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him plainly, " This system of impunity and tole thrown on the long-continued darkness of this
rance can no longer continue, and His Majesty quarter of our horizon. On the 19th of Februa' is convinced that your Government will think it ry, 1807, we have at last some official developdue, from its frankness, promptly to put an end ment of our relations with France. It is a great to it." These letters are evidence incontroverti- era in our information; and as my resolution ble, that, notwithstanding the total silence of the will have 'reference to it, and as there is to be Executive relative to France, there may exist im- drawn from the facts it contains a strong argu. portant particulars of information which, although ment for this measure, the House must indulge he may not choose yoluntarily to publish, yet me in some remarks on the information then which, if called for, he will not hesitate to dis- communicated. The extraordinary decree of the close. I make no comment on the mandatory French Government of the 21st of November, style of these letters. In all languages the mode 1806, was, as we all know, of a most dubious charof supplication and the mode of command have a acter. Its language admitted very different congeneral resemblance. Sometimes they are pre- structions. It might be a mere municipal regucisely similar. When such forms of expression lation. It might be a general rule for the conare addressed to an equal, whether the intention duct of French cruisers; in which case it deeply be to express the former or to intimate the latter, affected our neutral rights, and directly infringed is to be collected from the general temper, char- our treaty with France. The uncertainty conacter, and relative situation of those who utter cerning its construction filled this country with and of those to whom they are addressed. Al- apprehension, and our Minister at Paris, with though I am far from suggesting that this House sufficient promptitude, demanded an explanation was influenced to the prohibition of the trade with from Decres, the French Minister of Marine, of St. Domingo by the language of these letters, yet the official interpretation intended to be given to I can never cease to regret that the measure then it. Decres, in his reply to the American Minisadopted was preceded by a publication of that ter of the 24th December, 1806, after having statcorrespondence. I could have wished that a ma-ed what "he considered," and what" he thinks," jority of Congress had, previous to the issuing of the imperial decree means, adds this pointed that summons, awakened to that moral sense of and remarkable caution: “It will be proper that the atrocious nature of this commerce, which af-' your Excellency should communicate with the terwards was manifested by them. The only re- Minister of Exiernal Relations as to what conmaining information derived from official sources cerns the correspondence of the United States during the session, under consideration, was ob- of America with England.” And to the end tained in consequence also of a request from the that General Armstrong might not mistake as to Sepate for an illustration of those "new prin the nature and necessity of his recurrence to an
ciples, which had been interpolated into the law other department for the satisfaction he sought, of nations.” The Executive Message of the the Minister of Marine subjoins this most impres27th of January, 1806, states, among the new sive postscript: “ It will not escape General Arm. principles interpolated, the following, by the strong that my answers cannoi have the develFrench: That privateers, two-thirds of whose opment which they would receive from the crews were not native subjects of England, should Minister of Exterior Relations, and that it is be considered as pirates; that foreigners found on naturally to him to whom he ought to address board vessels of the enemy should be considered himself for those explanations which I am very as prisoners of war, and not entitled to the pro- happy to give him, because he wishes them, but tection of the agents of their country. Yet we upon which I have much less positive informahad no information then, nor have we since, whe-| tion than the Prince of Benevento." ther any explanation had been demanded or given To this part of Decres's letter I shall recur of those decrees. If a silent acquiescence in them hereafter. At present, I shall proceed to bring was not adopted on the part of our Government, into one view all the remaining knowledge conit is unknown to this House.
cerning our French relations which has been perThe next period of Executive development of mitted to come to us through official sources. the state of our foreign relations commences with The next period of Legislative intelligence on the last session. In his Annual Message, in De- this subject is that which commenced with the cember, 1806, the President hopes a favorable present session. In his official Message, at its issue of our difficulties with Great Britain, and opening, the Executive tells us of a treaty with tells us those with Spain are not settled, but the Great Britain rejected; of the outrage on the some characteristic omission I have noticed in Chesapeake ; of our unsettled difficulties with the former exists also in this. There is no France Spain. But as to France, whether we have any in the exhibition. Yet the Mediterranean Pow- relations with her at all,' or whether, as to us, ers and our Indian neighbors have a prominent there be any such nation on the globe, for anystation in this great history-piece of our foreign thing in this Message, neither the House por the relations. I mean not to say ihat it was not wise nation are the wiser. It is true that there is a and masterly thus to leave that great nation general, sweepiog sentence, which includes every• wholly out of the annual representation. I judge thing: "With the other nations of Europe, our not the Executive, but merely state the fact as an harmony has been uninterrupted, and commerce additional reason for my resolution.
and friendly intercourse have been maintained At the end of this session, however, light was on their usual footing." But whether this be a
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recurs, have we any reason to
development of our relations with France, such There is, however, one fact discovered in the letas this people ought then to have been satisfied ter of the 12th of November which ought not to be with; wheiher the aspect of that nation upon the passed over without notice. Mr. Armstrongin this prospects of this, and almost every other country, refers to a letter of Mr. Champagny to him of the for three years past, bas been such as perfectly to 72h October preceding, in which, says Mr. Armauthorize the Executive of the United States, strong, “ you," (Champagny) "ihought that the during all that time, 10 maintain, in each of decree of the 21st of November might be reconbis annual official Messages, a total silence on our ciled to the treaty between the Unijed States and connexions with her, I leave this House to con- ' France.” From this unlucky quotation it is mansider. To my mind, it is an ominous silence, full ifest, thaton the seventh of October last, Mr. Chamof meaning
pagoy did address a letter to Mr. Armstrong, relAll the residue of our official information rela- ative to the decree of the 21st of November, 1806. tive to France has been of a confidential nature. What was that letter? Was it an answer to any Yet, with the exception of a part of the commu- letter addressed by Mr. Armstrong to him? If so, nication at the time of laying the embargo, it all what was Mr. Armstrong's letter? Can there be has been so intrusted to us that we have a right a good reason why the import of these letters relto speak openly, and say what it was; and with ative to the official construction intended to be respect to that portion, on which our lips are given to the operation of a most dubiously exclosed, I have a right to state, generally, what it pressed decree, deeply affecting most important was not.
rights, should, for one hour, be concealed from the First, then, as to what we possess. In the order public ? of time is the letter of Mr. Champagny of the 21st I have now recapitulated all the information on of August last, in reply to a letter of Mr. Arm- the relations, of which it is permitted us freely to strong of the 8th of August. This letter of Arm- speak. As to that which may be deemed confistrong has not been communicated. It appears, dential, I abstain from saying what we have. I however, from Champaggy's answer, that it was have a right, however, to say what we have not. not any claim of exposition of the decree of 21st We have not any of the correspoodence between of November, 1806, nor of the general views of Mr. Armstrong, and our Government, since his the French Government towards us, or our com- letter of the 24th December, 1806, communicated merce, but merely had relation to a particular com- in the President's public Message of the 19th of plaint, concerning American vessels, carried into February, 1807. Champagny to be, in his reply. The next infor- believe, that any such information, not commumation is the letter of Regnier, the grand judge, picated, is in the possession of our Government? which accompanied the recommendation of the The evidence that such information does exist, embargo. This letter was dated the 18th Septem- and that the Executive has it, is to my mind more ber, 1807. By this it is discovered that it is the than probable ; it amounts in degree, next to abintention of the decree of the 21st of November, solute certainty. In the first place, as to a demand 1806, to subject English merchandise and manu- made by Mr. Armstrong, of ihe French Minister factures on board neutral vessels to capture. But of Exterior Relations, for an explanation of ihat why, or how, this exposition of the decree was at decree, is it possible for any man to doubt, for a this late hour obtained, whether it was accidental, moment, that he did make such a demand, and that or whether it was the consequence of the applica the knowledge of that demand, and probably the tion of our Minister, we are ignorant; for the leto answer, with Mr. Armstrong's explanation of his ters of Mr. Armstrong to our Government, which own conduct, must be in the hands of the Execuaccompanied Regnier's letter, have never been tive ? communicated to us.
Observe the facts. On the 10th of DecemOur next information, of which we may speak, ber, 1806, scarcely twenty days after the issuing is that contained in the late confidential commu- of the November decree, Mr. Armstrong, with an nication of the Executive; being a letter to the honorable promptitude, demands of the French French Minister of Exterior Relations, dated the Minister of Marine, an explanation of its construc12th of November last. This letter also was not tion. The Minister replies, substantially," this any official demand of explanation, relative to the is my opinion upon that subject, but mine is not decree of the 21st of November, 1806, but merely the proper department for constructions of this a remonstrance against a decision of the Council kind; go to the Minister of Exterior Relations. of Prizes, which had condemned the cargo of an · He knows the Emperor's will; he can give you American vessel, wrecked on the French coast,' every satisfaction.". Mr. Armstrong transmitted solely for being English manufactures, and his this information, with a letter, to our Government, exposition of the cruelty and unprincipled nature of the 24th of December, 1806. of that sentence. But what the answer of the Now, what was the obvious duty of the AmerFrench Minister of Exterior Relations was, or ican Minister ? Was it not to turn round at once what were the communications of Mr. Armstrong to the Minister of Exterior Relations, and request to our Government, which accompanied his trans- the explagations so much desired, from the source mittal of his letter of the 12th of November, we to which he was thus not merely officially referred; know not. They have never been submitted to but absolutely urged to resort, by the Mivister of our inspection.
Marine ? isbe did, would he fail to communicate
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the result of that application to our Goveroment, tions, except such as the real conduct and views accompanied by his own observations? But sup- of each will justify. pose he bas neglected any such application, and The reports in circulation, which have found has omitted to apprize this Government of his their way into our newspapers, in the form of letproceedings, is this a reason for refusing to adopt ters from France, that the French Emperor has ihe resolution which I propose ? On the contrary, said "there shall no longer be any neutrals," and is it not a strong reason for the measure? If Mr. the confiscation of several hundred thousand dolArmstrong has been guilty of such a culpable lars of American property, in territories under neglect, ai such a crisis as this, relative to so all the control of France, are circumstances which important a subject, ought not this House to know loudly call for the adoption of the resolution it ? Ought we not to impeach him before the I have now the honor to offer, which has for its Senate of bigh crimes and misdemeanors; and object, to obtain a full development of all the ought he not at once to be recalled to answer to known intentions of that Government relative to the just complaints of his country? Precisely the neutral commerce. The resolution is in these same is it, if it be true, as seems to be circulated, words : io whispers, that Mr. Armstrong has transmitted Resolved, That the President of the United States be Do letters to our Government, which have not been requested to communicate to this House the despatches, communicated to us. Shall confidence be con- addressed to this Government, by the American Mintipued in a Minister resident at the Court of a ister at Paris, touching the proceedings of the French Power, whose arms and whose policy affect the Government in relation to neutral commerce, which interests of the globe, if he have omitted, for one have been received since the despatches of that Minwhole year, to keep our Government informed of ister, communicated to Congress, by Message, on the his observations and opinions ? Take which con
19th of February 1807. clusion you will, a resolution similar to the one
Mr. Quincy having required the yeas and nays I propose, ought to be adopted. Either Mr. Arm- on the consideration of this resolution, and the strong has done his dury, ihe information is in the question having been put " will the House now country, and it ought to be communicated; or, consider the resolution ?” It was negatived Mr. Armstrong has failed in his duty, and it be- yeas 44, nays 66, as follows: comes ours at once, to call him, in a Constitutional
YEA5-John Boyle, Epaphroditus Champion, Marway, to answer for his fault.
tin Chittenden, John Claiborne, John Culpepper, But is it to be credited that no other communi-Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport
, jr., Joseph Desha, cations than the meager ones we possess, have James Elliot, Francis Gardner, Edwin Gray, John Harbeen sent by Mr. Armstrong, in all the ships, pub- ris, William Hoge, Benjamin Howard, James Kelly, lic and private, which for this year past have af. Livermore, John Love, Nathaniel Macon, Robert Ma
Thomas Kenan, Joseph Lewis, jr., Edward St. Loe forded him opportunities, for that purpose ? If rion, Josiah Masters, William Milnor, Jeremiah Mormore information on these relations be not in the
row, John Morrow, Jonathan 0. Mosely, Gurdon 8. country, the fact ought to be koown. If it be in Mumford, Timothy Pitkin, jun., Josiah Quincy, John the country, why ought we not to ask for it? Must | Rea of Pennsylvania, Samuel Riker, John Rowan, not it be important to enable us, intelligently, to John Russell, Samuel Smith, Richard Stanford, Wilperform our duty ? We are called upon to raise i liam Stedman, Peter Swart, Samuel Taggart, Benjaan army; but against whom it is to operate, seems min Tallmadge, Jabez Upham, Philip Van Cortlandt, to be a question, which none of us can solve. Is Archibald Van Horn, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, and it against France, or Spain, or Great Britain ? | David R. Williams. Against either, or all of ihem? Must not a ma- Nars-Lemuel J. Alston, Willis Alston, jun., Ezeterial difference be made in the numbers, the ap-, kiel Bacon, David Bard, Joseph Barker, Burwell Baspointment, and the nature of the levies, whether sett, William W. Bibb, William Blackledge, John an invasion by France be apprehended, or a des- Blake, jun,, Thomas Blount, Robert Brown, William olation of our seacoast by Great Britain, or of our
A. Burwell, William Butler, Joseph Calhoun, George
W. Campbell, Matthew Clay, John Clopton, Howell frontiers by Spain ? Let not gentlemen say the adoption of such a Daniel M. Durell, John W. Eppes, William Findley,
Cobb, Richard Cutts, John Dawson, Josiah Deane, resolution will throw a censure upon the Execu- James Fisk, Meshack Franklin, Peterson Goodwyn, tive. The information in his possession may be Isaiah L. Green, John Heister, William Helms, James ofthat critical nature, that he may hesitate to make Holland, David Holmes, Daniel Ilsley, Richard M. it public on his single responsibility. It has been Johnson, Walter Jones, William Kirkpatrick, Nehefrequently urged, on similar occasions that we miah Knight, John Lambert, Daniel Montgomery, jun., ought to have a confidence that the Executive Roger Nelson, Thomas Newbold, Thomas Newton, has done his duty. But the argument proves too Wilson C. Nicholas, John Porter, John Pugh, John much. It supposes that the Chief Magistrate Rhea of Tennessee, Matthias Richards, Ebenezer Seacannot err in judgment. And if it be conclusive, ver, James Sloan, Dennis Smelt, John Smilie, Jedeit forever debars ihis House of the exercise of its diah K. Smith, John Smith, Henry Southard, Clement Constitutional privilege of asking for information. Storer, John Taylor, John Thompson, George M. Troup, The present is no period for motives of extreme James I. Van Allen, Daniel C. Verplanck, Jesse Whardelicacy to have influence in this House. Let us ton, Robert Whitehill, Isaac Wilbour, Marmaduke have a perfect knowledge of all our foreign rela- Williams, Alexander Wilson, and James Witherell.. tions, that we may neither entertain any attach- And so the House refused to consider the said weats, nor any antipathies, respecting other na- 1 resolution.
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but cannot well do it except the bill be comThe House took up for consideration the bill mitted. from the Senate for raising an additional force,
The question having been put on reference with the report of the select committee upon it. to a Committee of the Whole it was carried
Mr. Gardner moved to adjourn.—Negatived, yeas 72. 47 to 44.
Mr. Rowan wished it to be made the order of Mr. Rowan moved to commit the bill to a the day for Wednesday. Committee of the Whole. Such a bill as this Mr. Dawson named to-morrow. should not be lightly passed over. What occa
Mr. W. ALSTON named to-day. sion called for this bill now? If we are to have The question being of course first taken on war, said he, we must immediately raise a larger Wednesday, was negatived, 43 to 42. force. Whenever the occasion for force is mani- Mr. Dawson's motion was then carried withfest, none will be more ready to raise it than I; out a division. but'till that time I am opposed to raising a reg. ular force. I will not do it merely because it is deemed necessary by an individual; it belongs to
TUESDAY, March 15. the people to raise an army and declare war; we Mr. Clark presented a petition, in the French must know the state of affairs before we can be language, from a committee appointed by, and on justified in doing it. When any event occurs behalf of, sundry proprietors of lands in ihe Terwhich shall render this force necessary, we will ritory of Louisiana, praying that Congress would raise it. If we have war, we must raise a much modify the law respecting claims to land in that larger force. A few days or a few weeks sooner Territory, so that the agent for the United States will not be an object; at all events do not pass shall be obliged to produce proof of frauduleot and through the bill without its being committed. Is antedated titles before the Board of Commissioners, it possible that the Congress of the United States instead of the inhabitants being obliged to prove can already raise an army without even commit- their authority.-Referred to ihe Committee on ting the bill? I hope not. I have no object in the Public Lands. wishing for delay, but to know whether the force
On motion of Mr. Bassett, be necessary. If it be necessary, the bill shall Ordered, That the Committee of the whole have my support; and on the same principle it to whom was committed, on the twenty-third of shall pot till I know whether it be necessary or December last, the bill to incorporate the Pronot. We have not as yet I hope forgot the sen- testant Episcopal Church in the town of Alexantiment of the nation on the subject of standing dria, be discharged from the consideration of the armies expressed a few years ago; and surely we shall see cause for it now before we agree to pass
The House resolved itself into a Committee the bill.
of the Whole on the bill to alter and establish Mr. Dawson said he was not apprehensive that certain post roads; and, after some time spent anything which he ever did or said should be therein, ihe Committee rose and reported progress. called anti-republican. He said he should cer- The question was then stated from the Chair, tainly, according to the usual custom of the that the Committee of the Whole hav leave to House, have moved a reference of this bill to a sit again on the said bill, and debate arising there Committee of the Whole, had not a bill in every on, an adjournment was called for, and carried. material point similar, already passed in Committee of the Whole, and been fully discussed. If the gentleman from Kentucky examined the
Wednesday, March 16. bill, Mr. D. said, he would have found that there Mr. Key presented a petition of sundry inhabiwas no idea of raising an army without full in- tants of the District of Columbia, praying that vestigation.
such acts or parts of acts heretofore passed by Mr. TallMadge said he was certainly disposed Congress, as prohibit the removal of slaves from to commit the bill. Such a bill as this, so im- one of the counties composing the said District to portant in its principles and consequences
, it must the other, may be repealed.-Referred to the Comappear to the House, ought to be discussed, and mittee for the District of Columbia. that very fully. The gentleman from Virginia,
Mr. Jeremiah Morrow presented a petition of said Mr. T., has told us that this bill is similar sundry inhabitants of Monigomery county, in the to the other in its general principles. It will very State of Ohio, praying that such 'modification or well be remembered that when the House came amendments to the laws authorizing the sale of out of Committee of the Whole on that bill, a public lands may be adopted, as to enable the pemotion was made that the bill lie on the table; it titioners to make payments for the purchase of did lie on the table, and from the best of all rea- their several tracts of land, without the inconvesons. The bill was so defective in its details that niences to which they will otherwise be subjectit could not be carried into operation. This bill ed.-Referred to the Committee on the Public should be committed, not only for the reasons Lands. offered by the gentleman from Kentucky, but
On motion of Mr. NewTON, because it is the most defective in detail that Resolved, That the Committee of Commerce ever came before the House. I have a number and Manufactures be instructed to inquire wheof amendments prepared which I wish to offer, ther the sums in which the collectors of the cus
Additional Army—The Mint.
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toms are severally bound to the United States Alston, jun., David Bard, Joseph Barker, Burwell Basought not to be increased.
sett, William W. Bibb, William Blackledge, John The House resumed the consideration of the Blake, jun., John Boyle, Robert Brown, William A, question depending yesterday at the time of ad- Burwell, William Butler, George W. Campbell, Epaphjournment, that the Committee of the Whole to roditus Champion, Martin Chittenden, John Claiborne, whom was committed the bill to alter and estab- Joseph Clay, George Clinton, jun., Howell Cobb, Orlish certain post roads, have leave to sit again on
chard Cook, John Culpepper, Richard Cutts, Samuel the same: Whereupon,
w. Dana, John Davenport, jr., Josiah Deane, Daniel Resolved, that the House will, to-morrow, again Francis Gardner, James M. Garnett, Peterson Good
M. Durell, James Elliot, William Ely, James Fisk, resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on
wyn, Edwin Gray, Isaiah L. Green, John Harris, John the said bill.
Heister, William Helms, William Hoge, Daniel Ilsley, Mr. D. R. Williams held in his hand a resolu. Rbt. Jenkins, Thomas Kenan, Nehemiah Knight, John tion by which he wished to call the attention of Lambert, Edward St. Loe Livermore, Robert Marion, the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures William Milnor, Daniel Montgomery, jun., Thomas to the discussion of a subject which he had long Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, Jonathan 0. Mosely, Thomconsidered as of the last importance to our com- as Newton, Wilson C. Nicholas, Timothy Pitkin, jr., mercial interests directly, and perhaps not indi. John Porter, John Pugh, John Rea of Pennsylvania, rectly to the domestic interest of the country. John Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Matthias The object of the following resolution being Richards, Samuel Riker, Ebenezer Seaver, James Sloan, merely io direct the Committee of Commerce and John Smilie, Jedediah K. Smith, Henry Southard, Manufactures to inquire, he should not offer any Richard Stanford, William Stedman, Clement Storer, observations on its expediency:
Peter Swart, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, Resolved, That the Committee of Commerce and James I. Van Allen, Philip Van Cortlandt, Killian K.
John Thompson, George M. Troup, Jabez Upham, Manufactures be instructed to inquire into the expedi- Van Rensselaer, Robert Whitehill, Isaac Wilbour, ency of prohibiting the entry of any vessel into the Marmaduke Williams, Alexander Wilson, and James United States from any port or place to which a vessel
Witherell. of the United States is not permitted, by a permanent regulation of the country owning such place, or by ton, John Dawson, Joseph Desha, James Holland, Da
Nars-Thomas Blount, Joseph Calhoun, John Cloptreaty.
vid Holmes, Richard M. Johnson, Joseph Lewis,jr., John The resolution was agreed to without a divis. Love, Matthew Lyon, Nathaniel Macon, John More ion.
row, Roger Nelson, John Rowan, Dennis Smelt, Abram ADDITIONAL ARMY.
Trigg, Archibald Van Horn, and Jesse Wharton. The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the bill for raising an addi
THURSDAY, March 17. tional military force.
On motion of Mr. McCREERY, The bill was taken up by sections, and various Resolved, That the Committee of Commerce amendments made to the detail.
and Manufactures be instructed to inquire into the Mr. TallMADGE proposed an amendment, going expediency of reviving an act, passed on the sev. altogether to reverse the provision of the bill in enteeth of March, one thousand eight hundred, respect to cavalry. The bill at present provides which expired on the third instant, declaring the that one regiment of cavalry shall be raised, to assent of Congress to certain acts of the States of consist of eight companies, of thirty-eight men Maryland and Georgia. each, with a discretion to be given to the Presi- Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL, from the committee to dent to increase each company to sixty-four. whom was committed, on the eighteenth instant,
Mr. T. proposed to substitute the provision, by the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act to inserting four troops of cavalry of sixty-four men amend the act entitled 'An act establishing cireach, and four companies of dismounted dra. cuit courts, and abridging the jurisdiction of the goons.
district courts of the districts of Kentucky, TenThis motion was supported by Mr. TALLMADGE nessee, and Ohio," reported several amendments by arguments drawn from transactions during the thereto; which were iwice read, and agreed 10 by Revolutionary war, and opposed by Mr. Nelson the House. on the same ground.
Ordered, That the said bill, with the amendIt was agreed to-ayes 65.
ments, be read the third time to-morrow. Further amendment having been made to the Mr. Lewis presented a petition of sundry inhabdetail of the bill without having gone through itants of the county of Alexandria, in the Terriit, the Committee rose, reported progress, and ob- tory of Columbia, praying a revision and amendtained leave to sit again.
ment of such acts or parts of acts, passed by ConTHE MINT.
gress, for the government of the said Territory,
as relate to promissory notes, given as securities An engrossed bill farther to prolong the con for the payment of money, and to insolvent debttinuance of the Mint at Philadelphia, was read ors, within the same, for ihe reasons therein specithe third time; and, on the question that the fied.-Referred to the Committee for the District same do pass, it was resolved in the affirmative of Columbia. yeas 83, nays 19, as follows:
A Message was received from the President of YEAS–Evan Alexander, Lemuel J. Alston, Willis I the United States, transmitting a decree of the