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[DECEMBER, 1798. G. Champlin, John Chapman, James Cochran, Wil- Blount, William Charles Cole Claiborne, John Clopliam Craik, Samuel W. Dana, John Dennis, William ton, John Dawson, Joseph Eggleston, Lucas ElmenEdmond, Thomas Evans, Abiel Foster, Dwight Foster, dorf, Albert Gallatin, William Gordon, Andrew Gregg, Jonathan Freeman, Henry Glen, Chauncey Goodrich, Robert Goodloe Harper, Carter B. Harrison, Jonathan William Gordon, Roger Griswold, John A. Hanna, N. Havens, Joseph Heister, David Holmes, Walter Robert Goodloe Harper, Thomas Hartley, William Hind. Jones, James Machir, Nathaniel Macon, William Matman, Hezekiah L. Hosmer, James H. Imlay, James thews, Blair McClenachan, Anthony New, John NiMachir, William Matthews, Lewis R. Morris, Harrison cholas, Josiah Parker, William Smith, Richard Dobbs G. Otis, Isaac Parker, Thomas Pinckney, John Reed, Spaight, Richard Sprigg, Richard Stanford, George John Rutledge, jr., James Schureman, Samuel Sewall, Thatcher, Abram Trigg, John Trigg, Philip Van CortWilliam Shepard, Thomas Sinnickson, Nathaniel Smith, landt, Joseph B. Varnum, and John Williams. Peleg Sprague, George Thatcher, Richard Thomas, Tho. Nars-Bailey Bartlett, Jonathan Brace, David mas Tillinghast, John E. Van Alen, Peleg Wadsworth, Brooks, Robert Brown, Christopher G. Champlin, John Robert Waln, and John Williams.
Chapman, James Cochran, William Craik, Samuel W. The question, of course, recurred upon the origi- Dana, John Dennis, George Dent, Wm. Edmond, Thos. nal resolution, when
Evans, Abiel Foster, Dwight Foster, Jonathan Freeman, Mr. EDMOND rose, and said that when this res
Henry Glen, Chauncey Goodrich, Roger Griswold, John olution was first laid upon the table, on hearing i: Hosmer, James H. Îmlay, Matthew Locke, Lewis
A. Hanna, Thomas Hartley, William Hindman, Hezekiah the observations of the gentleman who made it
, R. Morris, 'Harrison G. Otis, Isaac Parker, Thomas that in the course of his travels he had met a number of gentlemen unacquainted with these laws, Schureman, Samuel Sewall, William Shepard, Thomas
Pinckney, John Reed, John Rutledge, jr., James stating also a general ignorance of the people respecting them, and that certain rough drafts of Thomas, Nark Thomson, Thomas Tillinghast, John
Sinnickson, Nathaniel Smith, Peleg Sprague, Richard bills had been read for the sedition law, it occur- E. Van Alen, Abraham Venable, Peleg Wadsworth, red to his inind that the first view of the Legisla- and Robert Waln. ture, after passing laws, being to make them known to the people, if these laws are not sufficiently known, they ought to be. It struck him, also, that
Monday, December 17. as certain incendiaries appeared to be taking ad- M. W. Claiborne laid the following resolution vantage of this ignorance, it afforded an additional
the table: reason for making them known as soon as possi
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representable; he had, therefore, determined to vote for tives of America in Congress assembled, That the them. But, after seeing the several amendments Secretary of State be, and he is hereby, authorized and which had been proposed, and hearing the argu-directed to cause to be printed a certain number of copies ments adduced against the measure; when he not exceeding thousand of the Constitution of the was informed by the gentleman from Pennsylva- United States, together with the amendments which nia, and others, that these laws had been printed have been made thereto, and to cause the same to be disin handbills, and published more than any other tributed gratis throughout the United States." laws; that they had been made the groundwork Ordered to lie on the table. for meetings and declamations of self-created ora
Mr. Gallarin, from the committee directed to tors, and of persons ill disposed towards our Gov
prepare and report a bill respecting balances due ernment, for the purpose of creating uneasiness; from certain States, reported a bill
, which was he saw no necessity for the publication. since the read and committed. Legislature had done its duty in having the laws published in the usual way; and, the original res
NUMBER OF ARMED VESSELS, &c. olution being unnecessary, the amendments are Mr. Nicholas said, that as the law of last ses. equally unnecessary. It appears that both these sion for increasing the Navy Establishment had laws and the Constitution are well known, and given great discretionary powers to the President that an extra publication of them could have no of the United States, he thought it proper that the other effect than to invite the people to assemble House should receive some information as to what together, once more to act over the same scenes of had been done in consequence of these powers, disorder and confusion, which have been acted 100 particularly as it appeared to be an avowed object often already. He should, therefore, vote against to increase the Navy Establishment during the the proposition.
present session. He therefore proposed the folMr. GALLATIN wished to set the gentleman from lowing resolution: Connecticut right in one respect. He did not be- “ Resolved, That the Secretary of the Navy be dilieve the gentleman from South Carolina had said rected to lay before this House an account of all the armed a word about any meetings in Pennsylvania; if vessels employed in, or preparing for, the service of the there had been any, he himself had not heard of United States, with an estimate of the expenses of their them.
equipment, and of their annual support. Mr. Edmond declared he had not said anything Mr. J. Parker had no objection to this inquiry; about meetings in Pennsylvania.
but as the committee already appointed to conThe question on the original resolution was sider and report on the subject of the Navy Estabthen taken, and decided in the negative-yeas 34, lishment, will certainly make this a part of their nays 45, as follows:
business, he did not see any necessity for this resoYEAS ---Abraham Baldwin, David Bard, Thomas lution. He, as one of that committee, should
[H. OF R. think it his duty to give every information which vessels employed in, or preparing for, the service of the could be required on this subject.
United States, particularizing where the same were Mr. Nicholas thought if there was no objec- built, or are building, and under what contract ; their tion to the information being obtained, it was not respective sizes, number of guns, and complement of a sufficient reason for dispensing with the resolu- men, and the names of the commanders of such as are tion, because a committee already appointed might in commission, with a statement of the expense of the possibly make it a part of their duty to give the equipment of each, and of its annual support.” information required to the House. He saw no Mr. Nicholas had no objection to the substireason, if the information was necessary and pro- tution of this resolution for the one which he yesper, why the House should wait for it until a se- terday proposed, and it was agreed to by the lect committee should think proper to give it to House. them. Mr. Otis wished the gentleman from Virginia
IMPEACHMENT OF WILLIAM BLOUNT. would suffer his resolution to lie upon the table Mr. Harper, from the committee of managers till to-morrow. He himself should have no ob- of the impeachment of William Blount, to whom jection to wait for this information until the com- had been referred the message of the Senate of mittee which had been appointed should give it; this morning, reported, as their opinion, that it but
, if this resolution were passed, he should wish would be proper for the managers to attend before it to be more particular. He should wish to know the Senate at the time appointed, to request a furof what force the vessels are, what part of them her day for preparing their proceedings in the have been purchased, and what part built and said impeachment. where. He agreed this was information which The House took up the report and agreed to it. the House ought to possess; but was of opinion No other business appearing before the House, it that a select committee had better obtain it and adjourned. lay it before the House. Mr. Nicholas had no objection to the resolu
WEDNESDAY, December 19. tion laying till to-morrow, nor to its being made more particular.
Mr. Harper, from the Committee of Ways and
Means, reported a bill for the enumeration of the CENSUS.
inhabitants of the United States, which was comMr. Dawson moved that the Committee of mitted for Friday. Ways and Means be instructed to prepare and re
DIRECT TAX LAW. port a bill for the enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States.
Mr. GORDON said, it would be recollected, that Mr. Otis thought a select committee would be when the bill for laying a direct tax upon the preferable to a standing committee for this busi: United States was under consideration, certain ness; but Mr. Macon suggested that the law amendments were proposed, which, for want of would require a considerable sum to carry it into time, were passed over. One of these, which reexecution. The propriety of the reference was al- lated to the conveyance of lands, he thought essenlowed, and the motion agreed to.
tial; and, in order to bring the subject before the House, he moved that the Committee of Ways
and Means be directed to inquire whether any, TUESDAY, December 18.
and, if any, what amendments are necessary in IMPEACHMENT OF WILLIAM BLOUNT. that act, and that they report by bill or otherwise. A message was received from the Senate, notifying the House that William Blount, impeached
DISTRIBUTION OF THE CONSTITUTION. of high crimes and misdemeanors before the Sen
Mr. W. CLAIBORNE called up the resolution ate, by this House, though he had been duly sum
which he laid upon the table on Monday, for causmoned, had not appeared at the bar of the Senate ing a number of the Constitution of the United at the time appointed; and that the Senate would States, as amended, to be printed and distributed be ready to receive the managers at twelve o'clock gratis throughout the United States. this day, to take farther order in this trial.
The House having agreed to take it up, On motion of Mr. HARPER, this message was
Mr. C. hoped the resolution would be agreed to, referred to the managers of the impeachment, who as he conceived the information which it proposed had leave to sit during the session of the House. to give to the people would be highly desirable. NUMBER OF ARMED VESSELS.
It had been conceded by all, that the circulation
of the Constitution as amended, had been very Mr. J. Parker said, if his colleague (Mr. Ni- limited, and that the amendments are unknown CHOLAS) would withdraw the resolution which he in some parts of the Union. He said he should yesterday laid upon the table, relative to the Navy rejoice to see our form of Government in the Establishment, he would present one, by direc- hands of every freeman in the country; nor, if tion of the committee which had been appointed gentlemen wished it to be understood, respected, on this subject, containing more particulars, which and obeyed, could recurrence be too frequently would embrace all the objects of his colleague. had to first principles. When the people
are in It was to the following effect:
full possession of these, it could not be doubted Resolved, that the Secretary of the Navy be di- that their vigilance would preserve the Constiturected to lay before this House an account of all armed) tion inviolate to the latest posterity. How far
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Distribution of the Constitution.
this publication may be desirable in the Eastern less, indeed the principle were to be allowed a and Middle States, he could not tell; but in some good one, which was, on a former occasion, adro of the Southern, and in the two Western States, cated by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr he was decidedly of opinion, that it would be very Gallatin) on the motion of the gentleman from acceptable.
South Carolina for printing the alien and sedition On a former occasion, said Mr. C., the House laws; that gentleman told the House that he coule had been told by a member from Massachusetts, see no good reason for the publication, but that he (Mr. THATCHER,) that the people in the Western would nevertheless vote for it, because, if he dit country are not uninformed as to the Constitu- not, it would be said he was for preventing inform tion ; that it is not political information which ation from going to the people. Did I believi they want, but “moral information, fixed princi- this a just ground upon which to found my vote ples, and correct habits.” Such language as this I ought certainly to vote in favor of the presen need only to be mentioned to be despised. resolution; as I have not the least doubt it will b
The SPEAKER interrupted Mr. C. to say, that said of those who oppose it, that they are fo the member from Massachusetts was checked by keeping information from the people; but, as I d. the Speaker at the time, and that therefore his not believe the publication necessary, and as remarks were out of order.
wish to consult my own understanding as to th Mr. CLAIBORNE replied, the remark had gone necessity of the measure, rather than what may forth to the public, and it was certainly proper for be said of my conduct by others, I shall voti him to state that it was calumny.
against it. Mr. C. concluded by moving to strike out of Mr. W. CLAIBORNE denied that he had said the resolution the words “ not exceeding ," this publication would be necessary only for the in order to insert 50,000 copies; and as he had Western States; but he had stated, that he coul been informed that this number of copies might not be certain, for want of information, whethe be printed for less than a thousand dollars, he it would be equally desirable for the Eastern ant hoped the number would not be objected to, since Middle States with those of the Southern ani it would be money well expended.
Western. He believed, however, this publication The question on the amendment was put and would be acceptable in all parts of the Union negatived—33 to 32.
The amendments to the Constitution, he had beer Mr. CLAIBORNE then moved to fill the blank informed, had been published only in Mr. Swift: with 40,000 copies, which motion was carried- edition of the laws, of which 5,000 copies hac 33 to 32.
been circulated throughout the United States; si Mr. N. Smith supposed the question would now that to be possessed of a complete copy of the be on the resolution as amended. He said, he Constitution, it will be necessary for citizens not should have no objection to this publication, did only to have a copy of the Constitution, but also he suppose it necessary; but he could not con- a copy of the laws, which he would venture to say ceive what new light had flashed upon the gentle many of the Justices and Judges in many of the man from Tennessee, just at this moment, which States, and some of the Legislatures in others, made the publication more necessary than at any had not. former period since the adoption of the amend- But the gentleman from Connecticut had said, ments to the Constitution. These amendments that the Legislatures of the States, or individuals, had been regularly published in the edition of the might cause the Constitution as amended to be laws which was published in 1796. Two amend printed; but is not this, said Mr. C. a more proper ments were, indeed, then published, which have subject for the National Legislature to act upon, never been adopted, but there was a note inserted, than for any other body of men, or than for discriminating betweeh those which had been, any individual ? Does it not belong to them to and those which had not been adopted. There inform the people correctly with respect to the certainly can be no objection to the Constitution powers vested in the General Government ?. It being in the hands of every citizen ; but whether certainly did, and he was sorry to find any objecthe United States ought to be at the expense and tion made to the motion, as he thought it of the trouble of this distribution, was a question. The first importance. Those, indeed, who are in the gentleman himself supposes that there are only vicinity of large cities, where this information two or three States which are in want of this in- can be readily obtained, need not be anxious for formation; and with respect to those, the printers the present publication'; but people far removed in these States may make any publication of the from sources of information cannot get copies of Constitution which they think proper; or the the amended Constitution, except a publication of States themselves, or any individual gentleman, the kind proposed be made. or any set of gentlemen, may do it. For his own Mr. Sewall viewed the resolution under conpart, as there had been an equal distribution of sideration, as of little importance in itself, and, if the Constitution, as amended, with the laws of the unnecessary, only an useless expense of a few United States, he did not wish, by an extra publi- thousand dollars. But, instead of being a means cation, to make a difference between the publicity of information to the people, he conceived that it of the Constitution and the laws, nor between would operate a contrary way. At present, the certain laws and other laws of the Union. He same promulgation has been made of the amendwould treat them all alike. He therefore saw no ments to the Constitution, that has been made of reason for voting in favor of this resolution, un- the laws of the United States ; 5000 copies have
Distribution of the Constitution.
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been printed and circulated through the Union ; so ties about to be destroyed. If they could not be that there is no part of the country where the roused by this stimulus, it follows of course, said laws and Constitution cannot be easily obtained; Mr. T. that they are in a state of mental darkness, but these copies, and this information, is contin- and “that a pair of spectacles might as well be mally multiplied, by making it the interest of the put upon the nose of a dead man, as that informarisiers to publish them on their own account, so tion should be sent among these people !" that every man who wishes for this information, Another argument to show the impropriety of Day get it at any printing office in the country, the present resolution. There is no State in the auch better than by applying to the Secretary of Union which does not contain a printing press. State for it. The wants of the people are better He doubted not the State of Tennessee had its known in this respect by the printers than by the printer, and that he was not so fully employed, Secretary of State. And suppose 50,000 copies but that, if he thought there would be any conof the Constitution and amendments were printed, siderable demand for the Constitution of the they would not furnish a copy for every hun- United States, he would find time to print it; and dredth man. Who, then, are to be the favored the gentleman would not say that his constituents individuals to whom these copies are to be sent ? cannot afford to purchase it, since they can afford He could not tell. But as any one by expending to buy slaves, and, of course, must possess consixpence might at present purchase one for him- siderable property. Upon the whole, the gentieself, be saw no necessity for the present motion, man had himself convinced him, that there is no especially
, since by discouraging printers from demand for the Constitution in his State; or that, publishing them on their own account, those who if there be, those who want it may be readily supdid not get a copy given to them, would have to plied; he should, therefore, vote against the mopy double price for them, on account of the de- iion. creased demand. It was on this account, Mr. S. Mr. Harper felt no difficulty in confessing, said that he considered the measure as calculated that the more he reflected on this subject, in conto restrain, rather than increase information on sequence of the motion which he himself made, this subject.
and the variety of amendments which had been Mr. Toatcher said, that when he saw this proposed to it, the more he doubted the propriety subject brought forward again and again, it struck of the Government of the United States making him that the gentleman from Tennessee has got any of these extra publications. He was, howcertain complex impressions upon his mind, which ever, far from wishing to oppose a proper publibe is not able to analyze. He seems to think that cation of the Constitution as amended, nor did the people in his pari of the country do not know he think the arguments which had been used what the Constitution is; yet if he would look against the measure were sufficiently strong to back six or seven years, and see what the people show it to be unnecessary. Printers are not albare done, as well in those parts of the Union as ways inclined to run the risk of publications, in others, the conclusion must be that the people though, in the end, they might be well paid for are well informed with respect to the Constitu- their trouble; and, indeed, some people would be tion, or that they are in such a situation as that a ready to accept a copy of the Constitution, gratis, publication of 40,000 copies of that instrument and read it, who would not themselves purchase vould be of no use to give them the information. It. He was not, however, in favor of the present But they certainly, said Mr. T., do understand, at motion. He was aware that there was a want of least, the practical parts of the Constitution, as an authentic copy of the Constitution as amended. they have several times exercised their rights as The edition of the laws which had been menelectors under it. It was in vain, therefore, for tioned, contained all the amendments but one; the gentleman to say that his constituents are ig- but one, he believed, it did not contain. It ocnorant of the Constitution; since this alone shows curred to him that the publication of the laws that they are acquainted with the practical parts authorized by the Government does not extend to of it, which is all that it is of immediate conse- the laws which may be passed during the present quence for the people to know.
Congress. Might it not, then, said he be proper Look upon the subject, said Mr. T., in another to give this business some form of this kind, viz; point of view. For six or eight years past, a ses. That the Secretary of State be authorized to son of Congress has not passed, in which some publish a like number (5000) of the laws of the law has not been enacted, which certain gentle- present Congress, and ibat ihe whole Constitumen have deemed unconstitutional. This they tion be prefixed to the publication. This would bave publicly declared, and the declaration has insure a general circulation of an authentic copy gone forth to the people, and engaged the atten- of the Constitution, which might be multiplied tion
, and undergone the examination of clubs, of as printers saw proper. Mr. H. was not confident mobs
, and of legislatures. Could this examina- that this course would be the best; he barely sug. dion have taken place, said he, and yet the people gested it; and, that the subject might be more be ignorant of the Constitution ? Certainly not, fully considered, he moved to refer it to a select and therefore the people in the Western country committee. either do know what the Constitution is, or they Mr. Nicholas hoped this course would not be have remained in a state of mental apathy, from taken, since he had heard no real objection to the which they could not be roused, though told that origioal motion. Several had, indeed, been menthe Constitution was invaded, and their liber- tioned, one of them of a very extraordinary na
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Distribution of the Constitution.
ture. It was, that the people knew everything re- pies of the laws might be read, as he believed it specting the Constitution, which it is proper for would be found that the Secretary of State is authem to know; that they have nothing to do with thorized to publish 5,000 copies of the laws of evethis Government but to elect the component parts ry succeeding session, to be distributed throughout of it. Mr. N. said, he was not in the habit of an- the Union. [The law was read, and this was swering the arguments of the gentleman from found to be the fact.] whom this sentiment fell; but so extraordinary a Mr. Thatcher replied to Mr. Nicholas, that declaration ought not to pass unnoticed come from the amendments of the Constitution had been pubwhom it might. Principles of this kind, said he, lished again and again in his part of the country; are not likely to be at first generally avowed, they and he believed they had also been published in are generally ushered in indirectly, before their real that gentleman's district. With regard to the assupporters come forward and avow them. He tonishment and surprise which he had expressed hoped so dishonorable a sentiment would always at the sentiments which he (Mr. T.) had deliverbe scouted by the people of the United States. ered, it is natural when anything is new, that it
But, it was said, that this measure is unneces- should excite these sensations, but after gazing for sary, because printers will always find it their in- some time, the astonishment will subside, and the terest to print what is much wanted; so that the spectators will act rationally upon it. promulgation of a perfect copy of the Constitution Mr. Macon said, after hearing the law, which is to depend upon the enterprise of individuals, he had called for, read, the proposed reference and, if it is not thus circulated, the people are to must appear unnecessary. This resolution, said remain in ignorance with respect to the basis of he, embraces no new principle. It is the same as our laws and Government. Ai present, he believ- that upon which the extra publication of the laws ed, no one could point to any volume containing was founded. It was thought the laws were not our Constitution complete. The whole amend- sufficiently known, and an extra publication of ments had been published, but, having been rati- them was agreed upon. It was now supposed that fied by degrees, the people do not know which are the Constitution, as amended, is not sufficiently a part of the Constitution, and which are not known, and a further publication of it is proposed. And he would also tell gentlemen that they are As to the printers publishing it, if they had thought mistaken with respect to individual industry. It it worth their notice, it would have been done beis only in places where printers find it difficult to fore this time; and, not having been done, Conmake a living, that everything is laid hold of for gress ought to make the publication, since it is clear publication, which affords the shadow of success. that the amendments are not sufficiently known. In places where this difficolty does not exist, nei- The instance mentioned the other day by a memther does this industry appear. He doubted whe- ber from Maryland, of a gentleman who was cather even the gentleman from Massachusetts him- pable of making an oration at a public meeting, self could point to a publication in his part of the not knowing anything of the amendments to the country (where individual exertions were carried Constitution, was a strong proof that they are not much further than in many other parts of the generally known. This did not happen on the Union) containing a perfect copy of the Constitu- other side the mountains, but in as thick a settled tion. He hoped this resolution would be agreed part of the country as any in the United States; to, if for no other reason than on account of the and as it had been stated that 50,000 copies of the arguments which had been urged against it, which Constitution complete might be printed for less certainly were calculated to pervert all the prin- than a thousand dollars, there could be no reason ciples of our Government.
able objection to its being done. He thought this Mr. Craļk understood that the question now publication far more necessary than the extra pubbefore the House, is not whether the Constitution lication of despatches, ordered at the last session. shall be published, but whether the resolution Mr. J. Williams said, it appeared to him that shall be referred to a select committee. He did it would be much better to have this subject refernot think that the arguments of any gentleman red as proposed, than that a question should be ought to be given as a reason for passing a resolu- taken upon the resolution. By the law, which tion, but the reasonableness of the motion itself. It had been read, it appeared that an extra edition of ought also to be founded upon a general view of the laws of the present Congress would have to the subject, and not on any particular considera- be printed, and the Constitution could be added to tion. He should, therefore, prefer the motion of it. He should not have said a word on this subthe gentleman from South Carolina, as it would ject, but from what had fallen from the gentleman not appear to be pointed to the particular situation from Tennessee. That gentleman said, “ if we in which we stand with respect to certain laws mean to support our liberty, Constitution, and lately passed. He did not think it necessary to Government, it is necessary to support this resolupublish the Constitution in a more general manner tion." Mr. W. wished to know from that gentle than the laws, many of which are penal, and of man, whether, if the House agreed to this resolucourse immediately affect the lives and property tion or not, they could not support these ? Such senof the people. As the proposition of the gentle-timents, thrown out in debate, said he, serve only man from South Carolina connected the laws and to create warmth, and answer no good purpose Constitution together, he preferred that mode. whatever. He wished all the acts of Government
Mr. Macon wished, before the question was put, to have the greatest publicity; but, when called that the law authorizing the printing of 5,000 co-I upon to print an extra number of copies of ansa