Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 35
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GALES & SEATON'S REGISTER
H. of R.]
Gratitude to Lafayette —Northwest Coast.
[Dec. 21, 1824.
titude of claims which, for these ten years past, hadbeen
continually presented to its notice for pensions for revo-
lutionary services, The soldier of the Revolution, and
he would add the American soldier, had been again and
again at their door, asking compensation for services and
sacrifices in the cause of his country. Was it sufficient
that he should merely mention his claim ? No—he must
state and explain the grounds on which it was founded.
Was it enough that he should do this once ? No—he
had to do it again and again—he must do it twenty times
over—there was no eye to pity him, no hand to relieve
him. After waiting on this House for years, he often
had to go away at last without reward, because he could
not explain and prove the precise amount and extent of
his services. Now, sir, said Mr. G. what I would not
give to the poorest American soldier, 1 would not give
to a king upon his throne, should he ask it of me. The
gentlemen who have the charge of this bill have pur-
sued the wrong course in thus hastening the mtasure.
There was another course which would better serve
their Object—which would unite all hearts and all hands:
let the case be soberly and candidly set before the
House: let the facts be explained—give gentlemen time
to reflect and to deliberate, and he did not doubt they
would do what was right in this matter. But, to the bill
as now pressed upon the House, he could by no means
consent, and he should therefore move to postpone the
further consideration of it till Monday next.
The question being taken on tile motion to postpone,
was lost—ayes 7S, noes 94.
Mr. STERLING, of Connecticut, then moved to
amend the bill by striking out the second section,
(which grants a section of land,') but the motion was lost
by a considerable majority, only fifty-eight members ris-
ing in its favor.
Mr. VANCE, of Ohio, then moved to reduce the sum
in the bill to $150,000 : but this motion was negatived by
a still larger majority ; when
Mr. GA55LAY' moved to reduce the amount to 100,000
dollars, on which question he demanded the Yeas and
Nays, which were ordered.
Mr. TtlACY, of New York, then rose, and observed,
that it must now be evident to all, that there existed in
the House a difference of opinion as to the form of the
measure proposed by the bill. To the measure itself,
he was persuaded, no gentleman on that floor was oppos-
ed, and he presumed that the friends of the bill, as re-
ported, would not think, under such circumstances, of
pressing the bill through the House while the minds of
members were in a state so unprepared to act with uni-
son upon the subject. He confessed, that to himself it
had appeared somewhat extraordinary, that a measure
of this kind had been introduced and pressed with so
much precipitancy. For his own part, he would not s,;y
that he was either in favor of the bill or opposed to it in
its present form. He had deputed to no committee the
right of graduating his feelings on this subject, nor
would this House submit to have the measure of its gra-
titude dictated to it by any committee. It must have
time to think and to act for itself. Such time had not
been given. He would not say the amount was too
large—others might think it was, and others, again,
might consider it too small: opportunity must be aliww-
ed to gentlemen to express their views. No committee
could gauge in a moment the feelings and sentiments
of the House on such a subject, and he was oppos-
ed to such precipitate legislation. Our judgment, said
he, is to be consulted as well as our feelings—and, hop-
ing that the friends of the bill would themselves be sen-
sible of the impropriety of attempting-thus to hurry it
through the House, lie should move to lay the bill upon
>• The question was taken on Mr. TRACY's motion,
which was carried in the affirmative—-aves 93, noes 84.
So the bill was laid upon the table.
SETTLEMENT OF THE NORTHWEST COAST.
On motion of Mr. FLOYD, of Virginia, the House
went again into committee of the whole on the bill "for
occupying the mouth of Columbia river," Mr. A. STE-
VENSON in the chair.
The amendment offered yesterday by Mr. POINSETT,
to insert, after the clause which empowers the President
" to erect a fort on the Oregon river, in the region of
tide water," the following, viz: " or at such other point
as, after an accurate survey of the coast and adjoining
country, shall be found most advantageous for the esta-
blishment of a military post," was again read, and adopt-
ed ; when the committee rose, and reported the bill as
In the House,
Mr. BUCHANAN moved to strike out the 4th section,
which is as follows: " That the President be, and he is
hereby, directed to open a port of entry within the said
territory, whenever lie shall deem the public good may
require it, and shall appoint such officers as may be ne-
cessary for the same; after which, the revenue laws of
the United States shall extend to, and be in full force in
said territoryto which, (though on all other grounds
highly approving it,) he objected, as interfering with
the treaty with Great Britain. By that treaty, a free and
open trade is guarantied, in common, to both powers,
for a certain term of years, which is diametrically in op-
position to the establishment of a port of entry, and the
consequent demand of duties from British traders to the
Mr. GAZLAY thought that, as the treaty was the su-
preme law of the land, the establishment of a port of en-
try would only cause duties to be collected from other
powers, the treaty stipulation, protecting the trade of
Great Britain from those duties.
Mr. FLOYD explained. The gentleman would per-
ceive, if he looked once more at the section, that the
establishment of a port of entry was only to take place,
when the President shall " deem that the public good
may require it." It did not interfere with the enjoy-
ment of an equal trade by both parties, during the pe-
riod stipulated by the treaty, but was intended to put our
citizens, as early as possible, on an advantageous footing
for the prosecution of commercial enterprise.
Mr. TAYLOR, of N. Y. then rose, and moved to
amend the bill by striking out the whole of the 5th sec-
tion, [winch empowers the President to appoint a Go-
vernor, Judges, &c. for the territory, and defines their
powers, emoluments, &c.] He approved of that part of
the bill which provides for the establishment of a mili-
tary post, but he thought that the erecting of a territo-
rial government was matter of high legislation, which
the House should not put out of their own hands, with-
out special and urgent reason. He saw no such reason
in this case. A territorial government would not be
wanted on the river Oregon for many years to come, and
would be attended, at present, only with unnecessary
^ Mr. SMYTH, of Virginia, addressed the chair, and said,
that he had intended to offer some amendments to the
bill, which, that his object might be understood, he
would now read to the committee.[These were to strike
out all the sections except the second and last, and to
amend the second, so as to authorize the President to
occupy " the territory of the United States on the North-
west coast of America," without giving it a name as one
of the territories of the United States.] It might, he said,
be expected that he should explain why it was, that
he, though chairman of the committee on that part of
the ['resident's message which relates to this subject,
had not convened the committee. He thought it due
to his friend and colleague, (Mr. Floyd) who certainly
would have been appointed chairman had he been pre-
seut, who bad, v/:'.b so much industry and ability, inves-
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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/m1/22/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.