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[H. OF R. ed, persevering in an inflexible silence, reject- the report and statements had left defective, ing every proposition made by a member in the the resolution had been principally brought minority, without deigning to show its fallacy, forward. And what had rendered this inforrefusing public documents for our information mation peculiarly necessary at this time was the and that of our fellow-citizens, without show ground which had been taken in opposition to ing, or even pretending to show, that they are the internal taxes. The only argument which unnecessary, I can only say that it militates he had heard against those taxes, and which against all my ideas of propriety. I have al- did not equally apply to the impost, was drawn ways hitherto supposed that every Representa- from the great expense which had arisen in the tive on this floor had a right to be heard; that collection. To enable the House, therefore, to he had a right to call on the majority for their decide whether the fact existed on which that reasons both when they supported and opposed argument had been founded, it became necessapublic measures. Gentlemen may, if they please, ry to inquire in the manner proposed by the meet in what they have denominated caucuses resolution whether the extraordinary expense when power was in other hands; they may then with which those taxes had been charged might confer together about the measures in which not be diminished, and whether the expense they may think proper to unite; but, sir, if their really existed in relation to each description of debates are to take place there, and there alone, them, :we are not to be furnished here by them Mr. G. said that he presumed no gentleman with the reasons which induce them to adopt was prepared to say that the general expense public measures, they ought at least to open of collection might not be diminished, and so their doors to the minority, in order that, if far was he from believing that every branch of they cannot hear their arguments in the proper the internal taxes was subjected to the charge place, they may not close them altogether. I of nineteen or twenty per cent., he was pertrust, sir, that gentlemen themselves will see fectly confident that if gentlemen would agree the impropriety of persevering in this line of to the resolution, the detailed statements, which conduct, and that they will consent to pay, if the Secretary would furnish in obedience to it, not to gentlemen in the minority, at least to would prove that the expense of collecting certheir propositions, the attention and respect tain branches of those taxes would fall much which they may deserve.
short of the sum at which the same has been Mr. GRISWOLD said, that he presumed the estimated. gentleman from Virginia (Mr. RANDOLPH) had! The consent of the House, said Mr. G., to requested that the extract from the report of the every call for information, had formerly been Secretary of the Treasury might be read, and so much a matter of course, that he should not which the House had just heard, for the purpose have troubled the House with any remarks upon of proving that the resolution under considera- so plain a question as the present, had not the tion ought to pass. Indeed that report, and experience of this day proved, that gentlement the statement to which it referred, evinced in were not always to be indulged by the House the most satisfactory manner that the informa- with the information which they required; and tion required by the resolution was absolutely the profound silence which had at this time necessary for the purpose of enabling the House been observed by those gentlemen who could to decide understandingly on the proposition, either admit or reject the resolution, appeared which it was expected would soon be brought to indicate a determination on their part to forward, for abolishing the internal taxes. The refuse the important and necessary informaSecretary in his report had declared that the tion required by the resolution. He did preexpense of collecting the internal taxes amount- sume, however, that upon this occasion the ed nearly to twenty per cent. on the amount House would consent to the resolution, and collected. It appeared, however, from the more particularly, as the report of the Secrestatements to which the Secretary had alluded, tary of the Treasury, which had been read at that the tax on stills, the carriage tax, the tax the request of the gentleman from Virginia, on licenses, on sales at auction, and the tax on proved so clearly the necessity of passing it. refined sugar, had been included in one class, Mr. HUGER could not reconcile it with his and the expense of collecting all those taxes, sense of duty, to give a silent vote on the prewithout distinguishing the charges on each sent occasion, nor could he but lament the branch, had been stated to be nearly twenty strange and novel course of proceeding which per cent., whilst the expense of collecting the gentlemen had thought proper to adopt. The stamp duty, another branch of the internal taxes, intention, it would seem, was to repeal the was short of five per cent., varying only a frac- internal taxes, right or wrong, and at all events; tion from the charges on the revenue from im- and so determined were gentlemen on carrying post and tonnage. These statements might be this favorite project into execution, that every satisfactory as far as they went, but it was ob- thing like previous investigation, or even a wish vious that in examining the branches of a re- to gain information on the subject, was hooted Venue, with a view to the expense of collection, at and treated with the most sovereign conit became necessary to ascertain the precise tempt. Every, the smallest, reduction on taxes charge which had fallen on each branch, and to of any other description, was avowedly to be obtain this necessary information, and which excluded, nor was any proposition to this effect
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[JANTART, I deemed worthy of even a moment's considera- | thus cavalierly what must at least beatlowed tion. The measure proposed, however, interested to be a respectable minority ? .. . in a very particular manner that part of the With respect to the two only reasons whid community he had the honor to represent. They had ever been offered in favor of the exclusive paid, it was true, a small portion of the internal repeal of the internal tax, viz: the expense pod taxes, but the various other taxes upon salt, number of officers required to collect it, wat brown sugar, coffee, &c., and the duties on im- not the immediate and precise object of the posts generally, fell more immediately and far resolution under debate to inquire whether more heavily on them. Was it not natural, was not possible to devise some means by which therefore, that he should have some hesitation these inconveniences might be obviated, ors on the subject; that he should feel anxious to least greatly lessened? And what objection see this project thoroughly and completely in- could there be to the inquiry? Were gentlemen vestigated; that he should wish to receive perfectly and entirely convinced that nothing every possible information which might either of the kind could be done, or were they appre tend to satisfy his mind as to the expediency of hensive that the thing was in itself so feasible, repealing the internal taxes only, to the total that an inquiry of this kind would throv s exclusion of all others, or enable him to propose stumbling-block in the way of the project alressome other project, equally beneficial perhaps to dy determined on, which although he work the public at large, and which might at the same freely acknowledge, that as an abstrast proposi. time accord better with the immediate interests tion it was expedient as much as possible, and of his constituents ?
to collect your taxes at as small an expense, and His constituents, he was proud to say it, had by means of as few agents as conveniently could ever contributed with alacrity and cheerfulness be done, yet there was another still more imto the wants and exigencies of the Union. They | portant maxim which ought never to be lost were prepared and willing, he was confident, to sight of: this was, that the bardens of the do so still; and he made not the least doubt but Government, as well as the advantages which that they would readily subscribe to the exclu- flowed from it, should be fairly, equally, imparsive repeal of the internal taxes, and submit, tially, and equitably distributed among every without a murmur, to the continuation of all description of the citizens, in whaterer part of the other taxes, however burdensome to them- the country they resided. If, therefore, it did selves, provided they are convinced and well happen, that a few more officers and a some satisfied that this measure was fairly and impar- what greater percentage were required to coltially adopted for the welfare of the whole, and lect the taxes in one than in another part of not for the benefit of the one at the expense of the country, this alone would most certainly the other division of the country. It was for and indubitably not be a sufficient reason to do this purpose, therefore, that he wished the pre-away all the taxes in the one, and throw the sent motion to be adopted, and that he had de-whole burden of the Government on the inbssired the attention of the Committee of Ways bitants of the other and Means to be directed, particularly, to those Mr. RUTLEDGE confessed himself much puzarticles of importation and of general use and zled by the new forms of proceeding this day necessity, such as salt, sugar, coffee, common adopted. Ever since he had had the honor of teas, &c. He was desirous that these and simi- a seat in Congress, it had been invariably the lar items should be compared with the carriage practice, when measnres were proposed not tax, the tax on licenses to retail spirituous agreeable to the majority, for them to offar liquors, and various other similar items of the their objections to them. This had ever been internal taxes, and that the House might be the practice, and the experience of its contefurnished with such information with respect to nience offered strong reasons for its continuance. both, as might enable him to judge, whether When the majority stated their objections to there might not be a partial repeal as well of any measure, the minority in sustaining it ansome of the external as internal taxes, and not swered them fully; thus, both sides acted una total and exclusive reduction of the latter, derstandingly, and when the proceedings of the as was contemplated; whilst all the former, National Legislature went out to the people, however grievous and inconvenient, were to be they were at the same time informed of the retained. Did he then ask any thing which reasons under which their Representatives was unreasonable or improper ? Could any had legislated. This had not only been the possible inconvenience accrue from allowing usage in Congress, but the form of proceedhim to obtain the information he desired ? Ifling in all representative bodies with whose not, why refuse to indulge him in what he history we are acquainted. Even in the British deemed useful, and what (at the worst) 'could House of Commons, which gentlemen had often only be regarded by gentlemen themselves as and emphatically styled a mockery of repre superfluous information? Was it fair; was it sentation, so great is the respect paid to public becoming ; did it comport with that civility | opinion, that the majority deem it their duty to and politeness which was due from the one to assign in debate the reasons of their conduct. the other, by citizens of a common country, | Although the Minister in England has quite as asscmbled together for the express purpose of much confidence in the strength of his majority consulting upon their common interests, to treat | as gentlemen here can have in theirs, yet, in feels
[H. OF R. ing power, he does not forget right, and his re- themselves, and congratulate them on their gard for public opinion is so great, that he silence. There is something peculiarly impresnever secures his measures by a silent vote. In sive in this mode of opposing every thing that these days of innovation, we, it seems, are to is urged. It is seldom that gentlemen have pursue a different course. When the resolu-exhibited such a remarkable appearance of a tion offered this morning by his honorable friend philosophical assembly. from New York (Mr. MORRIS) was taken into “That dumb Legislature will immortalize consideration, not a voice was raised against it. your name "mis said to have been the language This profound silence made us expect a unani- of a certain distinguished General to a certain mous vote; but, in consequence, he supposed, nominal Abbé, who has been represented as of some outdoor arrangements, it was rejected having pigeon-holes full of constitutions of his by this silent majority. He had seen many de- own making. During the memorable night at liberative assemblies, but never before wit- St. Cloud, when the French Council of Ancients, nessed such a procedure. He would not say and Council of Five Hundred, were adjournedwhether this was respectful towards the minori- to meet no more-it may be recollected, the ty, who, we have been told from high authority, powers of executive government were provihave their equal rights-he would not say sionally committed to three persons, styled whether it was dignified as it regarded the Consuls, and two of them were the General majority, but, without pretending to any spirit and the Abbé. From each of the Councils, of prophecy, he would venture to say it could | twenty-five members were selected, to compose not be deemed politic or wise by the people of a commission, and assist the provisional Conthis country.
suls in preparing a constitution for France. Of When the doors of Congress were open, and the numerous projects of constitutions presented persons admitted to take the debates, the peo- by the Abbé, it is said no part was finally ple expected to be fully informed of the views adopted except the plan of a dumb Legislature. and motives which governed the votes of their This, the General instantly seized with apparent Representatives. But it seems our constituents enthusiasm, exclaiming to the Abbé,“that are not to be treated with this heretofore com- dumb Legislature will immortalize your name !" mon civility. In proposing measures we are And it was determined to have a corps legislatif obliged to guess at what gentlemen feel against that should vote, but not debate. them, (for they say nothing,) and to defend. It was scarcely to be expected that any thing them, without knowing in what they are like this would soon take place in our own objectionable to those who govern in this House. country. But it is the prerogative of great This kind of governing is but ill calculated to geniuses, when in similar circumstances, to produce harmony, to restore social intercourse, arrive at the same great results, although with and to heal the wounds inflicted on society by some difference in the process. Nor can I forthe spirit of party. .
bear offering my tribute of admiration, for the The question was taken, and it passed in the genius who has projected a mode of proceednegative-yeas 37, nays 57.
ing among us, that so nearly rivals the plan adopt
ed in France. I know not to whom is due Dutics on Imports.
the honor of this luminous discovery. After Mr. RUTLEDGE called up for consideration ascribing to him, however, all merited glory, the resolution which he moved on Friday, on permit me to examine the force of the arguwbich the previous question was then taken, viz: ment relied on by gentlemen in opposition to
"Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means the proposed resolution. be instructed particularly to inquire into the expedi- Their argument is silence. I hope to be ency of reducing the duties on brown sugar, coffee, excused if I do not discuss this subject in the and bohea tea."
most satisfactory manner; as silence is a new Mr. GRISWOLD hoped the resolution would species of logic, about which no directions be decided upon.
have been found in any treatise on logic that Mr. RUTLEDGE hoped the reference would ob- I have ever seen. It will be my endeavor tain. These articles paid the highest rate of to reply to gentlemen by examining some duties and were of the first necessity. In look-points wbich may be considered as involved in ing over the rates of duties on imports, he saw their dumb arguments. many articles that were taxed enormously high. One of these points is—that certain members Those in the resolution were of the first neces- of this House have pledged themselves to their sity, the duty high, and laid when they were at constituents, for repealing all the internal taxes, war prices; while the people received war | They may have declared their opinions to this prices for their produce, they could with con- effect, before the election; and, being chosen venience pay for these articles, though high. under such circumstances, may now deem themThe object of the resolution was merely to selves bound in honor not to vary. The terms inquire, and he did not see how it could in- assented to between their constituents and themterfere with any object gentlemen have in view. selves may, therefore, be viewed by them as the
Mr. DANA.-I beg liberty to tender the hom- particular rule of their own conduct. But is age of my profound respects, for the dignified this House to be regarded in the same light situation in which gentlemen have now placed with the English House of Commons, during
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(JANUARY, 1802 the early period of their history, when the The question was called for, when Mr. Ers knights of shires, and the representatives of Tis begged the Speaker would state it, as, in cities and boronghs, were instructed on what listening to the arguments of the gentleman terms they should bargain with the Crown for from Connecticut, he had forgotten it. special privileges, and were limited to the price | Mr. RUTLEDGE said he was much pleased he agreed on by their constituents? The situation the question of the honorable gentleman from of gentlemen who have thus pledged themselves Massachusetts. When gentlemen ask, What is to vote for repealing the internal taxes, must be the question ? it is to be hoped that they will irksome, indeed, if on mature consideration respect its merits; but, from the scene this day they should believe it more proper and more acted, he had learned that the only inquiry with beneficial for the country to have other taxes gentlemen would be, from what side does this reduced. Those who have entered into a stip-come? ulation of this sort, so as to feel it as a point of The question was then taken by yess and honor, are so peculiarly circumstanced that nays, and lost-yeas 35, nays 58. they might think it too assuming in me, were I so much as to express a desire that they would vote for reducing some of the duties on imports,
TUESDAY, January 26. instead of repealing all the internal taxes. It Territorial Government for the District of is to be hoped, the number of members who
Columbia. have pledged themselves in this manner, does Mr. SPRIGG reported a bill for the government not exceed twenty-five or thirty.
| of the Territory of Columbia. Another point involved in this argument of [The bill establishes a Legislature, chosen by silence is, that other gentlemen may have the taxable citizens of the United States ode pledged themselves to these, and given them year resident in the Territory, composed of a a promise of support on this subject. It must House of Representatives, to consist of twents. be acknowledged that this was more than was five members, seven whereof to be chosen by required on account of their seat in this House. the district of Rock Creek, seven from the part If any gentlemen have absolutely so pledged west of Rock Creek, and eleven by the county themselves to their constituents, it must indeed of Alexandria. The Governor to be appointed be difficult to convince them. On this point, by the President of the United States. The their minds must be so differently constituted Territory to pay the Legislature, and the United from mine, that there does not seem to be any States the Governor. The judges to hold their common principle between us that can be as- offices during life, unless removed by the Presi sumed as the basis of argumentation.
dent on the application of two successive LegisAnother point is, the Executive has recom- latures. mended a repeal of all the internal taxes, and Referred to the Committee of the whole not any reduction of the impost. And will House on Tuesday next. gentlemen act upon this as a sufficient reason A memorial and remonstrances of sandry infor their conduct? Is it now to become a prin- habitants of the county and town of Alexandris, ciple, that the Executive is to deliberate, and in the District of Columbia, was presented to the Legislature to act, and that no measure is the House and read, praying that Congress will to be adopted unless proposed by the Execu not agree to any plan, or pass any bill respecttive? Would it not be better for the country ing the government of the said District, which to abolish this House, and to avoid useless shall, by the establishment of a subordinata expense, if it is to be nothing more than one Legislative or subordinate Executive, or other of the ancient Parliaments of France, employed wise, tend to unite under its power, the two to register the edicts of a master?
parts of the district, as separated by the river The silence of the gentlemen may also be Potomac.-Referred to the Committee of the considered as having relation to their great whole House last appointed. desire for the harmony of social intercourse. To prevent its being disturbed in the House by
THURSDAY, January 28. debating, they may have come to a determination that all the great questions shall be settled! Lieutenant Sterret, his Officers and Creu. by gentlemen of a certain description, when The House resolved itself into a Committee of met in nocturnal conclave, and be only voted the Whole on the report of a select committee upon in this place. If such be the fact, it of the nineteenth instant, on the resolutions of seems but reasonable that any of the members the Senate, in the form of joint resolutions of of this House should be admitted in meetings the two Houses,“ in respect to Lieutenant of the conclave, as delegates from the territo- Sterret, the officers, and crew of the United rial districts are admitted into Congress, with States' schooner Enterprise ;" to which Come a right to debate, although not to vote. If, mittee of the whole House were also referred however, this is thought too much, gentlemen the said resolutions of the Senate; and, after should at least have galleries provided, so that some time spent therein, the SPEAKER resumed other members of the Legislature might be ad- the chair, and Mr. Davis reported that the committed as spectators, and have the opportunity mittee had had the said report and resolutions of knowing the reasons for public measures. Tunder consideration, and directed him to repeat
[H. OF R. to the House their disagreement to the said re- | all the other officers, seamen, and marines, who solutions of the Senate, and their agreement to were on board the Enterprise when the aforesaid two resolutions contained in the report of the action took place." select committee thereupon, in the form of joint! The question was taken that the House do resolutions of the two Houses; which he de- concur with the Committee of the whole House livered in at the Clerk's table.
in their agreement to the same, and resolved in The House then proceeded to consider the the affirmative. said report and resolutions : Whereupon, the Ordered, That the said resolutions be enresolutions of the Senate, to which the Com-grossed, and read the third time to-morrow. mittee of the whole House reported their disagreement, being twice read at the Olerk's
Monday, February 8. table, in the words following, to wit: Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives
Imprisonment for Debt. of the United States of America in Congress assembled, Mr. SMILIE called up his resolution that a That, as a testimony of the high sense they entertain committee be appointed to revise the laws reof the nautical skill and gallant conduct of Lieutenant specting imprisonment for debts due the United Andrew Sterret, commander of the United States' States. His objects, he said, were two; to seschooner Enterprise, manifested in an engagement cure the debtor's property, and to inflict some with, and in the capture of, a Tripolitan corsair, of penalty or provide some remedy instead of imsuperior force, in the Mediterranean Sea, fitted out by
prisonment for life. the Bey of that Regency to harass the trade, capture PM the vessels, and enslave the citizens, of these Statos,
Mr. RUTLEDGE was opposed to imprisonment the President of the United States be requested
s for life, where the debtor gave up his whole to present Lieutenant Sterret with a gold medal, with proper
with property, and was unable to pay all. He had such suitable devices thereon, as he shall deem proper,
| known, in South Carolina, revenue officers imand emblematic of that heroic action, and the mercy | prisoned for debts due the United States, who extended to a barbarous enemy, who three times had been many years confined; men of good struck his colors twice, and recommenced hostili- character, men of honesty, but who, through ties : an act of humanity, however unmerited, highly | ignorance of transacting certain business, or honorable to the American flag and nation; and their misfortunes, were unable to pay. He knew that the President of the United States be also re- an individual of that State who had applied to quested to present to each of the Lieutenants, Porter that House for relief; his petition was referred
and Lawson, of the Navy, and Lieutenant Lane of to the Secretary of the Treasury; the Secretary 7 the Marines, who were serving on board the Enter- felt a delicacy in interfering in the case; the
prise in the engagement, and contributed, by their petition was not granted; and the person had I gallant conduct, to the success of the day, a sword,
ra, now been in jail five years, though his inability with such suitable devices as the President may
way to pay did not arise from having wasted the i deem fit. “Be it further resolved, In consideration of the in
| public money, or from aught but misfortune; trepid behavior of the crew of the Enterprise, under 10
for he was acknowledged to be a man of good the orders of their gallant commander, and their re- character. He was averse to such cruelty. ceiving no prize money, the corsair being dismantled Hence the necessity of making some provision and released after her capture, that one month's pay, that the innocent, when distinctions can, as in over and above the usual allowance, be paid to all the most instances, be made, may not be subjected other officers, sailors, and marines, who were actually to cruel punishments, that were of no benefit to on board and engaged in that action ; for the expen- the United States. Why send him to jail ? diture of which charge Congress will make the ne- Why lock him up there? Why prevent cessary appropriation.'
being able to support his family The question was taken that the House do
Mr. SMILIE.- It is the case that when you concur with the Committee of the whole House exceed in making your laws what is reasonable, in their disagreement to the same, and resolved the
and resolved those laws, as the present concerning debtors to in the affirmative.
the United States, will not be executed. The The resolutions contained in the report of the present law cannot be put in execution. He select committee, to which the Committee of wished some sufficient penalty. This was not the whole House reported their agreement, the proper stage to give his sentiments; were being twice read. in the words following, tó it, he should say, he thought the defaulter
| ought to give up the property, and perhaps be “ Resolved by the Senate and House of Representa
imprisoned a period. But the Legislature are tives of the United States of America in Congress as
not the proper judges, and ought not to intersembled, That they entertain a high sense of the gal
alfere; the Legislative and Judicial Departments lant conduct of Lieutenant Sterret, and the other should be kept separate. We want some uniofficers, seamen, and marines, on board the schooner form law, operating on all according to their Enterprise, in the capture of a Tripolitan corsair, of demerit. fourteen guns and eighty men.
The subject was postponed till to-morrow. " Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to present to Lieutenant Sterret & sword, commemorative of the aforesaid heroic action; and that one month's extra pay be allowed to