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General Shepard, of Massachusetts, is very low, and I fear we shall be called to follow him to his grave before we rise. Hunter died of bilious fever, and General Shepard's is a bilious case. Many members were so unwell yesterday as not to attend the funeral. On Friday, out of 106, only 82 attended ; several are gone home, perhaps eight or ten.
I was told this morning that Mr. Gray, of Virginia, was very sick of a fever. I have been very unwell. All this indisposition is laid to the charge of what we had to go through when the Judiciary bill was before the House. I believe it is partly owing to much close, foggy weather about that time.
Your affectionate parent,
WASHINGTON, March 22, 1802. To MRS. TORREY.
· As certain as Mr. Gerry is chosen, Massachusetts is subjugated to Virginia, and the politics of that state will govern, the little time the Union remains. We are going on in the work of destruction. A bill has passed the Committee of the Whole to extinguish the balance due from the debtor states to the nation, and this will establish a principle (which is doubtless the main object) to wipe off debts due from the government to the credit states. The debt due to Massachusetts is toward two million, on which the interest is annually paid. But it is not funded, it only stands as credit on the books, and Congress may, any day, wipe it off.
The bill for repealing the internal system of taxes passed this day in Committee of the Whole. Bills have already been reported for increasing duties on some imports, and more are preparing. A motion has been made for demolishing the Navy Department, but, on its being called, before they intended it should be, by Mr. Griswold, Dr. Leib withdrew it for the present. It will probably pass before Congress rises. In a word, the object is to afford no protection to trade, but to burden it as much as possible. The reason is plain-Virginia has no commerce.
The second Monday in April is the day proposed for Congress to adjourn, but I believe we shall not be able to do all
probable we may sit a week longer. The Constitutionalists now say little; it only wastes time. We think it best to let them go on with their own works, till the eyes of the people are opened. Indeed, we can do nothing.
Your affectionate parent,
WASHINGTON, April 7, 1802. REV. DR. DANA. My Dear Sir:
A bill has passed the House the present week, entitled, “An act making provision for the payment of the whole public debt." The title, on which the and nays were taken (and, I believe, for the first time it was ever done on the title of a bill), is in no respect answerable to the provisions, or rather, the principles, of the bill, but calculated to impose a belief that the public debt is to be paid off at once, when its operations are intended to increase the debt. It takes off responsibility from the Secretary of the Treasury, commits all the money in the Treasury and a large portion of the revenue to the control of four men, three of whom, I believe, are totally unworthy of public confidence; authorizes them to make loans in Europe or America to an unlimiteil amount, to pay commissions and interest, to pledge the l’nited States to make good all losses sustained by negotiations, and makes a complete opening for the wildest speculations with the public money. No act of the present session, though many of them have been bad enough, appears to me so alarming as this. The fact is, the public revenue is greatly diminisheil. Large appropriations heretofore pledged expressly to the payment of the public debt have been applied to other purposes, the salaries of many officers enormously increased, and large sums variously disposed of. The new theory of finance is to pay the debt by loans, which, with concomitant expenses, must unavoidably increase it. But my time will not permit me to go into detail. By attempts to amend, which were made in every stage, a very important one, through the ignorance of its friends, obtained and passed the House. We are told, however, it has since been discovered, and is to be corrected in the Senate.
We hear with great joy of the success of the late elections in Massachusetts. It has had a very sensible effect on the majority in Congress, and has already procured the minority a number of votes, which would have been given the other way. The hope of revolutionizing New England is very much given up, and, as far as confidence can be placed on reports, federalism is gaining ground in the Southern and Middle, as well as Eastern States.
There are strong symptoms of embarrassment in the Cabinet. Mr. Madison is about to resign. He has kept himself very close. Ilis opinion has not been known, but it can hardly be doubted that much of the present policy he totally disapproves. It is publicly said that Mr. Jefferson will decline being a candidate at the next election.
Yesterday, the French minister personally applied to several of the minority, and particularly to Mr. Bayarı, to know if they would favor a demand of a loan of about one million for our good friends and allies, the French, which he was directed to make. He was answered with great caution, and advised to make his application through the President. If the President should recommend the loan, it should meet a cool and deliberate consideration.
Being this morning on Committee business with Giles, Nicholson, Elmendorf, and Williams (warm Democrats), and Bayard and Griswold, this demand was mentioned by Mr. Bayard, with a particular statement of the application made to him, and the subject discussed. The Democrats declared they had not had any intimation of it, and warmly reprobated the measure. To try their feelings, they were asked what was to be done in our defenseless state? If the loan was refused, the ships, which are hourly expected, might easily enforce a contribution upon our seaports, to a much greater amount, and war might ensue. From the conversation that passed, Mr. Bayard, Griswold, and myself made up our minds that they would apply to the President to prevent the application. This business, whatever may be the issue, may be attended with very serious consequences. .
that the tide is arrived to its height, and will soon begin to ebb. The principal things that the people have expected from the present administration seem to have been, correction of public defaulters who have been wasting the public money, lowering of high salaries, and savings in the general expenditures. In these they will be disappointed. May we not hope that the doings of the present Congress, though attended with many temporary evils, may be the means of correcting errors in the public mind? That time, and information derived from experience, may lead our country to just views of its own interests, and save us from that deplorable state into which present measures must inevitably plunge us? Is there not some ground to hope that a wise and merciful Providence is now operating our political salvation?
I have had much 'conversation with Mr. Davis * respecting the extraordinary religious commotions in Kentucky. He lives in the very center of its first beginning, and was for months constantly among these people in different parts of the state. His accounts far exceed what you have seen published, and can harılly admit of credibility, and yet I can not doubt his veracity. But I must leave the accounts until I can give it to you viva voce. It is said to be spreading fast in Tennessee, North Carolina, and the back part of Virginia. The change generally produced in the temper and manners of the people, wherever it has spread, is as pleasing and happy as it is astonishing
The day of adjournment is not absolutely fixed, but I have the pleasing hope of leaving this city next Monday week. 'I do not expect to be able to write you again from this place; but be assured that I am, with cordial affection, Dear sir, your friend and brother,
* Thomas T. Davis was a member of Congress from Kentucky, 1797 to 1803, when he was appointed Judge in the Territory of Indiana. In the second volume of McMaster's History of the People of the United States," pages 578 to 582, is an account of this wonderful religious awakening.
Attended a committee in the fall
muren 1, 100%, Monday. at 10 o'clock. Debates (on Judiciary Bill] opened by Mr. Hill, about 11; excellent. Mr. Holland followed; long, ill-natured, unpleasant speaker. Then Mr. Gregg; not very long, nor much on the points. I followed; was much more intimidated than I expected; as I advanced, felt my embarrassment increase, until near the close, perhaps three-quarters of an hour. Mr. Dana followed, and spoke from five till nine. Attempts to rise, but in vain. Mr. Foster rose; spoke but a few minutes. The air was so bad and he so much exhausted as almost to fall back into his chair. He begged for adjournment, that he might have an opportunity to speak. Mr. Plater rose; said he had not time to offer wbat he wished; was pertinent, but short. Colonel Tallmadge followed; was obliged to curtail his speech. Question called vociferously. Mr. Bayard proposed amendments, but all in vain. About a quarter before 12, the question was taken, the numbers exactly as they had been.
March 2, Tuesday. Attempts to introduce amendments into the bill, but without success. Much debate. Report of the committee accepted.
March 3, Wednesday. Third reading; passed—ayes, 59; nays, 32; seven of the majority absent. Long debate on postponement. Candles were lighted before the bill passed. Thus expired the Constitution of the United States of America. It came into operative existence, March 4, 1789, in the morning, and expired, after severe convulsions, March 4, 1802, in the evening. The debates were continued through this day, with some regard to lengthening out the life of the Constitution, until evening.
March 4, Thursday. Very thin house. Many sick and complaining. Adjourned early. Democrats hold their civic feast at Stilles' Hotel.
March 5, Friday. Not much done. Some bills finished.
March 6, Saturday. House did not sit. In committee on appropriations to Heads of Departments.
March 10, Wednesday. Preparing my speech in Congress for the printers.
Mar. 11, Thursday. Finished, and put one into the hands of Smith.