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[FEBRUARY, 192 Friday, February 12.
I just but unconstitutional. The constitutions
* All debts contracted, and engagements ente State Balances.
ed into, before the adoption of this constitute Mr. Thomas called up his motion respecting shall be as valid against the United States, unde State Balances, which is as follows:
this constitution as under the Confederation : " Resolved, That a committee be appointed to in- and the present Government had recognize quire into the expediency of extinguishing the claims those debts as just. The gentleman from les of the United States for certain balances, which, ware says, the settlement is not just. But by the Commissioners appointed to settle the accounts was barely the suggestion of his own mind between the United States and the individual States,
To sustain it, he ought to have shown its defecte: were reported to be due from several of the States to
but this he had not done. the United States, and that the said committee have
Mr. MITOHILL was in favor of the resolutiot. leave to report by bill or otherwise."
as he believed a refusal to adopt it would bestMr. BAYARD hoped the resolution would pre-tended with unpleasant sensations. He jedge vail. The debtor States, not satisfied with the so from an historical review of the business settlement made by the Board of Commission. The several States had associated together ir ers, had asked for information respecting the their common defence, and, in the eye of equity, grounds on which it had been made. The in- whatever that defence required, should cost formation had been imperiously refused. In
tute a common charge. The accounts of ehis opinion it was but right, if the debtor States
penses thus incurred were not settled till be did not dispute the validity of the debts due to new Government was established. That Gopthe creditor States, that they should agree to
ernment fixed the mode of settlement; it expunge the claims against the debtor States.
pointed a board of referees, to report the debe Indeed, he had been assured that the commis
and credits of the respective States. In this sion was not instituted with a view of sustain
report, it was the fortune of certain States, mê ing any charges against the debtor States, but withstanding the greatness of their contrize for ascertaining the amount due to the creditor tions, to be reported debtor States. These States, and funding them; and he believed it States became debtors from the independe: had been so understood at the time. This spirit with which they asserted their sovereig was an affair not determinable by the ordi- rights. Not relying on the general contribe nary rules applied to individual cases. Many tions, they furnished great supplies witbot of the States, not expecting a settlement, had | making any charge to the Union; by exertins kept no accounts or vouchers; and however all their strength, they paid as they went, as great the supplies they contributed under such preserved no vouchers of wbat they paid. This circumstances, they received no credits for them; he averred, was the case as to the State which while those States which had been most careful he had the honor in part to represent; a State in the preservation of vouchers, shared a differ- as willing as able to contribute, and which dd ent and a better fate.
contribute to a great extent; but which hai Mr. B. believed it was the true policy of the neglected to preserve her vouchers, the prese creditor States to agree to the extinguishment of vation of which would have made her a credi these balances. He believed they never could tor State. He believed, therefore, that in equiry be paid, because no State allowed them to be the States were not bound to pay these balances. due. They would not, therefore, be paid vol. But to this it is replied, the award is final He untarily; and he knew of no force in the United would not agree to that; he denied it. Besides States to compel payment. Why, then, keep there was a want of coercive power in the Uni up a source of irritation, which could do no pos-ted States to enforce those demands. Fron sible good, and which could only tend to repel | this consideration alone, we ought to proceed some States from that constitution, which we with lenity, and endeavor to make the setti all ought to endeavor to make the object of gen- ment a peaceable one. As in other circumeral affection?
stances, we ought to make a virtue of necessity. Mr. SOUTHARD said, he had yet heard no rea- Mr. S. SMITH said, he did not rise to take any son that convinced him that the resolution of part in the debate, but in order to bring the fered was just or proper. It would be recol subject directly before the committee. To do lected that this contract was made under the which, he moved so to amend the resolution as confederation. In the establishment of our in- to make it read, “Resolved, That it is expedient dependence, great and various exertions had to extinguish the claims," &c. been made. In the contributions made, great Mr. LOWNDES hoped the amendment would inequalities took place, which were unavoidable. not be agreed to. He did not see the expe Generally, where the war existed, the States diency of volunteering a relinquishment of the became creditor States. It was just that those claims established against several of the States States which had contributed more than their The amendment was calculated to take the share shonld be repaid, and that those who had committee by surprise. The original resolution paid less should make up the deficiency. If the went merely to consider the expediency of a debtor States were not to pay their balances, relinquishment; the amendment involved the why settle the accounts? To relinquish the principle itself. payment would be, in his opinion, not only un- Mr. HILL was desirous the amendment should
[H. OF R. not be made, not from any indisposition himself | the amendment, because the principle ought to to agree to it, but from a regard to the senti- be decided here, and not in a select committee. ments of other gentlemen. Even if it was as- What, indeed, could such committee report certained that these debts had arisen on a just | There were no vouchers or books whereon the consideration, yet, in his opinion, they ought to settlement had been made to be got at. All be extinguished, from the principle that, in our they could do, then, would be to report the balGovernment, whatever hazarded the harmony ances alleged to be due, which any member of the Union, ought to be avoided. Precedents could at any time learn. were not wanting in which sacrifices were made It seemed almost useless to go into arguments to this principle. He alluded to the quieting to show the injustice of the claim, and of conthe claims under Connecticut rights. But, sequence, the justice of the resolution. It had whatever might be the general ideas on this been justly said, that those States which had subject elsewhere, he knew not a man in North contributed the post, had, by the report of the Carolina, who did not believe the adjustment Commissioners, i he most to pay; and this was iniquitous. To show the committee how the peculiarly so with the State of North Carolina. citizens of that State felt, he would state a case Mr. W. had forborne to dwell on the injusthat had occurred before the Board of Commis- tice of these demands. But were he to enter sioners. Two claims had been made, both for on that branch of the discussion, he should say the same amount and the same description of that the very act of destroying all the vouchers supplies, one on one side and one on the other was of itself sufficient to justify any suspicion. side, of Pedee River; one in North, and the other He should say, that for what, in some States, in South Carolina; and, in one case, seven shil- there had been an allowance of one hundred lings had been allowed, and in the other, only pounds, North Carolina had not been allowed sixpence for the bushel of wheat. The business twenty shillings. Could, then, gentlemen talk generally was entitled to the attention of Con- of moral obligation, and say that this was a just gress. It had, in fact, already been attended debt ? to at different times. New York had extin- Mr. T. MORRIS said, it was contended that the guished eight hundred thousand dollars of her accounts should be opened anew and re-examinbalance under certain provisions applied to her ed. The fears, therefore, of the gentleman from case.
Massachusetts, were entirely visionary. The Mr. Bacon said, if the object of the motion resolution was a simple one. It proposes to inway to go into a new liquidation of the old ac- quire into the expediency of doing away these counts between the United States and the sev-debts. The amendment goes to determine the eral States, it would not only take up every day principle here. He thought it proper the prinof the present session, but the work would be ciple should be settled here. But gentlemen left unfinished for our successors. These debts say they want information. If so, after the had been incurred in a common cause, in which amendment is agreed to, they may move for a each State was equally interested, and towards postponement. If the amendment were carried, which each State was bound equally to contri- he would himself move a postponement. bute. When Congress made requisitions on this It had been said that New York had had principle, they were accompanied by a promise eight hundred thousand dollars of her debt rethat there should be a final liquidation. This mitted by the United States. But how did the liquidation was made; the settlement was com- case really stand ? New York had availed herplete. But this settlement is now objected to, self of the act of Congress, not because she and what is to be done? Why we must annul acknowledged the debt to be just, but because the contract. This might satisfy some of the she preferred doing something to remaining in States, but he was sure it would dissatisfy others. the situation towards the United States in which He saw, therefore, no end to be answered by she stood. It was strange, then, to hear gentlethe motion. We must either set aside all that men say that New York had been favored. had been done, and begin de novo, to which this What was the fact ? North Carolina, according body is incompetent, or rest satisfied with what to the gentleman, had not, and would not, pay is already done. .
one cent; and New York had discharged a greatMr. R. WILLIAMS observed, that since he had er sum than was due by all the other debtor held a seat in the House, this subject had been States, with the exception of Delaware. She almost every session called up. The more he was, therefore, instead of being favored, placed had heard it discussed, the more he became con- in a worse situation than any other State. It vinced of the necessity of getting it out of the was from the existence of this state of things way. He found that whenever it was brought that he wished a final decision to be made this ap, all was imagination. One State contended session. New York having agreed to make that it had contributed largely, and another, certain payments to the United States, it was that its exertions had not been surpassed. important to her to know whether the United
We are asked, why relinquish these balances States meant to enforce payment by the other before we are solicited by the States? He would States. Her situation would be truly unforreply that North Carolina never had recognized tunate, if after agreeing to pay, the United the debt, and, in his opinion, never would ap- States suffered her claims against the other ply for its extinguishment. He was in favor of States to sleep. She would not only have to
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(FEBRUARY, 1802 pay her quota of the debts, but would see no | ion on this subject. As to a reference of it to prospect of deriving her share of benefit from committee, I think their investigation may be the payments of the other debtor States. useful, and after we get that, we may take time
Mr. Macon said the subject was a very old to decide. But now the plan is changed, and one, which had occupied much time every ses- we are called upon to decide at once the prins sion for many years, and he thought it would be ple. This mode of transacting business may be as well to try the question now as at any other called an economy of time. You may give it time. No information of a select committee the name, but it is not the substance. For me could throw any new light upon it.
part, I desire to proceed according to our oh There was a fact which ought to have great plan, and go through the slow process of intes weight with the committee. One of the Com-tigation. This is my way, and gentlemen may missioners who made the settlement, who was rest assured that this mode of hurrying business a member of this House, had, after the settle is not the way to save time, but to lose it. ment, proposed a resolution to extinguish the Mr. BAYARD Cclared himself in favor of the balances of the debtor States; and he had sta- amendment, and he could not think, notwithted, as a reason for this measure, that the prin- standing the remarks of his honorable friend ciple adopted by the board had operated very from Connecticut, that any gentleman in the harshly upon particular States. Mr. M. had it House was unprepared to vote upon it. The from authority not to be questioned, that in the subject had been frequently discussed, and be settlement by the Commissioners, teams, with believed that the House was then as well prethe usual number of horses, had not produced pared for a decision as they would be for a ontwenty shillings.
tury to come. It involved but a single princiThis subject had hung over our heads for ple; and, as to information, he could searcely eight years, and no scheme was yet devised for tell what information was wanted. He fel collecting the balances. How could they be much of the indifference of the gentleman from collected ? Congress had, it is true, authorized | North Carolina, (Mr. Macon.) He was size expenditures by the States in the erection of the United States had neither the right, nor the fortifications; but this very act was a tacit con- power to recover these balances; and he re fession of the impracticability of getting the peated it as his opinion, that it had not beer money into the public Treasury. As to a set- the original intention that the debtor States tlement with North Carolina, it was involved should pay them. Will gentlemen recollect that in great difficulty. In the act of cession of lands the commission was instittied under the old by that State to the United States, it was pro- Confederation. Had Congress, then, a right to vided that the territory ceded should be pledged do any thing to bind the sovereignties of the to pay a proportional share of the balance due independent States ? All they could do was to the United States. How could that share be pass resolutions making requisitions, which the estimated ?
States, might or might not comply with. They Mr. M. regretted that this subject had been could appoint Commissioners to settle the 30brought up. He should not himself have been counts, but could they impose the debts apot for bringing it up, for he thought the claims of the States ? No, they could not. It, therefore, the United States not worth a rush. The truth never could have been contemplated that the was, the States had all exerted themselves in would establish those debts. The only effects one great and common cause; they had done that could have been contemplated, was that their best; they had acted with great glory. the creditor States might rely that, on a settle As to the State which he represented, he would ment, Congress would assume their balances. ask if the first blood that had been spilled after | On the question being put, the amendment that shed at Boston was not in North Carolina? I was lost-yeas 41, nays 46. and that was the blood of brother against bro- When the original resolution for referring to ther. He desired not, however, to make com- a select committee the consideration of the es. parisons, which were always unpleasant, but | pediency of extinguishing the balancesa to show that North Carolina had no reason to l carried. shrink from an inquiry which would demon
ich would demon- | Ordered, That Mr. THOMAS, Mr. BATAED, MT, strate that she had fully contributed her share | Dana, Mr. Hill, and Mr. BUTLER, be appointed in the common cause, without meaning to assert a committee, pursuant to the said resolution. that she had done more than other States. Let, And the House adjourned. then, Congress decide at once, and abandon the claims altogether, or devise some plan for collecting them, that we may know how we
TUESDAY, February 16. stand. Mr. Dana said, I hope the amendment will
Judiciary System. not be agreed to. However gentlemen may be The House then went into Committee of the possessed of a wholesale intellect, that enables Whole on the Judiciary bill from the Senate. them to decide on interesting questions without a moment's reflection, I confess I am not blessed A debate of great length and earnestness now took place with so happy an intuition. I do not know that in the House on this repealing bill sent down from the set I have ever been called upon to form an opin- / and passed there by a majority of only one. The two pa
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Mr. HENDERSON.-I should not rise to offer | have therefore erected another branch of the my opinion on the great question before the Legislature, called the Senate, the members of committee, were I not placed in a situation dif- which are not to be elected by the people imferent from that in which I have been since I mediately, but by the sovereignties of the sevehave had the honor of a seat in this House. ral States; they are to be chosen for six years, The Legislature of the State of North Carolina, and not for two; and the qualifications requione of whose representatives I am on this floor, site to entitle those to a seat is different from have seen proper to instruct their Senators and that of a member of this House. To these to recommend to their Representatives in Con- bodies are given the power of initiating all gress, to use their exertions to procure a repeal laws; but after a bill has passed both of these of the law passed the last session of Congress, Houses, before it becomes of binding obligation for the more convenient organization of the on the nation, it must be approved of by the Courts of the United States, and the bill on President; it is a dead letter until life is given your table has for its object the repeal of this by the Executive. The President is elected law, and as I shall probably vote against its not by the people, not by the Legislatures of passage, a decent respect for the opinions of the several States, not by either House of Conthose who have framed and sent forward those gress, but by Electors chosen by the people. resolutions, demands that I should give the rea- He is to hold his office during four years. This sons which influence my conduct.
is the second great department of the GovernThe people of America have obtained and es ment. It will be easily discovered from this tablished that the powers of Government shall cursory view of our constitution, the caution be vested in three great departments; the Legis- and jealousy with which the people have conlative, the Executive, and the Judicial. They ferred the power of making laws, of commandhave said that there shall be a House of Repre- ing what is right, and prohibiting what is sentatives, the members of which shall be chosen wrong. But, sir, after this law was made, after by the people of the several States every second | its authoritative mandate was acknowledged by year. Though this House is composed of mem- the nation, it became necessary to establish bers chosen by the people immediately; though some tribunal to judge of the extent and oblithey can have no other interest than the great gation of this law. The people did not see procommunity from which they were sent; though per to intrust this power of judging of the meanthey must return to the common mass in the ing of their laws, either to the Legislative or to short period of two years; yet enlightened the Executive, because they participated in the America did not see proper to intrust the pow- making of these laws; and experience had er of making laws to this body alone; they shown that it is essential for the preservation knew that the history of man, and the experi- of liberty that the Judicial and Legislative auence of ages, bore testimony against the safety thorities should be kept separate and distinct. of committing this high power to any one As. They therefore enacted a third department, sembly not cbecked by any other body. They called the Judicial, and said that “the Judicial
power of the United States shall be vested seemed to have staked themselves upon it, not before the
in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior House, (where the issue was certain,) but before the coun
courts as Congress may from time to time ortry, to the arbitrament of which the great appeal was made.
dain and establish. The judges both of the SuAbove thirty members delivered elaborate speeches, of
preme and inferior courts shall hold their ofwhich but small parts can be given in an abridgment--the fices during good behavior, and shall at stated less to be regretted, as the staple of each was, of necessity,
times receive for their services a compensation much the same--but varied, enlivened and enforced by the which shal not be diminished during their conpeculiar talent, learning and ability of different speakers. Itinuance in oifice.” Their names were-for the repeal: John Bacon, of Massa- ! It is admitted, I understand, by all parties, by chusetts; John Clopton, of Virginia ; Thomas T. Davis, of every description of persons, that these words, Kentucky; John Dawson, of Virginia ; William B. Giles, of "shall hold their offices during good behavior," Virginia ; Andrew Gregg, of Pennsylvania ; Nathaniel Ma- are intended as a limitation of power. The con, of North Carolina; John Milledge, of Georgia ; Thomas question is, what power is thus to be limited Morris, of New York; Joseph H. Nicholson, of Maryland; l and checked. I answer, that all and every John Randolph, of Virginia; General Samuel Smith, of power which would have had the authority of Maryland ; Philip R. Thompson, of Virginia; James Hol
Thompson, of Virginia; James Hol- | impairing the tenure by which the judges hold land and Robert Williams, of North Carolina.-Against the their offices, (if these words were not inserted,) repeal: James A. Bayard, of Delaware ; Manasseh Cutter, of
itter, or is checked and limited by these words; whether Massachusetts; Samuel W. Dana, of Connecticut; John
that power should be found to reside in ConDennis, of Maryland ; Thomas Plater, of Maryland; William
gress, or in the Executive. These words are Eustis, of Massachusetts; Calvin Goddard, of Connecticut;
broad and extensive in their signification, and Roger Griswold, of Connecticut; Seth Hastings, of Massachusetts; Joseph Hemphill, of Pennsylvania; Archibald
hibald can only be satisfied by being construed to conHenderson, of North Carolina; William H. Hill, of North
trol the Legislative as well as the Executive Carolina; Benjamin Huger, of South Carolina; Thomas
power. But gentlernen contend that they must Lowndes, of South Carolina ; John Rutledge, of South Caro
be confined to limiting the power of the Presilina ; John Stanley, of North Carolina; Benjamin Tallmadge,
dent. I ask gentlemen, what is there in the of New York,
constitution to prove their signification to this
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[FEBRUART, 180 end alone? When yon erect a court and fill But it has been said that the powers of each it with a judge, and tell him in plain, simple Congress are equal, and that a subsequent Less language, that he shall hold his office during lature can repeal the acts of a former; and s good behavior, or as long as he shall behave this law was passed by the last Congress, The well; what, I beseech you, sir, will any man, have the same power to repeal it which they whose mind is not bewildered in the mazes of had to enact it. This objection is more plans. modern metaphysics, infer from the declaration?ble than solid. It is not contended by us that Certainly that the office will not be taken from legislatures who are not limited in their power him until he misbehaves; nor that he will be have not the same authority. The question i taken from the office during his good beha- not what omnipotent Assemblies can do, bu vior. Under this impression he enters upon what we can do under a constitution definin his duty, performing it with the most perfect and limiting with accuracy the extent and satisfaction to all persons who have business boundaries of our authority. The very sectici before him; and the Legislature, without whis. in the constitution (sec. third, art. first) which pering a complaint, abolishes the office and I have read, is a proof against the power & thereby turns out the judge. The judge is told | every Congress to repeal the acts of their pre this is no violation of the compact; althonghdecessors. In the latter part of the eighth see you have behaved well, although we have pro- tion it is proposed that the judges shall receive mised that as long as you did behave well you for their services a compensation which shall should continue in office, yet, there is now no not be diminished during their continuance in further necessity for your services, and you office ; and yet the salary was ascertained sod may retire. These words, “ during good beha- fixed by a former Congress. The same obscivior," are intended to prevent the President vations may be made with respect to comes from dismissing you from office, and not the sation for the President, which can neither be Legislature from destroying your office. Do increased nor diminished during the period ir you suppose, sir, that there is a man of common which he shall have been elected. It is met understanding in the nation, whose mind is not competent for this Congress to vary the co alive to the influence of party spirit, that would pensation to him which has been fixed by: yield his assent to this reasoning? I hope and prior Legislature. It is clearly seen, upon : believe there is not. But, sir, how is it proved little investigation, that the position which gesthat the President would have had the power tlemen take is too extensive, and leads imit of removing the judges from their office, if these diately to a destruction of the constitution. I words, “ during good behavior," had not been does away all check, and makes the Legislature inserted in the constitution ? Are there any omnipotent. It has been asked, that if a ce words in that instrument which give the rupt and unprincipled Congress should make si President expressly the power of removing any army of judges, have not a subsequent Congress officer at pleasure? If there are, I call upon the right of repealing the law establishing this gentlemen to point them out; it does not result monstrous judicial system? I answer that the from the fashionable axiom, that the power have not; the same mode of reasoning which which can create can destroy. The President attempts to prove this right from an abuse of can nominate, but he can appoint to office only power will also prove that you may lessen the by the advice and consent of the Senate. There-compensation of your judges. May not equal fore, it would follow, if the power of displacing oppression be imposed upon the people by gif results from that of creating, that the Senate / ing your judges exorbitant salaries as by increas should participate in displacing as well as creating their numbers? May not the same corrupt ing officers. But however this may be, it is and unprincipled motive which would lead men certainly a mere constructive power which he to the raising of an army of judges lead them to has exercised, because the Legislature have, squander the public money? And may ther from motives of expediency, acknowledged that not, instead of giving their judges two thouhe had it. If the constitution does not neces- sand dollars a year, give them two hundred sarily give the President the right of removing thousand? And yet, sir, if it were to take officers at pleasure, and if that right depend place, I know of no authority under the constiupon Legislative acts or constructions, where tution to lessen that exorbitant compensation, would have been the necessity for inserting The Government of our country is predicated these emphatic words as a check and limitation upon a reasonable confidence in those who adof Executive power, where without them the minister our public affairs. They must have President has no such power? You are taking the power of acting for the public welfare, and great pains to control a power which does not this would never have been given them it." exist. The persons who framed our constitu- | possible abuse of this power were a suficien tion knew that a power of removal in ordinary reason for withholding it. cases must exist somewhere. They took care, Again, sir, the construction which gentlemen therefore, that in whatever hands it might fall, on the other side of the House contend for the language of the constitution respecting the tends to the concentration of Legislative and tenure of the office of a judge should be co-ex- Executive powers in the same hands. If Come tensive with the whole power of removal, whe-gress, who have the power of making laws, can ther it should reside in one or in more hands. also displace their judges by repealing the