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add to the economy of the Departments, and the accountability of their officers."

This (if I may use the term) is a power of attorney by which the committee is authorized to act. If, therefore, any gentleman lay upon the table a resolution, which, to my poor judgment, appears to be a mere transcript of one already in existence, I shall be compelled to say that it seems to me to be either unnecessary, or to imply a censure on the manner in which the committee have discharged their functions. Does it follow, that, because a specific resolution is laid on the table respecting one Department in which there may be an abuse, or wherein a specific retrenchment of expense may be made, that thence there is a necessity to call the attention of the committee to all the objects within the sphere of their duties-that it is necessary for the House to go over the whole of their duties, and call them generally to a discharge of them? Therefore, when the gentleman called our attention to a particular source of expense-to a particular object-I thought the resolution in order, and voted for its reference to the Committee of Ways and Means. So, if he had laid on the table a string of resolutions calling the attention of the House and of the committee to certain specific objects of expense, I should have had no objection to referring them to that committee, unless, while the resolutions purported to specify particular objects, they embraced the whole duties of the committee. The gentleman says he calls upon the House, and demands an instantaneous adoption or rejection of the resolution. I presume, that, when any gentleman lays a resolution upon the table, his object is, that it shall be disposed of in such manner as shall be consonant with the rules of the House, or as the House may think proper.

Mr. EPPES rose to explain. He did not intend to prescribe the particular disposition which the House should make of the resolution, but had said that he would not consent to its postponement, or that it should lie on the table.


ments? For these reasons, I shall vote for a postponement of this resolution to the first day of January next; and shall form my opinion of every resolution that shall come before this House, without reference to the quarter from which it shall proceed, according to the degree of judgment with which is has pleased Heaven to invest me, and shall exercise the right of expressing my sentiments freely, and in a manner most congenial to my habits and temper.

Mr. GREGG hoped the gentleman who had offered this resolution would agree to let it lie on the table. He was himself, at first, induced to think with the gentleman that, from the remarks which had fallen on both sides of the House, on the bill respecting salaries, such an inquiry as that at present proposed would be highly proper, and had himself contemplated the offering a similar resolution. But, on further inquiry, he had found that, by the existing rules of the House, the Committee of Ways and Means were already fully instructed to make the necessary inquiries; and he thought that such a resolution, under those circumstances, would wear the appearance of censure on that committee. It was known to the House that that committee had much and important business submitted to them. They had already done much business, and much, he understood, was in a state of preparation. He hoped, therefore, that the resolution would be suffered to lie on the table; and that, at some future day, it would be called up, in case the committee did not, in the interim, pay a due attention to the duties enjoined on them.

Mr. NICHOLSON.-I am persuaded that the gentleman who offered this resolution did not intend, in the most distant manner, to censure the Committee of Ways and Means. I, as a member of that committee, do not feel that the least censure was intended or is deserved. Nor do I think that this would be the effect of the resolution if adopted by the House. It is true, that one part of the resMr. J. RANDOLPH.-The gentleman presses an olution contemplates objects embraced in the genimmediate rejection or adoption of the resolution. eral rules; but it is also true that it embraces other To prevent an immediate decision of resolutions objects, not mentioned in the rules. It is more offered, I presume, the rules were established di- than probable that it was to these last particular recting that they should lie on the table, or admit- objects that the gentleman meant to direct the atting of their postponement; and of that rule I tention of the Committee of Ways and Means. I wish to avail myself on this occasion. Let me allude to that part of the resolution that contemask, with what view instruct the committee gen- plates the discontinuance of such offices or estaberally as to the performance of duties already en-lishments as are useless. The rule of the House joined? If with a view to censure, as the gentleman seemed to intimate, let the gentleman bring forward a fair and open resolution of censure, and not aim at producing this effect in a side way. To what purpose give the committee this instruction, unless the House think they have neglected their duties? I will ask, if there is anything in this stage of the session that will warrant such a conclusion? I will ask if this, instead of being so early a day, were the last of the session, whether it would not be the fair and honorable conclusion, that the committee had adverted to the duties they had to perform; and, having made no report, had found that there existed no necessity of a reform, or a further accountability of the depart

does not empower the committee, in express terms, to make such an inquiry, though I have no doubt that that object is substantially embraced by the spirit of it. The powers of the Committee of Ways and Means were materially changed at the beginning of the seventh Congress. They were then empowered

"To examine into the state of the several public departments, and particularly into the laws making moneys have been disbursed conformably with such appropriations of moneys, and to report whether the laws; and also to report, from time to time, such provisions and arrangements as may be necessary to add to the economy of the departments, and the accountability of their officers."


Retrenchment of Expenses.

H. OF R.

feel, therefore, no objection to the resolution on this score. The same course has been pursued in the other resolution offered by the same gentleman; and though, in that case, it was a particular duty to which the attention of the committee was called, yet I do not consider that there is any solidity in the distinction attempted to be drawn by my learned friend from Virginia, between specific and general propositions. If there is any distinction, it is so slight that I am unable to perceive it. As the original resolution offered by my friend from Virginia, called the attention of the committee to a specific point, so does this. It does not call upon the committee to discharge all the duties devolved upon them, but invites their attention to particular points of duty; and though we may, by the standing rules of the House, be empowered to make an inquiry on the same subjects, yet, as this resolution directs us specifically to particular points, I shall consider it my special duty to attend to them, if it shall pass.

For these reasons, said Mr. R., I consider the

This power was ingrafted on the previous powers of that committee, from a bill that originated with the committee usually styled the Committee of Investigation. The bill was introduced to destroy the two offices of the Accountants of the War and Navy Departments; and the title of it was transfused into the standing rules of the House. It is extremely probable that the gentleman who has offered this resolution, as well as other gentlemen, had no idea of the extent of the powers given to the Committee of Ways and Means. Under this view, I do not think the resolution will answer any useful purpose, as the Committee of Ways and Means have already the same duties devolved upon them which it assigns. I am convinced the same gentlemen who offered it will have no objection to its postponement till the 1st of January; and, in the meantime, the Committee of Ways and Means will, if they see fit, make the inquiry which appears to be the object of it. Mr. RODNEY.-With my friend from Virginia, (Mr. RANDOLPH.) I will. on all occasions, exercise an independent judgment on any proposition sub-resolution in every point of view correct. As to mitted to the House, without regard to the quarter from which it may come, and, with my friend from Maryland, (Mr. NICHOLSON,) I am satisfied that the idea of censuring the Committee of Ways and Means was the most remote from the intention of my friend from Virginia, (Mr. EPPES,) from his known character. I shall consider, then, this resolution, as well as all others, on its merits alone. Three objections have been raised against it; first, that it implies a censure upon the Committee of Ways and Means, of which I am a member; secondly, that the subjects to which it relates are already before that committee; and, thirdly, it is required that it lie on the table for consideration. As to the first objection, I shall put it out of the question, as I am satisfied such an idea as that of censuring the committee never entered the imagination of the gentleman who moved the resolution; and as no such idea can be collected from the expressions of the gentleman, or appears on the face of the resolution. As a member of that committee, I am not sensible of its implying any censure, though, I trust, I should be as much alive as any other member of the committee to the imputation of censure.

As to the second objection to the resolution, that it assigns duties already devolved by the rules of the House, it may be true that all the duties imposed by the resolution are embraced by the rules; but, as a member of the Committee of Ways and Means, I shall always feel thankful to any member for calling to my view any specific duties which that committee ought to perform. I shall never be offended by the call of any gentleman upon me to discharge my duty. It is true, that we have certain duties assigned us by the House, for the performance of which we may be said, in the language of the gentleman from Virginia, to be the attorney of the House; but, I think, if I may use the expression, the fee simple resides in the House; and it is not only the right, but the duty of any member to call any committee to the discharge of the duties assigned it.

a postponement, I have no objection, with the consent of the gentleman who moved the resolution, to postpone it to a distant day, not however so distant as January.

Mr. NICHOLSON.-I think the resolution useless, and if the question now before us was, whether we should agree or disagree to it, I should give it my negative, that the House may preserve some consistency in their proceedings. I will call the attention of gentlemen to the fate of several resolutions, offered two years since, from a certain quarter of the House, calling the attention of the Committee of Ways and Means to the expediency of reducing the duties on brown sugar, coffee, and bohea tea. They were then rejected, on the ground that the previous general powers conferred on that committee involved power to inquire on that specific proposition. If now we adopt this resolution, coming from another quarter of the House, we shall not preserve consistency of conduct. I hope gentlemen, from a regard to consistency, will agree to postpone this resolution.

The question was then taken on a postponement of the resolution, to the first day of January, and lost-ayes 37, noes 61.

Mr. SMILIE considered it improper to pass a resolution of so much importance so hastily. He moved a postponement to the first Monday of December.

Mr. STANFORD moved an adjournment of the House. Lost-ayes 45, noes 55.

Mr. S. then moved a postponement to the third Monday of December. Lost, without a division. The motion of Mr. SMILIE, to postpone the resolution to the first Monday of December, was then agreed to-ayes 72.

Mr. VARNUM then moved that the resolution offered by Mr. EPPES should be printed for the use of the members.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH moved for printing, in connexion with the resolution, the standing rules of the House respecting the duties of the ComImittee of Ways and Means.

H. OF R.

Public Roads.


Mr. VARNUM called for a division of the mission of such State into the Union on an equal footquestion. ing with the original States; and for other purposes," Mr. NICHOLSON moved an adjournment. Car- passed upon the 30th April, 1802, as well as the act ried-ayes 60.

MONDAY, November 28.

The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from the Postmaster General, enclosing his annual report respecting post roads which have been established within the United States more than two years, and have not, in the second or last year, produced one-third part of the expense of carrying the mail on the same for such year; which was read, and ordered to be referred to the committee appointed, on the eighteenth ultimo, "to inquire whether any, and what, amendments are necessary to be made to the acts establishing a post office and post roads within the United States."

A petition of sundry residents and claimants of lands on the Alabama river, and on the east side of the river and bay of Mobile, in the Mississippi Territory of the United States, was presented to the House and read, praying, for the reasons therein specified, a repeal of so much of the eighth section of an act, passed the third of March last, entitled "An act regulating the grants of land, and providing for the disposal of the lands of the United States south of the State of Tennessee," as provides that no certificate shall be granted for lands lying east of the Tombigbee river; or that such modification and amendment of the said act may be made, as Congress in their wisdom shall deem expedient and proper.-Referred.

Mr. EARLY, from the committee to whom was referred, on the second instant, the remonstrance and memorial of Zachariah Cox, made a report thereon; which was read, and ordered to be referred to a Committee of the whole House on Wednesday next.

passed the 3d of March, 1804, in addition to and in modification of the propositions contained in the act aforesaid; and the ordinance of the convention of the State of Ohio, bearing date the 29th day of November, 1802."

Mr. JACKSON called for the reading of the acts of Congress which were referred to in the resolution; which was done: he then moved that the Committee rise and report their agreement.

Mr. VARNUM said he hoped the question would be taken separately on the resolution.

Mr. JACKSON hoped that gentlemen opposed to the resolution would rise at that time and express their opinions.

Mr. NICHOLSON was opposed to the resolution, but was prevented from indisposition from expressing his sentiments; he would do it at a future period.

Mr. J. RANDOLPH was sorry that the indisposition of his friend from Maryland should prevent him from delivering his sentiments on this occasion. He was himself unprepared to speak on this question, but it appeared to him, from a complete view of the subject some time since, that the resolutions contravened one of the provisions of the law to which it was referred; by reverting to that law, it would be found that in one of the propositions offered by Congress to the State of Ohio, it was provided that one twentieth part of the net proceeds, arising from the sale of lands in that State, should be laid out in roads to and from it, and laid out under the direction of Congress. The State of Ohio agreed to adopt the propositions if Congress would make an amendment, (which he read.) He wished to call the attention of the Committee to the facts and wished them to attend to the different propositions. He should not have troubled the Committee but from an appreAn engrossed bill to repeal an act, entitled "Anhension that when gentlemen had taken up an act to establish an uniform system of bankruptcy opinion, they were loth to abandon it. One of throughout the United States," was read the third the propositions of Congress was, that one-twentime and passed. tieth part of the net proceeds arising from the sale of lands in the State of Ohio should be laid out under the direction of Congress in the making of roads from the Atlantic to that State. The State of Ohio agrees to the proposition with this amendment, that not less than three per cent. should be laid out exclusively in that State, under the direction of their Legislature. He conceived that the last proposition was only a modification of the former, and that the three per cent. was a part of the five, and not an additional allowance; if the latter had been intended, why, he asked, was it not so expressed? There were several other propositions and they were stated to be amendments. He considered Congress never intended to grant more than five per cent., and should therefore vote against the resolutions.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed the bill, entitled "An act for the further protection of the seamen and commerce of the United States," with several amendments; to which they desire the concurrence of this House.


On the call of Mr. JACKSON, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the following resolution:

"Resolved, That provision be made, by law, for the application of one twentieth part of the net proceeds of the land lying within the State of Ohio, sold, or to be sold by Congress, from and after the 30th day of June, 1802, to the laying out, and making public roads, leading from the navigable waters emptying into the Atlantic, to the Ohio river, and to the said State of Ohio: in conformity with the acts of Congress, entitled "An act to enable the people of the eastern division of the territory Northwest of the river Ohio, to form a constitution, and State government, and for the ad

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Mr. JACKSON differed with gentlemen who considered the three per cent. as a part of the five; he considered it as an addition, and he hoped he should be able to convince the Committee of it. In order to do this, it would be necessary to read a number


Public Roads.

H. OF R.

that when they were about to determine on the construction of a law, they were only to refer to the face of it, and not to inquire what the framers of it meant. He begged leave to read the law on the subject, and said that the law of Congress concerning five per cent. was in force unless repealed by another law; and the subsequent law which provided for the laying out of three per cent. in roads, was either in addition to or a repeal of it; he believed that it was an addition to it. It could not be the intention of the Convention of Ohio to accept of three per cent. to be laid out in their own State, and under the direction of their own Legislature, in lieu of five per cent. to be laid out under the direction of Congress. He should, considering the appropriations to be be distinct ones, vote in favor of the resolutions.

of documents on the subject; they were lengthy, but the subject was important, and he conceived them necessary in order to decide correctly on the subject. Here Mr. JACKSON read a number of documents on the subject, and observed that he conceived that the State of Ohio expected that the three per cent. was in addition to the five; if the last proposition was to be taken as a modification of the former, then the three per cent was to be taken in lieu of the five; if however, it was in addition to it, then the three per cent. was to be added to the five. If they would recur (Mr. J. said) to the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury, it would be found that he was in favor of ten per cent.; but Congress were for five. If the Legislature of Ohio were for taking three per cent. to be laid out under their own direction, instead of five to be laid out under the direction of Congress, Mr. RODNEY deemed it necessary to make but they would so have expressed it; and if Congress few obsevations after the able arguments of his intended it, they were bound so to express them- friend from Virginia, (Mr. RANDOLPH.) and the selves; but they intended no such thing. If the luminous observations of the gentleman from Conproposition was of a doubtful nature, and it ap- necticut, (Mr. GRISWOLD,) against the resolutions. peared to be so from the arguments of his col-The question to be determined, was, whether the league, he begged leave to recommend to the Com- five per cent. was to be given exclusive of the mittee a liberal construction; we ought, he said, three? It had been said that they ought not to to extend a fostering hand to our western brethren; consider the intention of those who framed the law, the people of the western country are attached but he conceived it to be proper, in order to give to the Government, but if we do not extend to a right construction. When they reverted to the them the fostering hand, he could not say how propositions themselves, they would find one of long they would be so. them was, that provided the State of Ohio would Mr. R. GRISWOLD apprehended there could be not for a limited time tax the lands of the United no doubt as to the construction which Congress States, that then one-twentieth part of the net give to the law in question; there might be some proceeds arising from the sale of lands in that doubt whether that construction was a sound one, State should be laid out in making roads to the he however thought it perfectly so. In the year State of Ohio, the same to be laid out under the 1801, Congress provided that one-twentieth part direction of Congress. When this proposition, of the net proceeds arising from the sale of lands came before the Convention of Ohio, they said in the State of Ohio should be applied to making that three per cent. ought to be laid out excluroads to that State, under the direction of Con- sively in their own State and under the direction gress. The proposition was laid before the State of their Legislature. This could only be intended of Ohio. The Convention of Ohio agreed to it, as a modification of the law. He did not think provided Congress would consent to a modification there was any difficulty in determining the conof it; they wished some part of the five per cent.struction of the law, and should vote against the to be laid out exclusively in their own State and resolution. under the direction of their own Legislature; they therefore proposed that three per cent. should be laid out in the State, and under the direction of the Legislature of Ohio. If the State of Ohio had intended that the three per cent. was to be added to the five, they would have stated it (as in the other propositions) to be in addition to it. The committee which were on the subject last session, gave the law the same construction which he did, and the House concurred in that construction. He thought they were under no obligation to lay out more money than they had agreed to do, and if the committee would attend to the subject they could be under no difficulty to determine the construction. We had an appropriation of two per cent. to make, and perhaps it might be necessary to pass a law to that effect; but he could not consent to give

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Mr. VARNUM conceived that the construction given to the law by the gentlemen from Virginia, Connecticut, and Delaware, was perfectly correct. He did not know whether it would be necessary to make an appropriation of the remaining two per cent. during this session, but in order to try the principle, he moved to strike out of the resolution the words one-twentieth and insert onefiftieth.

Mr. SANDFORD had not intended to have troubled the Committee on this occasion, but being a Representative from the West, it might be expected that he might be in favor of the resolution. But he did not conceive that more than five per cent. was ever intended to be given, and this was not a question of expediency. He did not believe that the Convention of Ohio intended that the three per cent. should be given in addition to the five, nor had they any reason to expect it. This ought not to be an Eastern and a Western question. If the five per cent. were now given, Mr. S. asked whether it would not operate for the benefit of

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the rest of the States as well as the State of Ohio? But, as they must determine not what Congress ought to give, but what they meant to give, and he conceived that three per cent. was a part of the five, he should therefore vote against the resolution.

Mr. LYON spoke in favor of the resolution, at some length.

Mr. MACON did not think it necessary to say anything on the construction of the law, because he conceived that the arguments of the two first gentlemen who opposed the resolution (Messrs. J. RANDOLPH and R. GRISWOLD) to be unanswerable; but as the question appeared to be made an Eastern and a Western one, he would say a few words. He considered the whole United States concerned in it, and not merely the State of Ohio. He believed that the arguments of gentlemen that they had not done justice to the State of Ohio were groundless. There was no State in the Union which has been so much favored as that State. He was sorry gentlemen had used threats on the occasion, that if they did not grant this, they might not be attached to the Union; but he believed that the State of Ohio would be the greatest loser by it. He was willing to leave it to the Western people themselves to determine, whether Congress had not done them justice, and he was certain they would answer in the affirmative.

Mr. BOYLE did not consider this a question of party nor of expediency; not what Congress ought to give, but what they had given. If the construction of the law was difficult to determine, it ought to be taken against the United States and favorable to the State of Ohio, because Congress was the grantor and that State the grantee. This was the manner in which private contracts were always construed, and he thought it a sound one. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. JOHN RANDOLPH) had said that the three per cent. was not intended to be given in addition to the five, because it was not so expressed; but Mr. B. said, the last law was not said to be a modification, the construction was therefore doubtful and ought to be taken favorable to the State of Ohio.


did he believe any gentleman, a member of Congress at the time the law passed, had any such intention.

Mr. JACKSON moved that the Committee rise.— Lost without a division.

Mr. MORROW would beg the indulgence of the Committee while he made a few observations on the subject. He was sorry this was made a party question. He read the report of the committee of Congress and the propositions of Congress to the State of Ohio; and observed that when the propositions came before the Convention, they were pleased with them, but did not consider that the five per cent., which was to be laid out in roads, was an equivalent for what they asked: which was, that the State of Ohio should not for a limited time tax the lands of Congress. How, said Mr. M., gentlemen would ask, was this known? He would answer, by an estimate of the value of both; therefore they agreed to the propositions, provided Congress would make an amendment, and allow them an additional three per cent. to be laid out exclusively in their own State and under the direction of their Legislature; to this Congress agreed. He conceived the question for them to determine, whether the three was in addition to or in lieu of the five; he believed it could not be the latter, because it would go to defeat the original design, which was facilitating the communication between the Eastern and Western States. He was in favor of the resolution believing that it was the intention of the Convention of Ohio, at the time they agreed to the propositions, that the three per cent. was to be given in addition to the five.

The question was taken on Mr. VARNUM'S motion to strike out one-twentieth and insert onefiftieth and carried-yeas 75.

The question was then taken on the resolution as amended, and carried without a division.

TUESDAY, November 29.

The amendments proposed by the Senate to the bill, entitled "An act for the further protection of the seamen and commerce of the United States," were read, and, together with the bill, ordered to be committed to Messrs. EUSTIS, J. CLAY, McCREERY, DANA, and HASBROUCK.

Mr. GODDARD did not think they were under any difficulty in determining the true construction of the law in question. He considered it to admit of but one construction; this appeared to him Mr. FINDLEY, from the Committee of Elections, to be a negotiation between Congress and the to whom it was referred to examine the certifi State of Ohio. It was proposed by the former, cates and other credentials of the members rethat if the latter would not tax their lands for a turned to serve in this House, made a farther limited time, the one-twentieth part of the net pro-report, in part, which was read, and ordered to lie ceeds should be laid out in making roads for that State under the direction of Congress; the State A Message was received from the President of of Ohio acceded to it, provided three per cent. should be laid out exclusively in that State, and Congress agreed to it; this appeared to him to be the true state of the case.

Mr. SMILIE would make one observation on the subject. He believed it to be a good rule, when any subject was to be examined, to look at the intention of the parties; he never conceived that it was the intention of Congress to give to the State of Ohio more than five per cent., nor

on the table.

the United States, communicating an appendix to the information heretofore given on the subject of Louisiana. The said Message was read, and, together with the appendix transmitted therewith, referred to the committee appointed on the twenty-seventh of October last on so much of the President's Message of the twenty-first of the same month as relates "to permanent arrangements for the government of Louisiana."

The amendment of the Senate to the bill mak

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