Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 27
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GALES'& SEATON'S REGISTER
Sen. Sc H. of R.]
Gratitude to Lafayette.
[Deo. 21, 1824.
ed to the habits and constitutions of our citizens—to de-
lude from their present peaceful abodes a considerable
population, Before we adopt a measure of this kind, he
said, we ought to have some satisfactory information, up-
on proper responsibility, as to the character of the soil,
climate, &c. of the country. Before any settlement was
made there, the country ought to be explored by proper
topographical engineers, &c. The proposed undertak-
ing' was one of great importance, and the subject was
worthy of consideration. He wished to place the whole
matter before the committee raised on that part of the
President's message which relates to this subject, to en-
able them to digest such measures as might appear pro-
per to enable the House to act knowingly and delibe-
rately on this subject. At present they were leaping
entirely in the dark: for one, he confessed that he was;
and he presumed a large portion of the House were in
the same situation. He wished to have information on
this subject which could be relied upon, and not to es-
tablish a grand system, for such this was, without first
exploring their way, and ascertaining whether that act
.would not have the effect to delude many of our citizens
from their present successful pursuits, to a vain search
after imaginary improvement of their condition.
Mr. THIMBLE, of Kentucky, felt some regret that the
motion of the gentleman from Illinois had been made.
He did not see the necessity for it even to the attain-
ment of the mover's own object, and there was, in the
mean while, a weighty reason why the House should act
upon the bill at the present session. The bill had, as
had been observed, two leading features—first, the es-
tablishment of a military post, and, secondly, the esta-
blishment of a territorial government at such time as the
President shall judge it to be proper. The object of
the gentleman from Illinois would be fully answered by
stri ving out the latter feature, to which alone his objec-
tion seemed to apply; for, certainly, when he talked of
sealing topographical engineers to survey the country,
he did not mean to turn those gentlemen out defenceless
am.mg savages : he would surely send a military force of
some description to accompany and protect them. But
it vas needful that the House should act upon the sub-
ject, and for this reason : By the terms of the British
tresity, England and the United States are to trade in
cotrmon throughout that country; and the treaty stipu-
lates that the rights possessed by each at the time of the
treaty, are to remain as they then were for fourteen
yeius. Now, it was well known that an agent of the Ame-
rica! Government had gone round to Astoria, the set-
tlement at the mouth of the river Oregon, immediate-
ly a'ter the conclusion of peace, and demanded that the
British Hag should be lowered and the American flag
hoisted, as a signal of the possession of that part of the
coast. Well, said Mr. T., the lion accordingly came
down and the eagle went up; but, no sooner did the
American agent turn his back, than down went the ea-
gle, and up went the lion again. Under such circum-
stances, we made the agreement contained in the com-'
sneicial treaty ; and, if we shall leave the territory in
possession of Great Britain until the fourteen years shall
run out, at the end of that time it will be hers by right
of possession, and she may expel our traders, &c. The
possession which may now be obtained and secured by a
small military force, say of two hundred men, may not,
after that time, be obtained by a much larger force, and
at a much greater expense. He was, therefore, opposed
to the recommitment of the bill. Whilst up, he begged
leave to return his thanks, those of the people whom he
represented, and, he believed, of a great portion of the
American people, to the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr.
Floyd,) wtio had so long, and with so much assiduity, la-
bored to collect and present facts for the information
and guidance of the House in a matter of so great na-
tional importance as that which was now before it, and
'.vhich he had at successive sessions brought forward.
The question was then put on Mr. COOK'S motion tp
recommit the bill, and lost by a large majority.
And then the House adjourned.
IN SENA TE.—Tuesday, Dec. 21,1824.
GRATITUDE TO LAFAYETTE.
The Senate then, according to the order of the daj^,
took up the bill making provision for General Lafa*-
jsttk ; and, no amendment being proposed thereto, the
question was about to be put on ordering the bill to be
read a third time —
Mr. MACON rose. It was with painful reluctance, he
said, that he felt himself obliged to oppose his voice to
the passage of this bill. He admitted, to the full extent
claimed for them, the great and meritorious services of
General Lafayette, and he did not object to the precise
sum which this bill proposed to award him ; but he ob-
jected to the bill on this ground: he considered General
Lafayette, to all intents and purposes, as having been,
during our Revolution, a son, adopted into the family,
taken into the household, and placed, in every respect,
on the same footing with the other sons of the same
family. To treat him as others were treated, was all, in
this view of his relation to us, thai could be required,
and this had been done. That General Lafayette made
great sacrifices, and spent much of his money in the ser-
vice of this country, (said Mr. M.) I as firmly believe as I
do any other thing under the sun : I have no doubt that
every faculty of his mind and body were exerted in the
Revolutionary war, in defence of this country ; but this
was equally the case with all the sons of the family.
Many native Americans spent their all, made great sacri-
fices, and devoted their lives in the same cause. This
was the ground of his objection to this bill, which, he
repeated, it was as disagreeable to him to state as it
could be to the Senate to hear. He did not mean to take
up the time of the Senate in debate upon the principle
of the bill, or to move any amendment to it He admit-
ted that, when such things were done, they should be
done with a free hand. It was to the principle of the
bill, therefore, and not to the sum proposed to be given
by it, that he objected. With regard to the details of.
the bill, however, he was rather o! the opinion that it
would have been better to have given so much money,
which we have in the Treasury, than to have given stock
to the amount.
Mr. BROWN, of Ohio, said that this bill purported to
give a compensation to General Lafayette for services
rendered. He should like to know what evidence had
induced the committee to suppose that the amount pro-
posed was the proper amount of compensation. He
should like to know how far the proposed appropriation
was grounded on claims for services or for expenditure.
He should, indeed, like to see the phraseology of the
bill changed. He should like to have the bill recom-
mitted, also, for another and a peculiar reason. As it
proposed to raise money by a loan, he doubted wheihcr
that provision of the bill was not invading the peculiar
privilege of the House of Representatives. Under the
influence of these considerations, he moved to recommit
Mr. HAYNE, of South Carolina, said he had entertain-
ed the hope that this bill would have given rise to no
discussion ; and if no other objection had been made to
it than that of his friend (Mr. Macon) who was opposed
upon principle, to making an appropriation, in any case,
or under any circumstances, by way of compensation
for losses and services in the public cause, he did not
fyiuw that he should now have risen. But the objection
of the gentleman from Ohio made it his duty to submit,
as briefly as possible, his views of this question. He
trusted, he said, that be should be able to satisfy the
Senate, and to satisfy even the scruples of the gentle-
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/18/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.