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Alexandria gazette. [volume] (Alexandria, D.C.) 1834-1974, December 25, 1839, Image 2

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. ou.iimns.on ueilrtf r 01 me claim
ants, but reported the facts to the House;
' neither could take the seat, because nei
ther had the commission or certificate of
election. Is that a case which can be
quoted as authority in a case where the seat is
claimed under a regular commission? The
only remaining case was the thiiuni< as well
as infamous case of Moore arid Letcher, In
that case, on the face of the paper itself was
the fact stated which vitiated that commission.
It was error patent upon the face of the title,
or, to speak more truly, a glaring, flagrant
fraud upon the very face of the paper itself.
Besides, the standing aside of both the claim
ants was their own act,the result of their own
agreement and not the act of the House. Now,
air, these are the authorities, and the only au
thorities, which the diligent research o{ the
gentleman and bis friends has been able toad
duce, arid I know that tny friend valued these
authorities as the apple of his eye. He would
not give me the volume for fear tint I might
turn up his “dog eared pages,” and that he
could not again find them. And, sir, what
are they? They are, every one of them, au
thorities direct and positive against him.— |
, Have I not scattered those authorities into thin
air; and dare the boldest-faced partisan now |
rise and say that the precedents are not,with
out one exception, as I have stated them?
What, sir, has been the practice of that great
and glorious people from which we derive all
our institutions, and especially the great, the
greatest of them all, the principle of public
liberty—the principle of representation. The
gentleman said he had been informed that the
practice of the British Parliament had been
that for which he contended. Now, sir, l will
inforrathe gentleman that directly the oppo
* cite has ever been, without one single excep
tion, the practice of that body. I might here
safely rest upon the authority quoted from the
Lex Parliamentary by my friend from North
Carolina, (Mr. Rayner,) in a speech which I
am sare I express the unanimous sentiment of
the House when 1 call it able and eloquent —
It is an authority express, unequivocal, and
admitting neither of perversion nor reply. But
rir, I will state a case of very recent occur
rence in the House ofCommons. I state it on t he
authority of the distinguished member from
Massachusetts, (Mr Adams.) And I only state
- it myself from the apprehension that, in the
contest for the floor—a contest purely physical
—he may not be able to obtain it to state it
himself. A stronger case, l do not hesitate to
say, cannot have occurred, infinitely stronger
than that which we are considering.
lathe year, 1334, there was a vote on a test
question in the House of Commons against
the Ministry. The alternative was presented,
according to a great principle of popular rights
—which would to God prevailed in this more
popular Government of ours—the Ministry
must resign or Parliament bs dissolved. The
King chose the latter,* and appealed to the
People. A new election took place. The
teats of six Opposition members were contest
ed; yet they voted in the election of Speaker.
The vote stood for Abercromby 316; for Sir
Manners Sutton, the Ministerial candidate,
310; a majority for the Opposition ol six votes.
There were six Opposition seats contested,
and every one of the six afterwards turned
out by the House. Vet they had voted for
Speaker, and their votes carried the election.
And thereupon the Peel Ministry resigned.—
And it never occurred to the Ministerial
party even toqueslion the right o! these mem
bers to take their seats, although the conse- ;
quence was the los3 of their seals and olUces.*
This, sir, in a Government in form less free 1
than ours, where the theoretical rights of the: i
People are not so great as<uirs; and who, it. is J
the constant habit to say, art less free than i
we. Tnere, sir, no man has e«er dared so <
far to outrage popular rights and feelings as to i
contend for the contrary. \\ hilst con^tj€f jna
such practices and principles among that & eat b
People, I feel a just pride that no drop of blood 1<
flown in my veins that does not spring trom
that gforious race, not uamingled with shame
mail sorrow at what is passing around me, and
a acorn—a profound scorn—for those canting
and jeauitical hypocrites who, with professions
of regard for the rights of the People forever
on their lips, are striking a deadly blow at the
dearest of all popular rights—the right of repre
♦ See Parliamentary Debates, »ol. i. page 57.1'
This1, however, h no new thing;
been so with tyrants and demagogues m all }
time. As has been well said, they flatter the
people that they may govern them, as one pats
a wild horse that he may ride him. So sacreu
has this right been regarded, that no one in
the British House ol Commons has ever dared
to question it, nor in the American Confess
until now. Why has it not been doner Ha\e
we not heretofore had periods of close and
violent party strife—ay, sir,olfaction Use!I
which,in dignity and vhtue, is as much be
neath party as party is beneath patriotism.
No, we have had such times, but 1 gueve to j
know that although the nines were the same, i
the men who acted in them were ddleient
_very different. There was then sonic ie
I gard for truth and reason, some little respect i
I For the decencies of even political hie.
Some "eniienfen admit that the preceuoots
all <ro to establish the right ol the member
having the return rightfully or not to take tne
seat, hut say there can be no lime- more tit
than the present to change that ru.e—none,
sir,can be more untit. Do not gentlemen owe
it to their own characters, to adhere to a iue
practised upon for centuries in England ami in
this country from the inundation of die Go\ -
ernment, without one exception, and not now
to change the rule when a party benefit is
to be obtained by thus noting'* Sir, we shun hi
not only act correctly, but so not as il possib.e
to avoid the imputation even ol impure mo
tives. We should not establish a new rule to
obtain a present ad vantage,as a politician who
is forced, as the most honest may sometimes
be, to change his party position, should neither
seek nor receive office aiuKrewaril at the
hands of his new associa tes.
The gentleman irom North Carolina (Mr.
Shepard) has thought it necessary to explain
the apparent inconsistency of his votes upon
this subject; and, whilst, in the general, 1 de
sire to avoid the argumeutum ad hominem as
neither pleasant nor profitable, i propose to dis
cuss the reasons given by tiie gentleman lor
his change. These arc fair subjects ol discus
sion—and I shall, therefore consider them, anil
think I shall show if not to the satislac.ion ol
the gentleman himself, to that i {"every oilier
man on the floor, that if he has no heller rea
sons titan those lie has given, he ought not to
have changed ms vote.
The gentleman’s first reason why he should
vote against the members from New Jersey
taking'their seats is, that he will thereby save
time. If these members are entitled to seats,
their right is derived from the Constitution;
will the gentleman violate that to save timer
Is thesaereu—to a freeman the most sacred
of all rights—the right to be represented —
that right, in defence of which our fathers de
clared and achieved our national indepen
dence—are the rights of two hundred and fif
ty thousand tree men, and those rights guaran
tied by that Constitution which we have
sworn to support—aie these, sir, such small
matters that, to save a little time, the mem
ber would violate them? But, is it so? Will
the gentleman really save time. The Chair
has asked the decision of the House; the
House cannot avoid the question; tlie gentle
man must voteny or no; it it will take him
longer to say ay than no, by the difference
between the two monosyllables, and by that
only* will he be able to measure the time
which he will save? I hope that the gentle
man will rejoice to find that his vote to save
from violation the rights of the People of New
Jersey—his own convictionsoi right, and the
Constitution itself,will take no more time than
a vote in violation of all these. V’hat is Ins
second reason? It is this: that you have al
ready deprived New Jersey of her vote in the
election of Speaker—that step you cannot re
trace, and you may as well, therefore, let the
matter rest; in other words, yon have, as tfie
gentleman himself belives, most incontinently,
unjustly, ahd unconstitutionally deprived
New Jersey of one right—er^o, you are not
reouired to respect any of herrights—you have
impoperly excluded the State from participa
ting in the election of Speaker, and it is, there
fore, proper that you should not allow ils
members to vote in the elections of Clerk
and Printer. A ruifiau, without pretence ol
right, takes my horse, and 1 am lo be told by
a just judge, most assuredly he had no right
to the horse* but, as the horse is now dead,
the thing is past remedy, and therefore 1 j
must not resist ins seizing my plantation an i
! negroes. Thr.t is the argument, stated in
terms almost identical. I do not widerMand
the gentleman as claiming ilia t the Ibrmer de
cision before the house t as organized has
any positive authority, but that, as by that de- ;
cision the State was denied one right of great
practical importance.he felt under no obliga
tion to yield other rights. AYe, sir, are not
the judges of the importance of rights deman
ded of us by a sovereign Slate, but only wlie
tiier they are rights: if they are. there is an end
ot our business—we must concede them. If
the members from New Jersey had the right,
to vote for Speaker, it was because that right
was secured to their State by the Constitution,
and because those members presented the re
quisite credentials. That Constitution and
those credentials are the same to-day that
they were on Monday last. It they then had
rights, they havethem still. But my colleague
(Mr. Rhett) does regard the former decision
as strictly m parliamentary law binding upon
us. 1 will, here, in passing, sav a few words j
upon that point. By whom was that decision
made: By the House? No, sir, by an un
organized assembly of gentlemen who had
the prospect, of as well as the title to seats in
the House when it was lormed—no more a
House than an egg is a chicken—no more
than a leg from one man, an arm from anoth
er, and other members from others, is a man
—no more than a handful of broomsedge
growing in a field is a broom—it was not a
House, but the disjecta membra of a future
House. Its decision was no more binding ;
than would it have been if a majority ot the j
members on their way to this place had met
on a steam-boat and so decided. But was it
decided? It was not. If it was, and that de
cision is binding, the present proceeding is out
of order. It was not decided—there was no
positive action of the House—the proposi
tion was not rejected. It dropped, and it is in j
order at any time to take it up. The vote!
was a tie. Will gentlemen, dare they, <1 is
j franchise a whole State on a tie vote, revers
ing all previous rule and precedent? It is still
j worse: it is well known that, but for the visi
I tation of God, there 13 a clear majority on our!
side—the side of the Constitution. And if,
any thing can be added to the picture, it is, '
that this is accomplished by t fie votes of mem- j
bers who not only think it wrong, but. believe j
it in violation of chartered rights. But sup- I
pose it had been decided by the House itself, ■
does a decision, do any number of decisions, of.
any body whatever, consecrate a violation t*f
the Constitution? Not, sir, in the political
school in which my colleague and myself have
oeen orougnt up
But to return to the “thirdly niul lastly” of
the gentleman from North Carolina. He had
seen the certificate of the Secretary of t.iate
of New Jersey—an authorized, unofficial cer
tificate, and therefore no evidence at ail; and
he had seen certain statements in some paper
last summer, and these had excited his suspi
cions that all was not as it should he; in the
language of the Frenchman,‘I begin to sus
I cannot see how it is that these [did not in
fluence his vote in the first instance, but, as
they did not then, I am wholly at a loss to
see why they should now. What, sir, is the 1
present state of ihe case? We have on the
one side all that is required by the Constitu
tion and testimony full and complete; testi- l
mony not only competent, but, in the present !
stage, the only competent testimony—the i
commission of the Governor—that is on its '
a certificate of election to all the world,
hut I«aliy to this body alone, because it was :
to ttus Wflj alone that such certificate is ne- 1
cessary ufwhatearthlvu.se is such certifi
cate but to assu** lls uf the result of the elec- '
hon. anc. of what use as to its, if, without
one particle of evidence, we may disregard
it: I say here, sir, in n.y place, and defy
contradiction, that as yet we have no particle -
of testimony to contradict the mihtn far-r I
evidenceol tho Governor’s commissions; no
thing which auy man, whether a lawyer or
not, will call evidence. What have we.—
Nothing nut the certificate of the Secretary ol <
State, "is the Secretary of State directed or
authored to give such certificate? The
Governor of the State is alone thus etnpmv
ered; and, btrmg so, no other office^ can tie— j
or else the conflict would,or might constant- j
ly occur, of different certificates being issued ;
by different officers to different persons. All
the officers of 1 lie respective States are coin- ,
missioned by the Governors. Gan a Secreta
ry of State commission a sheriff ol a county
on ttie ground that he has counted the votes,
and found another person than the one com-j
missioned by the Governor to have been duly (
elected? Noone will say so. Why not in j
j that case as weil as in this? He cannot, be
cause he has no power concurrent even with
the Governor—much less to rule over the
jact of the Governor. Tne Governor has gi
ven a commission to certain gentlemen; it is. ;
either nothing, or a good commission until
invalidated by the House in the regular way. j
All the power of the Secretary is to vouch '
that it is the act of the Governor, not a pow- j
er to act itself. This certificate of the Secre
tary, then,is an unauthorized, unofficial, and
therefore unauthoratative act ol the Sec etary
the act of Mr. Westcott, a private citizen;
for, although he is Secretary of State, this is
i no omcinl duty; ami. quoad uns puiucui.u
i lie is ajirivate citizen. of no more auinonty
'than if one of the numerous! family ol Smiths
had intruded into the ollice, counted the bal
lots and given the certificate. Is this evi
dence sir?" Why, even the gentleman does
not pretend that it is; but says that it is sui.i
cienl jo excite his “suspicions;” and would
that gentleman set aside a clear, indis
putable title, on mere suspicion? He says so.
He likens this to a case where there is on
one side presented to a judge a clear title, free
from all blemish or defect, to a piece of land:
on the other side, statements not evidence are
made which excite suspicion ol I rand, and up
on this lie would decide against tiie legal ti
lth*.- We are told of a judge ol another t ri
bunal, (not of this world.) whose maxim
was, “eastigatauditque.” Blit this is wo w.—
That was to punish, and then inquire it the
punishment was deserved; but this is first lo
ascertain the truth by evidence, and decit-e
against it on suspicion. Because a suspi
cion is raised in ~lhe mind ol the ger
tleman he will take from 250,000 Ireemen
their right of representation, and violate
the Constitution, without waiting the tedious
and unnecessary process of hearing the evi
dence. These are the gentleman's three rea
sons. It too often* happens in this world of
ours that the reason does not dictate the
course: but that, the course taken, the sea
son is afterwards looked for
In conclusion. Mr. Speaker, I would appeal
to my honorable colleague, (Mr. Rhett,)—
(for, although altogether friendly, 1 have not
the same long standing relations with tiie
gentleman from North Carolina)—1 would ap
peal to me colleague, calmy to review his o
pmions. I have always known, and this
House has had a recent example, that lie lias
that high moral courage which is required to
resist the importunities of party associates on
a great and vital question. I call upon him, 1
adjure him by all the past struggles for popular
rights and the States in which we have stood
side by side,to re-examine the subject,and il he
finds that he is in error.I doubt not that lie will
have the firmness to say so.
Mr.Wise obtained the Hour,and moved that
the House do now adjourn.
Mr. Shepard asked ihe gentlemen to with
draw the motion, in order to afford him an op
portunity of replying to tiie gentleman from
South Carolina, (Mr. Thompson.)
Mr. Wise refused to withdraw, unless it
was understood that he should have the floor
again. *
Mr. Adams expressed his hope that, the gen
tleman would permit the gentleman f.om North
Carolina (Mr. Shepard) to make the explana
tion he desired.
__ _ < -.ii t i*
•Mr, w ise men wiuiurnv ms muuun.
Mr. Shepard said that lie had been a mem
ber oftlie House ol Representatives twoyears.
and io hiscourse here fie had endeavored to
be guided by what he considered to be ins
(intv to himself and the People whom he
had tlie honor in part to represent. On va
rious occasions he had taken a course
wim h he knew to have been unpalatable to
some gentlemen on the floor, and they had
shown their disapprobation ol* jtin numerous
ways. He was not responsible to thorn, nor
anybody else, except to those who sent him
here, and to the country at large. And he
hoped that, in the discharge of his duties, he
was as fearless as any member in that House;
that lie would neither yield to flattery on the
one side, nor bullying on the other. He had
not risen a few moments ago to make an apol
ogy, as the gendeman from South Carolina
asserted. He (Mr S.) owed no apology.
He had risen to put himself right before his
constituents and his country, because be
knew that the party organ, which was spread
throughout the country was always disposed to
hold up public men to odium. They might
think, not understanding t he rules of the I louse
or being acquainted, with the various opinions
of gentlemen or the motives by which they
were actuated, that they were on certain oc
casions, inconsistent, when they were perfect
ly consistent, lie repeated, then, that he had
not risen to make any apology. And notwith
standing the remarks from the gentleman from
South Carolina, lie felt satisfied with the cor
rectness of his course, and believed that eve
ry honorable and unprejudiced man would
justify his conduct. He would now repeat
what he did say. lie had said that when he
first met in this House, lie believed t hat those
members from New Jersey who had the Gov
ernor’s certificates were entitled to take their
seatsand participate in the election of' a Spea
ker; but he stated further, that he had strong
suspicion that those men had come here
through a fraud. The gentleman from South
Carolina himself had strong suspicion th^it
they came here through a fraud, if he had not
misunderstood him on another occasion.
[Mr. Thompson. 1 have not said so, either
in public or in private.]
Mr. Shepard said lie thought in the first
place that they had the right to participate in
the election of a Speaker. They, however,
were deprived of that right hy the IIoust, and
they did not vote for a Speaker. Then, so
far as the principle was concerned, it was vio
lated by prohibiting them from voting in the (
election of a Speaker; and if they had at any
time a right, to participate in the organization
of the House, that right had been trampled
upon, and it was gone forever. Then, after
all this was done, was it. not the proper
course, as a Speaker had been elected who
would immediately appoint committees, to let
the whole matter be brought up before a com
mittee, and be examined and properly decid
ed? Last week, the argument was, that we j
must give faith and effect to the certificate, |
because the House was not organized, because
there was no Speaker, no committee to exam
ine, and collate facts. Now, sir, the case is
different. You have been elected by the
gentleman and his friends, because of your
justice and impartiality. Toucan immediate
ly appoint a committee that will investigate
the whole matter—that will bring to light the
dark part of this transaction, and do equal 1
and full justice to all. Let the House take up
the subject, and decide upon the whole ques
tion of right, now that these men have been
deprived of taking seats in the first instance. •
Was there any inconsistency in his wishing to |
pursue this course? Would the gentleman
from South Carolina desire to give men seats
here who, upon examination, in a few days, it
might be found, were not entitled to them.—
Tins was his position, and these were his
views, expressed with all due respect to the
great legal talents of the gentleman from South
Sir, said Mr. Shepard, the gentleman from
South Carolina, in the conclusion of his re
marks, had said that his relations with me
were not such as would permit, him to speak
of me as he would of his honorable colleague.
(Mr. Rhettr) Although, sir, 1 do not tear that
gentleman’s lance in any contest, f know that
he is possessed of far superior to mine <
The gentleman seemed to know that he is
much my superior in age, in learning, and in
eloquence; but why did he not think ol this be
fore he commenced his attack? Why did he
not attack his friend from South Carolina, who
had voted with me on all these questions.—
That would have been more consistent with
tii** gentfeman’.s vans ted chivalry, winch lie is
eternally talking about. [Laughter.} ^ut
the gentleman further says that 1 had held
that these men had a constitutional right to
participate in the organization of the House,
and contends that because they once had a
constitutional right, 1 act inconsistently m not
supporting their admission to seats at the pre
sent moment. In this matter, the gentleman
: himself is in no enviable position. He came
into mis House a Nullifier,opposed toa Nation
al Bank and a high tariff; still we find him al
waysacting with that party which goes for a
National Bank, fora high tariff, and i°r all
; ilwse nn asures which lie has declared to he
. mostodious to him. II it is inconsistent mme
| to pursue 1 he course 1 have, is it not doubly
inconsistent in the gentleman to pursue the
!course which he pursues? If lam inconsist
! ent, lie is still more so; and how can he justi
j fy himself to his constituents? How is it that
lie is struggling to tret that party in power
which wou d udoptall those Federal measures
• which lie himself pretends tube absolutely
J opposed to?
In pursuing the course whicru desire
sue, l do not see that any harm can he done to
any party, fori will be willing to |>ostpone all
the great questions which this House has to
act u|iO!i, until the matter of this New Jersey
election is finally decided upon, which can he
done in a short time, as the House can pro
ceed to it at once. and act upon it in a legal
and constitutional manner.
Mr. Thompson. I owe an apology to the
House for detaining it a moment to reply to
the remarks of the gentleman from North Car
olina. There is certainly nothing in those re
marks deserving any reply, unless it he some
allusions to myself personally. The gentle
man was pleased to say, that I was alw-.ys
talking of my chivalry. This, sir, I in the
rotmdt.U terms deny.
(Here Mr Shepard explamed. Tie had not
said that Mr Thompson talked of his own chi
. valry, be.' that he frequently used the term.]
I am glad the gentleman has explained
what he had said. But even as now stated, I
deny it. I have not, in this debate, nor m any
other, used the word. The gentleman said
iliat I would have shown inure chivalry in at
tacking tny colleague (Mr. Illicit) instead ol
him, (Mr. S.) I have attacked no one, sir. I
replied, and respectfully, to arguments used by
the gentleman, not only not making any impu
tation of his motives, but expressly disclaim
ing anv. But I had not, however, before
known that the honorable member from North
Carolina was u less valorous or a less puis
sant knight than my colleague. I am sure
that if I were to take the gentleman,s own oc
count. of himself, a more dangerous adversary
could not have been selected. He said “lie
feared no man. He was ready to break a
lance I.ereor elsvvhere with any adversary.’’
“And if the minions of a tyrant had invaded
South Carolina on a late memorable occasion,
lie would have thrown himself against their
bristling bayonets.” Turk Gregory never did
such deeds iii arms as he would have done —
Why, sir' to “eat a crocodile” would he a mere
breakfast for him. And now, forsooth, the
gentleman talks about the inequality of the
contest—a contest, I repeat, ol his own seek
ing. II there has been any vaunting of chival
ry, I have not done it. No, sir] I have none to
boast of. Gentlemen, 1 think, generally take
it for granted that the possession of so com
mon a quality as personal courage is conceded
to them, and if they ever question it in others
it. is when it is made a matter of boast. Then
sir, in the language of the gentleman, ‘’I begin
to suspect” that a consciousness of the want of
ir suggests the vaunt—as a Irightned school
boy whistles as he passes a graveyard in the
r, . n n I •
The gentleman went, very inr oiu 01 ms
way lo inquii e how it was thatj, a nullifier,
was now associated with tariff and bank men.
I will teli him. In the first place, 1 have not
the wonderful facility of changing of some
gentlemen. But wb '> was I to go? Is he in
any better company: Is lie not associated
with tariff and internal improvement men?
and ranged under the banner of an Adminis
tration pledged to tread in the footsteps of its
Proclamation and Force bill predecessor?—an
Administration which professes to believe in
ternal improvement unconstitutional,and eve
ry year appropriates more money for internal
improvements than was ever done in the whole
term of any of its predecessors. They are
false in their professions, or knowingly violate
that Constitution which they have sworn to
support. Hypocrisy, or worse, is the alterna
tive. Show me a party that honestly carries
out in practice those great principles which lie,
as 1 devoutly believe, at the very foundation
of our Government, and that party is my party
But 1 am not to he duped by hollow and false
and fraudulent professions of abstract princi
ples which are daily and hourly violated in
practice. Let me, sir, once see a veto upon
bills lor internal improvement; the principle
of a protective tariff practically opposed; the
expenditures of the Government reduced,
public peculation punished,and public pecula
tors dismissed from office; no more of those
during encroachments of the Executive upon
all tiie other branches of the Government.—
Federal and State, which are rapidly convert
ing ours into that worstol all Governments,
an elective monarchy—let me see all this, sir,
and 1 hen, and not until then, will the gentle
man find me by his side. 1 came here in op
position to Executive misrule, encroachment,
and corruption, vindicating the rights of the
States and of the co-ordinate departments of
the Federal Government against the danger
ous usurpations of the Executive; and I shall
not change my flag and enrol myself on the
side ol power and patronage, however terrible
may be the one, or however tempting the oili
er. " It may, however, happen that the neces
sities of their political position may make it
the interest of the party in power to act out
t heir professed principles on certain great ques
tions. Whenever they do, they shall have my
support for their measures;and no one can now
see what course may be forced upon us of the
South by events hourly developing. But I
have no confidence, and never shall have, in
those in power one moment longer than their
interest concurs with their duties, lam not
insensible, g of the incompatible elements
of the Opposition party. I have always felt
the difficulty ol my position. But most sin
cerely believing the tendencies of the present
Administration to be infinitely dangerous to
our free institutions, I shall not be very par
ticular in what company l oppose it, as, if I
should meet a mad dog in the road, I would
not stop to inquire who it was that helped me
to kill it.
Moxuat, December 23 1839.
Mr. Ramsey moved a resolution to appoint
a committee from the House to join the com
mittee of the Senate, to wait on the President
and inform him that both Houses of Congress
were organized, and ready to receive any
communication lie might be pleased to make;
which was considered and adopted, and
Messrs. Everett and Ramsey were appointed
a committee on the part of the House.
The chair then announced that the first bus
iness in order, under the resolution of the gen
tleman from North Carolina, [Mr. Bynum]
would he the emotion of a Doorkeeper.
Mr. Davi.s of Indiana then nominated Mr.
Jesse E. Dow for the office of Doorkeeper.
Mr. Briggs nominated Mr. Follansbee.
Mr. Lewis ruminated Mr. John Houston.
The Speaker then appointed Messrs. J. W.
Davis, Briggs,Casey, and Griffin, tellers, when
the vote was taken anti declared as follows:
For Mr. Jos. Follanshee * * 130
“ “ Jesse E.Dow - * •» 73
a k( John Houston - PY
So Mr. Poliaiusbee was declared duly elected.
Mr, Craig moved a resolution \\\a[ John W.
Hunter be appointed Assistant (Doorkeeper,
eiiul Vfm, J, MwConnick be appointed Posl
master of the Home; which was considered :
“"“The Chair announced the next business in I
order to be the election or a Printer ior trie i
Mr. Cave Johnson then moved a call of the «
House, which was ordered, and the roil was
twice called. , „ . r,, . „
Excuses were then offered for the following
gentlemen; Messrs. Beirne, Grinnell, Jemler,
Mercer, and Worthington. , r ,
Mr. Stanly then sent to the Chair the fol
lowing resolution, which was read lor infor
mation. _ r
Resolved, That the printing and binding oi
i the House of Representatives shall be fi
nished by contract; notice of which shall ne
given in the public prints of Washington city
for-days, it being made a condition that
the work shall be done in the City ol Wash
ington; and the contract shall, in each case,
be given to the lowest bidder, whose bid snail
be accompanied with proper testimonials ol
| the ability of the binder to fulfil Ins con
i tracts.
The Chair said the resolution was not in
order, the House being now engaged in trie
execution of the order of the House oi Satur
day, it being about to proceed to the election
ol a rnnier.
Mr Stanly then moved to suspend the or
der for the purpose of offering thi< resolution.
He had understoood that the House might
probably save £100,000 by giving out tiie
printing by contract. t. . .
Mr. Williams of North Carolina thought it
was perfectly competent for the House to
give any direction they pleased to this resolu
tion, and that it would he perfectly in order
for tlie House to suspend the order, lay it on
ihe table, or postpone it indefinitely.
The Chair said the resolution could only
be introduced by a motion to suspend the or
(*Mr. Anderson of Kentucky then moved the
following as a substitute for Air. Stanly’s re
Resolved, That the execution of the or
der made on the 21st instant, in rel it ion to the
election ofa public Printer, De postponed for
the present; and that the whole subject of
the public printing be referred to a select
committee of five members, with instructions
to inquire into the expediency of letting out
the printing to the lowest bidder, who shall
furnish satisfactory evidence of ins fidelity
and ability toexecuie it.
Resolved, further, That said committee in
quire into the expediency of separating li e
public printing from the newspaper presses ol
the country; and that, it expedient, they re
port the most practicable plan of having the
printing executed.
Resolved, also, That said committee report
to this House, what amount of money can
be saved to the Government by the adoption
of the plans, above suggested, and until said
committee shall make report, all further pro
ceedings in relation to a Public Printer be sus
Mr. Stanly accepted this as a modmeanon
of his motion.
Mr. Anderson only desired to say a word in
explanation of the motive which had induced
him to offer this proposition. lie was not
now in possession ol the facts which would
enable him to speak with accuracy as to the
public printing, but it had been suggested to
him, by gentlemen ol* experience, that the
public printing of Congress amounted to about
$ 00,000 and the profits arising from it were
about thirty-three and a third percent. He
found, by an examination of the laws, that
the prices of printing had been fixed many
years ago, and it was now' a material consi
deration for the House.to examine and see if
the prices of material and labor had not
been considerably reduced. We would not
vote to embarrass the legitimate operations
of the Government, and he would always
vote for a proper, economical expenditure oi
Air. Vanderpoel here rose to a point ofor*
Mr Sherrod Williams. I he gentleman
must reduce his point ot order to writing.
Mr Vanderpoel then submitted the follow
ing point of order: “ The previous question
having been ordered, and the order of tlie
House partly executed, the main question not
being debatable, a motion to postpone the fur
ther order of the House cannot be debatable.”
The Chair decided that the gentleman from
Kentucky was in order.
Mr Anderson said he had been informed by
a gentleman from Massachusetts that the
printing in that State had been reduced near
ly one-half within a few years past, and he
thought it but right that this matter should at
least be examined into by a committee. It
was the duty ofa Republican Government to
retrench expenditures as much as possible;
and he trusted measures would be taken, at
the present session to retrench.
Mr Everett,from the committee appointed,
inconjunction with a committee of the Senate,
to wait on the President, and inform him that
both Houses of Congress were du y organized
and ready to receive any communication lie
might be pleased to make, made report that
they had performed that duty, and that the
President had informed them that he would
send a Message, in writing, to the two Houses,
on to-morrow at 12 o'clock.
Mr Thompson ot South Carolina said that
he had been denouncing, for the last two
years, the Administration party.for looking one
way and rowing another; for continually talk
ing of economy, while they never practised it;
and he wanted now to see them come up to
the scratch, and show that they, the Jefferso
nian Democratic party, were sincere in their
professions. He thought, now that the bold
est of them would not dare to vote against the
proposition of the gentleman from Kentucky.
Two alternatives were now presented to gen
tlemen. On one side, they had the opportuni
ty of having the fpublic printing executed
for the lowest prices, and on the other side it
was intended to reward a partizan press, by
giving it a large donation out of' the public
purse. He wanted to f>rmg the hard money
gentlemen down to their own system. They
have reduced my income, said Mr T.and that
of every man in the country, and it is therefore
incumbent on them to bring tfie income of
all their salaried officers down to the stand
ard at which they have depreciated the mon
ey of the country. And if no other person did
so lie himself would, before the close of the
session, introduce a bill to reduce the salaries
of'the officers of Government, so that they
may bear the same comparison with the
value of money that they did when they were
Mr. Graves said he did hope they should be j
able to bring the House to a direct voie on
the proposition before it, without its being
cut off by points of order or motions to lay it
on the table. He appealed to the States Right
gentlemen of the South, and said to them that
as they professed to be the advocates of econ
omy, they had now an opportunity of practis
ing what they professed, by voting for there-:
solution. They had the balance of power in
their hands, and on them would rest the re
sponsibility of defeating the measure. The
gentlemen who stood in opposition to the Ad
ministration were disposed to bring this mat
ter to a test, and to try, by a direct vote,
whether economy should be practised in this
branch of the public expenditures. Mr. G.
said he had been informed by a gentleman
from Massachusetts, that the printing for the
Legislature of his State was done at one half
the price that was paid for the printing ofCon
gress, and that both the work and the paper
was of much better quality. He believed
with his friend from North Carolina, that a
saving of $100,000 a year could be effected by
letting out the public printing on contract.
Mr. [Vanderpoel ohservgd "that it seemed
that they \yerg ail economists again; but lie
wished fie could be satisfied on one point.—
The gentlemen from South Carolina and Ken
tucky were too late in their professions of
economy. Sir, said Mr. V. we had a squabble
of this kind Uyq years ago last September,
when these various topics of economy were
discussed, and he hoped that circumstances did
not alter principles as well a's eases. At that
time the Printer wag elected, and under an
agreement understood at that time, the work
was executed at another office. Two vears
have since elapsed, during which time legis
lation could have been had on this subject; but
the gentlemen from Kentucky and South Car
olina [Messrs. Thompson and Gravesl were
then as silent as the gra ve. Where then were 1
all their protestations of economy? Why did
they not then bring forward their resolution
or originate an act to remedy the evil novv
complained of? And lie would ask if thev
were not chargeable with having encouraged
extravagance, when they sat silent for two
years, and permitted the public printing to be
done in the old mode. He did not know all
the reasons which influenced gentlamen to
entertain these new found notions of economy,
but he did know that, within the last five or
six months, the sober second thought of the
people had expressed very loudly the belief
that this Administration carried out those pro
] fessions of economy and retrenchment which
brought them into office.
Mr. V. alter enumerating the several Slates
in which the elections had gone in favor of the
Administration since the last Congress, re.
marked that the decisive echoes of this Sober
second thought’ had not, however, reverbe
rated through the ears of the present stick
lers for economy before the termination of the
last Congress; and therefore, perhaps circum
stances did not require them to look so close
ly then to the emoluments of the public prmt
■er. Where were they, he asked, at the last
sesson of Congress, and why did they not
then rise and press this subject? Sir, (said •
Mr. V.) it is now proposed to postpone the re
solution, and we had the same thing enacted
in September, 1837; but he had looked at the
debates, and the votes given at that period,
and he would novv see whether they would
adhere to their votes, then. Gentlemen want
ed to postpone the resolution, and send it to a
committee. How were they going to get along
with the public printing while the committee
was seeking information to make up its re
port? How will you get the pnntmgof the
message, and other documents, while the
committee was making up its report? No 2cn
tleman has made any suggestion to that effect
He believed that every gentlemen had made
up his mind how he would act on this same
proposition, if made under different circumstan
ces. Believing that it would be impracticable
to carry the resolution into effect, so to pro
vide for pressing emergencies, he would move
to lay it on the table.
rickens. i vanuerpoel, at Jus re
quest, having withdrawn his motion" observ
ed that, as fie was somewhat interested in this
question fie desired to make a lew remarks in
regard to it. At the extra session of 1837, he
made a motion that the public printing should
be given out on contract to the lowest bidder,
and that the Clerk should superintend it.—
Hut from the difficulty of execution it was, in a
few days, rejiealed, and another motion sub
stituted for it. We find fiad occasion to ex
amine the law of 1819, which fixed the prices
to be Luven for the public printing, and, there
fore, without a repeal of that law, the print
ing could not be let out on contract, I lea
greed entirely with the gentleman from Ken
tucky, that the price of (lie public fainting
should lie reduced if'it is found to be too high,
and he would go, for a law fixing the subject
definitely. He hoped this Congress would
not rise without passing a law to purchase a
public press and employ a superintendent of
tfie public printing; and he hoped.furtherr. that
this superintendent should not he connected
with the public press. The great question now,
however, was how the public printing should
be executed. It was necessary now that they
should adopt some means of having the pub
lic printing executed according to the law of
1819, and he would suggest to gentlemen
whether they could repeal that law without
the consent of the other House. As to his
colleague’s suggestions with regard to tfie re
duction of prices, they could be reduced as
well after the Printer was elected as before.—
This House was not bound to give the public
Printer the prices fixed by the law of' 1819*—
Let it reduce the prices if, on examination by
a committee, they should be found too high,
and he himself would go for that reduction, if
convinced that it was necessary. Buttheques
tion was, how were they to get along with the
public printing, if the resolution of last Satur
day should he postponed, and the subject re
ferred to a committee? Mr. P. said he only
rose to explain his position on this question1
and to say that he would,at anv time,go fora
reduction of the prices of the public printing.—
Mr. P. then renewed Mr. jYanderpoelVs mo
tion to lay Mr. Anderson’s resolution on the
Mr. v .anderpoel then called lor the yeas anu
nays on Mr. Pickens’s motion.
Air. Williams of North Carolina moved that
the first part of the report of* the Select. Com
mittee raised during the last Congress upon
the memorial of F. P. Blair, recommending a
change in the manner of executing the public
printing, be read by the Clerk, for the infor
mation of the House. Also, the resolutions ol
the said comrniitec, appended to the said re
Mr. Turney moved to lay that motion on
the table, and the yeas and nays having been
taken on this motion, it was decided in the
negative—yeas 107 nays 116.
Mr. Smith of Alaine moved to amend the
motion so that all the report should he read.
Mr. Galbraith here submitted a point of or
der, as follows:
The point of order is, that a motion having
been made to lay the resolution ol the gentle
man from Kentucky mi the table, and the
yeas and nays ordered on that motion that oft he
gentleman from North Carolina for the reading
of a certain document, the same having been
objected to, is not in order.
The Speaker having decided against the
point of order raised by Mr. Galbraith,
Air. Smith of Maine said the reason which
induced him toofler.liis amendment, was this:
The resolution of the gentleman from North
Carolina did not go fiir enough. It only pro
posed the reading of the recommendation of
the committee, that a change should he made
in the mode of executing the public printing.—
Now he wanted the whole report read, in or
der that the House might have the reasons
why the committee recommended this change.
When this report should he rend, gentlemen
would find developments made in it that would
not he very palatable to them.
Mr. Francis Thomas did not hear thedecis
ion of the Chair on the point of order raised I r
tfie gentlemen on his right .Mr. Galbraith.]
He wanted to know if’ the Chair had decided
that it was in order to propound a question to
read papers, after a motion to lay the subject
to which they related on the table.
I he Speaker saul tnnt it was moraer.
Mr. Francis Thomas asked J au appeal
from that decision was in order.
The Speaker replied that it was too lato
now to make an appeal,
After some conversation, in which Messrs.
Smith of Maine, Vanderpoel, Hubbard and
Banks participated.
The report of the Select Committee was
Some further conversation took place in re
lation to the resolution recommended by the
SelectCommittee, jii which Messrs, Bond, Pet
rikin. McKay, Wise. Vanderpoel, and Hillen
participated;after which, ill? resolution was
also read.
Mr. Bynum said he rose to submit a resolu
tion, which he would oiler in case that of the
gentleman from Kentucky should he laid on
the table, and which would test the sincerity
of gentlernpn who mad? profusions about e
The question was then taken on laying Mr.
Anderson's resoluiionoij the table, and decid
ed in the affirmative—yeas IM, nays 111.
Mr. Bynum then submitted the following
Resolved, That this House will forthwith
proceed to the election of a public Printer,
who shall discharge the duties of a Printer
until otherwise ordered.
Resolved, That a select committee ^ five
members be appointed to report to thisliou'O
what means can be adopted to have the pub.
lie printing executed in the best manner, and

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