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DECEMBER, 1797.
Impeachment of William Blount.

[H. of R. ther this subject did not properly come under the said, the document was a paper communicated to duty of the Committee of Ways and Means. the committee by the Chevalier de Yrujo, in

Mr. Foster believed it might, and would there- French. The committee had not, he said, any fore alter his motion to, “ Resolved, That the formal translation of it, but he would read it in Committee of Ways and Means be instructed to English as perfectly as he was able—which he inquire whether any," &c.

proceeded to do. Ii was the communication of a Mr. Macon had no objection to the motion, ex- citizen, (Mitchell,) who states that there had been cept that he thought it unnecessary, as he believed enrolled by an English agent io the Western counit was the duty of the Committee of Ways and try, 1,000 persons, for the purpose of attacking Means to act upon the subject, without any spe- certain Spanish posts, and to go against Louisiana cial direction.

and the Floridas; thai Chisholm had a list of 1,500 Mr. Foster said it was desirable that some- Tories who were engaged to take up arms in favor thing should be done in the business immediately, of England; that there were formed on the Lakes as notice must be given in all the papers of any 500 regular troops, 700 Canadian militia, and alteration which may be made in the act. 200 sa vages, to attack Fort Louis; that Chisholm The motion was put and carried.

had provided six pieces of cannon, the same which

was procured for citizen Genet; that the rendezPENSIONERS.

vous was to be at Knoxville the 1st of July; and Mr. D. Foster said, that a bill passed that House that, after Chisholm had reported the business to in the session ending in March last, but was post- the British Minister, he would set out for England, poned by the Senate, for placing certain persons to lay the project before the British Government, on the pension list. He moved that that bill, with and command money and vessels for carrying it the reports on the subject, be referred to the Com- into effect. The Chevalier also gave to the committee of Claims.

mittee a letter which Mitchell had received from The SPEAKER said the reports might be refer- | Chisholm. It was a request that Mitchell and red, but the House knew nothing of such a bill Craig would be in Tennessee in July; with an being acted upon at a former session.

assurance that they might rely upon everything Mr. Foster moved that the reports of the Se- which he had said. cretary of War on the subject might be referred. The next papers were the evidence of John Agreed to.

Phillips Ripley and Thomas Odiorne, who were

brought forward by the Chevalier de Yrujo. IMPEACHMENT OF WILLIAM BLOUNT.

J. P. Ripley states that he is a citizen of New The Clerk now proceeded to read the remain- Hampshire; that he was educated with Captain der of the documents referred to in the report of Eaton at Yale College; that Captain Eaton had the committee on the subject of W. Blount's told him that several letters were found in the posconspiracy.

session of Dr. Romayne, which proved the British The next paper which came of course was the Minister to be concerned in the enterprise condepositon of James Grant, commonly called Major templated by Governor Blount; that these letters Grant. His evidence consisted principally of con- offered rewards to any person who would engage versation which had passed between him and W. in the service, and that they were discovered under Blount. He stated ihat he met with him in some rubbish; that many of Dr. Romayne's papers Washington county, Virginia, on the 28th April; were destroyed; that Captain Eaton had told him that they spoke on the subject of running the line that Colonel Pickering had reprimanded him for between the United States and the Indians, and he having mentioned anything respecting these letters, seemed to wish to avoid any responsibility with and had said that Great Britain was now the only respect to the Indian treaty; that W. Blount men- friend we had ; that he saw a letter which Captioned his pecuniary embarrassments, but that he tain Eaton had written to Colenel Pickering on said he had a plan on foot which he expected the subject. On examination by the committee, would effectually relieve him. He said Chisholm Ripley asserted that he believed that Great Britain and the Indian chiefs had been with the British was at the bottom of the conspiracy. Minister at Philadelphia, and that Chisholm had Thomas Odiorne deposed, that he was also at a plan in the handwriting of the British Minister, college with Captain Eaton, and that Captain which, if it succeeded, W. Blount said he should Eaton had told him nearly the same circumstances have it in his power to serve all his friends; that which J. P. Ripley deposes to have heard from he seemed to place great reliance upon Rogers him. He also says, he saw the letter which the and Carey, and upon their influence with the captain had written to Colonel Pickering, as an Indians. He mentioned that an armament was to apology for having mentioned anything respectbe sent from England, which was to be co-operated ing the letters found in possession of Dr. Romayne. with on the land side by him at the head of the Next follows the evidence of William Eaton, Indians.

taken at Springfield, before Judge Lyman. He The deponent also speaks of having received states that Philip Ripley was his cotemporary at letters from Colonel King, about the 15th of June, college and that he had since been acquainted from W. Blount for Carey, which he delivered, with him at Philadelphia ; but that he does not and mentions the conversation which passed be know much about Odiorne. Some time after his tween them.

return from New York, he recollects to have told Mr. SITGREAVES took the chair of the Clerk and Ripley that four or five original letters of William

H. OP R.)

Deferred Debt.

[DECEMBER, 1797.

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Blount were found in Dr. Romayne's possession, at ed, and such as the House could form an opinion the discovery of one of which he felt a good deal em- upon, it was proper to express their sense upon the barrassed. The deponent also told the said Rip- subject to the committee appointed to consider it, ley that Mr. Pickering was displeased with him for lest they might act, from their own opinion, upon having mentioned anything about these letters, until a contrary basis, and afterwards have what they the matter was laid before the committee; but the had done reversed by the House. He thought this deponent denies that he ever told Ripley, or that course necessary with regard to the Deferred Debt. Mr. Pickering ever said to him, “that Great Bri- He wished the attention of the House to be now tain was not the only friend we had." The de- turned to this object, as it would be recollected ponent believes he might have given it as his that this session would probably be the only opopinion, that the British Minister would have en portunity they would have of a fair and full discuscouraged the plan if it had been feasible ; that he sion of it, as the next session will necessarily be a had delivered every article respecting the conspi- short one, and the following one will be too near racy of Mr. Blount, which had come into his the period at which resources will be wanted, to hands, to the committee of inquiry. Captain Ea- have the desired effect. This was, therefore, the ton also spoke of a French engineer having been time for making the proper provision, which was into all the seaports of the United States, in order absolutely neeessary, except they were to encroach to make plans of, and observations respecting upon funds destined for other objects. He, therethem.

fore, proposed to the House a resolution to the folThe next paper was a communication from the lowing effect. Chevalier de Yrujo, consisting of an original let- Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means ter from General Clark, of Georgia, to Mur- be instructed to prepare and report a plan for raising a phy. Esq., Consul of His Catholic Majesty there, sum which shall be equal to satisfy the demands which in answer to an application made to him on the will be made upon the Government in the year 1801, subject of the conspiracy, in which he states, “ that on account of the Deferred Debt.” the peculiar nature of the proposition made to

The SPEAKER was of opinion that it was neces. him by the British, prevents him from giving that sary, if not to move, at least to have the proposed satisfaction which is required; an application, he resolution discussed in Committee of the Whole. says, had been made to him through a channel [He read the rule.] which bound him to silence; he was asked whe

Mr. Nicholas thought the rule had reference to ther $10,000 would induce him to join the Bri

a specific tax. He could refer to a precedent, tish, but that he had rejected the offer with dis where the course recommended by the SPEAKER dain."

was not taken. It was the resolution requiring Mr. Sirgreaves said, that all the documents the Secretary of the Treasury to prepare and rewhich were of any importance, had now been port a plan for laying a direct tax. read; what remained were not worth occupying The Speaker was doubtful whether the resoluthe time of the House to read them. If it were tions proposing to instruct the Committee of Ways wished, however, they might be gone through. and Means took it out of the rule. The SPEAKER said, that would be determined

Mr. Corr hoped the resolution would lie upon on a motion being made for printing.

the table till to-morrow; which was agreed to. Mr. Otis moved that the report and documents be printed.

HENRY HILL. Mr. Dawson said, there were two depositions Mr. Harper called for the order of the day on of James Carey, one before the district judge, and the report of the Committee of Claims on the another before the committee ; as one only had petition of Henry Hill, which was agreed to, and been read, and they did not wholly agree, he the House accordingly went into a Committee of trusted that both would be printed.

the Whole on the subject, Mr. Dent in the Chair. Mr. Sirgreaves said, certainly, all the papers This subject has been frequently before the will be printed.

House, in different shapes, and has occupied much Mr. Dawson observed, that Mr. Byers had given of its time. The petitioner, Henry Hill, is the evidence, which, though not on oath, he thought administrator of Mr. Miller, the administrator of entitled to credit, and ought to be printed, as it Mr. Banks, whose name has been often before the corroborated the evidence of Carey.

House, particularly in the settlement of the claim Mr. Sirgreaves said, it had been usual, upon of the widow of General Greene. It appears

. extraordinary and important occasions, to order from an investigation of facts, that the United printed more copies of papers than the usual num- States, in their account with John Banks, have a ber; he thought this one of those occasions, and double credit for the same sum of $9,768, it being moved that six hundred copies might be printed, credited to them in the quartermaster's departas he supposed the additional expense would be ment, and also reserved out of the balance due to inconsiderable.

John Banks, on his contract account; and, it The motion was agreed to, and the report and being an established rule at the Treasury, not to documents were ordered to lie on the table. open accounts for a new settlement, which have

once been adjusted by the proper officers, the DEFERRED DEBT.

Treasury Department have refused to resettle this Mr. Nicholas said, it appeared to him that account. Mr. Hill prays for this balance

. The when an important object was to be accomplish-Committee of Claims are of opinion, that it would

DECEMBER, 1797.]

Evidence in Contested Elections.

[H. of R.

ness.

be improper for them to determine who are the

CONTINENTAL SECURITIES. actual or equitable representatives of John Banks, Mr. REED presented the petition of Simeon so far as respects this balance; the right of the Dunbar, stating that he possesses Continental secuclaimants, in case of controversy, may receive a rities; that he never heard of the act of limitation judicial determination. It is sufficient that the before the limit was expired, and prays that they balance be placed to the credit of the person to may, notwithstanding, be funded. whom it belonged on the 31st of December, 1783, A motion to refer this petition to the Committee when the sum was retained out of Banks's pay- of Claims occasioned some debate upon the proment. That committee, therefore, submit the fol- priety of reference of a petition, which acknowlowing resolution to the consideration of the ledged the claim to be barred by law. It was, House:

however, at length agreed to; when “ Resolved, That the accounting officers of the Trea- Mr. Williams said, he believed there were sury cause the sum of $9,768 81, charged to the many just claims undischarged. owing entirely to contract account of John Banks, on the 31st of Decem- the ignorance of the persons holding the securities ber, 1783, to be credited to the said John Banks; and with respect to the law of limitation; for persons that the sum so credited, to be charged to the account living on the frontier of the country who were of such other person as, in their opinion, shall be justly probably the best entitled to compensation, had no chargeable therewith."

means of becoming acquainted with the laws. Mr. HARPER, Mr. D. Foster, and Mr. Find- He, therefore, proposed the following resolution : LEY, urged an agreement to this resolution. Mr. Cort proposed to amend it, by adding a

Resolved, That a committee be appointed to in

quire into the expediency or inexpediency of designaclause to the following effect:

ting, certain claims to be excepted from the operation “ And that they charge the account of the said John of the act of limitation, and that they report by bill or Banks with the money paid by the United States to the otherwise.” executors of General Greene, on account of debts of

Mr. D. Foster said, that a motion of this kind the said John Banks, or John Banks & Co., bailed or had been made in the last Winter session, and the secured by said General Greene.”

Committee of Claims, on the 24th of February, After considerable discussion, Mr. Otis moved had made a lengthy report thereupon, which, for that the committee rise, in order to have the sub- want of time, had not been acted upon, and which ject recommitted, that further facts may be stated. was mentioned in the report of unfinished busiThis motion produced also considerable debate.

He supposed, if the gentleman moved this At length the committee rose, and being refused report to be committed to a Committee of the to sit again, a motion was made to recommit the Whole. his object would be attained. report to the Committee of Claims; when Mr. 0.

After a number of desultory observations, this moved an instruction to the committee to the fol-motion was put and carried, and made the order lowing effect:

of the day for Fridav. “ To report a statement of facts relative to the demand which the United States may have upon the

EVIDENCE IN CONTESTED ELECTIONS. balance in question, on account of indemnifying the

Mr. Harper then called for the order of the estate of General Greene, as surety for the said Banks.” day on certain resolutions which he had offered

This instruction to the committee, after some to the consideration of the House on the subject debate, was agreed to.

of taking evidence in cases of contested elections.

The motion was agreed to, and the House acWEDNESDAY, December 6.

cordingly resolved itself into a Committee of Mr. Dent presented a memorial from sundry the Whole on that subject-Mr. Dent in the inhabitants of St. Mary's county, in the State of Chair. The resolutions were as follow: Maryland, stating, that by the late regulations Resolved, That the method of taking evidence to made in the establishment of the post-roads, they be adduced, in the trial of contested elections, for this were deprived of the opportunity of receiving House, shall, hereafter be as follows: newspapers as usual; which, as they have a direct “1. The party intending to contest an election shall tendency to promote an increase of knowledge, give notice of such intention to the person returned. they consider as being deprived of a blessing, and If it be an election in the usual course, this notice shall pray for an extension of the road, that the evil be given at least weeks before the time when the they complain of may be remedied. Referred to said person is to take his seat; if not in the usual a select committee.

course, but to fill a vacancy, then the notice shall be Mr. D. Foster said, he was instructed by the given within days after the person appointed to Committee of Claims, to ask leave of the House hold the election shall have made known publicly the to be discharged from the further consideration of state of the poll. The notice shall be delivered in the petition of Mr. Maury, Consul of the United and if he be absent, shall be left there open.

writing, at the usual residence of the person returned ; States at Liverpool, in order that it might be re

“ 2. That the party intending to take examinations, ferred to the committee appointed to take into shall then apply to some justice or judge of the Courts consideration that part of the President's Speech of the United States, or some chancellor, justice or which related to the Consuls of the United States. judge of a supreme, superior, or county court, or Agreed to, and the petition referred in the way court of common pleas, of any State, or some mayor proposed.

or chief magistrate of a town or city, and shall obtain

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H. OF R.]
Evidence in Contested Elections.

[DECEMBER, 1797. a notification, under his hand and seal, directed to the Constitution, they were alone the judges of. He opposite party, and requiring him to attend by himself, thought his ideas on this subject correct; if they or his attorney duly authorized, and cross-examine the were, he doubted not the motion which he had witnesses. This notification shall state the time and made would be agreed to. place of examination, and the names of the witnesses ; Mr. HarPER said, if the idea of the gentleman and it shall be served on the opposite party, or his attor. last up was correci, his motion would doubtless ney duly authorized, as either may be nearest to be acceded to, though he did not go far enough, such places ; provided either is within one hundred because, in that case he should have moved to miles of it. For attendance, after receiving the notifi; have struck out the whole clause ; because, if the cation, one day exclusive of Sundays, shall be allowed rules proposed were not to have a permanent for every twenty miles. “ 3dly. In all cases where either party shall give no

effect, they would be perfectly nugatory. But he tice to the other of his having appointed an attorney for apprehended his friend had not attended to a disthe purpose aforesaid, it shall be necessary to serve the tinction which he thought a plain one. It was above-mentioned notification on the attorney.

this: the power to establish rules for the taking “ 4thly. Every person deposing, shall make oath or of evidence, and that of judging of the evidence affirmation to testify the whole truth, and shall sub- after it was taken. This House could not say it scribe the testimony by him or her given ; which shall would admit members under such and such disbe reduced to writing only by the magistrate taking the qualifications, but an agreement to the mode of deposition, or by the deponent, in his presence. The taking evidence was very different from the qualdeposition, so taken, together with a certificate of the ifications themselves. It was essentially necessary notices, and proof of the services of them, shall be sealed that Legislative and Judicial powers should be up by the magistrate who took it, and transmitted to kept distinct, yet it was not thought an interferthe Speaker of the House.

ence with the Judicial authority for the Legislature “ Resolved, That the examination of witnesses taken to direct the mode of taking evidence in certain in this manner and no other, shall hereafter be admit- cases. Nothing could be more clear than this disted on trial of contested elections.

tinction. It couid not be said, therefore, that be• Resolved, That copies of any papers recorded in any cause the whole Legislature directed the mode office of records, provided those copics be attested under of taking evidence in cases of contested election, the hand and seal of the recording officer, shall be admitted at all such trials, in the same manner as the ori that the President and Senate interfered with the ginals would be, if produced. In like manner copies

Constiuitional direction that every House should of any other papers of a public nature, and remaining be the judge of its own rules. He was of opinion in the possession of a public officer, shall be admitted that a law was necessary, and a law of a permawhen attested under the hand and seal of that officer.

nent nature, to which he could see no reasonable " Resolved, That copies of these resolutions objection. He allowed that it would be unconstishall be forwarded forth with to the Executive of every tutional for the President or Senate to interfere State, with a request that they will cause the managers with their rules or elections, but when they came of every election in their respective States, to be fur- to make a law which was to operate upon the nished with at least one copy.'

whole community, their interference was necesMr. HOSMER moved to amend the first resolu- sary and proper. If these ideas were sound, and tion by adding, after the word “election,” in the he thought they were, the proposed amendment eighth line, " or to canvass the votes.” Agreed to. would be rejected.

Mr. SITGREAVES did not understand the object Mr. N. Smith said the motion now before them which the mover of these resolutions had in view. was founded upon an idea that permanent rules He knew not whether he meant to confine the could not be made for taking evidence in cases of operation of his rule to the present House of Rep- contested elections. He had frequently heard it resentatives only, or to all future Houses. From said that rules could not be made to be binding any the language of the first resolution he judged the longer than whilst the House existed which latter was his intention. As it was his opinion, formed them. For himself he never conceived therefore, that any attempt of theirs to bind fu- this opinion to be correct. That it was highly ture Houses would be perfectly nugatory, he important that permanent regulations should be should move to strike out the words from, " If it made on the subject in question, every one must be," to "given,” (in the first clause.) This admit. It became of importance, therefore, to know resolution will then confine the operation of the whether it had the power of making them. When rule to the elections which may take place dur- he spoke of permanent rules he would not be uning the fifth Congress. By the Constitution every derstood to mean that any rules should be longer House was to judge of the elections and returns permanent than until the time came when the of its own members. It was not in the power of House of Representatives should wish to rescind any House to prescribe rules for a succeeding one, them. for this reason the rules which governed a pre- The idea which led to the conclusion of the genceding House were always revised by the suc- tleman from Pennsylvania was this: that every ceeding one. If they were to prescribe rules which new Congress occasioned a new House of Reprewere to be binding on future Houses, it could only sentatives; that whenever the members were be done by an act of the whole Legislature, which newly elected there was a new House of Reprewould certainly be exceptionable, as it would give sentalives. He did not believe this doctrine to be to the President and Senate a power over the rules correct. The House of Representatives, in his for governing their proceedings, which, by the opinion, always existed; and there was no period DECEMBER. 1797.]

Evidence in Contested Elections.

(H. of R.

at which it could be said there was not a House on the subject, arose from in the form which it of Representatives in being. He never believed presented itself

, which had introduced the quesit was broken in pieces once in two years; for tion, whether that House was a perpetual body, when the time of one set of members expired, that or not. He must confess that he differed in opinion of another set commenced ; so that it was the na- altogether from the gentleman from Connecticut, ture of a corporation, which always existed. He (Mr. N. Smith,) that this House was a perpetual did not think there had been four Houses of Rep- body. He thought the Constitution had shown, resentatives since the commencement of the pres- that though there was always a House of Repreent Government, but that the whole had been one sentatives, yet, that every House had only iwo uninterrupted House. He thought this was the years duration ; but, he believed, in determining view which the Constitution gave of the subject, the real object of this motion, there was no necesas it spoke of it always as a permanent body. In sity for coming to a decision on this point. the same way the President and Senate were Mr. S. objected to the first resolution, on acpermanent. If this were not the case, and every count of the notice required to be given, which, in election made a new House, there was a time some cases, would prevent an undue election from when the Senate was only two-thirds of a Senate being disputed, because the subject was not taken (when one-third went out of office.) This idea, up agreeably to the direction of this rule, as to therefore, could not be right. There was no dif- time; so that

, whether the proposed regulation ficulty. therefore, in forming permanent rules, was to be effected by a rule or a law, he thought since they were made to govern the House and not the first resolution ought to be rejected. With the individual members. With respect to those respect to the other parts of the resolutions, some things which each branch of Government had the regulations were certainly necessary, both as to power of doing for itself, each could establish its elections, and as to all other matters of controverown rules; but what related to the whole Govern- sy which may come before the House; because, ment must be the act of the whole. The gentle- if some mode were adopted for taking evidence, man from Pennsylvania had said that each House facts might be brought before the House, which had the power of judging of its own elections. could never otherwise come. As it respected elecThis, he apprehended, did not refer to different tions, they knew it had happened in one instance Houses of Representatives, but to the House of and might happen in many, that a person had Representatives and the Senate, as each House held a seat in that House for a whole session, who was always considered by the Constitution as a was not entitled to it. He saw no difficulty in permanent body. He was, therefore, opposed to passsing an act prescribing the mode of taking the amendment.

affidavits to be laid before the two Houses of ConMr. Nicholas believed this was a subject in gress. He should venture to move that the comwhich they should never advance far enough to mittee rise, with the intention of discharging it come to a decision. Very long and very plausible from a further consideration of the subject, and arguments might be adduced on both sides of the to propose that a committee be appointed to inquestion, which would produce different effects on quire into the expediency or inexpediency of prethose who heard them; but, he thought the ques- scribing a mode for taking evidence generally, for tion before them might be acted upon, without the purpose of laying before Congress. coming to a question on that point. He supposed, Mr. Harper said, if the gentleman who had if any case of contested election came before the just sat down had no other reason than that which House, and the evidence was taken in such a way he had assigned for making his motion, he thought, as to ascertain the truth, they should be at liberty on consideration, he would not himself think it to proceed to the examination of the case; and, necessary. His whole objection to the resolutherefore, all that was wanting, was to call in the tions seemed to be, to the notice required to be power of the General Legislature to authorize the given. Here was no intention, he said, of preattendance of witnesses to deliver their testimony. cluding evidence after the time specified. The Let that testimony be taken upon established and sole object was, that testimony taken in this way, acknowledged rules, which satisfy every man's and no other, should be admitted. Persons wishmind, and it will carry conviction with it, that it ing to have the time extended, might still take the is proper.

The necessity of adopting some mode evidence in this way. If there were a doubt on of this kind was evident, as it was a great griev- the subject, an additional clause might be introance that persons disputing elections had to come duced to this effect. Whether the mode he had there to learn the mode of doing it, before they proposed was the best which could be adopted, he could proceed to take evidence. Indeed, it was could not say. If gentlemen knew a better, he putting the power of sending members to that wished them to propose it, and let it be considerHouse in the hands of returning officers. He had ed; but surely, because gentlemen think some no doubt that the Constitution gave them power better mode may be devised, this was not a suffito make a law on the subject; if necessary the cient reason for discharging the Committee of the necessity of the case would show the reasonable- Whole from a further consideration of the subness of it; but he did not know that a law was ject. requisite; he thought a rule of the House to the Mr. GORDON was in favor of the committee's effect he had mentioned, would cure the evil com- rising, because he did not think the resolution plained of.

would have any effect, if carried. He was of Mr. Sewall believed, that the great difficulty opinion with the gentleman from Pennsylvania,

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