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[FEBRUARY, 1797. City, which would be attended with a good real distress in Government for want of money; dea) of expense to the PRESIDENT. He should but their difficulties arose from a difference of wish, therefore, that a provision should be made opinion in that House on the mode of raising for defraying that expense, and also for the money. He believed there were persons who purchasing of new furniture, but he should be thought Government squandered away the pubopposed to the making of any addition to the lic money; that its officers divided the loaves salary at preşent.
and fishes amongst them; and that the only Mr. HARTLEY spoke in favor of retaining the way in which this profusion of expense could clause.
be checked was by pursuing a gystem of direct Mr. R. SPRIGG said he should vote against the taxation, which would make the people feel the proposed advance of salary, and could not con amount which they contributed to the support sent to any other mode of augmenting the pres of Government. He should not undertake to ent compensation allowed to the PRESIDENT. examine this principle, nor deny that such facts He could by no means agree to the plan pro- might exist. It would be enough to look at posed by the gentleman from Virginia; for, if existing circumstances in our country, and see they were to renew the furniture of the PRESI- | how far they would apply. Our Government, DENT every four or eight years, it would be found he said, rested on public sentiment for support, a pretty expensive business. That gentleman and must always be regulated by it. He was had also mentioned the removal of the Govern-willing, he said, to go all lengths with gentle ment, as taking place during the next Presiden- men in adopting a system of taxation calculated cy; but, he said, the new election would happen to raise a permanent revenue. Nor was he apabout the time of removing the Government, prehensive for the result, when dictated by reaand provision for paying that expense might be son and justice. made at that time. He thought the salaries Contemptible must be that state of Governwere already sufficiently high, and that it would ment, said Mr. B., where its public officers are be with difficulty that money was found to pay starved for want of a proper spirit in the people the present expenses of Government.
to support them. Is America, said he, arrived Mr. WILLIAMS was of opinion, on the score at this melancholy state? If she were, God of economy, that it would be better to advance forbid she should ever experience another revothe compensation of the PRESIDENT in the way lution! Is this all our boasted acquisition, in proposed by the present bill, and let him pur-return for the struggle we have made for our chase his own furniture, than to purchase new country? No; he denied the fact. America furniture, which, perhaps, when the Govern was not reduced to that state which will not ment was removed, would not be suitable for allow her to pay the expenses of her Governhis house in the Federal City. Mr. W. said he ment, nor is she unwilling to pay them; neither was one of the committee on the subject of is public sentiment so debased as pot to approve compensation, and they endeavored to ascertain of any measure which shall be taken to secure whether the twenty-five thousand dollars al- a handsome maintenance for our officers. There lowed to the PRESIDENT were an adequate com was no occasion for hypocrisy in the business; pensation. It was generally believed it was he was willing to state the whole truth plainly not. They ought, he said, to enable their First to his constituents. He should not think of Magistrate to live in a style becoming his situa- telling them they were giving too high salaries tion. All their Executive officers should receive for their officers, when he knew, that, owing to such salaries as would enable them to see com- | their insufficiency, they were diminishing their pany agreeably to their rank, otherwise the own private fortunes. Nor did he wish to inrespectability attached to those offices would trench on his own property in serving the pubsuffer greatly in the public opinion. He hoped, lic; he believed there was no occasion for this, therefore, the section would not be struck out.' He should, therefore, speak plainly to them.
Mr. Buok said, as the motion now made was Mr. B. said, he would inquire whether the to try the principle, it would be well to go into present salaries were a reasonable and just coman examination of the subject. He said he had pensation for the services performed? In renever been a champion for raising salaries, or a spect to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, stickler for lowering them; but, as the subject it was said that he had already a large salary. was brought before them, he should cheerfully He knew that twenty-five thousand dollars bad declare his sentiments upon it. He conceived a great sound in the ears of many, but he trustthe true question to be, whether it was righted the people of the United States not only and just that they should augment the salaries possessed just views of Government, but that of the officers of Government and the members they also possessed virtue to support the just of the Legislature, or whether the present com- measures of Government, and would not consent pensations were just and adequate to the sacri- that their Executive officers should be placed on fices which they made in undertaking the busi- such a footing as to be looked down by officers ness of Government. Because he did not believe, from foreign countries who moved in a lower with some other gentlemen, that they were to sphere. Therefore, when they looked into the estimate the compensations of their officers in reason of the thing, and found their present proportion as money was scarce or plentiful in salaries were unequal to their support, not in the Treasury, nor did he believe there was a | the style of splendor observed in foreign courts,
[H. OF R. but according to the manner of living in Phila-sion, nor did he; he lived in the most economidelphia, would they not be willing to increase cal style; but they wished his reasonable exthem? He believed they would
penses to be paid. Besides, said Mr. B., were The present PRESIDENT, he said, was a man of the rates of compensation, when first establishfortune, and never took from the Government ed, established upon this principle? He thought more than would support his table, either dur- not. They were then thought to be a just and ing the war or during his Presidency. And reasonable compensation; and, if it was not what, he asked, did these expenses amount to? then unreasonable, it could not now be reasonTo the whole sum allowed him by law. Butable. Was it right, he asked, when every kind were they always to expect to have a PRESIDENT of labor was higher by one third or one-half who would give his services to his country? than at that time, that the compensations alOr had the PRESIDENT set a bad example, by lowed to persons employed by Government living in a style of extravagance and splendor ? should remain stationary? He could not conHe believed this was not the opinion of Ameri- ceive that this was either just or proper, or mans, or that of foreign countries. If, then, the that the citizens of the United States wished it. present PRESIDENT had lived upon his own for- If any conclusion might be drawn from the tune, and the whole of his compensation had practice of individual States, they would be gode to defray the expenses of his table, if this warranted in making the proposed advance, compensation was not advanced, how were since many of their Legislatures had advanced foture Presidents to come forward, to support the pay of their members. Indeed, he believed the same style? They could not do it without the people were generally convinced of the infringing on their own fortunes. And do the necessity of advancing the compensations alcitizens of the United States, he asked, wish lowed to the officers of Government and memtheir First Magistrate to be placed in this situa bers of the Legislature, under the present cir. tion? He could not think so. He believed cumstances. they meant to make ample provision for his Mr. B. said he was not for making a permasupport; and if the present provision was found nent increase of salaries, except to the PRESIinadequate, they would condemn their Repre- DENT and VICE PRESIDENT. He did not consentatives ; they would say they did not support ceive that the members of the Legislature ought the dignity of their country, if they neglected to have more than was sufficient to support to advance it.
them, without obliging them to infringe upon The same observations, Mr. B. said, would their own fortunes. He wished the advance spply to the VICE PRESIDENT, and to other offi- thereof to operate no longer than until the precers of Government. He did not wish the sent existing circumstances were removed; he salaries of their officers to be such as should should move, therefore, to have the duration of enable them to make fortunes out of them, but this regulation for one year, instead of two, as he would have them sufficient to afford a hand- | it was possible in the mean time the price of come living. Were they so at present ? He living might be so reduced as to make the adbelieved not. It had been said, the other day, ditional allowance no longer necessary. that they could not afford to live in the same Mr. RUTHERFORD said, if gentlemen reasoned style with persons who stood on the same foot-together for a moment, they would be convincing with them before they went into office. ed this measure was altogether improper and He could not say whether they were obliged to unjust. Our present PRESIDENT, said he, is intrench on their own private fortunes; if it looked up to with reverence, as to Cincinnatus, Was so, he asked if it were reasonable or just as a good republican. When the commissionthat they should be so placed? It certainly was ers from the Republic of Holland went to treat pot; and, therefore, convinced as he was that with Spain, they went in a style of such simthe people of the United States were willing plicity as to command the greatest respect. and able to support the expenses of their Gov- They afterwards appointed a Stadtholder, a ernment, and that they wished their officers to man of great reputation and patriotism doubthave a just and reasonable compensation, which less, like our PRESIDENT ; but, as soon as they should not only enable them to make a respect- suffered themselves to lose sight of their simable appearance in the eyes of their own citi- plicity and plainness of manners, and got into Dets, but in those of foreigners, he should have the policy and splendor of Courts, they were no scruples in giving his consent to the advan- enslaved by their Stadtholder; for, within these e proposed.
few years, the office of Stadtholder has been As to the compensation allowed to the mem- declared hereditary. What an extravagance is ters of that House, here he had knowledge; he this; that a man shonld be born a Stadtholder cald speak from experience. He could say or a King! While the Roman people mainthat he had diminished his income one thou- tained their simplicity of manners, while Cinend dollars a year since he had a seat in that cinnatus was amongst them, they were a happy Honse. Did his constituents, he asked, wish people; but when they lost sight of their plainthisi He believed not. They did not wish ness of manners, they lost sight of their happihim to intrench on his private fortune while ness. Let us look at our sister rising Republic, he was serving them. They did not expect and observe how they are doing away all pomp him to squander away their money in profu- 1 and pageantry in their Government and coun
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[FEBRUARY, 1797 try, and aiming at a simplicity of manners; but, and preserving it, was to take the earliest meang said he, I fear we have not lost sight sufficient to obtain, and secure it, when obtained, for sealy of kings, priests, and courts. This was his sonable use. He read an extract from the Seos dread. It was necessary to bound these ideas. retary of War's report in support of the plan. Patriotism could not be purchased, and should Mr. Coit said he was alarmed at the expense they despair of getting a man to fill the office of this business. He saw in the report the salaof PRESIDENT without they increased the salary: ries of two persons already at Norfolk and Must they hire a man for this purpose? No, Portsmouth, for taking care of the timber, at they should not be obliged to do this; there 500 dollars each, 1,000 dollars. If they were to would always be found men of abilities and pay at this rate for overlooking the timber for patriotism to fill that office, without any view one ship, what might they expect would be the to pecuniary advantage.
expense of a navy yard ? Nr. DENT said the question was to make an Mr. PARKER said, the persons to whom these amendment by striking out the first section. salaries were paid, took care of the timber at NorBeing in favor of that part which contemplated folk and Portsmouth. It was necessary that some the addition of five thousand dollars to the sal-person should look after it, or it should be disposary of the PRESIDENT, and opposed to any ad- ed of; but, in case the present resolution was dition to that of the VICE PRESIDENT, he wished agreed to, there would be no occasion in future the question divided, in order to accommodate to pay these persons, as all the timber and his vote.
other materials would be stored in the navy The Chairman said the motion was to strike yard. He said he had received an estimate out the whole section, and it could not be divid- from the War Office of the expense which would ed.
be likely to attend the establishment of a navy The motion for striking out was then put and yard. The expense of 100 acres of land, and all carried—56 members being in favor of it. | the necessary buildings, was estimated at 37,210
dollars. Election of President.
Mr. NICHOLAS said, after having squandered A message was received from the Senate in- so much money in getting timber for these vesforming the House that the VICE PRESIDENT had sels, he thought some change of habit should laid before them the following communication : take place before they embarked largely in this Gentlemen of the Senate:
matter. They had given twice or thrice as In consequence of the declaration made yesterday much as the timber was worth, yet they were in the Chamber of the House of Representatives of now called upon to go on in the same course. the election of a President and Vice President of the It was not a time for going into this business. United States, the record of which has just now been If such a thing was even proper, two or three read from your journal by your Secretary, I have years could make but little difference, and there judged it proper to give notice that, on the 4th of could be little doubt but every thing could then March next, at 12 o'clock, I propose to attend again be bought at half price. This, however, was in the Chamber of the House of Representatives, in
not his principal objection. It was this: he did order to take the oath prescribed by the Constitution
not want to see any such establishment; a navy of the United States to be taken by the President, to
would never do any real good to this country, be administered by the Chief Justice or such other Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States as
but would increase the unhappiness of it. It can most conveniently attend ; and, in case none of
would require large sums of money to support those Judges can attend, by the Judge of the District
it; its benefits were doubtful, and it might be of Pennsylvania, before such Senators and Represen- | of very mischievous consequence to the nation. tatives of the United States as may find it convenient Mr. SwANWICK said he entirely agreed with to honor the transaction with their presence. the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. NICHOLAS)
that there was a necessity for some change of
habit; they appeared to be getting that change Friday, February 10.
at present, and whatever their habits were at Naval Policy: Purchase of a Site for a Navy present, he supposed they would come right at Yard.
last. Whatever might be their opinion of the The next resolution which came under con- necessity of a naval force, the European nasideration, was that proposing the purchase of a tions, he believed, would convince them of the site for a navy yard.
necessity of it, if they only gave them time Mr. PARKER doubted, from the spirit which enough. seemed to be shown on this occasion, that this It was an extraordinary thing to look at the resolution would not pass.
progress of economy in that House with respect Mr. W. Smith hoped this would be agreed to. to these frigates. In the first place, six frigates Whatever gentlemen may now think or deter- were necessary; they were afterwards reduced mine on, it was probable we should at some to three, and because an officer was appointed time become a naval power; and even with the to take care of the timber left on hand, a gentlemost distant prospect of that, it would show man from Connecticut wondered that $500 economy to prepare for it. He said it never should be so employed. A motion had been could be too soon to begin the business, and the made to confine the Executive to finish the most effectual method of procuring live oak, l hulls of the ships only. This would have been
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a strange economy. Indeed, such attempts! What an affecting spectacle had we the other were made at economy on this business as were day of sixty of these unfortunate men returning never introduced upon any other. The gentle- from Algerine slavery? They were received man from Virginia (Mr. NICHOLAS) had ob- into the arms of their country with all the served there was no use for ships at all. If sympathy which the occasion called for; but the House were of that opinion, such a resolu- could gentlemen help feeling, at the same time, tion had better at once be come to; but the for the impotence of our Government, when they strange sort of hesitating conduct which was recollected that the liberty of these men had adopted, exceeded all that he had heard of in been purchased at a very high price from a legislation.
petty despot? And shall we continue to go on Had gentlemen who declared these vessels to thus, and encourage the Barbary powers to enbe of no use, contemplated the situation of this slave our seamen by showing so great a reluccountry ; that it depended wholly upon com- tance to enter upon any measure which might merce for revenue; that that commerce was afford a defence against their depredations? now put in jeopardy, and that no substitute had Mr. MURRAY believed it would be a very prubeen found for the revenue thence arising dent measure to secure the ship-timber in quesAnd would not all this hesitation, whenever tion; for if we did not, it was probable some the subject of a navy came under consideration, foreign nation would get possession of it. He tempt European nations to continue their unjust did not know whether the laws of Georgia depredations upon our property at sea ? It would perm't foreigners to purchase the land certainly would.rs
upon which bis timbez grew; but if they But even gentlemen who wished to confine would not, it would be no ufficult thing to get themselves merely to the finishing of the vessels possession of it through the medium of an indiat present, would not surely think it improper vidual. If this country were to become a marifor them to establish a navy yard, and to secure time power, and no one who considered the timber for future nse. Did those gentlemen subject for a moment could doubt it, this was consider what it was to deprive the country of too rich a mine to be neglected. What had a rich mine of ship timber? If they hesitated been said about adopting the Chinese policy, on this subject, they surely did not.
might serve to amuse them; but when they What had been said by the gentleman from looked at the commerce of the country, it was Maryland on the subject of Algiers, was very impossible they should not seu the necessity of just; and the want of a navy power would a naval force to protect that commerce against have a similar effect upon all our negotiations, the depredations of any nation who chose to atas foreign nations would rise or fall in their de- tack it. Indeed, it was come to this, they must mands, according to our power at sea. The either provide for the protection of commerce, money thrown away upon Algiers to purchase or deny the utility of it, and give it up altopeace, would have been much better employed gether. in building ships; for if we had a few ships, But the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. NICHOthat power would not have committed the de- LAS) was afraid if these frigates were sent out predations upon us which she had done. And to sea, they would involve us in a war. What! whether the money was paid to Algiers or ex- said he, can it be supposed that three frigates pended in building ships, it was in both cases would give us that ridiculous kind of spirit for the same parpose, viz: the protection of which would induce us at any rate to go to commerce. But there was this great difference war? This would be a species of insanity between the two expenditures. In the one case, which he did not think it was probable we the dollars were shipped off to a foreign coun- should fall into. No: these vessels would serve try, and in the other, they were paid to our to protect our coasts, and preserve our comown citizens. The iron used was from our own merce from attacks, at least, within a small dismines; the guns from our own manufactories; tance from our own ports. How far they the hemp, and every other material, were of might serve to render us of some importance in our own growth and manufacture, so that the the eyes of foreign nations, he could not tell; money went into the hands of our artisans, but he believed that three frigates would have manufacturers, and farmers. And, therefore, a greater effect in this respect with us, than ten though the frigates had cost a great deal of mo. to Sweden, Denmark, or Holland. We lie, said ney, it was some modification of the expense to he, near the high road of commerce to the consider that the money was gone into the West Indies, and these three frigates, backed by pockets of our own citizens. But, he asked if national wealth, would show a disposition to the loss we sustained for the want of a naval become a maritime power, and would have power could be estimated? He said it could their effect upon European nations. not. We not only lost our property, but our Besides, Mr. M. said, these vessels would be Seamen, and they were not only lost to us, but the foundation of a future Navy. He was for were probably in the service of those countries shaping our means of defence to the means of which were committing depredations upon us. offence employed against us by other nations ; The loss of property might be recovered; but a for until the European nations became wise tardy race of seamen once lost, could not be enough to cease from war, it was necessary to recovered
I provide means of defence against their attacks.
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[FEBRUARY, 1797 He should, therefore, always give his support their favorite pursuit. If they, then, were comto every means of national defence. He wished pelled to protect commerce, he asked if there our nation to stand upon a respectable footing was any other way of doing it than by a Navy? as a nation, since the most magnanimous con- He believed not. Treaties afford a feeble and duct was no security against the attacks of very inadequate protection; they were broken foreign powers. He should, therefore, be in whenever it suited the interest of a nation to favor of a naval yard, and of providing ship-break them. Letters of marque might afford timber for future use.
some protection; but this would operate as a Mr. HARPER said, the two resolutions respect- heavier tax upon the people than even the suping a naval yard and a provision for timber port of the Navy. The money which a mershould come under consideration together; be-chant expended in this way would eventually cause, if no provision was made for purchasing come upon the people in the price which they timber, a naval yard would be of no use. would be obliged to pay for their merchandise,
This question, he said, was capable of being and the means would be very inadequate to considered under two points of view: the one protection. whether the ineasure was proper; the other, if In China and the East Indies, Mr. H. said, the the measure was proper, whether it would not inhabitants could shut themselves up within be better postponed for the present. Both of their own territory, and avoid any intercourse these points required a considerable degree of with foreign nations. In countries so far reattention. There was a variety of considera- moved from Europe, as to prevent any one nations on both sides of the question, and it re- tion from making a monopoly of its trade, this mained for them to determine for the best. policy might exist. But could America lay up
Was it proper for this country, he asked, to her ships, and say she would open her ports to turn its attention towards marine strength? Did all nations? No; that very instant you give up not our situation, and the circumstances in your trade to that nation which has the greatest which we stand, compel us to turn our atten-power at sea; for she will immediately block tion to this object? He thought they did, and up your ports, and oblige you to trade with for one or two reasons which he would submit them only. In order, therefore, to trade with to the consideration of the committee.
all nations, we must be the carriers of our own It appeared to him out of the question that produce, for other nations would not leave us any kind of commerce should be continued at liberty to do so. The strongest power would without some ships-of-war to protect it. This say to the others, you shall not trade with these was the dilemma in which we were placed. It people, you shall do so and so, or we will go to was said by some gentlemen that this dilemma war with you. You must, therefore, said he, might be avoided, by suffering commerce to go protect your own trade. on unprotected, and subject it to all risks; and Will these resolutions, then, said he, if adoptthat even then, there would be sufficient benefit ed, tend to this point? He believed they wonld. arising from it, to induce its continuance. This To provide a dock-yard, and to take care of a he did not believe. If persons engaged in com- supply of timber suitable for the purpose of merce could have no dependence upon the pro- ship-building, were very essential steps. Much tection of Government, a very few years, per- expense, he said, would be saved in carrying baps a few months more, might convince them on the building of several ships together in one that the business could not and ought not to be yard, instead of having them scattered in differcontinued.
ent parts of the Union. Timber might also be The present Government, he said, had only laid up to season in this yard, so as always to been in existence eight years, and for nearly be ready for use ; for, he believed that much four of them commerce had been subject to of the delay which had attended the building every kind of depredation. The usual calcula- of the ships now on the stocks, had been owing tion with respect to Europe was, that during to the difficulty which had attended the procurevery ten years, it would be subject to war, and ing of proper timber. Besides, Mr. H. said, its that these wars would have a duration of from being known to foreign nations, that you had six to eight years, in the course of which our provided a dock-yard, would have some weight; property and citizens would be subject to the it would at least have the appearance of an insame violations and injuries which they had tention of building a Navy, for the last four years experienced, if no pro- With respect to the purchasing of land cloth vision was made, by a naval power, to pre-ed with live oak timber, he thought it a very vent it.
desirable measure. It was well known that Brought to this dilemma, said he, which side this timber was confined to a few spots a few will you take? Will you give up commerce, or sea islands on the coast of South Carolina and build a Navy to protect it? Besides, he said, Georgia, and some small strips along the seaa great part of our citizens who had been train shore; and in each of these places there were ed up in commerce from their infancy, could only a few trees of a sufficient size for building not be driven from that kind of employment to large ships. The land upon which these trees which they had always been accustomed. They grew, since the cultivation of cotton had been could not be induced, like the Chinese, to stay introduced into those parts, was become valuaat home; they would be engaged in commerce, ble land for that purpose. This induced the