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H. OF R.
JANUARY, 1804. England had suffered and done more for the ob: ulation, has done within a few thousand dollars taining of independence, than what had been done as much as the powerful State of Massachusetts, or suflered by the Southern States. That we are and that the two weakest States to the south ward, greaily indebted to the prowess of our Eastern and on the southern frontier, harassed, divided, brethren, that they were unanimous in sentiment, and under British domination a great part of the prompt, and fought many a well-fought battle in time, have from this evidence done more, vastly ihe Revolutionary war, and acquitted themselves more intleed, in proportion to their whole numwith honor, I am noi disposed to deny, and that bers, than was done by the two most powerful, we are greatly indebted to them for the bold, in- unanimous, and wealthy States of New England. trepid manner of their conduct against the com- But this report is not to be relied upon, and when mon enemy; and that it was by the exertion of I say this, it is not my intention to impeach the those patriots with that of those throughout the integrity of the Commissioners who made it, nor Union that procured our independence.
to cast any reflection upon any one of the crediThe patriots in New England, being of one sen- tor States, touching the manner of keeping or timent, had only to contend with the common exhibiting their accounts. But I mean to say, that enemy; a contention which, when compared with the manner in which North Carolina kept her that of their Southern brethren, will be found to be accounts and performed her services, was such unequal in exertion, honor, or consequences. The that it was impossible that justice could have Eastern was a foreign, the Southern a foreign and been done her in the settlement. civil war. In the East they could, without sus- Io the early stages of the Revolution, it never picion of being betrayed, collect together and level occurred to the Legislature of that State ihat they all their forces against one object, and could retreat would be indemnified for any services but such as with safety into the bosom of their country. But were done by the immediate order of the General there were no such advantages with us, we had no Government. Of course, all the services performed retreat. We had the common enemy on the coast, for her immediate defence, such as expeditions the savages on the frontier, and enemies within our against the savages and there were several camown bosom. We were nearly equally divided, and paigos carried into the Indian country, and a conit has never been decided which had the majority, tinual line kept up on the frontier for protection and the controversy was not to be determined by against savage depredations during ihe whole argument but by battle, and battles were frequeni, war-together with a number of volunteer servi. not of a people against a foreign soe, but a bat- ces to the aid of South Carolina and Georgia, tle of neighbor against neighbor; and among the against their internal and external enemies, with slain it was common to see acquaintances, neigh the perpetual services necessarily performed for the bors, brothers, and sometimes a father who had subjection of our own disaffected citizens-these fallen by the hostile arms and prowess of his son. services were sometimes volunteer, sometimes by It was a war the most distressing and intolerable draught, and sometimes it was made the duty of a of all wars, too much so to be further related. given number to hire, clotbe, and equip a soldier. But I hope, after the imperfect sketch that I have This was done under a general sense of duty, given, the honorable gentlemen from Massachu- without any expectation of private or public re setts will admit that their friends in the South muneration, other than the hope of an eventual have at least experienced their equal share of dis. freedom. What ground of hope existed? The tress in the Revolutionary war. "That the patri- pa per money of every description had sunk to ots of the South (and it was a war of patriois and boihing, and the State had no fund to authorize not of States-Siates were only described by ge-even a hope for redemption. All was gone, and ographical boundaries, and boundaries that were nothing remained but the most disinterested and yet to be contested for) have suffered in the con- vigorous exertion to secure the main object. And test equal to any given number of patriots in the towards the close of the war the only place of States of New England; and let it be recollected safety was in the camp—a constant, unregistered that the object of the contest has, by the united service. Under these circumstances, can it be exertions of those patriots, been obtained, and let possible that we had justice in the settlement? us not tarnish it by invidious comparisons, or Having no documents to be produced to the board, sully it by keeping in remembrance and repeated could we obtain a credit? The thing was imposdiscussion this bone of contention ; this old, dry sible, but the services, nevertheless, were performbone that, as before stated by my friend from Del. ed, for which, if we could have obtained a credit, aware, has no nutriment upon it.
would have placed us in a different position. But perhaps the honorable gentlemen from Mas- There is one other case noticed by my colleague sachusetts draw their conclusions of the services (Mr. BLACKLEDGE) of services actually performed performed by the Eastern States from the report in the Continental department that we had no of the Commissioners of Settlement. If this is credit for, owing to a fraud having been committhe source from which those conclusions are ted by the board for settling the army accounts. drawn, I am convinced, upon examination, that it The Legislature thought proper to set aside and will also fail. Agreeably to this report, Massa- nullify the whole of these proceedings, and prechusetts, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and vious to their being again liquidated and settled, Georgia, are creditor States. So that it appears these accounts were barred by the act of Confrom this document that the little convulsed State gress
. The extent thus barred I am not advised of South Carolina, not having a third of the pop- of, but they were considerable.
H. OF R.
I will now subrnit this case to the genileman is to be remarked that they are not entitled to all from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Grego) who differed the privileges attached to common creditors; they widely from bis venerable colleague, whether, un- are limited in the act that admits them to fund; der all the above circumstances, and many more they are pot admitted to transfer their balances that might be cited, North Carolina had justice so funded, from which it may be inferred that it done her in the settlement; or whether it was was a thing of compromise-that it was so unpossible for her to bring forward to the board the derstood, that creditors should not transfer and vouchers and evidences of the services she per- that the debtors were not to be called upon; that formed in the Revolutionary war. It appears to they were considered to be nominal, but not real me, sir, upon this view of the case, that every debiors, and this for the purpose of raising and impartial, honest, and candid mind, will be ready augmenting the funded stock. For, by adverting to conclude that the thing was impossible. And to the proceedings of those times, assuming and also, let honest candor examine the statement funding was the system-it was the common ormade by my friend from Delaware, (Mr. Rodney.) der of the day. But if it had been understood and I think that the conclusion will most inevi- that under the legal operation of the act of 1790, tably be, that the State of Delaware bas not a fair that the States reported as debtor States were setilement, and that it was impossible that she to be liable, the aci would not have passed. A can be in arrears near $1,000,000.
measure so dangerous would not have obtained. These are the impressions that an impartial ex- And from the conduct and expressions of one of amination of this case has produced on my mind, the Commissioners at a subsequent session of and I am led to believe that many gentlemen rep-Congress this opinion was also entertained by resenting the creditor States, and even bystand the Commissioners themselves; for this Comers, are obliged to coincide in the same general missioner, although he insisted that it was a just sentiment, to wit, that justice had not been done, settlement, yet he advocated the extinguishment and that justice could not be done in the setile of these balances. Under all these circumstances ment of the State balances; and as the gentlemen I most sincerely hope that gentlemen will feel from the creditor Staies have at all times repro- themselves at liberty to expunge from your record bated a revision of settlement, and as the debtor this demand by voting for the resolution on your States, from a conviction of the injustice of the table. demand, will not voluntarily pay it, and as there The Committee rose, and had leave to sit again. has been no means pointed out to compel the payment, why will you keep it up? But gentlemen say that they are not asking payment at this time.
THURSDAY, January 19. Why, if it is just, not ask it now? Why bas the The House, in pursuance of a resolution of the demand been so long delayed? A just demand eleventh instant, proceeded to the hearing of Wilgains nothing by delay. Why disguise this busi- liam Cowan, agent for the Virginia Yazoo Comness? Would it not comport more with the dig- pany, at the bar of the House; and the said agent nity of this House and the honor of the creditor being heard, in part, on the subject-matter of the Siates to come out at once, and say in plain, un- claims of said Company, retired from the bar. equivocal language what they intend to do Is Ordered, That the further hearing of the said it kept over us as a rod to tantalize or to keep us agent be postponed until to-morrow. in the back ground? Gentlemen will not avow A message from the Senate infurmed the House this. Then for what other purpose ? To this nothat the Senate have passed the bill, entitled "An explanation can be had. All is left to conjecture. act making appropriations for the support of the And may we not suspect that there is a lying in Military Establishment of the United States, in wait to obtain power to demand, to enforce this the year one thousand eight hundred and four,” measure? I hope this is not the case; but the with several amendments; to which they desire holding it up attaches suspicion, that, if ground the concurrence of this House. less, ought to be done away by a removal of the The House proceeded to consider the motion of cause of it. I am further of an opinion that it the twenty-eighth of October last, for the appointwas the intention of the old Congress, and of the ment of a committee "to inquire into the expediCongress under the present Government, who ency of extinguishing the claims of the United passed the act of 1790, never to call upon those Staies for certain balances reported to be due from States who should be reported against for the several of the States to the United States, by the balances, and all that was contemplated was to Commissioners appointed to settle the accounts admit the creditor States to fund the excess of the individual States with the United States, This has been done,and I am strongly impressed with power to report by bill, or otherwise," as with a belief that nothing more was intended. If amended by the Committee of the Whole, and to anything more was intended, it is reasonable to which the said Committee yesterday reported their suppose that it would have been expressed either disagreement; and the said motion, as amended, on the resolves of the oli Congress, or in the act being iwice read in the words, following, to wit: authorizing the Commissioners to make the set- Resolved, That it is expedient to extinguish the tlement-a mode would have been pointed out as claims of the United States for certain balances reportto the manner, time, or to whom, the paymentsed to be due from the several States to the United were to be made. But not a syllable is expressed States, by the Commissioners appointed to settle the acon that subject. And as to the creditor States, it counts of the individual States with the United States.
H. of R.
JANUARY, 1804. Mr. Williams, of North Carolina, said: This extensive in territory, and land very cheap. But being a question of importance to the State I have let us consider what is the comparative difference the honor to represent, I will offer some reasons belween the price of land in the Northern States to the House in favor of the present resolution. I and in North Carolina. I believe, sir, at the time shall first contend that the act passed in the year this settlement was made it was at least five 10 1790, was in violation of the original compact / one, that is, one acre would sell for as much as which was entered into by all the States, estab- five, therefore, in the same proportion as our poplishing the principles by which each State was 10 ulation increased, and the inequality of the value supply her part for the support of the Revolution of land, so much was the relative proportion of ary War; and that, by changing that mode, it the debt changed, and thrown on the citizens of operated against the State of North Carolina. that State; and whenever a capitation tax is laid Secondly, that by the settlement which was made it always operates hard on that part of the comby the Commissioners, injustice was done to that munity which are upon an equality and not very Siate.
wealthy. In making these remarks, I do not wish to be I will now show in what manner injustice was understood by the House that they ever ought to done to that State in the settlement of the accounts. go into an examination of that setilement; but if, In the year 1781 the Legislature passed a law givfrom the nature of things, any one State can show ing full power to the board of creditors to settle how she was injured, that will have considerable and liquidate the claims of individuals for supplies weight, and be a good reason to abolish those furnished during the war, and fix the price of ardebis which are said to be due from the several ticles. In 1783 a law was passed fixing the scale States. In the eighth article of the Confedera- of depreciation, and under ihose existing laws the tion, all charges of war, and all other expenses Commissioners must have setiled the accounts that shall be incurred for the common defence of that State, or it would be impossible for her to and general welfare, and allowed by the United have been a debtor State. But it may be said States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed that if the State passed laws which operated out of the common treasury, which shall be sup against her, it was not the fault of the General plied by the several States in proportion to the Government. But at that iime we had pot adoptvalue of all land within each siate, granted to or ed the Federal Constitution, therefore each State surveyed for any person, as such land, and the had a right to pass such laws as would relieve her buildings and improvements thereon, shall be es from a heavy debt which she had incurred in our timated according to such mode as Congress shall, struggle for liberty. Also, the very situation of from time to time, direct and appoint. In the our country rendered it impossible for an accurate twelfth article it is expressly declared that the account to be kept of the supplies furnished by the articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably different States, when an enemy was ravaging our observed by each State: nor shall any alteration country; and if one Slate should have the good take place, unless such alteration be agreed to in fortune to keep her accounts more accurate, she Congress, and afterwards confirmed by the Legis- ought not now to wish to exact the sums stated latures of every State.
to be due from her sister States. I believe there But a gentleman from Pennsylvania has stated were few States in the Union which suffered more that Congress unanimously agreed to change the than the State of North Carolina, for she not only eighth article of the Confederation; therefore, the was ravaged by a foreign enemy, but a continual act passed in 1790, saying that each State should scene of distress was kept up by an internal enepay in proportion to the number of inhabitants, my: A number of her citizens, after having furwas done by consent, and that consent would do nished all they could spare to support our army, away error; but if the gentleman will examine were, perhaps, the next day stripped of all their the case strictly, he will find he is wrong, for two property, and nothing left to support their helpless States never did consent to alter the mode pre families. scribed by the Confederation, and it is a principle It appears that Congress repeatedly recommendwhich cannot be denied, that wherever parties ed to the several States, as well for hastening the enier into a contract, they must all consent before extinguishment of the debts as also for the estabit can be altered; and I take the question now lishing of the harmony of the United States, 10 before us to be similar; for each in her sovereign make liberal cessions of their territorial claims. capacity entered into that compact, and Congress The Legislature of North Carolina, taking the had no more right to pass a law in violation of it, matter into consideration, not only made a liberal than we now have to pass a law directly in viola- cession of her claims, bui ceded all that extensive tion of the Constitution which we have sworn to country which forms the State of Tennessee. support.
This I take to be a strong reason why she ought I will now endeavor to show that by changing to be released from her debt. The gentlemen the mode by which each State was to furnish her who have spoken against the resolution, I take it, proportional part to support the war, it operated have not stated any solid reasons why the debts against the State of North Carolina. I believe should not be abolished. They have contended after the close of the war it was nearly ten years that the settlement made by the Commissioners before the number of the inhabitants was taken was a just one, and that it would be impossible to within the United States; during that period there rectify the mailer; and that if we release those was considerable emigration to that Siate, it being debts, the creditor States may be called on to re
fund the money they have received. I think only be policy but justice to abolish these debts, neither of those positions are correct; for i be which are said to be due, as it is impossible to lieve the settlement was made in the dark, and in know whether they were settled on principles of darkness it will remain. The total amount of equity and justice between the several States; the advances made by the several States, as fixed and ii was a joint cause, and one which will als by the final selilement, is not knowo. Neither ways do honor to America as long as time shall has the proportion of the debts been correctly as- i last. I hope that the House will reject the report certained. This matter has been kept a secret; of the committee, and be of the opinion that the and if the business bad been conducted with such balances which are reported to be due from the propriety, and settled fairly, why is it concealed several States ought to be extinguished. from us? I am warranted to make use of these Mr. Kennedy.—Mr. Speaker: The State which expressions from the proceedings of Congress. I in part represent being one of those that are
After the adoption of the Federal Constitution, denominated debtor States, and being strongly Congress was anxious to bring the matter to a impressed with a belief that the means by which close, and labored some time to effect it, but at she has become so are improper, I conceive it my last they assumed a debt of upwards of twenty indispensable duty to submit to the House my reamillions of dollars, whereas it was only necessary sons for forming such opinion. to have assumed about eleven millions of dollars, In endeavoring to perform this task, the first and the same result which now exists might have point that I shall attempt to establish is, that the been effected had they waited till the accounts act of Congress which fixed the ratio according had been settled; and thus they created a debt of to numbers, and under which the accounts were upwards of ten millions of dollars. Therefore, settled that produced these balances, was unconCongress have, in the whole of their proceedings, stitutional; and in order to prove this position, it shown clearly that they never intended to call on may not be improper to give, for the information the debtor States, and that it was only necessary of those gentlemen who have not made themto make provision for those States which had a selves particularly acquainted with the subject, balance struck in their favor. Ought not, then, a concise statement of the proceedings of the those creditor States be content, when they have old Congress relative to the matter now under had their debt assumed by the Government, and consideration. they are annually drawing interest for the same ? Permit me, sir, in the first place, to premise And with respect to the objections which gentle that when the King of Great Britain thought men have made, that by discharging the debtor proper to commence a cruel and distressing war States, it will be the means of destroying their against the American colonies, for the purpose of debts, they are merely ideal. I believe there is reducing them into a state of passive obedience, not a person on this floor who is in favor of the it became their interest to unite for their security, resolution that has any such wish; neither do I and accordingly they associated and leagued tothiok it ever will be attempted.
gether under certain terms and conditions, the Some gentlemen have asked, if we release the whole of which are contained in what is known debtor States, what is the quid pro quo ? Have by the Articles of Confederation; the 8th of which not the creditor States got their debts funded, and declares that all charges of war and all other exthe faith of our Government pledged for the pay- penses that shall be incurred for the common dement? But, independent of ihat, I think, sir, the fence or general welfare shall be defrayed out of liberty and freedom we now enjoy would be a a common treasury, which shall be supplied by sufficient quid pro quo. But there is one reason the several States in proportion to the value of all more, which I think alone would be sufficient to land within each State, granted to or surveyed extinguish these debts. The cause which gave for any person, as such land and ne buildings and rise to them—that noble cause of liberty which improvements thereon shall be estimated, accordgave to us our independence. It seems as if the ing to such mode as the United States, in ConGod of Nature had destined this happy land of gress assembled, shall from time to time direct America the only asylum for liberty; and I would and appoint; and the thirteenth article thereof ask those gentlemen if it was not by the joint ef- prohibits any alteration in any of them upless fort of all our sister States that we liberated our- agreed to in Congress, and which shall be afterselves from the hand of tyranny? Was it not wards confirmed by the Legislature of every State, owing to the supplies of the several States, be they From which it may be perceived that the mangreat or small, inat we are now breathing the air ner of settling, adjusting, and finally determining of liberty ? Was it not by that noble impulse the proportions to be borne by the several States which filled the breasts of the American people of the evidences of the war, was as completely with a thirst for freedom that gave birth to our fixed and established as the same by language could Government? For in that momentous hour, be done. when the fate of our nation was suspended on the In the year 1782, in order to bring the accounts wings of fortune, if one of our States had with relative to those expenses 10 a final settlement, drawn her assistance from the Union, I believe Congress appointed Commissioners for that purwe should not now be within these walls as legis- pose, and at the same time recommended to the lators, but under the scourge of a Monarch. And several States, to authorize Congress in the final in order to unite us more permanently under our settlement of the proportions to be borne by each present form of Government, I think it would not State of the expenses before mentioned, to adopt
such principles as, from the particular circum- are less than they would have been had the settlestances of the several States at different periods, ment been made according to the principles conmight appear just and equitable, withoui being tained in the Confederation, those balances being confined to the rule laid down in the eighth article due from the United States, are, so far as they are of confederation. This recommended alteration reduced, not as valid as they were under the Condid not meet with the approbation of all the States; federation; therefore, the act that fixes the standof course it failed, as the article intended to be ard by which they are reduced is contrary to the amended or affected thereby remained untouched Constitution, and of course void. and unrevoked.
By the seventh section of the first article of the In the year following, they formally agreed to same instrument, Congress has the power to lay revoke that article, and in the place thereof de- and collect taxes, duties, im posts, and excises; not clared that the charges and expenses of the war to add to or diminish, but to pay, the debts of the should be apportioned among the States according United States. to numbers, which was submitted to the Legisla- Having, as I conceive, in a clear point of view, tures of the several States, for their ratification; proved the act under consideration unconstitubut, in this, as in the first attempt, they were also tional, I will dismiss that point, and proceed to unsuccessful. some of the States deeming it con- show wherein the alteration of the principles upon trary to their interest to adopt the same.
which the accounts ought to be settled affected In the year 1787, the subject was again re- and materiaily injured the State of North Carosumed by Congress; hy passing an ordinance estab- lina; in the doing of which, those circumstances lishing a new board of Commissioners, with pow- necessarily will be mentioned which will serve to ers to make a final adjustment of all the accounts, prove what I have already asserted, that the balagreeable to such quoia as Congress should there ances would have been different had ihe ratio been after determine. If, sir, Congress meant by this made upon the proper principles. ordinance to fix the rate of expense, agreeably to Mr. Speaker, i hat State being inferior in square the eighth article, and to empower the Commiss- miles to but few in the Union, gentlemen might ioners to make a final adjustment of all the ac- suppose, without reflection, that her quota of the counts subsisting between the United States and general expense, when calculated in the way I the several members thereof, that principle was, contend for, would be proportionately large, But, in my opinion, correct; but if they intended sir, I must be permitted to remark, that she had thereby 10 declare their power of establishing the within her chartered limits a large quantity of ratio upon any other principle, then I must be per- surplus or unappropriated land, which was not by mitted to say that the ordinance is in direct vio- the Articles of Confederation to be taken into lation of the terms of the Confederation, and there the valuation-ihat expressly declaring the lands fore void; for I hold it to be a sound principle, granted or surveyed, with their improvements, that the old Congress had no powers but what only to be estimated. were expressly given by the then federal compact, There is, sir, another fact equally well founded : and whenever they exceeded the limits by that in the lands in that State are ot less value than the strument prescribed to them, their acts are entirely lands in any State within the Union. This, I coninvalid. Having shown, as I humbly conceive to ceive, has not arisen because they are of inferior the satisfaction of every reasonable gentleman, quality, but principally on account of her difficult that the former Congress had no power to settle navigation. And perhaps I might not be far wrong those accounts upon any principles, other than in saying that one of the large Northern cities is those under which they were contracted, I will worth half as much as all the lands in that Siate. omit further remarks on that point, and proceed to From which, I may fairly conclude that her relashow that the Congress under the Federal Consti- tive proportion in numbers is much greater than tution are equally as destitute of such powers. the relative proportion in the value of the surveyed
Sir, after the most deliberate examination I or granted land and improvements. And in order have not been able to discover anything in that to establish this fact, I will briefly state to the instrument that either expressly or implicitly gives House the proportion in which the former Conto them that power; but, on the contrary, find the gress laid their requisitions on the several States sixth article positively declaring that all debts in the year 1779. Fifteen millions of dollars were contracted, and all engagements entered into be- required, of which North Carolina had to pay one fore the adoption of that Constitution, should be million and ninety thousand. In the same year, as valid against the United States under the Con- out of eighty battalions of troops, she had only to stitution as under the Confederation.
raise six; at another time two millions of dollars Will any gentleman pretend to say, that, when were required, of which she had only to contribthe expenses of the war are apportioned among ute one hundred and forty-eight thousand. In the States, according to numbers, that the balances none of these did her quota exceed one-twelfth would be precisely the same that they would be part. when apportioned according to the value of the But, by the act of 1790, she had to pay one-tenth surveyed or granted land and improvements? I of the expense, as, by the first census, that was trust that no one will hazard that opinion. about her relative proportion in numbers. And
It follows, then, of course, that if the balances due as the aggregate amount of expense is at least any of the States, upon the settlement of those ac- thirty millions of dollars, (and less than that sum counts, according to the principles fixed by the act, I cannot be presumed,) her quota, according to num