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PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES,
AT THE THIRD SESSION OF THE FIFTH CONGRESS, BEGUN AT THE CITY OF
PHILADELPHIA, MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1798.
Monday, December 3, 1798.
House adjourned accordingly till 10-morrow at 11 This being the day appointed by the Constitu- o'clock. tion for the annual meeting of Congress, a number of members of the House of Representatives
Tuesday, December 4. assembled in their Chamber. The following are the names of the members chusetts, Stephen BULLOCK; from New Jersey,
Several other members, to wit: from Massapresent :
JAMES H. IMLAY; from Pennsylvania, John From New Hampshire.—ABIEL FOSTER, JONA- Wilkes KITTERA ; from Maryland, George BAER, Than Freeman, William Gordon, and Peleg Jr., William Craik, and Samuel SMITH ; from SPRAGUE.
Virginia, ANTHONY New, ABRAM TRIGG, JOHN From Massachusetts.-Dwight Foster, Sam Trigg, and Abraham VENABLE ; from North CaTEL LYMAN, HARRISON G. Otis, Geo. Thatcher. rolina, Thomas Blount; and from South Caro Joseph B. VARNUM, and Peleg WaDSWORTH. lina, William Smith; appeared and took their
From Rhode Island.—THOMAS TILLINGHAST. seats in the House.
turned to serve in this House as a member for From New York.-David Brooks, HENRY Pennsylvania, in the room of Samuel Sitgreaves, GLEN, Jonathan N. Havens, and Hezekia, L. appointed a Commissioner of the United States HOSMER.
under the sixth article of the Treaty of Amity, From New Jersey.—JONATHAN DAYTON, (the Commerce, and Navigation, with Great Britain, Speaker.)
appeared and took his seat in the House. From Pennsylvania.-David Bard, John Chap
But a quorum of the whole number not being MAN, William Findley, Albert Gallatin, JOHN present, the House adjourned. A. Hanna, Blair McCLENACHAN, and RICHARD THOMAS. From Maryland.-George Dent.
Wednesday, December 5. From Virginia.—John CLOPTON, John Daw- Several other members, to wit: from MassaSON, David HOLMES, James Machin, and Daniel chusetts, Isaac PARKER, JOHN REED, Samuel MORGAN.
Sewall, and William SHEPARD; from ConnecFrom North Carolina.-Matthew Locke, Na- ticut, Nathaniel SMITH; from New York, LuTHANIEL Macon, and RICHARD STANFORD. CAS ELMENDORF, John E. Van Alen, and John
From Tennessee.-William Charles Cole Williams; from New Jersey, James SCHURECLAIBORNE.
Man; and from South Carolina, Robert GoodFrom Georgia.-ABRAHAM Baldwin.
LOE Harper and John RUTLEDGE, Jr., appeared, Three new members, to wit: Jonathan BRACE, and took their seats in the House. returned to serve in this House as a member for And a quorum consisting of a majority of the Connecticut, in the room of Joshua Coit, de- whole number, being present, ceased; ROBERT WALN, returned to serve as a The oath, or affirmation, to support the Constimember for Peopsylvania, in the room of John tution of the United States, as prescribed by the Swao wick, deceased; and Joseph Eggleston, re-act, entitled "An act to regulate the time and turned to serve as a member for Virginia, in the manner of administering certain oaths,” was adroom of William B. Giles, who has resigned his ministered by Mr. SPEAKER to the following new seat; appeared, produced their credentials, and members, tó wit: Jonathan BRACE, ROBERT took their seats in the House.
Brown, ROBERT Waln, and JOSEPH EGGLESTON, A little after 12 o'clock the SPEAKER of the who took their seats in the House on the third House took his Chair, the names of all the mem- and fourth instant. bers were called over by the Clerk, and there ap- Ordered, That a message be sent to the Senate pearing only forty present, (fourteen short of a to inform them that a quorum of this House is asquorum,) a motion was made to adjourn, and the sembled, and ready to proceed to business.
Ordered, That a Committee of Elections be was the cause of his postponing the communicaappointed, pursuant to the standing rules and or- tion till that time. ders of the House.
Mr. Dent having moved that when the House And a committee was appointed, of Mr. Var- adjourns, it adjourn to meet on Saturday, and the NUM, Mr. GOODRICH, Mr. John Williams, Mr. motion being concurred in, another was made to KITTERA, Mr. Dent, Mr. New, and Mr. Baldwin. adjourn, and the House adjourned accordingly.
NEWSPAPERS FOR MEMBERS.
SATURDAY, December 8. supplying the members with three daily newspa- Several other members, to wit: from Connectipers, at their respective lodgings.
cut, William EDMOND; from Maryland, John Mr. Macon inquired whether, by usual, was Dennis and William HINDMAN; and froin Virmeant the resolution passed at the last session, ginia, Thomas Evans and Walter Jones, apwhich authorized members to be served with any peared and took their seats in the House. three papers published on the Continent, or that
The House having been called to order, and formerly passed, which had reference only to pa- the Journal read, the SPEAKER observed that the pers printed in this city? If the former was meant, hour was nearly arrived at which the President he should be opposed to it; but if the latter, he had proposed to make his communications to both wished it to pass.
Houses, and read a resolution which was usually Mr. Kittera observing that it was the resolu- entered into on such occasions. informing the Sention which was confined to the city papers, it ate that this House is formed, and ready to receive passed without objection.
any communications which the President may No other business being before the House, a
be pleased to make to them. The re:olution was motion was made and carried to adjourn.
adopted, and a message having been sent to the Senate therewith, the members soon after entered
and took the places prepared for them. Thursday, December 6.
At twelve o'clock, Lieutenant General WASH
INGTON, with his Secretary. Colonel Lear, Major Several others members, to wit: from Massa- Generals PINCKNEY and HAMILTON, entered the chusetts, Bailey Bartlett; from Vermont, LEW- Hall, and took their places on the right of the is R. MORRIS; from Pennsylvania, Andrew Speaker's Chair. The British and Portuguese Gregg and Joseph Heister; from Maryland, Ministers, and the British and Danish Consuls, Richard Sprigg; and from Virginia, John Ni- with their Secretaries, had their places assigned CHOLAs; appeared, and took their seats in the them on the left of the Chair. House. A message was received from the Senate, in
PRESIDENT'S SPEECH. forming the House that the number of members A few minutes after 12, the PresidENT OF THE required by the Constitution to do business were United States, accompanied by his Secretary, present; that they had appointed, in the absence and the Heads of the several Departments of the of the President of the Senate, Mr. LAURANCE, Government, appeared. The President having President pro tempore, and that they were ready taken his seat, and the officers of Government to proceed to business.
theirs, near the general officers, he rose and adMr. Macon said, that quorums of both Houses dressed the two Houses as follows: being assembled, he believed the next step ought to Gentlemen of the Senate, and be the appointment of a joint committee of the Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : two Houses, for the purpose of waiting upon the While with reverence and resignation we contemPresident of the United States, to inform him that plate the dispensations of Divine Providence, in the they are ready to receive any communications alarming and destructive pestilence with which several which he may think proper to make to them. He, of our cities and towns have been visited, there is cause therefore, made the usual motion, which was for gratitude and mutual congratulations that the malaagreed to, and Messrs. Dana, Venable, and Har- dy has disappeared, and that we are again permitted PER, were appointed a committee on the part of to assemble in safety at the seat of Government, for the the House.
discharge of our important duties. But, when we reA message from the Senate announced the ap- flect that this fatal disorder has, within a few years, pointment of Messrs. Read and Paine, as a com- made repeated ravages in some of our principal seaports, mittee on their part, to join the committee of the and with increased malignancy; and, when we consiHouse, for the purpose of waiting upon the Presi- der the magnitude of the evils arising from the interdent.
ruption of public and private business, whereby the naThe joint committee waited upon the Presi
tional interests are deeply affected, I think it my duty dent accordingly, and after some time, Mr. DANA expediency of establishing suitable regulations in aid
to invite the Legislature of the Union to examine the reported to the House, that the committee had of the health laws of the respective States; for, these performed the business assigned them; that the being formed on the idea that contagious sickness may President had signified his intention of making be communicated through the channels of commerce, a communication to both Houses in the Repre- there seems to be a necessity that Congress, who alone sentatives' Chamber, on Saturday, at 12 o'clock; can regulate trade, should frame a system which, while and that he also added, his present indisposition it may tend to preserve the general health, may be comDECEMBER, 1798.)
(H. OF R.
patible with the interests of commerce and the safety ation of Europe, we shall discover new and cogent moof the revenue.
tives for the full development of our energies and reWhile we think on this calamity, and sympathize sources. with the immediate sufferers, we have abundant reason But, in demonstrating by our conduct that we do not to present to the Supreme Being our annual oblations fear war, in the necessary protection of our rights and of gratitude for a liberal participation in the ordinary honor, we shall give no room to infer that we abandon blessings of His Providence. To the usual subjects of the desire of peace. An efficient preparation for war gratitude, I cannot omit to add one of the first import- can alone insure peace. It is peace that we have uniance to our well being and safety : I mean that spirit formly and perseveringly cultivated, and harmony bewhich has arisen in our country against the menaces tween us and France may be restored at her option. and aggression of a foreign nation. A manly sense of But to send another Minister, without more determinEational honor, dignity, and independence, has appear- ate assurances that he would be received, would be an ed, which, if encouraged and invigorated by every act of humiliation to which the United States ought not branch of the Government, will enable us to view, un to submit. It must, therefore, be left to France, if she dismayed, the enterprises of any foreign Power, and is indeed desirous of accommodation, to take the requisbecome the sure foundation of national prosperity and ite steps. The United States will steadily observe the glory.
maxims by which they have hitherto been governed. The course of the tranactions in relation to the Uni- They will respect the sacred rights of embassy. And red States and France, which have come to my knowl, with a sincere disposition on the part of France to desist edge during your recess, will be made the subject of a from hostility, to make reparation for the injuries herefuture communication. That communication will con- tofore inflicted on our commerce, and to do justice in fuin the ultimate failure of the measures which have ture, there will be no obstacle to the restoration of a been taken by the Government of the United States to friendly intercourse. In making to you this declaration, Fards an amicable adjustment of differences with that I give a pledge to France and to the world that the ExPower. You will, at the same time, perceive that the ecutive authority of this country still adheres to the buFrench Government appears solicitous to impress the mane and pacific policy which has invariably governed opinion that it is averse to the rupture with this coun; its proceedings, in conformity with the wishes of the ty, and that it has, in a qualified manner, declared other branches of the Government and of the people of itself willing to receive a Minister from the United the United States. But considering the late manifestaStates, for the purpose of restoring a good understand. tions of her policy towards foreign nations, I deem it a ing. It is unfortunate for professions of this kind that duty deliberately and solemnly to declare my opinion, they should be expressed in terms which may counten- that, whether we negotiate with her or not, vigorous and the inadmissible pretension of a right to prescribe the qualifications which a Minister of the United States preparations for war will be alike indispensable. These should possess ; and that while France is asserting the alone will give to us an equal treaty, and insure its obexistence of a disposition, on her part, to conciliate with sincerity the differences which have arisen, the
Among the measures of preparation which appear sincerity of a like disposition on the part of the United expedient, I take the liberty to recall your attention to States, of which so many demonstrative proofs have the Naval Establishment. The beneficial effects of the been given, should even be indirectly questioned. It small naval armament provided under the acts of the s also worthy of observation that the decree of the Di. last session, are known and acknowledged. Perhaps rectory, alleged to be intended to restrain the depreda
no country ever experienced more sudden and remarkations of French cruisers on our commerce, has not given, ble advantages from any measure of policy than we have and cannot give, any relief; it enjoins them to conform derived from the arming for our maritime protection and 15 all the laws of France relative to cruising and prizes, defence. We ought, without loss of time, to lay the while these laws are themselves the sources of the de- foundation for an increase of our Navy to a size sufficient predation of which we have so long, so justly, and so
to guard our coast, and protect our trade. Such a naval fruitlessly complained.
force, as it is doubtless in the power of the United States The law of France enacted in January last, which to create and maintain, would also afford to them the subjects to capture and condemnation neutral vessels best means of general defence, the safe transportation of and their cargoes, if any portion of the latter are of troops and stores to every part of our extensive coast. British fabric or produce, although the entire property To accomplish this important object, a prudent foresight belongs to neutrals, instead of being rescinded, has requires that systematical measures be adopted for prolately received a confirmation, by the failure of a pro- curing, at all times, the requisite timber and other supposition for its repeal. While this law, which is an plies. In what manner this shall be done, I leave to unequivocal act of war on the commerce of the nations your consideration. it attacks, continues in force, those nations can see in
I will now advert, gentlemen, to some matters of less the French Government only a Power regardless of moment, but proper to be communicated to the National their essential rights, of their independence and sover
Legislature. ergnty; and, if they possess the means, they can recon- After the Spanish garrisons had evacuated the posts ezke nothing with their interests and honor but a firm they occupied at the Natchez and Walnut Hills, the Comresistance.
missioner of the United States commenced his observaHitherto, therefore, nothing is discoverable in the tions to ascertain the point, near the Mississippi, which conduct of France which ought to change or relax our terminated the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree measures of defence; on the contrary, to extend of north latitude. From thence he proceeded to run the and invigorate them, is our true policy. We have boundary line between the United States and Spain. to reason to regret that these measures have been thus He was afterwards joined by the Spanish Commissioner, fut adopted and pursued ; and, in proportion as we en- when the work of the former was confirmed ; and they large our view of the portentous and incalculable situ- proceeded together to the demarcation of the line. Recent
H. OF R.]
of Representatives :
information renders it probable that the Southern Indians, the public receipts and expenditures to a recent period. either instigated to oppose the demarcation, or jealous It will afford you satisfaction to infer the great extent of the consequences of suffering white people to run a and solidity of the public resources, from the prosperline over lands to which the Indian title had not been ex- ous state of the finances, notwithstanding the unexamtinguished, have, ere this time, stopped the progress of pled embarrassments which have attended commerce. the Commissioners. And considering the mischiefs When you reflect on the conspicuous examples of pawhich may result from continuing the demarcation, in triotism and liberality which have been exhibited by opposition to the will of the Indian tribes, the great ex
our mercantile fellow-citizens, and how great a proporpense attending it, and that the boundaries which the tion of the public resources depends on their enterCommissioners have actually established, probably ex. prise, you will naturally consider, whether their convetend at least as far as the Indian title has been extin- nience cannot be promoted and reconciled with the guished, it will perhaps become expedient and necessary security of the revenue, by a revision of the system by to suspend further proceedings, by recalling our Com- which the collection is at present regulated. missioner.
During your recess, measures have been steadily purThe Commissioners appointed in pursuance of the sued for effecting the valuations and returns directed by fifth article of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and the act of the last session preliminary to the assessment Navigation, between the United States and His Britan- and collection of a direct' tax. No other delays or nic Majesty, to determine what river was truly intended obstacles have been experienced except such as were under the name of the river St. Croix, mentioned in the expected to arise from the great extent of our country, Treaty of Peace, and forming a part of the boundary there and the magnitude and novelty of the operation, and in described, have finally decided that question. On enough has been accomplished to assure a fulfilment of the twenty fifth of October they made their declaration the views of the Legislature. that a river called Scoodiac, which falls into Passama- Gentlemen of the Senate, and Croix, intended in the Treaty of Peace, as far as its great I cannot close this Address, without once more adfork, where one of its streams comes from the westward, and verting to our political situation, and inculcating the the other from the northward, and that the latter stream essential importance of uniting in the maintenance of is the continuation of the St. Croix to its source. This
our dearest interests : and I trust that, by the temper decision, it is understood, will preclude all contention and wisdom of your proeeedings, and by a harmony of among individual claimants, as it seems that the Scoodiac measures, we shall secure to our country that weight and its northern branch bound the grants of lands which and respect to which it is so justly entitled. have been made by the respective adjoining Govern
JOHN ADAMS. A subordinate question, it has been suggested, United States, December 8, 1798. still remains to be determined. Between the mouth of the St. Croix, as now settled, and what is usually called
The President having finished his Address, the Bay of Fundy, lie a number of valuable islands. The after sitting a few moments, presented the PresiCommissioners have not continued the boundary line dent of the Senate and Speaker of the House of through any channel of these islands, und unless the Representatives, each of them, with a copy of it, Bay of Passamaquoddy be a part of the Bay of Fundy, and withdrew, and after him, the Heads of Dethis further adjustment of boundary will be necessary; partments, Senators, general officers, foreign Minbut it is apprehended that this will not be a matter of isters, &c. The SPEAKER then took his Chair, any difficulty.
and after calling the House to order, proceeded, as Such progress has been made in the examination is usual, to read over the Speech, which being and decision of cases of captures and condemnation of finished, it was committed to a Committee of the American vessels, which were the subject of the seventh whole House for Monday, and ordered to be article of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navi- printed. The House then adjourned. gation, between the United States and Great Britain, that it is supposed the Commissioners will be able to bring their business to a conclusion in August of the
Monday, December 10. ensuing year. The Commissioners, acting under the twenty-first
A new member, to wit: Richard Dobbs article of the treaty between the United States and SPAIGHT, returned to serve in this House as a Spain, have adjusted most of the claims of our citizens member for North Carolina, in the room of Nathan for losses sustained in consequence of their vessels and Bryan, deceased, appeared, produced his credencargoes having been taken by the subjects of His tials, and took his seat in the House; the oath to Catholic Majesty during the late war between France support the Constitution of the United States and Spain.
having been first administered to him by the Various circumstances have occurred to delay the SPEAKER. execution of the law for augmenting the Military Es- Ordered, That a Committee of Revisal and tablishment; among these, the desire of obtaining the Unfinished Business be appointed, pursuant to the fullest information to direct the best selection of officers. standing rules and orders of the House; As this object will now be speedily accomplished, it is And a committee was appointed, of Mr. Thatexpected that the raising and organizing of the troops CHER, Mr. Thomas, and Mr. New. will proceed without obstacle, and with effect.
Ordered, That a Committee of Claims be apGentlemen of the House of Representatives :
pointed, pursuant to the standing rules and orders I have directed an estimate of the appropriations of the House; which will be necessary for the service of the ensuing And a committee was appointed, of Mr. Dwight year to be laid before you, accompanied with a view of Foster, Mr. Macon, Mr. Hanna, Mr. JONATHAN