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The Mint-Salaries of Officers.

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the Legislature of the State of Ohio to make application to the General Government for the objects included in the following resolutions; as he meant to move for their reference to a Committee of the Whole, it was unnecessary to offer any argument on them:

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JANUARY, 1808.

first resolution, he would send an answer to the House in writing; and, in relation to the second, that he would give to the House such information not improper to be disclosed, as comes within the scope of that resolution, and which might be in possession of the Executive department.

Mr. DAWSON, from the committee to whom was referred a resolution on the subject, reported a bill for procuring a formidable train of field artillery for the service of the United States; which was read twice and referred to a Committee of the Whole on Monday next.

SALARIES OF OFFICERS.

The House proceeded to consider the amendments proposed by the Senate to the bill, entitled "An act to continue in force, for a limited time, an act, entitled 'An act continuing, for a limited time, the salaries of the officers of Government therein mentioned:"

The amendments were to strike out in the fourth and fifth lines of the engrossed bill, the words, "continue in force for the term of three years, and to the end of the next session of Congress thereafter, and no longer," and to insert, in lieu thereof, the words "hereby is made perpetual;” also, to strike out the words "for a limited time," in the first line of the title of the said bill:

On concurring with this amendment some debate arose.

Mr. GARDNER thought the salaries too high; but he was willing to make them permanent, in order to prevent them from being raised still higher.

Mr. DANA thought it would be well to render the salaries permanent, but he conceived they were not at present duly proportioned. The subject required more attention than had been bestowed upon it. He was, therefore, opposed to rendering the present act permanent, without further consideration.

Mr. W. ALSTON replied, that when the act was passed in 1804, it received all the attention and investigation that was wished by any gentleman.

Mr. LYON was against rendering the act perpetual. He wished always to keep the subject in the power of the House. He hoped the Republican majority would not do that which the party exclaimed against when there was a Federal majority in the House. For himself, he had always been consistent in his sentiments on the subject of salaries; and he hoped the Republicans would all be consistent in their conduct. When a majority, he hoped they would not do that which, when in a minority, they reprobated.

Mr. DESHA also opposed the amendment. The House ought to keep the power in their hands. From his legislative experience, he had found it much easier to raise than to diminish salaries.

Mr. SLOAN said the House ought always to keep in their reach all grants of salaries. He would not for himself depart from what he conceived to be the true ground-work of Republican principles.

Mr. TAYLOR advocated the amendment. From the repeated continuance of these salaries, an ar

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Butler, Joseph Calhoun, John Campbell, Peter Carl-
ton, John Chandler, Martin Chittenden, Matthew Clay,
Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, jun., John Daw-
son, Josiah Deane, Joseph Desha, Daniel M. Durell,
William Ely, Meshack Franklin, Barent Gardenier,
James M. Garnett, Charles Goldsborough, Edwin Gray,
John Harris, John Heister, William Hoge, Benjamin
Howard, Daniel Ilsley, Robert Jenkins, James Kelly,
Joseph Lewis, junior, Edward St. Loe Livermore, John
Philip B. Key, William Kirkpatrick, John Lambert,
Love, Matthew Lyon, Nathaniel Macon, Robert Mar-

Mr. CHITTENDEN opposed the amendment. He believed the former salaries were sufficient to command the requisite talents. There seemed to be no difficulty in finding men to accept public offices.

Mr. SMILIE supported the amendment. He did not wish the subject discussed every three years, for neither party gained much credit by it. The party in the minority had always opposed raising or continuing the salaries, because their friends were not to have them. This was the true secretion, Josiah Masters, William Milnor, Daniel Montof the business, and it reflected no credit upon gomery, jun., John Morrow, Jonathan O. Mosely, either party. Gurdon S. Mumford, John Pugh, Josiah Quincy, John Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Matthias Richards, Samuel Riker, John Rowan, John Russell, James Sloan, Samuel Smith, John Smith, Henry Southard, Richard Stanford, William Stedman, Clement Storer, Lewis B. Sturges, Peter Swart, Samuel Taggart, Abram Trigg, George M. Troup, Jabez Upham, James I. Van Allen, Nicholas Van Dyke, Archibald Van Horne, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Robert Whitehill, Isaac Wilbour, Marmaduke Williams, Alexander Wilson, Richard Wynn, and James Witherell.

JANUARY, 1808.

gument might be drawn in favor of rendering them permanent. It was aristocracy to give low salaries; for in that case you drive from office all men of talents who are not possessed of ample

fortunes.

Government Contracts.

Mr. LYON spoke once more against the amendment. It is said that we can lower the salaries, if necessary; meaning by we, the Senate and President also. Mr. L. did not wish to extend the copartnership. He wanted to say we, the House of Representatives. He feared the time would come when they must lower the salaries, because they would not be able to pay them. Now the Republicans were a majority, he hoped the House would not give up the purse-strings of the nation to the other branches.

Mr. TAYLOR thought the salaries of 1799, passed in the time of Mr. Adams's Administration, was not the mill-stone which hung round their necks, for as soon as we came into power we took up the same cross, and have borne it upon our shoulders. We continued the act, and, as Mr. T. thought, ought to make it perpetual.

Mr. HOLLAND had always conceived the salaries ought to be permanent. It would save much unnecessary time spent in debate upon what might be called splitting of hairs. It made but the ference of three or four thousand dollars. No man had complained since the removal of the Government to Washington City that the salaries were too high.

Mr. BASSETT said, he presumed that this proposition possessed sufficient intrinsic merit not to dif-require the aid of extensive talents or laborious exertions of any gentleman to advocate it. He assumed it as an axiom, that fundamental principles must rest for their security on the purity of the Representative body. He should however, trust the support of this measure to its own im

Mr. GARDNER wished to know the difference between the words to be stricken out and those to be inserted.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS.

On motion of Mr. BASSETT, the House went into Committee of the Whole on the resolutions submitted by him some days ago relative to the

contractors.

Mr. BIBB moved to strike out the words "made perpetual," and insert "is continued in force un-portance. til repealed."

Mr. BIBB's motion was lost without a division. The question was then taken on concurring in the amendment of the Senate, and lost-yeas 26, nays 82, as follows:

The first resolution being under consideration, as follows:

Resolved, That provision ought to be made by law to prohibit the officers of Government from making any contract, on behalf of the United States, with any perIson being a member of either House of Congress, or with any other person for his or their use.

YEAS-Willis Alston, jr., David Bard, William W. Bibb, George W. Campbell, Epaphroditus Champion, Howell Cobb, Richard Cutts, James Elliot, William Findley, Francis Gardner, Isaiah L. Green, William Helms, James Holland, Walter Jones, William McCreery, Nicholas R. Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, Thomas Newbold, Thomas Newton, John Porter, Dennis Smelt, John Smilie, Jedediah K. Smith, John Taylor, Daniel C. Verplanck, and Jesse Wharton.

NAYS-Evan Alexander, Lemuel J. Alston, Ezekiel Bacon, Joseph Barker, Burwell Bassett, Thomas Blount, Robert Brown, William A. Burwell, William

The resolution was carried-59 to 15.

The second resolution being under consideration, as follows:

Resolved, That every contract hereafter to be made on the part of the Government of the United States, shall contain a clause or condition to render the contract absolutely void, if the contractor should be elected a member of either House of Congress.

Mr. ROWAN objected to its passage, inasmuch as it was adding a qualification to Representatives, which Congress had no right to do, and as it might operate as an ex post facto law, vacating contracts already made.

Mr. CHANDLER objected to it, as it might have a tendency to prevent the fulfilment of contracts. A man might have made a contract, received a sum of money on account of it, and, by being elected a member of Congress, could evade the fulfilment of his contract; or might be deprived

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Government Contracts.

JANUARY, 1808.

of an advantageous contract by being elected a for undue influence by permitting a person to member without his consent. come here and vote for a contract, and go to the Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL wished to see no gentle-public offices, and immediately become parties to men contractors on this floor. This resolution the same contract? He thought there was, and only went to affect contracts hereafter to be made. this he wished to guard against. He was not surAlthough no member of this or any future Con- prised at objections made to any general proposigress might be affected by existed contracts, he tion; human nature was so prone to differ on wished to do away every inducement whatever, general topics, that he supposed gentlemen might either to increase salaries or remunerate officers. differ with him in opinion. But for this he should As to the Constitutional power of adopting this have been much surprised at the objection made measure, a moment's reflection would show that by the gentleman from Maryland; for he, being a it was not intended to add a qualification to a professional man, must know that money advanced member of Congress. If a man holding a con- on a contract could be recovered by law on a tract became a member of Congress, it was intend- breach of that covenant; and surely it was in the ed that his contract should thereafter cease. power of the Legislature to annex any condition to contracts. The objection taken by the gentleman from Massachusetts would have weight if it were correct on principle; it could be remedied by making it necessary for a contractor to accept the office before his contract would be void. Mr. B. had no idea of a man's having an office forced upon him, to his prejudice or injury. He thought it better to let the propositions stand upon the broadest possible basis; and when the bill was Mr. BASSETT said, he was more sensible now brought forward, if objectionable, it could be than heretofore of an embarrassment, in speaking amended. He was willing to admit any modifion a subject of so much importance, proceeding cation; but hoped gentlemen would be content to from his having been so little in the habit of ad- take the sense of the House on the general princidressing a public body, which prevented him from ple, and see whether the Constitution would bear expressing with ease those sentiments which oc- them out in running this parallel, for parallel he curred to him. He did feel, however, that there might be permitted to call it; as the same princiwas not a principle contained in these resolutions ple which prevented a man from voting for the which was not perfectly consonant with the Con- establishment of an office which he might obtain, stitution-not a position which did not bear prop- would prevent a man from voting for contracts in erly on the subject. Mr. B. referred to this clause which he participated; and if the Constitution proin the Constitution: "No Senator or Representa-hibited public officers from having a seat on this 'tive shall, during the time for which he was floor, the same principle would apply to contracelected, be appointed to any civil office under the tors. Had not a contractor the same liens on his authority of the United States, which shall have mind, as if he received money as a public officer? 'been created, or the emoluments whereof shall He believed when they saw the practice of the I have been increased during such time; and no country so strongly enforcing this principle; when person holding any office under the United States they saw the public officers refraining from makshall be a member of either House during his ing contracts with members of Congress, and continuance in office." He feared that even in members refusing to accept of them from a conreading this clause, he could not be heard by every viction of its impropriety, it would not need argugentleman; but, it surely was not necessary to ment or eloquence to show that they should protell gentlemen that it was a fundamental principle vide by law against the possibility of a contrary that no man should have a vote in creating any practice taking place. office in which he would be interested. What was the case in making contracts? Did they not vote almost daily large sums for contracts, and might they not become participators in their profits? And if this had not been the case heretofore, how had they been restrained? by the disposition of the officers of Government not to make contracts with members, and by the conviction of the members themselves, that it would be contrary to the spirit of the Constitution. If this conviction did not exist, the largest contractors in the nation would be found in this House. If it were only to guard against this principle of favoritism, he should perhaps have supported the proposed measure; but there was a Constitutional ground on which he wished to act. The Constitution had declared that the Representatives of the people should be pure. Was there not a door open here

Mr. KEY.-Suppose a contract made with a person not a member; if this person becomes a member, his contract is absolutely void. It would operate as an encouragement for violating contracts. Every person holding a contract on which he had received advance or which he did not like, might, by being elected a member, vacate his contract; which could not be intended by the honorable mover of the resolution.

Messrs. SOUTHARD and W. ALSTON suggested the propriety of altering the phraseology of the resolution; for as it stood at present, if a person were employed to build a ship, and he should be elected a member of this House without his knowledge, the contract was void, and the public business would be arrested, and the man might be ruined. The same might be said of contracts for carrying the mail of the United States. Suppose a person contracting to carry the mail from the City of Washington to New Orleans, were to be elected a member of this House, the contract would be void, and the mail totally arrested.When a man entered into a contract with the United States, he gave security for his compliance with the conditions of the contract; he is elected a member of Congress, he has committed a breach of contract, and he and his securities must suffer

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observed in this House; and after some time spent therein, the Committee rose and reported their agreement to the same, with several amendments. The House proceeded to consider the amendments,

Mr. SMILIE suggested to the mover the pro-and ordered that the farther consideration of the priety of the Committee's now rising, reporting report and amendments be postponed until Friday assent to the first resolution, and asking leave that next. it might be refused to sit again on the others; as the first resolution embraced the principle, and the others went to detail, which could be as well accomplished in the bill.

Mr. MACON said the introduction of this prinple was only intended to guard against the evils which might arise. Whilst they were pure was the time to guard against corruption. The exceptions which had been made were merely verbal. The only question in deciding on general resolutions of this kind was, whether the subject was worthy the attention of the House. Would any one say after hearing the provisions of the Constitution which had just been read, that it was not according to the spirit of the Constitution, or that it was not important that this body should be as pure as purity itself, and therefore that its members should have no concern with the public money? It was to be supposed that those officers who made contracts on the part of the United States, would sufficiently guard them from evasion; but even granting all that had been contended for, whether was it better that the United States should lose the benefit of a good contract, or continue a contractor on this floor? There could be no hesitation in deciding upon general principles that they should in preference give up the contract. He thought, however, that this resolution need not be adopted, as the first contained the principle, and this would be merely an instruction to the committee to whom the other was referred.

JANUARY, 1808.

a very heavy loss. On the other hand, if a man had received money in advance, he might avail himself of his election to a seat in Congress to vacate his contract.

Naturalization Laws.

TUESDAY, January 19.

Mr. BOYLE presented a petition, in the French language, and a translation of the same, from sundry inhabitants of the Territory of Michigan, whose names are thereunto subscribed, praying that further time may be allowed for making entries of claims to lands in the said Territory; and that such provision may be made as Congress in their wisdom may deem proper, to grant to all persons within the said Territory, titles in fee simple to lands justly claimed by them, whether consisting of one or more parcels; and, also, that an extension may be made of the lands in the old settlement, on the river Detroit, for the reasons therein specified.-Referred to the Committee on the Public Lands..

But before it was taken up, a motion to that effect being made, the House adjourned.

On motion of Mr. PARKE,

Resolved, That the Committee on Public Lands be instructed to inquire into the expediency of annexing to the Vincennes district the tract of country purchased of the Piankeshaw tribe of Indians, on the thirtieth of December, one thousand eight hundred and five; and that they have leave to report by bill, or otherwise.

be instructed to inquire into the expediency of anResolved, That the Committee on Public Lands nexing the lands that lie on the eastern part of the district of Vincennes to the Jeffersonville district; and that they have leave to report by bill, or oth

erwise.

Mr.CHITTENDEN, from the committee appointed on the third ultimo, presented a bill, in further addition to an act, entitled "An act to amend the Judicial system of the United States;" which was twice and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Friday next.

Mr. BASSETT moved that the Committee should rise and report assent to the first, with a view of moving that they be discharged from the consideration of the remaining resolutions. After some objections to the detail of the prop-read osition, from Messrs. HOLLAND and QUINCY, the Committee rose and reported the first resolution, which was agreed to by the House, and referred to a committee of five members to bring in a bill. Mr. NEWTON moved for the order of the day on the report of the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures on the memorial of merchants of Philadelphia, praying a modification of the em-red to the Committee of the Whole, on the bill bargo law. further to prolong the continuance of the Mint at Philadelphia.

The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting a report prepared in pursuance of the "Act regulating the currency of the foreign coins in the United States;" also, the copy of a letter to him from the Director of the Mint; which were read, and refer

Mr. NEWTON, from the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, presented a bill to erect a lighthouse on Point Judith, in the State of Rhode Island; which was read twice and committed.

MONDAY, January 18.

NATURALIZATION LAWS.

An engrossed bill making making appropriations for the support of Government, during the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, was read the third time and passed.

Mr. BURWELL begged leave to offer a resolution to the consideration of the House, on the subject of which it was not his intention now to make any observations; it was upon the subject of the nat

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the report of the select commit-uralization laws of the United States. Upon extee appointed to prepare and report such standing amination of the Constitution, it would be found rules and orders of proceeding as are proper to be that Congress had now, since the 1st of January,

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1808, full power to act on the subject, and dispose of it in such manner as the public good might require. It was now in their power to exclude foreigners from the country altogether, or admit them under such restrictions as might be deemed consistent with the public interest. He therefore hoped the resolution would be agreed to, and give him an opportunity of introducing such a bill as he contemplated, and on which the House might then decide. The resolution is as follows:

Army and Navy-The Militia.

ARMY AND NAVY.

On motion of Mr. DAWSON, the House went into Committee of the Whole, on the report of the committee on our Military and Naval Establish

JANUARY, 1808.

"That all the militia of the United States, liable to do duty, over twenty-one and under years of age, shall be deemed and held in requisition, and called the junior class of militia. And the President of the United States shall be, and he hereby is, authorized, on the appearance of national danger, to order out the same, or any part thereof, to any part of the United States or their territories, for not more than one whole

Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the expediency of amending the act of Congress, passed the 14th of April, 1802, entitled "An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and to repeal the acts heretofore passed on that subject." The resolution was agreed to, and Messrs. BUR-year at any one time. And whensoever a part of the WELL, QUINCY, MACON, G. W. CAMPBELL, SMILIE, said junior class shall, by the President of the United FISK, and J. MONTGOMERY, were appointed the States, be called into actual service, such call shall comcommittee, with leave to report by bill, or other-mence with those that are lowest in number, as to age first, and so in rotation: the same shall not be compelled to do duty a second time until the whole of the said junior class shall have served one tour; and when shall be armed and equipped by the United States. called into the actual service of the United States, they For this purpose two hundred thousand stand of arms complete, shall be deposited in such places as the Presi

wise.

dent of the United States shall direct, and whensoevor the whole, or any part of the said junior class of militia, shall be called into actual service by the United States, and shall be armed and equipped by the same, it shall be lawful, and they, and each of them, are hereby permitted to retain the said arms and accoutrements, as their own property, any law to the contrary notwithstanding."

THE MILITIA.

into a Committee of the Whole, on the bill more On motion of Mr. M. CLAY, the House went effectually to provide for the national defence by the militia of the United States.

The first section being read, as follows:

Leave was obtained for the Committee to sit again on the resolution relative to an increase of the Navy-ayes 61.

ments.

The first resolution contained in the report, which provides for increasing the Army of the United States, being under consideration,

Mr. DAWSON said it was not at this time intended to fill the blanks in the resolution, which would be the subject of the bill; but, as the details of such a bill would require considerable time, he hoped the Committee would immediately agree to pass the resolution.

The second resolution, which provides for the increase of the Marine corps, being under consideration,

Mr. DAWSON said, the same observation would apply to this, to which, if the House would agree, he should not call up the third, (for increasing the Navy of the United States,) but he would offer a fourth resolution. A law had been passed for the erection of a large number of gunboats, thirty of which he was informed were ready for service, and no provision made for a single sailor to man them. It was known that the seamen in some of the Northern ports were much discontented from being out of employ. In this state of things, he hoped no objection would be made to employ such a number of men as should be necessary for the public service. He therefore moved the follow-subject in the view of the National Legislature. ing resolution: This shows that there was something in his opin

Mr. M. CLAY said it was necessary to fill the blank in the first section, before they proceeded any further, and it was incumbent on those who were friends to this project, to show, that there were defects in the militia law as it now stood; and, if they could prove to the House that the system offered was better than the old one, he presumed there could be no objection to the bill under consideration. At all events he wished gentlemen to take a serious view of the subject; it was a great national question, on which the salvation of the country depended. He would endeavor to bring forward the best testimony that could be had to prove that the present system was defective, and he hoped he should be able to do it. I will commence with the adoption of the Constitution under which we are now acting. We find that President WASHINGTON always kept this

Resolved, That it is expedient to authorize the Pres-ion to do; it was not his business to tell us what ident of the United States to employ on board the gun-it was, but ours to find out. If gentlemen will boats such additional number of seamen, not exceeding take up the Presidential communications from the commencement of the Government, they will find that the subject has been uniformly recommended by each successive President of the United States to the present time. I state this as a strong evidence that, in their opinion, a change was wanting somewhere. Next to this I will call your attention to the communications made from the State Executives to their Legislatures. We find also, that the State Legislatures, almost every year, and in every session, have had the subject

-, as in his opinion the public service may require. These resolutions being agreed to without debate, the Committee rose and reported them to the House, when the first was agreed to-ayes 66; the second, without a division; the third, ayes 64; and referred to the same committee who reported them, to bring in a bill or bills.

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