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PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES,
AT THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FIFTH CONGRESS, BEGUN AT THE CITY OF
PHILADELPHIA, MONDAY, MAY 15, 1797.
In pursuance of the authority given by the Samuel Sewall, William Shepard, George Constitution, the PresidENT OF THE UNITED THATCHER, JOSEPH BRADLEY Varnum, and Peleg States, on the 25th day of March last, caused to WaDSWORTH. be issued the Proclamation which follows:
From Rhode Island-CHRISTOPHER G.CHAMPBY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF
LIN and Elisha R. POTTER.
From Connecticut-Joshua Coit, SAMUEL W.
DANA, JAMES DAVENPORT, ChauNCEY GOODRICH,
ROGER GRIswold, and NATHANIEL Smith. Whereas the Constitution of the United States of
From Vermont-MATTHEW Lyon. America provides that the President may, on extraor
From New York-David BROOKS, James Cochdinary occasions, convene bọth Houses of Congress;
RAN, Lucas ELMENDORPH, HENRY GLEN, JONAand whereas an extraordinary occasion exists for con. vening Congress, and divers weighty matters claim ThaN N. Havens, Hezekiah L. Hosmer, EDtheir consideration, I have therefore thought it neces
WARD LIVINGSTON, John E. Van Alen, Philip sary to convene, and I do by these presents convene
VAN CORTLANDT, and John WILLIAMS. the Congress of the United States of America, at the
From New Jersey-Jonathan Dayton, JAMES City of Philadelphia, in the Commonwealth of Penn- H. IMLAY, and MaấK THOMPSON. sylvania, on Monday the fifteenth day of May next,
From Pennsylvania—David BARD, John Chaphereby requiring the Senators and Representatives in MAN, George EGE, ALBERT GALLATIN, JOHN the Congress of the United States of America, and ANDRE HANNA, THOMAS Hartley, John Wilkes every of them, that, laying aside all other matters and KITTERA, Blair M’CLENACHAN, SAMUEL Sitcares, they then and there meet and assemble in Con- GREAVES, John SwaNWICK, and Richard Thomas. gress, in order to consult and determine on such mea- From Maryland-GEORGE BAER, jr., WILLIAM sures as in their wisdom shall be deemed meet for the CRAIK, JOHN DENNIS, GEORGE DENT, William safety and welfare of the said United States.
HINDMAN, WILLIAM MATTHEWS, and RICHARD In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the Sprigg, jr. United States of America to be affixed to
From Virginia-Samuel Jordan Cabell, these presents, and signed the same with my Thomas CLAIBORNE, MATTHEW Clay, John
hand. Done at the City of Philadelphia the Clopton, John Dawson, Thomas Evans, Wil(L. s.] twenty-fifth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety. Holmes. Walter Jones, James Machir, Dan
LIAM B. Giles, CARTER B. Harrison, David seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the twenty-first.
IEL MORGAN, ANTHONY New, John Nicholas, JOHN ADAMS.
Abram Trigg, and ABRAHAM VENABLE. By the President:
From North Carolina—THOMAS BLOUNT, NATixoray PICKERING,
Than BRYAN, JAMES Gillespie, William BARRY
GROVE, MATTHEW LOCKE, NATHANIEL Macon,
From South Carolina-Robert GOODLOE HAR-
PER, John RutLEDGE, jr., and William SMITH, This being the day appointed by the Proclama- (of Charleston District.) tion of the PreSIDENT OF THE UNITED States, From Georgia-ABRAHAM Baldwin and John of the 25th of March last, for the meeting of Con- Milledge. gress, the following members of the House of Representatives appeared, produced their credentials, whole number, being present,
And a quorum, consisting of a majority of the and took their seats, to wit:
The House proceeded, by ballot, to the choice From New Hampshire-Abiel Foster and of a SPEAKER; and, upon examining the ballots, JONATHAN FREEMAN.
a majority of the votes of the whole House was From Massachusetts— Theophilus Bradbury, found in favor of Jonathan DAYTON, one of the Dwight Foster, Nathaniel Freeman, jr., Sam- Representatives for the State of New Jersey: UEL LYMAN, Harrison GRAY Oris, John Reed, I whereupon,
H. OF R.]
Election of Clerk, fc.
Mr. Dayron was conducted to the Chair, from until he was appointed; besides, he doubted not whence he made his acknowledgments to the gentlemen had already determined for whom they House, as follows:
would vote, and therefore it would answer no “ Accept, gentlemen, my acknowledgments for the purpose. very flattering mark of approbation and confidence ex
Mr. Macon allowed that no nomination was hibited in this second call to the Chair, by a vote of this made at the last election of a Clerk, but he said a House.
nomination was made for the Sergeant-at-Arms, “ Permit me, most earnestly, to request of you a con- and others, and he thought that the same step tinuance of that assistance and support, which were, ought to be taken with respect to the choice of a upon all occasions, during the two preceding sessions, Clerk. very liberally afforded to me; and, without which, all Mr. Giles repeated his wish for a nomination, my exertions to maintain the order, and expedite the for the reasons he had before stated; but he was business of the House, must be, in a great degree, un- not very solicitous which of the methods was successful.”
adopted ELECTION OF CLERK, &c.
Mr. THATCHER did not recollect that there had
been any nomination on former occasions for a The Speaker informed the House, that, accord- Clerk ; but he thought it immaterial whether he ing to former proceedings, the next business would was chosen to-day or tv-morrow, since he believbe to proceed to the choice of a Clerk. He readed the present Clerk would be considered in office one of the rules of the House, which says, that until a new one should be chosen, and they were previous to the election of any officer, for whom not, therefore, without a Clerk' to record their others than members are eligible, a nomination proceedings. shall be made. He left the House to decide whe- The question being put for immediately going ther a nomination ought to be made in this case. into the choice of a Clerk, it was carried; and the
Mr. Macon thought that a nomination ought votes having been collected, the SPEAKER apto be made, and named John Beckley.
pointed Messrs. W. Smith and Livingston as Mr. Giles thought this case came under the tellers; when, having examined the votes, Mr. rule, and that it was proper a nomination should Smith reported that there weretake place; because, if ii were wished to choose For Jonathan Williams Condy
41 a fresh person to the office, it would be necessary For John Beckley
40 some inquiry should be made of the member who Mr. Condy being therefore elected, he was sent proposed him, with respect to his fitness and quali- for, and soon after introduced, and took his seat fications for the business ; they ought also to hear at the Clerk's table. from such member any objection which might lie Mr. W. Smith moved that Mr. BRADBURY be against the person who now fills the office.
appointed to administer the Constitutional oath Mr. THATCHER said that no nomination had to the SPEAKER; which was carried, and the oath been made on former similar occasions.
administered accordingly. Mr. W. Smith observed that the rules of a for- The SPEAKER then proceeded to qualify all the mer House were not binding upon a new House, members present, (viz: eighty-one) by States, until that House had determined that they should three or four at a time, who all took the followbe so. It had been the practice heretofore, on the ing oath, (except two members, who being Quameeting of a new Congress, that the rules of the kers, took their affirmation :) "I do solemnly former House should be binding on them, until swear that I will support the Constitution of the otherwise determined; but, as no such vote had United States." yet been passed, and as in a former instance there The affirmation of office, and the affirmation to had been a previous nomination when a Clerk support the Constitution, was also administered to was to be chosen, he saw no reason for it in the the Clerk. present case. A similar attempt for a nomination It was then moved and carried, that a message was made at the time the last Clerk was chosen, be sent to the Senate, to inform them that a quobut it did not obtain, nor could he discover why rum of the House is assembled, and have chosen gentlemen should be so anxious for a nomination a Speaker. at present.
A message was received from the Senate, inMr. Williams said, as no vote had been passed forming the House that they had formed a quofor adhering to the former rules, they were not binding on the House. He thought it could make The House then proceeded to the choice of a no difference in the event whether there was a Sergeant-at-Arms, Doorkeeper
, and Assistant nomination or not.
Doorkeeper, when JosEPH WHEATON was unaniMr. CLAIBORNE was in favor of a nomination. mously elected as Sergeant-at-Arms; THOMAS
Mr. W. Smith thought the question before Claxton as Doorkeeper; and Thomas Dunn as them was, whether they would then proceed to Assistant Doorkeeper. the choice of a Clerk or not. He asked what pur- Mr. SITGREAVES moved that a committee be pose could be answered by a nomination ? If it appointed, jointly with such committee as may were to inquire into the character of the person be appointed on the part of the Senate, to wait proposed, time would be necessary, whereas they on the President, to inform him that quorums of must immediately proceed to the choice of a both Houses are assembled, and ready to receive Clerk, as their business could not be recorded any communication which he may think proper
(H. OF R. to make to them. Agreed to, and Messrs. Vena- The SPEAKER said the notice was not necessary, BLE. KITTERA. and FREEMAN, (Mass.,) were ap- but was not improper to be given. pointed a committee. Subsequently a message
PRESIDENT'S SPEECH. was received from the Senate, informing the Hoose that they had concurred with the House It being near twelve o'clock, the SPEAKER obin choosing a committee to wait upon the Presi- served, that it had been usual on similar occasions dent, and had appointed Messrs. Livermore and to the present, to send a message to the Senate, LANGDON on that committee.
to inform them that the House is now ready to Mr. Williams made the usual motion direct- attend them in receiving the communication of ing the Clerk to cause each member to be served the PRESIDENT, agreeably to his appointment: daily with three of such of the daily papers of this such a message was agreed to, and sent accordcity as he may choose.
ingly. Mr. Cort moved to amend the motion, by omit
Soon after, the members of the Senate entered, ting the words papers of this city, in order that and took the seats assigned them; and a little members mighi be at liberty to take any other after twelve, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED pa pers; which was negatived, and the original States entered, and took the Chair of the SPEAKmotion carried.
ER, (which he vacated on the entrance of the Mr. Williams moved that a Committee of Senate, the President and Clerk of the Senate Elections should be chosen. The Speaker said being placed on the right hand of the Chair, and that this motion was superseded by a standing the Speaker of the House of Representatives and rule of the House to the same effect. A motion the Clerk on the left.) After sitting a moment, was then made that a Committee of Election he rose, and delivered the following Speech: should be chosen; which was done, and Messrs. Gentlemen of the Senate, and Coit, VARNUM, Williams, Dent, HARRISON, Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : HARTLEY, and Baldwin, were appointed.
The personal inconveniences to the members of the Mr. W. Smith moved that the Rules and Re- Senate, and of the House of Representatives, in leaving gulations of the late House of Representatives their families and private affairs, at this season of the shall be deemed those of this House, until an al- year, are so obvious, that I the more regret the extraleration or revision shall take place. Carried, ordinary occasion which has rendered the convention and ordered to be printed.
of Congress indispensable. Mr. SITGREAVES moved that a committee be It would have afforded me the highest satisfaction to appointed to revise the Rules. Agreed to, and a have been able to congratulate you on a restoration of committee of three appointed.
peace to the nations of Europe, whose animosities Mr. Vexable, from the committee appointed to have endangered our tranquillity; but we have still Fait upon the President, reported that the Presi- abundant cause of gratitude to the Supreme Dispenser dent would meet the two Houses in that House of national blessings, for general health and promising to-morrow at twelve o'clock.
seasons; for domestic and social happiness ; for the On motion, adjourned till to-morrow at eleven rapid progress and ample acquisitions of industry, o'clock.
through extensive territories; for civil, political, and religious liberty. While other States are desolated
with foreign war, or convulsed with intestine divisions, Tuesday, May 16.
the United States present the pleasing prospect of a Several other members, to wit: from New Jer- isfied with the possession of their rights; neither en
nation governed by mild and equal laws, generally satsey, James SCHUREMAN and Thomas SINNICKSON; vying the advantages nor fearing the power of other from Virginia, John Trigg; and from South Ca- nations; solicitous only for the maintenance of order rolina, Thomas SUMPTER, appeared, produced and justice, and the preservation of liberty; increasing their credentials, were qualified, and took their daily in their attachment to a system of government, seats in the House.
in proportion to their experience of its utility; yielding On motion,
a ready and general obedience to laws flowing from the Resolred, That two Chaplains of different de- reason, and resting on the only solid foundation—the Dominations be appointed to Congress for the pre- affections of the people. sent session, one by each House, to interchange It is with extreme regret that I shall be obliged to weekly.
turn your thoughts to other circumstances, which ad.
monish us that some of these felicities may not be lastCHAPLAINS TO THE SENATE. ing; but, if the tide of our prosperity is full, and a reA message from the Senate informed the House flux commencing, a vigilant circumspection becomes that they had appointed the Rev. Bishop WHITE extricate ourselves from their consequences with all the
us, that we may meet our reverses with fortitude, and as their Chaplain, to interchange weekly with skill we possess, and all the efforts in our power. the Chaplain to be appointed by that House. Mr. SITGREAVES wished that the choosing of a Union, and recommending to their consideration such
In giving to Congress information of the state of the Chaplain for that House might be the order of measures as appear to me to be necessary or expedient, the day for to-morrow.
according to my Constitutional duty, the causes and Mr. Macon believed it was pot necessary that the objects of the present extraordinary session will be any notice should be given for the purpose; it explained. might be the order for any day on which the gen- After the President of the United States received tleman chose to bring forward the subject. information that the French Government had expressed H. OF R.]
serious discontents at some proceedings of the Govern- known, and established by the law and usage of nament of these States, said to affect the interests of i tions; the refusal on the part of France to receive France, he thought it expedient to send to that country our Minister is then the denial of a right; but the a new Minister, fully instructed to enter on such ami- refusal to hear him, until we have acceded to their decable discussions and to give such candid explanations mands, without discussion, and without investigation, as might happily remove the discontents and suspicions is to treat us neither as allies, nor as friends, nor as a of the French Government and vindicate the conduct sovereign State. of the United States. For this purpose he selected With this conduct of the French Government, it from among his fellow-citizens a character whose in- will be proper to take into view the public audience tegrity, talents, experience, and services, had placed him given to the late Minister of the United States, on his in the rank of the most esteemed and respected in the taking leave of the Executive Directory. The Speech nation. The direct object of his mission was expressed of the President discloses sentiments more alarming in his letter of credence to the French Republic, being than the refusal of a Minister; because more dangerous “ to maintain that good understanding which, from the to our independence and union ; and at the same time commencement of the alliance, had subsisted between studiously marked with indignities towards the Govthe two nations, and to efface unfavorable impressions ; 'ernment of the United States. It evinces a disposition banish suspicions, and restore that cordiality which was to separate the people of the United States from the at once the evidence and pledge of a friendly union;" Government; to persuade them that they have differand his instructions were to the same effect, « faithfully ent affections, principles, and interests, from those of to represent the disposition of the Government and their fellow-citizens, whom they themselves have chosen people of the United States, (their disposition being to manage their common concerns; and thus to proone;) to remove jealousies and obviate complaints, by duce divisions fatal to our peace. Such attempts ought showing that they were groundless; to restore that mu- to be repelled with a decision which shall convince tual confidence which had been so unfortunately and France, and the world, that we are not a degraded injuriously impaired, and to explain the relative inter- people, humiliated under a colonial spirit of fear and ests of both countries and the real sentiments of his sense of inferiority, fitted to be the miserable instruown.”
ments of foreign influence; and regardless of national A Minister thus specially commissioned, it was ex- honor, character, and interest. pected, would have proved the instrument of restoring I should have been happy to have thrown a veil over mutual confidence between the two Republics; the these transactions, if it had been possible to conceal first step of the French Government corresponded with them ; but they have passed on the great theatre of the that expectation. A few days before his arrival at Pa- world, in the face of all Europe and America, and with ris, the French Minister of Foreign Relations informed such circumstances of publicity and solemnity that they the American Minister, then resident at Paris, of the cannot be disguised, and will not soon be forgotten; formalities to be observed by himself in taking leave, they have inflicted a wound in the American breast; it and by his successor preparatory to his reception. is my sincere desire, however, that it may be healed. These formalities they observed ; and on the ninth of It is my desire, and in this I presume I concur with December presented officially to the Minister of For- you, and with our constituents, to preserve peace and eign Relations, the one a copy of his letters of recall, friendship with all nations, and believing that neither the other a copy of his letters of credence. These were the honor nor the interest of the United States abso. laid before the Executive Directory; two days after lutely forbid the repetition of advances for securing wards, the Minister of Foreign Relations informed the these desirable objects with France, I shall institute a recalled American Minister that the Executive Direc- fresh attempt at negotiation, and shall not fail to protory had determined not to receive another Minister mote and accelerate an accommodation, on terms comPlenipotentiary from the United States until after the patible with the rights, duties, interests, and honor of redress of grievances demanded of the American Gov- the nation. If we have committed errors, and these ernment, and which the French Republic had a right can be demonstrated, we shall be willing to correct to expect from it. The American Minister immedi- them. If we have done injuries, we shall be willing, on ately endeavored to ascertain whether, by refusing to conviction, to redress them; and equal measures of jusreceive him, it was intended that he should retire from tice we have a right to expect from France and every the territories of the French Republic, and verbal an. other nation. swers were given that such was the intention of the
The diplomatic intercourse between the United States Directory. For his own justification he desired a writ- and France being at present suspended, the Governten answer; but obtained none until towards the last ment has no means of obtaining official information from of January ; when receiving notice in writing to quit that country ; nevertheless, there is reason to believe the territories of the Republic, he proceeded to Amster- that the Executive Directory passed a decree, on the dam, where he proposed to wait for instruction from second of March last, contravening, in part, the Treaty this Government. During his residence at Paris, cards of Amity and Commerce, of one thousand seven hunof hospitality were refused him, and he was threatened dred and seventy-eight, injurious to our lawful comwith being subjected to the jurisdiction of the Minister merce, and endangering the lives of our citizens. А of Police, but with becoming firmness he insisted on
copy of this decree will be laid before you. the protection of the law of nations, due to him as the
While we are endeavoring to adjust all our differknown Minister of a foreign Power. You will derive
ences with France by amicable negotiation, the profurther information from his despatches, which will be gress of the war in Europe, the depredations on our laid before you.
commerce, the personal injuries to our citizens, and As it is often necessary that nations should treat, for general complexion of affairs, render it my indispensathe mutual advantage of their affairs, and especially to ble duty to recommend to your consideration effectual accommodate and terminate differences, and as they measures of defence. can treat only by Ministers, the right of embassy is well The commerce of the United States has become an