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District of Columbia—British Aggressions.
of South Carolina. Your committee conceive that they have no right to enter into the feelings of either of the parties, or to pronounce upon the justice of the condition made by North Carolina on the one part, or its rejection by Georgia on the other, and have therefore confined their attention to that part of the memorial which calls upon Congress to define and mark out the thirty-fifth degree of latitude-the line which North Carolina admits to bound her State-upon the south and north of which Georgia can have no claim of territory. Your committee, after giving to this point the most deliberate consideration, are of opinion that the United States are bound, in good faith, to use their friendly offices with the State of North Carolina for obtaining an amicable adjustment of the limits of the territory, which they have transferred to Georgia, in all parts where such limits may be disputed.
Your committee, therefore, beg leave to offer the following resolution:
Resolved, That the President of the United States be authorized to appoint a commissioner, to meet such commissioners as may be appointed by the States of North Carolina and Georgia, for the purpose of ascertaining and running the line which divides the territory transferred by the United States to Georgia, from North Carolina.
The report was read, and referred to a Committee of the Whole House on Friday next.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
Mr. SMILIE Submitted the following resolutions: Resolved, That it is expedient for Congress to recede to the State of Maryland the jurisdiction of that part of the Territory of Columbia which was ceded to the United States by the said State of Maryland, by an act passed the nineteenth day of December, in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, entitled An act concerning the Territory of Columbia and the City of Washington:' provided the said State of Maryland shall consent and agree thereto.
"Resolved, That it is expedient for Congress to recede to the State of Virginia the jurisdiction of that part of the Territory of Columbia which was ceded to the United States by the said State of Virginia, by an act passed the third day of December, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, entitled An act for the cession of ten miles square, or any lesser quantity of territory, within this State, to the United States, in Congress assembled, for the permanent seat of the General Government:' provided the said State of Virginia shall consent and agree thereto."
Mr. SMILIE stated he had two objects in view in offering these resolutions. The first was, that Congress might be divested of that multiplicity of business which arose from the situation of the territory, which would increase with the growth of population and the progress of society. The other reason was still more important. He wished to see the people of the District restored to their political rights, the deprivation of which was to him a matter of great regret, and which could not be remedied until there was a decided change in their situation. Alluding to the apprehension of the inhabitants that this measure was connected with a removal of the seat of Government, he declared that this was not his object; he, on the contrary, believed the measure would be highly beneficial to the City of Washington.
H. OF R.
On considering the resolutions, the House divided-ayes 43, noes 36.
Mr. SMILIE moved a reference of them to a Committee of the Whole on the first day of March. Mr. LEWIS moved their postponement indefinitely.
Mr. LYON hoped an immediate decision would be had upon them.
previous to their decision. Mr. SLOAN hoped some time would be allowed
The House determined to refer them to a Com
mittee of the Whole-ayes 56.
Mr. CONRAD moved their being made the order for the first Monday in August; which motion was disagreed to-ayes 44, noes 56.
Then on the first Monday of May. Lostayes 39.
Mr. NICHOLSON moved Monday next. He said there was much important business relative to the territory before the House, and if the propositions of retrocession were permitted to remain unacted on, they would supersede all attention to the other objects.
Mr. SMILIE acquiescing in making the resolutions the order for Monday next, the House so determined without division.
Mr. SLOAN. Mr. Speaker: I trust I am correct, first, in saying that the Representatives of the people, in Congress assembled, are the only tribunal to whom they can look for redress of national grievances and protection in their national rights; and secondly, that every member, as a component part of the National Legislature, has a right to introduce resolutions in such form as he may think best calculated to redress existing grievances, or secure them from future insult and injury.
Notwithstanding several resolutions have been laid on the table respecting the impressment of our seamen by the commanders of British armed vessels, and their depredations on our commerce, I have seen none which I consider fully adequate to the purpose proposed, or couched in that firm and decisive language that I conceive the nature of the case requires. Under this impression, I beg leave to offer a resolution; and, previous thereto, ask the indulgence of the House to offer a few
Are not the people calling on us from almost every part of the Union? Previous to my leaving home to attend this session, I expected the impressment of our seamen by British armed vessels, and their depredations on our commerce, would have been taken up; but, to my astonishment, more than ten weeks have elapsed, and we are only preparing to discuss this important subject. Is this giving immediate attention to the sufferings of our constituents? But what astonishes me still more is, that by conversation I have had with some members, they appear yet unprepared to do anything decisive.
One member, (Mr. NICHOLSON,) who offered a resolution two days past, objected to a former resolution offered by a gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. GREGG,) from an apprehension that it would
injure our revenue $5.000,000. [Here Mr. NICHOLSON explained, stating that he had only said that it would affect it to that amount.] Another member, from Massachusetts, (Mr. CROWNINSHIELD.) well acquainted with mercantile business, supposed it would not injure it more than $1.000.000.
But I hope, Mr. Speaker, that however pleasing it may be to see our debt diminishing and our enue inc easing, the fear of diminution of revenue will never deter the Congress of the United States from supporting their national rights. I hope we shall not shrink from a temporary evil, to procure a great and permanent benefit.
under the flag, and owned by citizens of the said United States, where some have been a long time unjustly detained, and others condemned, contrary to justice and the law of nations: For remedy whereof,
Resolved, That in case the Government of Great Britain shall neglect, or refuse, for months, to restore all American seamen, impressed and detained as aforesaid, and also discharge all American vessels, derev-tained contrary to the law of nations, making compensation for the loss sustained by such detention, and also, for those condemned as prizes; all trade and intween these United States and Great Britain and its tercourse shall thenceforth cease, and be prohibited bedependencies, until equitable arrangements shall be made between the two Governments that shall insure a return or compensation for the property unjustly seized and condemned; and also, the restoration of American seamen to liberty and their country. Provided also, that upon such arrangements being made, the President of the United States shall have power, by proclamation, to open trade and commerce, upon the principle of such equitable arrangements between the said United States and Great Britain and her dependencies.
In hearing the conversation of some members out of doors, and observing the delay that has taken place in the House, this query is extorted from me: Where is the spirit that actuated the noble patriots of Seventy-six, at the risk of life, to oppose the unjust aggressions of Great Britain? Has it fled from our land, or is it only sleeping? I hope the latter; and that it may speedily awake, refreshed and invigorated by its long nap.
But, perhaps, some may conclude that I wish to involve the United States in war. God forbid! I want to prevent war with those horrid engines made to destroy the human species. I want to prevent it by doing to all nations as we would they should do unto us. Are we so doing whilst we permit one of the belligerent Powers to impress and keep on board her vessels of war three thousand of our seamen, to assist in fighting her battles with other belligerent Powers in amity and peace with us? I want the United States to treat Great Britain as they would treat an individual, who, in his dealings, had evidently been unjust; break off all intercourse until reparation is made for past injuries, and security given that they shall not be repeated in future. This line of conduct, I conceive, instead of producing war, would be the most certain means of securing a permanent and lasting peace. In the present state of Europe, can Great Britain do without our trade? Certainly she cannot. It is probable that Bonaparte has, ere this time, prohibited her trade with a consid erable part of Europe. Thus circumstancedtrembling for her very existence-if we make a firm, determined demand for reparation of damages, my opinion is that she dare not, that she cannot, or will not refuse.
This resolution was immediately considered, and committed to a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union.
PORT OF PHILADELPHIA.
On the motion of Mr. J. CLAY, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill declaring the consent of Congress to an act of the State of Pennsylvania entitled "Aa act to empower the Board of Wardens for the port of Philadelphia to collect a certain duty on tonnage, for the purposes therein mentioned."
[This bill authorizes the imposition of four cents a ton on all vessels clearing out of the port of Philadelphia, for any foreign port, to be expended in building piers in, and otherwise improving the navigation of the Delaware.]
On this bill, a debate of considerable length arose; Messrs. J. CLAY, FINDLEY, LEIB, and MARION supporting. and Messrs. J. C. SMITH, CROWNINSHIELD, QUINCY, and ELY opposing it.
It was opposed on two grounds-on the ground of unconstitutionality and inexpediency. On the former ground, it was contended that the imposition of the proposed duty was inhibited by that provision of the Constitution which prescribes that, "no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce, or revenue, to the ports of one 'State over those of another;" that the object of the bill was, to lay a special tax for the exclusive benefit of the port of Philadelphia-which would be giving a preference to that port over the other ports in the United States; that instead of doing this, in case the navigation of the Delaware required improvement, which was feasible, the bet
I will not detain the House, at this time, with a more detailed investigation of the subject; but, knowing it to be the desire of many of our constituents, and hoping that, upon a full examination, it will be the determination of this House to adopt firm and decisive measures for the purpose of obtaining redress for injuries sustained, and to prevent the like in future, I offer the following resolution, hoping the House will commit it to a Com-ter way would be, to draw a sum for this purpose mittee of the Whole on the state of the Union:
Whereas the commanders of British armed vessels have impressed many American seamen, and compelled them to bear arms on board said vessels, and assist in fighting their battles with nations in amity and peace with the United States; and, also, brought into British ports for adjudication, many merchant vessels sailing
from the general Treasury. It was, however, contended that it was inexpedient to make any provision whatever for this purpose, as it was extremely doubtful whether the object contemplated was practicable, and as the navigation of the Delaware was much better than that of many other streams on which other ports were situated, which,
H. of R.
consequently, had higher claims on the aid of Con-state of public affairs, and proffering their lives gress. It was further stated, that the contemplated and fortunes in support of the public honor and duty would operate, not merely on vessels belong-security, and of such measures of national redress ing to the port of Philadelphia, but likewise on foreign vessels entering therein; and that it was unjust to derive revenue from them for the accomplishment of objects of a local nature.
and retribution, as Congress may deem it expedient to adopt; which were read, and referred to a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union.
An engrossed bill declaring the consent of Congress to an act of the State of Pennsylvania, entitled "An act to empower the Board of Wardens for the port of Philadelphia to collect a certain duty on tonnage, for the purposes therein mentioned." was read the third time, and passed-y eas 52, nays 27.
A message from the Senate, informed the House that the Senate have passed the bill, entitled "An act for altering the time of holding the circuit court in the State of North Carolina," with several amendments; to which they desire the conau-currence of this House.
The House proceeded to consider the amendments proposed by the Senate to the said bill: Whereupon,
The advocates of the bill contended that it was strictly Co stitutional, in proof of which, they appealed to that part of the Constitution which says, that, no State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage," which provision exactly met the present case. As to the Constitutional provision quoted on the other side, they observed that it was only made with the view of preventing the adoption of partial regulations of trade or revenue, or the establishment of free ports. They quoted several precedents, by which it appeared, that in several instances, a like thority with that in the bill had been given, and in some cases without any limitation of time. On the ground of expediency, they represented the navigation of the Delaware as seriously obstructed by a shoal, which was every year increasing, and which might, unless measures were taken, operate at some future period to the destruction of the navigation. The tax asked, would be paid exclusively by vessels trading from the port of Phila-letter of William H. Harrison, and the memorials delphia, and ought not, therefore, to be opposed by and petitions of the Indiana Territory, be discharged those whose interests were not in the least implí- from the farther consideration of so much of those cated. It was added, that it was strange that, memorials and petitions as relates to the donation while scarcely a year passed without large appro-and pre-emption rights, and the salt springs in that priations being made from the general Treasury Territory; and that the same be referred to the for the erection of light-houses in various parts of Committee on the Public Lands. the United States, the request of the merchants The bill making extra compensation to the Govof Philadelphia to be authorized to subject them-ernor, Judges, and Secretary of the Indiana Terselves to a tax for the improvement of the navi-ritory, allowing each $300 for compiling a code gation of the only port in Pennsylvania should be of laws, having passed through a Committee of opposed. the Whole, was ordered to be read a third time to
Ordered, That the said amendments, together
Ordered. That the committee appointed on the
The question was then put on Mr. CROWNIN-morrow. SHIELD'S motion to strike out the first section, which was negatived yeas 27.
Mr. CROWNINSHIELD moved to amend the bill, so as to confine the duty to vessels belonging to the port of Philadelphia.
Mr. CROWNINSHIELD spoke in favor of, and Messrs. J. CLAY, SLOAN, CONRAD, and ELMER, against this amendment, which was disagreed toyeas 12.
Mr. CROWNINSHIELD offered an amendment, limiting the duration of the bill to three, instead of seven years.
The bill from the Senate, making, in addition to the unexpended balances of $1,200, an appropriation of $1,000 a year, for five years, for the support of a library, was read a third time and passed -yeas 68.
Mr. LATTIMORE observed, that in addition to the various objects embraced by several petitions which had been referred to the Committee on Public Lands, relative to lands in the Mississippi Territory, there were others, an attention to which seemed necessary, as well to do justice to individuals, as to facilitate the execution of the business of the land office west of Pearl river. In order, therefore, that the subject might undergo a proper The Committee then rose, and the House order-investigation, he begged leave to offer the followed the bill to be engrossed for a third reading to- ing resolution:
Mesrs. CROWNINSHIELD, SOUTHARD, and ELY, supported; and Messrs. J. CLAY, LEIB, and SLOAN, oppo-ed it; when the question was put, and the amendment disagreed to-yeas 34, nays 56.
THURSDAY, February 13.
Resolved, That the Committee on Public Lands be instructed to inquire,
Whether it be expedient to confirm any claims to lands in the Mississippi Territory, founded upon Spanwarrants or orders of survey, which were not inhabited and cultivated on the twenty-seventh day of October, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, agreeably to the first section of the act, entitled "An
Mr. GOODWYN. one of the members from Vir-ish ginia, presented to the House certain resolutions of the inhabitants of the town of Petersburg, in the said State, expressive of their opinion of the present
Whether it be expedient to make provision, by law, for reimbursing pre-emption claimants, in such sums as they may have paid to the United States, in the event of their being evicted of the lands for which such sums
may have been paid, by a judicial decision in favor of any grant not derived from the United States:
not having the means of the common payment; they wished to live together, and to cultivate the vine for their principal support, for their prosperity, and for the good of the community, in introducing its culture into this country.
Mr. ELY observed that the bill appeared to give a preference in the sale of the public lands; that the bill was presented from the Senate without the documents or testimony which might justify this preference; he therefore moved that it should be committed to the Committee on Public Lands.
the best land at only two dollars per acre, and it Mr. GREGG.-They obtain a whole township of Whether it be expedient to invest the Commissioners is proposed to extend to them an unusual indulwest of Pearl river with such extensive equitable juris-gence in the time of payment. He would not diction, as may enable them to guard, on the one hand, agree to it. against the admission of claims, which may be supported by a literal construction of legal provisions, though founded in fraud; and to confirm, on the other hand, those which may not be thus supported, though founded upon principles of equity and justice: And, also,
Whether any, and, if any, what, further amendment ought to be made to the act aforementioned; and that they have leave to report by bill, or otherwise.
The resolution was agreed to.
Mr. FINDLEY spoke in favor of the bill. Mr. CONRAD. The indulgence of time for payment is not unprecedented. He showed an act granting twelve years for payment where land was purchased for the same purpose, and that act does not bind the purchasers to plant the vine, whereas this does. It were better to make a present of the land than not have the settlement among us of such persons. If not thus sold, it is more than probable that the land will lie waste and unsold more than the six years.
Mr. OLIN.-If we can be justified in a sale of this kind, why oblige foreigners instead of our own countrymen? We have citizens enough of our own who would be glad to purchase on such terms.
Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL observed that a law had been passed the last session authorizing the President to cause the lands in the Territory of Orleans to be surveyed. The object of this act was to prepare the lands for sale and settlement. Believing that a settlement of that territory would greatly contribute to its security and prosperity, his wish was to bring the subject directly before the House. Mr. SLOAN.-Though I drink no wine myself, Whatever doubts may be entertained of the pro- I have no wish to prevent others, for I think it priety of encouraging the settlement of Upper may often be serviceable. I consider the indulLouisiana, he believed no difference of opinion ex-gence as to the time of payment in the light of an isted as to the expediency of fostering the settle- encouragement or bounty, that may prove useful ment of the Territory of Orleans by citizens of to us as well as the applicants. the United States; which end would be best effected by opening land offices for the sale of lands therein.
Mr. CAMPBELL Concluded by moving the following resolution:
Resolved, That offices be established for the sale of the lands belonging to the United States within the Territory of Orleans.
Referred to the Committee on Public Lands.
SOCIETY OF HARMONY.
Mr. SMILIE. I cannot say with the gentleman from New Jersey that I drink no wine, for I certainly do when I can get it. I do not consider it as a valid objection that the petitioners are foreigners. I am myself an European, who have fled from oppression in the country where I was born. How great a part of Pennsylvania is settled by such characters!
Mr. MCCREERY.-The applicants are men of piety and industry. Let us give them a good chance, for our own sakes as well as theirs, to introduce the culture of the grape here.
Mr. FINDLEY.-If this indulgence be not given, the land will lie waste. We wish to populate the territory. Their settlement will enhance the value of the public lands around them.
The House went into a Committee of the Whole on the bill received from the Senate, the object of which is to authorize the location of a quantity of land in the Indiana Territory by George Rapp and his associates, they paying two dollars therefor, and giving them a credit, without the payment Mr. ELY.-I am sorry my motion has occaof interest, for six years, when they are to pay one-sioned so much debate. I was ignorant of the fourth of the purchase money, and the residue in circumstances relating to this society, and to the six annual payments, on condition that, agreeably character of it; my object was information, not to prescribed terms, the vine shall be cultivated. an intention to defeat the bill. We deviate from the usual mode, which is to have the report of a committee in cases of this sort.
Mr. MCCREERY stated that George Rapp and his associates, amounting to about 3,000 persons, were natives of the Electorate of Wirtemburg; Mr. GREGG.-This bill very improperly authorthat they were Lutherans, who had fled from op-izes a deviation from the established practice of pression in that country; that they were mostly selling public lands-it is a change of principle. cultivators of the vine, and wished an extension I do not wish to see so great a body of foreigners of the usual time for paying for public lands, they settled together; we shall have a little Wirtem
The motion was lost-44 only for it.
H. OF R.
berg; we must legislate for them; they cannot per acre. I move to strike out two, and insert speak our language; they cannot serve as jury-three dollars per acre. men, and from the information I have received, I am confident they will not proceed in cultivating Mr. CROWNINSHIELD.-There are in a section the vine in that country. about 23,000 acres, making 46,000 dollars. I Mr. BEDINGER.-I am a shareholder in a vine-move to insert six per cent. interest till paid. yard in Kentucky, and our success has exceeded our most sanguine expectations.
Mr. MACON. In order to try the sense of the committee, I move to strike out the words "George Rapp and his associates." Why should we not grant bounties for raising wheat or corn as well as the vine? If wine can be made here to advantage, there is no need of the encouragement of this House. A few years since we raised no cotton, but the profit of this culture once known, it has become an article of vast exportation. What claim have these aliens over our own citizens? They have been oppressed; put your finger on any spot of Europe that is not under oppression. If you commence this new system, all the best sections of land will be taken up in this manner. Who will not purchase on such
Mr. LYON.-Lands not belonging to the public may be had for less than one dollar an acre in many places.
Mr. OLIN.-We have men that can cultivate the vine as well as those foreigners. It is a plain, simple thing.
Mr. JACKSON.-If disposed to grant favors, let us grant to those who have the greatest claim. There are many old soldiers of the Revolution, who would rejoice to purchase land on these terms. Why encourage the making of wines? They are luxuries, not necessaries. Lands on the Ohio are from six to eight dollars in many places; this bill gives the petitioners their choice of the best, and they pay no interest for their purchase,
at two dollars.
Mr. SLOAN.-This bill will enhance the value of lands adjoining. It will be a humane act. Mr. JACKSON. I rise merely to state a fact I have just now learned. There are at this very time men waiting for the passage of this bill, who are ready to give six dollars per acre for much of the very land the bill contemplates.
Mr. HOLLAND.-Some small tracts only may sell for six dollars. We bind the purchasers to plant the first year 9,000 plants, and 3,000 annually after.
Mr. MORROW, of Ohio.-I rise only to reply to the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. JACKSON.) I never seek for information in the lobby, nor the gallery, nor Pennsylvania avenue. The
man is misinformed.
Mr. JACKSON.-My authority is an honorable member near me an authority at least as respectable as any the gentleman from Ohio can have.
Mr. NICHOLSON.-Public lands are sold without interest for a certain time. If the money be not punctually paid, I am willing the debt should be on interest after.
Mr. JACKSON. I move to postpone the consideration of the bill indefinitely.
The ayes and noes were called for, and taken on this motion-yeas 53, nays 59. Mr. CROWNINSHIELD's motion for the insertion of interest was lost-52 to 49.
Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS moved the insertion of two instead of six years for payment of the land. Motion lost-54 to 45. The bill passed to a third reading for to-morrow.
FRIDAY, February 14.
An engrossed bill for the relief of the Governor, Judges, and Secretary, of the Indiana Territory, was read the third time and passed.
Mr. SLOAN, from the committee to whom was referred the bill imposing a duty of ten dollars on every slave imported into the United States reported a bill, with sundry amendments.
The principal feature of the amended bill is a provision, in the case of smuggling slaves into the State of South Carolina, that the Secretary of the Treasury shall be authorized to remove them into some other State and hire them out for a term of years.
Mr. JACKSON moved to reject the bill.
This motion, after a short debate, was negatived. and the bill referred to a Committee of the Whole.
Mr. GARNETT, from the committee appointed on the eighteenth of December last, to whom were referred the report of a select committee on the letter of William H. Harrison, made the seventeenth of February, eighteen hundred and four; a memorial of the Legislative Council and House of Representatives of the Indiana Territory, and several petitions of sundry inhabitants of the said Territory; made the following report:
That, having attentively considered the facts stated in the said petitions and memorials, they are of opinion that a qualified suspension, for a limited time, of the sixth article of compact between the original States and the people and States west of the river Ohio, would be gentle-beneficial to the people of the Indiana Territory. The suspension of this article is an object almost universally desired in that Territory. It appears to your committee to be a question entirely different from that between slavery and freedom, inasmuch as it would merely occasion the removal of persons, already slaves, from one part of the country to another. The good effects of this suspension, in the present instance, would be to accelerate the population of that Territory, hitherto retarded by the operation of that article of compact, as slaveholders emigrating into the Western country might then indulge any preference which they might
The question was taken-50 for striking out, 51 against it. The Committee rose, and the
House considered the bill.
Mr. CROWNINSHIELD.-There is no interest to be received. I have made a calculation that, considering the want of interest to the time of the last payment, we now get only ninety-seven cents