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Dr. Cutler's diary is omitted for the next week. His letters, here given, contain a fuller account of the proceedings in Congress :
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 1802. DR. TORREY.
Dear Sir:- . . I found this morning the sprigs and holly leaf taken as precious relics from the tomb of the great Washington (which I had folded up for the purpose of inclosing them to Mrs. Torrey) were left.
I wrote to her at a very late hour at night, after having been extremely fatigued with business in the evening, and inadvertently sealed the letter without thinking of what I had promised to inclose. Having a number of letters on Saturday morning to put into the box for the mail, I made another mistake, and did not put her letter in with the rest. Last evening I wrote to you, and sent her letter with it to the office. You would not wonder at these mistakes were you sensible of the state of things here, and of some particular business with which, as the member of a committee, I have for some time past been incessantly engaged. In a former letter I observed that you could form no idea of the debates in Congress from the papers. On one side amended, or perhaps new made, on the other, the best parts omitted or altered. Since that time so much complaint has been made, that they have appeared with more correctness.
The Federalists in the Senate, when debating on the repeal of the Judiciary, aware of this evil, have taken the precaution, either before or after, to commit their speeches to paper, and they are published, it is said, with considerable correctness. You will find there has been much able speaking on both sides the question. Mr. G. Morris has shown with distinguished luster. His eloquence has never been surpassed, it is said, in either House of Congress. And perhaps a more interesting subject was never before deliberated by any legislative body in America. The majority in the Senate are impelled by a vindictive, selfish, inflexible spirit, which nothing can resist or moderate. We see how insignificant the best constructed paper Constitution will prove when opposed to the interests and passions of
foot. Electrical swaps and sparks were observed by him to be unusually prevalent when he took off his stockings. We slept until morn. ing, when the silk stockings were found to be converted to coal, having the semblance of sticks ard threads, but falling to pieces on being touched. There was not the least cobesion. One of the slippers, which lay under the stockings, was considerably burned. One of the woolen garters was also burned in pieces. The carpet was burned through to the floor, and the floor itself was scorched to charcoal. It was a case of spontaneous combustion-the candle having been carefully put out, and there being very little fire on the hearth, and both of them being eight or more feet from the stockings. - Dr. Milchell's Letters from Washington (Harper's Monthly, April, 1879).
The stroke now aimed at the vital principle, which is the Judiciary branch, should it take effect, will prove that ours is is of very little value.
The security of every political Constitution consists in the moral rectitude and sound principles of those who administer it. When these requisites are so defective as to yield to the accommodations of party views and interests, it is mere delusion to expect Constitutional security.
Your aff. parent,
WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 1802. DR. DANA.
Dear Sir :-I take my pen at this moment just to inform you of the progress of the Judiciary bill in the Senate. On the question for passing the bill to the third reading the yeas were 15 and nays, 15. Of course the Vice-President gave the casting vote, which was in favor of the bill. Every hope of stopping its progress was given up. The next morning, however, very unexpectedly, a motion was brought forward to inquire whether any, and what, amendments were necessary to be made in the Judiciary system of the United States. On the question, yeas, 15, nays, 15. The Vice-President gave the casting vote in favor of it. A committee of five were chosen, three of whom (to the surprise of all) were warm opposers of the bill (Mr. Dayton, Calhoun, and Morris). A glimmer of hope now dawned, but soon vanished. Mr. Bradly, who had been absent, arrived, and Mr. Howard happened to be out of the city. The opportunity was embraced by Mr. Breckenridge for bringing forward a motion to discharge the committee. On taking the question-yeas, 16, nays, 14. The bill, of course, in its original shape, was taken up. Very interesting, warm, and pointed debates followed. Your, friend and brother,
WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 1802. DR. TORREY :
Dear Sir:-The day before yesterday the Judiciary bill, after a very animated and very pointed debate, continued through a long session, was finished in the Senate. As the sun was setting the question was taken, and the bill passed. Ayes, 16, nays, 15. This circumstance has occasioned an observation, which is much circulated in the city (who are almost all Democrats), that the Sun in the Heavens, and the Constitution of the Country, went down on that fatal day, at the same moment. The Remonstrance from the Philadelphia lawyers, which seems to have originated with the highest Jacobins in the country, Dallas, McKeen, Smith, and others, and being forwarded by Dallas and McKeen, as the committee, has made more impression on the majority than any thing else. They are evidently alarmed at the rash measures their friends are pursuing here, and think they are going so fast as to defeat their own plans.
Have you ever seen the little book called • The Progress of Good Intent ?" It has been lately printed in Charleston, Mass., and is a most excellent thing. If you have not seen it, wish you by all means to procure it.
It is designed to point out the follies of Jacobinism, and to counteract the wretched effects of Godwinism, which is now prevailing in the country. It will afford you a rich entertainment.
Your affectionate parent,
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 1802 (evening). To Rev. DR. DANA.
I informed you that the Judiciary bill came to the House, and was made the order of the day for last Monday,
the 15th. It was called up on that day immediately after the House came to order.
Mr. Bayard moved that a consideration of it be postponed until the third Monday in March. He urged reasons which were unanswerable, in a speech of considerable length, and the majority evidently intended not to attempt to answer, as appeared by a vociferous call for the question. But they were not able to get rid of the motion so easy. Several members on our side rose and insisted on the right of speaking. At length they were compelled to take a part in the debate, which continued till after 5 P. M. Question by yeas and nays: for the motion, 35; against, 61. Mr. Dennis then moved for postponement for one week, on account of his own ill-health, and that of a number of the members who had very hoarse colds. Yeas and nays as before, excepting that three or four members happened to be out of their seats. The House then (about 6) went into Committee of the Whole. Mr. John C. Smith, of Connecticut (of our family), in the chair. As soon as the bill was read, the Committee rose and the House adjourned.
It gives you some idea of the spirit with which this highly interesting business is taken up, and, I believe, the numbers as they will stand on the final decision.
Tuesday, the 16th. Gallery and Lobby very full at an early hour. The Senate met and adjourned. Vice-President and members, with a large number of ladies and gentlemen, on the floor of the House. Soon after the House came to order, went into Committee on the bill, and the debates commenced. A solemnity appeared in every part of the IIall worthy of the occasion, and an awe seemed to be impressed upon every countenance. Agreeably to previous arrangement, which was to meet the bill in a direct and dignified manner, Mr. Henderson, of North Carolina, rose and moved to strike out the first section of the bill (which, in technical language, is to try the principle of the bill), and followed his motion with a manly, nervous speech of more than an hour. He was followed by one of his colleagues, Mr. Williams, on the opposite side, a pompous man, but by no means burdened with ability. On this occasion he appeared, perhaps, in part, from embarrassment, smaller than usual. Mr. Hemphill, a new Federal
member from Pennsylvania, employed the remainder of the sitting, to a late hour, in a modest, correct, argumentative speech, confined to the most prominent points, free from the asperity of party, and at the close quite impressive. He far exceeded the expectations of his friends, and by many thought to excel any speech made in the Senate. The greatest decorum was preserved through the sitting.
Wednesday, 17th. Spectators as yesterday. Mr. Thompson, of Virginia, Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, Mr. Brown, of Mass., followed each other in support of the bill. All of them quite indifferent. Mr. T. Morris, of N. York (a good Federalist and a very sensible man),
closed the debate. Thursday, 18th. Mr. Giles * rose, and began his speech with an attack upon the late administration; criminated almost every measure and every character concerned in it, on the Federal side ; particularly severe on the great Washington; called
to view minute circumstances of the late election of President and Vice-President, and, with pointed severity (naming many persons), condemned the passing the laws now to be repealed. In his rambles, frequently exulted that the time was come to bring to the test, what was called a vital principle of the Constitution, the independence of the Judiciary; boasting that he had been for years studying the subject, and was able to prove the inconsistency and danger of such an independence; but took care to pass over without notice the words of the Constitution, which declare that the "Judges shall hold their office during good behavior," and every argument pertinent to the great point of Constitutionality.
Ile continued his speech until nearly the usual time of adjourn
* William Braneb Giles, born, Amelia Co., Va., August 12, 1762 ; died at Richmondi, December 4, 1830. N. J. Coll., 1781. Admitted 10 the bar, and practiced at Petersburg about 1790. Embarked in polities first as a: Federalist, afterward as a Democrat; member of Congress, 1790–) and 1801-?; U. S. Sepator, 1804–15; Governor of Virginia, 1827–30; member of Legislature, 1829–30. He separated from the Federalists on the question of establishing a United States bank in December, 1790. January 23, 1793, he charged Hamilton with corruption and peculation. In 1796, he opposed the creation of a navy, and the ratification of Jay's treaty, and the proposed war with France in 1798. He was an able debater. - Drake's Dict. Am. Biog.