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only, and not foreigners, could restrain the States from legislating with respect to the former; and supposed that such stipulations could not.
The resolutions passed unanimously.'"
FRIDAY, MARCH 23RD.
The Report for reducing salaries agreed to, as amended, unanimously. The proposition for reducing the salary of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to three thousand dollars was opposed by Mr. King and Mr. Madison, who entered into the peculiar duties and qualifications required in that office, and its peculiar importance. Mr. Mitchell and Mr. VaRxum contended, that it stood on a level with the Secretaryship to Congress. The
nays were called on the question, and it was lost. A motion was then made to reduce the salary of four thousand, to three thousand five hundred. Mr. CLARK, who had been an opponent to any reduction, acceded to this compromise. Mr. King suffered his colleague to vote in the affirmative. There being six States for reducing to three thousand five hundred, and Mr. CARRINGTON being on the same side, in opposition to Mr. GRAYSON, Mr. Madison gave up his opinion to so great a majority, and the resolution for three thousand five hundred passed. The preceding yeas and nays on the motions for reducing to three thousand was then withdrawn, and no entry made of it. It seemed to be the general opinion that the salary of the Secretary at War was disproportionately low, and ought to be raised. The Committee would have reported an augmentation, but conceived themselves restrained by their commission, which was to reduce, not to revise, the Civil List.
Nothing of consequence till
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28TH.
Mr. King reminded Congress of the motion on the nineteenth day of February for discontinuing the enlistments, and intimated that the state of things in Massachusetts was at present such that no opposition would now be made by the Delegation of that State. A committee was appointed, in general, to consider the military establishment, and particularly to report a proper resolution for stopping the enlistments.
The Virginia Delegates laid before Congress sundry papers from the Executive of that State relating to the seizure of Spanish property by General Clark, and the incendiary efforts on foot in the western country against the Spaniards, &c. No comment was made on them, nor any vote taken.
THURSDAY, MARCH 29TH.
The committee appointed to confer with the Treasury Board on the great business of a fiscal settlement of the accounts of the United States, reported that they be discharged, and the Board instructed to report an ordinance. Mr. King, in explanation, said, that it was the sense of the Committee and of the Treasury Board both, that commissioners should be appointed with full and final powers to decide on
the claims of the States against the Union, &c. The Report was agreed to nem. con.
Sundry papers from the Illinois, complaining of the grievances of that country, which had arrived by a special express, were laid before Congress by the President, and committed.
Mr. Mitchell, from Connecticut, observed that the papers from Virginia communicated yesterday were of a very serious nature; and showed that we were in danger of being precipitated into disputes with Spain, which ought to be avoided if possible; and moved that these papers might be referred to the Committee on the Illinois papers, which was
, done without opposition; Mr. King only observing, that they contained mere information, and did not in his view need any step to be taken on them.
The Virginia Delegates communicated to Mr. Guardoqui the proceedings of the Executive relative to Clark's seizure of Spanish property, at which he expressed much regret as a friend to the United States, though as a Spanish Minister he had little reason to dread the tendency of such outrages. The communication was followed by a free conversation on the Western territory and the Mississippi. The observations of the Delegates tended to impress him,-first, with the unfriendly temper which would be produced in the Western people, both against Spain and the United States, by a concerted occlusion of that river; secondly, with the probability of throwing them into the arms of Great Britain; thirdly, of accelerating the population of that country, after the example of Vermont; fourthly, the danger of such numbers under British influence, as well to Spanish America as to the Atlantic States; fifthly, the universal opinion of right in the United States to the free use of the river; sixthly, the disappointment of the people of America at an attempt in Spain to make their condition worse, as citizens of an independent State, in amity and lately engaged in a common cause, than as subjects of a formidable and unfriendly power; seventhly, the inefficiency of an attempt in Congress to fulfil a treaty for shutting the Mississippi, and the folly of their entering into such a stipulation ; eighthly, that it would be wise in Spain to foresee and provide for events that could not be controlled, rather than to make fruitless efforts to prevent or procrastinate them.
Mr. Guardoqui reiterated his assertion that Spain would never accede to the claim of the United States to navigate the river; secondly, urged that the result of what was said was, that Congress could enter into no treaty at all; thirdly, that the trade of Spain was of great importance, and would certainly be shut against the United States,-affecting to disregard the remark that, if Spain continued to use fish, flour, &c., her interest would restrain her from shutting her ports against the American competition; fourthly, he signified that he had observed the weakness of the Union, and foreseen its probable breach; that he lamented the danger of it, as he wished to see it preserved and strengthened, which was more than France* or any other nation in Europe did. No reply was made to this remark. The sincerity of his declaration as to his own wishes was not free
* From this it may be inferred that he does not regard France as favorable to the claims of Spain touching the Mississippi.
from suspicion. Fifthly, he laid much stress on the service Spain had rendered the United States during the struggle for their independence, considering it as laying them under great obligations. The reality of the service was not denied, but he was reminded of the interest Spain had in dividing a power which had given the law to the House of Bourbon, and compelled Spain to relinquish, as he said, the exclusive use of the Mississippi. Sixthly, in answer to the remark, that Spain was for putting the United States on a worse footing than they stood on as British subjects, he not only mentioned the necessity which had dictated the Treaty of 1763, but contended that the recovery of West Florida made a distinction in the case. It was observed to him that, as the navigable channel of the Mississippi ran between the Island and the western shore, Spain had the same pretext for holding both shores when Florida was a British Colony, as since. He would neither accede to the inference nor deny the fact. Seventhly, he intimated, with a jocular air, the possibility of the Western people becoming Spanish subjects; and, with a serious one, that such an idea had been brought forward to the King of Spain by some person connected with the Western country, but that His Majesty's dignity and character could never countenance it. It was replied, that that consideration was no doubt a sufficient obstacle, but it was presumed, that such subjects would not be very convenient to Spain. It would be much more for the interest of Spain that they should be friendly neighbors than refractory subjects. It did not appear that he viewed the matter in a different light.