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Committee on Adjournment.
some documents are shown, or some reasons given, to indicate a change.
Emperor of France, of December seventeenth, one thousand eight hundred and seven, and a similar decree of the third of January last, by His Catho- Mr. DAWSON said, it was certainly not his wish lic Majesty. The Message, and the papers trans- that Congress should rise, without taking measmitted therewith, were read, and referred to theures necessary for the national defence. All my Committee of the Whole on the state of the acts, said he, will show to the contrary. I have Union. been one among those who have advocated every measure of defence of the country; I wish that some others had done the same. Is it not a fact, that those who now wish to prolong the session, were opposed to all the defensive measures which have been adopted? It is because I wish to hasten the necessary laws, that I have proposed this resolution.
On motion of Mr. MATTHEW CLAY, that the House do come to the following resolution:
Resolved, That on each day, for the remainder of the session, precisely at twelve o'clock, there be a call
of the House.
The said proposed resolution was read, and ordered to lie on the table.
The order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act for raising an additional military force," being called for, on motion of Mr. HELMS, the Committee of the Whole were discharged from the farther consideration thereof, and the bill was recommitted to the committee appointed on the the twenty-ninth of October last, on so much of the Message from the President of the United States, of the twentyseventh of the same month, as relates to the Military and Naval Establishments.
Mr. HOLMES, from the Committee of Claims, presented a bill concerning invalid pensioners;
which was ordered to lie on the table."
COMMITTEE ON ADJOURNMENT. Mr. Dawson proposd the following resolution: Resolved, That a committee be appointed on the part of this House, to act with such committee as may be appointed on the part of the Senate, to consider and report "what further business is necessary to be done during the present session, and" at what time it shall be proper to adjourn.
The House agreed to consider the resolution
Mr. DAWSON said, it would be observed by the House, that members daily obtained leave of absence; it was undoubtedly the wish of every one to adjourn as soon as possible; and, as this only went to inquire, he presumed there would be no objection.
The words quoted, on motion of Mr. VAN HORN, were stricken out.
Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS thought, perhaps, on this subject, as no other gentleman did, for he thought it very ill-timed; and this was an inauspicious moment for such a resolution. In what was the situation of the country different from what it was when they met here, and which every person considered a perilous situation? I ask gentlemen, said he, will they adjourn, and leave the country in the situation in which we stood when we met? Is it possible that this is the case? I wish to take off of my shoulders the weight of responsibility which might rest upon me from its passing by a silent vote. I therefore call for the yeas and nays upon the resolution. I wish to tell my constituents that I am willing to sit here till there is some change in the awful appearance of American affairs. I cannot vote for this resolution without
Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS said that he had no other motive for asking for the yeas and nays, than to he had voted against the resolution. I am sorry, show that, in the present situation of our affairs, said he, that the gentleman from Virginia should have charged me with being uniformly opposed to defending the nation. Is this a fact? Can he substantiate the assertion? What mighty measures has he proposed for the defence of the nation? Ay, sir, what are they? Let the gentleman, who has boasted his zeal, tell us what they One day, a bill for employing one thousand the House with so much speed as not even to altwo hundred and fifty seamen, is pressed through low time to have it printed; the next day, the gentleman himself moved that the bill lie on the table, and there it continues. In came a proposimen! What was the course with that? I am tion for an army of twelve or fifteen thousand mistaken, or the gentleman did induce the Committee of the Whole to go through that bill by declaring that he did not mean to move the consideration of the report, when it was made to the House. How now? An army of twelve thousand men is frittered down to six thousand. Is this like being a friend to defence? And yet the gentleman has stigmatized me in this manner, because I shall vote against his motion, and perhaps he anticipates that I shall vote against his six thousand men. I wish the gentleman to show that I have voted against any measure for the defence of the nation. I know of no strong measure but the embargo act; and the gentleman cannot have forgot that I did, with all the zeal I was master of, endeavor to support the bill amendatory of the embargo law. I had not an opportunity of voting on the original law; and I have before candidly said, that I should not have voted for it had I been here; but, because the nation had lifted its arm, I was willing to support it with all my strength. I am accused wrongly; I will defend the nation; and when the gentleman from Virginia, or any other, shall show that my country calls for it, it would but be doing justice to my feelings to say that my blood is at its service.
Mr. DAWSON said, that certainly the gentleman from South Carolina could not suppose that he had been alluded to, for Mr. D. now declared that he did not know how the gentlemen had voted on questions of defence.
After some further observations-Mr. KELLY moved that the resolution lie on the table. Carried.
MARYLAND CONTESTED ELECTION. The report of the Committee of Elections on the contested election of Mr. P. B. KEY was called up.
[The Committee of Elections, to whom, it will be recollected, a former report was recommitted, reported an opinion that nothing in the evidence before them, so far as respects the suggestion of Mr. KEY being a pensioner or half-pay officer to the King of Great Britain, authorizes them to alter the opinion of the resolution submitted with their former report.]
Maryland Contested Election.
Mr. RowAN moved an indefinite postponement of the subject, and supported his motion on the ground that the decision of a question of fact on the point of residence, rested properly and exclusively with the people, who were the best judges of it, as to the alleged pension; on which point, however, he had no doubt, if it were even true, neither the Constitution nor any law of the United States make it a disqualification from a seat, although it might be cause for discussion what course should be pursued with a member if actually in the receipt of a pension after he became a member. Mr. R. observed that an election would take place in the ensuing Autumn, in which the people would have an opportunity to declare their opinion by a re-election, or otherwise.
Mr. KEY observed that he should be content with any course that the House should take; were he to consult his personal feelings, he should wish it immediately decided.
Messrs. EPPES, MARION, and ALSTON, opposed the motion, on the ground that a postponement of this subject would be a breach of their duty; the Constitution had made it their duty to inquire into an election of one of their own body whenever contested, and they could not shrink from it; that this provision was essential for the preservation of the purity of the House; that this subject should have been long ago decided on; and that the "people" could not perform what the Constitution had made the positive duty of the House.
Mr. EPPES considered the decision on the motion more important than even the election itself, as establishing the precedent by which they might hereafter be tempted to throw the responsibility from their shoulders on the people; he therefore called for the yeas and nays on it.
Mr. ROWAN withdrew his motion. The House then resolved itself into Committee of the Whole on the subject.
The report of the Committee of Elections concludes with the following resolution: Resolved, That Philip Barton Key is entitled to his seat in this House.
A considerable discussion arose on the resolution, not interesting, nor yet confined to one particular point-there being two in this questionfirst of residence, second of his being a pensioner. Some gentlemen wished the question to be divided, so as to take a question on each of these two principles, that the resolution might carry on the face
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of it evidence of the ground on which his seat was confirmed or vacated.
Committee rise, and negatived-57 to 42.
At four, the Committee rose, without coming to a decision on any point-57 to 36, and obtained leave to sit again.
On motion, the House adjourned.
FRIDAY, March 18.
Mr. DAWSON, from the committee appointed on the twenty-ninth of October last, on so much of the Message from the President of the United States as relates to the Military and Naval Establishments, to whom was, yesterday, recommitted the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act for raising an additional military force," reported several amendments thereto; which were read, and, together with the said bill, committed to a Committee of the Whole to-morrow.
Mr. BOYLE, from the Committee on the Public Lands, presented a bill to change the boundaries of the land districts in the Territory of Indiana; and to continue, for a farther time, the authority of the Commissioners of Kaskaskia; which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Monday next.
A bill concerning invalid pensioners, which was received yesterday, and ordered to lie on the table, was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Monday next.
A Message was received from the President of the United States, in relation to the Military Academy at West Point-Referred to Messrs. NICHOLAS, TROUP, DESHA, UPHAM, and MILNOR. On motion of Mr. DANA,
Resolved, That the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures be instructed to inquire into the propriety of admitting ships or vessels, not registered as vessels of the United States, to unlade within the district of Middletown, in the State of Connecticut; and, also, of admitting ships or vessels arriving from the Cape of Good Hope, or any place beyond the same, to make entry at the port of Middletown; and to report by bill or otherwise.
Mr. NEWTON, from the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, presented a bill to discharge Francis Baretto from his imprisonment; which was read twice. Whereupon, a motion was made by Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS, that the said bill be committed to the consideration of a Committee of the Whole. And the question being motion was made by Mr. STANFORD, that the taken thereupon, it passed in the negative. A House do reconsider their vote on the question to commit the bill to a Committee of the Whole. And, on the question for reconsideration, it passed in the negative. On motion of Mr. SMILIE, the bill was then recommitted to the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures.
Mr. HOLMES, from the Committee of Claims, presented a bill for the relief of Isaac Briggs; which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Monday next.
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The bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act to amend an act, entitled 'An act establishing circuit courts, and abridging the jurisdiction of the district courts of the districts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio," together with the amend ments agreed thereto yesterday, was read the third time and passed.
Invalid Corps-Maryland Contested Election.
Mr. NELSON begged leave to offer a resolution relative to the officers and soldiers of the Army. It is a well known fact, said he, that from the particularity of the service, men who enter into the Army become so debilitated before their time expires, that they are afterwards incapacitated from getting a livelihood by labor. It would certainly prove a very burdensome expense to the United States to take all such under their care, and provide them with pensions; and as certainly this is not my object. Now those men might yet be useful soldiers in garrisons. At present, when discharged, they become common pests to society; and we find them travelling about the country in the capacity of beggars, I consider it a disgrace to the country and to humanity, that men, who have spent the best part of their lives in the service, should be turned out as beggars, and wanderers on the face of the earth. My object is, that they shall be provided for in a way that shall not be expensive to the United States, and in which they may still be serviceable to the country, to form an invalid corps. Those men may perform good garrison duty who have become incapable of doing duty in the field. Another circumstance induces me to offer this resolution: Officers cannot be dismissed from service, except it be for some crime, or at the pleasure of the President of the United States. I trust we shall never have a President in these United States so devoid of humanity as to discharge an officer because he is worn out in service. Those officers might be placed in the same grade in the corps of invalid pensioners which they have held in the Army, and live out the remainder of their days with comfort to themselves and advantage to society. Mr. N. cited the case of two officers whom he had knowledge of, who had become superannuated and unfit for service, and yet continued in the camp, preventing younger, meritorious, and active officers from taking the situation which they had become incompetent to fill. For the purpose of doing away this inconvenience, said he, all I ask is that a committee be appointed to inquire into the subject. If a report can be made on such a plan as will meet the approbation of the House, I trust it will be adopted; if not, it may easily be rejected.
Mr. N. then offered the following resolution, which was agreed to without a division:
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire
into the expediency of making provision by law for the relief of the infirm, disabled, and superannuated officers and soldiers of the Army of the United States; and that the committee have leave to report by bill or otherwise.
MARYLAND CONTESTED ELECTION. The House again went into Committee of the Whole on the contested election of PHILIP B. KEY.
After several propositions for amendment to the report of the Committee of Elections had been made and withdrawn, the question was at length taken on the report, and carried 53 to 44.
The Committee immediately rose and reported the resolution in the following words:
Messrs. NELSON, HOWARD, TALLMADGE, TRIGG, and DEANE, were appointed the committee.
Resolved, That Philip B. Key, Esquire, is entitled to his seat in this House.
[The words, "having the greatest number of votes, and being qualified agreeably to the Constitution," were struck out of the resolution in Committee of the Whole.]
The question being put on concurring with the Committee of the Whole in striking out these words, Mr. RANDOLPH called for a division of the question, taking it first on the words in italic.
And the question having been put on a coccur rence in striking out the first part of the clause as divided, was carried without a division.
The question on concurrence in striking out the remainder of the clause, was carried-yeas 79, nays 28, as follows:
YEAS-Evan Alexander, Lemuel J. Alston, Willis Alston, jr., Ezekiel Bacon, William W. Bibb, John Boyle, William Butler, George W. Campbell, John Campbell, Epaphroditus Champion, Martin Chittenden, John Clopton, John Culpepper, Richard Cutts, John Davenport, junior, John Dawson, Daniel M. Durell, William Ely, William Findley, James Fisk, Francis Gardner, James M. Garnett, Edwin Gray, Isaiah L. Green, John Harris, John Heister, William Hoge, James Holland, David Holmes, Daniel Ilsley, Robert Jenkins, Richard M. Johnson, William Kirkpatrick, Joseph Lewis, jr., Edward St. Loe Livermore, Edward Lloyd, John Love, Matthew Lyon, Nathaniel Macon, Robert Marion, Josiah Masters, William Milnor, N. R. Jonathan O. Mosely, Thomas Newton, W. C. Nicho Moore, hos. Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, John Morrow, las, Timothy Pitkin, jr., John Pugh, Josiah Quincy, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee, Matthias Richards, Samuel Riker, John Rowan, John Russell, Ebenezer Seaver, Dennis Smelt, Samuel Smith, John Smith, Henry Southard, William Stedman, Clement Storer, Peter Swart, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, John Taylor, John Thompson, Jabez Upham, Jas. I. Van Allen, Archibald Van Horn, Robert Whitehill, Isaac Wilbour, D. R. Williams, Marmaduke Williams, Alexander Wilson, and James Witherell.
NAYS-David Bard, Joseph Barker, Burwell Bassett, William Blackledge, John Blake, jr., Thomas Blount, Robert Brown, William A. Burwell, Joseph Calhoun, Howell Cobb, Josiah Deane, Jos. Desha, James Elliot, John W. Eppes, Peterson Goodwyn, William Helms, Benjamin Howard, Thomas Kenan, John Lambert, Roger Nelson, John Randolph, Jacob Richards, John
Smilie, Jedediah K. Smith, Richard Stanford, Geo. M. Troup, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, and Jesse Wharton,
The yeas and nays having been called on the resolution as reported, Mr. STANFORD moved to adjourn.-Negatived, ayes 8.
Messrs. STANFORD, RANDOLPH, NICHOLAS, and SMILIE then opposed the report, and Messrs. LivERMORE, SLOAN, and Key, supported it.
The question on the final consideration of this
report appeared to be reduced to the plain fact of residence. The opponents of the report contended that Mr. KEY, having resided but two weeks in Maryland immediately antecedent to the election, an affirmative decision of this resolution would fix a precedent to the future definition of the Constitutional term of residence; that hereafter, when the capital of the United States was, as it must be, a populous city, the influence and wealth of that city and of the Government, as had been the case in Great Britain, might secure the election of any person whom they should choose to send for a few days residence into any State in the Union.
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The question was now taken on agreeing to the resolution as reported by the Committee of the Whole, and decided in the affirmative-yeas 57, pays 52, as follows:
Mr. LIVERMORE said, that some days ago he had given notice of his intention of introducing a resolution for the purpose of discussing the expediency of taking off the embargo; he now rose, impelled by a sense of duty to his constituents, to make the motion.
It was not, said he, from a sudden thought, but from the maturest consideration I am capable of bestowing upon any subject, and a full conviction of the proper line of my duty, that I formed the determination to make the motion; and I confess I have seen no cause to alter my opinion since I declared my intention. I shall briefly assign the reasons in support of the resolution I am about to offer, hoping, by the indulgence of the House,
On the other hand, it was contended by Mr. KEY himself and others, that he had fixed a residence, purchased land, and built a house in Mont-hereafter to have an opportunity of discussing at gomery county, Maryland, previous to a removal large this important question. It must be acthere; that it was his intention to have a fixed knowledged we are pretty much in the dark with residence there, though he meant to reside in the respect to our foreign relations; but as to Great District of Columbia for the purpose of having Britain, I think we ought not to have a rational his children educated, and for the convenience of apprehension of war. There must be an egrebusiness. This was said to be very different from gious fault in the Government of that nation, or a transient residence; and even were a transient ours, to have produced such a state of things. I residence sufficient qualification, the integrity of think the world will say, and our constituents have 30,000 freemen would always prove a sufficient a right to conclude, that the whole tenor of our barrier against corruption. conduct the present session (except as to words) has evinced that war with that nation is the furthest from our thoughts. I highly approve of this peaceable disposition, and hope that neither Government will be so distracted as by its conduct to occasion hostilities between us. As to France
YEAS-Evan Alexander, Lemuel J. Alston, Ezekiel
and Spain, it appears by the communication from the President, yesterday, we are in a state of war with both. For the tyrannical decree of Milan, as it is called, and the servile Spanish proclamation in pursuance, are in my opinion tantamount to a declaration of war against all neutral commerce, and ought to be considered and resented as such, if any spirit remains in the nation; but an embargo is a most impotent way of re
When the subject of the embargo shall be fairly examined, I apprehend the loss of property to the people of the United States will greatly astonish gentlemen. It appears that the exports of one year prior to the 1st of October, 1807, amounted to $48.700,000 of the produce and manufactures of the United States, and we have reason to believe that the increase would have made the whole amount for the present year at least five millions. The profit upon the sales at foreign markets, including freights, and which is the earnings of our vessels and labor of seamen, may be estimated at fifty per cent. The amount of exports of foreign articles the last year was fifty-nine millions six hundred thousand dollars. The profit arising to our citizens upon importation and exportation may
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be estimated at fifty per cent., or about thirty mil- There have been at various periods, embargoes lions; which is moderate estimation, including in particular ports, for certain purposes, and for freight. It would be a very moderate calculation a short duration of time; but never, until an to estimate the whole benefit to the citizens of American Legislature conceived the bold idea, the United States, arising from imports and ex- did a Government lay a perpetual embargo upon ports of articles of foreign or domestic growth and a commerce of $100,000,000 annual exportation. manufacture, at one hundred millions, exclusive of Nations at war embargo each other as much as the revenue, which is upwards of sixteen millions they can, as is now practised in Europe, but to more. But suppose, in consequence of losses by destroy our own commerce in order to injure our capture and failure of markets, resulting from the neighbor, is certainly a novel invention. It is present embarrassments upon our commerce, the too much like a man's binding up his limbs to sum should be reduced one-third, or even one-prevent a circulation of his blood, the better to half; yet still the sum is great, and although a promote the health of the natural body. But as man would be overwhelmed with the loss of his certain death would be the inevitable consequence whole property, he might exist under the privation of a want of circulation and proper nourishment, of one-half. It may be demonstated, that should so the certain death of the body politic will be the the embargo continue one year, the loss to the consequence of the continuance of the embargo. United States would amount to $50,000,000 at the I am aware of the objects of some gentlemen most moderate calculation; and I am strongly who are supporters of the embargo system, who inclined to think I should be justified should I es- suppose that it is to operate as a coercive meatimate it at one hundred millions. About thirty-sure upon foreign nations; but I apprehend this eight millions are the products of agriculture; opinion is in a great degree erroneous. It will the residue consists of products of the sea, of the probably affect France and Spain; but, if I am forest, of manufactures, and the earnings of ships, right in my conjecture, the necessary, proper, and &c., and of laborers and seamen, &c. Most of justifiable course towards those nations is a susthe articles exported are of a perishable nature; pension of commercial intercourse, and suffering such as are not, are superfluous, or not wanted our vessels to arm against their cruisers. This, in the United States, or for home consumption; with a similar spirit to that which broke forth in or such as would not be manufactured if there 1798-a spark struck from the fire of '76-would was no market for them. And supposing the insure us tolerable safety on the ocean; and, unembargo to be taken off at the end of the year, a doubtedly, peace on good terms with the only nadouble quantity to carry to market would, by tion capable essentially to injure our commerce. overcharging it, reduce the price, so that the whole would not be of more value than the produce of one season. But what may be infinitely worse, and in its consequences prove calamitous indeed, is, that people being driven by necessity would seek other sources of commerce to supply their wants, and perhaps our citizens be forever deprived of their customary trade. This subject requires the most serious attention of Congress.
But the embargo cannot injure Great Britain; indeed how the giving up to that nation the indisputed commerce of the ocean, and cutting off all supplies from her enemies, can affect her otherwise than beneficially, is past my powers of comprehension. Our provisions she can live without; the raw materials she can get elsewhere; and her manufactures will find their way into every country on the globe, so long as they retain their excellence. The ingenuity of man cannot prevent it. As to compelling Great Britain to give up the right of searching for seamen in merchant vessels, it is the most ridiculous expedient ever hit upon. Let the embargo be continued one year, and we shall not have a tenth part of our seamen remaining in our country. This circumstance I noticed at the time of passing the first act, and every day gives accounts verifying the prediction.
The loss of property to the people of the United States is of itself very great; but the evils consequent upon it are infinitely greater. The people who are to be wholly deprived of the means of support, and who already feel the bad effects of the embargo, will be found not to fall short of two hundred thousand; and how they are to gain a subsistence, requires more intelligence than falls to the lot of any mortal to devise. The distress of these and a variety of other persons, will be such as admits not of human calculation, or conception. Human laws may be obeyed until a large proportion of the people find them too grievous to be borne. But what must the situation of that country be, when so large a proportion of the people become frantic from suffering? The thing may, in a faint degree, be imagined, but description would fail; and my intention is to give this subject the most calm, temperate, and logical consideration; not heightened by rhetorical or fanciful description of distresses, of which it is so abundently capable. Never, however, did a subject offer greater temptation to the indulgence of fancy, and which the kindness of the House may hereafter allow.
This question has been frequently asked"Should the embargo be taken off, where can our vessels go?" It ought to be a sufficient answer to this inquiry to say, leave the ship owners to find a market for the goods they choose to export; and it can be no objection on the part of the farmer or planter, that the exporter may make a bad bargain; it is for him alone to find his market, and he is perfectly willing to take the risk upon himself, or can find insurers to assist him, and the enhanced price must ultimately fall upon the consumer. But this is not the only answer, and it can be clearly shown that there is a greater and more beneficial trade now open to us, than we ever enjoyed previous to the war in Europe; and probably greater than we have any rational