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referred to the Office of Foreign Affairs. Mr. CLARK proposed to add "to report.” This was objected to by Mr. King, and brought on some general observations on the proceedings of Congress in the affair of the Mississippi. It was at length agreed that the reference be made without an instruction to report. Mr. Pierce then observed that it had been hinted by Mr. Madison, as proper to instruct the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to lay before Congress the state of his negotiation with Mr. Guardoqui, and made a motion to that effect, which was seconded by several at once.
Mr. King hoped Congress would not be hurried into a decision on that point, observing that it was a very delicate one. But he did not altogether like it; and yet it was of such a nature that it might appear strange to negative it. He desired that it might at least lie over till Monday.
Mr. Madison concurred in wishing the same, being persuaded that the propriety of the motion was so clear that nothing could produce dissent, unless it were forcing members into an unwilling decision.
The motion was withdrawn, with notice that it would be renewed on Monday next.
MONDAY, APRIL 2ND.
Mr. PIERCE renewed his motion instructing the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to lay before Congress the state of his negotiation with Mr. Guardoqui, which was agreed to without observation or dissent.
See Journals till
TUESDAY, APRIL 11TH.
Mr. KEARNEY moved that Congress adjourn on the last Friday in April, to meet on the day of May, in Philadelphia. Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Rhode Island, were for it. The merits of the proposition were not discussed. The friends to it seemed sensible that objections lay against the particular moment at which it was proposed; but considering the greater centrality of Philadelphia, as rendering a removal proper in itself, and the uncertainty of finding seven States present and in the humor again, they waived the objections. The opinion of Mr. Madison was, that the meeting of the ensuing Congress in Philadelphia ought to be fixed, leaving the existing Congress to remain throughout the Federal year in New York. This arrangement would have been less irritating, and would have had less the aspect of precipitancy or passion, and would have repelled insinuations of personal considerations with the members. The question was agreed to lie over till to-morrow.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12TH.
Mr. VARNUM moved that the motion for removing to Philadelphia should be postponed generally. As the assent of Rhode Island was necessary to make seven States, no one chose to press a decision : the postponement was therefore agreed to nem. con., and
the proceedings of yesterday involved the Yeas and Nays on some immaterial points struck from the Journal.
See the Journal till
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18TH.
It having appeared by the Report of Mr. Jay on the instruction agreed to on Monday, the 2nd instant, and on information referred to him concerning the discontents of the Western people, that he had considered the act of seven States as authorizing him to suspend the use of the Mississippi, and that he had accordingly adjusted with Mr. Guardoqui an article to that effect, that he was also much embarrassed by the ferment excited in the Western country by the rumored intention to cede the Mississippi, by which such cession was rendered inexpedient on one side; and, on the other side, by the disinclination in another part of the Union to support the use of the river by arms, if necessary. It was proposed by Mr. Madison, as an expedient which, if it should answer no other purpose, would at least gain time, that it should be resolved, “That the present state of the negotiations with Spain, [meaning the step taken under the spurious authority of seven States,] and of the affairs of the United States, (meaning the temper and proceedings in the Western country,] renders it expedient that the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of France should proceed under a special commission to the Court of Madrid, there to make such
representations, and to urge such negotiations, as will be most likely to satisfy the said Court of the friendly disposition of the United States, and to induce it to make such concessions relative to the Southern limit of the said States, and their right to navigate the river Mississippi, and to enter into such commercial stipulations with them, as may most effectually guard against a rupture of the subsisting harmony, and promote the mutual interest of the two nations; and that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs prepare and report the instructions proper to be given to the said Minister, with a proper commission and letters of credence; and that he also report the communications and explanations which it may be advisable to make to Mr. Guardoqui relative to this change in the mode of conducting the negotiation with his Court."
Mr. KING said that he did not know that he should be opposed to the proposition, as it seemed to be a plausible expedient, and as something seemed necessary to be done; but that he thought it proper that Congress should, before they agreed to it, give the Secretary for Foreign Affairs an opportunity of stating his opinions on it, and accordingly moved that it should be referred to him.
Mr. Clark and Mr. VARNUM opposed the reference, it being improper for Congress to submit a principle, for deciding which no further information was wanted, to the opinion of their minister. The reference being, however, at length acceded to by the other friends of the proposition, on the principle of accommodation, it had a vote of seven States.'34
THURSDAY, APRIL 19TH.
The instructions of Virginia against relinquishing the Mississippi were laid before Congress by the Delegates of that State, with a motion that they should be referred to the Department of Foreign Affairs, by way of information.
The reference was opposed by Mr. King and Mr. Benson, as unnecessary for that purpose, the instructions having been printed in the newspapers.
In answer to this, it was observed, that the memorial accompanying the instructions had never been printed; that if it had, no just objection could be thence drawn against an official communication; that if Congress would submit a measure, as they had done yesterday, to the opinion of their Minister, they ought at least to supply him with every fact, in the most authentic manner, which could assist his judgment; and that they had actually referred to the same Minister communications relative to the Western views, less interesting and authentic, and which he had made the basis of a Report to Congress.
The motion was lost, Massachusetts and New York being against it, and Connecticut divided. Mr. Mitchell, from the latter State, was displeased at the negatives, as indicating a want of candor and moderation on the subject. *