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Monday, December 2, 1799. This being the constitutional day for the animal meeting of Congress, the following members of the House of Representatives appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats, viz:
From New Hampshire.—Abiel Foster, JonaThan Freeman, and William Gordon.
From Massachusetts. — Bailey Bartlett, Phanuel Bishop, Dwight Foster, Harrison G: Otis, Silas Lee, Samuel Lyman, John Reed, Samuel Sbwall, Theodore Sedgwick, William Siiepabd, George Thatcher, Joseph B. Vahnum, Peleg Wadsworth, and Lemuel Williams.
From Connecticut.—Jonathan Brace, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, William Edmond, Chaunoey Goodrich, Elizur Goodrich, and Roger Griswold.
From Rhode Island.—John Brown, and ChrisTopher G. Champlin.
From Vermont.—Matthew Lyon, and Lewis R. Morris.
From New York.—Theodorus Bailey, John Bird, William Cooper, Lucas Elmendorph, Henry Glenn, Edward Livingston, Jonas Platt, John Thompson, and Philip Van CobtLandt.
From New Jersey.—John Condit, Franklin Davenport, James H. Imlay, Aaron Ejtchell, and James Linn.
From Pennsylvania.—Robert Brown, AnDrew Gregg, Albert Gallatin, John A. Hanna, JosBPH Heisteh, John Wilkes Kittera, Michael Leib, Peter Muhlenbebg,john Smilie, Richard Thomas, Robert Waln, and Hknb» Woods.
From Maryland.—George Baer, William Craie, Gabriel Christie, George Dent, Joseph H. Nicholson, Samuel Smith, and John Chew Thomas.
From Virginia. — John Dawson, Thomas Evans, David Holmes, George Jackson, John Marshall, John Nicholas, Anthony New, Lev Kn Powell, John Randolph, Abram Trigg, and John Trigg.
From North Carolina.—Willis Alston, Joseph Dickson, Archibald Henderson, WilLiam II. Hill, Nathaniel Macon, Richard Stanford, and David Stone.
From South Carolina.—Robert Goodloe Harper, Abraham Nott, John Rutledge, Jr., and Thomas Sumter.
From Georgia.—James Jones, Benjamin TalIaferro.
From Tennessee.—William Charles Cole Claiborne.
A quorum of the whole number of members being present, the House proceeded to the election of a Speaker; when, on counting the ballots, the tellers reported that Mr. Sedgwick had 42 votes; Mr. Macon, 27; Mr. Dent, 13; Mr. Rutledge, 2 ; Mr. Sumter, 1.
That the whole number of votes was 85, and the rules of the House requiring a majority of the members present to constitute a choice, neither of the above gentlemen were elected.
The House then proceeded to a second trial; when Mr. Sedgwick had 44 votes; Mr. Macon, 38; Mr. Dent, 3; Mr. Rutledge, 1.
Whereupon Mr. Sedgwick was declared duly elected, and conducted to the chair accordingly.
Mr. Sedgwick, upon taking the chair, addressed the House in the following words:
"Gentlemen: Although I am conscious of a deficiency of the talents which are desirable to discharge with usefulness and dignity the important duties of the high station to which I am raised, by the generous regard of the enlightened and virtuous representatives of my country, yet, reposing myself on the energy of their candid support, I will not shrink from the attempt.
"Accept, I pray you, gentlemen, my grnteful acknowledgment of the honor you are pleased to confer; and, with it, an assurance, that no consideration shall seduce me to deviate, in the least degree, from a direct line of impartial integrity."
A message was received from the Senate, informing the House that, a sufficient number of members appearing to form a quorum, they had proceeded to the choice of a President pro tempore, when Hon. Samuel Ltvermore was elected.
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The House proceeded to the choice of a Clerk; when it appeared Jonathan W. Condy had 47 votes, John Beckley, 89.
Whereupon Mr. Condy was declared by the Speaker to he duly elected.
Ordered, That a message be sent to the Senate, to inform that body of the election of the Hon. Theodore Sedgwick, as Speakkb of the House of Representatives.
On motioD of Mr. Ma cox, the House proceeded to the choice of a Sergeant-at-Arms, Doorkeeper, and Assistant Doorkeeper; when JoSeph Wheaton, Thomas Claxton, and Thomas Dunn, were unanimously elected.
The oath to support the Constitution of the United States, as prescribed by the act, entitled "An act to regulate the time and manner of administering certain oaths," was administered by Mr. Rutledge, one of the Representatives for the State of South Carolina, to the Speaker, and then the same oath or affirmation was administered by Mr. Speakkb to each of the members present.
William Henry Harrison having also appeared, as a Representative for the territory of the United States north-west of the river Ohio, the said oath was administered to him by Mr. Speaker.
The same affirmation, together with the affirmation of office prescribed by the said recited act, were also administered by Mr. SpeakEr to the Clerk.
A message was received from the Senate, informing the House, that they had passed a resolution, appointing a joint committee to wait on the President Of The United States, and inform him that Congress had met and were ready to receive any communications he might think proper to make; and, in case of concurrence, that Messrs. Read and Bingham were appointed a committee on behalf of the Senate.
The House concurred in the resolution, and Messrs. Marshall, Rutledge, and Sewall, were appointed to wait on the President, in conjunction with the committee from the Senate.
The following letter was read by the Speaker.
72 Welbeck-street, London, September 20, 1798.
Sir: I beg leave, through yon, to offer to the House of Representatives of the United States, impressions of the two prints of the American Revolution, which I have lately caused to be published.*
The importance of the events, and the illustrious characters of the two great men to whose memory they are particularly devoted, give to these works their best claim to your notice; and the patriotism of my countrymen, I trust, will give them a kinder reception than their intrinsic merit might entitle me to hope.
With great respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,
JNO. TRUMBULL. The Speaker of the Bouse of Sept. V. 8.
* The prints referred to by Mr. Trumbull, In his letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, are, first, a representation of the Battlo of Quebec, and death of General
Resolved, That the rules and orders of proceeding established by the late House of Representatives, shall be deemed and taken to be the rules and orders of proceeding to be observed in this House, until a revision or alteration of the same shall take place.
Resolved, That each member be furnished with three newspapers, printed in this city, during the session, at the expense of this House.
Mr. Marshall, from the joint committee appointed to wait on the President Of Thk UniTed States, reported, that they had performed that service; and that the President had appointed to-morrow forenoon, 12 o'clock, to meet both Houses in the Representatives' Chamber.
The House then adjourned, till to-morrow moraing at eleven o'clock.
Tuesday, December 3. James A. Bayard, from Delaware, appeared produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.
President's Speech. Ordered, That a message be sent to the Senate to inform them that this House is now ready to attend them in receiving the communication from the President Of The United States, agreeably to his notification to both Houses yesterday.
The Senate attended and took seats in the House; when, both Honses being assembled, the President or The United States came into the Representatives' Chamber, and addressed them as follows. (For the Speech, see Senate proceedings, ante.)
The President Of The United States then withdrew and the two Honses separated.
A copy of the Speech being delivered by the President to the Speaker, and read by the Clerk, it was ordered, that it be committed to a Committee of the whole House to-morrow.
Wednesday, December 4. Mr. LrvTNGSTON said he conceived some notice ought to be taken of the letter received from Mr. Trumbull, and therefore moved that it be referred to a select committee. Agreed to, and Messrs. Livingston, Taliajerro, and Hiii, were appointed.
The President's Speech. The House went into a Committee of the Whole on the President's Speech, Mr. RutLedge in the chair. The Speech having been read,
Mr. Marshall moved the following resolution, which was agreed to by the committee, viz:
Retolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that a respectful Address ought to be presented by
Montgomery; second, the Battle of Bunker's Hill—both elegant engravings. They are placed on the right and left of the Speaker's chair, and are highly ornamental to the Representatives' Chamber.
the House of Representatives to the President of the United States, in answer to hiB Speech to both Houses of Congress, on the opening of the present session, containing assurances that this House will duly attend to the important objects recommended by him to their consideration.
The.committee rose, and the resolution having been agreed to by the House, Messrs. MarShall, Rutlkdge, Sewall, Livingston, and Nicholas, were appointed a committee to draft the Address.
Friday, December 6.
Mr. Marshall, from the committee appointed to draft an Address in answer to the Speech of the President Of The United States, at the commencement of the present session, reported the same, which was committed to a Committee of the Whole on Monday next, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Livingston, from the committee to whom was referred the letter of Mr. Trumbull, reported the following resolution, whioh was adopted by the House:
"Resolved, That the two elegant prints offered by Mr. Trumbull, be accepted; and that the Speaker be instructed to write an answer, expressive of the pleasure with which this House has observed his genius and talents exerted in the patriotio task of celebrating the events which led to his country's independence, and dedicated to the memory of those heroes who fell in its defence."
Monday, December 9. Josiah Parker and Robert Page, from Virginia, appeared, produced their credentials, were qualified, and took their seats.
Address to the President.
The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the Address to be presented to the President Of The United States in answer to his Speech to both Houses, at the commencement of the present session.
Mr. Gregg moved, that the words distinguished by italics, in the third and fourth lines of the second paragraph of the Address, be struck out, and that the words "act in " be inserted in their stead; which produced a short debate, and was finally negatived.
The committee then rose, and the Address was reported without amendment; and was agreed to by the House, in the words following, viz:
To the President of (he United States:
Sra: While the House of Representatives contemplate the flattering prospects of abundance from the labors of the people, by land and by sea, the prosperity of our extended commerce, notwithstanding the interruptions occasioned by the belligerent state of a great part of the world, the return of health, industry and trade, to those cities which have lately been afflicted with disease, and the various and inestimable advantages, civil and religious, which, secured under our happy frame of Government, are continued
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to us unimpaired, we cannot fail to offer np to the benevolent Deity our sincere thanks for these the merciful dispensations of his protecting Providence.
That any portion of the people of America should permit themselves, amid such numerous blessings, to be seduced by the arts and misrepresentations of designing meninto an open resistance of a law of the United States, cannot be heard without deep and serious regret Under a constitution where the public burdens can only be imposed by the people themselves, for their own benefit, and to promote their own objects, a hope might well have been indulged that the general interest would have been too well understood, and the general welfare too highly prized, to have produced in any of our citizens a disposition to hazard so much felicity, by the criminal effort of a part, to oppose with lawless violence the will of the whole. While we lament that depravity which could produce a defiance of the civil authority, and render indispensable the aid of the military force of the nation, real consolation is to be derived from the promptness and fidelity with which that aid was afforded. That zealous and active co-operation with the judicial power, of the volunteers and militia called into service, which has restored order and submission to the laws, is a pleasing evidence of the attachment of ou fellowcitizens to their own free Government, and of the truly patriotio alacrity with which they will support it
To give due effect to the civil administration of Government, and to ensure a just execution of the laws, are objects of such real magnitude as to secure proper attention to your recommendation of a revision and amendment of the judiciary system.
Highly approving, as we do, the pacific and humane policy which has been invariably professed and sincerely pursued by the Executive authority of the United States, a policy which our best interests enjoined and of which honor has permitted the observance, we consider as the most unequivocal proof of your inflexible perseverance in the same well chosen system, your preparation to meet the first indications on the part of the French Republic, of a disposition to accommodate the existing differences between th* two countries, by a nomination of Ministers on certain conditions, which the honor of our country unquestionably dictated, and which its moderation had certainly given it a right to prescribe. When the assurances thus required of the French Government, previous to the departure of our Envoys, had been given through their Minister of Foreign Relations, the direction that they should proceed on their mission, was, on yonr part, a completion of the measure, and manifests the sincerity with which it was commenced. We offer up our fervent prayers to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for the success of their embassy, and that it may be productive of peace and happiness to our common country. The uniform tenor of your conduct, through a fife useful to your fellow-citizens and honorable to yourself, gives a sure pledge of the sincerity with which the avowed objects of the negotiation will be pursued on your part, and we earnestly pray that similar dispositions may be displayed on the part of France. The differences which unfortunately subsist between the two nations, cannot fail, in that event, to be happily terminated. To produce this end, to all so desirable, firmness, moderation, and union at home, constitute, we are persuaded, the surest means. The character of the gentlemeu you have deputed, and still more, the character of the Government which deputes them, H. Of R.]
Address to the President
are safe pledges to their country, that nothing incompatible with its honor or interest, nothing inconsistent with our obligations of good faith or friendship to any other nation, will be stipulated.
We learn, with pleasure, that our citizens, with their property, trading to those ports of St. Domingo with which commercial intercourse has been renewed, have been duly respected, and that privateering from those ports has ceased.
With you, we sincerely regret that the execution of the sixth article of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, with Great Britain, an article produced by a mutual spirit of amity and justice, should have been unavoidably interrupted. We doubt not the same spirit of amity, and the same sense of justice in which it originated, will lead to satisfactory explanations; and we hear with approbation that our Minister at Loudon will be immediately instructed to obtain them. While the engagements which America has contracted by her treaty with Great Britain, ought to be fulfilled with that scrupulous punctuality and good faith to which our Government has ever so tenaciously adhered, yet no motive exists to induce, and every principle forbids us to adopt a construction which might extend them beyond the instrument by which they are created. We cherish the hope that the Government of Great Britain will disclaim such extension, and by cordially uniting with that of the United States for the removal of nil difficulties, will soon enable the boards appointed under the sixth and seventh articles of our treaty with that nation, to proceed, and bring the business committed to them respectively to a satisfactory conclusion.
The buildings for the accommodation of Congress, and of the President, and for the public offices of the Government at its permanent seat, being in such a state as to admit of a removal to that District by the time prescribed by the act of Congress, no obstacle, it is presumed, will exist to a compliance with the law.
With you, sir, we deem the present period critical and momentous. The important changes which are occurring, the new and great events which are every hour preparing in the political world, the spirit of war which is prevalent in almost every nation with whose affairs the interests of the United States have' any connection, demonstrate how unsafe and precarious would be our situation, should we neglect the means of maintaining our just rights. Respecting, as we have ever done, the rights of others, America estimates too correctly the value of her own, and has received evidence too complete that they are only to be preserved by her own vigilance, ever to permit herself to be seduced by a love of ease, or by other considerations, into that deadly disregard of the means of self-defence, which could only result from a carelessness as criminal as it would be fatal concerning the future destinies of our growing Republic. The result of the mission to France is, indeed, sir, uncertain. It depends not on America alone. The most pacific temper will not always ensure peace. We should therefore exhibit a system of conduct as indiscreet as it would be new in the history of the world, if we considered the negotiation happily terminated because we have attempted to commence it, and peace restored because we wish its restoration. But, sir, however this mission may terminate, a steady perseverance in a system of national defence, commensurate with our resources and the situation of our country, is au obvious dictate of duty. Experience,
the parent of wisdom, and the great instructor of nations, has established the truth of your position, that, remotely as we are placed from the belligerent nations, and desirous as we are, by doing justice to aD, to avoid offence to any, yet nothing short of rht power of repelling aggressions will secure to oar country a rational prospect of escaping the «—l»TT»i>fr| of war or national degradation.
In the progress of the session, we shall take into our serious consideration the various and importac: matters recommended to our attention.
A life devoted to the service of your country, talents and integrity which have so justly acquired and so long retained the confidence and affection of your fellow-citizens, attest the sincerity of your declaration, that it is your anxious desire so to execute the trust reposed in you as to render the people of the United States prosperous and happy.
Besolted, That the Speaker, attended by the House, do present the said Address.
Messrs. Marshall, Rutledgk, and Sew All, were appointed a committee to wait on the President, to know when and where he would be ready to receive the Address; and having performed that sen-ice, reported, that the President had appointed to-morrow, two o'clock, for that purpose, at his own house.
Delegate from North-west Territory. Ordered, That the credentials of Wmxui Henry Harrison, who has appeared as a Delegate from the territory of the United States north-west of the river Ohio, be referred to the Committee of Elections; and that they be directed to report whether the Territory is entitled to elect a Delegate who may have a seat in this House.
Tuesday, December 10. Matthew Clay, from Virginia, appeared, produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.
Address to the President. The hour having arrived which the PresiDent had appointed, Mr. Speaker, attended by the members present, proceeded to the President's house, to present him their Address in answer to his Speech at the opening of the present session; and having returned, the PresiDent's reply thereto was read, as follows:
Gentlemen of the Home of RepretenUUite*:
This very respectful address from the Representatives of the people of the United States at their first assembly, after a* fresh election, under the strong impression of the public opinion and national sense, at this interesting and singular crisis of our public affairs, has excited my sensibility, and receivee my sincere and grateful acknowledgments.
As long as we can maintain, with harmony and affection, the honor of our country, consistently with its peace, externally and internally, while that is attainable, or in war, when that becomes necessary, assert its real independence and sovereignty, and support the constitutional energies and dignity of it* government, we may be perfectly sure, under the smiles of Divine Providence, that we shall effectually December, 1799.]
promote and extend our national interests and happiness.
The applause of the Senate and House of Representatives, so justly bestowed upon the volunteers and militia, for their zealous and active co-operation with the judicial power, which has restored order and submission to the laws, as it comes with peculiar weight and propriety from the Legislature, cannot fail to have an extensive and permanent effect, for the support of Government, upon all those ingenuous minds who receive delight from the approving and animating voice of their country.
Usited States, December 10.
And then the House adjourned till to-morrow morning, 11 o'clock.
"wednesday, December 11. Henry Lee, from Virginia, appeared, produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.
The Direct Tax Law. Mr. Harper said, that a difficulty had arisen in the State of Pennsylvania, relative to the execution of the law "for the valuation of lands and dwelling-houses, and for the enumeration of slaves, within the United States," which the Commissioners for that State did not conceive themselves competent to decide upon; that the Commissioners had referred the case to the Secretary of the Treasury, whoso opinion it was, that they were possessed of sufficient power to obviate the difficulties complained of; but the Commissioners, on again taking the subject into consideration, were still of opinion they were unable to act without legislative aid, and therefore had made application to the Committee of Ways and Means, who, Mr. H. said, had directed him to move for leave to bring in a bill, further to amend the act entitled "An act to provide for the valuation of lands and dwelling-houses, and for the enumeration of slaves within the United States," which was granted.
Franking Privilege to W. H. Harrison. Mr. Harper laid the following resolution on the table.
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to prepare and bring in a bill, extending the privilege of franking to W. E Harrison, a delegate from the territory of the United States north-west of the river Ohio, and making provision for his compensation.
Mr. H. said, that according to law, that gentleman had the right only of speaking and giving his opinion upon any question before the House, but was not entitled to a vote, or any other privilege; but as the privileges of a member had been extended on a former occasion to a delegate from the South-western Territory, he had no doubt they would be granted on the present.
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Monday, December 16. Thomas Hartley, from Pennsylvania, and Joseph Eggleston, from Virginia, appeared, produced their credentials, were qualified, and took their seats in the House.
Wednesday, December 18.
Mr. Marshall, in a voice that bespoke the anguish of his mind, and a countenance expressive of the deepest regret, rose, and delivered himself as follows: ,
Mr. Speaker: Information has just been received, that our illustrious fellow-citizen, the Commander-in-Chief of the American Army, and the late President of the United States, is no more!
Though this distressing intelligence is not certain, there is too much reason to believe its truth. After receiving information of this national calamity, so heavy and so afflicting, the House of Representatives can be but ill fitted for publio business. I move you, therefore, they adjourn.
The motion was unanimously agreed to; and then the House adjourned till to-morrow morning, 11 o'clock.
Thursday, December 19. Samuel Goode, from Virginia, appeared, produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.
Death of Oeneral Washington. Mr. Marshall addressed the Chair as follows:
Mr. Speaker: The melancholy event which was yesterday announced with doubt, has been rendered but too certain. Our Washington is no more! The Hero, the Sage, and the Patriot of America—the man on whom in times of danger every eye was turned and all hopes were placed—lives now only in his own great actions, and in the hearts of an affectionate and afflicted people.
If, sir, it had even not been usual openly to testify respect for the memory of those whom Heaven had selected as its instruments for dispensing good to men, yet such has been the uncommon worth, and such the extraordinary incidents which have marked the life of him whose loss we all deplore, that the whole American nation, impelled by the same feelings, would call with one voice for a public manifestation of that sorrow which is so deep and so universal.
More than any other individual, and as much as to any one individual was possible, has he contributed to found this our wide-spreading empire, and to give to the Western world its independence and its freedom.
Having effected the great object for which he was placed at the head of our armies, we have seen him converting the sword into the plough
Deaih of Oeneral Washington.