« AnteriorContinuar »
H. OF R.]
Alien and Sedition Laws.
formed, but there is a general and wilful misap- laws. What does the gentleman call tumultuous prehension with respect to these laws, and the meetings ? Peaceable meetings of the people to Legislature of Kentucky have either not got the state their grievances. And he was not astonishlaws, or, if they have, they have misunderstood ed, that after an attack has been made on the libthem.
erty of the Press, that another is made against the There is another article of evidence, and the only peaceable meetings of citizens to state their grievone which can have any weight, and that is what ances, and that they are called symptoms of an the gentleman has himself seen in his travels. He armed opposition to the laws. Mr. G. thought has seen men, he says, opposed to the law, merely gentlemen ought to wait for stronger symptoms, from misinformation, who, the moment they saw before this language was held on the floor of the law (and, he supposed, heard his, Mr. H.'s, argu-Congress. As long as the people confine themments, upon it) were convinced it was Constitu- selves to an expression of their opinions on the tional and proper. If he understood the gentleman, measures of Government, he saw po danger of an not a single individual, except he were a violent armed opposition to the laws. So far as he was party man, but what was convinced in this way. acquainted with those parts of Pennsylvania in
Mr. G. wished the gentleman had called in some which these laws are deemed impolitic, and by other parts of Virginia, besides those in which he many unconstitutional, he had seen no symptoms went, because he had seen the opinion of a gen- of an armed opposition, or indeed any opposition tleman, who certainly was not a violent party whatever, for he could not call a meeting to draw man,* 'disapproving of these laws. He wished a petition in opposition to a law. If this, said he, that gentleman had called at Richmond and con- be a fact, the resolution before the House ought vinced this gentleman of his error.
to be rejected. Yet he believed one reason would But, said Mr. G., taking it for granted, that some induce him to disappoint the gentleman from misinformation respecting the laws in question has South Carolina by voting in favor of it. He saw gone abroad, he could not see how it was to be only one motive that could have led to the introcorrected by the publication proposed. He had duction of it. It is known that in many parts of complained that it had been said ihat the sedition the United States these laws are considered imlaw attacked the freedom of speech; and if there politic and unconstitutional, and, the members be any misapprehension on the subject, it must bs from these parts were to vote against this motion, on this point, and this alone. It was true, Mr. G. it would be immediately said by the friends of said, that he had himself met with some individu- these laws, “You see the opposition which is made als, and not violent party men, but supporters of to any information being given to the people with the Administration, who conceived that the liber- respect to these laws; though all the dislike of ty of speech was intended to be affected by the them arises from misinformation, certain gentle. word utter.” He was himself of a different men will not suffer the people to be undeceived." opinion, but he had found the greatest variance of It would be to prevent this being said, and not opinion, even amung gentlemen of the law, as to from any evidence which had been brought to the intention of the sedition act; and, if it be in- show the necessity of the measure, that he should tended to inform the people on this subject, it will vote for it. be necessary to send out a commentary with the Mr. HARPER (after having obtained the neceslaw; for, after they have read the law, they will sary leave to speak a third time) was glad to find, not know whether the act of writing a letter with however gentlemen disapproved of this motion, out either publishing or printing it, comes within they all found some reason or other for voting for the law; whether the act of lending a newspaper it. He was not displeased with the gentleman which may contain any article which may be con- from Pennsylvania for furnishing him with so instrued into a defamation of the Government, or of genious a motive for his conduct. According to the President, renders a person liable to the penal- an old adage, said Mr. H. " he measures other ties of the act, or how matters, which are mere people's corn by his own bushel.” He thought matters of opinion, are to be ascertained by wit- it a curious argument, that because complete in
The only difficulty with respect io the formation could not be given to the people, they sedition law is as to what is its real construction should have none. The gentleman from PennOn this point, said Mr. G., I want information sylvania had stated his doubts as to what facts myself. I do not know whether any of the acts will be cognizable by the sedition law; but he which I do myself may not come under this law; himself knew there were many who were not acwhether I may not, in writing a letter to my fam-quainted with its provisions. When they koew ily to-morrow, if I express any sentiment in oppo- them, perhaps they might have more discernment sition to the Administration, be deemed guilty of than that gentleman; they will know that the sedition. But reading the laws would not afford word uttering is confined exclusively to writing, him the information he wanted.
vending, or distributing, and that writing a priBut the gentleman has stated another ground. vate letter, or lending a newspaper, except the He has spoken of tumultuous meetings of the transaction is of a very suspicious nature indeed, people, and that it is the intention of some indi- cannot be brought within the meaning of this ividuals, and at all events their acts have that act. tendency, to produce an armed opposition to these Mr. H. denied that the Senate's bill was read in
the Virginia meeting in any other sense than as • General Marshall.
the law of Congress, and complained that in ser
Address to the President.
[H. of R.
eral other iostances he had been misrepresented Joun Adams, President of the United Statesby the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Sir: The House of Representatives unite with you Mr. Dawson said, if it was determined to in deploring the effects of the desolating malady by take the sense of the House upon this resolu- which the seat of Government and other parts of our tion at present, he should move an amendment of country have recently been visited. In calling our atthe kind which he had mentioned; but he would tention to the fatality of its repeated ravages, and inrather that the resolution might be committed, viting us to consider the expediency of exercising our that he might prepare his amendment against to- Constitutional powers, in aid of the health laws of the morrow.
respective States, your recommendation is sanctioned Mr. N. Smith said the motion for committing by the dictates of humanity and liberal policy. On was always to give liberty for discussion, on a
this interesting subject we feel the necessity of adoptcontroverted subject. He had heard no gentle-ing every wise expedient for preventing a calamity so man oppose the principle, and therefore could not distressing to individual sufferers, and so prejudicial to
our national commerce. conceive why discussion was necessary; there had been much more said about it already than standing the commercial derangements resulting from
That our finances are in a prosperous state, notwithwas attached to the question; amendments could this calamity, and from external embarrassments, is a be as well introduced in the House as by commit- satisfactory manifestation of the great extent and so ting; if the gentleman was not ready, he had no lidity of the public resources. Connected with this objection to its postponement till to-morrow, as a situation of our fiscal concerns, the assurance that the day could not make much difference.
legal provisions for obtaining revenue by direct taxation Mr. Macon said he voted for the largest num- will fulfil the views of the Legislature, is peculiarly acbet to be printed, and he wished to see a general ceptable. dissemination of all the laws, to make them as Desirous as we are that all causes of hostility may publicly known as possible. But he hoped the be exterminated [removed] by the amicable adjustment House would not depart from its usual civility: of national differences, we learn with satisfaction, that when a member requested a postponement in or- in pursuance of our treaties with Spain and with der to introduce amendments, to deny it him.
Great Britain, advances have been made for definitively On the motion of Mr. Venable, that for com-settling the controversies relative to the Southern and
the Northeastern limits of the United States. With mitting being withdrawn, it was postponed till to
similar sentiments have we received your information, morrow, 42 votes being for it.
that the proceedings under commissions authorized by ADDRESS TO THE PRESIDENT, the same treaties, afford to a respectable portion of our Mr. Dana, from the committee appointed to for maritime injuries committed by subjects of those
citizens, the prospect of a final decision on their claims draught a respectful Address in answer to the Pres- Powers. ident's Speech, made a report, which was com- It would be the theme of mutual felicitation, were mitted for to-morrow.
we assured of experiencing similar moderation and justice from another Power, [the French Republic] be
tween whom (which) and the United States differences THURSDAY, December 13.
have unhappily arisen. But this denied us by the Pallip Van Cortlandt, from the State of New ultimate failure of the measures which have been taken
by this Government towards an amicable adjustment of York, appeared and took his seat.
those differences, and by the various inadmissible preThe Speaker laid before the House a letter tensions on the part of that nation. from the Secretary of the Treasury, accompany- The continuing in force the decree of January last, ing sundry statements exhibiting the amount of to which you have more particularly pointed our atduties arising from domestic distilled spirits and tention, ought, of itself, to be considered as demonstrastills
, for the year ending on the 30th of June, tive of the real intentions of the French Government. 1797; also on sales at auction, refined sugar, car. That decree proclaims a predatory warfare against the riages, and retailers' licences, to the close of 1797, unquestionable rights of actual commerce; which [with] together with a letter from the Commissioner of our means of defence, our interest and our honor, com the Revenue on the subject; which were ordered mand us to repel. It therefore now becomes the United to be printed.
States to be as determined in resistance as they have
been patient in suffering, and condescending in negoADDRESS TO THE PRESIDENT.
tiation. On motion of Mr. Dana, the House resolved
While those who direct the affairs of France persist itself into a Committee of the Whole on the Ad- in the enforcement of decrees so hostile to our essential dress yesterday reported, in answer to the Speech rights, their conduct forbids us to confide in any of
their professions of amity. of the President of the United States, and Mr.
As therefore the conduct of France hitherto exhibits Dent having taken the Chair, the Address was nothing which ought to change or relax our measures read. as follows, omitting the words printed within of defence, the policy of extending and invigorating brackets, which were added as amendments: The those measures, demands our sedulous attention. The words printed in italics were struck out in the sudden and remarkable advantages which this country discussion, so that the Address to be presented to has experienced from a small naval armament, suffithe President contains the words printed within ciently prove the utility of its establishment. As it rebrackets, and does not contain those printed in spects the guarding of our coast, the protection of our italies.
trade, and the facility of safely transporting the means H. OF R.]
Address to the President.
of territorial defence to every part of our maritime of liberty and happiness; and, considering the frontier, an adequate naval force must be considered as French as having abused the name of liberty for an important object of national policy. Nor do we the purpose of despotism, he was unwilling to aphesitate to adopt the opinion, that, whether negotiations ply the phrase to them. with France are resumed or not, vigorous preparations Mr. Rutledge replied, that however the form for war will be alike indispensable.
of the French Government may differ from our In this conjuncture of affairs, while with you we re. own, they choose to call themselves a Republic, cognise our abundant cause of gratitude to the Supreme and our Ġovernment has so acknowledged them; Disposer of events for the ordinary blessings of Provi- and if we meant to treat with them, for the accomdence, we regard, as of high national importance, the modation of our present differences an event manifestation, in our country, of a magnanimous spirit which all must ardently desire-he believed it of resistance to foreign domination. This spirit merits would be necessary to consider them as a Reto be cherished and invigorated by every branch of Government, as the estimable pledge of national pros. I therefore, the term ought now to be used.
public, and treat them as such. He thought, perity and glory. Disdaining a reliance on foreign protection, wanting
The question on the amendment was put and no foreign guarantee of our liberties, resolving to main carried, there being 49 votes in favor of it." tain our national independence against every attempt
Mr. Harper suggested the propriety of striking to despoil us of this inestimable treasure, we confide, out the following words, which were a part of the under Providence, in the patriotism and energies of the designation, rendered unnecessary by this amendpeople of these United States for defeating the hostile ment. enterprises of any foreign Power.
Mr. Dana objected to this amendment. It would To adopt with prudent foresight such systematical make some farther alterations necessary, and he measures as may be expedient for calling forth those thought the paragraph would stand as well withenergies wherever the national exigencies may require, out it. whether on the ocean, or on our own territory—and to The motion was put and negatived. reconcile with the proper security of revenue, the con- Mr. RUTLEDGE proposed to substitute the word venience of the mercantile enterprise, on which so great which for "whom,” in the same paragraph. a proportion of the public resources depends—are ob
Mr. GORDON moved to amend the last parajects of moment, which shall be duly regarded in the graph, by striking out the word “ acquiescence," course of our deliberations.
Fully as we accord with you in the opinion, that the and to insert in its place approbation, which he United States ought not to submit to the humiliation thought a more accurate expression. Agreed to. of sending another Minister to France, without previous
Mr. Dana proposed to add the word with in the assurances sufficiently determinate that he will be duly fifth paragraph; which was agreed to. accredited, we have heard, with cordial acquiescence, Mr. HARPER suggested a verbal amendment at [approbation) the declaration of your purpose, steadily the close of the last paragraph, viz: instead of the to observe those maxims of humane and pacific policy words “as free and independent,” to insert “as a by which the United States have hitherto been gov- free and independent nation." Agreed to. erned. While it is left with France to take the requi- Mr. SPRAGUE wished to alter the phraseology site steps for accommodation, it is worthy the Chief in the sixth paragraph, from their conduct forMagistrate of a free people, to make known to the bids us to confide, to "there is no ground for world, that justice on the part of France will annihilate confidence;" but this motion was not seconded. every obstacle to the restoration of a friendly inter- The committee rose, and reported the amendcourse, and that the Executive authority of this coun. ments to the House, which were agreed to, and on try will respect the sacred rights of embassy; At the the quesion being put on the Address as amended, same time, the wisdom and decision, which have cha- it was agreed to unanimously. racterized your past Administration, assure us that no
Mr. Thatcher wished, as no objection was made illusory professions will seduce you into any abandonment of the rights which belong to the United States as Journals as unanimously agreed to; but, on the
to the Address, that it might be entered on the [a] free and independent (nation.]
question being put, a few noes being heard, the The Clerk having read the Address. it was Speaker declared it not carried. again read by the Chairman by paragraphs. The usual resolution was then passed, that the
Mr. Rutledge moved to strike out of the fourth Speaker, attended by the House, do present the paragraph the words another Power," and to in- Address, and that a 'Committee be appointed to sert in their place the words French Republic. wait upon the President, to know when and where The present words appeared to him a circuitous he will be pleased to receive the same. mode of expression, which he thought unneces
Messrs. DANA, VENABLE, and HARPER, were ap. sary. As the other two Powers with which the pointed a committee for this purpose. They waited United States had had disputes of a less serious upon the President accordingly, and Mr. Dana renature than with France. were mentioned by ported that the President would receive the Adname, he thought the French Republic should dress to-morrow, at his own house, at twelve also be named.
o'clock. Mr. Dana was perfectly willing to have the
IMPEACHMENT OF WILLIAM BLOUNT. passage so expressed as to be pointed directly to France; but he had an objection to the applica- Mr. Harper said, he had been requested, in the tion of the term Republic to that Government, as absence of Mr. BAYARD, (the present Chairman of with the term of Republic, he associated the idea / the Committee) to move that an additional memDECEMBER, 1798.]
Answer of the President-President's Speech.
[H. or R.
ber be added to the Managers for conducting the he hoped, if it was printed, that there would be a impeachment against William Blount, late a sufficient number of copies ordered to serve for Senator of the United States, in the place of Mr. several years. He wished the Clerk to be asked STGREAVES, who had resigned his seat in this whether there were not a sufficiency of copies in House.
hand. The motion was agreed to, and the House pro- The SPEAKER answered that the Clerk would ceeded to ballot for an additional member. The inquire what copies are on hand. Totes having been told by Messrs. Evans and
ANSWER OF THE PRESIDENT. WADSWORTH, it appeared that there were 18 votes for Mr. KITTERA, 14 for Mr. J. Williams, and
The hour having arrived at which the Presithe rest so much scattered, that no member had a DENT had appointed to receive the Address of this majority of votes. A fresh ballot was according: House in answer to his Speech to both Houses
, ly made, when there appeared for Mr. KITTERA, the SPEAKER announced it, and the House with39 rotes, Mr. J. Williams 14, the rest scattering drew for the purpose of presenting the Address. Mr. K. was accordingly declared elected.
In about a quarter of an hour, the members reA message was received from the Senate noti- turned; when, the SPEAKER, having taken his fying the House that the Senate had caused a Chair, proceeded to read the answer to their Adsummons to be issued on the 3d of March last
, dress a copy of which had been put into his hand against William Blount, to appear at the bar of by the PRESIDENT. It was as follows: the Senate on the third Monday in the present to the House of Representatives of the United States : December, to answer to charges of high crimes and misdemeanors committed against the United to the House of Representatives of the United States,
GENTLEMEN : My sincere acknowledgments are due States
, which had been duly served upon him by for this excellent Address, so consonant to the character the Sergeant-at-Arms, and a return thereof made of Representatives of a great and free people. The to the Secretary of the Senate.
judgment and feelings of a nation, I believe, were never STATE BALANCES.
more truly expressed by their Representatives than
those of our constituents, by your decided declaration, Mr. Harper called up the resolution, which he
that with our means of defence, our interest and honor yesterday laid upon the table, respecting balances due from the debtor States. The House went unquestionable rights of a neutral commerce.
command us to repel a predatory warfare against the
That it into a committee upon it, and it was agreed to becomes the United States to be as determined in rewithout debate or objection, and a bill ordered to sistance as they have been patient in suffering and conbe reported accordingly.
descending in negotiation. That, while those who direct
the affairs of France persist in the enforcement of deFRIDAY, December 14.
crees so hostile to our essential rights, their conduct Several other members, to wit: James Coch- forbids us to confide in any of their professions of amiRas, from New York; William Matthews, from an important object of national policy ; and that, whether
that an adequate naval force must be considered as Maryland ; Josiah PARKER, from Virginia ; and negotiations with France are resumed or not, vigorous THOMAS PINCKNEY, from South Carolina, appear- preparations for war will be alike indispensable. ed, and took their seats in the House.
The generous disdain you so coolly and deliberately UNIFORM BANKRUPTCY.
express, of a reliance on foreign protection, wanting no Mr. Sewall, from the committee appointed to foreign guaranty of our liberties, resolving to maintain
our national independence against every attempt to deprepare and report a bill providing a uniform sys- spoil us of this inestimable treasure, will meet the full tem of bankruptcy throughout the United States, approbation of every sound understanding, and exulting reported a bill, which, being a copy of the one be- applauses from the heart of every faithful American. fore the House, at the last session, was not read, I thank you, gentlemen, for your candid approbation but after reading the title, committed to a Com of my sentiments on the subject of negotiation, and for mittee of the Whole, and made the order for the declaration of your opinion, that the policy of ex, Monday.
tending and invigorating our measures of defence, and Mr. Hartley supposed, as there are several new the adoption with prudent foresight of such systematical members in the House this session, and as some of measures as may be expedient for calling forth the enthe old members might not have preserved their ergies of our country, wherever the national exigencies copies of this bill, that it would be necessary to be may require, whether on the ocean or on our own terprinted. He therefore made a motion for the pur-ritory, will demand your most sedulous attention.
At the same time, I take the liberty to assure you, it Mr. Macon doubted not the Clerk would be shall be my vigilant endeavor, that no illusory profes. able to furnish the new members with copies of sions shall seduce me into an abandonment of the the old edition; if so, he hoped it would not be rights which belong to the United States, as a free and again printed. He believed the various bills
JOHN ADAMS. which had been reported from session to session,
UNITED STATES, December 14, 1798. had already cost the United States more than a thousand pounds, for, when he came first to Con
PRESIDENT'S SPEECH. gress, he found the subject before the House, and The reading of the President's Answer being it had remained here ever since; and, as he had finished, no idea of its passing during the present session, Mr. HARPER moved that the House go into a H. OF R.]
Committee of the Whole on the state of the references; but that they ought to be made in the Union, for the purpose of taking up the Presi- House. dent's Speech; which motion being agreed to, Mr. Harper did not approve of the course proand the committee formed, he proposed the fol- posed by the gentleman from Virginia, as when a lowing resolutions:
positive affirmative proposition is proposed in the 1. Resolved, As the opinion of this committee, that first instance, it never fails to produce a premature so much of the Speech of the President of the United discussion. This had been heretofore complained States, to both Houses of Congress, at the commence- of, and at the last session the mode which he now ment of the present session, as relates to the expediency proposed was adopted ; a select committee reports of establishing suitable regulations in aid of the health in detail, and the House can act more understandlaws of the respective States, for preventing the intro- ingly in this way than when called to vote upon duction of contagious diseases, be referred to a commit- an abstract proposition. tee, with power to report by bill or otherwise. 2. That so much of the said Speech as relates to the carried.
The question was put upon the resolution and extending and invigorating the measures of defence heretofore adopted by the Government of the United agreed to without debate.
The second, third, and fourth resolutions, were States, be referred to a committee.
The committee then rose, and the House took 3. That so much of the said Speech as relates to the Naval Establishment, and to the augmentation of the up and concurred in the resolutions. Navy, and the adoption of systematic measures for pro- GOODRICH, Mr. Samuel Smith, Mr. CHAMPLIN,
Ordered, That Mr. Otis, Mr. RUTLEDGE, Mr. curing timber and other supplies, be referred to a committee.
Mr. Spaight, and Mr. Dent, be appointed a com4. That so much of the said Speech as relates to a mittee pursuant to the second resolution. revision of the system by which the collection of that Ordered, That Mr. Josiah PARKER, Mr. Pinckpart of the revenue which arises from duties on mer- NEY, Mr. SewaLL, Mr. CHAMPLIN, Mr. Baldwix, chandises imported, is now regulated, be referred to a Mr. Griswold, and Mr. Van CORTLANDT, be apCommittee of Commerce and Manufactures.
pointed a committee, pursuant to the third resoThe first resolution was taken up; when
lution. Mr. DAYTON said, he could see no reason why
That part of the report of the Committee of this resolution ought not to be referred to the Revisal and Unfinished Business was next taken Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, as up and agreed to, which proposes that all petiwell as the last, since the power of Congress to
tions depending and undecided in the last session, act on this subject, is derived from their power to ought to be taken up and acted upon as they may regulate commerce.
be called for by any member, or upon the applicaMr. Harper had no doubt the Committee of tion of the individual claimant or petitioner. Commerce and Manufactures was as well selected
CENSUS. for the purpose of acting on this subject as any Mr. Dawson moved for the appointment of a other committee would be; but he could see no committee to bring in a bill for the enumeration connexion between the preservation of health and of the inhabitants of the United States. the regulation of commerce. It was true, that Mr. HARPER suggested the propriety of letting regulations for this purpose might ultimately have this subject lie until a Committee of Ways and some effect on commerce, and therefore it is pro- Means was appointed, as a bill of a similar kind per that the proposed measures should be taken originated with that committee at the last session, by Congress, but this does not necessarily connect and there would be propriety in letting the busithe two subjects. He was not, however, tenacious ness have the same course at present. as to the mode he had proposed, but thought it Mr. Dawson had no objection. the best. Mr. Dayton moved to amend the resolution by
COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS. making the reference to the Committee of Com- Mr. HARPER moved for the appointment of a merce and Manufactures; as the gentleman from Committee of Ways and Means, agreeably to the South Carolina himself, though he had at first standing rules and orders of the House. The denied any connexion between commerce and motion was agreed to. this subject, afterwards showed the connexion to He then moved that the said committee consist be intimate.
of nine members. Mr. Macon thought it would be best to leave Mr. Nicholas hoped, as this is a very importthe resolution blank, and let the reference be de- ant committee, it would consist of sixteen, which termined in the House. If the subject was re- is a member from every State of the Union. ferred at all, it certainly ought to go to the Com- Mr. Harper objected to this on the ground of mittee of Commerce and Manufactures.
its being difficult to get so large a number of memThe question on the amendment was put and bers together to do business, stating also the idea carried.
as fallacious that there was more complete knowlThe question returning to the resolution, edge on fiscal matters in so numerous a commit
Mr. VENABLE suggested to the mover of this tee than in a smaller, as wherever information resolution, the propriety of modifying it, so as was wanted from States not represented in the that the Committee of the Whole might deter- committee, it was always easily obtained by inquimine merely upon the principle. He thought it ries of the members from those States. improper for a Committee of the Whole to make After the remarks of several members, which