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Monday, December 7,1801.
This being the day appointed by the constitution for the annual meeting of Congress, the following members of the House of Representatives appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats in the House, to wit:
From New Hampshire,—Abiel Foster, George P. Upham, and Samuel Tenney.
From Massachusetts.—William Eustis, John Bacon, Phanuel Bishop, Joseph B. Vamum, Richard Cutts, Lemuel Williams, William Shepard, Ebenezer Mattoon, Nathan Bead, Josiah Smith, and Manasseh Cutler.
From Rhode Island.—Thomas Tillinghast, and Joseph Stanton, jr.
From Connecticut.—Roger Griswold, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, Calvin Goddard, Benjamin Tallmadge, Elias Perkins, and John C. Smith.
From Vermont.—Israel Smith.
From Nea York.—Samuel L. MitehilL. Philip Van Cortlandt, Theodoras Bailey, John Smith, Benjamin Walker, Thomas Morris, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Lucas Elmendorph, David Thomas, and John P. Van Ness.
From New Jersey.—John Condit, James Mott, William Helms, Henry Southard, and Ebenezer Elmer.
From Pennsylvania.—William Jones, Michael Leib, John Smilie, William Hoge, Isaac Vanhorne, Joseph Heister, Robert Brown, Henry Woods, John A. Hanna, John Stewart, Thomas Boude, and Joseph Hemphill.
From Delaware.—James A. Bayard.
From Maryland.—John Archer, Joseph H. Nicholson, Samuel Smith, Richard Sprigg, John Dennis, and Thomas Plater.
From Virginia.—Thomas Newton, jr., John Randolph, jr., George Jackson, Philip R. Thompson, John Taliaferro, John Stratton, William B. Giles, Abraro Trigg, John Trigg, Anthony New, John Smith, David Holmes, Richard Brent, Edwin Gray, and Matthew Clay.
From Kentucky.—Thomas T. Davis, and John Fowler.
From North Carolina.—Nathaniel Macon, Willis Alston, Richard Stanford, Charles Johnson, Archibald Henderson, and John Stanley.
From Tennessee.—William Dickson.
From South Carolina.—Thomas Sumter, Thomas Moore, and Thomas Lowndes.
From Georgia.—John Milledge.
From the ATorfA-s*rf Territory.—Paul Fearing.
From Mississippi Territory.—Narsworthy Hunter.
A quorum, consisting of a majority, being present, the House proceeded, by ballot, to the choice of a Speaker; and, upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the whole House was found in favor of Nathaniel Macon, one of the Representatives for the State of North Carolina: Whereupon, Mr. Macon was conducted to the chair, and he made his acknowledgments to the House as follows:
"Gentlemen: Accept my sincere thanks for the honor you have conferred on me, in the choice just made. The duties of the chair will be undertaken with great diffidence indeed; but it shall be my constant endeavor to discharge them with fidelity and impartiality."'
The House proceeded, in the same manner, to the appointment of a Clerk; and, upon examining the ballots, a majority of the whole House was found in favor of John Bkckley.
The oath to support the Constitution of the United States, as prescribed by law, was then administered by Mr. Griswold, one of the Representatives for the State of Connecticut, to the Speaker; and then the same oath, or affirmation, was administered, by Mr. Speaker, to each of the members present.
A message from the Senate informed the House that a quorum of the Senate is assembled, and ready to proceed to business; and that, in the absence of the Vice President, they have elected the honorable Abraham Baldwin, President of the Senate, pro tempore.
Ordered, That a message be sent to the Senate to inform them that a quorum of this House is assembled, and have elected NathanIel Maoon, one of the Representatives of tho State of North Carolina, their Speaker, and are ready to proceed to business; and that the Clerk of this House do go with the said message.
The House proceeded, by ballot, to the choice of a Sergeant-at-Arms, Doorkeeper, and Assistant Doorkeeper; and upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the whole House was found in favor of Joseph Wheaton, as SerH. Of R.]
geant-at-Arms, and, also, a unanimous vote in favor of TnoMAS Claxton, and Thomas Dunn, severally, the former as Doorkeeper, and the latter as Assistant Doorkeeper.
A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have appointed a committee on their part, jointly, with such committee as may be appointed on the part of this House, to wait on the Pbesident Of The UniTed States, and inform him that a quorum of the two Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any communications he may think proper to make to them.
Mr. Samuel Smith, from the joint committee appointed to wait on the Pbesident Of The United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two Houses is assembled and ready to receive any communication he may think proper to make to them, reported that the committee had performed that service, and that the PresiDent signified to them that he would make a communication to this House, to-morrow, by
Tuesday, December 8.
Several other members, to wit: from Pennsylvania, Andrew Greoo; from Virginia, SamUel J. Cabell; from North Carolina, James Holland; and from South Carolina, William Butler; 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.
A petition of John McDonald, late of the city of Philadelphia, was presented to the House and read, praying that he may be employed to superintend the arrangement and safe-keeping of the books intended for the library of the two Houses of Congress; and that he may receive such compensation for his services, in that capacity, as to the wisdom of Congress shall seem meet.
Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the committee appointed yesterday, on the part of this House, jointly with the committee appointed by the Senate, to take into consideration a statement made by the Secretary of the Senate, respecting books and maps purchased pursuant to a late act of Congress, and to make report respecting the future arrangement of the same.
The following committees were appointed pursuant to the standing rules and orders of the House, viz:
Committee of Election*.—Mr. Milledoe, Mr. Tennet, Mr. Condit, Mr. Dennis, Mr. Hanna, Mr. Stanley, and Mr. John Taliaferro.
Committee of Revisal and Unfinished Business.—Mr. Davenport, Mr. Clay, and Mr. Alston.
Committee of Claims.—John Cotton Smith, Mr. Greoo, Mr. Holmes, Mr. Mattoon, Mr. John Smith, of New York, Mr. Plateb, and Mr. MooKe.
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Committee of Commerce and if a n vfae t« ret.— Mr. Samuel Smith, Mr. Ecsns, Mr. Dajta, Mr. Mitchill, Mr. Jones, Mr. Newtox, and Sir. Lowndes.
Resohed, That a standing Committee of Ways and Means be appointed, whose duty it shall be to take into consideration all such reports of the Treasury Department, and all such propositions, relative to the revenue, as may b* referred to them by the House; to inquire into the state of the public debt, of the revenue, and of the expenditures; and to report, from time to time, their opinion thereon.
Ordered, That Mr. Randolph, Mr. Griswold, Mr. Israel Smith, Mr. Bayard, Mr. Smtlic Mr. Read, Mr. Nicholson, Mr. Vas RensSelaer, ami Mr. Dickson, be appointed a committee, pursnsnt to the said resolution.
Wednesday, December 9. Another member, to wit, Jons Campbell. from Maryland, appeared, produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.
Thursday, December 10. Mr. Elmendorph, from the committee to whom was referred, on the eighth instant. * letter from Thomas Claxton, the Doorkeeper of this House, relative to certain expenditures, and further assistance necessary to be allowed for enabling him to execute the duties of his station, made a report; which was read and considered: Whereupon,
Resolved, That Thomas Claxton be, and is hereby, authorized to employ, under his immediate direction, one additional assistant, two servants, and two horses, for the purpose of performing such services and duties as are usually required by the House of Representatives, during the present session, and for four days thereafter; and the sum of five dollars and seventy-five cents per day be allowed to hira for that purpose; and that he be paid therefor out of the fund appropriated for the contingent expenses of the House.
A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have proceeded to the appointment of a Chaplain to Congress, on their part, and the Rev. Mr. Gantt has been duly elected.
Friday, December 11. Several other members, to wit: from New Hampshire, Joseph Peiece; from Massachusetts, Peleo Wads Worth; from Virginia, ThoMas Claiborne and John Clopton; and, from North Carolina, William H. Hill, appeared, produced their credentials, w\»re qualified, and took their seats in the House.
Monday, December 14. Another member, to wit, Lewis R. Morris, from the State of Vermont, appeared, produced
his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.
Tuesday, December 15.
The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, the following resolution being under consideration:
"Resolved, That it is expedient that the President be authorized by law, further and more effectually to protect the commerce of the United States against the Barbary Powers."
Mr. Nicholson said, that when this resolution was yesterday laid on the table, he had moved, for reasons that he had assigned, to strike out the words "further and more." He was, on reflection, more and more persuaded of the accuracy of his objections to the unqualified terms of the original motion. If we adopt it, we pledge ourselves to increase the naval force at present at the disposition of the President. But if his modification were agreed to, every gentleman would remain at liberty to put his own construction on the words "effectual force." Uninformed as we were as to the necessity of increasing the force, it would be highly improper to commit ourselves by any precipitate decision. He, therefore, moved to strike out the words "further and more."
Mr. Giles opposed the striking out the words, which, in his opinion, did not relate to the quantum of force placed under Executive disposition, but to the measures proposed to be taken by the Executive. He should vote for the motion unamended, though he had been, and still was, as averse as any gentleman in that House to an improper augmentation of the Army or Navy. With respect to the Navy, he was friendly to it as it now stood, or to an augmentation of it to meet any particular emergency.
Mr. S. Surra said that as he understood the resolution, it went not to pledge any man to augment the Navy, but to authorize the President, with the present force, to take measures for the defence of our trade. We were at war with Tripoli. Against that power, therefore, the President felt himself at liberty to act efficiently. But gentlemen should advert to our situation with regard to Algiers and Tunis. Those powers may become hostile. They may become so in the recess of Congress. It may be necessary without delay to protect our trade against them. Will you then confine the President, in relation to these powers, to a Peace Establishment? Certainly, when these circumstances were duly weighed, no gentleman will refuse the power which this resolution is intended to confer.
Mr. Smtlte was in favor of the amendment for one reason. He was ready at all times to
S-ant commerce every necessary protection, ut by adopting this resolution, we pledge ourselves, without inquiring into the necessity, to extend further protection. No doubt further protection will be required. But ho thought it
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premature to make any pledge until all the documents connected with the subject were before the House.
Mr. Mitohill suggested the propriety of amending the original resolution by inserting after the word "law," "if necessary." This would render the resolution conditional. To the resolution he was a friend. For when the aspect and extent of the United States were considered, it must be evident to every man that we were a commercial people. The bulk and extensiveness of our produce required vessels to carry it to foreign countries. The carriage required protection. The Government must of course give protection. With respect to the Mediterranean expedition, no plan under the Government had been better devised; and he had no hesitation to say, that if the Mediterranean trade required further protection, he would be for making further appropriations of the public moneys.
Mr. Nicholson said he could not agree to the suggestion of the gentleman from New York, as by adopting it we should do nothing. How does the matter now stand? Congress has put into the hands of the President six frigates, which he had used for the public service in the Mediterranean. This was not a fit time to express his opinion on the propriety of the measures of the Executive. But when a fit occasion did offer, he would have no hesitation to say the President had done right.
To return to the point—The President had now six frigates. If we agree to the resolution, do we not pledge ourselves to increase this force?
One squadron had been sent to the Mediterranean; another was in operation to go there, he understood. This was all right. But there followed no necessity from these circumstances to pledge ourselves to increase the force.
We were not even acquainted with the sentiments of the President on this point. His communications did not inform us that he desired a larger force. If he did desire it, he would say so. He had, on the contrary, recommended a reduction of the Army and Navy; and to desire an augmentation of the latter, would be, in the same breath, to say one thing and mean another.
Mr. Eustis.—The President, in his communications, has informed us that he has hitherto acted on the defensive. The simple question now is, whether he shall be empowered to take offensive steps. Tfcis has no relation, therefore, to an increase of the force; nor shall we, by adopting it, pledge ourselves to such effect.
Mr. Giles was happy that the discussion was one more of words than of principles. He perfectly coincided with the gentleman from Maryland, who had moved the amendment, in his general sentiments. It would be wrong in this House prematurely to pledge itself for an increase of naval force. But the words of the resolution do not relate to the quantum of force, but entirely to the measures to be taken with any force. When the President is authorized further and more effectually to protect our H. or R.]
trade, it was not said that we will give him four or six additional frigates; but merely that he is to- have means, more or less, which shall be adequate to make offensive operations against those who shall make offensive operations against ns.
It was well understood that he was for keeping the Navy within proper bounds; but if ever there was a case where it was required, this was the case, and he acknowledged that he was for empowering the President to authorize not merely a dismantlement of a vessel, but her oapture.
The question was then take* on Mr. NicholSon's amendment and lost.
When the original motion of Mr. Smith was carried.
Ordered, That a bill or bills be brought in, pursuant to the said resolution; and that Mr. Eustis, Mr. Samuel Smith, /Mr. Dana, Mr. MrrcnrLL, and Mr. Jones, do prepare and bring in the same.
Wednesday, December 16. Another member, to wit, Benjamin Husks, from South Carolina, appeared, produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.
Ratio of Representation.
The House, according to the order of the day, proceeded to consider the first resolution reported yesterday from the Committee of the whole House on the state of the Union, in the words following, to wit:
"Ruolced, That the apportionment of Representatives amongst the several States, according to the second enumeration of the people, ought to be in a ratio of one Representative for eveiy thirty-three thousand persons in each State."
Mr. Griswold remarked, that the effect of adopting this resolution would be an increase of members in that House; that the number would amount to nearly one hundred and fifty. He was of opinion that the present House was sufficiently numerous for every correct purpose, as well of legislation, as for obtaining all desirable information from the people. Should an augmentation be made, the consequences would be an increase of expense, and business would inevitably be protracted. He moved, therefore, to strike out the words "thirty-three," meaning, if they were stricken out, to propose the substitution of a larger number.
On this motion a desultory debate ensued, in which Messrs. Griswold, S. Smith, Nicholson, Giles, Bayard, Alston, Elmer, Ecstis, Speiqo, and other gentlemen, took part.
Mr. Griswold stood alone in advocating an apportionment of one member to every 40,000 persons.
Messrs. Giles and Bayard were for one member for every 30,000.
Messrs. S. Smith, Nicholson, and Eubtis, were for one member for 33,000.
Mr. Alston was in favor of one representative for every 31,000.
The preferences avowed by the several speakers, appeared to arise from the application of that divisor to the State from which each, member came, which left the least fraction.
Some gentlemen, however, declared, and particularly Mr. Giles, that he had made no calculation, and that his preference of the smaDesS ratio proposed was the preference of principle.
Those in favor of a small ratio argued that, though the expense attending the compensation of the members might be somewhat increased, yet that it would be trifling compared with the great advantages that would result from a larger representation; that such a representation would be productive of true economy, as it would oppose ail extravagant expenditure of money; that the weight of expense incurred by the Government, did not arise from the expense of the civil list, which formed but a speck in the mass of expenditure; that it was important to this Government to adopt those measures which would ensure the respect and the confidence of the people; that this end would be best attained by each Representative being familiarly acquainted with the interests of his constituents; and that this could only be the case when the number of his constituents were limited within certain bounds. It was true that it had been said that a body of more than one hundred, even though it be composed of philosophers, was a mob; but it was replied that the long experience of this country had proved the reverse, for that many of the State Legislatures consisted of more members.
These ideas were but feebly opposed. The diversity of opinion expressed chiefly arose from a division of the House on the ratios of thirty thousand and thirty-three thousand. The former was advocated principally from a regard to Delaware and Rhode Island, which, by its adoption, would have each two Representatives instead of one, if a higher ratio were preferred.
During the discussion, it was moved to strike out the word "three;" leaving thirty thousand as the ratio. This motion was lost—yeas 43, nays 46.
Mr. Bayard then moved to strike out "thirtythree," leaving the resolution blank, in order that it might be filled up with such number as should be agreeable to the House.
This motion was opposed chiefly by Mr. NichOlson and Mr. Ecstis, who were of opinion that the progressive increase of the members would be sufficiently large on the ratio of thirty-three thousand persons to a member. They were also further in favor of this number as it left the fewest fractions. The only two States much injured by it would be Delaware and North Carolina; whereas, if the ratio was increased to thirty-five thousand. New Jersey would have a fraction of 31,000; Delaware of 26,000; Maryland of 30,000; Georgia of 23,000; and Kentucky of 29,000.
On the question being taken for striking out "thirty-three," there rose only thirty-one members. It was therefore declared to be lost.
Ratio of Representation.
The question was then taken on the original motion, and carried without a division, and a committee of three members appointed to bring in a bill conformably thereto.
Thursday, December 17. Another member, to wit, Daniel Heister, from Maryland, appeared, produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat.
Friday, December 18. Public Printing. Mr. Randolph, chairman of the committee appointed to see what alterations were necessary to expedite the printing business of the House, reported that the committee thought it expedient to request the Heads of the Departments to attend and inspect the printing of all such documents, reports, and statements, as are directed by law to be annually laid before the House; and that it was necessary that a printer to the House be appointed, who shall be responsible for the faithful and prompt execution of all business confided to him by order of the House.
Mr. Geiswold wished the report altered to a resolution; to the first part of it he should agree, but doubted whether the latter part would be concurred in. He did not think it sufficient or expedient to appoint but one; the business ■would require more, particularly at the close of the session. He could see no reason for altering the mode in which the printing business was now and had ever been done; it now lies with the Clerk, who is empowered to employ as many persons as he pleases or deems expedient. If such printer should be appointed, he will become an officer of the House; he will not be responsible to the Speaker. We have officers enough already; it is needless to multiply.
Mr. Randolph said, the committee had considered these objections; but, he believed, sufficient reasons might bo offered to convince the House of the expediency of this measure. If one be appointed, he will know his duty and be prepared; he will employ as many hands as he wishes. Had there been one appointed by the House last session, he would have been on the spot now, fully prepared promptly to execute the orders of the House; nor should we have such delay as that by which we are now unfortunately troubled.
Mr. Nicholson.—We have hut few printers in this vicinity, nor is it probable their number will be soon increased. The printing for the Bouse is said to be worth $4,000 per annum ; if one be appointed for that purpose, he will have every thing in readiness, and be responsible for his faithful duty.
Mr. S. Smith thought a printer thus appointed might perform a considerable part of his duty previous to each session; to many documents he might attend. Mr. S. wished such printer appointed as a permanent officer.
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Mr. Lowndes.—If he thought such officer necessary he should not oppose the measure, but at present he did not think such appointment necessary. He conceived the Clerk to be responsible to the House; that it was his duty to attend to the printing; that he could employ whom and as many as he pleased. Whence, then, the necessity of such appointment? Besides, such printer will become an officer of this House, must have a salary, and will be called the printer of the House: and, if printer of a paper, whatever sentiments might be advanced in such paper would perhaps be considered as the sentiments of the House.
Mr. Eustis considered it altogether unnecessary, disadvantageous, and troublesome.
The first was carried: that relating to the appointment of a printer not carried; about twenty only rising in favor of it.
The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill for the apportionment of Representatives among the several States, according to the second enumeration.
Mr. Macon (Speaker) moved to strike out "thirty-three," the ratio fixed by the bill, for the purpose of inserting "thirty.''
Mr. M. observed that it did not appear, from the different ideas expressed by different gentlemen, that any material inconvenience would result from the increased number of members that would be created by the ratio of thirty thousand being adopted. Whereas on the ground of principle a great benefit would flow from it. In his opinion, to secure the confidence of the people in the Government, it was essential to lessen the districts as much as possible, that the elector might know the elected. At present, particularly in North Carolina, they were so large that a voter depended more upon the opinions of others than upon his own information. The ratio of thirty thousand would not introduce into the House more than one hundred and sixty members, which number did not equal that of the members in several of the State Legislatures, of which no complaints had been made, and from which no inconvenience had arisen. He felt particularly for Delaware, which would be severely affected by the ratio in the bill.
Mr. Giles hoped the motion would obtain. As far as respected the State of Virginia, he felt little or no anxiety. But he, on general principles, preferred the smallest ratio. It was an essential principle of a Republican Government that the people voting should know whom they vote for; that the elector should be well acquainted with the elected. To ensure this effect the districts should be small. He was aware of the impossibility of reaching this point precisely: but it was our duty to approach it as nearly as possible. Though, in relation to the situation of Delaware, he did not subscribe fully to the ideas of some gentlemen, as the case was an extreme one, and he knew the impropriety of