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which was to justify himself to his constituents, would be frustrated. Most of those who voted with him were opposed to an immediate publication. The expedient of a temporary concealment was proposed as answering all purposes.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH.
Nothing of consequence was done.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21st.
The Report of the Convention at Annapolis, in September, 1786, had been long under the consideration of a committee of Congress for the last year, and was referred over to a grand committee of the present year. The latter committee, after considerable difficulty and discussion, agreed on a report, by a majority of one only, (see the Journal,)*which was made a few days ago to Congress, and set down as the order for this day. The Report coincided with the opinion held at Annapolis, that the Confederation needed amendments, and that the proposed Convention was the most eligible means of effecting them. The objections which seemed to prevail against the recommendation of the Convention by Congress, were, with some, that it tended to weaken the Federal authority by lending its sanction to an extra-constitutional mode of proceeding; with others, that the interposition of Congress would be considered by the jealous as betraying an ambitious wish to get power into their hands by any plan whatever that might present itself. Subsequent to the Report, the Delegates from New York received instructions from its Legislature to move in Congress for a recommendation of a convention; and those from Massachusetts had, it appeared, received information which led them to suppose it was becoming the disposition of the Legislature of that State to send deputies to the proposed Convention, in case Congress should give their sanction to it. There was reason to believe, however, from the language of the instruction from New York, that her object was to obtain a new convention, under the sanction of Congress, rather than to accede to the one on foot; or perhaps, by dividing the plans of the States in their appointments, to frustrate all of them. The latter suspicion is in some degree countenanced by their refusal of the impost a few days before the instruction passed, and by their other marks of an unfederal disposition. The Delegates from New York, in consequence of their instructions, made the motion on the Journal to postpone the Report of the Committee, in order to substitute their own proposition. Those who voted against it considered it as liable to the objection above mentioned. Some who voted for it, particularly Mr. Madison, considered it susceptible of amendment when brought before Congress; and that if Congress interposed in the matter at all, it would be well for them to do it at the instance of a State, rather than spontaneously. This motion being lost, Mr. DANE, from Massachusetts, who was at bottom unfriendly to the plan of a convention, and had dissuaded his State from coming into it, brought forward a proposition, in a different form, but liable to the same objection with that from New York. After some little discussion, it was agreed on all sides, except by Connecticut, who opposed the measure in every form, that the resolution should pass as it stands on the Journal, sanctioning the proceedings and appointments already made by the States, as well as recommending further appointments from other States, but in such terms as do not point directly to the former appointments.
It appeared from the debates, and still more from the conversation among the members, that many of them considered this Resolution as a deadly blow to the existing Confederation. Doctor Johnson, who voted against it, particularly declared himself to that effect. Others viewed it in the same light, but were pleased with it as the harbinger of a better confederation.
The reserve of many of the members made it difficult to decide their real wishes and expectations from the present crisis of our affairs. All agreed and owned that the Federal Government, in its existing shape, was inefficient and could not last long. The members from the Southern and Middle States seemed generally anxious for some republican organization of the system which would preserve the Union, and give due energy to the government of it. Mr. BINGHAM alone avowed his wishes that the Confederacy might be divided into several distinct confederacies, its great extent and various interests being incompatible with a single government. The Eastern members were suspected by some of leaning towards some anti-republican establishment, (the effect of their late confusions,) or of being less desirous or hopeful of preserving the unity of the empire. For the first time the idea of separate confederacies had got into the newspapers. It appeared to-day under the Boston head. Whatever the views of the leading men in the Eastern States may be, it would seem that the great body of the people, particularly in Connecticut, are equally indisposed either to dissolve or divide the Confederacy, or to submit to any anti-republican innovations.129
Nothing noted till
Tuesday, March 13TH.
Col. Grayson and Mr. CLARK having lately moved to have the military stores at Springfield, in Massachusetts, removed to some place of greater security, the motion was referred to the Secretary at War; who this day reported against the same, as his report will show. No opposition was made to the Report, and it seemed to be the general sense of Congress that his reasons were satisfactory. The movers of the proposition, however, might suppose the thinness of Congress (eight States only being present) to bar any hope of successful opposition.
Memorandum.-Called with Mr. Bingham to-day on Mr. Guardoqui, and had a long conversation touching the Western country, the navigation of the Mississippi, and commerce; as these objects relate to Spain and the United States. Mr. BINGHAM opened the conversation with intimating that there was reason to believe the Western people were exceedingly alarmed at the idea of the projected treaty
which was to shut up the Mississippi, and were forming committees of correspondence, &c., for uniting their councils and interests. Mr. Guardoqui, with some perturbation, replied, that, as a friend to the United States, he was sorry for it, for they mistook their interest; but that as the Minister of Spain he had no reason to be so. The result of what fell in the course of the conversation from Mr. Madison and Mr. Bingham was, that it was the interest of the two nations to live in harmony; that if Congress were disposed to treat with Spain on the ground of a cession of the Mississippi, it would be out of their power to enforce the treaty; that an attempt would be the means of populating the western country with additional rapidity; that the British had their eye upon that field, would countenance the separation of the western from the eastern part of North America, promote the settlement of it, and hereafter be able to turn the force springing up in that quarter against Spanish America, in co-operation with their naval armaments; that Spain offered nothing in fact to the United States in the commercial scale which she did not grant to all the other nations from motives of interest.
Mr. Guardoqui would not listen to the idea of a right to the navigation of the Mississippi by the United States, contending that the possession of the two banks at the mouth shut the door against any such pretension. Spain never would give up this point. He lamented that he had been here so long without effecting any thing; and foresaw that the consequences would be very disagreeable.
What would those consequences be?-He evaded