this institugiven nineteen acres of land, and signified his tion. There is a fund now of fifty shares in the
H. or R.]
[DECEMBER, 1796. canal, which is now valuable and increasing in what he predicted; this measure would be value daily. I think the situation for this par- looked upon as an entering wedge, and they pose very good; and the probable increase of should hereafter be told they must go through the city of Washington will induce many per- with it. If gentlemen were prepared to sanesons to benevolence for this purpose. I know tion an institution of this kind they would of of no situation more central, and believe there course do it; he was not prepared to vote for is no place of the kind in its neighborhood; and the measure, but should give it his negative. 'from an established knowledge it would be a Mr. NICHOLAS said he had not been convinced very useful and desirable institution, shall vote by the observations of gentlemen who had for it.
spoken in favor of this report that all the misMr. W. LYMAN.-As far as I can understand, chiefs would not follow this measure which he the land which is now to be appropriated for before predicted. He inquired into the purpose this University is the property of the United of establishing a National University. The States. Does not this look as though the United PRESIDENT had said and the commissioners States are to patronize and support the estab- after him) it was to establish a uniformity of lishment? If we take this step, I shall very principles and manners throughout the Union. much wonder if our next is not to be called This, he believed, could not be effected by any upon to produce money. I do not expect much institution. If, said he, you incorporate men from the liberality of individuals; and can it be to build a University, are you not pledging expected that people from the remote parts of yourselves to make up any deficiency? and, as the United States will send their children to this the building must be commensurate with the Seminary? Surely not; and consequently their object, they would have an enormous empty money will be lost. It will be a natural source house continually calling upon them for conof discontent to them to pay their money tributions to its support. Whatever moderation merely for others to obtain the advantage. It had been observed in framing this report, Mr. may be very good for people thereabout, but N. said it was like many others which came remote parts cannot derive the least advantage before them: it was so covered as not to show from the institution. We are going quite too half the mischiefs which would attend it. If a fast into this business, without attending to plan of education was wanted for that District, probable consequences.
| let members from that part of the country say I think it would have been more proper, if so, and he would be ready to afford them every these people had only wanted this power, for necessary assistance; but he would not think them to have applied to the State Legislature of going into the scheme of a National University. of Maryland; it would be more to their interest The district of country from whence it came and duty to encourage a Seminary if one is might stand in great need of seminaries of wanted in that place. They have sufficient learning, as had been hinted by the gentleman power vested in them to encourage all such from Maryland, (Mr. CRAIK,) but their ignorance laudable undertakings. For us to encourage must continue until they were sensible of their this would be to do injury, instead of having a want of instruction. He believed there was no number of schools planted in various parts, they Federal quality in knowledge, and no Fedare now all to centre in one; and the people eral aid was necessary to the spreading of it. are to neglect all to support this one; as others Every district of country was competent to would become very weak.
provide for the education of its own citiI flatter myself to have as liberal sentiments zens, and he should not give his countenance on such institutions as other gentlemen, but I to the national plan proposed, because the exdo sincerely think small academies are as use- pense would be enormous, and because he did ful as this institution for a University. The not think it would be attended with any good large institutions are generally out of the reach effect, but with much evil. of people in general, and of the middling class If a University is wanted for the use of in particular. These small academies have pro- that District, or any other part, Mr. N. said he duced many eminent literary characters in the would give it all the encouragement possible, country. If it should be necessary at any time but he could not agree to go to such great to form a Seminary for the use of that District, lengths-lengths which were not yet explored. Congress would not refuse its encouragement; Mr. R. SPRIGG considered the report before but to draw money for a National University I them as of a very harmless nature. The PREhope they never will agree. But gentlemen SIDENT, he said, had appropriated land upon say this is not asked ; true it is not at this time, which to erect the University in question. but there is that in the principle that will most They were not called upon to sanction that certainly lead to it.
appropriation. His power to give it was full Mr. DAYTON (the Speaker) said, if it should and ample. The thing was done, and he had ever be the policy of the United States to estab-promised a future donation. The apprehensions lish a National University, he was of opinion of the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. NICHOLAS) this was an improper time for making the de- seemed to arise from his conceiving they were cision. He did not believe the committee who about to sanction a National University, such as made the report meant to do more than had had been recommended by the PRESIDENT. If been stated; but the effect, he said, would be this were the case, although the Representative
[H. OF R. of that District, he should not give his vote in nothing is intended, but merely to permit its support of the measure. On the contrary, he / institution. Why cannot they obtain this power said, they were called upon merely to authorize which is asked of us of the State where it is proper persons to receive donations for a Uni-wanted ? The laws there will permit it, and, versity. What sort of institution this should most likely, it could be obtained. If this rebe, would be for the future consideration of port is agreed to, the time will arrive when this Congress. Mr. S. said he should always be institution will pretend to a just claim on this ready to give his support to every measure House for its support; and the reasons they which had a tendency to spread knowledge will then urge will have a force which will not throughout the United States, as he believed be easily repelled. the progress of knowledge and liberty would Mr. Madison said he was very far from conaccompany each other. The gentleman from sidering, with some gentlemen, that this is a Virginia seemed to think this institution would question of right or policy. These ideas are only benefit a small circle. He did not think not comprehended in the present question. It the State of Maryland would be much benefited is not whether Congress ought to interpose in by it, as they had already two good universities; behalf of this institution or not; it is whether but he thought it doing no more than justice to Congress will encourage an establishment which the owners of property in the Federal City is to be supported entirely independent of them, that this institution should be encouraged. He did not consider it would ask a single farWhat was asked of them would not commit thing from us, nor that it would pledge Congress them at all for any thing further, and it would to endow the establishment with any support. be a mean of turning the attention of the peo The State of Virginia thought proper, during ple to the support of an institution of this the war, to present the PRESIDENT with fifty Sind. For these reasons, he hoped the House shares in the Potomac canal, in consideration would agree to the report.
of his services, which he refused accepting for Mr. LIVINGSTOx said he had thought, like the his own use. He has now offered to give it to gentleman last up, that there was nothing in it this Seminary.* Some other individuals have but what was perfectly harmless, until, recurring likewise destined part of their land for its supto the law for establishing the permanent seat port, and other benefactions may be expected. of Government, that something more might be The amount of this motion before the committee intended than the eye could at first discover. I is whether we will grant power and security to Vr. L. said, he turned the thing a variety of persons to receive such donations in trust for wars in his mind, and could not account for the institution? He conceived it only in this some of its obscurities. If nothing was in- simple point of view, and he thought if it was tended but a mere incorporation, why not ap- / worthy of patronage, it ought to be from the ply to the State that could incorporate such a | United States. body? Something further seemed to be in- The gentleman from New York (Mr. LIVINGtended: public patronage was wanted to support STON) seems to say it is not necessary for Conthis institution. They were called upon, at a gress to interpose, as the laws of Maryland moment's notice, to give their encouragement to allow that Legislature power to do it, and they this National Institution. It is true, they were are the most proper. Congress has the sole called upon from very respectablo authority. jurisdiction over that District: it is not with They were not called upon to appropriate the the power of that Legislature. Their power pablic funds to this purpose; but how far the in that District could only operate by virtue of commissioners are justifiable in laying out a grant from the United States; although it is public lands for that purpose, he knew not. He necessary, until that District becomes the perhad not the law itself at hand, but he was doubt- | manent seat of Government, the laws of Maryful about the just disposal of it, if in this man- land should be in force there. This being the Der. This land was for public use. The use of situation, the commissioners applied to Conthis land was to erect buildings on for the bene- gress to give them the power to receive benefit of Congress; and if these commissioners had | factions. power to appropriate it for building a National Another thing which gentlemen had objected University on, they had the same power to give to, is its being called a National University. it or make use of it for any other purpose. The report does not call it so; it calls it “A Sach institutions are not public, but private University in the District of Columbia;" which, concerns.
he thought, was materially different. ConThis, said Mr. L., I view as the effects of the
gress may form regulations for institutions resolution, were it to be adopted; but I would which may be very good, and yet, not be mt be thought as in the least reflecting on the viewed as national institutions. It was in this motives of the gentleman who brought it for- qualified light (for he wished not to consider it yard. I believe it will operate (as a gentleman a burden on the nation) he meant to vote for has justly said) as an “entering-wedge;" and at the report. sone future time we shall be told, we must go 01-Dow we have encouraged its institution, we * Valued by a speaker in this debate at £5000 sterling, Drist support it. We shall hear more about it at and afterwards given to the Washington College, Lexing. 1 fatore day. Gentlemen tell you, sir, that I ton, Van
H. Or R.]
(DECEMBER, 1796 Mr. SPRIGGS said it had been inquired why against this very desirable and reasonable rethe Legislature of Maryland could not have quest. I would again repeat that the language granted the commissioners what they now pray of the memorial is only to enable them to supfor? He answered that they could make no port a seminary of learning in that place, and law for that District which should extend be- not a single shilling is asked from the nation, yond the tiine at which the seat of Government They only want a medium to act upon-an act was to be removed there. He mentioned some of incorporation. instances that had taken place while he was a The PRESIDENT has generously signified his member of that Legislature. This, he said, intention to make a valuable benefaction, not accounted for the application of the commis- less than £5000 sterling, and the wise and good sioners to Congress.
in all parts of the United States would probably On motion, the committee rose, and had leave follow his example, particularly in that neighto sit again.
borhood, if Congress would put them in a way
to receive it; a building would then be begun TUESDAY, December 27.
and some advances made towards the execution DEMPSEY BURGES, from North Carolina, ap of the institution, in proportion to the fund. peared, and took his seat.
Instead of allowing this to be the case, every
possible view has been given unfavorable to the National University.
plan, and every possible supposition formed, The order of the day was called for on the though without grounds, which could tend to report of the committee to whom was referred blast it. The ideas of gentlemen have been inthe memorial of the commissioners of the Fe- ferred that a large empty house would arise;deral City, and that part of the PRESIDENT's that it would draw from the United States Speech, which referred to the establishment of funds for its support. It may be possible, but a National University. The House accordingly it is no way probable. Is it not more probable resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole that these gentlemen, knowing they cannot exon that subject, when the resolution, reported pect national support, will keep themselves by the select committee, having been read, no within the bounds of their funds, if they mean gentleman rising on the subject, the Chairman to carry on the institution ? Certainly this inquired if the committee were ready for the seems most consistent with the wisdom and question, and on being answered in the affirma- prudence of men in that capacity. Nothing is tive, the question was put and negatived by a asked of the public in the report of the select great majority.
committee:- nothing they have a right to ask. The committee rose, and the Chairman re- I therefore hope, as the request is perfectly ported their disagreement with the select com- reasonable, gentlemen will not be too hasty to mittee.
oppose such a measure without due consideraThe House then took up the subject.
tion. Mr. MURRAY rose, expressing his great sur- Mr. CRAIK.-I must confess I feel as much prise at the unexpected decision on the question surprised as my colleague on the decision which in the committee. He was very much surprised has just been given in the Committee of the to see the committee so changed, no opposition, Whole. Some gentlemen who opposed the reand yet the report so quickly negatived; surely port yesterday conceived there was some secret gentlemen must have mistaken the question. I poison lurking within it-some dangerous It is matter of regret such an important subject principle not to be discovered on its face, which should have so little consideration. The lan-would some time produce baneful influencesguage of the report is perfectly moderate and this has been insinuated though not directly just. The gentleman from Virginia, yesterday, said. If so it must come there by accident, or gave us to understand that this institution was of itself, which those gentlemen must allow if to draw its support from the National Treasu- they will give themselves the trouble to examine ry; but on examining the report I can find no the true principle of it, and give it a just desuch idea held out or intended; and also he told cision. When we examine the materials of us this was a National University. The gentle which this report has been formed, viz: the man's obserrations are grounded in mistake, PRESIDENT's communication on this subject in or it was effected by an imagination of evils, bis Speech, and the memorial of the commisof which there could not be the most distant sioners;—we should be led by those gentiemen apprehension. If we refer to the memorial of to believe, that this, which is the groundwork the commissioners we shall see they ask no of the report, is connected to convey something money from Congress ; they only ask you to which may extend further than it seems to erect a number of gentlemen into a corporate carry its object; this perhaps is the secret poison capacity to enable them to receive donations hinted at. Were I in the situation of the from those who are well disposed towards in- PRESIDENT, I am free to confess, had I studied stituting a useful Seminary in that District; my own feelings and the great use of the instithis is no more than they have a right to ex- tution, I should have recommended it. It has pect from Congress, and is the duty of Congress been justly said, that the PRESIDENT, from the to grant. Yet the determination of the Com- impulsive importance of it, has taken this opmittee of the whole House has been carried | portunity—this last opportunity to recommend