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ed it was not necessary he should now go into a certain inconveniences and disagreeable circumstances,
1 statement of the reasons which had led to the de- ! which have occurred in the execution of the law passed lay—though, if it were necessary, he doubted not on the 28th day of May, 1786, entitled “ An act for the he could explain the subject to the full conviction relief of persons imprisoned for debt,” as well as of cerof every member. He only rose, however, to say tain doubts which have been raised concerning its conthat, in the course of two or three days, he should struction ; this representation, together with a report of make the report.
the Attorney General on the same subject, I now transmit to Congress, for their consideration, that if any
amendments or explanations of that law may be thought THURSDAY, January 18.
advisable, they may be adopted.
JOHN ADAMS. The Speaker laid before the House a commu
UNITED STATES, January 18, 1798. nication from the Secretary of War, enclosing an
This Missage, with the papers accompanying estimate of the appropriations necessary for holding a treaty with the Cherokee Indians, which it, was referred to the same Committee of the
Whole to whom was referred the report on the was in substance as follows: For three commissioners, ninety days, at
petition of William Bell. eight dollars per day
FOREIGN INTERCOURSE, Incidental expenses of do.
On motion of Mr. HARPER, the House resolved Secretary, at four dollars per day
360 itself a Committee of the Whole on the bill proRations of two thousand Indians
viding the means of intercourse between the UniPresents to the Indians
ted States and foreign nations, Mr. Dent in the Stores for the commissioners
Chair. The bill was read as follows Incidental expenses
Sec. 1. Be it enacted, &c., That the President of the 25,880
United States shall be, and he hereby is, authorized to draw from the Treasury of the United States a sum
not exceeding $- annually, to be paid out of the This statement was referred to the Committee moneys arising from the duties on imports and tonnage, of the Whole to whom was referre the former for the support of such persons as he shall commission Message of the Presdent on this subject.
to serve the United States in foreign parts, and for the Mr. TillinghẠst called up his resolution re- expense incident to the business in which they may be specting a repeal of the stamp act, which was re- employed: Provided, That, exclusive of an outfit, which ferred to the same Committee of the Whole to shall in no case exceed the amount of one year's full whom was referred the report of the Committee salary to the Minister Plenipotentiary, or Chargé des of Ways and Meays on this subject.
Affaires, to whom the same may be allowed, the PresiMr. SitgREAVES, from the committee appoint- dent shall not allow to any Minister a greater sum than ed on the subject of W. Blount's conspiracy, made $-- per annum, as a compensation for all his per. a supplementary report, containing the deposition sonal services and expenses; nor a greater sum for the of Abraham Holden, of New York, which seemed
same than $4,500 per annum to a Chargé des Affaires; to imply ibat I. P. Ripley (whose evidence rela- nor a greater sum for the same than $1,350 per annum ted to what he had heard Captain Eaton say) had
to the Secretary of any Minister.
Sec. 2. That in all cases where any sum or sums of been supplied with money by the Spanish Minister, whilst he lived in New York, when he was Treasury, for the purposes of intercourse or treaty, with
money, have issued, or shall hereafter issue, from the in 'needy circumstances He told the deponent foreign nations, in pursuance of any law, the President that he had received two hundred dollars from shall be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause the same him, and was to have more. The report was or- to be duly settled annually with the accounting officers dered to be printed.
of the Treasury, in manner following, that is to sayMr. Findley presented the petition of Clement by causing the same to be accounted for, specifically, Biddle, of this city, in behalf of sundry Europeans, in all instances, wherein the expenditure thereof may, possessed of certificates of the debt of the United in his judgment, be made public, and by making a cerStates, which were barred by the section of the tificate or certificates of the amount of such expendiact making provision for the public debt, which I tures as he may think it advisable not to specify; and he prays may be excepted from its operation, as every such certificate shall be deemed a sufficient vou. the persons holding the claims had no knowledge cher for the sum or sums therein expressed to have of the law. Referred to the Committee of the been expended. Whole to whom was referred the subject of con
Sec. 3. That for defraying the expenses of intersidering the propriety of excepting certain claims course between the United States and foreign nations, from the operation of the limitation acts.
during the year one thousand seven hundred and nine
ty-eight, there be further appropriated, in addition to PERSONS IMPRISONED FOR DEBT.
the aforesaid sum of $- and out of any moneys The following Message, with the papers to in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise apwhich they refer, was received from the Presi- propriated, the sum of $DENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
Sec. 4. That the act passed on the first day of July, Gentlemen of the Senate, and
in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety,
entitled “ An act providing the means of intercourse Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : between the United States and foreign nations," and A representation has been made to me, by the Judge the act passed on the ninth day of February, in the of the Pennsylvania district of the United States, of year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, enJANUARY, 1798.)
[H. OF R.
titled “ An act to continue in force for a limited time, what the nature and wants of the Government and amend the act, entitled "An act providing the absolutely required; and he thought, unless better means of intercourse between the United States and
reasons were assigned than any which had hereforeign nations,' ” shall be, and they hereby are, re- tofore been offered, that the Legislature ought to pealed.
reduce the diplomatic establishment to what it Sec. 5. That this act shall be and remain in force had heretofore been. This arrangement, besides for and during the term of two years, and from thence having the beneficial influence he had mentioned, until the end of the next session of Congress thereafter, would also tend to retrench the expenses of the and no longer.
Government, now become an article of consideraMr. Nicholas inquired with what sums the ble importance. blanks in the bill were to be filled.
He would, in order to elucidate his argument, Mr. Harper said he proposed to fill the first suppose that that kind of Executive patronage he with $40,000, and the last with $28,650.
had mentioned had now extended its influence Mr. Nicholas conceived this to be a good time into the Legislature, and that in consequence of a for the House to attempt to bring back the estab- thirst for office majorities were formed in both lishment of the diplomatic corps to the footing on branches of Congress devoted to the views of the which it was settled at the commencement of the Executive, by which the Executive could hold Government, and continued down till the year on with the Legislature a regular and concurrent 1796; and to prevent in future the probable in- course to effect any object however hostile to the crease which he apprehended from the recent ex- public good that the President might think proamples, he thought it necessary to take a view of per to pursue; where, he asked, would be the this subject, not only from the increase of expense, check? in what branch of the Government would but from a variety of other considerations. It is you look for it? Was it to the Senate ? The manot the manner in which a Government is con-jority of that House under this supposition could stituted which makes its operations easy and cer- effeci no check. Will you look to the House of tain. But the execution of the powers of the Gov- Representatives? The majority are humble exernment itself is more to be considered than the pectants of offices; here then, also, you are disnature of its formation; for I do believe there is a appointed! Where, then, will you find anything tendency in all Governments like ours to produce capable of controlling this overbearing influence ? a union and consolidation of all its parts into the It must be in small and feeble minorities, who, by Executive department; and that the limitation their opposition and attention to the interests of and connexion of the parts with each other, as the people against arbitrary power, may rouse the settled in the Constitution, would be destroyed people to a sense of their danger, and force the by the influence I have mentioned, unless there public sentiment to be respected, this he conis a constant operation on the part of the Legis- ceived would be the only check. But this lature to resist this overwhelming power. I think check, he believed, could only with great difficulty we have the most convincing proofs that a repre- and inconvenience be brought into action. It sentative Government can be made the most op- would be difficult, because the people would be pressive and burdensome, and yet preserve all the inclined to approve the proceeding of a majority forms which are given to it by a Constitution; on the fundamental principle of Republicanism; and the Legislature shall appear to act upon its because, on account of the vast extension of our own discretion, whilst that discretion shall have country, the individuals of a minority could not ceased to exist. Where the Executive has an be generally known, and without being known, influence over the Legislature, and the Govern their motives for opposition could not be justly ment is a representative one, the Executive is appreciated; nor without being known could they capable of carrying its views into effect in a man- attract the attention of those who form the reprener superior to what can be accomplished even sentation. in the most despotic monarchy; the mischief will It appears, also, to be proper to guard against be carried further in the former case than in the Executive patronage on account of the small latter, because the people will be more inclined numbers of the Representatives; if the offices to submit to the decisions of a Government of its are increased in only a small degree, they become own choosing than to one which rules them by so many additional temptations, and the chance hereditary right; monarchs cannot carry their of an appointment increases in a two-fold ratio oppressions so far, without resistance, as republics. to the increase of the number. Under this general view of the subject, he con- He conceived that this extension of influence ceived it to be the duty of a Legislature to guard of one branch of the Government over another cautiously its own independence, and to limit, as was strictly guarded by the Constitution, which far as consistent with the general welfare, the in- was framed on the principle of checks and bafluence of Executive patronage. With respect to lances-of departments acting and controlling our own Government, although he did not insist each other; but he was sorry to see the idea of that the evil had already taken place, he conceived patronage drawn into a closer com pass than it it to be a duty they owed to themselves and their had formerly been, as it increased the evil. He constituents, as well to secure liberty as to per- was sorry for it, because it tended to manifest a petuate the Constitution itself, that the President, circumstance which had been sought to be conwho had the power of making appointments, cealed. Every insinuation that there was a dishould be kept from extending this power beyond vision between the Government and the people H. of R.]
had been repelled as an insidious and malignant crease. With this view he proposed to alter the design; but the Administration, by acting on a bill so as to direct that there should be appronew principle, which he was too well assured was priated $9,000 for a Minister Plenipotentiary at the fact, had established the idea that there was London, and $9,000 more for another near the a division between it and a considerable portion French Republic, and that the President be left of the people. The evidence of this fact had at liberty to reduce the Ministers Plenipotentiary been long shown, and he feared the operation of at Berlin, Madrid, and Lisbon, to Ministers resicircumstances of this nature on the public mind. dent, which would diminish their salaries one
He said he had clear and satisfactory proof that half-a resident Minister being of a lower grade no man was hereafter to be admitted into the has only $4,500 per annum. He then went into Administration, or other departments of the Gov- a detail of the proceedings of the first Congress, ernment, unless he was willing to sacrifice all in- in order to show that it was admitted on all sides dependent political opinions and bend at the by that body, that the Constitution vested the shrine of Executive wisdom. He believed the power of specifying and limiting the salaries of Administration did not hesitate to make the open foreign Ministers and Consuls; he read the avowal, that no person should be initiated into speeches of Mr. LAWRENCE, Mr. SHERMAN, Mr. the mystery of their affairs unless he would give W. Smith of South Carolina, Mr. SEDGWICK, Mr. a test of his belief in Executive infallibility. If Huntington, and several others, from the Conthis was the case, and he believed it was, it be- gressional Register, by which it appeared, that came another cogent reason why the Legislature there was but one opinion on their powers under should show itself attentive to limit a patronage the Constitution; and showed from hence, that which was to be exercised in this way, and which the only reason why the House did not undertake cut off from the Administration at one stroke all to enumerate and fix the salaries of foreign Ministhose who did not join in their confession of faith; ters in detail, arose merely from the want of inbut this reason was strengthened when we draw formation as to the places where they should be into our view the appoiniments that have been fixed, and the sum necessary to cover their exmade of foreign Ministers taken out of the Legis- penses. As his construction corresponded with lative body itself
. It does present a most formi- that of the gentlemen who fixed the principles dable aspect to the liberties of this country, when upon which the Government was put in motion, we see the most lucrative offices, the most tempt- he was encouraged to expect his motion would ing and most honorable-offices with the great succeed, seeing that the House had now had suffiest attraction-filled by draughts from the Legisla- cient experience to enable them to say what were tive body, and there, too, of one particular class, the regulations proper to be made. and that class the believers of the new doctrine, He also showed that he was supported in his a thing entirely unknown to the principles upon construction by the President himself in his late which the Constitution is formed; he repeated application to extend the appropriation to cover that it was a subject of alarm, and ought to ex- the appointment to Berlin, which would not have cite attention, that the diplomatic corps was filled been requisite had the House not possessed a disby draughts from Congress.
cretionary power on the subject. ' He concluded He gave it as his opinion on our foreign inter- by professing it to be his intention to let the apcourse, that the United States would be benefited propriation continue to the Ministers at Berlin, by having no Ministers at all. He did not think Spain, and Portugal, until they had either comthat we could be benefited by any sort of com- pleted the business in hand, or till the President pact these foreign agents could form for us, for had given them notice that the Legislature did we only bound ourselves by any treaty we en- not mean to support them in the manner they had tered into, as we are totally incapable of enforcing heretofore been maintained. He deemed it prothe execution of the stipulations made by other per to curtail the expenses of this department as nations by any offensive measures. It might be soon as possible, but not sooner than convenient. thought necessary to make commercial arrange- He commented upon the necessity of having a ments with some European Powers; but, he Minister Plenipotentiary at Berlin, by saying we asked, if they had the force to make a foreign had little or no commercial intercourse with that country conform to its engagements ? No gentle nation, and if the Executive had sent one there man would say that they had; therefore such on such pretence, it would perhaps become soon regulations only tended to entangle ourselves, necessary to send Ministers Plenipotentiary to two without rendering commerce any efficient aid. or three other northern Courts, though we have He would, therefore, leave our commerce to seek but a very inconsiderable commerce with them; its own markets totally disembarrassed. All the yei, inconsiderable as it was, it was more than we protection we could furnish it with, consisted in had with Prussia. If the House were to retrench officers of another grade than those mentioned in at this time it would manifest their intention to this bill: Consuls who should reside in the sea- resist any further demands, and put an end to a ports, and not Ministers Plenipotentiary residing growing evil. in the interior.
Mr. Harper supposed it would be remembered He did not intend by the motion he was about by all those gentlemen who had attended to the to make, that the whole diplomatic establishment business of Congress for several years past, that should be destroyed at this time, but merely to the doctrine of the gentleman from Virginia was reduce it to what it had been before the late in- by no means 'new. The subject of foreign interJANUARY, 1798.]
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course was never taken up, without that gentle- months after the solemn sanction of the House man, or some other who agreed with him in sen- was given to it, it was to be withdrawn, and that timent, advancing these opinions; they never without any additional light on the subject. He failed to speak of the danger to be apprehended trusted that the House would not be induced, from Executive influence, from its power to ap- from the unfounded suspicions of any gentleman, point foreign Ministers; that foreign intercourse thus to act. was unnecessary; that our public affairs abroad In aid of the $40,000 per annum, originally were not to be attended to, and that commerce granted for this purpose, Mr. H. said, various supought to be given up, or left to shift for itself. plementary appropriations had been made. First, Nor was this a doctrine confined to this country, a sum of $20,000, then a sum of $23,000, and, in or this age. Whenever a set of gentlemen in March last, 17,000, and, in addition to this, $14,any country found their views opposed by the 1000 for a particular appointment. The House measures of Government, they became vexed, i had, therefore, not only deemed it expedient to and attributed the proceedings of those who dif- continue the original act, but to make additional fered from them in opinion to any motive rather appropriations from year so year. He thought than the public good. The desire of Executive the good sense of the country had never been favor, or Executive offices, was an usual charge, more firmly shown than on this subject. But and it was at this day well understood. It would now a new course was to be taken, and all foralso be remembered, that whenever the subject mer proceedings declared to have been wrong. of foreign intercourse had been discussed, though But it was said this country had no need of forthese objections had been constantly made to it, eign Ministers, and that commerce might be left they had been as constantly disregarded by the to itself. He did not believe the House would Congress of the United States. The good sense think so. Did not the United States trade with of the country had weighed these objections in all the nations of the earth? How, then, were it the balance, and declared them wanting; and he possible to do without accredited agents to attend trusted the same fate would now meet them as to our concerns in foreign countries? Were we heretofore.
to give up our commerce? There were gentleThat the House might judge more accurately men, he knew, who would answer, Yes. They on this subject, he would advert to the course would tell the House, commerce was a bad thing, heretofore iaken. But, before he did this, he and that it rather ought to be outlawed, than prowould observe, that the motion of the gentleman, tected. But was this the sense of the country? instead of bringing the business back to the state Was it the sense of that House? Would they disin which it stood in the year 1790, would be a card the property of that class of citizens who dedirect innovation upon that institution, and, ac- pended upon it, for their support and their wealth? cording to his doctrine, the best way of correcting Or would they be ready to forfeit the revenue change would be to introduce it; for the present arising from it? Mr. H. said he had often heard bill was a copy of the original act, which had of the dangerous nature of foreign intercourse; been acted upon from the year 1790 to the present but it was the discovery of a few men who betime. But, instead of leaving the business as lieved that everything which had been done by placed by Congress at that time, the gentleman this Government had been radically wrong. He from Virginia wished it changed. Why was this trusted, however, the House would adhere to what to be done? Because it was found that the it had so frequently sanctioned, and that the proPresident, after seven years' experience, had found posed amendment would not be agreed to. no necessity of making any difference in the Mr. ALLEN said, that by the bill before the allowance to Ministers at different Courts, and committee they were brought to consider what therefore the House ought to make the change. provision should be made for the Ministers of the This was reasoning from effects to causes with a United States abroad. He wished the gentlewitness to it. No contradiction was more palpa- man from Virginia had produced facts to the ble. But it was said, there was danger from the committee which, by being considered, might Executive influence-danger of legislators being have been acted upon; and when he had proposed bribed by the hopes or promises of foreign ap- to have Ministers Plenipotentiary at two Courts pointments.
only, it would have been well if he had shown These objections had been urged on former oc- why there should be Ministers of that description casions. When the appropriation was made for there, and not at other Courts; or why we should a Minister to Berlin, the gentleman from Vir- have any Ministers abroad at all; but after lisginia then made a stand, as he terms it. He tening to him with attention, he had been able to then told the House the appointment was uneces- hear nothing from him but general declamation. sary; but, not withstanding, the money was appro- What he intended for arguments, he thought priated.
illy applied to a Government like this. He had The House was not afraid of Executive influ- strongly warned the House against Executive ence. If this appointment had been improper, patronage. He spoke of the different departthat was the proper time to have prevented the ments of Government as distinct bodies, having extension of our foreign intercourse; but, after a different interests; as if the Executive was formfull discussion, the extension was deemed proper. ing a patronage against which it was important What versatility-what foolishness—what child for thai House to guard. He thought language ish capriciousness, would it appear, if, in a few 1 of this kind very improper. He believed it might H. OF R.]
have a bad effect out of doors, when the people ought not to be supported, and who believed that heard of the Executive being thus charged. In the most effectual way of destroying it was to stead of making these charges, he wished the destroy the confidence of the people in the indigentleman had said, “ Come now, and let us rea- viduals who administer it. He wished the House son together.” This would have been preferable to assume the true American character. to calling of hard names, to speaking of the lust Mr. Nicholas assured the gentleman just sat of dominion and of patronage; as if one branch down, that he might say what he pleased of him, of the Government was in danger of being swal- he was at liberty to proclaim him in what characlowed up by the other. The gentleman had ter it pleased; it would not affect him in the least. declared that republican Governments might With respect to the charge he brought against become more burdensome and corrupt than any him for insinuating, without authority, that a other, as if the people of the United States were preference was given by the Executive to persons to be informed that this Government was pro- professing certain opinions, he did not make the gressing towards that point towards a point charge without authority. It was the avowed which would bear it down! This language struck declaration of men who considered themselves as him the more, as he doubted not it would be faith- guides of the President, that this was the case. fully reported. A combination of all the branches He acknowledged it was to be lamented that, at a of Government was spoken of, against which time when it might be necessary to join in a comthere was no security but in feeble minorities. mon cause, that such sentiments should be declarDid the gentleman mean to insinuate that majori-ed; but if gentlemen will divide the country into ties in republican Governments were not to be parties, it was a business of their own and pot his. trusted, but that all virtue was in minorities—the What he said was true. enlightened few, who were to be the guides of Mr. Gallatin believed that there was a numthe people ?
ber of people in the United States-people other. Mr. Å. said, the gentleman from Virginia had wise enlightened, and who, upon all common subtold the House that Executive patronage was ex- jects, possessed sound understandings-who were clusively confined to those who came up to the fully convinced that there was a faction existing standard of Executive infallibility. This asser- within the United States, and even within the tion was to spread over the United States as a walls of that House, who wished to demolish the fact. But were any proofs offered to support these Government; and he further believed that this charges ? No. Yet these charges would go out opinion was supported by such declarations as to the world, and would tend to weaken the con- had been made by the gentleman from Connecti. fidence of the people in the Government, and they cut. He should be sorry that such a belief should would of course conclude, that such a Govern- be considered as dangerous to the safety of the ment ought not to be supported, but demolished. community. Nor could he consider the determi. Was there any peculiar propriety, he asked, in in- nation of the Executive to employ only such pertroducing language of this kind at this juncture, sons as are of the same political opinions with when they were every moment in expectation of themselves, as of such a nature as to produce fatal hearing news that might be very disagreeable, and consequences, and that Government, on that acrequire a union of every citizen in the country ? count, was unworthy of confidence. He believed Was this a time to say that Government was not that such a line of conduct must flow from the to be trusted ? He could have wished, instead of present state of parties in America, divided as the making these charges, the gentleman had reason- people were upon many important occasions. To ed upon the subject, that such measures might say, therefore, that the Executive employed perhave been taken as true wisdom and love of coun- sons of consonant political opinions to its own, try should have dictated. But when gentlemen was not to say the Government did not deserve spoke of Government departing from the princi- confidence. But if the committee turned their ples upon which it was instituted, who that be attention to the amendment proposed, it only lieved this, would respect it? But he had himself went to declare that Ministers to London and even heard native Americans who had not been Paris should not have a salary of more than poisoned by any foreign influence whatever, de- $9,000 a year; and that Ministers to other parts clare that such a Government as ours could not of Europe should not have more than $4,500. In stand, that it must be overthrown. He believed support of this amendment, it was said that this that these opinions were produced by such decla- was the ground upon which this Government first rations as those that they had heard to-day, and fixed the business of foreign intercourse. He besuch as if “this law be passed, it will not be carried lieved this statement correct. Until the year into effect by the courts of the States," which was 1796, there was no Minister Plenipotentiary exlanguage used on a former occasion.
cept at Paris and London ; at other places there Mr. A. concluded by saying, the committee were were no higher grades than Ministers Resident. told that our foreign intercourse ought not to be Hence the committee might be led to argue the continued. He confessed that this country had propriety of bringing back our foreign political reason to wish that foreign intercourse, so far as intercourse to what it was before that period. He it related to importing intriguing foreigners, had said foreign political intercourse; because he long ago ceased. He believed there were persons thought the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. within that House who thought the Government HARPER) had blended two subjects together, viz: ought to be overset, and that it could not and foreign commercial intercourse. and foreign poli