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Impeachment of William Blount.
well satisfied as to the fact now, as they could be the charges brought against the British Minister when the handwriting was proved; but he denied were unfounded. that the committee had the power of taking evi- Mr. Brooks wished to know whether they dence of this kind. He moved for the committee could proceed to impeach a man, if he were not to rise, either to examine the evidence, or to present. adjourn.
Mr. Dana said, when this subject was under Mr. Gallatin wished the committee to rise; debate with closed doors, the Secretary of State but, before it rose, he wished to mention two or was present, and when it was doubted whether three ideas, upon which he should wish to have the publication of these papers might impede the satisfaction when the committee sat again. prosecution of an inquiry into the business, they
So far as relates to the Constitutional question, were informed by him that such steps were taken the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Dana) had as that the publication of the papers could not removed a part of his doubts; therefore what he have a bad effect. should mention would not relate to that point. The committee rose, and obtained leave to sit
If he understood his colleague rightly, when again. speaking of the opinion of gentlemen of the law, It was proposed that the SPEAKER should pro. he said ihat their opinion was, not only that Wil- ceed to take evidence as to the handwriting of the LIAM Blount was liable to an impeachment, but letter of William Blount. that the proper mode of prosecuting him was by The Speaker suggested the propriety of calling impeachment. He had since looked at the opin- in a magistrate, as he had no power to administer ion, and did not find it so; but that he was liable an oath, except in the case of qualifying the memto impeachment. In the next place, he under- bers of that House. stood him to say, that Mr. BLOUNT was not ame- Mr. Lyon moved that the SPEAKER be authorDable to orderly process. He wished to know ized to administer an oath on this occasion. whether this idea was well founded, and whether The question was put and negatived—53 to 29. the only mode in which he could be prosecuted Judge Keene in the meantime coming into the was by impeachment. He wished to know this, House, a motion was made and carried, that he be that he might regulate his proceedings accord- requested to administer the oath 10 Messrs. Maingly. He wished the business to be gone into con, McDowell, Grove, and Baldwin; which as fully as possible; and he trusted that ihis mode was accordingly done, and they gave their testiof impeachment was not thrown upon them in mony as to the reality of the handwriting. They order io prevent the bringing of the subject be- were all agreed that ihe letter was his. fore a court of justice, and by that means sup
The House then adjourned. press the inquiry which he wished to prosecute. He thought an investigation of the plot was of far greater consequence than the impeachment
Friday, July 7. and disqualification of an individual. If the pro
Mr. Dwight Foster moved a resolution for an secution and the inquiry were to go on together,
adjournment on Monday. it would be well; but he wished to know whether, if they entered upon the impeachment, it was the
Mr. Havens moved to amend the resolution by
inserting Saturday. design to drop every other mode of proceeding. Mr. McDowell hoped the committee would
This amendment, after some conversation, was noi rise for the purpose of proving the hand- negatived—50 to 23, and the original motion was
carried without a division. writing of Mr. Blount. He was acquainted with his writing, and believed it to be his. As he had
The bill for the relief of Major Thomas Lewis this belief, he wished to come to a determination ceived its third reading, and subsequenily passed.
was taken up in Committee of the Whole, reas soon as possible. He thought the design a very criminal one, as it went not only to destroy
IMPEACHMENT OF WILLIAM BLOUNT. the peace and bappiness of this country, but also Mr. Sirgreaves moved to go into a Committee of oibers. He trusted, therefore, that they should of the Whole on the report of the committee on take such steps as should prevent foreign Minis- the confidential communication of the President ters in future from engaging persons to carry into of the United States, on Monday last. effect views of this kind.
The Speaker said, before the House went into Mr. HARPER wished the committee to rise. If a Committee of the Whole on this subject, he would the gentleman from Pennsylvania had known reada letter which he had just received. Hethen anything of the law, he must have known that read a letter from Thomas Blount, a member of the courts of justice were wholly inadequate to the House, from the State of North Carolina, as the inquiries he had mentioned. He did not be follows: lieve this offence was punishable in any other Mr. SPEAKER: If it were possible for me to express way than by impeachment. Mr. H. said, it was
my feelings on this occasion, it would be unnecessary. at present unnecessary to say anything about any Every gentleman who has a brother, and especially other persons being implicated in this business; a brother whom he has long loved with the warmest he believed gentlemen might as well spare their brotherly affection, and believed to be both patriotic and insinuations until they were better acquainted virtuous, can easily conceive that they are painful in the with the subject. He believed when they had extreme ; yet, painful as they are, a consciousness that read the papers, gentlemen would be convinced I am not, nor cannot myself be implicated in this or any
H. OF R.)
[JULY, 1797. other charge of improper conduct towards my country, ken to procure further evidence, but it could not has enabled me to hear with fortitude everything that has be got till some time hence. When this was got been said, and would, if it were necessary, enable me it might considerably develop the plot. At presto vote in the case of my brother, now before the House
ent, everything was conjecture. In every point in the same manner that I should think it right to vote of view, therefore, he thought it would be best to in the case of any other man under similar circumstan observe the usual mode of proceeding in similar ces. I am, however, aware that any vote I could give on this question might be considered as proceeding, on Mr. Gallatin said, if his memory was right, the one hand from partiality, or on the other from fear all the specific charges brought against Warren or some other unworthy motive. I must, therefore, be- Hastings, were first agreed io by the House of ing too much affected to rely on my power of utterance to express this in my place, request you to ask the favor
Commons, before impeachment was made. of the House to excuse me from giving any vote upon colleague, which would seem to make the mode
There was one thing, however, fell from his this question.
proposed desirable. Mr. G. said he had considMr. Blount was accordingly excused.
ered the question which had been agreed to as a The House then went into a Committee of the mere question of form, and that they should have Whole on the resolution yesterday reported, propo- gone on to exhibit articles of impeachment; but it sing an impeachment of William Blount, when appeared, from what had fallen from his colleague, it was agreed to without debate or division. The that the articles of impeachment were not intenHouse then took up the resolution and also agreed ded to be exhibited till next session. If this were to it in the same way.
the case, he thought it was perfectly right in Mr. SitgREaves moved,
wishing to present the impeachment in general “That a member go to the Senate, and, at the bar of terms. Till now he thought it had been the inthat House, impeach William Blount, in the name of tention to have gone further. this House and of all the people of the United States; Mr. Harper believed it would not be proper for and to inform them that they will
, in due time, exhibit the House 10 stop in the present stage of their articles of impeachment against him, and make good proceeding. He thought the proper mode of dothe same.”
ing the business was that recommended by Mr. Mr. Gallatin said he was not well acquainted SirGREAVES. Having come to a resolution to with the business, but he did not think it would impeach, the Senate should be immediately inbe right to go on and impeach at once, before they formed thereof, as they then could take measures saw what articles of impeachment were to be pre- accordingly. It was not necessary at the same ferred. He thought it would be best first to ap- time to exhibit the particular charges. They point a committee to prepare the articles of im- might afterwards determine whether they would peachment and present them to the Senate, at the exhibit the specific articles of charge during this same time that they sent them their determina- session or at the next. He thought the charges tion to impeach.
might now be made, and if any additional facts Mr. SITGreaves said that the mode which he appeared before the next session, which might proposed was the same which was practised in make additional charges necessary, they might the case of Mr. Hastings. Mr. Burke went up to then be made. the House of Lords and impeached him in words Mr. SITGreaves believed his colleague might similar to those now proposed to be used. Some be right with respect to what took place on the time afterwards, the articles of impeachment hav- trial of Mr. Hastings. He had not the particulars ing been drawn, Mr. Burke again went up to the of the Parliamentary proceedings on that business House of Lords and exhibited ihem. Mr. S. spoke before him. He bad those in the case of the Earl also of a work lately published, in continuation of of Macclesfield, which were as he had stated. All Judge Blackstone's Commentaries, which had a that he contended for was, that having taken the chapter on Parliamentary impeachment, and resolution to impeach, it became necessary, of pointed out this as the proper mode of procedure. course, that the resolution should be communicaHe had also looked into the proceedings on the ted to the Senate. In no instance had the articles trial of the Earl of Macclesfield, and found the of impeachment attended the oral communicasame course was taken. It was true that in the tion. After it had been made, the House could case of a public officer of the State of Pennsylva- determine whether the specific articles should nia, which perhaps his colleague might have in be drawn now or at the next session. his eye, the articles of impeachment were exhibi- Mr. Gordon said there might be different modes ted at the same time thai the impeachment was adopted in cases where the persons accused were made.
not meinbers of the Legislature. In the case of Mr. S. thought, however, that there was a good | Lord Stafford, he recollected, that in half an hour reason for not doing more at this time. If a com- after the vote passed resolving to impeach him, mittee were to be appointed to prepare the speci- he was taken into execution. fic charges against Mr. Blount, it would create The question was put and carried, without a considerable delay, and it would be proper that division. immediate measures should be taken, in order to Mr. Sırgreaves proposed also the following: secure the person of Mr. Blount. Besides, at pre- “ That the said member do demand that the said sent, the only evidence of this mysterious business William Blount be sequestered from his seat in the was the letter of Mr. Blount. Measures were ta- Senate, and that they take order for his appearance to
[H. OF R. answer to the charges which shall be exhibited against Mr. Sewall had no idea that it was necessary him."
to sequester Mr. Blount from his seat, in order Mr. Venable thought they had gone far enough,
to hold him to appear to the charges to be exhiand that they should leave it to the Senate to take bited against him; though he conceived it necessuch measures as they should think proper with sary to hold him to bail, as no trial could take respect to displacing iheir member from his seat. place, except he were present. If the resolution were, however, adopted, he wished
This proposition was put and carried-41 to 30. the word suspended might be used rather than the Senate to carry into effect the above propo
Mr. SITGREAVES was appointed to wait upon sequestered.
sition. Mr. Sirgreaves thought the word synonymous. He had used sequestered because he found the ceived from a member of the Senate, informing
The Speaker read a note which he had reword used in the books. Mr. HARPER thought the motion right in sub- the members of that House, in case they chose to
him that seats were prepared for the reception of stance; for though the Senate had the power of displacing their member from his seat, yet the attend the business then before the Senate, (which taking order for his appearance to answer the his seat, opposed by the counsel of Mr. Blount,
was the question for expelling Mr. Blount from charges brought against him, should be done from viz: Messrs. Dallas and Ingersoll.] the application of the prosecutor, as in ordinary
Mr. Dent moved that when the House adjourns cases.
Mr. Sewall thought that each House was the it adjourn till two o'clock. Agreed ; and the House best judge of the conduct of its own members, and adjourned about twelve o'clock, and attended the to require the sequestration of Mr. Blount from his seat was not necessary. He believed the Sen- and after Mr. Sırgreaves had made a report of
At two o'clock the House resumed its sitting; ate were at that moment taking measures for ex- his commission to the Senate, the House resolved pelling him from his seat; any interference of itself into a Committee of the Whole on Algerine theirs on that subject was therefore wholly un
business, and the galleries were closed for the necessary.
remainder of the sitting. Mr. Nicholas was of opinion that in following too closely the practice of Great Britain with respect to impeachment, they should be led astray,
SATURDAY, July 8. as the punishment consequent upon the conviction of an offender was very different in the two forming the House that they had agreed to their
A message was received from the Senate, incountries. In Britain, an offence might reach the amendment to the appropriation bill; and that life of a person, whereas in this country, the ex- they had, in consequence of their impeachment of tent of the punishment was removal from office, William Blount, a Senator of the United States, and disqualification for the future. For his own proceeded to hold him to bail to appear to the part, therefore, he did not see any occasion for charges to be exhibited against him, himself in confinement of the person, except it were neces- $20,000 and two sureties each in $15,000. sary to examine him by interrogatory.
On motion of Mr. Macon, the Committee of Mr. Harper said it was certainly necessary to the Whole, to whom was referred the bill authosecure the person of the offender, otherwise he rizing the President of the United States, during could not be brought to trial; since it was a max, the recess of Congress, to provide armed galleys, im, never to be departed from, that a person could
was discharged. not be tried in his absence.
Mr. Harper said it would be recollected that Mr. SitgREaves was of the same opinion. he had laid two resolutions on the table relative
Mr. Venable agreed with Mr. Nicholas that to the securing of live oak timber, &c. From the the difference of punishment consequent upon press of business which had been continually betrials by impeachment was not sufficiently attend-fore the House, he had not had an opportunity of ed to. "He did not think that the doctrine was calling them up; and the session teing now too founded, that a man could not be tried in his ab- far advanced to do it, he gave notice that he should sence. It would be an unfortunate conclusion, bring forward the subject early in the next that effectual process could not be had against a session. man because he was absent. Mr. Kurtera said the gentleman last up was
LAWS IN THE GERMAN LANGUAGE. certainly mistaken in saying that a man might be Mr. Holmes said that he thought it necessary, tried in his absence. He thought it would be best in order to enforce a general compliance with the to pursue the usual mode on similar occasions. laws of the United States, that they should be
Mr. Gordon insisted upon the right which that printed in the German language, as well as in the House had to require the Senate to sequestrate English, since there were very many inhabitants Mr. Blount from his seat, and that they should of this country who could read no other. He hold him to answer the charges to be exhibited therefore proposed a resolution to the following against him. If this were not the case, an offen- effect: der might go on to execute his purposes to the “ Resolved by the Senate and House of Representagreat injury of the country, before he was ex- tives of the United States, That a number of copies of pelled from his seat or held to bail.
the laws of this session, not exceeding eight thousand H. of R.]
Impeachment of William Blount.
copies, shall be printed in the German language, and believed Congress would be inclined to give to it; distributed by the Secretary of State amongst the Exe- for, if prepared, they must also be exhibited; and, cutives of the several States, for the information of the if exbibited, the Senate would think it necessary German inhabitants of each State respectively.”
to eed to act upon them. In his view of the Mr. Leon thought it would be proper to pass a subject, great advantage might arise from the resolution of this kind. He did noi know what committee's having leisure to pursue inquiry into number might be necessary. He also thought the plan, so as to develope the mischief during that some measures should be taken for a general the recess of Congress. publication of their laws in the English language;
Mr. VENABLE said, the object of gentlemen at present, it was merely by chance if the people seemed to be mistaken. They wished merely to in his district came to a knowledge of them. He have a little time to consider of the subject. He thought all laws of general import should be in- had doubts whether it was within the power of serted in every newspaper throughout the Union. the House to authorize a committee to sit during
Mr. Cort said if they were to promulge their the recess. laws in the German language, it would be neces- Mr. SitgREAVEs did not wish to hurry the sary that they should all become critically ac- business. quainted with it, for if they were to authorize any Mr. Rutledge had no objection to deferring translation, great mischiefs might arise from its the vote till Monday; but he thought it absolutely not being correct.
necessary to empower the committee to sit during Mr. Gallatin said that the weight of the ob- the recess. This was according to British precejection urged by the gentleman last up. had al- dent. It was the plan, also, upon which two difways been thought sufficient in the Legislature ferent impeachments had been conducted in the of Pennsylvania, in which State there was a State of South Carolina. He thought the reason greater proportion of Germans than in any other. in this case very strong; the object was not only There was also another objection to the measure. to bring the charge home to the person impeachIf it were to be passed, it must be accompanied ed, but to bring forward all the persons concerned with an appropriation law, which the advanced in this plot. Indeed, the articles of impeachment state of the session would not admit.
must be founded, in a great measure, on informaThe resolution was put and negatived.
tion which was to be discovered by this investiga
tion. He trusted, therefore, that this power would IMPEACHMENT OF WILLIAM BLOUNT.
be given. Mr. Sırgreaves proposed the following reso
Mr. Gallatin said he was in no want of prelution to the House:
cedent on this occasion. He was a member of a “Resolved, That a committee be appointed to pre- committee of impeachment in the State of Pennpare and report articles of impeachment against Wil- sylvania, where similar measures were adopted; liam Blount, a Senator of the United States, impeached but he was of opinion that this business had been by this House of high crimes and misdemeanors; and already too much hurried, and that some of the that the same committee have power to sit during the steps taken would have been better taken, if there recess of Congress, and to send for persons, papers, and had been more time. He wished, therefore, to records.”
consider upon this proposition till Monday. GenMr. Gallatin wished a division of the resolu- tlemen who brought forward the measure were tion at the word “misdemeanors.”
doubtless ready to vote for it; but he trusted they The first part was then put and carried.
would allow others a little time. Mr. GALLATIN desired the determination on the Mr. McDowell wished a committee to be imsecond part to be postponed till Monday. It was mediately appointed, and the charges made; bea new subject, and he wished a little time to con- cause there might be at present persons in the sider of it. The committee, he supposed, could city who could not be examined during the recess in the mean time be appointed.
of Congress. Mr. Brooks inquired whether the latter part
The words “to send for persons, papers, and reof the resolution, for sending for “ persons, papers, cords” were added to the former part of the resoand records,” should not be connected with the lution, and the latter part was postponed until first part of the resolution?
Monday. Mr. Venable said, the gentleman last up might
Messrs. SITGREAVES, Baldwin, Dawson, Dana, be accommodated by adding the words in ques. and Harper, were appointed a committee for pretion; and if, before they adjourned, it was found paring the articles of impeachment. necessary that the committee should have power
LIVE OAK TIMBER LANDS. to sit during the recess, that power should be given to them.
Mr. Harper said, that though he did not intend Mr. Sırgreaves did not think it would be pro- to bring forward the subject of purchasing timber, per to pass one part of the resolution without the and providing naval yards, this session, he wished other. The House had resolved to adjourn on the House to consider a resolution which he Monday, and there was little doubt that ihe other thought would be proper in the mean time. He branch of the Legislature would agree to it. If offered one to the following effect: the committee should be appointed to report arti- Resolved, That the President of the United States cles of impeachment at this session, it would be be requested to procure and cause to be laid before found that it would require more time than he this House, early in the next session, information re
[H. OF R. specting such land furnished with live oak timber as articles of impeachment as may be exhibited against may be purchased for the use of the United States; and him by the House of Representatives on Monday next. also of such timber as may be purchased without the “ Attest: SAMÚEL A. OTIS, Secretary." land; and also respecting proper sites for naval yards, and to state the probable expense of such land and tim
Ordered, That the said proceedings of the Senber, and of proper sites for naval yards.”
ate do lie on the table.
On motion of Mr. Dent, a committee was apThis resolution was supported by the mover pointed to wait upon the President of the United and Mr. Swanwick, and opposed by Messrs. Ma- States, in conjunction with a like committee from con, J. Williams, and McDowelL; and without the Senate, to inform him the two Houses were taking a question, the House being very thin, a about to adjourn. The committee waited upon motion was made and carried about one o'clock the President accordingly, and reported his acquito adjourn.
escence, and his good wishes for the safe arrival of the Members at their several homes.
On motion of Mr. SITGREAVES, the resolution Monday, July 10.
entered into some time ago, calling upon the PreMr. Bayard, of Delaware, was appointed on the sident for an account of the quantity of arms in select committee of the House of Representatives,
the possession of the United States, and at what to prepare articles of impeachment against Mr. place they were lodged, was suspended. Blount, in the place of Mr. Dana, from Connec
Mr. S. said, he wished to make a report upon a ticut, who declined serving:
subject which would require the galleries to be A message was received from the Senate, in
cleared. He, therefore, moved that they be cleared, forming the House what had been done with re
and the doors were closed for the remainder of the spect to Governor Blount; that they had agreed sitting, at the conclusion of which the House adto their resolution for an adjournment of the two
journed till the second Monday in November Houses this day; and that they had postponed the consideration of the bill for the relief of Major Lewis till next session.
[From the process issued by the Committee of The proceedings of the Senate, in relation to Impeachment of the House of Representatives, it the impeachment of William Blount, were read appears that the resolutions of the House, under
which the committee acts, are as follows: in the words following:
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to “In Senate, July 8, 1797. prepare and report articles of impeachment against * Resolved, That William Blount, Esquire, one of the William Blount, a Senator of the United States, Senators of the United States, having been guilty of a impeached by this House of high crimes and mishigh misdemeanor, entirely inconsistent with his public demeanors; and that the said committee have trust and duty as a Senator, be, and he hereby is, ex- power to send for persons, papers, and records. pelled from the Senate of the United States.
Resolved, That ihe committee appointed to pre“On this, Mr. Butler, in behalf of himself, and of pare and report articles of impeachment against Mr. Thomas Blount, the other surety, surrendered the WILLIAM Blount, a Senator of the United States, person of William Blount, the principal, to the Senate, impeached by this House of high crimes and misand requested to be discharged from their recognizance. demeanors, be authorized to sit during the recess “ On motion,
of Congress. “Resolved, That William Blount be taken into cus- Resolved, that the said committee be instructtody of the Messenger of this House, until he shall en- ed to inquire, and by all lawful means to discover, ter into recognizance, himself in the sum of one thou- the whole nature and extent of the offence wheresand dollars, with two sufficient sureties in the sum of of the said William Blount stands impeached, five hundred dollars each, to appear and answer to such and who are the parties and associates therein.]