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observations as much as possible, to accommodate others. The debates were opened at an early hour by Mr. Hill. It was agreed that I should follow him, but some of the majority were instantly up, and it was not until after a number of attempts that I was able to address the chair, and obtain an opportunity to speak. Mr. Hastings, in a very handsome speech, followed me. It was now nearly five, and a motion was made to adjourn, but failed. Mr. Dana * rose, and spoke till nearly ten, when he found that his voice and strength failed, though he intended to speak (to finish his plan) about an hour longer. It is saying much, but, I think, not too much, that Mr. Dana surpassed all that had gone before him. As soon as he sat down, a number were up, but a vociferous call for the question prevented their speaking. After much contest, Mr. Plater and Colonel Tallmadge obtained leave to speak, but were short. When Colonel T. sat down, others attempted to speak, but were prevented. Though not less than eight or ten more were determined not to give silent votes on a question so interesting, they wore obliged to submit, and the debates closed. On the main question : for the Bill, 60; against it, 31. The late hour of the night, the almost suffocating feeling of the air in the Hallowing to the prodigious crowd of spectators (which was greater on this day than on any day before)—and ill state of health, had compelled four of our men to retire before the vote was taken. Three were gone home, some time ago, with leave of absence. If all the minority had been present, there would have been 38 against a Bill.
The fatigue of this day was great. I took my seat about 10 in the morning, and remained in it until a few minutes before 12 at night. No member is permitted to stand up in his seat, only when speaking. We may leave our seats and walk a few minutes on the floor of the House, when tired of sitting; but the floor, on this day (as has been for the fortnight past), was occupied by ladies and gentlemen, so as to leave no room
* Samuel Whittlesey Dana, an eminent and leading Federalist, was born, New Haven, Conn., July, 1757 ; died, July 21, 1830. Graduated at Yale College, 1775. Member Congress, 1796 to 1870; United States Senator, 1810-1821; Was for many years Mayor of Middletown, Conn. - Drake's Dict. Am. Biog.
for the members to walk. To be confined in a chair fourteen hours without being able to change one's posture, is painful. I was somewhat relieved while I was speaking, which I believe was toward an hour, but anxiety of mind more than balanced the relief.
We were obliged to attend again early on the next day, when the Bill came before the House. This day was employed, until nearly sunset, in attempting to introduce amendments, which, if one could obtain, the Bill would go back to the Senate (and we had now good reason to believe a majority of the Senate wished for it), that it might fail of passing. But no amendment obtained, though at several times a number of the majority voted with us. The yeas and nays were taken no less than seven times in the course of the day. Yesterday was made the order of the day for passing the Bill. A motion was made for a postponement until December next, and a very interesting debate ensued, which lasted till candles were lighted. In the course of the debates Mr. Giles made a confession (and did it very handsomely) which much surprised us as coming from a Virginian. He confessed the great superiority of talent on our side (the minority), and said, he “ bowed with reverence to the talents which he saw on our side of the House, and hoped, notwithstanding the severity of this contest, those talents would not be refused in future business which we had to transact.” On passing the bill : ayes, 59; nays, 32. Dr. Eustis left his party and voted with us, both for postponement and the passage of the Bill. The members on our side who were absent on Monday night, were so ill as to be unable to attend, viz.: General Shepard, General Mattoon, Mr. Barnard, and Mr. J. C. Smith. The last had been the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, and by the extreme fatigue he had suffered in the discharge of that duty, was quite sick, and is still confined to his chamber. Thus I have given you a longer detail than I intended, when I began, of the closing scene of this momentous business. This event will form a memorable era in the government of our country. Our happy Constitution, the pride of our Country, and the ark of our safety, is now no better than a blank paper. It came into operative existence
on the 4th of March, in the year 1789, in the morning, and expired, after suffering extreme convulsions, on the 3d of March, 1802, in the evening, aged just 13 years.
On passing the bill there was no exulting on the side of the majority, but a solemn gloom was strongly marked on many of their countenances. But to exhilarate their spirits, and in triumph of victory, they are this day celebrating the downfall of the Judiciary branch of our government in a civic feast, at Stille's Hotel, and the hotel this evening is to be illuminated. Many of them, however, are too sensible to attend.
A great number of the members of our House are very unwell. General Shepard is very sick. I have just returned from visiting him. The member from the South-west Territory, Mr. Hunter, I am told, is not expected to live many days. It is supposed to be owing to the fatigue of our long and tedious sitting, long abstinence from food, and the suffocating air of the hall during this most unhappy business. I feel very much unwell myself, but attended business in the Hall today. We had scarcely enough to make a quorum, and sat but a short time. I feel the want of exercise, having had very little the last fortnight. Great impression is made upon the minds of people here, and especially on the property of this city. One gentleman, Colonel Stoddard, had contracted with a number of moneyed gentlemen, in Baltimore, for the sale of city lots, to the amount of 30,000 dollars. He had prepared his deeds, and went with them to Baltimore yesterday to receive his money, but was told that, although they had intended to make this the place of their residence, finding the Judiciary bill had passed, they had changed their minds. The instability of government had discouraged them; they would not give him one dollar apiece for lots. He was obliged to return without getting a cent of money. Will you tell me how it is with you? Will Governor Strong be chosen ? . . .
Your affectionate parent,
WASHINGTON, March 14, 1802. My Son :- ... Here I have every thing to render my situation agreeable ; as much so as, perhaps, it can be at so great a distance from my nearest connections, excepting the alarming situation in which our country appears to me to be placed.
Before I came, I was apprehensive that as I was a clergyman I might meet with some unpleasant things on that account. I viewed myself a speckled bird, because I presumed I should be viewed so by others. But the case has been far otherwise. The President has paid me more particular attention (I believe) than to any one Federalist in either House of Congress, though he well knows I am not only a determined, but an active, Federalist. The heads of Departments have been very complaisant, particularly General Dearborn; and the Worcester Farmer* bows, and pays the usual compliments whenever I meet with him, and always gives me one of his smiles, which he gives to every body with whom he has any conversation. From members of Congress I have received every civility I could desire, not with our own party only, but I often converse freely with those of the opposite side, and in the most cordial manner. The Speaker of the House has been particularly complaisant, who, by the way, I do believe is as honest a man as a Democrat can be, and has something about him which is quite engaging. I believe, however, that he is not in the secrets of the Cabinet-has been insensible of the tendency of the rash measures that have been and are still being pursued. But (I do believe) he now feels more alarmed than any of his party.
* Levi Lincoln, Attorney-General of the United States, was the “ Worcester Farmer." He wrote a series of letters for the Boston papers, attacking the administration of John Adams, which were called " Farmer's Letters." Mr. Lincoln was a native of Hingham, Mass., a graduate of Harvard, 1772. He settled in Worcester in the practice of law in 1775, and became eminent in the profession. He was a member of the Massachusetts General Court, 1796; of the State Senate, 1797; member Congress, 1799 to 1801; Attorney-General of the United States, 1801 to 1805; Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts, 1807; acting Governor, 1809; appointed Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1811, but declined Ple was an original member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He died at Worcester, 1820. His son, Levi, was Governor of Massachusetts, 1825 to 1834. His son, Enoch, was Governor of Maine, 1827 to 1829. - See Drake's Dict. Am. Biog.
He has taken care to give me a full share of Committee business, and more than common to a new member. . With these agreeable circumstances are connected a spirit of party of which I had no conception, great grounds to fear our country is fast approaching to a most deplorable state.
I can say to you, what I would not say to every one, that to be a member of the councils of a great nation, to take a part in the measures of government of the first magnitude at a time when the best of all governments is crumbling to ruin, to be the witness (though the feeble opposer) of the worst of measures, which must be followed in the common course of things with consequences destructive of our liberties and independence, and which may lead to scenes of which we may now be incapable of forming any conception; when employed in a work like this, is trying indeed. ... Not that I expect any immediate agitations among the people. I hope nothing will be atteinpted, at present, but in a regular manner and through the proper organs of the state government. The people can do nothing to effect by tumult, but it is of the last importance that their eyes should be opened ; that they choose proper men in the state government, and are directed by the collective wisdom of the whole in some proper mode. We must believe, we do believe, when the debates of the House are circulated among the people, on the Judiciary, that the people must see their danger. Many of the members of Congress think there will not be another session under the present government. . . .
A bill passed the Committee of the whole, on Friday, to relinquish to the debtor states the balance due on the account of final settlements of the expense of the Revolutionary War, amounting to 3,507,584 dollars. All the New England States are credit states. There is due to Massachusetts near two millions. But this bill establishes a principle by which Congress may wipe off all the balances due to the credit states, and this is the object. This ought to give serious alarm to Massachusetts. On this occasion, for the first time, all the members from Massachusetts voted together. ... We feel much alarmed about your approaching election of Gov