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But if the House are to go into a consideration, it had better be done in such a way as not to interfere much with the organization of the Government.
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 committee.
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 committee.
Mr. GERRY asked, whether the House had cognizance of the amendments proposed by the State conventions? If they had not, he would make a motion to bring them forward.
Mr. PAGE replied, that such motion would be out of order, until the present question was determined.
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.
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 to show that attention to the State which proposed it that would be delicate and proper.
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hoped they would not hesitate to adhere to their former vote for going into a Committee of the whole. That they would gain nothing was pretty certain, for gentlemen must 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, from the business of organizing the Government.
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.
He was sorry to hear an intention avowed by his colleague, of considering every part of the frame of this constitution. It was the same as forming themselves into a convention of the United States. He did not stand for words, the 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 necessary to discuss the subject; he was certain the cession would not be long enough; perhaps they might be bounded by the period of their appointment, but he questioned it.
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 amendments proposed, indeed he should move himself 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 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 Congress for its improvement. Now, what will these States feel if the subject is discussed in a select committee, and their recommenda- He had considered a select committee much tions totally neglected? The indelicacy of better calculated to consider and arrange a comtreating the application of five States in a man-plex business, than a Committee of the whole; ner different from other important subjects, he thought they were like the senses to the soul, will give no small occasion for disgust, which and on an occasion like the present, could be is a circumstance that this Government ought made equally useful. carefully to avoid. If, then, the House could gain nothing by this manner of proceeding, he
If he recollected rightly the decision made by the House on the 8th of June, it was that
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Amendments to the Constitution.
[JULY 21, 1789.
ought to treat the present subject with delicacy and impartiality.
certain specific amendments be referred to the Committee of the whole; not that the subject generally be referred, and that amendments be made The select committee will have it in their in the committee that were not contemplated, power so to keep this business back, that it may before. This public discussion would be like never again come before the House; this is an a dissection of the constitution, it would be de-imprudent step for us to take; not that I would facing its symmetry, laying bare its sinews and insinuate it is an event likely to take place, or tendons, ripping up the whole form, and tearing which any gentleman has in contemplation. I out its vitals; but is it presumable that such give every gentleman credit for his declaration, conduct would be attended with success? Two and believe the honorable mover means to save thirds of both Houses must agree in all these time by this arrangement; but do not let us operations, before they can have effect. His differ on this point. I would rather the business opposition to going into a Committee of the should lie over for a month, nay, for a whole whole, did not arise from any fear that the con- session, than have it put into other hands, and stiution would suffer by a fair discussion in passed over without investigation. this, or any other House; but while such bu- Mr. GERRY inquired of his colleague, how it siness was going on, the Government was was possible that the House could be a federal laid prostrate, and every artery ceased to convention without the Senate, and when twobeat. The unfair advantages that might be thirds of both Houses are to agree to the amend taken in such a situation, were easier ap-ments? He would also be glad to find out how prehended than resisted. Wherefore, he wish- a committee was the same to the House as the ed to avoid the danger, by a more prudent line senses to the soul? What, said he, can we of conduct. neither see, hear, smell, or feel, without we emMr. TUCKER would not say whether the dis-ploy a committee for the purpose? My colcussion alluded to by the gentleman last up league further tells us, that if we proceed in would do good or harm, but he was certain it this way, we shall lay bare the sinews and ought to take place no where but in a Commit- tendons of the constitution; that we shall butchtee of the whole; the subject is of too much im-er it, and put it to death. Now, what does this portance for a select committee. Now, sup- argument tend to prove? Why, sir, to my pose such a committee to be appointed, and mind, nothing more nor less than this, that we that the amendments proposed by the several ought to adopt the report of the committee, States, together with those brought forward by whatever the report may be; for we are to judge the gentleman from Virginia, are referred to by the knowledge derived through our senses, them; after some consideration they report, and not to proceed on to commit murder. If but not one of the amendments proposed by these are the arguments to induce the House to by either State; what is the inference? They refer the subject to a select committee, they are have considered them, and as they were better arguments to engage to go further, and give into capable than the House of considering them, the hands of select committees the whole the House ought to reject every proposition legislative power. But what was said recoming from the State conventions. Will this specting a public discussion? Are gentlemen give satisfaction to the States who have requir- afraid to meet the public ear on this topic? Do ed amendments? Very far from it. They will they wish to shut the gallery doors? Perhaps expect that their propositions would be fully nothing would be attended with more dangerbrought before the House, and regularly and ous consequences. No, sir, let us not be afraid fully considered; if indeed then they are reject-of full and public investigation. Let our means, ed, 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 propositions of the several States, may apply in some degree to the propositions brought forward by the 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 would have a right to complain, and every State would be justly disgusted.
like our conclusions, be justified; let our con stituents see, hear, and judge for themselves.
The question on discharging the Committee of the whole on the state of the Union from proceeding on the subject of amendments, as referred to them, was put, and carried in the affirmative-the House divided, 34 for it, and 15 against it.
It was then ordered that Mr. MADISON'S motion, stating certain specific amendments, proper to be proposed by Congress to the Legisla tures of the States, to become, if ratified by Will it tend to reconcile the Government three-fourths thereof, part of the constitution of to that great body of the people who are dissatis- the United States, together with the amendfied, who think themselves and all they hold ments to the said constitution, as proposed by most dear, unsafe under it, without certain the several States, be referred to a committee, amendments are made? Will it answer any one to consist of a member from each State, with good purpose to slur over this business, and re-instruction to take the subject of amendject the propositions without giving them a fairments to the constitution of the United States chance of a full discussion? I think not, Mr. generally into their consideration, and to report Speaker. Both the Senate and this House thereupon to the House.
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.
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and that every person actually settled within the said limits shall be entitled to the pre-emption of a quantity not exceeding acres, including his settle
Ordered, That a bill or bills be brought in, pursuant to the said resolution, and that Mr. SCOTT, Mr. SYLVESTER, and Mr. MOORE, do prepare and bring in the same.
THURSDAY, July 23.
A bill for allowing a compensation to the President and Vice President of the United States was read the second time, and ordered to be engrossed and read the third time to-morrow. Ön motion,
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 Resolved, That a committee be appointed to exaclause or clauses, making compensation to the mine into the measures taken by Congress and the Serjeant-at-Arms, Messengers, and Door-State of Virginia respecting the lands reserved for the keepers of the two Houses, for their services. use of the officers and soldiers of said State, on conA petition was presented from Hannahtinental and State establishments, in the cession made 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 different schemes of religion now embraced among mankind."
Ordered, That the petition do lie on the table.
The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House on the bill for settling the accounts between the United States and individual States, Mr. BOUDINOT in the chair; and, after some time spent therein, the committee rose, and reported that they had gone through the same, and made no amendment thereto.
On motion, Ordered, That the Committee of the whole House be discharged from further proceedings on the said bill, and that it be recommitted to Mr. BALDWIN, Mr. STURGES, and Mr. SMITH of South Carolina.
The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House on the state of the Union, Mr. BOUDINOT in the chair; and, after some time spent therein, the committee rose and reported that they had had the state of the Union under consideration, and come to a resolution thereupon, which was read and then delivered in at the clerk's table, where the same was twice read, and agreed to by the House, as follows:
Resolved, That an act of Congress ought to pass for establishing a Land Office, and for regulating the terms and manner of granting vacant and unappropriated lands, the property of the United States; that the said office be under the superintendence of the Governor of the Western Territory; that the land to be disposed of be confined to the following limits, viz:
That the tracts or parcels to be disposed of to any one person, shall not exceed acres; that the price to be required for the same shall be per acre;
by the said State to the United States, of the territory northwest of the river Ohio, and to report the same to this House, and that Mr. WHITE, Mr. PETER MUнLENBURG, and Mr. SENEY, be of the said committee.
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 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.
Mr. BENSON objected to some of the duties mentioned in the resolution. He thought the less the Government corresponded with particular States the better, and there could be no necessity for an officer to see to the execution of
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[JULY 23, 1789.
The question he conceived to be reduced to this, whether a confidential officer would not be more useful than any other, and whether the duties could be distributed among the officers already instituted. For his part, he conceived most of them foreign to either of those officers; and that they could not be performed with advantage any other way than by an officer appointed specially for the purpose. He thought every gentleman would admit that the duties were important, and he assured them that his only reason for bringing the motion forward was, to provide for the public good. He had no personal motives in pressing it; he disclaimed every idea of serving any particular man by the arrangement, and rested it solely upon its merits.
the laws of the United States, when there was a Judiciary instituted with adequate powers. Mr. WHITE was not convinced that there was a necessity for establishing a separate department for all or any of the duties contained in the resolution. The correspondence with the States belonged to the Executive. To see to the execution of the laws was the duty of the Judiciary. The great seal might be kept by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; the lesser seal might be deposited in the same hands. Commissions might be made out by the departments to which the officer is connected. The Secre tary of the Senate and Clerk of the House might transmit the public acts, and keep records thereof. What have Congress to do with the acts of States? If they interfere with the constitutional powers of the Government, the Judges will pre- Mr. SEDGWICK believed the honorable genvent their operation. The papers of the late tleman in his assertions, that he had no personal Congress may be distributed among the officers motive in pressing this business. He believed to which they relate; the rest may be deposited that he thought it essential, and if his sentiments with the officers of Congress. The want of the were the same, he would join the gentleman in reports on manufactures, agriculture, and com- supporting the motion; but after duly considermerce, may be supplied by Congress. The posting the subject, he was inclined to believe that roads may be left to the Postmaster General. the office was unnecessary, and that it would be The census must be returned to Congress, and squandering the public money, at a time when they will preserve it among their files. And it the greatest economy is requisite. He thought can hardly be thought necessary to establish a the principal part of the duties might be assigngreat department for the purpose of receiving ed to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and he the models, specimens, and books, presented by would, if the committee negatived the present authors and inventors. If none of these things motion, introduce another for that purpose. are requisite to be done by a great department, Mr. GERRY thought the burthens of the peowhy should the United States incur the ex-ple would be sufficiently great in providing the pense which such an arrangement must necessarily draw along with it.
Mr. HUNTINGTON thought the Secretary of Foreign Affairs was not so much overcharged with business but that he might attend to the major part of the duties mentioned in the resolution. Mr. VINING said he had waited until the great Executive departments were established; but none of those had embraced the duties contained in his proposition, which he conceived to be of great importance: many of the duties were as essential as those of any other department, except the Treasury. As for their belonging to the Executive, as was said by the gentleman from Virginia, he admitted it; but they were, nevertheless, as proper to be put into the hands of a principal officer under the President, as the War office, or office of Foreign Affairs; the duties of these were specially within the Executive department of the Government. He conceived that the President ought to be relieved from the inferior duties of his station, by officers assigned to attend to them under his inspection; he could then, with a mind free and unembarrassed with the minutiae of business, attend to the operations of the whole machine.
If the office was admitted to be necessary, and he was certain the performance of the duties were useful and essential, the expense could be no solid objection, because the information it would furnish would more than counterbalance that article.
supplies absolutely necessary for the support of the Government; therefore it would be improper to add expenses which might possibly be avoided. The people are viewing the proceedings of Congress with an attentive solicitude, and if they observe that we erect offices for which there is no apparent necessity, they will be apt to think we are providing sinecures for men whom we favor; they will reluctantly pay what is extracted from their earnings to a Government which they think is regardless of economy. They will suspect a further view in the change of Government. They will suppose that we contemplate the establishment of a monarchy, by raising round the Executive a phalanx of such men as must be inclined to favor those of whom they hold their places.
Mr. VINING.-Why do gentlemen say that such an office is unnecessary, when they are forced to admit that all the duties are essential? Or how can they say it is more expensive to establish it in this way than in another? Suppose these duties distributed in the manner which some gentleman have mentioned, is it not fairly to be presumed that the departments to which any of them are attached, will require an extra pay for these extra services? If so, will there be any economy in this mode of procedure? All that is to be wished for, is to have a confidential person employed, let his salary be what you please: if it is not worth fifteen hundred dollars per annum, let it be five hundred. But
JULY 24, 1789.]
Committee of Ways and Means.
it would be better to have a principal to manage the business than to have it consigned to clerks in the other departments.
Mr. LAWRENCE said that something was necessary to be done with respect to the business brought forward by the honorable gentleman from Delaware. He conceived that an officer of the rolls, or some inferior officer, ought to be appointed to transact the business detailed in the resolution; he did not insist upon making a great department.
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mitted to a Committee of the whole House: whereupon the House resolved itself into a committee on the bill, and made some amendments therein. They then reported the bill with the amendments to the House, which were ordered to lie on the table.
Mr. GERRY presented a bill for registering and clearing vessels, ascertaining their tonnage, and for regulating the coasting trade, which was read a first time, and ordered to lie on the table.
Mr. BALDWIN, from the select committee to whom was committed the bill for settling the accounts between the United States and the individual States, reported, that the committee had, according to order, had the said bill under consideration, and made amendments thereto, which he read in his place, and afterwards de
Mr. SEDGWICK agreed with the gentleman from New York; but, he thought, the business might be thrown into some other department, and save to the Union the expense of the one which the gentleman from Delaware wished to establish, by the name of the Home Department. He thought the resolution proposed altogether so improper, that he hoped the commit-livered in at the Clerk's table, where the same tee would rise.
A desultory conversation arose, whether the committee should decide upon the resolution or not; after which a question was taken on the rising of the committee, and decided in the negative.
Then the question was put on the first part of Mr. VINING's proposition, viz. "That an Executive Department ought to be established, to be denominated the Home Department;" and lost by a considerable majority.
It was then moved and seconded, that the committee rise, which being agreed to, the committee rose and reported that they had, according to order, had the state of the Union under consideration, but had come to no resolution thereon.
A notion was then made by Mr. SEDGWICK, that a committee be appointed to bring in a bill supplementary to the act for establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs, declaring that department to be hereafter denominated
was again read twice, amended, and agreed to by the House, and ordered to be engrossed.
A petition from Nathaniel Gorham, of the State of Massachusetts, was presented and read, setting forth that Oliver Phelps, Esq. and the petitioner, are interested, by purchase from the said State of Massachusetts, in certain lands which will be materially affected by the line directed to be run between the United States and the State of New York, and praying that such measures may be taken therein as shall be consistent with a due regard to the rights of the said Phelps and the petitioner.
Ordered to lie on the table.
COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS. Mr. FITZSIMONS.-The finances of America have frequently been mentioned in this House as being very inadequate to the demands. I have ever been of a different opinion, and do believe that the funds of this country, if properly drawn into operation, will be equal to and that the principal officer in that depart- every claim. The estimate of supplies necesment shall have the custody of the records and sary for the current year appears very great seal of the United States, and that such bill do from a report on your table, and which report contain a provision for the fees of office to be has found its way into the public newspapers. taken for copies of records, and further provi- I said on a former occasion, and I repeat it now, sion for the due publication of the acts of Con- notwithstanding what is set forth in the estigress, and such other matters relating to the pre-mate, that a revenue of three millions of dollars mises, as the committee shall deem necessary to be reported to this House.
in specie, will enable us to provide every supply necessary to support the Government, and And the question being put thereupon, it pass-pay the interest and instalments on the foreign ed inthe negative.
Another petition from Baron de Glaubeck was presented and read, praying the attention | of Congress to his former petition, to be compensated for certain losses and military services rendered during the late war.
Mr. PAGE, from the committee appointed for the purpose, made a further report on Andrew Ellicott's memorial, after which the House adjourned.
and domestic debt. If we wish to have more particular information on these points, we ought to appoint a Committee of Ways and Means, to whom, among other things, the estimate of supplies may be referred, and this ought to be done speedily, if we mean to do it this session.
Mr. GERRY said, the estimate reported by a committee was as accurate as possible. From this it appeared, that eight millions of dollars would be necessary for the support of Government, for the interest and instalments becoming due, and for the arrearages already due. remarked, that we had been already dunned on this subject by foreigners, and that Congress would have to make provision for their pay