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2679 49.27 4-23


Register of Debates in Congress,


FROM DECEMBER 6, 1830, TO MARCH 3, 1831.


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This day, at twelve o'clock, the roll having been called The several subjects comprised in the message of the over by the Secretary of the Senate, [WALTER LOWRIE] President of the United States were this day referred to the it appeared that there were present thirty-five members; appropriate committees. No other business was transacted. whereupon, Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, took the chair, and called the Senate to order. The Secretary was directed to acquaint the House of Representatives that a quorum of the Senate was assembled, and ready to proceed to business; who returned, and informed the Senate that the other House had adjourned until to-morrow, at twelve



A message was received from the House of Representatives, informing the Senate that a quorum of that House had assembled, and were ready to proceed to business. The usual standing committees of the Senate were then appointed.


On motion of Mr. SANFORD, of New York, it was Resolved, That a select committee be appointed to consider the state of the current coins, and to report such amendments of the existing laws concerning coins as may be deemed expedient.


Mr. ELLIS said, that, in consequence of the lamented death of his late colleague, the Honorable ROBERT H. ADAMS, he rose to present a resolution to the consideration of the Senate. The deceased was a native of Rockbridge county, Virginia. After completing the course of his education in Washington college, he studied law, and at an A communication having been received from the House of early period emigrated to Knoxville, in Tennessee, where Representatives, announcing the adoption by that House he pursued his profession with unremitting zeal and great of a resolution for the appointment of a committee, on success. To a mind at once clear and comprehensive, it their part, to wait on the President of the United States, appeared perceptible that his prospects would be more in conjunction with a committee on the part of the Se- flattering in the lower country, and he removed to Natchez, nate, and to inform him that both Houses had organized, Mississippi, in 1819. There, in the midst of a numerous and were ready to receive any communication that he and talented bar, without fortune or family influence, by might be pleased to make to them, the Senate concurred the force of high intellectual endowments and pleasing in the resolution, and appointed a committee on their manners, he rapidly rose to the highest honors of his propart. fession. Surrounded, as he was, by an intelligent and exMr. GRUNDY, from the joint committee, subsequently tensive acquaintance, he was not long permitted to enjoy reported that they had performed that duty, and had re- the enviable distinction arising from professional merit ceived for answer from the President, that he would, this alone. In January last, he was called by the Legislature day, at half past one o'clock, make a communication, in of his adopted State to a seat in the councils of the nawriting, to both Houses of Congress. tion. Here he was too well known to require eulogy.

In a few minutes the annual message was received from Mr. E. would only say, that the death of so young a man, the President, by A. J. DONELSON, his private Secretary. distinguished as he was, must be a loss to the nation. Five thousand copies of the message, and fifteen hundred It was publicly, deeply, and universally deplored in the copies of the accompanying documents, were ordered to State which he had the honor in part to represent. He, be printed for the use of the Senate. [For the message, therefore, moved the following resolution; which was see Appendix.] unanimously adopted:

The bill authorizing a subscription to the Louisville and Portland canal, returned by the President with objections to it, was laid on the tab.

VOL. VII.--1

Resolved, unanimously, That the members of the Senate, from a desire of showing every mark of respect to the memory of the Honorable ROBERT H. ADAMS, deceased,


Impeachment of Judge Peck.--Post Office Department.

[DEC. 13, 14, 15, 1830.

late a Senator of this body from the State of Mississippi, peachment, on the part of the House of Representatives, will go into mourning for one month, by wearing crape on also came in, and took their seats. the left arm.

Mr. KANE, of Illinois, said, that a paper which he had presented on the first day of the session, announced to the Senate the decease of his late colleague, JOHN MCLEAN, of Illinois. He died, after a short illness, at his residence, on the 14th day of October last. Though not a native of the State which he represented, he might well be claimed as one of the favorite sons of Illinois. He had removed

Mr. BUCHANAN, one of the managers, rose and said, that the managers, on the part of the House of Represen tatives, were ready to present the replication of that House, to the answer and plea of James H. Peck, judge of the District Court of the United States for the district of Missouri, to the articles of impeachment exhibited against him by that body. He then read the replication, as follows:

there at an early age. There he commenced his career "The House of Representatives of the United States, in life; a career of usefulness and distinction, which had having considered the answer and plea of James H. Peck, fallen to the lot of few in that region of country. In pri- judge of the District Court of the United States for the vate life, he was remarkable for his benevolence, frank- district of Missouri, to the article of impeachment against ness, and independence of character. No one in the cir- him, by them exhibited, in the name of themselves, and cle in which he moved had a larger share of the confidence of all the People of the United States, reply, that the said and affections of his fellow men. He was by profession a James H. Peck is guilty, in such manner as he stands imlawyer, possessed of a vigorous mind, a rapid but easy elo- peached; and that the House of Representatives will be cution. These qualifications, added to an honesty of pur- ready to prove their charges against him, at such conpose, universally accorded to him, raised him to the front venient time and place as shall be appointed for that rank of his profession; and there sustained him. As a purpose."

statesman, the people of Illinois would long remember The Court, after some preliminary business, adjourned him as the author of many of the most valued portions of to Monday next, and the Senate till to-morrow. their statute books, and as the acute and able presiding [The notices of this trial, which will be found in the officer over the deliberations of the most numerous branch following pages, embrace only such reports as were given of their Legislature. Mr. McLEAN had been twice elected from day to day, through the columns of the National to a seat in the Senate of the United States, and his last Intelligencer, for the public information, and to convey a election was the result of the unanimous fote of the mem- general idea of the merits of the case, and the course and bers of both branches of the General Assembly. In the character of the trial. They are mere sketches, and are to state of things which then existed, no stronger evidence be received as such only. A full report of the trial--the of the general esteem in which he was held by those who testimony and the arguments of the managers and counsel knew him best could well be given. In order to pay a pro--making a large volume, has been published separately.] per respect to the memory of such a man, Mr. KANE moved the adoption of the following resolution; which was unanimously agreed to:


This day was principally consumed in receiving and referring petitions, and in the consideration of Executive business.

Resolved, unanimously, That the members of the Senate, for the purpose of showing a proper respect to the memory of the Honorable JOHN MCLEAN, deceased, late a Senator from the State of Illinois, will go into mourning to be their Chaplain for the current session. for one month, by wearing crape on the left arm.

On motion of Mr. ELLIS, of Mississippi, it was also Resolved, unanimously, That, as an additional evidence of respect to the memory of the deceased Senators from Mississippi and Illinois, the Senate do now adjourn, to meet on Monday next, at eleven o'clock.



The Senate elected the Rev. HENRY VAN DYKE JOHNS



The Senate took up for consideration the following reso lution, which was yesterday submitted by Mr. CLAYTON: "Resolved, That a committee be appointed to examine and report the present condition of the Post Office Department; in what manner the laws regulating that department are administered; the distribution of labor; the A message was received from the House of Represen-number of clerks, and the duties assigned to each; the tatives, announcing the adoption by that House of a repli- number of agents; where and how employed; the comcation to the answer and plea of Judge Peck to the article pensation of contractors; and, generally, the entire manof impeachment exhibited against him by them. nagement of the department; and whether further, and what, legal provisions may be necessary to secure the proper administration of its affairs."

At twelve o'clock, the Court of Impeachment for the trial of Judge PECK, of Missouri, was opened in due form by proclamation from the Marshal of the District of Columbia. The Senators were ranged on two sets of benches, covered with green cloth, to the right and left of the Chair occupied by the President of the Senate.

Mr. WHITE had no objection to the proposed inquiry; but he felt generally indisposed to the raising of special committees, where the subject matter of a resolution belonged properly to a standing committee. He, therefore, hoped that the honorable mover of this resolution would so modify it as to refer it to the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, unless he could assign some reason for sending it to a special committee.

On motion of Mr. WOODBURY, the Secretary was ordered to inform the House of Representatives, that the Senate had organized itself into a Court of Impeachment for the trial of James H. Peck, judge of the District Court of the United States for the district of Missouri, and were Mr. CLAYTON expressed the opinion that this inquiry ready to proceed to the trial; and that seats had been pre- was not necessarily the business of the Post Office Compared for the reception and accommodation of the mem-mittee. That committee had arduous and important dubers of the House of Representatives. ties to perform. The session would be short, and they

Shortly after the order was passed the respondent, would probably not have time to attend to any other mataccompanied by Mr. WIRT and Mr. MEREDITH, his counters than those which ordinarily belonged to them. He sel, appeared at the bar of the Senate. They were con- thought that the importance of the subject now proposed ducted to seats, with a table before them, prepared for required its reference to a special committee. He did their convenience. not, therefore, feel inclined to accede to the suggestion of

In a few minutes, the managers, to conduct the im- the Senator from Tennessee.

DEC. 15, 1830.]

Post Office Department.


Mr. WHITE said he would then move that the resolu- known, that in that and other departments of the Gotion be so modified as to refer it to the Committee on the vernment, they who were the most in the habit of dancing Post Office and Post Roads. There was nothing in it attendance, were the most successful in their applications. which was not proper for reference to the regular committee. If the whole affairs of the department were to be examined and considered, the investigation would impart to that committee a fund of information, which would prove useful to them hereafter.

Rash as this declaration might be considered in him, he had said it, and he should not retract. Let these departments be brought to the bar of justice, and tested by their conduct. If he were one of the majority, he would not withhold an inquiry into the conduct of any officer, Mr. HOLMES hoped that the resolution would not be even from Andrew Jackson down to the humblest menial. so amended. A great deal of labor would have to be He meant in this remark no allusion to the high minded performed by this committee. It would be their duty to and honorable public officers who differed from him in examine the department well; to see how the business in politics. He respected them as much as any gentleman. it was done, and to present the result to the Senate, that A star from the West would shortly appear here. He they might act upon it as circumstances might require, hailed its approach. Mr. NOBLE then inquired of the Seand the information obtained might go forth to the public cretary, who was the chairman of the Committee on the for their consideration. It had been understood that a Post Office and Post Roads? And, upon being informed new bureau for removals and appointments had been es- by the chair that it was Mr. GRUNDY, he inquired whether tablished in the Post Office Department; a bureau, which, Mr. BIBB, of Kentucky, was not also a member of that for brevity, might be called the bureau of proscription. committee? [The CHAIR said not.] Mr. NOBLE said that It has had a good deal to do: it had done a good deal: its he meant no disrespect by the question. Mr. BIBB was business must be nearly at an end. All had probably the chairman at the last session, and he had thought that been touched by it, whom it could well lay its hands on. he was a member at present. He declared that a rigid It services might now, perhaps, be dispensed with. He committee was required on the present occasion. The also hoped that the time would soon come when the de- sooner the Augean stable was cleansed the better. partment could pay all the expenditures with the receipts would be better to have a special committee for the purof the year. It appeared that upwards of eighty thousand pose. He referred, as a precedent in point, to a similar dollars had been taken out of the surplus fund to defray investigation into the General Post Office affairs some the expenses. He admitted that this fund had been also heretofore diminished; but he trusted that it might not be hereafter necessary to apply to it. He was in favor of referring this examination to a special committee, whose particular attention should be directed to that object.


years ago, by a special committee, of which that distinguished reformer, the present Secretary of the Treasury, had been the chairman. He also alluded to that other chief of reformers, whose late message had shut up the great outlet of the West.

Mr. GRUNDY said that, a a member of the Post Of Mr. BELL said, that many complaints had been made fice Committee, he ought, perhaps, to be sparing in his concerning the Post Office Department. They had lately remarks on the question before the Senate. Gentlemen been more general than at any other time. He did not were, however, mistaken as to the burthen of business say that they were well founded, but they deserved the which that committee had to perform. They had nothing attention of the Senate. It had been the general practice to do, except what might be specifically imposed upon to refer particular investigations into the manner in which them by the Senate. He was indifferent about the dispo-executive duties of the Government had been performed, sition which might be made of this resolution, but the duty to special committees. He did not know why this pracof the Post Office committee was connected with the bu- tice should be departed from on this occasion. It was siness of that department. It was a duty especially as- proper that this inquiry should go to gentlemen disposed signed to them. They were to ascertain what laws were to make the most thorough investigation. If gentlemen defective, and in what manner they should be amended. were convinced that the complaints were unfounded, they He did not object to the proposed scrutiny; and if it were ought to permit those to make the investigation who were committed to other members, he should cheerfully acqui- impressed with the opinion that an investigation was neesce. He was no fonder of labor than other gentlemen.cessary, because a report from such a committee in favor If the examination were assigned to the Post Office Com- of the Department would be satisfactory to every body. mittee, he, for one, would be willing to engage in it. It was due, therefore, to those who desired the inquiry, Mr. HOLMES observed that the practice of referring as well as to the Postmaster-General himself, that it should duties of this kind to special committees was not novel. go to a special committee. These reasons induced him It was not unusual in the other House. When there, he to vote against the motion to amend. had been a member of a committee of investigation. The House had given them the power to send for persons and papers. Some of the heads of Departments had been brought before them. The committee had made a tho rough examination, and had discovered some abuses which required correction. A new administration was now in power, and it might be well for the Senate to take a peep behind the Executive curtain. In the Post Office Department great changes have been made; mistakes, errors, abuses, might have crept in. It was, therefore, proper, in order that the subject might undergo a full and thorough examination, that it should be referred to a special committee.

Mr. NOBLE said that he did not mean to be tedious, but he should tell the truth. Great complaints had been made against this department. There was Obadiah B. Brown-he did not wish to be rough--and there were the relations of Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky, who had large contracts with that department for carrying the mail. Worthy and honorable citizens felt aggrieved at the favoritism shown by this department. It was well

Mr. KING said, that gentlemen seemed to treat this subject as if any member of the Senate were opposed to the inquiry.

Mr. BELL explained. He assured the gentleman from Alabama that it had not been his intention to make any such suggestion.

Mr. KING considered that the Post Office committee was composed of as honest and as honorable men as any other members of the Senate. As to their having too much to do, it was notorious that they had little or nothing to do, until after the Post Office Committee of the House of Representatives had made their report. Unless some effect different from a fair exposition were intended or expected from this inquiry, he could imagine no reason for taking it out of the hands of the standing committee to which it properly belonged. Was it proposed to refer the subject to a special committee in order to impress a belief in the existence of extraordinary complaints and of abuses? He was no apologist for any department. If any head of a department had done wrong, let him be brought before a committee; let him be censured, or even


Post Office Department.

[DEC. 16, 1830.

punished, if punishment was proper. He did not believe was created, did it enter the mind of the President or of that the individual now at the head of the Post Office the Senate that the duties enjoined by this resolution would shrink from any investigation, if it were intimated were to be committed to them? These duties were not to him that it was desired. He had administered that de- of the nature of those which belonged to a standing partment with integrity, skill, and ability. His predeces- committee. It results from the character and object of sor did the same. Mr. KING hoped the inquiry would be standing committees, that a vast variety of items were referred to the Committee on the Post Office and Post referred to them in the ordinary transaction of the busiRoads. ness of the Senate. These were, generally, as much Mr. CLAYTON expressed a hope, that gentlemen as they could attend to. He believed that, if a standwould not suppose that he wished to take this inquiry from ing committee had even taken up any subject like that the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, because contemplated by the resolution, a knowledge of it had of any want of confidence in them. He had no such idea. never passed beyond the walls of the room in which they Because he had confidence in that committee, did it follow had deliberated. Duties specifically belonging to a that this special and laborious investigation should be referred to them? The same argument would apply with but the proposed inquiry was one which was peculiarly standing committee should go to it, as a matter of course; equal force against the reference of any other proposition appropriate to a special committee. He did not mean to a special committee. Were not other standing comto compliment; all the members on this floor stood on mittees composed also of honorable men? The objection, if it were sound, would apply on all occasions. He had of the Post Office committee; but they had not been sean equal footing. His objection was not to the integrity as great confidence as any gentleman in the judgment and lected with a view to this investigation. This was a ability of the Post Office Committee. Yet, on this occasion, he preferred a committee selected by the Senate question of selection; and he should vote for the resoluitself for this special purpose. In regard to that committee tion as offered by his honorable friend from Delaware. having nothing to do, it was an-erroneous idea. Peti-| The question on the motion to amend, so as to refer tions and memorials were presented every day, over and the resolution to the Committee on the Post Office and over again, and referred to that committee. They would Post Roads, was taken by yeas and nays, and the vote have to examine and prepare reports on all these. The was 18 Yeas, and 20 Nays, as follows: duty of the proposed special committee would be arduous and laborious. The standing committee would not have time to investigate the whole subject. Gentlemen could vote for the members of that committee as members of the special committee, if they pleased; but nothing was fairer than that the Senate should select a committee for themselves.

Mr. KING said, that the Senate was a small body. Was there a member in it who was not on some committee? If the honorable Senator had no particular objection to the gentlemen composing the Post Office Committee, and, upon his soul, he did not know who they were--why refer this resolution to other gentlemen having equally or more arduous duties to perform on other committees?

Mr. CLAYTON replied, that some of the members of the Post Office Committee had other arduous duties to perform also. The gentleman might, however, in the selection of a committee, judge for himself, as he should, in this respect.

YEAS-Messrs. Baker, Benton, Brown, Dickerson, Dudley, Ellis, Grundy, Hendricks, Iredell, Kane, King, Poindexter, Sanford, Smith, of Md., Troup, Tyler, White, Woodbury-18.

NAYS-Messrs. Barton, Bell, Burnet, Chambers, Chase, Clayton, Foot, Frelinghuysen, Holmes, Johnston, Knight, Marks, Naudain, Noble, Robbins, Ruggles, Seymour, Silsbee, Sprague, Willey-20.

The original resolution, as offered by Mr. CLAYTON, was then adopted.

Mr. BELL then moved that a committee of five be appointed, by ballot, to take charge of the resolution.

Mr. GRUNDY inquired of the Chair what was the rule of the Senate in relation to the appointment of committees?

The President read the rule, by which it appeared that the power to appoint committees belonged to the Chair. That power, however, could be exercised by the Senate, by unanimous consent.

Mr. GRUNDY said that would not be given.

Mr. FOOT asked whether the rule of the Senate could not be altered or amended?

Mr. WHITE had not expected, when he had made the motion before the Senate, as much debate as had arisen upon the subject. He had listened to it with attention; but it had not changed his original views. If the subject- Mr. KING replied, that it could, by giving a day's notice. matter of a resolution applied to a standing committee, Here the conversation ended, and the President anthe general rule was to refer it to that committee. Henounced the appointment of Mr. CLAYTON, Mr. admitted that there were exceptions to the rule; but every GRUNDY, Mr. HOLMES, Mr. WOODBURY, and Mr. object of inquiry in this resolution belonged to the Com- HENDRICKS, as the committee.

There was

mittee on the Post Office and Post Roads.
nothing in it that could take it out of the general rule.
Under this impression, he had made the motion now before
the Senate. He could not believe that the Post Office



Committee were so much pressed as gentlemen supposed. Mr. NOBLE said, he had understood that, in the rcThey had as much leisure as any other committee. They port of his remarks yesterday on the resolution respectwere familiar with the business of the department. It ing the Post Office Department, which had appeared in would be injustice to them to suppose that they could de- the Telegraph, he had used language that had been ofsire to suppress any investigation. They would no doubt fensive to some of his friends. He had been reported as give to the subject the fullest and freest examination. If having represented Colonel Richard M. Johnson as an any abuse existed, let it be brought to the notice of the agent to that Department. He had no recollection that Senate and the nation. He thought it more proper to he had made such remark. A different report of his refer the resolution to the standing committee, than to a speech had been made in the National Intelligencer. He special committee: but he should acquiesce in whatever decision the Senate might come to on the subject.

Mr. CHAMBERS concurred with the honorable Senator in the general principle which he had laid down; but he thought that it had been misapplied on this occasion. When the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads

had made allusion to some of the friends of that gentleman as having contracts with the Department. This he could not disguise. But it would have been wrong and unjust to represent Colonel Johnson as an agent of the Post Office, because he was a member of Congress, and was prohibited, by law, from accepting any office of

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