United States. Congress.

The Congressional register : or, History of the proceedings and debates of the first House of Representatives of the United States of America ... containing an impartial account of the most interesting speeches and motions, and accurate copies of remarkable papers laid before and offered to the Hous online

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Online LibraryUnited States. CongressThe Congressional register : or, History of the proceedings and debates of the first House of Representatives of the United States of America ... containing an impartial account of the most interesting speeches and motions, and accurate copies of remarkable papers laid before and offered to the Hous → online text (page 1 of 49)
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Theological Seminary,

PmNCETON, N.^.^^^ ^^^

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Houfe of Reprefentatives

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New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Nev/-
YoRK, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Maryland, Virginia, South-
Carolina, and Georgia-

Being the Eleven States that have ratified the Constii
TUTiON of the Government oi the

United States,


The moft interefcing Speeches and Motions ; and ac-
curate Copies of remarkable Papers laid before
and offered to the House.

Taken in short hand


N E W - Y R K^

Printed by HODGE, ALLEN, and CAMPBELL,

And for T. LLOYD, the Proprietory,









T E S A. 179C?,

George Clymer,
Thomas Fitzrimons,
Thomas Hartley,
Daniel Heifter,
F.A.Muhlenberg, Speaker.
Peter Muhlenberg,
Thomas Scott,
Henry Wynkoop.
John Vining.
Daniel Carroll,
Benjamin Contee,
George Gale,
XVilliam Smith,
Michael Jenifer Stone,
Theodorick Bland,
John Brown,
Ifaac Coles,
Samuel Grltlin,
Richard Bland Lee,
James Madifon, juii,
Andrew Moore,
John Page,
Alexander White,
Jofiah Parker.
Edanus Burk^,
Daniel Huger,
William Smith,
Thomas Sumpter,
Thomas Tudor Tucker.
Abraham Baldwin,
James Jackfon,
George Mathews.

Mr. fpeaker and 25 other members, viz. melTrs. Poller,
Gilman, Livermore, Ames, Gerry, Goodhue, Grout, Par^
fridge, Thatcher, Sherman, Benfon, Floyd, Lawrancc,
P. Muhlenberg, Scott, Sencv, Brown, Coles, Griffin,
White, Burke, Huger, Smith (of S. C) Tucker, an'd
Baldvv^in, appeared and took their feats ; but not being a
quorum, they adjourned until


Mr. BoUDiNOT took his feat No quorum.

J A N U A R ¥ 6\

Mr. Sci-iUREMAN, rm-. Page, and n3r. Lee took theii
feats No quorum.

A. 1790. Of congress. ^

J A N U A R y J,

Mr. Sturgis, mr. Wadsworth, mr. Van Rens-
SELLAER, inr. Carroll, and mr. Mathews, appear-
ed and took their feats, and a qaoram of the whyle being
prefent, it was

Ordered^ That a melT^ore be fent to the fenate to Inform
them that a quorum of ihishoufe is affembled, and ready to
proceed to bufmefs.

Mr. fpeaker laid before the boiife a letter from the pre-
fident of the United States, of the 4th inft . reqiieiHng that
when there fliail be a fuHicient number of the two houfes of
congrefs alfembled to proceed to bufioefs, he may be in-
formed of it ; and alfo at what time and place it will be
convenient for consrefs that he fhould meet them, in order
to make fome oral communications at the commencement
of their fefTion ; which was read, and ordered to lie on the

A mefTage from the fenate by mr. Otis.

Mr. fpeaker, The fenate having appointed a committee
on their part, jointly with fuch committee as fhall be ap-
pointed on the part of the houfe, to wait on the prefident
of the United States, and notify him that a quorum of the
two houfes had affembled, and will be ready, in the fenate
chamber, at fuch time as he (hall appoint, to receive any
communications which he (liall think proper to make.

A.nd then he withdrew.

Mefns. Oilman, Ames, and Seney were then appointed
a committee on the part of the houfe for the purpofe ex-
preifed in the meilage from the fenate.

It was then ordered, That a committee be appointed to
examine the journal of the lall feffion, and to report there-
from all fuch matters of bufinefs as were then depending
and undetermined, and a committee was appointed, confiii;-
ing of meffrs. Boudinot, Sherman, and White.

Rt'Jolt'cd, That two chaplains of difiPerent denominations
be appointed to congrefs for the prefent feffion, one by
each houfe, who (hall interchange weekly.

Ordered, That the clerk of the houfe do carry the faid
refolution to the fenate, and defire their concurrence.
Mr. Oilman,

From the committee appointed to wait on the prefident
of the United States, purfuam to the order of this dav, re-
ported that the committee had, according to order, per-
formed that fervice, and that the prefident was pleafed to

6 DEBATES A. 1790.

fay be would attend to make his conimunlca:lons to both
.boufes of congrefs to-morrow morning at 11 o'clock.

I'hen the boufe adjourned.

J A N U A R Y 8.

The boufe met purfuant to adjournment.

Mr. Kenry Wynkoop, from Pennfylvania, appeared and
took his feat.

The fpeaker and members prefent attended In the fenate
chamber to receive the preftdent, who addrelled both houfcs
in the following fpeech :

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate^
and Houfe of Rcprejentatives,
I EMBRACE, whh great fatisfaftion, the opportunity
whicli now prefents itfelf of congratulating you on the pre-
fent favorable profpecls of our public affbirs.

The recent accefhon of" the important ftate of North-Ca-
rolina to the conftitution of the United States, of which of-
ficial information has been received ; the rifmg credit and
refpcftability of our country ; the general and increafing
good will towards the government of the union ; and the
concord, peace and plenty, with which we are bleiTed, are
circumftances aufplcious, in an eminent degree, to our na-
tional profperity.

In refuming your confultations for the general good, you
cannnot but derive encouragement from the refleflion, that
the mea lures of the laft fefnon have been as fatisfa£tory to
your conllituents as the novelty and difficulty of the work
allowed you to hope. Still further to realize their expec-
tations, and to fecure the blefhngs which a gracious Provi-
dence has placed within our reach, will, in the courfe of the
prefent important fefTion, call for the cool and deliberate
exertion of your patriotifm, firmnefs and wifdom.

Among the manv intereftlng objefts which will engage
your attention, that of providing for the com.mon defence
will merit particular regard, to be prepared for war, is one
of the moft efFe^tual means of preferving peace.

A. free people ought not only to be armed, butdifciplined,
to which end a uniform and well-digefled plan is requifite ;
and their fafety and intereft require, that they fhould pro-
mote fuch mianufa61:ories, as tend to render them indepen-
dent on others, foreffeniial, particularly for military fup-

The proper eftablifhment of the troops which may be
^deemed indifpenfable, will be entitled to mature confidcra-

A. 1790. O F C O N G R E S S. 7

tion ; in the arrangements, which may be made refpcfting
it, it will be of importance to concihate the comfortable
fupport of the oilicers and foldiers, with a due regard to

Tliere was a rcafon to hope, that the pacit'ic meafiires
adopted widi regard to certain holllle tribes of Indians,
wonld have reheved the inhabitants of our fouthern and
vveftern frontiers from their depredations ; but you will
perceive, from the information contained in the papers
which 1 fliall dire6l to be laid before you (comprehending a
communication from the commonweahh of Virginia) iliat
we ought to be prepared to afford protePtion to thofe parts
of the union, and, if necelfary, to punifii aggredbrs.

The interefls of the United States require, that our inter-
courfe with other nations fhould be facilitated by fuch pro-
vifions as will enable me to fulfil my duty in that refpeft, in
the manner which circumftances may render mod conducive
to the public good: And to this end, that thecompenfations to
be made to the perfons who may be employed, fliould, ac-
cording to the nauire of their appointments, be defined by
law, and a competent fund delignated for defraying the ex-
pences incident to the conducf of our foreign affairs.

Various conliderations, alfo, render it expedient, that the
terms on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of
citizens, fiiould be fpeediivafcertained by a uniform rule of
ijaturalization. Uniformity in the currency, v/eights and
meafures of the United States, is an object of great impor-
tance, and will, I am perfuaded, be duly attended to.

The advancement of agriculture, comjiierce and, m.anu-
fatunxs, by all proper means, will not, I truif, need recom-
mendation. But i cannot forbear intimating to )ou, the
expediency of giving enectual encouragement, as well to
the introduciion of nevv' and uCeful inventions from abroad,
as to the exertions of (kill and genius in producing them at
liome ; and of facilitating the intercourfe between the dif-
tant parts of our country by a due attention to the pod-
oiTice and poft-roads.

Nor am I lefs periuaded tl^nt you will agree with me in
opunon, tliat there is nothinj[r which can better deferve vour
patronage, than the promotidri of fciencc and Hterature.
Knowltdge is in every country, the fureir bafis of public
happinefs : In one, in which the meafures of government
receive their imprelfion fo immediately from the fenfe of
the conimunity, as in ours, it is proportionably effential.
To the Iccurity of a free con flit ution, it coj. tributes in vaii-

8 DEBATES A. 1790.

ous ways : By convincing thofe, who are intrufted with
the public adminiftration, that every valuable endof govern-
njent is beft ani'wered by the enlightened confidence of the
people : And by teaching the people themfelves to know
and to value their own rights ; to difcern and provide again H:
invafions of them ; to diilinguifh between oppreflion and
the neceiTary exercife of lawful authority ; between bur-
dens proceeding from a difregard to their convenience, and
thole refulting from the inevitable exigencies of fociety ; to
difcriminate the fpirit of liberty from that of licentioufnefs,
cherifiiing the firft, avoiding the laft ; and uniting a fpeedy,
but temperate vigilance againit encroachments, with an in-
violable refpecl to the laws.

Whether this defirable obje6t will be beft promoted by
affording aids to feminaries of learning already eftablifhed,
by the inltitution of a national univerfity, or by any other
expedients, will be well worthy of a place in the delibera-
tions of the legiflature.

Gentlemen of the Houfe of B.eprefciitdti~des,

I faw, with peculiar pleafure, at the clofe of the laft fef-
fion, the refolution entered into by you, expreffive of your
opinion, that an adequate provifion for the fupport of the
public credit, is a matter of high importance to the national
honor and proff^erity. In this fentiraent I entirely concur;
and to a perfecl confidence in your beft endeavors to devife
fuch a provifion as will be truly confiftent with the end, I
add an equal reliance on the chearful co-operation of the
other branch of the legillature. It would be fuperfluous to
fpecify inducements to a meafure in which the charatler
and permanent interefts of the United States are {o obvi-
ouOy and fo deeply concerned ; and which has received
fo explicit a fancf ion from your declaration.

Gentlemen of the Senate and
Houfe of RepreJentativeSy

I have direfled the proper officers to lay before you, re-
fpeclively, fuch papers and eftimates as regard the affairs
particularly recommended to your confideration, and necef-
fary to convey to you that iaformation of the ilate of the
union which it is my duty to afford.

The welfare of our country is the great objeft to which
€A\x cares and efforts ought to be dire6led ; and I fiiall de-
rive great fatisiaSion from a co-operation with you in the

A. 1790. F C O N G R E S S. 9

pleafing, though arduous talk of infurlng to our fellow-ci-
tizens the blclTings which they have a right to exnecl from
a free, efBcient, and equal jg^overnment.

United Slates, Jan. 8, 1790.

Mr. fpeaker, and the members having returned to the
houfe, a copy of the foregoing fpeech was read ; and on

Ordered, That the houfe, to-morrow, refolve itfelf into a
committee of the whole on the fame.

The journals were then read by the clerk.

Mr. BouDiNOT m.oved to eorrcft the title bv {lnkin(y
out all U'»e words, after declaring it merely the journal o? .
the Houfe of Reprefentatives. He was fecondcd by mr.

Mr. Page

Oppofed it, becaufe the title of the journal contained no-
thing more 'than the faft. It was denominated the Second
Seffion of the Firll Congrefs under the Confiitution of go-
vernment of the United States, propofed Sept. 17th, if^-^,
by the convention in Philadelphia; and he called upon
gentlemen to fay if this was more or lefe than the truth •
befide it was perfeftly confonant with parliamentarv prac-
tice ; if the laft fitting of congrefs, and the prefent were \o
be determined one feflion, than all bufinefs would proceed
from the Rate in which it had been left. laft September ;
now this was contrary to the rule ellablifhed by the Lex Par-
liame.nteria, and might be produ61:ive of bad confeouences.
If the words are to be ftruck out, the natural implication
will be, that the tv/o fittings are but one felTion.


Declared, he had no defign of deciding the queftion al-
luded to by his honorable friend. It was luerely to rid ihc
journal of words which appeared to him faperflu'ous.
Mr. Sherman

Was in fentiment with the gentleman from Jerfey ; he
did not wifh to give an opinion refpefting the unfinifhed
btifmefs of kft feflion, but he thought the Regulation on
that head, had better be eihbliflied by a joint rule of both

Mr. Tucker

Remarked that the queftion " whether the bufinefs of lafi:
\c^i'or\ was to be taken up de-novo, or to be continued on-
ward from the ilate in which it had been left, was npf

Vol. Ill, B

io DEBATES A. 1-90.

properly befoVe the boiife, but the word CefTion, in his opi-
iiion,ought to be preferved in the journa!, becaufe its mean-
ing was of fome importance. He obferved, that the legif-
Jature of South-Caroiftia was a bienial body, and that it was
for fome time a matter of uncertainty whether the feffion
was not the term of two y.ears for which tlie .fenate and
houfe of reprefentatives were elefcled, but the point ha4
been determined, upon a law paiTed to continue for a terra
of years, and from' thence to the end of the next feffion of -
the legiflature, the efficacy of this law depended upon the
meaning of the word feffion, and the courts of judicature
were of opinion that a feffion was from the time of meeting
until the rifmg of the legiOalure, and no longer.

He conceived the title to be of no importance in any
Other point of visw, but in this it might, as congrefs had
aheady paOed a law for a term expiring at the end of the
next feffion, he therefore wiffied the word to be defined,
,?nd he imagined it would be done by retaining it in the
place it Hood. .

After fome further defultory converfation, the title of the
iiurnal was Cifabliffied by a vote of the houfe, as follows :
Journal of the House of Rkpresextatives of the
United States.

At a'feffion of tlie congrefs of the United States, begun
and held at the city of New-York, on Monday the 4th
day of January, 1790, being the fecond felTion of the firfl
congrels h.eld under the prefent conPthution ol: government
for ihe United States, being the day appointed by law for
tlie meeting of the prefent feffion.

On the further reading of the minutes, rar. Thatcher
dbferved, that a call of the houfe which had taken place at
the m.eeting was not entered on the journal.
Mr. P»lge

Wasforry to find any gentlemen infift upon the entry of
a meafure which was not completed. He was concerned
Hkewife that he had not been here to anfwer to his name,
but he was delayed feven days by head winds, and tv/o days
by the extremt badnefs of the roads. Under fuch circum-
flances he thought the gentlemen 'who were fo fortunate as
to get here in time, deierved little more credit than thofe
vvho were phmging at the rifquc of their lives through al-
n^oil infiiperable difficulties. He hoped it ^vas not intended
to liicrmatize gentlemen u'-ho did not deferve it.
Mr. Wpiite.

If the abfentees were from the remote fl-";-.??, there would

A. 1790. Of CONGRESS. it

be fome indelicacy in ordering a call of the houfe, at fo early
a period of the feflion, becaufe there might be natural una-
voidable impediments to prevent their punftual attendance,
but h^ had obferved that the abfentees were mofily from the
neighboring ftates, Conne61icut, New- York, New-jerfey
and Pennfylvania ; and fome of the members had declared
they would not come until they were informed tha-: there
v.as a houfe. Now, in order to make the journal a true
tranfcript of what had really paiFed in the houfe, it was ne-
cefTary to have this call inferied ; for the motion \vas re-
gularly made, feconded and carried ; the abfentees v/ere
noted, and after fome time they were called again, and thofe
who were known to be fick, or on their way were apolo-
gized for, and excufed; here indeed the bufmefs terminated,
and ihey were not ordered into the cuftody of the ferjeant-
at-arms, after tnefe remarks, he concluded by faying that
he did not move to have it infer ted on the journal and was
unconcerned about it.

Mr. Lawrance
Hoped the call v/ould not be entered on the journal, if it
•was intended to reproach the conduct of the abfcnt mem-
bers, for he v/as very w^ell fatisfied in his own mind, that
few if any of them were gmlty of neglecting their duty.
Mr. Wadswoath
Llkewife hoped the entry would not be made. He had
left home a week ago, but had been detained by head winds.
He dared toTay that this would be found to be the cafe with
refpeft to a number of other gentlemen ; and as far as his
knowledge went v/ith relation to fuchas were abfent, it was
on necffeary occahons.

Mr. Partridge
Did not wifh to fligmatize any gentleman by an entry of
this kind on the journals. He meant {imply that tlie fatl:
iliould appear as it really happened in the houfe ; however,
as the bufmefs had not been compleated, he would withdraw
his fecond to the m.otion for. having the entry made.
Mr. Page
Said no new ftigm.a could be received by him or his col-
league, (mr. Lee.) By the entry on the journals, it ap-
peared they were not here on Monday or Tuefday, but oa
Wednslday it is faid that John Page, and R. B. Lee, ail-
peared and took their {eats ; confequently what he ha'd f lid
could not be conlirued to favor him.felf or his colleague, but
it was generally for thofe who had not been able to get heri:

J2 DEBATES. A. 1790^

The motion for entering en the journals the call of the
lioufe, was withdrawn.

The honfe then proceeded to the appointment of a chap-
lain for the prefent lellion ; and alter a previous nomina-
tion, the rev. mr. Lynn was 4uly chofen.

Then the houfe adjourned.


Mr. CLYr>iER appeared and took his feat.

A letter from Alexander Hamiltoru fecretary cf the trea-
fury "was read, informing the houfe that, agreeably to their
rcfolu:ion of the 21ft of September, he had piepared a plan
for'the fupport of the public credit, andth:n he was ready
to report the fame to this houfe, when they Ihould be pleafedr
to receive it. ■

It was- propofed that Thurfday next be afiigned for this

Mr. Gerry v.?iihed to add to the motion, that it fiiould
be made in writing.

Mr. BouDiNOT

Hoped that the fecretary of the treafury might be per-
milted to make his report in perfon, in order to anfwer
fuch enquiries as the m^mbers'mught be difpofed to make,
for it was a juftifiable furmife that gentlemen would not be
able clearly to comprehend fo intricate a fubj.etl without
oral iiluftraticn.

Mr. Clymer

ExprefTed fome doubts with refpetl to the propriety of re-
ceiving oral comm.unications from the head of fuch an im-
portant departnjent. Ke was rather inclined to think that
fuch communications ought to be in writing.
Mr. Ames

Conceived it tQ be the duty of the houfe to obtain the befl;'
information on any lubje^l, but on this very important
one th<^y ought to be particularly careful to get it from the
higlielt fource. The fecretary of the treafury was a moli
injportant and refponiible officer ; the delicacy of his fitu-
a-fion required every indulgence to be extended to him,
that had a lendenev to enable him to compleat the arduous
undertaking in which he was engaged. It would be a real
niislortune that a faiutary meafure Ihould be defeated for
want of being underilood ; yet the moil advantageous plans
may mifearry in their paiFage through this houfe, by realoa
of iheir not being clearly comprehended. Ke hoped, there-
fore, that the financier would be authorifed to make fuch
coix;inuni:a;icns and illullratioi^s as he judged ncccffai}' ;

A. 1790. Of C O N G R E S S. 15

but he wifhed thefe communications to be in writing ; in
tliis Ihape they would obtain a degree of pcrmaaency fa-
vorable to the relponfibihty of the officer, while at liie
fame time they would be lefs liable to be milunderflood.
Mr. Benson

Obferved that 1 he facretary of the trcafury was direfted,
by a rcfolution of the lall feffion, to prepare a plan for the
fuppoft of public credit, and to report the lame at this
meeting. The point to be fettled is, whether it fhall be
done by an oral communication, or tranfmitted in writing ?
In the former order of the houfe, this point was untouch-
ed, and the fecretary was left at his difcietion to prepare
himfclf for reporting in either way ; confequently when
we have fixed the time for receiving his report, he may
make it in the manner for which he is prepared ; but no
doubt this officer, actuated by motives of deference and re-
fpe6^, will conform to any rule the houfe may think pro-
per to enjoin.

Mr. Gerry

Conceived it would be neceffary that the fecretary ffiould
be authorifed, by a vote of the houfe, to give explanations
to his plans : This he was not exprefsly authorifed to do by
the vote of the lall feffion, which confined him merely to
prepare a plan for fupuort of the public credit. V/ould
any gentleman on this tJoor fuppofe himfelf capable of com-
prehending and combining the parts of a general fyiiem,
calculated to produce fuch a grand efFe6l ? In a plan for
fupporting public credit, m.ay be comprehended €very fpc-
cies of finance. The fecretary, under fuch an order, may
propole an extenfion of your impofl: to entire new articles,
an increafe of feme, and a diminution upon others. He
may propofe an introduction of a fyfiem ofexcife, with all
theie he may combine duties, ilarnps, and direfl taxes.
d^n the human mind retain, with any great degree of pre-
cifion, objects fo exteni'ive and mukifareous upon a mere
oral communication ? This conhderation alone ought to be
lufficient to induce gentlemen to agree to his propofuion of
making the report in writing ; but his propofuion extended
/till further, it went to give him a right to jay before them
his explanations, if he thinks explanations neceffary.

On the quefHon, the refoiution for receiving the report
of the fecretary of the treafury in writing was carried in the

On motion, the houfe now refolved itfcif intq a com-
mittee of the whole on the the preiident's fpccch.

14 DEBATES A. 1790.

Mr. Baldwin in the chair.

Mr. Smith (of S. C.)
Propofed a refolution that an addrefs be prefented to
the prefident, in anfvver to his fpeech 10 both houfes, af-
furing him that this houfe will, without delay, proceed to
take into their ferious confideration,. the various and im-
portant matters recommended to theii attention.
Mr. White
Thoucrht this motion hardly fufficient, it was too general
to warrant a feieft committee, to draft that particular reply
%vhich he hoped the houfe was difpofed to make to every
part of the pr fident's fpeech ; he therefore begged the gen-
tleman to withdraw it, and permit him to fubiiitute one in
its Head, which he read in his place.

Mr. BouDiNOT
Thought the propofition jufl read by the honorable gen-
tiCmar* from Virginia, much faperior to that propofed by
his worthy friend from South-Carolina, it muft have flruck
every gentlemen that there were other matters contained in
the fpeech deferving of notice, befiaes thofe recommended
to their ferious confideration. There was information of
the recent acceflion of the important (late of North-Caroli-
na to the conftitution of the United States. This event
ought to be recognized in a partictdar manner, according
to its importance ; and he prefumed to think that its impor-
tance was of the very-iirft magnitude.

A defultory converfation now took place on amending

Online LibraryUnited States. CongressThe Congressional register : or, History of the proceedings and debates of the first House of Representatives of the United States of America ... containing an impartial account of the most interesting speeches and motions, and accurate copies of remarkable papers laid before and offered to the Hous → online text (page 1 of 49)