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Recess of Congress.
Mr. BRADLEY moved the second Monday, the eighth day of June. This would afford a little more than five weeks, which, he thought, would belong enough.
Mr. Leib proposed to fill the blank with Monday the 18th day of May, which would afford a recess of about twenty days.
The question having been put on Mr. BRADley's motion for the 8th June, - .
Mr. Anderson said he had supposed the day fixed upon by the committee, viz: the 18th May, would have been the day. He did not himself feel the necessity of any adjournment; but, if it must take place, it ought either to be for a short time, or for so long a time as equally to accommodate all... lf it were to be for a o: time, it would be merely for relaxation; if for a longer time, as was now proposed, he feared it would be considered as indicative of an intention to pause in the course of measures they had commenced, and produce an impression abroad, among the people, which was much to be deprecated.
Mr. Pope said he was in favor of such a time being fixed on as should accommodate the greatest number of the members. As to the effect of an adjournment on the public mind, he imagined that the difference between a recess of twenty or thirty days would be very unimportant.
Mr. G. W. CAMpbell said it seemed to him something like bribing the members to obtain votes, to talk about lengthening the time so as to accommodate the greatest number of members. He could not conceive it consistent with the honor of the country that they should decide the question of adjournment on the mere ground of personal convenience; he considered the only question to be; whether a recess would have a good or bad effect on the public service. He had on a former occasion stated his objection to this step, that it would produce an ill effect on the public mind. Many misrepresentations have been already made to induce the public to believe you are not in earnest. An adjournment for any length of time would seem like deserting our posts, and will put the seal on this belief. Under this view, he must vote against the adjournment, but the longer was the recess, the worse would be the effect on the public mind. He should, therefore, vote for the shortest day. - -
Mr. BRAdley said, he could not see that th proposed recess would be deserting their posts at all. The nation knew that the Government could not go to war without soldiers ; and sitting here would certainly not restore peace. Congress had adopted many war measures, the execution of which they had put into the hands of the Executive; they had also authorized a loan of eleven millions. And while these measures were going on, could Congress, by staying here constantly, add to the number of men, or expedite, the loan 7 If an enemy were to invade us, without any Government at all, they would be promptly resisted. But, if we are going to war to redress grievances, to revenge injuries received, we should choose our own time. If we begin war before we
have an army, it is bringing the nation to the last state of degradation, not to consider at all the sufferings and losses which would be in such cases sustained. It would be a great error to attempt to put this country, by a forced vote of Congress, into war. You cannot lead this country to war as the butcher leads his flock to the slaughter-house. This is a Government of opinion; the public sentiment will not be driven, but must be followed. Congress have certainly done as much for the present as they can. I wish to see the effect of the measures they have taken. The Executive is clothed with all the necessary powers to make preparation for war; and if the nation will not abide by us and support the measures of Congress, it is vain, to say we can force the people into a war. I be
lieve the people will be better satisfied with a re
cess than with our sitting here from day to day without doing anything material, and there is nothing material at this moment to do. They are not irrational ; they know that Congress #. been in session six months; they must also foresee that when we come to war, the Council of the Nation must be perpetually in session; they will, therefore, not be dissatisfied at a short recess. If war be actually to take place as the expiration of the embargo, this, of all others, is the time for relaxation. Mr. WoRTHINGTON, said, he was in hopes that
a silent vote would have been taken on this ques
tion, but as that was not permitted, he would add a remark or two. He was sorry, to use the gentleman's own expression, that he had not such a bribe to offer the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. CAMPBell) as would induce him to vote for this resolution. He said he had believed that, if the shortest day proposed should be taken, the effect
would be this: It could not be expected that
those gentlemen who had been six or seven months from their homes and families should remain in this city; if they went home, many of them could not possibly return in twenty days; there would, on the appointed day, be no quorum in either House, and they would have to adjourn from day to day until a sufficient number appeared. When they spoke of the public interest, gentlemen should look at actions, not at professions. Mr. W. said he looked at human nature as he found it; and considering, as regarded himself. that ten days at home would be of infinite advantage to his private concerns, taking it for granted that all gentlemen had the same feelings and regards as himself, he, thought it a duty he owed himself and others, as well as his country, to vote for a recess. He believed much greater injury would result from sitting here than from a recess. He believed, in a day or two, there would scarcely be a quorum of the two Houses left. Didgentlemen mean to take any great measure with a bare quorum of both Houses 7 He presumed they would not. Therefore, in his opinion, it would be very proper to take such time as would suit the greater number of members of both Houses. But, if that could not be attained, Mr. W. said he would still vote for a recess; for although he could
is, whether our affairs are in such a situation as |
would, in common regard to prudence, permit us to depart? What is our situation? We have made preparation for war by authorizing the raising an army. Is that army organized? Are the officers all appointed? No. I put it to gentlemen. whether, from the specimen already had, of bills and supplemental bills, we may not expect other supplemental bills? Can Congress reconcile it to their consciences, to leave the seat of Government, when they see that our army is not organized, when a proposition for appointing Assistant Secretaries to the War Department, and much other detailed business, is before us? The offices of Commissary General and Quartermaster General are yet vacant; because the restrictions are
such as to render them obstacles to the accept
ance of persons qualified to fill those offices. This must be corrected; we must either take off some of the restrictions on these officers, or increase the salaries. There are many other defects in our present laws, which, from past experience, I am confident will require alteration. Now, sir, although I freely confess that I would not plunge the nation into war until the Executive shall tell us that we are in a sufficiently advanced state of preparation; although I would not remain here with a view of declaring war before the time of the proposed recess would expire, yet I should wish to be on the spot to complete such measures as the public service appears to require. If gen
tlemen desired relaxation, merely, Mr. B. said, he was content to sit but twice a week. . But, what
Recess of Congress.
as follow :
he desired was, that a quorum of both Houses should be within call of their presiding officers, ready to receive Executive communications, and act whenever it should be necessary. How could they justify to their constituents a recess at this moment, if, in three weeks after they should have parted, an attack should be made on any quarter of the United States? Much was yet to do before the United States were ready for war; and if they were now to adjourn, very serious detriment to the public interest would, he had - no doubt, be the result. - . Mr. Pope said, if there was to be a recess, in fairness, it ought to be so ordered as to consult thereby the convenience of as many members as possible. Why was there to be a recess at all? For the accommodation of members of Congress. Ought not that accommodation, then, to be made equal? For himself, said Mr. P. he neither liked the recess, nor staying here. He could not be pleased, whether the resolution passed or was. negatived. If the resolution did pass, he wished it to pass in a shape which should afford an equal chance to all. He had understood that the Executive had been consulted, and had no communications to make requiring immediate attention. If it would be no prejudice to the public interest, he had no objection to afford the longest time. On these grounds he had voted for the longest he had serious doubts as to the propriety of a recess at all, The question was then taken by yeas and nays YEAs—Messrs. Bradley, Condit, Crawford, Dana, German, Gilman, Goodrich, Gregg, Horsey, Hunter, Lambert, Lloyd, Reed, Smith of New York, Turner, and Worthington—16, - NArs—Messrs. Anderson, Bibb, Brent, Campbell of Tennessee, Cutts, Gaillard, Giles, Howell, Leib, Pope, Robinson, Smith of Maryland, Tait, Taylor, and Warnum—15. . . So it was, on the part of the Senate, ... Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled, That, during the present session of Congress, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives shall, on the 29th day of April instant, adjourn their respective Houses to Monday the 8th day of June next, then to meet at the same place in which the two Houses are now sitting.
The bill last brought up for concurrence was read, and passed to the second reading. On motion, by Mr. WARNUM, the amendments of the House of Representatives to the bill, entitled “An act making further provision for the Corps of Engineers,” was referred to a select committee, to consider and report thereon; and Messrs. SMITH of Maryland, WARNUM, and BAYARD, were appointed the committee. Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, from the committee to whom were referred the amendments to the bill last mentioned, made report. Whereupon, Resolved, "That the Senate concur in the amend* of the House of Representatives to the said lil. * * The Senate resumed, as in Committee of the Whole, the bill concerning merchant vessels armed for defence; and the further consideration thereof was postponed until to-morrow. Mr. Leib, from the committee appointed to consider the subject, reported a bill allowing an annuity to Arthur St. Clair; and the bill was read, and passed to the second reading. The Senate resumed, as in Committee of the Whole, the bill to authorize the State of Tennessee to issue grants and perfect titles on certain entries and locations of land; therein described; and the further consideration thereof was postponed to, and made the order of the day for, Wednesday next. - * * The Senate resumed, as in Committee of the Whole, the bill, entitled “An act for the relief of John N. Stout;” and on motion, by Mr. Pope, it was referred to a select committee, to consider and report thereon; and Messrs. Pope, BRENT, and Ghegg, were appointed the committee. , The PREsident-communicated a report of the Paymaster General of the Army, on the petition of Simeon Knight, district paymaster, which was read, and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate. - “ Mr. Gregg presented the memorial of Thomas P. Cope, and others, stating that, some time subsequent to the proclamation of the President of the United States, of the 2d of November, 1810, their brig Daphne cleared from Philadelphia for Calcutta. That, in consequence of the non-importation law, they have ordered the said vessel, and a return cargo, amounting to 239,000 dollars, to the island of St. Bartholomews; that the said vessel and cargo is exposed to capture and depredation in the event of war, and to condemnation should she enter a port in America. They, therefore, pray-permission for the said vessel to enter an American port, there to remain and be it. of as subsequent events may dictate; and the memorial was read, and referred to a se
leet committee, to consider and report thereon by
bill or otherwise; and Messrs. GREgg, Lloyd, and SMITH of Md., were appointed the committee. Mr. Smith, of New York, from the committee to whom was referred the petition of Nathaniel. G. Ingraham, and others, presented a bill to discharge from imprisonment the persons therein mentioned; and the bill was read, and passed to the second reading.
- SENATE. Tuesday, April 28. The bill allowing an annuity to Arthur St. Clair was read the second time. The bill, entitled “An act to extend the right of suffrage in the Illinois Territory, and for other purposes,” was read the second time, and referred to a select committee, to consider and report thereon; - and Messrs. GREgg, Good Rich, and WARNUM, were appointed the committee. The Senate resumed, as in Committee of the Whole, the consideration of the bill concerning merchant vessels armed for defence; and, on the question, Shall this bill be engrossed and read a third time? it was determined in the affirmative. The Senate resumed, as in Committee of the Whole, the consideration of the bill respecting associations for maritime security; and on the question, Shall this bill be engrossed and read a
third time? it was determined in the affirmative.
States, and for other purposes.
On motion, by Mr. WoRthingtoN, to suspend the twelfth rule for conducting business in the Senate, as respects the resolution this day offered authorizing the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives to adjourn the respective Houses of Congress, it was determined in the affirmative-yeas 12, nays 9, as follows: Yr As—Messrs. Condit, German, Gregg, Howell, Hunter, Lambert, Leib, Lloyd, Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, Turner, and Worthington. NAxs–Messrs. Bayard, Bibb, Crawford, Dana, Gilman, Goodrich, Robinson, Tait, and Varnum. On motion, by Mr. WorthingtoN, the resolution was read the second time. On the question, Shall this resolution be, en: grossed and read a third time? it was determined in the affirmative. Mr. Gilman, from the committee, reported the resolution last mentioned correctly engrossed: And on motion, the Senate adjourned until tomorrow.
Defence. April, 1812.
Wednesday, April 29. The Senate resumed as in Committee of the Whole, the bill to authorize the State of Tennessee to issue grants and perfect titles on certain entries and locations of land therein described; and, after debate, it was agreed that the further consideration thereof be postponed until to-morrow. * T. - . . . . On motion, by Mr. Leib, the engrossed resolution authorizing the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives to adjourn the respective Houses of Congress'was read a third-time. - On the question, Shall this resolution pass? it was determined in the affirmative-yeas 16, nays 12, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Bayard, Condit, Dana, German, Gilman, Goodrich, Gregg, Horsey, Howell, Hunter, Lambert, Leib, Lloyd, Smith of New York, Turner, and Worthington. - - - NAys—Messrs. Anderson, Bibb, Brent, Campbell of Tennessee, Crawford, Cutts, Gaillard, Pope, Robinson, Tait, Taylor, and Varnum. So it was resolved that the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives adjourn the respective Houses of Congress on Wednesday, the 6th of May, to Monday, the 25th of May. Ordered, That the Secretary request the concurrence of the House of Representatives in this resolution. • The bill supplementary to the act, entitled “An act to establish an Executive Department, to be denominated the Department of War,” having been reported by the committee correctly engrossed, was read a third time as amended, and passed. - A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the House have postponed, o the resolution proposing an adjournment of the two Houses of Congress on the 29th of April, to the 8th of June next. They have passed a bill, entitled “An act for the relief of John Thompson;” also, a bill, entitled “An act making additional appropriations for the support of Government for the year 1812;” in which bills they request the concurrence of the Senate., The two bills last mentioned were read, and passed to the second reading.
Mr. BRENT presented the petition of John and Thomas Vowell, and others, merchants, of Alex. andria, stating that they are owners of propert to a large amount in England, and in %. ports, and praying that the non-importation law may be repealed, or so modified as to admit the importation of British goods to the amount of American claims, for reasons stated at large in the petition; which was read.
Mr. WARNUM presented the petition of Jonathan Grout, of Philadelphia, praying Congress to authorize the purchase of his patent right to a new and improved mode of conveying intelligence, and giving signals, by telegraphs; and the petition was read, and referred to a select committee, to consider and report thereon by bill or other
wise; and Messrs. WARNUM. Leib, and BRENT, were appointed the committee.
Mr. Pope asked and obtained leave to bring in a bill more effectually to protect the commerce and coasts of the United States; and the bill was read, and passed to the second reading. . .
The bill is as follows: A Bill more effectually to protect the commerce and - ".. coasts of the United States.
Whereas the British and other armed vessels have harassed and committed depredations on the commerce of the United States on or near the coasts thereof, in violation of the laws of nations; therefore, Be it enacted, &c., That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, and he is hereby authorized, to instruct and direct the commanders of the armed vessels belonging to the United States to seize, take, and bring into any port of the United States, to be proceeded against according to the laws and usages of nations, any such British or other armed vessel which shall have committed, or which shall be found hovering on the coasts of the United States for the purpose of harassing or committing depredations on ...the vessels belonging to the citizens thereof.
The bill respecting associations for maritime security having been reported by the committee correctly engrossed, was read a third time, and passed. The bill is as follows: A Bill respecting Associations for Maritime Security.
Be it enacted, &c., That in cases wherein the arming of vessels for defence may be allowed according to the laws of the United States, it may be agreed on the part of the citizens of the United States in pursuance of this act, that ships or vessels by them owned shall sail in concert and be associated for assistance and protection in any voyage or voyages not contrary to law, and during any time or times which may be designated by instrument of writing executed by the owners or their authorized agents. The stipulations of the parties “contained in such instrument may extend to the equipment and force of the vessels respectively; the relative authority of the masters or commanders; the appointment of places and times of rendezvous and sailing; the regulation of signals; the direction of the general course of the voyage or voyages; the orders to be observed in cases of separation or danger; and the making of arrangements for conducting and managing the respective vessels, as may be most effectual for assistance in any case of peril or misfortune; and, for protecting all or any of them against forcible seizure or annoyance: Provided, That no such agreement or stipulation shall contravene the instructions or orders which may be given by the President of the United States for preventing any unlawful proceedings; and in cases touching the use of any armament or armaments, the masters or commanders of vessels which may be so associated, shall be under the control of such instructions or orders. Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That the respective ships or vessels shall be holden for any stipulations as aforesaid contained in such instrument concerning them, and shall accordingly be chargeable for any compensation which may justly be demanded on account of failure to perform the same, as well as for satisfying any reasonable claim of contribution on account of loss or damage incurred in pursuance thereof. The rates of April, 1812.
contribution shall be apportioned to and among the respective vessels or owners thereof, as the parties may have agreed by such instrument; otherwise the apportionment may be adjusted by the discretion of the comp. court: Provided, That no ships or vessels shall so holden unless a copy of the instrument concerning them as aforesaid shall have been certified by the owners or agents, and deposited with a collector of the customs or with the clerk or register of a court, having admiralty or maritime jurisdiction, or, in case of being in a foreign country, with a consul or agent of the United States: Provided, also, That none but citizens of the United States shall be permitted, directly or indirectly, to have or claim benefit of any agreement or stipulation as aforesaid. Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the courts of the United States having cognizance of causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, shall take cognizance of complaints and controversies touching the premises; and proceedings may be had therein according to the course of such courts respectively, as in other cases of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction. But nothing herein contained shall be construed to deprive suitors of a remedy at common law, or in equity, wherever the same may be competent.
The bill concerning merchant vessels armed for defence having been reported by the committee correctly engrossed, was read a third time, and passed. The bill is as follows:
A Bill concerning Merchant Wessels armed for defence.
Be be it enacted, &c.,"That, from and after the – day of ; in the present year, the arming of vessels for defence shall be subjected to the following regulations:
Sec. 2. Be it enacted, That no merchant vessels armed or provided with the means of being armed at sea, shall be cleared or permitted to depart on foreign voyages, unless the same be registered and duly owned and navigated as ships and vessels of the United States. And any such ship or vessel of the United States if not bound on some voyage heyond the southern cape of Africa or America, may be restrained and prevented from going to sea with such armament or means of armament, unless bond to the United States be given by the managing owner, or agent, and the master or commander thereof, with responsible surety or sureties in a penal sum not exceeding dollars, with condition that such ship or vessel shall not proceed to any port known to be actually blockaded, nor carry contraband articles to the dominions of any Power engaged in war against such as may be at peace with the United States; and that such armament or means of armament shall not be used for purposes contrary to the laws or treaties of the United States or the rules of public law by the United States acknowledged, but that the instructions which may be given by the President of the United States for preventing any infraction of such laws, treaties, or rules, shall be observed with respect to such ship or vessel in the destined voyage or voyages; and that satisfaction shall be made for all damage and injury, if any should be committed, in contravention thereof; which bond may be sued in the name of the United States, before any competent court of the United States. And whatever may be recovered thereon shall be for their use, except so much as the court may order to be paid for making such satisfaction as shall appear reasonablein any case of damage or injury. But the restrictions herein contained shall not be considered applicable to
vessels which may be armed in virtue of any grants of letters of marque and reprisal under authority of the United States. Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That whenever security shall have been given by bond as aforesaid with respect to a ship or vessel of the United States, duly owned and navigated as such, which may be armed or provided with means as aforesaid for defence, and bound on any foreign voyage or voyages not contrary to law, the same shall be permitted to depart on such destination: and the collector of the customs for the district from which the ship or vessel may be about to depart, in addition to the clearance for the same, shal furnish an official document to this effect, and as nearly as may be convenient according to the following form“To all whom it may concern. It is made known, that the ship or vessel called the [inserting here the vessel's name] of [inserting the name of the port to which the vessel belongs] having [inserting the number] deck with [inserting the number] mast and [specifying whether any or no] head and [specifying whether any or no] gallery, of the burden of [inserting the number] tons as registered, and carrying [inserting the number of mounted] guns, whereof [naming the person] is at present master or commander, being a
1ídescribing the kind of vessel, whether ship, snow, brig
antine, schooner, sloop, or otherwise] duly owned and j as a merchant vessel of the United States of America, armed for defence, and bound for , is permitted to depart on destined voyage [or voyages, as may be proper] responsible security having been given according to the act of Congress, entitled “An act concerning merchant vessels armed for defence.”
“Given under the seal of office, at the port of" [expressing the port and district, and specifying the day and year of the date in words at length:] Provided, That additions or variations may be made as shall appear proper in particular cases for the better description of vessels or armaments.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States to give directions, as in his opinion may be proper, for causing to be prepared a sufficient number of forms of such documents, which shall be attested by the Secretary, under seal of the Department of State, with proper blanks to be filled by the collectors respectively to whom the same shall be transmitted. Before any such document shall be furnished for a ship or vessel, it shall be sealed and signed by the proper collector, and countersigned by the naval officer or by the surveyor, if there be one, but no naval officer. And the documents so furnished shall be transcribed in some proper book to be kept for the purpose by the collector, who shall be entitled to like fees for the same as for certificates of registry: Provided, always, and it is declared, That this act shall not be construed to prevent ships or ves. sels bound for any of the ports, places, or countries, beyond the southern cape of Africa or America, from going armed as has been usual in such cases, nor to affect any foreign armed vessel which may have been admitted as such within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
Thursday, April 30.
The bill more effectually to protect the com: merce and coasts of the United States was read the second time, and referred to a select committee, to consider and report thereon; and Messrs.