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Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856 : from Gales and Seaton's Annals of Congress, from their Register of debates, and from the official reported debates by John C. Rives online

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Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856 : from Gales and Seaton's Annals of Congress, from their Register of debates, and from the official reported debates by John C. Rives → online text (page 101 of 184)
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of Samuel Chase. Mr. J. said he would submit
whether it was proper or just to compel men at
a great expense to attend at the seat of Govern-
ment in an inclement season of the year without
giving them a compensation . If a law had been
previously passed prescribing that the witnesses
of the accused should be paid by him, they
would have required some assurance from him.
But as no discrimination had been made between
the witnesses, they came forward in full faith
that the Government would allow them a liberal

Mr. NioHOLSOK said he had but a few obser-
vations to make on this subject : indeed, indispo-
sition disabled him from making manv. He
considered this bill as calculated to establish a
great principle— a principle whether, in aU
cases of impeachment, the United States are to
bear the burden. It was not in reference to an
individual that he was induced to advocate the
amendment of his honorable friend, the Speaker,
but because its effect would be to establish a
principle that would herei^ter govern in similar
cases. If the .principle were establiBhed that in
all cases of impeachment the Government is to
bear the expense, it will put it in the power of
the individual impeached to increase tlie burden
to any extent he pleases. And whenever a man
shall be impeached, base enough to hate the
Government under which he lives and holds an
office, in a case which requires but two wit-
nesses, he may summon two hundred. This
bill will establish such a principle, and we shall
in aU future oases be told that the witnesses of
the accused were paid in the case of Chase. It
was for this reason, Mr. N. said, he advocated
the amendment, and to convince the individual
that subjected himself to an impeachment that
he must suffer some pains and penalties. For it
was not to be presumed that the House of Rep-
resentatives would impeach any man unless
there was some color for it — some reason to in-
duce the nation at large to believe him guilty.
An impeachment speaks the language of the
nation, expressed through their representatives ;
and wnenever a man in office conducts himself

Digitized by




H. OF R.]

Poffmmtof Wiimetae$,

[FkBRUAST, 1806L

8o as to make the nation beJieve him gniltv, it
was not desirable to offer the protection held
out in the bill, pardonlarly when a majority in
the other branch also believed him gniftj.

Bnt, gentlemen say, this is not the practice in
the State courts ; and we are told In Virginia,
when a miCn is acquitted, the State pays the ex-
pense of his witnesses. Mr. N. said diis might
be so, though he did not know that it was ; it
was not so, however, in the courts of the United
States. Any gentleman who doubted thi5, had
only to refer to the treasurer's aocounta since
the Oovernment had been in operation, and he
called upon any such gentleman to show a single
charge for witnesses in cases of acquittal. It is
not the practice in England, nor could it be
made to appear by anydocument, that the wit-
nesses summoned by Warren Hastings, though
he was acquitted, had been paid by tlie Crovem-
ment. But admitting, for argument's sake, the
practice to be such in the United States as it is
represented to be in the courts of Virginia,
would that meet the present case? No. In
Virginia there was a reciprocity. There, if a
man was convicted, he paid all the costs, and if
acquitted, the State pays them. But, in the
United States, do we make the convicted pay
the costs? Had the accused Judge been con-
victed, would gentlemen advocate his paying all
the costs ? No. In that case he would have
been scot free as to the payment of money,
though he might have sunk in reputation. In
Virginia there is a reciprocity; the convicted
either pays the expenses of the prosecution or
goes to jail ; whereas, in this case, the United
States are called upon to bear the whole burden.
When Judge Pickering was convicted, was he
called on to pay the costs? Such a thing was
not then dreamed of. It was then considered
proper that the United States should pay their
own witnesses. The argument, therefore, fails.
The only objection of any weight is that raised
by the gentleman from North Onrolina. It is
said to be impossible to discriminate the wit-
nesses. The gentleman says that he has ex-
amined the Journals of the Senate, and cannot
find any discrimination. But has he looked at
the Journals of impeachment, where it appears
that such witnesses were sworn on the part of
the United States, and such on the part of the
accused ? Besides, if this evidence were not on
the journal, it could be got from the parties
themselves, who could swear they were sum-
moned on the part of the United States or the
defendant. This was a common thing in the
courts of Maryland, and Mr. N. supposed it was
likewise so in other courts. He concluded his
remarks by expressing a hope that the amend-
ment would be adopted.

Mr. Early said it was his misfortune the last
session to differ with a raigority of the House,
and his present opinion was what it then was.
His opinion was not founded either on general

Srinciples, or on the practice of the several
tates, or United States courts. It was founded
on the peculiar ciroumstanoea of this case.

Some of these circumstances had already been
stated by gentlemen ; but there were some im-
portant points of view in which they might be
considered, which haa not been notic^ It
was true, as had been stated by the gentleman
from North Carolina, that it could not be dis-
tinguished which witnesses were summoned on
the part of the prosecution, and which on the
part of the respondent, from an omission by the
Senate, when they prescribed the form of the
subpoena, to distinguish, as it is usual, for which
party it was issued. This fact was abundantly
proved by the form of the subpoena. How,
then, were witnesses to know that they were
summoned on the part of the United States, or
the respondent t They could not know. There
were no circumstances by which they could ac-
quire such knowledge. The party did not serve
his subpoenas in person, but they were all sent
to the marshal of a given State. A number of
them were taken out in blank, and sent to the
marshals by post. The gentleman from Mary-
land has endeavored to obviate the force of
this fact, by informing us that a discrimination
may be made, by the circumstance of the fact
on which side the witnesses were sworn. True;
but no gentleman knows better than himself
that the witnesses summoned on one side were,
in some instances, sworn on the other ; and he
would call his recollection to the testimony
given bv Messrs. Tilghman and Rawle.

[Mr. N1CROL6OX here explained, and contested
the fact. Mr. Early agreed that these two
witnesses had been summoned both on tiie part
of the prosecution and the respondent]

Mr. Early said, whether he was correct or
not as to the particular cases he had alluded to,
he was not mistaken as to the general fact. The
gentleman from Maryland hiui endeavored to
obviate the force of this argument in another
way, by representing that the witnesses might
be called on to swear on which side they were
sworn. But this could not be done, hot by the
passage of some law on the subject There was
no authority which would justify the Secretary
of the Senate in demanding such an oath, and
if the circumstance could be proved, there was
no power, under any existing law, by which the
witnesses could recover a compensation for their
attendance. They were compelled to attend -
by whom ? By a branch of this Legislature, on
pain of imprisonment in case of disobedience
whence shall they be indenmified ? Will any
gentleman say they can recover from tine re-
spondent? If so, let them point to the law
which authorizes such a recovery. Will they
say it can be had under the common law f A
majority of this House will not bear them out in
the argument. For it is a standing principle
with us, that the common law is not in force in
the courts of the United States. But put this
objection aside — how ranch shall they recover!
Where is the law fixing their per diem allow-
ance ? There is a perfect chasm in the subject

Mr. £. repeated that his opinion was governed
by the peculiar circumstances of the case; by

Digitized by




FBUiOABT, 1806.]

Amendment to the Oonttkutwn,

[H. or R.

the omission of the Senate to insert in the sub-
pcana, on whose side the witneseef: were sum-
monedf or to provide for making any recovery
from the accused ; or how much, and where the
recovery should be made. He considered the
witnesses summoned, owins to this omission, as
being without a remedy, m)m which resulted
the obligation on the part of the Government,
as they made the omission, to provide a remedy.
The gentleman from Maryland, in noticing the
observations relative to the practice of Virginia^
stated, that if a similar reciprocity existed on
impeachments, his oljection to this bill in whole
or in part would be done away. Mr. £. said,
that in his opinion, this .observation fortified the
ground he had taken. If there were no reci-
procity in this case, it was for want of a general
provision. Let us then pass a law making this
provision, and let it operate in all future cases.
This woold be equitable. But the want of re-
ciprocity which arose with themselves, was no
groimd for omitting to make the only provision
lor the witnesses which the case allowed.
When at the last session, in consequence of the
disagreeing votes of the two Houses, a committee
of conference had been appointed, he recollected
that a distinguished member of the other branch,
now absent in consequence of an unfortunate
accident, took this ground — ^t^hat the subpoena
did not distinguish on which side the witnesses
irere summoned, and made a proposition that
the bUl should be so modified as to place the
allowance made to the witnesses of the respond-
eot on this peculiar ground. This proposition
did not then obtain, but Mr. E. was still for tak-
ing such a course. He hoped the amendment
of the honorable Speaker would not prevail ;
in which case he would move, by way of pre-
amble to the bilL what would place the allow-
anoe on the peculiar ground he had stated, and
thus remove the objections of the Speaker.

Mr. Nicholson made some explanation of
what be had previously stated in regard to the
practice of courts, and observed that a witness
Munmoned on one side was not permitted to
be sworn on the other, until he had been pre-
▼iooaly examined by the party summoning him.
He also passed over the journal of impeachment,
to show that the witnesses on the part of the
prosecution had all been examined in the first
instance, with a few exceptions, which were
apeciaUy noted, before those on t^ie part of the
nqpondent were called.

Mr. Smus, being of opinion that the question
vas not ripe for decision, moved that the com-
mittee should rise and ask leave to sit again.

This motion having prevailed, the comnuttee
rofle^ and the House adjourned.

MoNDAT, February 24.
A new member, to wit, Etaf Albzander,
ntnmed to serve as a member of this House,
for the State of North Carolina, in the place of
Nathaniel Alexander, appointed governor of
^ said State, appeared, produced his creden-

tials, was qualified, and took his seat in the

Amendment qf the Comtitution,


Mr. J. Randolph observed that some time
had elapsed since he gave notice that he should
call up his resolution for amending the Consti-
tution of the United States. The state of his
health had not admitted of his taking his seat
before this day. He therefore availed himself
of the first opportunity to move that the House
should resolve itself into a Committee of the
Whole on the state of the Union, with the view
of takinff that resolution into consideration.

Mr. Masters moved a postponement

The Spbaxer said there could be no post^
ponement of a subject referred to a Committee
of the Whole on the state of the Union, as it
was in order every day to take up business so

Mr. J. Raitdolph said, if gentlemen were un-
prepared, he had no objection to waive his call
until to-morrow.

The Speaker remarked that there could be
no debate on the priority of business.

Mr. Conrad moved to discharge the Com-
mittee of the Whole from the further considera-
tion of the resolution. He said he would
briefly assign his reasons for this motion. The
session had progressed and the season was fast
apprcfticliing when every man of agricultural
pursuits would be anxious to attend to them,
unless detained by important business. He did
not believe the proposed amendment to ther
constitution so inoportant as to require imme-
diate attention. He hoped, therefore, that it
would be postponed until the next session, and
that the way would thereby be paved for trans-
acting the important national business ^at
claimed their earliest attention!

The Speaker said the first question was on
the House resolving itself into a Committee of
the Whole.

The question was taken on this motion, and
carried — ^yeas 61.

Mr. Greoo was called to the Chair, and the
resolution having been read, as follows :

JtuUved^ by the Senate and ffouee of Repreaenta*
Hftee of the United Statee of Ameriea, in Congreee
aeaeniUd, two'-thirda of both Houses concurring^
That the foUowing article be sabmitted to the Legis-
latures of the several States, which, when ratified
and confirmed by the Leglnlatiirea of three-fonrtfaa
of the said States, shall be valid and binding as a
part of the Coustitation of the United States :

The Judges of the Supreme and all other Courts
of the United Stetes shall be removed from office by
the President, on the ioint address of both Houses of
CoDgress requesting tne same.

The committee divided on agreeing to it,
without debate — ^yeas 61, nays 66.

^ The committee then rose, and reported their
disagreement to the resolution.

The House having agreed to consider the

Digitized by




H. OF R.]

Amendment of the Conetitutum,

[Fkbrdast, 1W6L

Mr. J. Randolph caDed for the taking the
yeas and nays on the question of ooncnrrence.

Mr. Glabk moved a postponement of the con-
sideration of the report to the third Monday of
March, merely with the view of making it give
place to more important hnsiness, which he
said most be attended to. He said he had
voted against the resolution, not becanse he was
inimical to the principle involved in it With
a small modification, he should be in &vor of
it ; and he hoped the period was not distant
when, with such a modification, it would be-
come a part of the constitution.

Mr. J. Randolph hoped a postponement to
80 distant a day would not prevail. He was
himself desirous that it should be postponed for
a few days, in order to give notice to the House,
that there might be a full vote on what he con-
sidered a most important measure. He ap-
peared in this instance, as in many others, to
be in a state of profound error. The amend-
ment, or deterioration of the constitution, he
had always considered to be a point of the
greatest importance. But now, judging by the
opinions of gentlemen, it seemed to be of
lesser importance than the laying a duty of one
or two per cent, to continue but for two or
three years. It has, said Mr. R., been a subject
of extreme concern to me, though not myself
able to attend to the pnblic business, to find, on
inquiring daily of my colleagues, that the House
has refused to do any business, because on a
future day they expected some important busi-
ness to come before them. I understand that
a very important resolution of a gentleman
from Pennsylvania, on a business so generally
denominated the Yazoo as to require no other
name, was postponed on the same ground that
my colleague now wishes the resolution under
consideration postponed. If there is such im-
portant business to transact, in God^s name,
why not progress in it? But notwithstanding
this immensely important business, which serves
as an excuse for doing nothing, we make no
progress in it, if by it I am to understand the
Btate of our foreign relations, I have no wish,
nor do I intend to allude to any thing which
passed while we were sitting in conclave. But
I did hope, when one or two members, who
were represented as the only hindrances to the
despatcn of business, were withdrawn from the
House for one or two weeks, every thing would
have been completed. I expected the luloption
of very different measiures towards Great
Britain. Instead of this, I find nothing done.
And now. wlien an amendment to the consti-
tution is Drought forward, which is allowed to
be very important, and when the resolution of
the gentleman from Pennsylvania is called up,
we are told by gentlemen, we cannot attend
to these subjects ; there is important business
which we expect to have at some future day
before us, and therefore we are determined in
the interim to do nothing.

One word as to the remark of the gentleman
on my left, (Mr. Oonbad.) He belongs to a

class of men which I highly respect, for th«
plain reason that I belong to it myself. He
says, the time is approaching when every man
engaged in agricultural pursuits must be anxioas
to go home, and therefore he does not wish at
present to act on the resolution I have laid on
your table. True; but when men, be they
agricultural, mechanical, or of any other pro-
fession, undertake any business, it is their dotj
to go through with it at every hazard. I do
not know a man in the House who has suffered
more than the individual who now addreseei
you by his attendance here, and if I could have
found an apolosy in my own mind, I shoold
long since have been gone. If the situation of
affairs warranted it, I should be willing to id*
journ for two or three months. But I never
can agree to adjourn in the present perilous
state of affairs, and leave the country to a blind
and fortuitous destiny. I must first see some-
thing like land, some foot-hold, something like
certainty, instead of a political diaos, without
form or body. Before I consent to go home, I
must see something like a safe and honorable
issue to our differences with foreign powers;
and I must see, I hope, another tMn^^— some-
thing like an attempt to bring the oonstitotion
of this people back to the principles on which
this Administration came into power.* I
take this proposition, and that of tiie gentle-
man ttom Maryland, (Mr. Kicholson,) to be
two important means of bringing that Adminis-
tration back to those principles. My fHend
fh)m Virginia says, he expects, at a ftitore
period, to obtain this reform. I fear, if delay
be permitted, that we shall get into the situation
of another deliberative assembly, of which
every member agrees that reform is necessary,
but that the present is not the accepted timei
I am afraid that we are in this situation already.
I believe it, because I see it It is a most for-
tunate circumstance that we made hay while
the sun shone ; that we got in the harvest at
the first session of the seventh Congress ; that
we did away the midnight judiciary and the
internal taxes. If those institutions were now
standing, I believe they would be as impregnable
as any part of the system around which gentle-
men affect to rally. I believe it, becanse I believe
appointments would have their effect Yes, it is
but too true, that patriots, in opposition, are as
apt to become courtiers in power, as courtiers in
power are fond of becommg patriots m oppod-
tion. So far, then, f^m wiping to postpone this
measure, I believe that delay will only serve to
enhance the difficulty of obtaining it It is a
maxim laid down by every man that has writ-
ten on national policy, that those abuses which
are left untouched in the period of a revola-

• This iTM th« pnblio oommenoenmt of Ifr. Buidolpli^
eepamtion from the Administration of Mr. JedPenon; bat
bis dissa^Ukctlon had began befora, at the T«tentioii of Hr.
Granger, Poetmaster-Oeneral, in the Cabinet, after it was
known that he was the agent of the New England Waisr
aippl Land Companj.

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Fbruabt, 180&]

AmeKdment of the Contttiution,

[H. OP R.

tioi), are sanctified by time, and remain as the nest-
eggs of future corruption, until they compel a na-
tion, either to sweep them away, or to sink be-
neaUi them. This, without any exception, is the
hbtory of all corruptions ; and those corruptions
and abuses not reformed at the first session of the
seventh Congress, what has become of them ?
Have they been suffered to sleep ? If they have,
is it not to be apprehended that they will rise
refreshed from their slumbers with gigantic
streni^h ? Fortunate it was that, at the first
session of the seventh Congress the midnight
judiciary and the internal taxes were done
away ; and it would likewise have been fortu-
nate, if another measure had been attended to
at the same time. It would have been, in my
firm persuasion, very different in its issne from
that which it has been. If the great eolprit,
whose judicial crimes or incapacity had called
ibr legislative punishment under the constitu-
tion, and whioo have given rise to the motion
sow before us, had been accused at the first ses-
sion of the seventh Congress, that accusation
would have had a very different issne. And
why ? Because it is perfectly immaterial what
a man^s crimes are— every day that elapses be-
tween their commission and the time he is
called to answer, lessens the detestation and
horror felt for them, and, of course, enhances
the value of his chance of an escape from pun-
ishment. I am persuaded that, in the remarks
I have offered, I have been hurried into some
observations that do not strictly belong to it.
Tet these remarks furnish a sound reason for
not deferring the proposition until the time
moved by my colleague. I hope, therefore, the
House will reject the postponement until the
third Monday of March, and that a postponement
will take place to some time when the House
ahaU be fuller, when a decision can be made
after mature reflection. For, truly, as to the

r vision under the constitution, can any man
so mad or foolish as to think of again trying
it? I consider the decbion of the last session
as having established this principle — ^Umt an
officer of the United States may act in as cor-
ropt a manner as he pleases, without there
being any constitutional provision to call him

Mr. Qbrgo.— I feel bnt little concerned as to
the fate of this motion. I am ready at any
time to ^ve my vote on the resolution. As it
now stands, I shall vote against it ; but modi-
fied, as I have seen it in the hands of a gentle-
man from Vir^nia, I shall vote for it. But my
prindpal reason for rising, is to say that a great
part of the censure oast on the House by the
gentleman from Virginia for not meeting the
national busine^ is proper and applicable ; and
I regret that it is so. But if the gentleman re-
flects on the subject, he will acknowledge that
a great part of the delay which has occurred,
attaches to himself. I, four weeks ago, sub-
mitted a resolution to the House on some
points of dispute between one of the bellige-
rent nations and the United States; I was anx-

ious that it should be taken up and promptly
decided, one way or another. The gentleman
from Virginia then called for certain statements
from the Treasury, which he considered as hav-
ing a bearing on the subject Under that im-
Sression the consideration of the resolution was
eferred from day to day ; and the statements
have not yet been received. I stated, at the
time, that these statements could have no in-
fluence on my vote ; bnt other gentlemen said,
they would Influence theirs. I regret that we
have not been able to go on with this business.
I do not know how long we are to be kept in
this paralytic state. If the gentleman who has
called for the statements, and other gentlemen
will agree, I am prepared at once to go into an
examination of tiie subject But, as the gen-
tleman from Virginia was the first to embark
the House in this call, I hope he will take a
part of the censure to himself.

Mr. Smiue. — ^I am sorry the motion of post-
ponement has been made. I do not know any
other time better than the present for the dis-
cussion of this subject It is a subject of the
last importance to the peace and happiness

Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856 : from Gales and Seaton's Annals of Congress, from their Register of debates, and from the official reported debates by John C. Rives → online text (page 101 of 184)