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Answer to the President's Speech.
Mr. LAWRENCE thought the word session implied that all the proceedings of the Legislature were to cease at its expiration, and to commence anew after the recess, whether the body consisted of the same members or otherwise, and did not doubt but both Houses would concur in this opinion.
Mr. WHITE did not think the House ought to appoint a committee to confer with a committee of the Senate, because its object was to guard against an inconvenience that might never occur. Perhaps if this House decides that business shall commence de novo, the Senate may do the same, and there will be no occasion for a consultation; but if they differ, it will be time enough to appoint a committee of conference.
The reason why the practice in Pennsylvania differed from that of the British Parliament might be on account of a Constitutional difference in the mode of considering bills. By the Constitution, the Assembly of Pennsylvania is obliged to submit all its bills to the people for their consideration, who are intended to act, in some degree, as another House, and check the decisions of a Legislative body consisting of a single branch.
Mr. LIVERMORE hoped the opinion, which seemed generally to prevail in this House, might be adopted by the Senate, and then he had no doubt but the practice of both branches of the Legislature would be uniform; but he still was inclined to think it would be better to settle it in a joint committee.
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TUESDAY, January 12.
ANSWER TO THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH. Agreeably to the order of the day, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the Address in answer to the President's Speech
to both Houses.
Address was read as follows:
The Address of the House of Representatives to the President of the United States.
The Representatives of the people of the United States have taken into consideration your Speech to both Houses of Congress at the opening of the present
We reciprocate your congratulations on the accession of North Carolina; an event which, while it is a testimony of the increasing good will towards the Government of the Union, cannot fail to give additional dignity in the estimation of the world in national character and strength to the American Republic, already rising and respectability.
The information that our measures of the last session
have not proved dissatisfactory to our constituents, affords us much encouragement at this juncture, when we are resuming the arduous task of legislating for so extensive an empire.
Nothing can be more gratifying to the representatives of a free people than the reflection, that their labors are rewarded by the approbation of their fellowcitizens. Under this impression, we shall make every exertion to realize their expectations, and to secure to them those blessings which Providence has placed within their reach. Still prompted by the same desire to promote their interests which then actuated us, we shall, in the present session, diligently and anxiously pursue those measures which shall appear to us conducive to that end.
We concur with you in the sentiment that agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, are entitled to legislative protection, and that the promotion of science and literature will contribute to the security of a free Government; in the progress of our deliberations, we shall not lose sight of objects so worthy of our regard.
The various and weighty matters which you have judged necessary to recommend to our attention appear to us essential to the tranquillity and welfare of the Union, and claim our early and most serious consideration. We shall proceed, without delay, to bestow on them that calm discussion which their importance requires.
We regret that the pacific arrangements pursued with regard to certain hostile tribes of Indians, have not been attended with that success which we had reason to expect from them; we shall not hesitate to concur in such further measures as may best obviate any ill effects which might be apprehended from the failure of those negotiations.
last session, respecting the provision for the public Your approbation of the vote of this House at the creditors, is very acceptable to us: the proper mode of trans-carrying that resolution into effect, being a subject in which the future character and happiness of these States are deeply involved, will be among the first to claim our attention.
GEO. WASHINGTON. UNITED STATES, January 14, 1790.
The prosperity of the United States is the primary object of all our deliberations, and we cherish the reflec
The Message and accompanying papers being tion, that every measure which we may adopt for its read, the House adjourned. advancement, will not only receive your cheerful con
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Answer to the President's Speech.
currence, but will at the same time derive from your co-operation additional efficacy in ensuring to our fellow-citizens the blessings of a free, efficient, and equal Government. FRED'K A. MUHLENBERG, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr. BOUDINOT moved to strike out at the beginning of the third paragraph "the information," because the House were possessed of this know-matter was before them with boldness and freeledge by other means; they had, during the recess dom. And he would observe to gentlemen, that of Congress, an opportunity of consulting their the most refined and accurate writers were never constituents, and could therefore say of their own ashamed to have it said of them, that they blot motion, that the measures of the last session have ted out. not proved dissatisfactory.
to amend the Address in such a way as to give it the highest degree of perfection. He would rather have his feelings hurt, provided they could be said to be hurt, by changing the language of his most favorite production, than that an Address should go from this body with any incorrectness whatever. He hoped the House would always criticise upon, strike out and amend, whatever
Mr. WHITE said, that every gentleman had an undoubted right to take the sense of the House upon an amendment, and that it ought not to be considered as a reflection upon those who drew up the Address.
Mr. CLYMER, as one of the committee appointed to prepare a report, had agreed to the Address, but he did not think himself precluded from agreeing to what he supposed would be an amendment. The words appeared to him necessary, as they were strongly implied, inasmuch as the Address was in answer to the Speech of the President, which really contained such information.
Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina) contended, that the House had no information with respect to the satisfaction their constituents experienced in the measures of the last session, except what was contained in the President's Speech. He did not presume to deny, but every individual member of Congress might have received information of this nature in private conversation with the people, but no official communication could possibly be got at; it was therefore necessary to recognise, in the Address, the quarter from whence they drew that information; in this view he considered the words necessary, and hoped they would be retained.
Mr. BOUDINOT meant to avoid the idea that it was from the Executive alone they drew this information, when it was a notorious fact, perceptible to common observation.
Mr. LAWRENCE said, the Executive was the proper source to draw such information from, and he was very happy to learn it from so respectable a quarter; he therefore hoped it would be permitted to remain in the report.
The question was now taken for striking out the words, and it passed in the negative.
It was then moved to strike out, in the first line of the fourth paragraph, the word "gratifying" and insert "grateful."
Mr. WADSWORTH did not mean to call in question the right of gentlemen to amend the Address in what manner they thought proper, but he would just remark, that the composition of two or three gentlemen, done with deliberation and coolness, generally had more elegance and pertinency, than the patchwork of a large assembly. He should therefore vote against every alteration that went to nothing more than to change the style; if gentlemen were disposed to contend for principle, he should listen to them with attention, and decide according to the best of his judgment, but he really conceived it to be a waste of time to discuss the propriety of two such terms as grateful and gratifying.
Mr. PAGE hoped that gentlemen would proceed
Mr. WADSWORTH did not intend to be a critic. but thought he understood the meaning of the words gratifying and grateful, and he conceited the difference to be too trifling to engage the at tention of the House. He hoped that he had been as modest as a man could be in his observa tions, and was sorry to have drawn his worthy friend from Virginia into any severities.
Mr. THATCHER apprehended the meaning of these two words to be the same, and the recep tion of either was only important as it related t the measure or harmony of the period. Now those gentlemen who are qualified to decide this point, might vote for the substitute; but for his part he was very well satisfied with it as it stood.
Mr. STURGIS wished the sentence struck out altogether, because he did not conceive the asser tion to be true; for he did believe that there was something which could and ought to be more gratifying to the representatives of a free people than the reflection that their labors are rewarded by the approbation of their fellow-citizens; to be sure it was a grateful reflection, but there was one much more so, which was, that their labors had tended to advance the real interests of the people. If it is, as it ought to be, our highest ambition to promote the general interest, it must be most tifying to us to learn that we have attained that desirable end.
Mr. PAGE had only heard some expressions from the gentleman from Connecticut, (M WADSWORTH,) which he imagined had a tenderes to discourage the House from making necessary alterations; but he was convinced, from the known candor and impartiality of that gene man. that he must not have fully comprehende his intentions, and therefore begged to apologise to him for any thing he might have said partaking of severity.
The question was now put for striking out gra tifying" and inserting "grateful," and passed in the negative.
The committee then agreed to the report, rost. and the Chairman reported it without amendmen
Mr. SPEAKER being seated in the Chair, the Address was read again and unanimously agreed to by the House.
It was then moved that a committee be appoint
ed to wait on the President of the United States to learn from him at what time, and in what place, he would receive this Address. Messrs. SMITH, (of South Carolina,) CLYMER, and LAWRENCE, were appointed the committee on this occasion.
A Message from the President of the United States, by H. Knox, Secretary at War, was received, in which the President informed the House, that he had made to them an unreserved but confidential communication of the situation of the Southern and Western frontiers, and Indian Department: immediately after this letter was read, on motion, the galleries were cleared.
WEDNESDAY, January 13.
BENJAMIN HUNTINGTON, from Connecticut; LAMBERT CADWALADER, from New Jersey; DanIEL HEISTER, from Pennsylvania, and WILLIAM SMITH, from Maryland, appeared and took their
On motion of Mr. LEE, it was
Ordered, That so much of the Standing Rules of this House, as directs the mode of appointing committees, be rescinded, and that hereafter it be a standing rule of the House, that all committees shall be appointed by the Speaker, unless otherwise specially directed by the House, in which case they shall be appointed by ballot, and if, upon such ballot, the number required shall not be elected by a majority of the votes given, the House shall proceed to a second ballot, in which a plurality of votes shall prevail; and in case a greater number than are required to compose or complete the committee shall have an equal number of votes, the House shall proceed to a further ballot or ballots.
Mr. SMITH (of South Carolina) reported that the PRESIDENT Would be ready to receive their
Address to-morrow at 12 o'clock.
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JAMES JACKSON, from Georgia, appeared and took his seat,
The Secretary of War made a report on the petition of James Gibbon, Archibald M'Allister, Dudley Tyler, John Hurst, Henry Malcomb, Peter Bennet, Charles Markley, Alexander Power, and John M'Garrah, which being read, were ordered, with the petitions themselves, to lie on the table.
Mr. HARTLEY said, that as there was much important business before the House last session which had been left incomplete, it was incumbent upon them to fix some rule, founded in justice, not only as a direction for the House through this session, but for a guide to succeeding ones, in what manner the business postponed from one session to another should be conducted. He was told that the subject had been already agitated, but he was led to believe, from an examination of the Journal, that it was not yet decided; but as it was of importance that it should be so, he intend
The House resumed the reading of the statement of the Southwestern frontiers, and of the Indian Department, as referred to in the PRESI-ed, before he sat down, to offer a motion that DENT's Message of yesterday; whereupon,
Ordered, That the said Message and statement be referred to a committee of five, and that Messieurs WADSWORTH, BROWN, BOUDINOT, BURKE, and BALDWIN, be the said committee.
THURSDAY, January 14.
THEODORE SEDGWICK, from Massachusetts, and THOMAS HARTLEY, from Pennsylvania, appeared and took their seats.
would bring it immediately before them. He what he understood had been advanced, "that a would preface it with an observation in reply to in effect the same as a prorogation." He knew Constitutional adjournment of both Houses was very well that a prorogation or dissolution of the Parliament of Britain destroyed all unfinished business; and that nothing was resumed at a subsequent meeting until the session was opened by the King. But an adjournment of Congress, whether for a greater or less time, left the busi
On motion, Messrs. LIVERMORE, AMES, LAW-ness to be resumed precisely in the same state it RENCE, SCOTT, and SMITH, were added to the committee appointed yesterday on the affairs of the Indian Department.
The House then went and presented the Address to the PRESIDENT, to which the PRESIDENT was pleased to make the following reply : Gentlemen:
I receive with pleasure the assurances you give me, that you will diligently and anxiously pursue such measures as shall appear to you conducive to the interests of your constituents; and that an early and serious consideration will be given to the various and weighty matters recommended by me to your attention.
I have full confidence that your deliberations will
stood at such adjournment. He wished to determine this point absolutely, and that it might not be done with surprise or in an indirect way, he would move to take up the bill to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries, which stood postponed by the express order of the House from the last to the present session. This bill, he observed, was solicited by some very ingenious men, to secure to them their writings and inventions; it had been early ordered in last session, and was intended to have passed, but the multiplicity of other important business had caused it to be post
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poned, as he had just related. Gentlemen might remember that a committee was appointed to report the business it was necessary to finish before the recess; they might also remember how desirous gentlemen were of having a recess; but if it had been considered that such a measure was to destroy all the labor of the House which had not brought its object to maturity, it would have been an insuperable objection against any adjournment whatever. He considered a vote that should annihilate all that they had hitherto done as a great piece of injustice to the public, who entertained Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee hope that considerable progress was made in the that the several matters recommended by the President Legislative business left incomplete at the last of the United States in his Speech to both Houses of session, and was on the part of the House creat- Congress, relating to a provision for the national de ing unnecessary trouble and expense; he saw no fence; to the promotion of manufactories for essential, propriety in renewing subjects which had been particularly military, supplies; to a compensation to well discussed, and the principles of which were the persons employed in the intercourse between the well understood, unless gentlemen were desirous United States and foreign nations; to the establishing of travelling over the ground again in order to an uniform rule of naturalization; to the establishment show a nearer route to bring them to their jour-of uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures: ney's end. to the advancement of the agriculture, commerce, and manufactures of the United States; to the encourage ment of useful inventions; to the establishment of post offices and post roads; and to the promotion science and literature; ought severally to be referred to select committees to be appointed by the House, to prepare and bring in a bill or bills, providing for each particular purpose.
The said resolution being again read,
He was ready to show that it was in the power of the House to establish the rule he meant to contend for, and that this rule was the one most likely to promote the public good in giving a necessary despatch to public measures.
Mr. WHITE wished the motion to lie on the table for consideration, but he was somewhat deceived in it, because the gentleman had intimated a desire to establish an absolute rule. Now, deciding this question would leave the subject still afloat, because he might be in favor of proceeding in one bill that was brought forward by motion, and against taking up another.
Mr. HARTLEY.-If the House determine to take up this bill, I apprehend the principle will be established that is to direct our future proceedings. If all business is dismissed by the last adjournment, it will be improper to adopt my motion; but I hope gentlemen will not endeavor to prevent its being fairly discussed and decided by introducing an indirect question.
Mr. BOUDINOT thought the question would not establish a uniform rule, because it was confined to a single object, which depended, in a great measure, on its own merits.
Mr. SEDGWICK said, it was in the power of any gentleman to bring forward business by motion; but in such case the principle contended for would remain untouched. A member might move and carry a question for taking up any paper on the files of the House, but still the point respecting the general termination of the business at the last session would be undetermined. He thought if gentlemen were disposed to bring the matter to issue, they ought to move a general proposition, such as that the House proceed with the business of the late session from the state in which it was then left; though he would not say but, on reflection, he should be against such a
Mr. PAGE said it was impossible, from the nature of Parliamentary proceedings, that the business of a former session could be resumed and proceeded in, as if no interval had taken place; and
he contended that the effect of a prorogation and
The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union; Mr. BALDWIN in the Chair. After some time, the committee rose and reported to the House the following resolution:
Ordered, That a committee be appointed to prepare and bring in a bill or bills providing the national defence; and that Mr. GILMAN, Mr. PETER MUHLENBERG, Mr. HEISTER, Mr. MATHEWS. and Mr. FLOYD, be of the said committee.
Ordered, That a committee be appointed to prepare and bring in a bill or bills for making compensation to persons employed in the inter course between the United States and foreign nations; and that Mr. SEDGWICK, Mr. HUNTINGTON, and Mr. LEE, be of the said committee.
Ordered, That a committee be appointed to prepare and bring in a bill or bills for establishing a uniform rule of naturalization, and that Mr. HARTLEY, Mr. TUCKER, and Mr. MOORE, be of the said committee.
Ordered, That it be referred to the Secretary of the Treasury to prepare and report to th House, a proper plan or plans, conformably to the recommendation of the President of the United States, in his Speech to both Houses of Congres for the encouragement and promotion of such manufactories as will tend to render the Unite States independent of other nations for essential particularly for military supplies.
Ordered, That it be referred to the Secretary of State to prepare and report to this House like manner, a proper plan or plans for establish ing uniformity in the currency, weights, and mea sures of the United States.
On motion of Mr. GOODHUE, Ordered, That a committee be appointed prepare and bring in a bill or bills to make such alteration in the laws of the United States as are necessary to conform the same to the present cit cumstances of the State of North Carolina; and
Reporting the Debates.
that Mr. BENSON, Mr. TRUMBULL, and Mr. CADWALADER, do prepare and bring in the same.
REPORTING THE DEBATES.
Mr. HARTLEY moved an adjournment, when Mr. PAGE rose and said, he wished to call the attention of the House before they adjourned, to a subject which he thought of importance, and which ought no longer to be in the undecided state it had been in since the last session. It was this: whether the persons who had taken down and published the debates of the House, by the tacit consent of the members, during the last session, and who had withdrawn from the seats they then held in the House, to the gallery, during this session, might not return to the same seats? He supposed that they had modestly withdrawn, on the supposition that the debate which took place just before the adjournment, showed that the sense of the members was against their sitting in the House; but the contrary was the case; that he knew their publications had given great satisfaction to many of the constituents of that House; that the House was applauded for its conduct on that occasion, both at home and abroad, and had been highly commended for it in some British publications; that he was anxious that the short-hand writers should resume their seats in the House, lest it might be insinuated by the jealous enemies of our Government, that the House of Representatives were more republican and indulgent the last session than this; that in removing those writers to the gallery was but a step towards removing them from the House, and that this suspicion would be increased by circumstances which, however innocent, nay proper in themselves, might be misunderstood, and excite uneasiness. The doors of the gallery had been two days shut, the House had made a parade through the streets, and had displayed their eagle in their hall; that these circumstances, if followed by the exclusion of the short-hand writers, might spread an alarm which ought to be avoided; he therefore hoped that those gentlemen who had retired to the gallery might be informed that they might return to the seats they occupied in the last session-that he avoided making a regular motion to this effect, because he knew that some worthy members who wished to admit those writers, or any others, did not think their admission ought to be sanctioned by vote, and appear on the journals, lest that might sanction and authenticate erroneous publications; but that if he should not discover that the sense of the members present was in favor of the ideas he had expressed, that to-morrow he would bring forward a motion made by a member from South Carolina, (Mr. TUCKER,) last session, for that purpose; for he had no fears that a vote of the House to authorize the admission of such writers, would make the House answerable for their publications.
Mr. HARTLEY withdrew his motion for adjournment, in order that the subject alluded to by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. PAGE) might be understood.
Mr. WHITE said, he felt averse to enter into a
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positive resolution for the admission of any person to take down the debates, but wished them permitted to a convenient seat within the bar for the purpose of hearing with greater accuracy. But he feared that a vote of the House would give a sanction to the details, which the publications ought not to have. Not that he thought them worse than similar publications in other countries; on the contrary, he thought them better, if he judged from what had fallen under his particular observation, and what he recollected to have from others. He did not wish a positive motion for the admission of short-hand writers, because gentlemen might object to a vote of the kind, and he should be very loth to discourage publications of the advantages of which he was well convinced; he knew they had given great satisfaction to the people of America, and it was a satisfaction of which he would not deprive them. Although these publications had not given an exact and accurate detail of all that passed in Congress, yet their information had been pretty full, and he believed the errors not very many; those that were made, he supposed to arise rather from haste or inadvertence, than from design. He was convinced of this, from the disposition the publishers had manifested to correct any errors that were pointed out, and the pains they sometimes took to ask gentlemen what were their particular expressions, when they either did not hear distinctly, or did not comprehend the speaker's meaning. He wished, therefore, the business might go on; but silently, as it had heretofore done, without the express approbation of the House. He was fully convinced, that neither the editor of the Register nor any other man, but the members of the House, had a right to a seat within these walls, without the consent of every member; but he thought this consent would be tacitly given if no gentleman opposed their introduction, and in this way he most heartily concurred with his colleague in agreeing to the admission of such persons as thought themselves qualified, and were inclined to take down and publish their debates and proceedings; he should be glad to see them in the seats they had last session, but he should object to the vote being entered on the journals of the House.
Mr. BOUDINOT thought the mode proper to be pursued on this occasion, would be to give a discretionary power to the Speaker to admit such persons as he thought proper. Under such a regulation, short-hand writers might be admitted, without giving to their publications any degree of Legislative authority.
Mr. THATCHER hoped that it was not the intention of gentlemen to confine the business to one person only, because others might appear, of equal capacity and equally deserving of encouragement.
Mr. PAGE said, he did not wish to confine the vote to any two or three writers, he cared not how many were admitted. It ought to be remembered, that he said, when this subject was before the House at the last session, that he saw no reason why Mr. Fenno should not be within the house