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Appointment of Committees.
COMPENSATION OF DOORKEEPER, &c. on an even floor, in any civilized country-invade
Mr. CONRAD moved the following resolutions, which were read and agreed to by the House: Resolved, That the Committee of Accounts be authorized to settle and adjust the account of T. Claxton, jr., for his services rendered this House during the present session, and allow such sum as they may deem due him, out of the contingent fund of this House: provided the same shall not exceed one hundred dollars.
Resolved, That the Committee of Accounts be authorized to allow out of the contingent fund of this House, for the services and attendance of a laborer to attend the Clerk's office and Library of Congress, not exceeding at the rate of twelve dollars per month for the said services.
Resolved, That the Clerk of this House be authorized to continue the contracts for the supply of stationery and printing for the present session, for the like supply at the next session of Congress, if the present contractors shall agree thereto; or otherwise, that he advertise for the same in manner directed by the resolution of twenty-eighth February, one thousand eight hundred and five. And that he be moreover directed to advertise and contract with the lowest bidder for the supply of
fuel for the next session.
take to judge the secrets of the hearts, of not only the judgment seat of the Most High, and underthe members of both branches of the Legislature of the United States, but also of the citizens in the galleries? Shall any member of this House be permitted to declare that Yazoo principles governed the high court of impeachment, in their deeision on the trial of Judge Chase; and also the decisions of this House during the present session? Shall that member's multifarious declamations, and groundless accusations, against the first off cers of the United States, and a large majority of their representatives, (after being so mutilated as scarcely to resemble the original,) go forth without any investigation or contradiction, to deceive the innocent, and unsuspecting, to hold up that memhis opposition to the present Administration dows ber as the invincible champion of liberty, and that from the same pure motives that his opposition to the former Administration did? They shall
I conceive it to be the duty of the representative of the people, to give them a just and impartial account of the conduct of their public servants, in their Executive and Legislative capacities; under this impression, I am perfectly in unison with that member, in his anxious desire for publicity, so far as it can be done without invading the rights of the Executive, or the other branch of the Legis lature, and so far as it can be done without com mitting the interest, safety, and peace, of the United States.
APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES. Mr. SLOAN.-Mr. Speaker, I rise to offer two resolutions which, if adopted, will remove some existing difficulties, and greatly expedite business. Introductory to offering these resolutions, I ask the indulgence and attention of this House to a He shall be gratified he shall have publicitybrief recital of some facts, to prove the necessity his portrait shall be drawn to the life, accompa of adopting them. If, in stating these facts, any nied with explanatory labels, and sent to every member, or other person, should conceive that I part of the Union, that the people may not only speak too plain a language, or discover too much know the substance of his declamatory accus warmth, I beg them to consider the magnitude tions, but be presented with a view of his atte of the subject that it is to counteract a deadly blow tude, and that unparalleled arrogance with which aimed at the vitals of our Government, under which they were imposed upon the members of this we have enjoyed near thirty years liberty and inde- House, by which they will be enabled to judge pendence, and prospered in a manner unparalleled whether he has been; and still remains, the chamin history; and that upon a just and true state-pion of liberty and honesty; or, whether he is a ment of facts being laid before this House, and the public, and passing a just sentence thereupon, depends the continuation of that happiness, peace, and prosperity, we have hitherto enjoyed. I also ask the attention of the citizens in the galleries, his late We are told in a good old book, (which that in which I include both the Yazoo speculators; and conversation is consonant with its excelle and other dishonest citizens (if any there be) in precepts, I leave for others to determine,) that t the green gallery, and the honest citizens in the tree is known by its fruit. I trust I shall not upper or white gallery-in doing which I thus contradicted when I say that this criterion is t publicly declare, that I disclaim, I detest, and I best that ever has or ever can be given where abhor all such invidious distinctions as were lately finite beings can judge with propriety the conduct zens in the galleries; and which he has so fre- shall be handed to the public, that they may see quently applied to members, within these walls, during the present session, as evidently tending to destroy the peace and happiness of the citizens of these United States.
disappointed vindictive declaimer and unjust ac cuser of our Executive and members of Congress who believe it their duty to support them!
and taste, and thereby be enabled to judge for themselves whether they are good and wholesome-yea or nay.
Mr. Speaker, the people are alarmed, they are Shall mortal man, shall inexperienced youth, astonished, to hear that a member of Congress, petuous and ungovernable passions that ever present Administration, but one of its warmest urged on by a vindictive spirit, and the most im- who, in 1803, was not barely a supporter of the Legislative body, composed of freemen, standing of Representatives, that the conduct of that same
Administration evinces either gross ignorance or evil design, and that a principal part of the ingredients of which his multiform harangues are composed are a compound of insinuations, inuendoes, and positive invectives, against some members of the Executive and their supporters. Hence, a most important question arises: Are those high officers (alluding to the President and Secretary of State) in our Executive department changed; or, is the member from Virginia? It is of the highest importance to these United States that this question should be justly and speedily decided; for that purpose, let me ask what proof has he brought to substantiate his charges against the Administration? He has been called upon in this House to bring forward an impeachment; this he has declared he will not do; but still continues his declamatory accusations, and produces no kind of testimony to support his charges; he stands alone a public accuser and witness. Will the people of the United States, the tribunal to whom he appeals, pass sentence of condemnation upon the two first officers of the Government, and upon a great majority of their representatives, who, having the same opportunity of knowing the conduct of those officers, and from a conviction that they have faithfully discharged their duty, still continue their full confidence and support? I trust they will not.
Mr. Speaker, as the people of the United States is the tribunal to whom the member from Virginia has appealed, and to whom he has presented his multiform harangues and declamatory accusations, (I will not call them speeches; I think them as unworthy of that title as he can possibly think his fellow representative of the same State of being styled his colleague;) I conceive it necessary through the same medium (that is to say by a member of Congress in the House of Representatives) to present at least a brief statement of the defence of the accused and the conduct of the accuser. In doing this, I shall not pursue his course by invading the judgment seat of Him who only knoweth the secret imaginations of all hearts, and boldly assert what were his motives; but as he has adduced no proof but his own assertions, common report, and hearsay testimony from those few that he yet styles his very worthy friends, I trust I am correct in adducing the same kind, to enable the public to judge for themselves what are his motives, which I will now proceed to do, with the addition of some incontrovertible facts, which I am persuaded will carry conviction to every impartial mind.
Report says that the member from Virginia contemplated a voyage to the south of France, or England, for his health. Did he wish to have been appointed Minister to one of those Courts, that he might have had a chance of increasing his property as well as his health? or, is he so enamored with the spark that has emanated from the British Court, and now glitters in this city, that he is anxious to behold with what effulgence the source from which it proceeded glows? Is it from this source that he has received information that Great Britain stands now precisely in the
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same situation that republican France did in 1793, that she is fighting the battles of liberty, that her fleets are our only protection from Gallic tyranny, and that she has a ship of war for every square league of the ocean; but that, if we offend her Minister, he will not barely withdraw his former most gracious protection, but wreak his vengeance upon us by capturing all our vessels, burning all our seaport towns, and driving us from the seacoasts over the mountains? Is it from that source that he has received information that the conduct of our Executive evinces either gross ignorance, or evil design, which has induced him to withdraw his confidence from them forever, and that he is the only true patriot, the only honest, inflexible member of Congress that remains uncontaminated? or, to use his own metaphor, that is not yet melted down by the powerful sunbeams of Executive favors?
While contemplating the invincible power of the British navy, has he also been enamored with the insolent tyranny of the commanders of her armed vessels, and has that induced him to pour forth torrents of abuse upon those members of Congress, who will not, in all cases, agree to see with his eyes, to hear with his ears, and to understand with his heart?
Has he been so enamored with the conduct of the once patriotic statesman, but afterward apostate Burke, as to induce him to make a puerile attempt to exhibit, on the floor of this House, his impressive and energetic mode of delivery, by exerting his weak nerves and feeble arms, to cause the pens, the papers, the books, and the hats, to fly in every direction, insomuch that, if they had been musket balls instead of those light materials, the American patriot would soon have been left to exhibit the remainder of his superlative eloquence within empty walls?
Upon this subject an all-important question arises, in which the interest, the peace, and the happiness of these United States are deeply involved. Can you, my brethren, members of this House, who have been witnesses of those scenes, represent to your constituents the actor as an inflexible patriot, of a sound mind, influenced by pure motives, and views, solely directed to the promotion of the interest, peace, and happiness of the Union; or, as a petted, vindictive school-boy, in the absence of his master; or as a maniac in his straight-jacket, accidentally broke out of his cell? Can you, after being charged by that member with refusing to take a question on Saturday, in order that you might serve the Lord on Sunday, by holding a caucus, and thereby be corruptednay, further, that you have been swindled out of your opinion in half an hour by a few individuals round the fires, and after his charging you with having your eyes fixed on the half-way house, between the Capitol and Georgetown, and your views directed toward our next Presidential elec tion, instead of the great business of the nation; and that you would attend to nothing but writing circulars and newspaper accounts; that is to say, you were not disposed to fix your whole attention upon him-to implicitly obey his mandates, or
tacitly acknowledge him as sole dictator-can you, I say, subscribe to the truth of those assertions? Are you prepared to acknowledge that youth the political saviour of his country, and to sanction his language and behaviour on the floor of this House, when you heard him exclaim on this wise: Away with him, away with him, clap on the crown of thorns, (clapping his hand on the top of his head,) crucify him, crucify him, (whirling his feeble arm round his head,) thereby placing yourselves in a similar situation to the hard-hearted Jews?
Are you prepared to permit that member to invade the Speaker's chair; to behold him shutting his fist, and pointing directly to another member, in an imperious tone of voice, not only order him to sit down, but to go down the back stairs-declaring that was the place for him? And, finally, have you heard him, with approbation, charge an aged member of this House, (Mr. FINDLEY,) with mumbling out his words in such manner that none could understand him; and call him an old toothless driveller, superannuated, and in his second dotage; more especially when you recollect that, but a short time past, he styled that member his venerable friend, his political father, and acknowledged it an honor to act with him?
I trust you are not; you are not yet prepared to see order and decorum trampled on by an individual; nor common decency, and that respect for age, so strongly enjoined by the laws of God and man, and even by the savages of the wilderness, banished from these walls. I doubt not your beholding the foregoing scenes, as I have done, with detestation and abhorrence, and will represent them in that point of view, to your constituents, when you return home!
I will not detain the House with a detailed account of that member's patriotic and paternal care over his horn-book scholars, which, immediately on hearing that the House had taken up the British business, raised him from a sick bed, winged his speed to the Capitol, and overcame the weakness of his feeble frame in so admirable a manner as to enable him to occupy the floor almost the whole of the two first days' debate, displaying a degree of zeal unparalleled by any other American patriot, to guard our weak minds from being deceived by the tools of that Administration, which his penetrating genius alone had discovered, was governed either by gross ignorance or evil design. To do this would be to write a volume. The foregoing brief recital of a few of the most prominent features of that member's general conduct during the present session, will, I conceive, be sufficient to enable the citizens of the United States to decide, with propriety, the all-important question, is the Executive or the member from Virginia changed? Are his charges against the Executive founded in fact, or is he a disappointed declaimer, and his accusations unfounded?
I will now proceed to state the facts which I premised, by which the citizens of the United States will be presented with indubitable proof, that, in two very important cases, he has been the principal if not the sole cause of greatly embar
rassing the Executive, whereby considerable loss has been sustained, and probably much more will be, and the inferior officers and their clerks materially injured by being unjustly kept out of their salaries for a considerable time after they became due.
1st. It appears by the secret Journal, lately published, that a Message of the President of the 6th of December last, was committed to a committee of seven, of whom the member from Virginia was chairman; that, notwithstanding the critical situation of the belligerent Powers of Europe, which rendered it essentially necessary that Cogress should act immediately upon the important subjects contained in the Message, which did not admit of a moment's delay; yet, notwithstanding the urgency of the occasion and magnitude of the object, no report was made by that committee until the third of January, a space of four weeks. For the truth of this assertion, I appeal to the members of this House; and also for the great delay and embarrassment, a bill predicated on the aforesaid Message met with in its passage, principally from the chairman of that committee, who, I am fully persuaded, occupied the floor at least nine-tenths of the whole time of the debate on said bill; by which means its passage was delayed in the House of Representatives until the 16th of January; whereas, on the 11th of February, 1803, a report of a committee for appropriating two million of dollars for a similar purpose was made, and a bill predicated thereon passed the House of Representatives on the 15th of the same month; that member was then a zealous advocate of the measure. It needs no comment.
2d. The second case I shall adduce, is his delay in bringing forward the appropriation bills for the support of Government, Army, and Navy, of the United States; the appropriation for the Wat Department, passed in 1804, on the 10th of February; and, in 1805, on the 14th, and for the Navy in 1804, on the 31st of January; and, in 1805, on the 25th of the same month; 1806, two months, or more, later.
Notwithstanding which, that member has asserted on this floor that it is too late for the bill appropriating two millions of dollars for the purchase of the Floridas to have the desired effect; that the battle of Austerlitz will prevent a favorable issue of our negotiation with Spain; or, to use his own language, with France; and has alse charged the Executive with being unable to send off the sloop Hornet with despatches, for want of money; that they have been obliged to discount notes at a very great loss; that, in so doing, they have acted worse than the former Administration, who resorted to eight per cent. loans. Here, let me ask, if ever, before this session, there was such an insult offered to the House of Representatives, and to the Executive of the United States, as for an individual member, whose business as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, it was, to bring forward and attend to filling up the blanks in all appropriation bills after having neglected or refused to do his duty in the proper and usual time-rise from his seat, near two
= APRIL, 1806.
Appointment of Committees.
months after, and, with a contemptuous smile, inform the House that All-fools' day was at hand, when, if we did not pass the bill for the support of Government, we should look like fools indeed? Thus adding insult to injury, by charging his own mal-conduct to the account of injured inno
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the other, which so highly excited his indignation, to show the baseness of such doctrines, and to support justice, equal liberty, and the inherent rights of man; which will cause the author of that pamphlet, and his supporters, to shine as stars of the first magnitude, when the admirers and supporters of British Ministers and their hirelings shall be consigned to eternal contempt!
3d. I shall now proceed to the third and last charge which I shall at this time adduce, which Mr. Speaker, after hearing so many insinuahas been exhibited by that member against our tions, inuendoes, and direct accusations, thrown Executive for applying to draw money from the out against our Executive, and a majority of the Treasury for the purchase of the Floridas, previ- members of Congress, which, if believed, must ous to an appropriation made by law for that pur- alienate the affections and finally destroy the conpose; which is refuted by that very respectable of-fidence of the people of the United States, I conficer, the Secretary of the Treasury, to whose testimony that member, after publicly declaring that he was inferior to none-notwithstanding which he had been scouted from the Cabinet-is bound to give full faith and credit. It is in a letter addressed to the honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives, bearing date April 15, 1806, in the following words:
"SIR: In answer to the request contained in the resolution of the House of Representatives, of the 8th instant, I have the honor respectfully to state, that no application has been made to draw money from the Treasury, for the purchase of the Floridas, before an appropriation made by law for that purpose.'
ceive it a duty enjoined on me by my present station to lay before this House the foregoing brief statement of facts, in order that they may be published for the perusal of the public, and to opposè my opinion to that of the member from Virginia. My opinion most decidedly and unequivocally is, that all the declamations and accusations we have heard from him against any branch of our Executive, so far as it goes to impeach their knowledge, prudence, or integrity, is entirely groundless and contrariwise; that, as far as has come to my knowledge, our Executive in all its departments has discharged its duties in such manner as to merit the approbation and entire Mr. Speaker, I trust I shall not be contradicted, confidence of the people of these United States. when I assert, that it is a sound principle, both in To their good sense and impartial judgment I leave to determine whether the conduct of the Execulaw and equity, that proving one part of the testimony of a witness false, greatly invalidates, if tive, and a majority of the House of Representanot wholly destroys all credibility of the other tives, has fixed on them a stain of so deep a die parts. This, to use that member's favorite phrase- that all the waters of the Potomac can never ology, "being indisputably done;" the other insin-wash it off; or whether the groundless accusation uations, inuendoes, and direct charges of malconduct against the Executive, and a majority of the members of Congress, consequently falls into that contempt which all groundless accusations against the innocent justly merit.
II shall at this time present to view but one more of those extraordinary productions which have so frequently and so greatly retarded the necessary business of the House of Representatives during the present session.
It will be remembered that in one of the rhapsodies of the member from Virginia, after informing the House that he had read a pamphlet, called "War in Disguise," supposed to be written by some of the British Ministry, or their hirelings, in support of their unjust and tyrannical conduct to wards neutral nations, he took up a pamphlet, called "An Examination of the British Doctrine, which subjects to capture a Neutral Trade, not open in time of Peace," and with as much apparent violence as he could possibly have exerted to prevent an assassin from taking his life, threw those hated pages upon the floor of the House, to be trodden under foot by men, declaring, that of this pamphlet, which contains 204 pages, his abhorrence of its contents permitted him to read but 11. This needs no further comment than barely to observe, that the pamphlet which he had perused, and of which he expressed his approbation, was written to support injustice and tyranny ; and
of that member has not indelibly stamped him, not barely with a stain, but a deep sable hue, which all the waters of the Mississippi, that great parent of floods, even if connected with the most powerful fuller's soap, can ever cleanse or change to its native color; and, finally, whether a member of Congress who has, to the utmost of his power, fixed in battle array the citizens of the South against those of the North, and the West against the East, or those members who uniformly endeavored to promote love and harmony among all classes of citizens, as children of one family, are the real friends of the interest, liberty, peace, and happiness of these United States.
I shall conclude with offering, if seconded, two resolutions, which I do with a desire to have them placed on the Journal, intending to call them up the first day of the next session. I offer these. resolutions for the purpose hereafter of keeping the business of the House of Representatives within its own power, and to prevent in future the most important business of the nation from being retarded by a Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, or any other committee, from going to Baltimore or elsewhere, without leave of absence, and staying six days or more, either for his pleasure or his interest; to prevent the members of this House from being hereafter insulted by chairmen, or other members of the committees, for calling business out of their hands, after having kept it either from negligence or
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Postponement of Orders-Adjournment.
evil design more weeks than they ought to have done days. To prevent in future the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means from keeping for months the estimates for the appropriations necessary for the ensuing year in his pocket, or locked up in his desk, whereby the different appropriation bills may be kept back (as they have been this session) to the great injury of the nation, as well as individuals; and, finally, to prevent hereafter bills of importance being brought forward, and forced through the House, near the close of a session, when many members are gone home, and the minds of those who remain are necessarily turned homeward to their domestic concerns, and when there is not time for that full investigation and cool deliberation necessary to decide with propriety on important subjects, by which means laws may be passed injurious to the interests of the United States and derogatory to the character of the House of Representatives. I trust every member of this House, after experiencing the embarrassments of the present session, will be impressed with the necessity of preventing them in future; for that purpose I offer these resolutions.
Mr. SLOAN then submitted the following resolutions:
Resolved, That hereafter all standing committees of the House of Representatives shall be appointed by ballot, and shall choose their own chairman.
Resolved, That all committees of the House of Representatives be called upon by the Speaker every Monday to report, unless dispensed with by the unanimous
consent of the House.
Ordered, That the said motion do lie on the table.
The order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act for the relief of Seth Harding, late a Captain in the Navy of the United States," was postponed indefinitely. The order of the day for the House to resolve
itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act to explain the fifth section of an act, entitled 'An act to divide the Indiana Territory into two separate Governments," was postponed indefinitely.
The order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act in addition to the act establishing a Mint, and regulating the coins of the United States," was postponed indefinitely.
The order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill for the relief of the Governor, Judges, and Secretary, of the Indiana Territory, was postponed indefinitely.
On a motion made and seconded, that the farther consideration of the report of the committee appointed, on the twenty-first ultimo, to inquire into the conduct of Gideon Granger, Postmaster General of the United States, be postponed indefinitely: it was resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. EARLY, from the committee appointed on the part of this House, jointly, with the committee appointed on the part of the Senate, to wait on the President of the United States, and notify him of the proposed recess of Congress, reported that the committee had performed that service; and that the President signified to them he had no farther communication to make during the present session.
A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate, having finished the legislative business before them, are now ready to adjourn.
Ordered, That a message be sent to the Senate to inform them that this House, having completed the business before them, are now about to adjourn until the first Mouday in December next; and that the Clerk of this House do go with the said message.
The Clerk accordingly went with the said message; and, being returned, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House until the first Monday in December next.