OCR Interpretation

Burlington free press. (Burlington, Vt.) 1827-1865, February 05, 1836, Image 1

Image and text provided by University of Vermont

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023127/1836-02-05/ed-1/seq-1/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

FRIDAY, FI3 S3 ilUT A.UY 5, 1836.
VOl;. IX No. 597.
Mr. V MISTER, who was chairman or
Ihc Committee of Finance and consequent,
ly well acquainted with all the particulars
oftliis remarkable bill ofthc lust Congress,
and the equally remarkable proceeding?
thoroon, on the last night of tho session,
on the l-tth inst. on a resolution moved by
Mr Denton for setting apart the surplus
revenue fur the defence of tho country,
gave the history of the bill in tho follow
It is not my purpose, Mr. President, (said
lie ) to make any remark? nn tho Plate of
cur alTaiis with France- The time for that
discussion has not come, and I wait. Wu
arc in daily expectation of a communication
from the Pro-idcnt, which will give us
light: and we arc authorized to expect a
recommendation by him of such measures as
lie thinks it may ho necessary and proper
for Congress to adopt. I do not anticipate
him. I do nut foretun him. In this mo-t
important and delicate buisncss, it is the
proper duty ol'lho Executive logo forward
and I, fur one, do not intend either to be
drawn nr driven into I ho lead- When
official intcrmation shall bo before us. and
when measures shall be recommended upon
the proper responsibility, I shall endeavour
to form the besl judgment I can, and shall
act according In its dictates.
I rise now, for another purpose. This
resolution has drawn on a di-haio upon the
general conduct of the Senate during the
s,es-ion of Cmigres, and especially in re
gard the proposed grant ofihreo millions
to the President on the Inst inglil ofthc
session. My main objret is to tell tho story
of this- transaction, and lo exhibit tlic con
duct of Ihu Sena'c f.iirly lo the public view.
I owe this duty to the Senate. I owe it In
I he committee, with which I mil connected
ami although whatever is perronal to an
mil vidua I i generally of too I it lie import a nee
lo be made I lie subject of much reini '', I
hop.- I may be permitted to say that, in
n matter, in regard 10 which there has
been so much misrepresentation. I wish
to say a few words for the sake of defend
ing my own reputation.
This vole for the ihree inilliuns was pro
posed by thu IIouo ol Representative:! as
an amendment to the liirlificaiiou bill; and
the loss oflliat bill, three millions and all,
is the charge which has been made- upon
the Semite, sounded over the land, and
now again renewed- I propo.-e to give the
true history of this bill, its progress and
ils hi".
Before attempting that, however, let me
remark e it is worthy to be remarked, I
and rcmrnilnred, that the business brought
before the Senate last te.-sion, important
ami various as it was, and both public
and private, was all gone through wilh
most uncommon disp-ucli ami proinlitude.
No session lias wiinosscd u more comnlelc
ch nrinc IV and finishing of the subject
before us. The comunic-itioiis from the
other house, whether bills or whatever
else, were especially attended to in proper
srason: and Willi I hat ready respect which is
due fium one House to the other. I re
collect not hintr of any importance which
came to us from the House of Representa
tives, which was hero neglected, overlook
ed, or disregarded.
On the other hand, it was the misfoitunc
of Ihc Senate, as 1 think, the misfortune, of
the country,' hat owing to the slate ol busi
ness in the House of Representatives lo
wards the close of the session, several
measures which had ben matured in the
Senate, and passed into bills, did not receive
mirni on. 0 as tobeciiner agrecu io or
rricetcd. in the other branch of the Leg'u
lnturr. Thev fell, ofcourse, by the ler.
rninalion of the session.
Among these measures may be mention
ed the following, viz:
The Post Office .Rcfurm Pill which pass
cd the Senate unanimauily and of the ncccs
sitv fur which the whole country is cer
tainly now most abundantly satisfied
The Custom House llcguiaiions inn, which
also passed nearly unanimously after a very
laborious prepcration by the Committeeon
Commerce, and a full discussion la llie
The Judiciary Bill, passed here by a
majority of thirty-one to five, and which
lias again already passed the Senate at this
session wun oiny a sn.giu masi-miug um-.
The Bill indcmntlying claimants lor
French Spoliations beloro 1800.
The Bill regulating tho deposite or the
public moneys in the Deposite Banks.
Tlic uiii respecting inu lunuro oi terrain
offices, and the power ef removal from:
office which has now again passed to be
encrossed, in tho Senate, by n decisive
All these important measures, matured
nnd nasscd in the Senate in the course ol
llm (.essinn. and many others whoso iinpor-
tsnco was less, were sent lo the Houso of
v nnresentntives. nnu wu never licaru any
thing more from llicm.
1 hey there lounu
(heir graves.
Ii i worlhvofboing rcmarkod, also that
the attendance of Iho members of the Sen
ate was rcmarK-aiiio iuii, punie-uiany lu
wards the end ol tne session, wo me mi
day every Senator was in his place till very
. i trw.nl ne thn innrnnl
near the hour of adjournment, as the journal
will show. Wo had no breaking up for
want of a quorum no de'ay on calls of
the Senate nothing which was made
necessary by the negligence of inattention
of tho members of tliis body. On thu vote
for the three millions of dollars, which was
taken at a about 0 o'clock in the evening,
forty-eight votes were given, every member
of llie Senate being in his placcnnd answer
ins to his name. This is an instance of
punctuality, diligenco and labor, continued
to the very end of an arduous scssion.whul
)y without example or parallel.
The Senate, then, sir, must stand in the
judgment ofevcry wan fully acquitted ofall
remissness, all negligence, all inattention
amidst Iho fatigues and exhaustion of the
closing hours ofCongrcss. Nothing pass
ed unheeded, nothings was overlooked,
nothing forgotten and nothing slighted.
And now, sir, I would proceed immedi
ately to givo the history of tho Forlifica
tion Hill, if it were not necessary as intro
ductory, nnd as showing the circumstances
under which the Senate was called on lo
transact the public business, first to refer
to another bill which was before us, and to
the proceedings which were had upon it.
It is well known, sir, that thu annual
appropriation bills always originate in Ihc
House of Representatives. This is so much
the course, that no one ever looks to see
such a bill first brought Torwnrd in the
Senate. I' is also well known, sir. that it
has been usual, heretofore, to niako the
annual appropriations for the Military A
cademy at West Point in tho general bill,
which provids for the pay and support of
the army, lint last year, the army bill did
nut contain any appropriation whatever, for
the support of West Point. I took notice
of I his singular omission when the bill was
before the Senate, but presumed, and in
deed understood, that tho House would
send us a separale bill for tho Military
Academy. The army bill, therefore, pass
ed but no bill for the Academy at West
Point appeared. We waited for it from
day to day, and from week to week, but
waited in vain. At length, the time for
sending bills from one house lo the other
according to the joint rules of tho two
houses expired and no bill had made its
appearance for the support of iho Military
Academy. These joint rules, as is well
known, are sometimes suspended nn the
application of one house to the other, in
favor of particular bill, whose progress
has been unexpectedly delayed, but which
the public interest requires to be passed.
11 u t the house of Kepresentatives sent us
no request to suspend Ihc rules in favor ol
a bill for the support of the Military Acad
emy, nor made any other proposition to
save the institution from immediate disso
lution. Not withstanding all the talk about
a war. and the necessity of a vote for the
three mllions. I ho Military Academy, an
institution cherished so long, and at so
much expense, was on the very point of
being entirely broken up.
Now it so happened, sir, that at this time
there was another appropriation bill which
had come from the House of Representa
tives, and was before Ihc Committee of Fi
nance lirrc. The bill was entitled "An
act making appropriations, for thocivil and
diplomatic expenses of the government for
he year I'JJ.T.
In this state ofthings, several members
ofihe House of Representatives applied to
Hie committee, ami besought us to save
ihc Arodemv by annexing the appropria
tions for Us support to ihc bill lor civil and
liplomiiic service. Wo spoke to them, in
reply cl'tho uiifi'ncss, the irregularity, the
incongruity, ol this forced union of eucIi
dissimilar subjects ? but they told ns it was
a case ol absolute neecssily. and lhat.
without resorting lo tins mude the appro
priation could not get through. Wo ac
quicscod, sir, in thc-o suggestion?, We
went out of our way. We agreed to do
an extraordinary an in irregular thing, in
order to save the public business from mis
carriage. By direction of tho committee,
I moved the Senate tn add an appropria
tion for the Military Academy to tho bill
for defraying civil and diplomatic expenses
The bill was so amended ; and in Ibis form
tin; appropriation was finally made
Bui this was not all. Tho bill for Ihc
civil and diplomatic service being thus
amended by lacking the Military Academy
upon it, was sent back by us to the House
0f Representatives, where its length of
tail was to be still much furl her increased.
l'hat House had before it several subjects
for provision, and for appropriation, upon
which it had not passed any bill, before tho
tune for pns-ing bills to bo sent to tlic hen
ate had elapsed, ft was anxious dial llieso
tilings should, in someway, bo provided
for, and when tho diplomatic hillcaino back
drawing the Milhtary Academy after it,
it was thought prudent to attach to it va
nous of llieso other provisions. J lier
were two propositions to pave streets in
lMe Clt., 0f Washington, to repair the Cap-
1 ital, niatl various oilier tilings;, which il vvas
necessary to provide for, and they, therefore
werc nul ,mo lnu samc bill by way of
amendment lo an amendment ; that is to
Say. wo had been provailed on to amend
tlicir bill lor delraymg the salary ot our
,njmsturs abroad, by adopting an anprooria
(jo,, for tho Military Academy; and they
proposed lo amend this our amendment,
by adding to it matters ns geiinau lo It as
,t was to the original bill. There was also
the President's gardener. His salary was
unprovided lor ; and there was no way ol
remedying this important omission, but by
giving him place in ihe diplomatic service
bill, among charges d'affaires, envoys extra
ordinary, and ministers plenipotentiary.
In and among thesu ranks, therefore, he
was formally introduced by the amendment
ol the House, and there ho now stands,
..ou wl rca jny BCOi jy turin2 t0 t,0 aw
Sir. I hove not the pleasuro to know this
,.se-ui nersori: but should 1 sen him cnine
- morning overlooking tho workmen in tiie
I lawns, walks, copses, aui' parterres which
adorn the grounds around the President's
residence, considering the company into
which wu have introduced him, I should
expect to sec at least, a small diplomatic
button on his working jacket.
When these amendments came from the
House, and were read at our table, though
they caused a smile, they were yet adopt
ed, and tlic law passed, almost with the
rapidity of a comet, and with something
l.ko tho same length of tail.
Now. air, not one of llieso irregularities
or incongruities, no part of this jumbling
together ol distinct and dillurenl subiects,
waj, in tho slightest degree, occasioned by
nu v thing done, or omittPd to bo uano on
the part of the senate. Their piocucdings
were all regular; their decisions prompt
their dispatch ofthc business c.irrect and
seasonable. There was nothing of pro
crastination, nothing evincive of a temper
to embarrass or obstruct thepublic business.
If tho history which I have now truly given
shows that one thing was amended by
another) which had no 6ort of connexion
Willi it. that unusual expedients wore re-
Korlnd tn. nnd that iho laws, instead of
arrangement and symmetry, exhibit anom
aly, and the most grotesque associations,
it is, nevertheless, true, that no part of all
this was madu necessary by us. We do
vinted from the accustomed modes of legis
lation only when wu were supplicated to
do so. in order to supply bold and glaring
doficicnccs in measures which wore before
Hut now Mr President, lot mecomo to the
Fortification Bill, the lost Bill, which not
only now, but on a graver occasion, has
been lamented like the lost Plei.aJ.
This billl, sir, camu from the Home of
Representatives to the Senate in the usual
wav. and was referred to the Committee
on Finance. Its appropumtions were not
large. Inueod, tliey appeared to llie coin
mittco to be qjile too small. I' struck a
majority ol the committee at once that there
were several fortifications on the coast,
cither not provided for at all, or not nde
qnotoly provided for by this bill, The
whole amount of its appropriations was
100,000 or 430.000 dollars. It contained
no grant of three millions, andiftho Sen
ate had pissed it the very day it came from
the House, not only could there have been
no appropriation of the Ihree millions, but,
sir, none of these other sums which the
Senate did insert in the bill. Others, be
side ourselves, saw the deficiencies of this
bill. We had communications with and
irom uio departments, anil we inserted in
the bill every tiling which any department
recommended to us We took care to be
sure that nothing c!so was coming. And
we then reported the bill to llioSenatc with
our proposed amendments. I hero was
sum of viTj.OOO for Caslle Maud, in Boston
100,000 for defences in Maryland, and so
lortli. these amendments wore agreed to
by Iho Senate, and one or two others ad
ded, on the motion of members ! and the
bill, being thus amended, was returned to
the House
And now, sir, it becomes imporlnnt to
ask when was this bill, thus amended, re
turned to tho House nf Representatives?
Was it unduly detained here, so that the
house was obliged after ward lo act upon it
suddenly? This question is material lo bo
a.-ked, and mitcrial to be answered, too,
and l he journal docs satisfactorily answer
it: for it appears by the journal that the
bill was returned to Ihu House of Repre
sentative on Tuesday, the 2 lib of Februa
ry, one wltnlt week bejre the rl,sc of the
smio'i. And Irom Tuesday, the 21th dav
of February to Tuesday, 'the 3d day n"f
.March, we heard not one word Irom this
bill. Tuesday, Iho 3d day of March, was,
of course, the last day of the se-siou. We
assembled here at 10 or If o'clock in ihc
morning of lhat. d.iy, and sal till three in
the afternoon, nnd still we were not inform
ed whether tho house had finally passed the
uiii. ns ii was an important matter, and
belonging lo that part of the public busi
iiess which ujiially receive particular at
tention from tho eommitlee on finance, I
bore the subject in my mind, and lull some
solicitude about it, seeing that the sos-inn
was drawing so near lo a close I took it
for granted, however, as I had not heard
any thing to the contrary, that the amend
ments of the senate would not bo objected
to, and that when a convenient lime should
arrive for taking up the bill in the house.
it wovld be passed at once into a law, and
we should hear no more abn:t it. Not the
Slightest intimation was given, cither that
tho executive wished for any larger appro
priation, or that it was intended in the
house to insert such larger appropriations.
Not a syllable escaped from anv bodv, and
came to our knowledge, lhat any farther
alteration whatever was intended in the
At 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the 3d of
ll in ;. m,6C f t0ri "3 rC-3S aS MUr
ual in that period of the session, until 5.
A 5, we again assembled, and proceeded
with the business of the senate until 8
o ciock in mo evening; and, at 8 o'clock in
llmnttnnoi.. .1 . l
. ,o u. ..;;, .j ,wl ue-iuru. me cicrh ui
uiu iim e appeared ai oor uoor, ami an-
. it. . i r. , "Pe"",v'-
"'a'"" ' "iiuui uiu ouomt: s umuuu-
,,,, , , ., , . .
i.n-.nni . .. ... i-. "
m. ,..,,., ,., ii.. inu tin mm jui, ii
mi ugreru, wwi tm amendment ty iw own.
imuw, 6ir. i uese -it h anu ut i nmenunients
oiaiiro were, one, a votool jJ.j.OUU lor the
. .
i.nii. 111 muiui ruur. una uiu ouier, u
voio 01 t,iuu,liULi lor certain delenc's in
Maryland. And what, sir, was tho nddi
lion which tho Houso of Representatives
proposeu to make, by way ol amendment"
toa vote of 75,000 for repairing the works
111 iiosion iiuruor." tleie. sir. It is:
".'Indie il further enacted That the 8UI11
01 iiirco minions ol dollars be, and the
cmuu ,v iiuruuy appropriaiou, out 01 any
money 111 ine 1 reasury nol otherwise ap
propriaieu, 10 bo expended. 111 whole or
part, unuer llie direction of the I'residuul
oi uu isolates, tor the military and naval
- . , -
su.vn.e-, iiitiuu.og lorillicaiioiis nnu urn
iianccaud increase of the navy: Provided,
Such expenditures shall be rendered neces
sary for thu defence oftho country prior to
tho next niccling of Uongress."
1 his proposition sir. was thus unexuect
cdly and suddenly nut to us, at 0 o'clock
in the evening or the last dnv ol tho ses
sion. Unusual, uiipiceedcnled, exlraordi
narv, as it obviously is, on the faco ol it,
;hu manlier of presenting it was still mure
extraordinary. The President had asked
extraordinary. 1 he President had nsiieu
for no such grant of money; no department
had recommended it; no estimate had sug
nested it: no reason whalcvcr was given
lor it. No emergency had happened, and
mulling now had occurred; every thing
known to the administration, at that hour,
respecting our foreign rulations, had ccr-
tainly bjcu known to it fur days and for
Willi what nroorinlv. I linn rinil.l Ihn
Senate bo called on to sanction a proceed
"iff so entirely irregular and anomalous?
otr, I rcccollecl the occurrouccncn of the
moment very well, and I remember thoim
prUSSIOn Wlllcll thu vnln i.fll,.. I
ci! to malio nil rntmtl ilm K
bad just come out of executive session, the
-mors were but just opened; and I hardly
remember whether there was a single
spectator in Iho hall or the galleries. I
had been at the clerk's tablj, and had not
reached my fiat, when the message was
road. AH the Senators wero in the cham
ber. I heard tho message, certainly with
great surprise and astonishment: and I
nnmediaUly moved the Senate lo disagree
to this voio of iho House. My relation lo
the subject, inconsequence of my connec
tion wilii the committee on finance, made
it my duty to propose some course, and I
had iioi a m-jmcnl's doubt or hesitation
wnat urn course ouglil to be. I took up
on myself, then, sir, tho responsibility of
moving that tlia senate should disagree to
this vole, and I now acknowledge that re
sponsibility. It might be presumptuous
to say that I took a leading part, but I
certainly look tin early part, a decided part,
and an earnest pari, in rejecting this broad
grant of three millions of dollars, without
limitation of purpose or specification of ob
jeel: called tor by no recommendation.
lounded on no estimate, made necessary
by no state nf things which was made
known to us. Certainly, sir, I took a part
in its rejection; I s'and hero in my place
in llie Senate to-day, ready to defend th
part so taken by ne; or rather, sir, I dis
claim all defence, tnd all occasion nf de
fence, and I nssrrt it as meritorious to
have been among those who arrested, at
iho earliest iiiomeat, this extraordinary de
parture from all loltled usages, and as I
think, from plain jonstilulional injunction
this indefinite ruling of a vast sum of
money, to more (xccmivo discretion, with
out limit assignol, without object specified.
without reason oiven, and without the least
control under h;aven.
Sir, lam tolcthat, in opposing this rani.
1 spoke with warmth, and I suppose I may
have done so. Ifl did, it was a warmth
springing Iron as honest a conviction ol
duly as ever iifli.cnccd a public man. It
was spontaneous, iinalU.'Clcel, sincere.
There had bcrnnming us, sir, no consulla
lion, no concert. There could have boon
none. Bolwicn the reading of the mess
age and my trilion to disagree, there wa
not time eiinii'li for any two members of tin
Senate to exchange live words on the sub
tect. rue proposition was s-udden and
perfectly unixpected. I resisted it. as ir
ri.guhr, ns i ingcrous, in ilsell, and danger
ous in its or e.Nleni; as wholly iinnccessa
ry, am: a
iting the pl.iio intention, if
not ilia c.vpre.-s words of the Constitution.
lietoru trio Senate, then, I avowed, and be-
tore the ciuntry I now avow my part in
this oppi-ilion. Whatsoever is lo fall on
those wio sanctioned it, of that let me
have my full share.
I ho C' nale, sir. rejected this grant by a
vote oi'wenly nine against nineteen.
Those t) names arc on the journal; and
whensoever the expunging process may
commen.-c, or how far soever it may be
carried,! pray it, in mercy, not to erase
mine fnm the record. I beseech it, in its
spiring goodness, to leave mo that proof of
uiiuuiiiu-.m io ouiv anu io principle. It
may drtw around it, over it, or through it
mack incs. or red lines, or any lines: it
may mo-k it in any way, which either the
most prjstratc and Inntaslical spirit of man
worship, or t he most ingenious and elabo
rate stvly nf sell degradation may devise,
if only will leave it so that those who in.
herit in- blood or who may lierafter care
for my -eputation. shall bo able to behold
it whor: it now stands.
I ho muse, sir, insisted on the amend-
mcnt. The Souato adhered to ilsdisagrce
men!; ;!ie house asked a conference, to
which rcnest the Senate immedmtelu
eeiled. 'llie entu ..f r .
,i in , t,, " ,.r m'1'
mcnl- T,iey 8rocd l" recommend totl,eir
respective houses, as a substitute for the
voto proposed bv tho house, thn folln,uin.
..A3 a additional appropriation for nr'
,,,, tno fortifications ofihe United SmiM
I . . . . - . w .
three hundred thousand dollars."
"As an additional appronriation for the
repair and equipment of ships of war of the
ijnttni mates, livo hunt mi i n u
I " UW, -
On thcmorc general point, I must say,
1 immediate V rcoorted this agreement
0f t10 committees of conference to the son
..,. i. ,ncn,ni, ,i. i..n ...... :..
I lll. '-... 1 1,, gin uun ua IIIU UIII U, III IHU
house'of representives, the Sonato could
i act urlher on the matter unll the
house snould first have considered the re-
oort oftho committees, decided thereon,
a, seat U4 w bill. I did not myself take
any n )e oftho particular hour 01' this pari
ofthc transaction. The honurablo nium-
u. mm rnmlll (r. l,ii,i t.vi he
I milieu It ltd Iiij tvnlnli nt tin Itmiv nml hit
nuws (bat I had come from the conference.
am ww ,n ,,,y seat at a quarter past eleven
j lave)lo reason to think that he is under
in Qnv inutaku in this narticular. He says it
J 1 . .. ., r ....... 1 . 1, 1,,, 1...1 .,nti 1,. it.-.,
IDUIIU,'.V,IU,IIUW,tl,l4,.uwvUdu., . " iui.b
nolicoiif tho hour, nnd well remembers it.
I nml mil wn hivn mnil nlm t un I UU.
as anyone will bu satisfied who wilt look
at ourhunruale, public und executive, and
sea wD.il a massof business was dispatched
alter 1 came Irom tho committees, and
liclorotho ndournuienl ol the boiiate.
Havin? made the report, sir. I had
doubt lhat both houses would concur in thu
i os 11 1 1 ot the conference, nnd looked every
momei t for the ofiicer of the house bring
,nt, .,a i,-,t jju UJ ol co
aj ( protty toon learned that
0I1j pnmy iQm earlle( .lal ,,oro wa3
dmibl whether thu coinmittoe on tho pari
of thu IIou.u
wouiu report to tho house
iho agreement of iho conference. At first
I did nol at all credit tins; but it was con
firmud by one communication aflor nnoth-
cr until 1 was obliged to think it true.-
1 Seeing that tho bill was thus in danger
being lost, and intending at any rate lhat
no ulimo should be justly attached to th?
Senate. I immediately moved the following
"Resolved, That a message bo sent to
the honorable House of Representees re
spectfully to remind the house of the report
of the committee of conference appointed
on the disagreeing votes of tho two houses
on the amendment of the houso to the
amendment of the Senate to the bill re
spooling til o fortifications of tlic United
You recollect this resolution, sir. having,
as I recollect, taken soma part on the occa
sion. The resolution wa3 promptly passed;
the Secretary carried it to the House, and
delivered it. What was done in I ho houso
on the receipt of this message now appears
from the printed journal. I have no wish
io comment on the proceedings thero re
corded all may read liiem, and cao'i be
nom to inrin Ins own opiniin. Suffice it
to sav that tho House of Rnnrnsnnlntivns
having then possession of tlie bill, chose to
retain uiai possession, anil never acted on
tho report of tho committee. The bill
tberofi ire was lost. It was lost in tin
House of Representatives. It died thero.
and there ils remains are to be found. No
opportunity was given to the members of
the Homo to decide whether they would
agree to tho report of tho two committees
or not. 1- rom a quarter past eleven, when
the report was agreed to, until two or three
o clock in the morning, the Houso remain
ed in session. If at auv time the're wis not
a quorum of members present, Iho attend
anco ot a quorum, we are to presume
might have been commanded, as there was
undoubtedly a great majority of tho mem
uors sun in the city.
But now. sir there is one other transac
tion of the evening, which I feel bound to
state, because I think it important, on sev
oral accounts, tint it should bo known.
A nomination wa3 ponding before the
Supreme Court. In the course of the sit
ting, that nomination wa? called up, and,
on motion, was indefinitely postponed. In
other words, it was rejected; for an iedefi
nito postponement is a rejection. The
office, nf course, remained vacant, and the
nomination ofanother person to fill it, be
came nc:essary. The President of the U.
Slates was I hen in tho capilal, as is usual
on the oveningof the laslday ofthc session,
in the Chamber assigned to him, and with
the bonds of demarlments around him.
When nominations tire rejected under these
circumstances, it Ins been usual for the
President immediately to transmit a new
nomination to tho Senate; otherwise the
office must remain vacant till the next scs
ion, as the vacancy in such case has not
happened in the recess of C. ingress. The
vote of the Senate indefinitely postponing
! this nomination, was carried to the 1're-u
dent's room by the Secretary of the Senate
rue rrcsiuent told the Secretary lhat it
was more than nn hour past 12 o'clock.
and that he could receive no farther com
munications from tho Senate, and immedi
atcly after, as I have understood, loft tho
capilal. The Secretary brought back the
p iper containing the certified cony of the
vote of the Senate, and endorsed thereon
the substance ofthc President's answer.
and also a Ided thai, according to his own
watch, it was a quarter nasi one o'clock.
Thero arc two views, sir, in which this
occurrence may well deserve to be noticed.
Una is a connexion which it m.iv nerhiD
have with Ihc loss ot the lorliucalion bill
the other is, its general importance, as in
trnducing a new practice, respecting the
intercourse between the President and the
houses of Congress on the last day of llie
On the first point I shall oulv obscrv
that the fact of the President's having do
chned to receive this communication Irom
tho Senate, and of Ins having left the cap
ital, was immediately known in the house
of representatives; that it was quite obv
ous lhat il he could not receive a cominu
nication from the Senate, neither could lie
receive a bill from the ho'ise of rcpresenta
tives for his signature. It was equally ob
vious', that if, under these circumstances
the houso of representatives should agree
to the report of the committees of confer
ence, so that the bill should pass, it must.
nevertheless, lail to become a law, lor
want of the President's sis-nature; and that
in that case, tho blame of losing (he bill
on whomsoever it might fall, could not be
Ul.l ,i.
,UI1I (Iff, I II IHU CLimiV
It r. I ml ilo ilnei.inn nf i ,.. Preii not. nol
to hold communication with the Houses ot
p .0... .0 .1... 11 ..r
) uuiiifiuai UIIUI w M UU'LOt, till IHU -J. UI
March, is quite new. No such objection
has over lieen made ue oro bv anv 1'resi
dent. No one of them has ever declined
communicat'incr with either Huusu at anv
tune during the continuance of tho session
on that. day. All Presidents, heretofore,
have left it with the Houses themselves to
fix their hour of adjourment, and to bring
their session, for thu day, to a close, when
ever they saw lit.
It is notorious, in point ol fact, that noth
ing is more common than for both Houses
to sit later than l' o'clock, for thu nnrnose
I r ,.,., i.,i..,,. ....,., .i,;i, ,..: ,i,
last stages of their progress. Amendments
urn nmni.:,n nni n.rr..n, In l.illj n,se,
enrolled bills signed by the presiding otfi
cers, and other important legislative acts
performed often at - or 3 o'clock in the
morning. All this is very we'll known to
gentlemen who have be'on lor any consid
no erable tunc members of Congress. And all
j Presidents have signed hills, and have also
inane nominations to iho senate, without
- objection as lo time, whenever bills have
been presented fur signature, or whenever
,t became noce.sarytu make nouiinations to
tho senate. . it any lime during thu session
of tho respective houses on that day.
Ami all this, sir, I suppose to be perfect
ly right, correct and legal. I here is no
clause of the constitution, nor is there any
Mr King, of Alabama, v.u In ilia Cluir.
law. which declares that the term nf offieo
of members of the II him of Representa
tives shall expire at i o'clock nt night on
the 3d nf March. They aro to hold for
two years, but the precise hour of the com
mencement of that term of two years is no
where fixed by constitutional or legal pro
viainn. Il h.ls l.nen established by usage
and by inference, and very properly estab
lished, that, since tho hrst uongross com
menced its existence on the first Wednes
day in March. 1709. which happened to ba
the 4ih day ofthat month, thorctorc, mo
Hli of March is the a ly oi tne commuouu
mcnl of each successive term, but no hoitr
is fixed by la'.v or practice. The trucrula
is, as I think, most undoubtedly that the
session hol.Ien on the last day, consti
tutes tho last day for all legislalivo
nnd legal purposes. While tho session
commenced nn that day continues, tho
day Itself continues, accarding to thee.tab -lished
practice both of legislative and judi
cial bodies. This could not well be other
wise. If tho precise mimont of actual
time were to settle such a matter, it would
be material to ask, who should settle tho
time? Shall it b j done by public authori
ty, or shall every man obieivo the tick of
his own walch? If absolute time is to
furnish a precise rule, the oxces3 of a min
ute, it is obvious, would be as fatal as the
excess of an hour. Sir, no bodies, judicial
or legislative, have ever boon so hypercrit
ical, so astute to no purpose, sa much moro
nice than wise, a3 to govern themselves by
any such ideas. The session for the day,
at whatever hour it connnonc '8 or at what
ever hour it breaks up, is the legislative
day. Kvery thing has reference to tho
commencement of lint diurnal session.
For inslaneu tbis is Ihi 14th day of Janua
ry; we assembled here to day nt 12 o'clock
our journal is dated January 1-llh, and if
we should remain here until 5 o'clock to
morrow morning, (and the Senate Ins
sometimes sat so late,) our procedings
would still bear date of the Mth of Janua
ry ; they would be so stated upon the jour
nal, and tho journal is a record, and is a
conclusive record, so far as respects thu
proceedings of a body.
If a man were on trill for his life, at a
late hour on iho last day allowed by Jaw
for the holding of the court, and the jury
acquitted him, but happened to remain so
long in deliberation that they did not bring
in their verdict till after 12 o'clock, is it at
all to ba hold for nought, and the man to
be trie I over again? Aro all verdicts,
judgments, and orders of courts null and
void if made after midnight on the day
which the law prescribes as the last day ?
Il would be ea-y to show by authority,
if authority could be wanted for a thinj,
the reason of which is so clear, that
the day lasts while the daily session lasts.
When tho coun or the legislative b uly ad
journs for lhat day, the day is over and not
I am told, indeed sir, that it is true that
on this same 3d day of March last, not
only were other things transacted, but that
the bill for the repair of the Cumberland
road, nn important and much litigated
measure, actually received the signature
of our presiding officer after 12 oelock,
was than sent to the Prdsidcnt, and signed
by him. I do not affirm tins, because I
took no notice of the time, or do not re
mcmbar il if I did ; but I have heard tho
matter so stated.
I see no reason sir, for the introduction
of this new practice; no principle on which
it can bo justified, no necessity for it, no
propriety in it. As yet, it has been applied
only to the President's intercourse with
the Senalo. Certainly il is equally appli
cable lo his intercourse with bith Houses
in legislative matters; and if it is to prevail
hereafter, it is of much importance that it
be known.
The President of tho United States sir,
has alluded to this loss of the fortification
bill in his message at the opening of the
session, and be has alluded also in ihe same
message, to the rejection of the vote oftho
three millions. On the first point, that is,
the loss of the whole bill, and the causes
ofthat loss, this is his language :
Much loss and inconvenience have
been experienced in dviscquencc of the
failure of thu bill containing the ordinary
approoriations for fortifications which pass
ed one branch of the national legislature at
the last session, but was lost in the oilier."
If the President intended to say that the
bill, having originated in the House of Re
presentatives passed the Senate, and was
yet afterwards lost in the House of Rep
resentatives, he was eniirely correct. Hut
ho has been altogether wrongly informed,
il he intended to state that the bill having
passed the Houso was lost iu llie Senate.
As 1 have already stated, tho bill wa3 lost
in the Houso of Representative). It drew
its last breath there. Tho House never lot
go its hold on it nflcr the report of tho
committee of conference. But it held it.
it died in its possession when the I louse
adjourned. Ii is lo be regrctled lhat the
President should have been misinformed in
a muter oi this itinu, wuen mo slightest
reference to the journals ofihe two Houses
would have exhibited the correct history of
the transaction.
I recur again, Mr. President, to tho
proposed grant oftho three millions, for tho
purpose of stating somewhat more dis
tincily the ttue grounds of objection to
that grant.
The.-c grounds of objection wore tw'o:
the first was, that no such appropriation
had been recommended by the President or
any oftho departments. And what made
this ground the stronger was, lhat tho
proposed grant was defended, so far as il
was def'.'iided at all, upon an alleged neces
sity, growing out of our foreign relations.
'Ph., t'.,r..iirn mint imwo f i hn noon I t v are en-
. . w... . - J
' trusted by the Constitution to the lead
I and management oftho Uxcculivc Govern
ment. I hu I'resideut not only is supposed
to be but usually is much better informed
on these interesting subjects than tho Hous
es of Cuiigress.
If thero be danger of rupture with a for-

xml | txt