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Compensation to the President, &c.
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up in the discharge of public business; therefore they should have an adequate and an independent allowance. The generality of the members, being so far advanced in years, will drop every idea of engaging any more in their several professions, after having once engaged in the service of their country. Their age, wisdom, and experience, all warrant this discrimination. He concluded by saying, that the real dignity of the House was, he thought, so far from being diminished by adopting the proposition, that he conceived it was essentially connected with it.
Mr. STONE thought the House ought not to assist in elevating one branch of the Government more above the other than the Constitution had done. This had given influence to the Senate by a negative in the cases of treaties and appointments. It had given importance to the House, by vesting them with the sole power of originating money bills. But both these powers could be exercised without a discrimination being made in the pay of the members; therefore he inferred that it was not contemplated by the Constitution to make any such distinction.
A discrimination may eventually operate to the public injury; the House of Representatives may be desirous of terminating the session, but the Senate, finding the compensation they receive quite agreeeble, may be inclined to protract it. He thought the true way of deciding on this subject, was to make the same allowance to both, and let it be such as not to induce them to protract the session on the one hand, or have a tendency to hurry over the business on the other.
proposed would have the tendency which some gentlemen apprehended, he would be the last man on the floor to support it. He would be as careful as any man how he extended the influence of any part of the Government, or gave it the least inclination towards aristocracy. But he apprehended gentlemen were deceived in their principle-he did not believe the doctrine that money confers importance, and he wished to evince to the world that money, under this Government, would have no such effect. The Senate having more duties to perform, may require a larger pecuniary gratification; but this will not add to their importance. It will require something of this kind to stimulate gentlemen to undertake the service; for his part he might consent to come here for two years, in order to assist in public business, but no inducement, hardly, could engage him to undertake it for six years. On this consideration, he thought the Senate ought to have annual salaries, and to such an amount as would render their situation independent and eligible.
If gentlemen are afraid of an aristocracy, they ought to be careful not to make the compensation too low, so as to exclude men of middling fortunes; the men of rank and distinguished opulence might serve without any pecuniary compensation; but the Government would not be safe if it was exclusively in such hands. He wished to discriminate in favor of the Senate, but he would rather increase their pay to eight dollars than reduce that of the members of this House, while he considered it but a moderate compensation.
The question on Mr. SEDGWICK's motion was taken, and lost by a considerable majority.
The House having now gone through the report, it was
Ordered, That a bill or bills be brought in, pursuant thereto, and that Messrs. BURKE, STONE, and MOORE, be a committee to prepare and bring in the same, with instructions to insert a clause or clauses making provision for a reasonable compensation to the Secretary of the Senate, and Clerk of the House of Representatives, respectively, for their services.
After which the House adjourned.
Mr. JACKSON said, in reply to the inquiry of Mr. SEDGWICK-"Why have we made a difference between the President and the Vice President?" that the whole of the President's time would be taken up in the duties of his station; that the Vice President may retire to his farm whenever he thought proper. We refer, said he, to the wisdom of the Senate; but how is this superior wisdom to be discerned? If on this account a distinction is to be made, it necessarily follows that a difference should be made between the members of this House and those of the Senate. We cannot be too cautious how we establish an undue pre-eminence, and give an influence and importance to one branch of the Legislature over the other. All Governments incline to despotism, as naturally as rivers run into the sea. Despotism makes its way gradually, by slow and impercepti-sented to the House, and read, praying that an ble steps; despotic power is never established all exclusive privilege may be granted him for a at once; we shall, ere we are aware, get beyond term of years, to make, use, and vend three mathe gulf, and then we shall be astonished how we chines, which he has invented for threshing and reached there. The services of the Senate are reaping grain, and for deepening docks, and not more arduous than ours: their proper busi- which are calculated to facilitate labor, and aid ness is legislation, and I will never consent to any the two great objects of agriculture and comdiscrimination. If I imagined the question would merce. be determined in favor of discrimination, I would call the yeas and nays, and should it be determined in favor of it, I will still call them on purpose that my constituents may see that I have voted against a measure which I look upon as injurious to the Government.
FRIDAY, July 17.
A petition from Leonard Harbaugh was pre
Ordered, That the said petition do lie on the
Mr. PAGE. If he thought the discrimination
The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from Ebenezer Hazard, Postmaster General of the United States, submitting the propriety of some immediate provision, by law, for the arrangement of that department, which was read,
Amendments to the Constitution.
and ordered to be referred to Messrs. BOUDINOT, GOODHUE, and LEE; that they do examine the matter thereof, and report the same, with their opinion thereupon, to the House.
A bill for settling the accounts between the United States and individual States was read the second time, and ordered to be committed to the Committee of the whole House on Tuesday next.
A bill to provide for the government of the territory northwest of the river Ohio was read the second time, and ordered to be committed to a Committee of the whole House on Monday
Ordered, That a committee be appointed to bring in a bill or bills, providing for the establishment of hospitals for sick and disabled seamen, and for the regulation of harbors; and that Messrs. SMITH, (of South Carolina,) CLYMER, and CARROLL, do prepare and bring in the same. The House resumed the consideration of the report on the petition of Andrew Ellicott, which lay on the table.
Ordered, That the said report be recommitted to the same committee.
The House then proceeded to consider the amendments proposed by the Senate to the bill, entitled "An act for establishing an Executive department, to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs," and, the same being read, were agreed to.
The House, according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, on the bill for the establishment and support of light-houses, beacons, and buoys, and for authorizing the several States to provide and regulate pilots; and after some time spent therein-in The Chairman reported that the committee had had, according to order, the said bill under consideration, and gone through the same, and made several amendments thereto, which he delivered in at the Clerk's table, where the same was twice read and agreed to by the House.
Ordered, That the said bill, with the amendments, be engrossed, and read the third time on Monday next.
government of the Territory northwest of the river Ohio, Mr. BOUDINOT in the Chair;
And, after some time being spent in considering the same, the committee rose and reported that they had, according to order, had the said bill under consideration, and gone through the same.
MONDAY, July 20.
A message from the Senate informed the House that they had passed the bill for establishing an Executive department, to be denominated the Department of Foreign Affairs, with several amendments, to which they desire the concurrence of the House; that they have also passed a bill to establish the Judicial Courts of the United States, to which they desire the concur-subject referred to a select committee. rence of the House.
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Ordered, That the said bill, with the amendments, be engrossed, and read the third time to-morrow.
TUESDAY, July 21.
An engrossed bill to provide for the governOhio, was read the third time and passed, and ment of the Territory northwest of the river
sent to the Senate for concurrence.
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION. Mr. MADISON begged the House to indulge him the further consideration of amendments to the Constitution, and as there appeared, in some degree, a moment of leisure, he would move to go into a Committee of the Whole on the subject, conformably to the order of the 8th of last month.
Mr. AMES hoped that the House would be induced, on mature reflection, to rescind their vote of going into a committee on the business, and refer it to a select committee. It would certainly tend to facilitate the business. If they had the subject at large before a Committee of the Whole, he could not see where the business was likely to end. The amendments proposed were so various, that their discussion must inevitably occupy many days, and that at a time when they can be ill spared; whereas a select committee could go through and cull out those of the most material kind, without interrupting the principal business of the House. He therefore moved, that the Committee of the Whole be discharged, and the
Mr. SEDGWICK opposed the motion, for the reasons given by his colleague, observing that the members from the several States proposing amendments would, no doubt, drag the House through the consideration of every one, whatever their fate might be after they were discussed; now gentlemen had only to reflect on this, and conceive the length of time the business would take up, if managed in this way.
Mr. WHITE thought no time would be saved by appointing a select committee. Every member would like to be satisfied with the reasons upon which the amendments offered by the select committee are grounded, consequently the train of argument which gentlemen have in contemplation to avoid, must be brought forward.
He did not presume to say the Constitution was perfect, but it was such as had met with the approbation of wise and good men in the different States. Some of the proposed amendments were also of high value; but he did not expect they would be supported by two-thirds of both Houses, without undergoing a thorough investigation. He did not like to refer any business to a select committee, until the sense of the House had been expressed upon it, because it rather tended to re
Amendments to the Constitution.
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tard than despatch it; witness the Collection bill, which had cost them much time, but after all had to be deserted.
He wished gentlemen to consider the situation of the States; seven out of thirteen had thought the Constitution very defective, yet five of them have adopted it with a perfect reliance on Con
Mr. SHERMAN. The provision for amendments made in the fifth article of the Constitution, was intended to facilitate the adoption of those which experience should point out to be necessary.gress for its improvement. Now, what will these This Constitution has been adopted by eleven States feel if the subject is discussed in a select States; a majority of those eleven have received committee, and their recommendations totally it without expressing a wish for amendments; neglected? The indelicacy of treating the applínow, is it probable that three-fourths of the eleven cation of five States in a manner different from States will agree to amendments offered on mere other important subjects, will give no small occaspeculative points, when the Constitution has had sion for disgust, which is a circumstance that this no kind of trial whatever? It is hardly to be Government ought carefully to avoid. If, then expected that they will. Consequently we shall the House could gain nothing by this manner of lose our labor, and had better decline having any proceeding, he hoped they would not hesitate to thing further to do with it for the present. adhere to their former vote for going into a ComBut if the House are to go into a consideration, mittee of the Whole. That they would gain it had better be done in such a way as not to nothing was pretty certain, for gentlemen must interfere much with the organization of the Gov-necessarily come forward with their amendments to the report when it was brought in. The members from Massachusetts were particularly instructed to press the amendments recommended by the convention of that State at all times, until they had been maturely considered by Congress; the same duties were made incumbent on the members from some other States; consequently, any attempt to smother the business, or prevent a full investigation, must be nugatory, while the House paid a proper deference to their own rules and orders. He did not contend for going into a Committee of the Whole at the present moment; he would prefer a time of greater leisure than the present, for the business of organizing the Gov
Mr. PAGE hoped the business would proceed as heretofore directed. He thought it would be very agreeable to the majority of the Union, he knew it would be to his constituents, to find that the Government meant to give every security to the rights and liberties of the people, and to examine carefully into the grounds of the apprehensions expressed by several of the State conventions; he thought they would be satisfied with the amendments brought forward by his colleague when the subject was last before the House.
Mr. PARTRIDGE knew the subject must be taken up in some way or other, and preferred, for the sake of expedition, doing it by a select com
Mr. JACKSON was sorry to see the House was to be troubled any further on the subject; he looked upon it as a mere waste of time; but as he always chose the least of two evils, he acquiesced in the motion for referring it to a special
to show that attention to the State which proposed it that would be delicate and proper.
A desultory conversation ensued, and it was questioned whether the subject generally was to be before the Committee of the Whole, or those specific propositions only which had already been introduced.
He was sorry to hear an intention avowed by his colleague, of considering every part of the
Mr. PAGE replied, that such motion would be out of order, until the present question was determined.
Mr. GERRY asked, whether the House had cog-frame of this Constitution. It was the same as nizance of the amendments proposed by the State forming themselves into a convention of the conventions? If they had not, he would make a United States. He did not stand for words, the motion to bring them forward. thing would be the same in fact. He could not but express a degree of anxiety at seeing the system of Government encounter another ordeal, when it ought to be extending itself to furnish security to others. He apprehended, if the zeal of some gentlemen broke out on this occasion, that there would be no limits to the time neces sary to discuss the subject; he was certain the session would not be long enough; perhaps they might be bounded by the period of their appointment, but he questioned it.
Mr. GERRY said, that it was a matter of indifference how this question was understood, because no gentleman could pretend to deny another the privilege of bringing forward propositions conformably to his sentiments. If gentlemen, then, might bring forward resolutions to be added, or motions of amendment, there would be no time saved by referring the subject to a special committee. But such procedure might tend to prejudice the House against an amendment neglected by the committee, and thereby induce them not
Mr. AMES declared to the House, that he was no enemy to the consideration of amendments; but he had moved to rescind their former vote in order to save time, which he was confident would be the consequence of referring it to a select committee.
When gentlemen suppose themselves called upon to vent their ardor in some favorite pursuit. in securing to themselves and their posterity the inestimable rights and liberties they have just snatched from the hand of despotism, they are apt to carry their exertions to an extreme; but he hoped the subject itself would be limited; not that he objected to the consideration of the amend ments proposed, indeed he should move himself
Amendments to the Constitution.
for the consideration, by the committee, of those recommended by Massachusetts, if his colleagues omitted to do it; but he hoped gentlemen would not think of bringing in new amendments, such as were not recommended, but went to tear the frame of Government into pieces.
He had considered a select committee much better calculated to consider and arrange a complex business than a Committee of the Whole; he thought they were like the senses to the soul, and, on an occasion like the present, could be made equally useful.
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would have a right to complain, and every State would be justly disgusted.
Will it tend to reconcile the Government to that great body of the people who are dissatisfied, who think themselves and all they hold most dear unsafe under it, without certain amendments are made? Will it answer any one good purpose to slur over this business, and reject the propositions without giving them a fair chance of a full discussion? I think not, Mr. Speaker. Both the Senate and this House ought to treat the present subject with delicacy and impartiality.
The select committee will have it in their power so to keep this business back, that it may never again come before this House; this is an imprudent step for us to take; not that I would insinuate it is an event likely to take place, or which any gentleman has in contemplation. I give every gentleman credit for his declaration, and believe the honorable mover means to save time by this arrangement; but do not let us differ on this point. I would rather the business should lie over for a month, nay, for a whole session, than have it put into other hands, and passed over without investigation.
Mr. GERRY inquired of his colleague, how it was possible that the House could be a federal convention without the Senate, and when twothirds of both Houses are to agree to the amendments? He would also be glad to find out how a committee was the same to the House as the senses to the soul? What, said he, can we neither see, hear, smell, nor feel, without we employ a committee for the purpose? My colleague further tells us, that if we proceed in this way, we shall lay bare the sinews and tendons of the ConMr. TUCKER would not say whether the discus- stitution; that we shall butcher it, and put it to sion alluded to by the gentleman last up would death. Now, what does this argument tend to do good or harm, but he was certain it ought to prove? Why, sir, to my mind, nothing more nor take place no where but in a Committee of the less than this, that we ought to adopt the report of Whole; the subject is of too much importance for the committee, whatever the report may be; for we a select committee. Now, suppose such a com- are to judge by the knowledge derived through mittee to be appointed, and that the amendments our senses, and not to proceed on to commit murproposed by the several States, together with der. If these are the arguments to induce the those brought forward by the gentleman from Vir- House to refer the subject to a select committee, ginia, are referred to them: after some considera- they are arguments to engage to go further, and tion they report, but not one of the amendments give into the hands of select committees the proposed by either State; what is the inference? whole Legislative power. But what was said reThey have considered them, and as they were bet-specting a public discussion? Are gentlemen ter capable than the House of considering them, afraid to meet the public ear on this topic? Do the House ought to reject every proposition com- they wish to shut the gallery doors? Perhaps noing from the State conventions. Will this give thing would be attended with more dangerous satisfaction to the States who have required consequences. No, sir, let us not be afraid of full amendments? Very far from it. They will ex- and public investigation. Let our means, like our pect that their propositions would be fully brought conclusions, be justified; let our constituents see, before the House, and regularly and fully consid- hear, and judge for themselves. ered; if indeed then they are rejected, it may be some satisfaction to them, to know that their applications have been treated with respect. What I have said with respect to the proposi-ferred to them, was put, and carried in the aftions of the several States, may apply in some firmative-the House divided, 34 for it, and 15 degree to the propositions brought forward by the against it. gentleman (Mr. MADISON) from Virginia; the select committee may single out one or two, and reject the remainder, notwithstanding the vote of the House for considering them. The gentleman
The question on discharging the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union from proceeding on the subject of amendments, as re
It was then ordered that Mr. MADISON's motion, stating certain specific amendments, proper to be proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the States, to become, if ratified by three-fourths
If he recollected rightly the decision made by the House on the 8th of June, it was that certain specific amendments be referred to the Committee of the Whole; not that the subject generally be referred, and that amendments be made in the committee that were not contemplated before. This public discussion would be like a dissection of the Constitution; it would be defacing its symmetry, laying bare its sinews and tendons, ripping up the whole form, and tearing out its vitals; but is it presumable that such conduct would be attended with success? Two-thirds of both Houses must agree in all these operations before they can have effect. His opposition to going into a Committee of the Whole did not arise from any fear that the Constitution would suffer by a fair discussion in this or any other House; but while such business was going on, the Government was laid prostrate, and every artery ceased to beat. The unfair advantages that might be taken in such a situation, were easier apprehended than resisted. Wherefore, he wished to avoid the danger by a more prudent line of conduct.
Western Lands-Home Department.
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thereof, part of the Constitution of the United States, together with the amendments to the said Constitution, as proposed by the several States, be referred to a committee, to consist of a member from each State, with instruction to take the subject of amendments to the Constitution of the United States generally into their consideration, and to report thereupon to the House.
The committee appointed were, Messrs. VINING, MADISON, BALDWIN, SHERMAN, BURKE, GILMAN, CLYMER, BENSON, GOODHUE, BOUDINOT,
Then the House adjourned.
WEDNESDAY, July 22.
Mr. BURKE, from the committee appointed for the purpose, presented a bill for allowing a compensation to the President and Vice President of the United States; which was received, and read the first time.
Ordered, That it be an instruction to the committee appointed to bring in a bill for making a compensation to the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, that they do insert a clause or clauses, making compensation to the Sergeant-at-Arms, Messengers, and Doorkeepers of the two Houses, for their services.
A petition was presented from Hannah Adams, praying that an exclusive privilege may be granted her, for a limited time, to publish and vend a work which she has compiled, entitled "An Alphabetical Compendium of the various religious sects which have appeared in the world from the Christian era to the present day, with an appendix, containing a brief account of the diferent schemes of religion now embraced among mankind."
On motion of Mr. VINING, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, Mr. BOUDINOT in the Chair.
Mr. VINING introduced a resolution for the adoption of the committee, by which it is declared: That an Executive department ought to be established, and to be denominated the Home department; the head of which to be called the Secretary of the United States for the Home Department; whose duty it shall be to correspond with the several States, and to see to the execution of the laws of the Union; to keep the great seal, and affix the same to all public papers, when it is necessary; to keep the lesser seal, and to affix it to commissions, &c.; to make out commissions, and enregister the same; to keep authentic copies of all public acts, &c.; and transmit the same to the several States; to procure the acts of the several States, and report on the same when contrary to the laws of the United States; to take into his custody the archives of the late Congress; to report to the President plans for the protection and improvement of manufactures, agriculture, and commerce; to obtain a geographical account of the several States, their rivers, towns, roads, &c.; to report what post roads shall be established; to receive and record the census; to receive reports respecting the Western territory; to receive the models and specimens presented by inventors and authors; to enter all books for which patents are granted; to issue patents, &c.; and, in general, to do and attend to all such matters and things as he may be directed to do by the President.