Page images

FEBRUARY, 1797.]
John de Neufville.

[H. OP R. people to cut down the timber and burn it, for labor, the truth of this assertion would appear the sake of getting the land, and there was no evident. way of arresting this practice, but by securing Again, if such a Navy were created, how was the land; and being of so good a quality, when it to be manned? He wished gentlemen to the trees were cut down, it would probably point out any mode in which a Navy could be sell for a greater price than was originally given manned in this country without having recourse for it.

to the abominable practice of impressment. If Mr. GALLATIN saw no connection between the the nations of Europe found it impossible to two resolutions, which the gentleman who had man their fleets without having recourse to just sat down thought it necessary to connect these violent means, he believed it would be together. The last resolution proposed the impossible, without breaking down those barpurchase of land clothed with live oak; the riers which secured the liberty of every citizen, present proposed the appropriation of a sum of to man a Navy in this country. money for purchasing the site of a naval yard, Perhaps he might be asked, if we were, then, &c., as a foundation for a Navy. The last went to be left without protection ? He thought only to the securing of timber for the building there were means of protection which arose of & Navy, if at any day it should be thought from our peculiar situation, and that we ought necessary; he believed he should vote for the not to borrow institutions from other nations last, but certainly against the first..

for which we were not fit. If our commerce They bad been told that no commerce could had increased, notwithstanding its want of proesist without protection, and that that protec-tection; if we had a greater number of seamen tion must be a Navy; from whence it would than any other nation, except England, this, he follow, that if a Navy was necessary to protect thought, pointed out the way in which comcommerce, it must be a Navy competent to vie merce ought to be protected. The fact was, with the navies of other nations. He would that our only mode of warfare against European here ask, how gentlemen drew their conclusion, nations at sea, was by putting our seamen on that commerce could not exist without the pro- board privateers, and covering the sea with tection of a Navy. He wished they would show them; these would annoy their trade, and disfrom the example of any nation in Europe, or tress them more than any other mode of defrom our own example, that commerce and fence we could adopt.* navies had gone hand in hand. There was no nation, except Great Britain, said he, whose

MONDAY, February 13. Navy had any connection with commerce. No

Purchase of Live Oak Lands. nation, except England and Holland, had more to do with commerce than this country, and

Mr. HARPER said, that though the House had yet we had no Navy; and though for the four

declined coming to a resolution to authorize the last years this commerce had been subject to

PRESIDENT to purchase certain lands in Georgia, continual depredations, it was not exceeded by

clothed with live oak and red cedar timber, as a any nation, except the two he had named. And

reserve for future naval purposes, yet there if they looked to Europe, they would find there

seemed to be a disposition to cause an inquiry was no connection between navies and com

to be made on the subject. He therefore promerce. Russia and Swden had considerable

posed a resolution to the House to the follownavies, but little commerce; whilst Holland,

ing effect: whose Navy was by no means large, ranked

Resolved, That the President of the United States Dext to England with respect to commerce. | be authorized and requested to cause to be made and Hamburg, he said, was one of the first commer

reported to this House as early as may be after the

meeting of the next session of Congress, an inspeccial States in Europe, yet she had no Navy. Navies, he said, were the instruments of power,

tion of lands furnished with live oak and red cedar more calculated to annoy the trade of other

timber, with the relative advantages of different

situations with respect to their fitness for naval purnations than to protect that of the nation to

poses, and the rates at which purchases may be which they belong.

made." But there was another position which he ebould take in opposition to gentlemen who

Ordered to lie on the table. supported the creation of a Navy, viz: that

John de Neufoille. however useful or desirable a Navy might be,

On motion of Mr. Madison, the Honse rethis country was not equal to the support of one. We might have two or three frigates in

solved itself into a Committee of the Whole on

the following report of the committee, to whom deed, but, when he said we could not support a

was referred the memorial of Anna de NeufSary, he meant to say we could not support |

ville, widow of John de Neufville, deceased. such a Navy as should claim respect, in the sense which those gentlemen spoke of it; such

They report, as being an object of terror to foreign nations. “That the services and sacrifices of the said John If they calculated what the three frigates had

y considered the scanty manner in which * The great naval powers of Europe show themselves his country was peopled, our inability to raise sensible of this, by proposing to the United States to abolish ay Tery large revenue, and the high price of privateering.

H. OF R.)
'John C. Symmes.

(FEBRUARY, 1797 de Neufville to the United States, during the war of report, after stating all the facts upon which the their Revolution, as stated in the said memorial, and claim was founded, gave it as his opinion, that vouched by the testimonies herewith reported, con- the petitioner had no real claim on the United stitute a reasonable claim, in behalf of his, at present, States. This report, it seems, had never been very distressed widow and children, on the justice of acted upon. The reading of it, as well as of all the

United States. That it being impossible, from the documents relative to this claim, was called various and peculiar circumstances incident to the to

for, and they were accordingly read. The opservices rendered, to ascertain and liquidate the compensation due into a precise sum, it is necessary for

posers of this claim acknowledged the distressed Congress to decide on and provide for such allow

situation of the petitioner, but denied the justice ance as may be deemed equitable and right. That, of

of her claim upon the United States; the treaty in the opinion of the committee, the surn of three which Mr. de Neufville proposed to enter into thousand dollars may be a proper allowance. They with Mr. Lee, they supposed, was a treaty therefore propose the following resolution:

which he believed would prove beneficial to his Resolved, That provision ought to be made, by country, and not to the United States: that law, for granting to the widow and two children of there were many claims in our own country John de Neufville, the sum of three thousand dol- from persons who had been injured by the war, lars, to be equally divided among them."

the justice of which was less equivocal, and the This report was advocated by Messrs. HAR- distress at least equal. Mr. NICHOLAS said, a PER, W. Smith, SWANWICK, HAVENS, HEATH, few days ago only, a poor man, whose health THATCHER, VARNUM, and RUTHERFORD. They had been so much impaired in the war, that he stated that the husband of the petitioner, John was unable to earn his living, had applied to de Neufville, was an eminent merchant at him to bring his case before Congress, yet, as Amsterdam ; that he was an influential charac- the pension law affords no relief to any person, ter there, and, at an early period of our Revo- except he had been wounded, he was obliged to lutionary war, entered with great zeal into the inform him that he could do nothing for him. interests of America; that, meeting with Mr. There were multitudes of such instances, equally William Lee, the Commissioner of the United distressing with the present, to which no relief States, he endeavored to bring about a treaty could be afforded. between the United Netherlands and the United Mr. THATCHER moved to have the three thouStates, which being discovered by the British, sand dollars struck out, and five inserted. This that Court used its influence with the Govern- was negatived-45 to 37; but the resolution ment of that country to harass and drive him was agreed to as reported-yeas 63, nays 25. out of the country; that during his residence at Amsterdam, his house was a constant asylum

THURSDAY, February 16. for American citizens; that he had made large Radvances in money for the service of the United

John C. Symmes. States, which obliged him to extend his credit Mr. GALLATIN said, a report had been made beyond what was warranted by the regular upon the contract between John O. Symmes course of trade, and a failure in the payment of and his associates, and the United States, which which (owing to the embarrassed circumstances it was of importance to pass into a law this of the United States at that time) had greatly session, as the object was four hundred thousand injured him, and left him to the mercy of his acres of land, which was worth about eight creditors. The consequence was, he was re- | hundred thousand dollars. duced from affluence to poverty at an advanced

an advanced The House accordingly resolved itself into a period of life. Some vears ago he arrived at Committee of the Whole on the subject, when Boston with his wife and two children, where the report, which was very long, having been he subsisted in a very humble manner upon the read, the committee agreed to the resolution bounty of his friends in Holland; those friends reported, which was in the following words: having, by the reverses occasioned by the Revo- “ Resolved, That a committee be appointed to lution, been much injured in their property, bring in a bill to authorize the President of the Unicould afford him but a scanty pittance; but Mr. ted States to grant, in fee simple, to John C. Symmes de Neufville being dead, the petitioner was de and his associates, that part of a tract of land, the prived of this assistance; and, to add to her re- boundaries whereof are ascertained by a survey esepeated misfortunes, the son of her late husband, cuted in conformity to the act of Congress, entitled from their multiplied sufferings, had been de- 'An act for ascertaining the bounds of a tract of prived of his reason. Under this pressure of land purchased by J. C. Symmes,' and returned to grievances, the petitioner was come from Bos- the Treasury Department the 10th of January, 1794. ton to lay her case before Congress, and pray

which is not included within the bounds of a grant relief. This peculiarly distressing case was

already made, on September 8, 1794, to the said J.

C. Symmes and his associates; excepting and reserv supported with great zeal and feeling by its ad- |

ing out of the same the lots reserved by the original vocates, particularly by Mr. HARPER.

contract, entered into between the United States and The claim was opposed by Messrs. Cort, the said Symmes and his associates; provided that Swift, and NICHOLAS. An application, it seems, the said Symmes and his associates shall previously was made by Mr. de Neufville, during his life- in conformity to the terms of the original contract time, for redress; upon which the then Secre- make the requisiie payment for the tract to be grant tary of State (Mr. JEFFERSON) reported. This led to them, and for the 47,625 acres, part of the

FEBRCARY, 1797.]
Indirect Taxes.

[H. OF R. grant already made to them on the 30th September, | used by the middling and lower classes of the 1794, for which they have not yet paid any conside- | people; but the tax falling upon fine as well as ration; and provided, also, that the township reserv- | brown sugar, all parts of the community would ed for an Academy shall have been previously laid | bear an equal share in the burden. off and secured, according to the terms of the con

Mr. WILLIAMS moved to strike out the half tract, and of the resolutions and law of Congress

cent, and insert a cent. It appeared to him relative thereto."

that such an advance could not materially affect FRIDAY, February 17.

the consumer. The people, it was true, might

use less; but, if they did so, as it was an articlo Increase of Duties.

of luxury, every pound of sugar less which was BROWN SUGAR.

consumed, would be of benefit to the country, Mr. W. SMITH said, the proposed increase, it by keeping the money which it cost in a foreign was calenlated, would raise 110,000 dollars, and market at home. But he did not believe that as the article was not liable to be smuggled, nor this would be the case; or that the proposed its consumption to be decreased, it would be a additional duty would increase the price of lacertain, and he thought, an eligible tax.

bor, as had been suggested. He believed the Mr. HOLLAND had no doubt but this tax price of labor would be regulated by the price would augment the revenue; but he knew also which the farmer was enabled to get for his that it would fall more upon the poor than produce. Whatever the farmer could afford to upon the rich, and he thought they ouglit not give his laborer (especially in this country where to add to their burdens. He thought there were agriculture is the true interest) would fix the other articles which would bear some addition, I price of all other labor. bat either brown sugar or salt would be much Mr. HOLLAND said, perhaps the constituents felt. If they studied that which would be bur- of the gentleman last up might manufacture densome, here they might fix, but he hoped this their own sugar, and therefore would not be was not the principle. By advancing an arti- affected by this tax; but the greater part of his cle so universally used, a rise of labor (already constituents were obliged to use and purchase too high) must naturally follow.

their sugar; and if it were a luxury, it was one Mr. KITCHELL believed the rich and opulent he did not wish to deprive them of, but that would bear their portion of this tax as well as they might have it upon the same terms as the poor, as it would fall upon fine sugar as well usual. He looked upon it as a necessary of life, as upon brown. It would therefore be paid in already at too high a price, and he should; proportion to the sugar used, and would fall as therefore, oppose any advance of duty upon it. equally as any other tax which could be laid. Mr. GALLATIN said, he and his constituents

In this instance, Mr. K. said, gentlemen were in the same situation with the gentleman seemed apprehensive of the poor bearing too from New York (Mr. WILLIAMS) and his constitgreat a part of the burden; but, if the direct uents. They manufactured almost the whole tax on land were to take place, would it not, of their own sugar; very little imported sugar he asked, fall much heavier upon the poor than was used ; indeed, they sometimes exported sua tax on sugar ? He believed it would; since gar ; but though this reason seemed to act the poor who held lands would be called upon | pretty powerfully upon the gentleman from to pay their portion of it, whilst the rich who New York, it would not have the same effect held no lands, would escape it. He, therefore, upon him. Whenever a measure operated parthought this a far preferable tax.

tially upon other parts of the Union, though it Mr. DEABBORN said, if further revenue was might operate in favor of his constituents, he necessary, he could not conceive any article should feel himself in duty bound to oppose it. which would bear an advance of duty better on the ground of their being Representatives than the one proposed. The present duty, he of the whole Union, as well as on the ground said, was one and a half cent a pound, and of policy, he did not believe it was right to enconld it be supposed that to lay an additional deavor to throw a burden upon one part of the half cent upon it, could make much difference Union, because the part in which they were to the consumer, or that it would ever be felt, most particularly interested, would escape it. or that, at the end of a year, it would be dis- He hoped the amendment would be rejected, covered whether one and a half or two cents and after the sense of the committee should duty had been paid upon a pound of sugar ? have been taken upon it, he also would move He should have no objection, instead of half a an amendment. At present, brown sugar paid sent, to lay an additional cent upon this article. one and a half cent a pound duty, and molasses In various parts of the country, brown sugar three cents per gallon. He should, therefore, was retailed at from 12 to 20 cents a pound, move to have an additional cent laid upon mothe price being much increased from the pres- lasses, in order that the two articles might be ent distressed situation of the West Indies. But increased in the same proportion. He was they would find sugar of the same quality sell- against any increase at present; but if the duty ing in one place for 12, in another for 14 or 16 on one article was increased, the other ought tents; therefore, whether the duty was one or also to be increased. two cents, he did not think it would be felt by Mr. WILLIAMS observed, that he had said the any body. It was true, that it was an article people in the part of the country from whence



H. OF R.]

Indirect Tares.

(FEBRUARY, 1797. he came, made their own sugar during the war; | the duty would be evaded. But he would have if they were to make it now, it would cost them gentlemen consider in what situation they placed more than double the price at which they inight the revenue in respect to drawbacks. The perpurchase it. He said, when the gentleman from son who paid the duty was probably not the Pennsylvania (Mr. GALLATIN) found the land same who drew the drawback on exportation; tax was not likely to pass, he wished to defeat ev- the United States run the risk, therefore, of ery proposition for an indirect tax. He had at- | paying the drawback, without receiving the tempted, therefore, to defeat an additional tax duty. Though he thought the tax on sugar on sugar, by proposing to add molasses to the highly objectionable, yet if it were adopted, he resolution. He did not think this fair; he thought it right that it should be accompanied wished every proposition to stand upon its own by a proportionate tax on molasses as a secuground. A few days ago that gentleman had rity to the duty being paid. One cent a pound insisted upon the necessity of laying a direct on sugar, it was said, was a trifle; but it was tax; but now he came forward, and said no ad- well known that the price of that article was ditional revenue was wanting. He wished not at present ver s exorl tant, from the disorders to have a compulsory tax, but a tax which per- which had taken place in the West Indies. sons might pay or not. If they did not like to Mr. NICHA LAS hoped the amendment would pay the tax on sugar, they might do without it. be agreed to. His principal objection to a tax

Mr. COOPER said he was against any addi-on sugar was, because, having been successful tional duty on salt or sugar, though he and his in making one addition, it would be an arguconstituents (as well as his colleague and his ment for making future ones, but if molasses constituents) should bear no part of the burden, was added to it, the tax would then fall more as they made not only sufficient for themselves, equally on the poor of different parts of the but for sale. Indeed, he said, a duty on salt ex- Union, and be a means of keeping down the tax. ported out of the United States, would produce Mr. Buok said, if he thought the advocates revenue, as a considerable quantity was sent of this amendment would vote for the resolution into Upper Canada.

| when amended, he might be induced to vote Mr. WILLIAMS denied that his constituents for it; but he believed they did not mean to made any salt; they had no salt but what paid do so. If an increase of the duty on brown suduty; nor did his constituents make one-fourth gar would fall upon the poorer class of the peoof the sugar they used; nor did he believe his ple, an additional duty on molasses would fall colleague's (Mr. COOPER'S) constituents made much heavier upon them. But he thought genone-half of the sugar they used, as he well knew tlemen were mistaken with respect to the opthat a large quantity of sugar was sent to that eration of the tax on brown sugar; in the coundistrict by way of Albany.

try it would not fall upon the poor, though in Mr. Read hoped the amendment would ob- the cities it might do so; though in increasing tain. Although such persons as lived at a dis- the duty on brown sugar, that on fine was also tance from market manufactured their own su- increased. In the country it was the rich who gar, and consequently would be excused from used brown sugar; they had not got to that this duty, yet they labored under many disad- pitch of refinement which called for the use of vantages in other respects, on account of their fine sugar; they used brown sugar, and the remoteness from market, and therefore he had poor used none; they sweetened with molasses. no objection to their being excused from the Notwithstanding this, if he thonght gentlemen operation of this tax. He did not believe this meant to vote for the resolution when amended. tax on sugar would fall upon poor persons. he would not object to the addition on moFarmers, indeed, used a little brown sugar, but lasses, as he did not think so small an advance they would rather pay a little more for this ar- would be materially felt. ticle than have their land taxed.

Mr. RUTHERFORD hoped they should not agree Mr. CLAIBORNE was against the amendment. to lay an additional duty on either of these neIf an additional duty of one cent was laid upon cessaries of life. He hoped there was sufficient brown sugar, the different dealers would make good sense in the House to oppose such a meait three or four, so that it would be materially sure. They were used by all classes, from the felt.

| infant to the stoutest man; particularly by Mr. GALLATIN then moved to amend the re- many poor, infirm, aged persons, who looked solution, by adding an additional cent per gal- upon them as nutritious and balmy nourishlon upon molasses. At present the duty on ments. He hoped, therefore, they woald not brown sugar was one and a half cent per pound, increase the price of those articles; for, if an and on molasses three cents per gallon. The additional cent was added, the dealers would advance of 33 per cent. on the present duty add two, three, or four cents, which would be would be the same that had been agreed to be more than the poor could afford to pay for laid upon sugar.

them. Mr. SwANWICK seconded the motion. The Mr. CHRISTIE believed the gentleman from only way in which the tax on brown sugar Pennsylvania meant, by the introduction of this could be secured was by advancing the duty on amendment, to defeat the tax on sugar altomolasses in the same proportion, otherwise mo- | gether; he should, therefore, vote against this lasses would be used in the place of sugar, and amendment; but if the additional tax on sugar

FEBRUARY, 1797.]
Indirect Taxes.

[H. of Re should be carried, and the additional tax on mo-1 Mr. Buok asked if, when on the question on lasses should be introduced alone, he would vote the resolution, (if adopted,) a separate vote conld for it, but he would not vote for them together. be given? He was answered no. Then he He did not think the tax on sugar would fall would observe to the gentleman that, if it could upon the poor, particularly as fine sugar would not be separated, he hoped it would not be inbe taxed equally with the brown. He thought troduced, it having been said the duty on sugar it was a fair object of taxation. He believed would operate on the poor; now, he said, here they should want revenue, and he did not know was an article introduced with it that would an article from which it could be better raised. operate worse than the other; therefore, he

Mr. FINDLAY was at a loss to know how a tax should oppose both, if put together, when, if on molasses would operate; but his doubts had | separated, he should have voted for the tax on been removed by the gentleman from Vermont, molasses alone, as sugar was a great means of (Ur. Buck,) who had informed them it was used sustenance and use. by the poor in place of brown sugar. In many The Chairman again remarked (in reference parts of Pennsylvania molasses was scarcely to what had fallen from Mr. W. SMITH) that the known, and brown sugar was generally used by amendment was in order, though he did not the poor; if, therefore, the same class of persons think it the most fair way of introducing the in one part of the country used molasses for the subject. same purpose for which brown sugar was used Mr. GALLATIN conceived that he was the best in other parts, it was only reasonable that both judge of the fairness of his proceedings; and as should be taxed in the same proportion. | the Chairman had declared the ainendment to

His colleague (Mr. GALLATIN) had mentioned be in order, he expected a question would be that his constituents would not pay any of this taken upon it. tax, as they made their own sugar. It was so Mr. NICHOLAS begged leave to differ in opinwith a part of his constituents, but not with the ion from the Chair in this instance, though he whole. As it would be unjust to pass one tax must own much deference was due to it: he without the other, he should be in favor of the thought the proceedings perfectly fair. Mr. N. amendment.

would vote for this, in order to have the two Mr. GallATIN said, it had been charged connected; that gentleman could now voto against him, that he had introduced his amend against the addition of molasses, then he would ment with a view to defeat the tax on sugar. have an opportunity to vote on sugar alone. He had already said that he did not wish for He should wish it extended to both alike. The any indirect tax during the present session ; but, gentleman (Mr. BUCK) was mistaken in his apat the same time, he considered it his duty, if a plication on this subject; it was not taxing the majority should choose to pass the resolution, sustenance of the poor in one article more than to make it as good as possible before he voted another, for the sugar would most affect one against it, for this purpose he had introduced part, yet molasses would as much affect another; bis amendment. Whenever the duty on sugar he, therefore, hoped, if gentlemen wished fair was increased, that on molasses should also be and equal taxation, that this association would increased. With respect to what had been said take place; this equalization would go to preabout the duty on brown sugar not falling upon vent any opposition to the tax, which would the poor, it was contradicted by the quantity otherwise be hazarded. every year imported into the United States. | Mr. Buck was satisfied with this explanation; When they knew that this amounted to twenty- therefore, supposing gentlemen who supported two millions of pounds weight, they must con- the amendment would vote for both, according clode that it was used by the poor as well as to this modification, he should go with them; the rich; for though the Eastern States used a if not, he should oppose the amendment. great deal of molasses, it was not the case in Mr. DAYTON (the Speaker) said, he did not the Middle, Southern, and Western States; all rise to speak to the point of order; he considerclasses of citizens in those States used sagar.ed that as already settled by the Chairman. The voting for the amendment now was the Every member, he said, against laying an addisame as voting for it in any other shape. It tional tax upon molasses, would, of course, Was doing now what would be done hereafter, vote against the amendment; and all those who if now omitted. There was nothing informal had no objection to the tax, but who did not in it. He saw no reason which could be urged wish it to be thus introduced, of whom he found for one taking place, which would not equally there was not a few, might join them, as, after bold with respect to the other.

the additional tax on sugar was agreed to, that Mr. SWAXWICK thought that those gentlemen on molasses might be again introduced. who separated the articles of sugar and molasses, Mr. S. SMITH said, he had some doubt before would wish to defeat the object; thus it was the last gentleman was up, of the propriety of With the gentleman last up. This was intro- tacking these two articles together, but now he duced with a view of securing the collection. had none. One part of the Union, he supposed, Hr. S. said he had before stated the injury the would be for voting out molasses: but his conCnited States might sustain in case of a failure stituents would not like the tax on sugar, except of pay from the imported, and need not repeat it was accompanied with that on molasses; as that he objected in toto to the tax.

la subject of sweetening he thought they should

« PreviousContinue »