Page images
PDF
EPUB

Dec. 21, 1829.]

Postage on Periodicals.--Western Armory.

[H. of R.

House. It was now for the House to determine, whether, The actual question being on an amendment moved by having referred the general subject, in all its extent, to Mr. GILMORE, of Pennsylvania, restricting the inquiry one committee, it would place a particular portion of the of the committee to the expediency of establishing an ar. question under consideration of another and distinct com- mory pursuant to the report of certain commissioners unmittee. He was opposed to this separation of its parts. der the act of Congress of 1828–

Mr. HAYNES, of Georgia, moved that the resolution Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, opposed this amendment and amendment do lie upon the table; and the motion was with great earnestness. He dwelt upon the impropriety agreed to by a majority of about twenty votes.

of imposing this restriction, when it was known that other POSTAGE ON PERIODICALS.

surveys had been since made, in consequence of a resolu

tion of the Senate, which were entitled to as much respect Mr. VERPLANCK, of New York, submitted for con- as those which had been made under the act referred to in sideration the following:

the amendment. He denied that the last mentioned surResolved, that the Committee on the Post Office and veys were exclusively entitled to respect. He expressed Post Roads be instructed to inquire and report on the ex. his hope that this amendment would be withdrawn by the pediency of reducing the rate of postage on periodical honorable mover, when he considered that, without it, publications, and placing them at the same rate and under the committee would be left perfectly at liberty to act the same regulation with newspapers.

upon whatever evidence might be placed before them, In offering this resolution, Mr. VERPLANCK said, that &c. He concluded his series of observations, by expressit was necessary to observe that the present rate of post-ing his regret at being obliged thus early to enter into deage on periodical publications was about three times that bate in the House, after having been ten years out of it, a upon newspapers. It was properly so graduated when member of another body: but the subject was one of such tliat species of publication had been confined to the high, peculiar interest to the part of the country which he reer objects of criticism and polite literature. But it could presented, that he could not refrain from expressing his not have escaped the attention of any one, that it had gra- views of it. dually acquired another character, having become exten Mr. GILMORE expressed his regret that he could not, sively subservient to objects of a religious and moral cha. consistently with his duty to his constituents, comply with racter--to the diffusion of a knowledge of the popular sci- the request of the gentleman from Kentucky, to withdraw ences, and to the purposes of general education. The high his proposition. This was a subject (he saids in which the postage on these publications (Mr. V. said) was an obsta- district which he represented felt a great deal of interest. cle in the way of the prosecution of many benevolent plans After a full and fair examination, the commissioners under of this sort. After the great plans for the promotion of the act of 1823 had given a preference to three sites, two education which had been suggested to the House, Mr. V. of which were in the district which he represented, viz. said his motion might have been considered comparatively if steam power were used, Pittsburg—if water power, unimportant; but it had the merit of being free from con- Beaver: the further examination and re-examination of stitutional objections, and of being very practical: and, if sites [he said) could only tend further to procrastinate the he succeeded in his object, he trusted that it would turn establishment of this armory, the expediency of which out to be very useful.

was admitted by all. The best proposition that he had The resolution was then agreed to.

seen was contained in the bill reported at the two last WESTERN ARMORY.

sessions, which proposed, in substance, that the three

gentlemen who had made the former report, (gentlemen On motion of Mr. CARSON, the House proceeded again of high reputation for both talents and integrity,) should to consider the resolution moved on Tuesday by Mr. DE- be authorized to determine the location of the armory. SHA, proposing to refer to a committee the expediency He could not consistently withdraw his motion for amendof locating an armory on the Western waters.

ment, though he believed that, if the subject was thrown A good deal of debate took place on this motion, and wide open, as proposed, we should be farther from the eson proposed amendments to it; in which debate Mr. CAR- tablishinent of an armory on the Western waters than we SON, Mr. WILDE, Mr. WICKLIFFE, Mr. POLK, Mr. now are. WHITTLESEY, Mr. BELL, Mr. CHILTON, and Mr.

Mr. MALLARY, of Vermont, took a review of the BLAIR, of Tennessee, took part. The same feeling was history of this proposition for the establishment of a Westdisplayed by several of the gentlemen, as has often been fern armory. He was opposed to the amendment; and for shown in the discussion of this question in Congress, by reasons, which he gave at large, he was opposed to any those who considered the interests of their districts to be attempt to settle the question of location in this House. affected in one way or other by it. But, before any ques. He showed the difficulties which would attend its settletion was taken upon it, the consideration of it was termi- ment here. He was for leaving it open, so as to let the nated by a motion for adjournment; and

place be designated by the Executive. The House adjourned to Monday.

Mr. JENNINGS, of Indiana, after a few explanatory

remarks, moved an amendment to the amendment of Mr. MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1829.

GILMORE, in the shape of a proviso, that the site of the The House resiimed the consideration of the resolution armory should be fixed “as far west as the longitude of originally offered by Mr. DESHA, instructing the Com- Zanesville, in the State of Ohio.” mittee on Military Affairs to inquire into the expediency The question was taken on this last amendment, and of establishing an armory at a suitable site on the Western decided in the negative. waters.

Mr. SEVIER, Delegate from Arkansas, said, that, as it Mr. BLAIR, of Tennessee, moved that the resolution, seemed to be agreed that an armory ought to be establishwith the amendment proposed to it when last under con-led on the Western waters, he could not but urge the sideration, be laid on the table; but withdrew the motion claims of the country west of the Mississippi to its locaat the request of Mr. WICKLIFFE, who, believing that tion. What was the object of this armory, he asked? It it was not practicable for this House ever to decide on a was to manufacture arms, for the purpose of defending site for the armory, wished to move an amendment pro- the nation against its enemies. The next question was, posing to inquire into the expediency of giving to the Ex- where was the Western country to be invaded by an eneecutive the power to designate the site.

my? Either by the Indians on the frontier, or at New As there was a-previous question pending, howerer, Orleans. If this armory should be located on the Ohio, this proposed amendment could not be receiveil. what would be the consequence? The Government will

H. of R.]

Refuse Lands in Tennessee.

(Dec. 23, 1829.

have to buy a site, to buy fuel, &c. to manufacture the able point on the Western waters," and decided in the arms; and, when manufactured, it was well known that affirmative, nem con. for nearly half the year the Ohio was dried up, and for a great part of the other was frozen over, so as to place

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1829. great difficulty and uncertainty in the way of prompt

REFUSE LANDS IN TENNESSEE. transportation of these arms wherever they might be want. ed: West of the Mississippi were to be found inexhaus Mr. CROCKETT submitted for consideration the foltible mines of iron ore; the Government owns the sites; lowing resolution: the Government owns the fuel; the Government owns the Resolred, That the memorial of the State of Tennessee mines, &c. &c. and all the expense of purchasing these on the subject of the public lands be withdrawn from the would be saved. With these facts before the House, it files of this House, and referred to the select committee appeared to him that it would be proper to locate the ar. raised on the subject of the Tennessee lands. mory west of the Mississippi, where it could promptly and Mr. BLAIR, of Tennessee, observed that the subject effectually furnish arms to defend the frontier, and to de- of this resolution had been already referred to a standing fend New Orleans, &c. For these reasons, he hoped that committee of this House, (the Committee on the Public the amendment would be rejected, and the resolution left Lands,) and he did not see why it should now be proposed as open as possible, so as to allow of free selection. to refer it to a select committee.

Mr. VANCE, of Ohio, stated, as a reason for leaving Mr. CROCKETT said, that, at the last session, this subthis inquiry open and free from restriction, that, when ject had been referred to a select committee. He had the surveys under the act of 1823 were made, the improve himself now taken charge of it, and he wanted all the ment of the Western country, by means of canals, had not documents to be placed before his committee. He was begun: whereas, if there had been a canal then, as now, not aware that it had been referred to the Committee on extending within a few miles of Zanesville, that report the Public Lands at all; but he did not see why one part of would probably have been in favor of the location at the subject should be in the hands of one committee, and Zanesville. Ai Cincinnati, also, she said, ) an important one part in the hands of another. He did not know what point was made by means of the canal. The effect of this the Committee on the Public Lands could have to do with it, work of internal improvement at other points was such as since it had been specially referred to a select committee. to warrant the whole subject being thrown open for fur- On that committee were several gentlemen from the East. ther examination. If the gentleman from Pennsylvania ern States, who know very little about these subjects, and would not withdraw his amendment, therefore, Mr. V. he wanted them to have a fair chance. He wanted them hoped that it would not be agreed to.

to have an opportunity of looking into the whole subject. Mr. DANIEL, of Kentucky, trusted that the amend- He wanted these Eastern gentlemen on the committee to ment would not be agreed to, for, so far as Pennsylvania be enabled to examine the subject, and make a fair report was concerned, it was perfectly the game of open and upon it. He wanted to act honorably himself, and do jusshut. It was true that under the act of 1823 the commis- tice to the Government on this subject; and he did not see sioners had examined and recommended the sites at Bea- any reasonable ground for the opposition of his colleagues ver and Pittsburg; but they had never examined a great to his motion. variety of sites in the State of Kentucky, far superior to Mr. ISACKS said, that, as a member of the House, any others that had been examined in any part of the coun. he thought he might truly say, he felt very indifferent try. The falls of Little Sandy (as the reporter under- as to what course this subject should take. But, as stood the gentleman) afforded far superior advantages to a member of the Committee on the Public Lands, he felt the Horse Shoe bend, or any other site that had been ex- bound to state, that, by the order of the House, the me. amined: and if commissioners were sent there, le ven-morial and documents referred to were now in the hands tured to predict that they would fix on that very spot, to of that committee, and the gentleman's resolution, if agreed which their attention had never been attracted, as the site to, would, he presumed, be wholly ineffectual. What for the armory:

Mr. D. detailed the advantages of this the sense of the Committee on the Public Lands might be position, and enumerated the furnaces, forges, forests, on this subject, he was not authorized to say. It might be and inexhaustible iron ores of the vicinity; as proofs of the that that committee might be disposed to have itself disexcellence of which location, he said that the best iron was charged from the consideration of the subject, and have it manufactured there that was made in this Union, and referred to the gentleman who had taken charge” of the cheaper too than in any other portion of the Western coun- subject, as if he were the only member from the State of try. 'For this reason he was opposed to the amendment Tennessee interested in it. For himself, (Mr. I. said, ] he of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, preferring that the did not profess to have taken “charge” of it, but, in what whole subject should be left open.

he had said, he acted only as the organ of the committee The motion of Mr. GILMORE to amend the resolution of which he was a member. was then decided in the negative.

Mr. CROCKETT modified his motion so as Mr. MALLARY then moved to amend the resolution to discharge the Committee on the Public Lands from the so as to direct the committee to inquire into the expedien- consideration of the memorial, &c. and refer it to the select cy of authorizing the United States to establish an armory committee appointed on the subject. at some suitable point on the Western waters.

Mr. POLK said, that, at his instance, this subject Mr. VANCE said a few words against the amendment, had been referred to the Committee on the Public Lands, and expressive of a wish that the whole subject should be believing that no other direction could properly be given left open to the investigation of the committee.

It was presumed that some of the difficulties atThe question was then taken on Mr. Mallary's motion, tending it had been elucidated by the debates of the and decided in the negative.

last Congress, at least to the members of that Congress. Mr. HAYNES, of Georgia, moved an amendment, the He had heard this morning the remark, which he had often object of which was to direct an inquiry into the expedien- heard before, that the report of a select committee had cy of a further examination and subsequent location of a not the weight with this House of the report of a standing

committee, and that was the only reason why, the other And this amendment also was lost.

day, he had opposed the reference of this subject to a The question was then taken on the original proposition select committee. He apprehended that the House had to instruct the Committee on Military Atlairs - to inquire not then understood the objection, or they would not have into the expediency of establishing an armory at some suit- referred the subject, as they did, to a select committee.

propose

to it.

site, &c.

Dec. 23 to 28, 1829.]

Filting out the Brandywine.--Compensation of Members of Congress.

[H. of R.

He would only add, that, after the subject had been de. Be it enacted, &c. That the Secretary of the Senate and bated here at the last session, he had submitted a resolu- the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives tion calling upon the General Land Office, through the shall, at the commencement of each session of Congress, Treasury Department, for all the information which it obtain from each member the name of the post office could present on the subject. That information, he under- nearest his residence, and shall then procure from the Poststood, had been obtained, and in a short time would be master General an exact statement of the distance to said transmitted to the House. Mr. P. added that he trusted that post office from the seat of Government, computed accordhis colleague would not consider that those of his own ing to the post road to said post office; after which, he shall State, who expressed any views upon this subject, were at add to, or subtract from, the said statement, as the case all disposed to interfere with his rights and his privileges may be, the distance from the said post office to the residence here. All that they wished was, that the subject should of said member; upon which statement the mileage of each undergo that consideration which it ought, believing, as member is to be computed. they did, that a report from a standing committee would "SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That, on the final carry more weight than a report from any select committee. settlement of the account of each member, he shall sub

Mr. CROCKETT said, 'it was certainly an awkward join, at the foot of his account, a certificate that he has situation for these papers to be placed in, for one com- deducted from his account all and each of the days on mittee to have one part of them in possession, and another which he may have been absent from the seat of Governcommittee another part. These lands belonged to the ment during those days on which the House to which he United States, to be sure; but he did not know what the belongs may have been in session." committee on the subject of the public lands generally had Mr. WICKLIFFE, Chairman of the Committee of Re. to do with them. These stood on a different footing from trenchment, by whom this bill was reported, briefly exother public lands. There never had been a surveyor of plained its objects, which are, as appears from the face of the United States in the State of Tennessee; and these it, generally, to establish a uniform role for computing scraps and remnants, left after the location of the North the allowance for travelling expenses of members, and to Carolina grants, stood upon a different footing from the limit their per diem allowance to such days as they shall general system of the public lands. His object was, that the actually be in attendance on Congress. select committee should propose the most equitable way of Mr. HAYNES asked how the gentleman from Kendisposing of them for the benefit of his constituents and tucky proposed, where there was more than one post of the State of Tennessee, which, he believed, would be road by which a member's mileage might be computed, to give these scraps of land to the poor people living on (as was the case with many members,) to determine by and among them.

which of those roads the computation of distance should The question was then taken on Mr. CROCKE'TT'S be made. There ought, [he said} if the bill passed, to be motion, as modified, and decided in the affirmative-90 such precision in its terms, as to leave no doubt as to the votes to 67.

manner in which it should be construed.

Mr. WICKLIFFE said that the difficulty suggested by WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1829.

the gentleman from Georgia showed still more the ne

cessity of some legal provision on this subject. If there FITTING OUT OF THE BRANDYWINE.

was a difficulty in determining between post roads as the On motion of Mr. McDUFFIE, the House resolved it- measure of computation, there was still a greater difficulty self into a Committee of the Whole on the state of the where there were river routes, as well as roads, to coinUnion, Mr. Martin, of South Carolina, being called to pute by. In cases where there were various post roads the chair, and took up the bill reported by the Committee leading to and from the same point, the gentleman from of Ways and Means, for making an appropriation for fit. Georgia might attain his object by amending the bill so as ting for sea the frigate Brandywine. No objection being that the nearest road should be taken as the criterion. made to the bill, the committee rose, and reported to the Mr. W. had no objection himself to such a provision, House without amendment.

though he would not move it, because [he said] there were On the question of ordering the bill to be engrossed some post routes on which there was no convenient travelfor a third reading,

ling, or accommodation for travellers, even on horseback. Mr. McDUFFIE, Chairman of the Committee of Ways He did not see, however, why this objection of detail and Means, briefly stated the necessity for this appropria-should be an objection to the principle of the bill. tion. The fact was known to every member of the House, Mr. HAYNES expressed his regret that the gentleman that the commerce of the United States in the Gulf of from Kentucky should have misconceived the motive of Mexico and with South America was subject to piratical the very few remarks which he had made. It was no part depredations; and, also, that the political relations of of his purpose to interpose any obstacle in the way of the Governments of the South were in such a state as the bill. He only suggested a difficulty in its detail, which required that the United States should maintain a con- he wished to see obviated. siderable naval force in that sea. The recent loss of the Mr. DAVIS, of South Carolina, moved to amend the Hornet made it almost indispensable that another vessel bill, by inserting the word "shortest,” so that the distance should be immediately despatched to supply her place. should be computed according to the shortest post road. For this purpose, this appropriation was necessary.

This amendment was agreed to. The bill was then ordered, nem.con, to be engrossed, and

Mr. STERIGERE moved to amend the bill, by striking read a third time to-morrow.

out, where they occur, the words “and shall then procure

from the Postmaster General.” In support of this amendTHURSDAY, DECEMBER 24, 1829.

ment, Mr. S. said, that, when we reflect upon the manner in This day was wholly occupied in disposing of motions for which the distances on post roads are ascertained at the inquiry and the consideration of bills of a private nature. General Post Office, it was probable that the Postmaster The House adjourned to Monday.

General would know as little accurately about them as the

members of this House, and perhaps less. The distances Monday, DECEMBER 28, 1829.

upon these roads were more or less uncertain, even where

best known; and he believed that the information could be COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.

got from the members of the House better than elsewhere, The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the and he thought that credit ought to be given to their stateWhole, Mr. BUCHanan in the chair, on the following bill: ments on the subject. It was a fact beyond dispute, that

Vol. VI.--61

H. of R.]
Compensation of Members of Congress.

(Dec. 28, 1829. no certain reliance can be placed on the distances between He felt no disposition, as a member of the House, to predifferent post offices, as stated on the Post Office books, sent, in a specific report, the names of individual members, and he thought, therefore, that the statements of members who, under the law of 1818, had drawn an undue amount ought to be relied upon in preference.

of mileage, but he now stated the fact generally, that a Mr. WICKLIFFE observed, that one main object of practice had obtained in this House, as its records would this bill was to throw from the members here the respon-prove, by which members from the same State, and the sibility of fixing the amount of their own mileage. That, same neighborhood, have been in the habit of computing if they were allowed to fix that, it would involve the ex- their mileage differently, some by water and some by ercise of as much discretion as if they were to be allowed land. It was believed by the committee that there should for the amount of their own per diem allowance. He be some uniform standard by wbich this mileage should knew no better standard (he said] by which the distance of be computed. He alluded to the fact, within the recolthe residence of the members could be ascertained, than lection of gentlemen near him, that, in the year 1823, the the books of the Post Office Department. More univer- practice first began in this House of charging mileage by sal certainty, he thought, would be attained by fixing the the river route; since when, the practice had been gradudistances in this way, than by leaving the matter to the ally extending itself. At that time, a gentleman, not now discretion of the members of the House.

a member, claimed the privilege of charging for the disMr. STERIGERE said, that his amendment did not pro- tance of descending the Mississippi, ascending the Ohio

, pose to leave this matter wholly to the discretion of each and thence by land. Nor was it for that session only that member in each case, for it confined him to stating the dis- the charge was made; for he went back six preceding tance of the nearest post road to his residence-a re- sessions, and claimed and received the same rate of allowsponsibility which, Mr. S. thought, ought to be tlirown ance. This fact would be shown by the accounts now on upon him, and him alone.

file in the Treasury Department. Nor was this (said Mr. W.] Mr. BURGES said, he would not permit himself to the only instance of such changes. We (the committee) doubt that any gentleman, making a statement to this then conceived, that, whilst we were complaining of conHouse, would make it truly; and if any misstatement of disa structive journeys, and charges for journeys never made, tances had been made, be felt bound to presume that it &c. on the part of other public agents, it was proper

, had been made accidentally, and would be corrected as from a regard to consistency, that we should at least put soon as discovered. He could not see the utility of this a stop to this business of constructive journeys among bill at all, she said] unless it was intended to say, by a ourselves. The act of 1818, declaring that the computasolemn enactment of this House, that the members of tion of the distance of travel of members of Congress Congress are not to be trusted in questions in which their should be made by the most usual route, the computation interest may come in conflict with their veracity. If, how- of the circuitous river route was a plain perversion and ever, facts warranted such an assumption, there might be abuse of the law. To remedy this evil, the committee sufficient reason to justify the passage of that bill. "Until thought it best to give to the Postmaster General the some statement of facts, showing grounds for this assump-power to determine the distances. If the amendment now tion, should be made on the authority of the committee under consideration should prevail, by what criterion will which reported the bill, he could not be warranted in the officers of the House be governed in ascertaining the voting for a bill authorizing such a reflection on the House nearest post road? It will not do (said he] to tell us, with He had never heard that any such report had been made the facts before our eyes, that the decision of each meniby the committee. He had never heard authentically that ber, in his own case, will be an infallible test. For the any gentleman of this House, or of the Senate, bad ever same reason, we might leave the whole subject of comtaken any more money for mileage than, on a fair calcula- pensation open. But, [said Mr. W.) we propose to take tion, he was entitled to receive. He could not vote for from the member the privilege of fixing, at his own will this amendment, therefore, or for the bill, but should be and pleasure, the extent of his compensation. If the disposed, when the bill came before the House, to move House should require from the committee a statement of its re-commitment, with a view to obtain from the com- facts, they would discharge that duty rigorously, as far as mittee a report of such facts as should show that the bill they could. They would ascertain what were the actual was not merely justified, but called for, by a due regard to distances of the post offices near which members reside, the public interest.

and report the sums which each had received for mileage. Mr. STRONG, of New York, hoped that the amend. But they had not conceived this necessary. They wished ment would prevail

. It was proposed by the text of the to make no implication of individuals, but simply to provide bill to impose on the Postmaster General the responsibility for carrying into effect the intention of the act of 1818. of determining the distances which members travel from Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, doubted whether the their residences to this House. This (said Mr. S.] was mode of ascertaining mileage, prescribed by the bill

, distrusting the veracity of the members of this House. It would be found more correct than that which has heretowas, besides, turning over the Sergeant-at-Arms of the fore obtained. He concurred with his worthy colleague, House to the direction of the Postmaster General, who is however, in the main object of the bill. He thought there not an officer of this House, and ought to be allowed no ought to be a reasonable accuracy in the mode of ascer. control over its officers or its action. The Sergeant-at- taining the mileage of members of Congress: that there Arms was responsible to the presiding officer of this should neither be required, on the one hand, a horizontal House; and why was he to be turned over to an officer measurement of distances, nor, on the other, should there not responsible in any manner to this House? Why rely be allowed an excursive or circuitous measurement. He upon him, and take away the supervising power of the had never heard that there had been any complaint as to Speaker of this House? Mr. S. hoped that the amendment reasonable accuracy in computing mileage, except in cases would prevail, and that the subject would be left in charge where the meanderings of rivers had been made the basis of the officers of this House, as it now is, and to whom it of computation of mileage, instead of the common and properly belonged.

usual route of travelling on horseback and in carriages

. Mr. WICKLIFFE, in reply to the gentleman from There is (said he] an intrinsic difficulty in bringing this Rhode Island, who said that he could not vote for the matter of computing distances to a mathematical precision bill, because the committee which reported it had not Nor did he think such a precision necessary: reasonable reported a statement of facts, stated, as a member of the accuracy was all that ought to be expected in it. He committee, that the facts of overcharge of mileage by agreed with his colleague, that the practice of following members was within the knowledge of that committee. the courses of streams, so as to double the compensation,

(H of R.

It was

Dec. 28, 1829.]

Compensation of Members of Congress. if admitted at all, should be extended 2nd permitted to all, now to pass the bill, if it affords a remedy, as to reject or that all ought to be confined to the computation upon it. That the bill does afford a remedy, [he said) could not terra firma. The same rule should be extended to the be denied. It must be admitted, as argued, that this law, one as to the other. As the difference of practice in this too, may, in course of time, come to be abused. What case, however, was the only matter complained of, he human law cannot be abused? You cannot place a barrier doubted whether the respect due by him to his constituents to human ingenuity or error. The only question is, does required or allowed him to go, or to ask the officers of this bill offer a competent remedy to an admitted evil? On this House to go, to the Postmaster General, to ask of him that subject there can be no question: for, if it passes, a what mileage they ought to charge. The usual course computation of distance by water courses can never be had been for members to state their own mileage, and, substituted for a computation of distance by land. if doubt arose, to call upon some other source for better comparatively indifferent to him, she said] whether the information. He asked his colleague, the committee, and proposed amendment prevailed or not: but, if it did, the the House, whether, although in forty years' experiment distance of travel, and, of course, the amount of compensome mistakes had been committed, the House was not sation for it, would still be left in each member's own able to adjust this matter by its own organs, without call. breast. He meant no imputation on members of Coning on the Postmaster General to help them? And, if gress; but she said) all laws go upon the presumption that they did so, was there any reason to expect that, in the man is not a competent judge or witness in his own case: same period of time, equal errors might not occur under and it was assuming too much for this House to ask for its the new rule proposed! As the remedy would be com- members exemption from this rule of law, established and plete without such resort, Mr. J. was in favor of the practised upon in all civilized nations. The rules of this amendment. Mr. J. concluded by adding a few words as House have already made all the imputation upon memto the trouble and additional clerk-hire which this busi-bers which can be inferred from this bill, by excluding ness, small as it appeared, would devolve on the General any member from voting upon any question in which he is Post Office, as the distances of members of successive personally interested, &c. Congresses, even in the same districts, were continually Mr. TÁYLOR, of New York, said, thatone of the present changing, &c.

rules of the House, in stating the duties of the committee Mr. BURGES said, that, in the remarks which he had of accounts, says “it shall be the duty of the committee made, he did not intend any reflection upon the commit- [among other things] to audit the accounts of the memtee which reported this bili, nor did he wish unnecessa-bers for their travel to and from the seat of Government, rily to increase their labors. But he did think that, on a and their attendance in the House.". As far as he was question of this nature, it might have been well deemed advised, (Mr. T. said the practice of the presiding officer expedient for the committee to lay before this House the always had been, when any difference arose between any grounds on which they had proposed this bill. But it member and the Sergeant-at-Arms as to compensation, &c. seemed that there had been some mistakes in the charges to refer the question for decision to the committee of acof compensation. Now, Mr, B. supposed that no gentle counts, and to settle with the member according to the de. man had, under his privilege, taken more compensation cision of that committee. He knew that this had somefor his mileage than he supposed himself to be justly enti- times been the case, and, as far as he was advised, it had tled to; and be presumed that there was no member of always been the case. The Speaker had not been at liberthis House, or of the Senate, who was not willing to have ty to decide such questior.s, since they were thus, by rule, the fullest inquiry made into that matter. After some ob- especially referred to another organ of the House. My servations as to the relative distances of land or water routes, own choice would be, (said Mr. T.) thinking, from the Mr. B. said that this was a question which must always be statements which have been made, that a remedy is releft to the honor of members of the House, who had quired, instead of imposing the duty on the Postmaster always as much knowledge on the subject as the Post-General of fixing the distances, so to amend the bill as to master General possibly could have; and he thought that, require the officers of the House to procure the necessary without being obliged to get that officer's certificate, every information. After requiring that the shortest post road member of Congress was entitled to liis pay. It was suf. should be the standard of computation, I wouki leave it ficient, if any doubt existed on the subject, to restrict the to the officers of the House, under the direction of the compensation to the land route. He was willing to vote proper committee, to ascertain the distances. for a bill to obviate mistakes, but he could not deliberately The question was then taken on Mr. STERIGERE'S vote for a bill implying that any member of Congress amendment, and decided in the affirmative, 60 votes to 46. would deliberately take more pay than he was entitled to Mr. SEMMES, of Maryland, moved to strike out that

part of the first section which follows the word “

“post Mr. COULTER vindicated the committee from the office" in the ninth line, as above. He thought this was suggestion of their having presented this bill unady dly descending too much into minutiæ, giving much trouble to the House. All the facts on which this bill is founded without any practical benefit. she said) were distinctly stated in the report of the Com. The motion was not agreed to. mittee of Retrenchment at the session before the last, when Mr. WICKLIFFE moved an amendment of a proviso to a bill was reported to the same effect as this, but not acted the second section, exempting members detained from the on for the want of time; as, too, was the case with the same House by known sickness from the operation of this section. bill at the last session. If the facts stated in that report With these amendments, the bill was reported to the were true, (and that they were true there could be no I{ouse. doubt, for they had not been questioned,) it was important A motion was made by Mr. VERPLANCK, that the that some remedy should be provided: for, it appeared, House do reconsider the vote taken on Thursday last, the either that the law was defective, or that, in the execution 24th instant, on the question to agree to the following re. of it, abuse had crept into the proceedings of the House. solution, moved by Mr. Carson, viz. He presumed, now that the evil was so clearly pointed Resolved, That a select committee be appointed to inout, the presiding officer and subordinate officers of the quire into the expediency of establishing a branch of the House might correct it, and the passage of the bill might United States' Mint in the gold region of North Carolina.” therefore be said to be unnecessary. But, inasmuch as And on the question, Will the House reconsider the said the attention of the House, and, through the report of the vote? It passed in the affirmative. Committee of Retrenchment, that of the nation, had been Mr. Carsox rose, and said that he had been induced to heretofore attracted to the subject, it would be as easy offer the resolution from various considerations, one of the

by law.

« PreviousContinue »