Journal of William Maclay/Second Session of the First Congress/The Permanent Residence
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The Permanent Residence
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May 28th. — This day we had expectations that the House of Representatives would have brought on the vote for adjournment to Philadelphia, but the day passed without anything being done. No debate of any consequence in the Senate. I felt exceedingly indisposed in the fore part of the day, and dreaded going into company. The Speaker entertained. I, however, joined them and drank a few glasses, and felt much better; but I must note how my feelings will be to-morrow.
May 29th, Saturday. — Can not complain of my health. I stayed in all day. It was raw and inclining to rain; almost too cold to be without fire. I was dull and heavy. In the evening received a note to dine with Colonel Gunn to-morrow.
May 30th, Sunday. — I rested but badly last night; had ugly dreams. Am to dine out this day. I had best be careful and attentive. How idle this idea! Dreams are but fallacious things. I have dined out and have met with no disaster. I had one strange dream of seeing a man fall from a place like a saw-mill. I thought the mill was mine, yet it differed from my mill at Sunbury. What a heap of idleness! My head ached, hence I suppose my dreams. The man was not killed. A dead child plagued me at another time. I have really little to do, or I would not note all this down.
Last night Fitzsimons and Clymer called on us. They agreed to call on Goodhue, Gilman, Huntingdon, and some other of the New England men, and tell them calmly that the Pennsylvanians would not stay in New York; that if they of New England would persist in voting for New York, the Pennsylvanians would agree to any other place whatever; and from here they would go. Fitzsimons and Clymer were appointed for this service. I readily agreed to join Mr. Morris in a similar service with respect to the Senate.
May 31st, Monday. — Went early out to call on sundry members, and try to prepare them for the grand question. Came to the Hall at the usual time. The bill for intercourse with foreign nations came up from the Representatives with an insistence. Both Houses having insisted, it remained for us to recede or call for a conference. It ended in a conference. A considerable debate, however, or rather delivery of sentiments, took place. Elsworth, in a slow, languid manner, said it was easy to see that the Representatives had in view some old regulations by their insisting on the nine thousand dollars; that formerly the business had been done by some gentlemen for about six thousand dollars per annum.
Mr. Adams jumped up; said that could not be; that he had kept the accounts with his own hand at Paris, and they amounted to about three thousand guineas yearly. He had now a vast deal to say. When he had done, Elsworth took small paper out of his pocket; said he was very willing to show the document from which he had spoken. Here was an abstract of the accounts of the honorable Vice-President while he was in Paris, and all the particulars for twenty months, amounting to ninety-eight hundred dollars, which was not more than at the rate of six thousand dollars per annum. Adams appeared cut. The fact was, that he was found lying, as they all have been on that subject.
Now Butler rose and had a good deal to say on the merits of the permanent residence, and concluded with asking leave to bring in a bill for a permanent and temporary residence. Lee made a long speech. I felt so much interested that I could not help rising. I observed that fixing the permanent residence to a future period would work no relief of present inconveniences; that the complaints were felt and well founded as to the place in which we now were; that the gentleman had given notice some days ago that he would offer a bill for the permanent residence. He now added the temporary residence, etc. The end of the matter was, that he delivered us his bill. I could almost curse Mr. Morris for having left me at such a time.
June 1st. — I called early this morning on Fitzsimons and Clymer. I told them that, all things considered, I thought it best in me to endeavor to postpone Butler's bill. They both approved of it.
I went to the Hall to observe the members as they came in. Langdon was there. He certainly manifested something which I thought singular in his manner. If I had not had such strong proofs of him heretofore, I would have suspected him. He desired me to assure the two members of Massachusetts that there was no bargain with the Virginians. I told him I would do anything he requested, and I did so.
The Senate met. I considered myself as among wolves, with only neutral characters to support me. The Vice-President was hasty enough to take up Butler's bill. Butler absolutely spoke against taking it up at all, as he said he was afraid of a difference arising between the two Houses The word "agreed!" "agreed!" was heard from different parts of the House. I really felt happy.
A message was received from the President, and some other trifling business done. There was some small talk and communications which I did not mind. But all at once the Vice-President began to read the bill [as to the temporary and permanent residence of Congress]. I wished much for somebody else to begin an opposition, and was determined to throw myself along with them, let them mold their attack as they would. Mr. Read spoke against proceeding on the bill, but made no motion. Butler got up and moved that the bill should be committed. Gunn seconded. Mr. Carrol said there could be no use in committing it. I said that the honorable gentleman had set out with declaring that he wished to avoid any differences with the other House. None of us could affect ignorance of what had passed in the House of Representatives yesterday. A vote had passed for the meeting of the next session at Philadelphia; that we might every moment expect our door to be opened for the receipt of such a communication. For us, therefore, to adopt a different mode of treating the same subject would have the appearance of courting a difference, etc.
Butler got up in reply and said every insulting thing in iris power. I had concluded that I thought it best that the bill should lie on the table until the resolution came up [i.e., from the House of Representatives], and that they should be considered at the same time. This took place, after a good deal of talk. It was remarkable that the resolution came up just as Butler began to rail at me. The Senate adjourned early, and soon after in came Mr. Morris, covered with sweat and dust.
June 2d. — I went early this morning to meet our delegation and to inculcate this doctrine on our Representatives: that in all cases we should be prepared for the worst, and that we should now think of the next step to be taken in case of the worst happening in our House [Senate]; that a conduct of this kind would keep the matter alive; keep the party in spirits and collected. They admitted the principle, but seemed at loss for the means. I hinted the propriety of bringing forward a resolution naming the day of adjournment and the time of meeting. Fitzsimmons and Morris (all that were present)-seemed to carp at it. However, I told them, "I only urge you to think of and provide your next step." In the course of this short chat with them I had room to remark that I can not be on terms of confidence with these people. A hint was dropped that I had better be at the Hall. I readily agreed, and went there. I could see, as the members came in, that we had nothing to expect from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, nor Massachusetts.
The Senate met, and waited and waited for [Mr. Morris. I never wished for him more in my life. I saw now that Butler's bill would be committed, and I wished to arrange something of a ticket for the committee. Several of the Senate asked why I did not send for him [Morris]. I went out and desired the doorkeeper to go for him. Mather [the doorkeeper] answered, "I have sent for him long ago." It was past twelve before he came, and we now went at the business. (I can not help asking myself in this parenthesis what Mr. Morris could possibly mean by this conduct. Indeed, I ask how he call account for his going away last week, or many other parts of his conduct. It is most certainly his interest to take Congress to Philadelphia. Is it possible that Hamilton can have any influence with him on this subject?)
I could remark something of a partiality in Adams at the setting out — the first question for commitment of Mr. Butler's bill. It was moved to postpone this, and take up the resolution for holding the next session in Philadelphia. Senate divided, twelve and twelve. J. Adams gave it [the casting vote] against postponement. Now on the commitment twelve and twelve. J. Adams gave it for it. This division was by States, on both these questions, or at least they divided so. We had New Hampshire, Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia. The others against us. Now it was that I regretted Mr. Morris absence. Had he been there in time, I could have settled with him who should have been the committee. Now we could communicate only with our friends on one side of the House. The committee rather unfavorable — Butler, Dalton, Lee, Johnston, and Henry.
Now it was moved to refer the resolution [from the House] to the same committee. The Senate divided equally, but Dalton was against it and Patterson for it. As they sat next each other, I believe this was settled between them, and shows that Patterson is not to be depended upon, and, indeed, I have long considered him as a most despicable character.
June 3d. — Attended the Hall at the usual time. I determined to behave in personal deportment as nearly as I possibly could to my former habits, and I believe I effected it. Of this, however, I could not judge as well as, perhaps, others. Mr. Morris came the last of any of the members this day, but nothing remarkably so; much earlier than yesterday. I got into chat with him, and after some time remarked how unfortunate we had been yesterday in not prearranging a ticket for the committee. I said his absence had been unlucky, but could not now be helped. He said his accounts had engaged him so closely he could not come. I thought this stranger than ever, that he should stay away on no other excuse than his daily business. Wyngate, Elmer, almost the whole Senate, have taken notice of it. How can I avoid observing it, for I have smarted under it?
No business of consequence took place this day. The nominations for the officers of the army had come in yesterday and were taken up this day. I had made some objections a few days ago to giving my advice and consent to the appointment of men of whom I knew nothing. Izard got on to the same subject and bounced a good deal. However, the firing was got over by the members rising and giving an account of the officers appointed from different States, and all were agreed to.
The Funding bill, which has engaged the Representatives almost the whole session, came up yesterday; was taken up this day and Monday assigned for it.
June 4th. — This is a day of small consequence in the Senate. I had busied myself much last night and this morning in arranging and disposing of matters, but sundry pages would not contain the whole of it, so I will minute only what happened in the Senate.
We called on the committee to report. Butler excused himself, and the burden of the excuse was that Governor Johnston, one of the committee, had fallen sick. Mr. Morris moved, and was seconded by Lee, to add another member in his room. This occasioned considerable debate. Read, however, declared against us, and we lost the question. Izard manifested the most illiberal spirit; asserted in opposition to Lee things that even his own party were ashamed of. I left the Senate chamber this day completely sickened at the uncandid and ungentlemanly conduct of the South Carolina men. Few, of Georgia, said some improper things, but I this day was almost altogether a hearer. There really was no serious debate. It was nothing but snip-snap and contradiction.
June 5th. — This was a slack day. I had promised Mrs. Bell to go with her to the Hall [Senate], and I called about ten for that purpose. Mrs. Bell, however, could not go this day, and I found her as finicking and fickle as the finest lady among them, with a bunch of bosom and bulk of cotton that never was warranted by any feminine appearance in nature. She had learned the New York walk to a tittle; bent forward at the middle, she walked, as they all do, just as if some disagreeable disorder prevented them from standing erect. Is it ill nature or what that inclines me to assign this fashion to a cause of this kind?
I went from her, called on sundry people; went and sat a long time with Mr. Morris, and repeated to him all the arguments I had made use of on Monday and Tuesday last, when he was absent. One in particular he seemed pleased with, drawn from the difference of mileage which would arise to the Treasury of about eleven hundred dollars in favor of a residence in Philadelphia. I desired him to get from the Treasury an account of the expense of removing Congress from Princeton to New York. He said he would do it. There seemed really to be more of cordiality in this tête-à-tête which I had with him than any ever I had. I then called on Mr. Wynkoop. I chatted a good while with him, and had again occasion to observe the blind obedience which he pays to the opinions of his Philadelphia colleagues.
Came home, read, and lounged away the day.
June 6th, Sunday. — Five months have I been in town this day. Devoted my time to thinking of my family. Wrote letters, read, etc., but did not stir out all day. Remarked something this day: General Muhlenberg talks of visiting Sunbury, etc. I received a letter yesterday from George Logan. He is greatly displeased about the grant to Baron Steuben. This is really a worthy man. I think he holds the first place in point of integrity. He has invited me strongly to call and see him. I believe I must do so.
This old man, the baron, it seems, talks in the most insulting manner of the grant which has been made to him, and tells that he must and will have more when a new Congress meets, etc. Being at the head of the Cincinnati makes him assume those arrogant airs. 'Tis probable the whole body of them will soon be demanding pensions to support their titles and dignity.
The Funding bill, the basis on which speculation has built all her castles, is now to come before us; and woe to him who says a word in favor of the country. Load the ass; make the beast of burden bear to the utmost of his abilities. I am really convinced that many a man has gone into the martial field and acquitted himself with gallantry and honor, with less courage and firmness than is necessary to attack this disposition in our Senate.
June 7th, Monday. — The Funding law underwent some debate this day. We adopted, by a kind of common consent, a mode somewhat different from former practice respecting it. Supposing ourselves in Committee of the Whole, a paragraph is read, and the members generally express their sentiments on it. After every one has given his sentiments, it is passed by postponement, with a design to commit it to a special committee. We proceeded about half-way with the bill in this way.
The committee on the bill for the permanent residence and the resolution sent up from the Representatives were called on to report, and Butler, their chairman, did so. He read the report, which was a sleeveless thing for the Potomac to be the permanent residence, but alleged that the ground was too narrow to fix the temporary residence. Many desultory things were said, and all went off until to-morrow.
This was Pennsylvania mess-day. I was so unwell that I first told Mr. Morris that I could not attend, but I afterward went. We here agreed to send for all the Senators who were friends of moving to Philadelphia. Eleven attended — Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Dr. Elmer, from New Jersey, and New Hampshire. Much desultory discourse was held. Virginia and Maryland manifested a predilection for the Potomac; but the final resolutions, in which Virginia led the way, were as follows: "That as the business of a permanent residence was brought forward by our enemies evidently with a design of dividing us, we would uniformly vote against every plan named for the permanent residence." The Virginians and Marylanders declared they would vote against the Potomac. Mr. Morris declared he would vote against Germantown and the Falls of the Delaware. The Susquehanna was not publicly named, but of course implied, for Mr. Morris, in enumerating the places to be voted against, named the Potomac, Germantown, and the Falls of Trenton. The line of proceeding for to-morrow was agreed to: Mr. Lee to move and Langdon to second the postponement of the permanent seat in order to take up the resolution for the next session being held in Philadelphia. If all was lost, let it go down to the House of Representatives for them to originate new measures on it.
June 8th, Tuesday. — How shall I describe this day of confusion in the Senate? Mr. Lee laid on the table a report of some additional rules relative to the intercourse between the two Houses. After this he moved that the bill for the permanent residence of Congress shall be postponed to take up the resolution of the Representatives for adjourning to Philadelphia.
Now it was that Izard flamed and Butler bounced, and both seemed to rage with madness. Mr. Lee's motion was in writing, and they moved a postponement of it. The division was eleven, and the Vice-President gave it against the postponement. How all was hurry and confusion. Izard and Buffer actually went and brought Governor Johnston with his night-cap on, out of bed, and a bed with him. The bed was deposited in the committee-room. Johnson was brought in a sedan [chair]. Few was well enough to come without being carried, and we waited half an hour. The vote was taken. We had our eleven and they had thirteen against the resolution: I thought all was over now; but no such thing. They must carry their conquest further.
In the mean time a mob and noise was about the Hall [Senate] as if it had been a fish-market. The postponed bill and the report of the committee on it were called for. The report was read. The first clause of the report was a resolution that the permanent residence should be now fixed. The question was taken on it and it was negatived. This threw them all in the dumps. The report was, however, lost. But now they would have the bill. They accordingly had it, for they had the most votes, and, although the Senate had decided by a most unequivocal vote that the permanent residence should not be taken into consideration, yet they moved to fill the blank with the Potomac. This was lost — fifteen and nine.
Much desultory discourse was now engaged in, and many motions were made of postponement of the bill. Some of them were actually carried, and yet they still made new motions for the blank to be filled. Baltimore was named. This was lost — seventeen to seven. Wilmington was named. It had only three or four. A motion was made to adjourn. The first was lost. A motion was even made to pass the first clause of the bill with a blank, notwithstanding the absurdity of it, even in the face of a vote that this was an improper time to fix the permanent residence. All, in fact, was confusion and irregularity. A second vote of adjournment was called for and carried. So ended the uproar of the day.
John Adams has neither judgment, firmness of mind, nor respectability of deportment to fill the chair of such an assembly. Gunn had scolded out a good deal of stuff; "were we forever to be plagued with a removal, etc.?" This, I thought, deserved some answer. I went over all the disadvantages of New York, contrasted it with Philadelphia, and concluded that such inconveniences would always produce such complaints and uneasiness, and could not be removed but by taking away the cause. I was listened to, but made no converts. I was up a good while, as I went largely into the business, but I took the same ground which I had before traveled over, the notes of which I sent to Dr. Rush.
Just before I rose, I asked Mr. Morris for an estimate of removing Congress from Trenton, which he had promised to procure. He had nothing of it. I really communicated this matter to him to enable him to make some figure in the debate, and if possible to bind him to me by this kind of confidential communication. But I have another proof that all advances on my part are in vain. I walked this evening with Mr. Wynkoop. Fell in company with several of the Representatives, exhorted them all, as much as I possibly could, to unanimity and firmness, and did not fail to recommend to steady perseverance under the assurance that we would be successful.
June 9th. — Attended the Hall at the usual time. The Rhode Island bill had a third reading. And now the Funding bill was taken up. We had passed the clause funding the old Continental money, and left a blank on Monday. I then called it the resurrection of a dead demand against the public. Mr. Morris seemed in sentiment with me. King spoke against the clause altogether. But now the Secretary's report was the text-book, and it must be funded at forty for one. I called the attention of the Senate to the characters who now had this money. Many meritorious persons received it as gold and silver, and still kept it as the monuments of the sacrifices which they made in the cause of America. Would seventy-five for one, forty for one, or one hundred for one, indemnify such characters? Would it not be a mockery of their demands? A time might come, a manner might be thought of for their relief, but this was not, perhaps, the time, nor was it the manner. The other class of individuals who were possessed of it had collected it from the holes and corners after it had ceased to be an object of speculation when it was really worth nothing, and who neither gave value for it nor had any merit in the act of collection. For these humble speculators infinitely too much was done. They had no claims in justice. The whole of the Continental money was sunk by depreciation, a most unequal mode of taxation truly, but an effectual one. He that touched it was taxed by it. This was creating a claim. A defunct demand was conjured up against the Union, as if they feared the mass of debt would be too small, though I fear they would find it much larger than we could discharge, etc. The clause was passed, and we went to the fourth.
Mr. Morris moved, in a moment, to strike out the first two alternatives, and blazed away for six per cent on the nominal amount of all public securities. Elsworth answered, want of ability. Mr. Morris made nothing of the whole of it. The broadside of America was able enough for it all. We had property enough, and he was for a land-tax, and if a land-tax were laid there would be money enough. He said many weak things, and was handled closely for them by Elsworth. The debate, loose indeed, and desultory continued until three o'clock. Adjourned.
June 10th. — Attended at nine o'clock at the Hall on the bill for making compensation to one John McCord. It was a painful business. His claims do not seem over well founded in point of law or any act of Congress. He is seventy-nine years old, and appears to have suffered deeply in the American cause. We spent a considerable time on his business.
When we came into the House of Representatives, the Funding bill was under consideration. It was passed over without much debate in our cursory way. But now rose Elsworth, and in a long, elaborate discourse recommended the assumption of the State debts. He concluded that he would read his motion, which he said had the approbation of the Secretary of the Treasury. It was verbatim one of Gerry's papers, which had been moved and laid on the Speaker's table in the House of Representatives about a week ago. We had speakers enough now. Dr. Johnson was somewhat singular in his assertions. He denied there was any such thing as a State debt; they were all equally the debts of the United States.
The day was mostly spent in this business. I rose and took the field which I had several times labored in with my pen. The old acts of Congress settle and assume the balances, etc. A short publication which I wrote, and which by one means or other got into almost all the newspapers, was the basis of it. The Boston men and King talked much of their fears of the consequences, etc. I objected Hancock's speech to one and the divided votes of their Representatives to the other. One of the Massachusetts men now produced instructions from their government authorizing their voting for the measure. I alleged that, if one State instructed, all should instruct, and perhaps this should be considered as a good reason of postponement until all instructed on the subject, etc. The consideration was postponed until to-morrow.
June 11th. — Attended at the Hall on Mr. McCord's bill early. Mr. Morris joined us. Went in and attended the Funding bill; the clause for the assumption of the State debts. Mr. Gerry's amendment was negatived. Nine only rose for it. The bill was now committed. The only debate of any consequence was between Elsworth and myself. He set forth in a curious argument that the debts contracted near the seat of Congress were made Federal; that those at a distance were made State debts, supposing that the authority of Congress was less efficacious.
There really was not a shadow of truth in this. He only adapted his argument to all accidental fact, South Carolina and Massachusetts having the largest State debts. I rose and showed that there really was nothing at all in this matter; that the origin of some State debts was their adopting the debts due to individuals, which they did by way of paying their requisitions, and got credit for them accordingly. This was the origin of the large State debt of one of them at least. King was obliging enough to get up and tell the House I meant South Carolina, etc. This brought up Butler and Izard, with some degree of warmth.
It was a good while before I could say anything. I, however, avowed and supported all I had said; that the fact was indubitably so; that no censure was implied in anything I had said; that South Carolina had assumed debts due to her citizens to the amount of $186,799, and had credit in full of her quota of the requisitions of the 10th of September, 1782. On that account Pennsylvania had paid at the shine time $346,632, and Massachusetts a large sum of the said requisition; that Pennsylvania might have brought forward her State debt and had credit for it in the requisition, but she did not do so, but remained burdened with both her State debt and requisitions, and had done much toward paying both, while South Carolina had paid nothing to either. The committee were: Mr. Lee, Elsworth, Maclay, King, and Patterson. Some little council business was done, and we adjourned. Just as we had adjourned, Buffer wished Cartel joy of a vote being carried in the Representative chamber for the temporary residence to be in Baltimore.
There was some kind of entertainment to which I heard Fitzsimons a few days ago inviting the Speaker. I thought he took him to the door to do it. The Speaker asked me to go with him. I declined it, as well I might. After the Speaker came home I asked him what he had heard Mr. Morris say of the Baltimore vote. He had not made up his mind. I can find he is now scheming and will not vote for Baltimore. I have had a spell of fishing, of which I was the subject, to knew whether I would not oppose the Baltimore vote. I saw clearly the person who was set on to do it, and will report to his employers. I, in all probability, am come to the point that will be seized to turn the whole city of Philadelphia against me, but I trust no taint of dishonor will ever stain my conduct. As to consequences, I care not.
June 12th. — A day of storm and rain. I attended at the Hall at eleven on the Funding bill. The alternatives, as they were called, were the chief subjects of discussion until near three o'clock. Candor, sit by me while I describe the committee:
R. H. Lee, the man who gave independence (in one sense) to America. A man of a clear head and great experience in public business; certainly ambitious and vainglorious, but his passions seek gratification in serving the public.
Elsworth, a man of great faculties and eloquent in debate, but he has taken too much on himself; he wishes to reconcile the Secretary's [Hamilton's] system to the public opinion and welfare; but it is too much; he can not retain the confidence of the people and remain in the good graces of the Secretary. He may lose both.
King, plausible and florid.
Patterson, more taciturn and lurking in his manner, and yet when he speaks commits himself hastily, A summum jus man. Both lawyers and both equally retained by the Secretary [Hamilton].
And now, Billy, what say you of yourself? Not overburdened either with knowledge or experience, but disposed to make the best of your tools.
I objected in general to the bill, disliking funding at all; was willing to pay as an interim three per cent, and place it on the footing of disability to do more. I objected to funding the interest; proposed to establish a land-office to sink the interest now due, and that indents should be given to all persons entitled to them, receivable in that office; declared that even prodigals abhorred compound interest; that the bill went on this principle, though not in an annual ratio. It was, however, in vain, although I could perceive that I made an impression.
There were three alternatives in the Secretary's report. The last was by much the most favorable to the public. This, however, really meant only to try the disposition of Congress, and Fitzsimons, when he took in his resolutions, contrived to have this rejected and one substituted vastly more favorable to the subscribers. A good man could not have done this.
I found I could not effect anything on my own plan. I therefore watched and promoted every favorable sentence that fell from Lee and Elsworth. The result of all was, that we struck out all the alternatives and voted a general fund of four per cent.
In the evening came Mr. Wynkoop heyday all wrong; to go to Baltimore, etc., full charged with the permanent seat, etc. I know he had not this of himself. I, however, delivered myself with firmness on the subject, recapitulated the conduct of the Yorkers, etc., showed him (as I thought) that to concur with Baltimore vote was politically right. He found he could make no impression. It was nearly dark when he went away. I followed to the door. He took the way of Queen Street, and the Speaker, who was with me, said he was, going to Fitzsimons'.
This day changed my last bank bill of fifty dollars.
June 13th, Sunday. — This day was very wet. I stayed at home all day in my usual occupation of writing to my dear family, reading, etc.
June 14th, Monday. — I left home early and called on the Assistant of the Treasury on McCord's affair. He would not let me tell my business, so keen was he on the subject of proposing a bargain to me. Pennsylvania to have the permanent residence on the Susquehanna, and her delegation to vote for the assumption [of State debts]. I constrained my indignation at this proposal with much difficulty within the bounds of decency, and the more so as I knew that, however it might be with him, Hamilton, the principal in this business, was not sincere. I gave him such looks and answers as put an end to this business. I then got my errand settled. Went to Mr. Jefferson's office on Mr. Bailey's affair. Arranged this affair and went down Broad Street. Here I met Mr. Lee. Spoke a few words with him, and passed on to the lodgings of Mr. Carrol. My only business with him was to forewarn him that an objection would be made to Baltimore that there were no public buildings, and that he should be prepared on this subject.
From here I went to Mr. Morris' lodgings. I found him somewhat engaged, but the moment he disposed of a small matter of business he dismissed his clerk; told me he was just going to look for me, and was fortunate in my coming in. Said he had much to say, but some part of it must be on the most entire confidence; that on Friday Jackson, of the President's family, in whom he said he could not have some confidence, had been at Clymer's and Fitzsimons' lodgings; that [Tench] Coxe, of the Treasury, had been there; that their business was to negotiate a bargain: the permanent residence in Pennsylvania for her votes for the assumption, or at least as many votes as would be needful. The burden of their business seemed to be to open the conference with Mr. Hamilton on this subject. Mr. Morris continued: "I did not choose to trust them, but wrote a note to Colonel Hamilton that I would be walking early in the morning on the Battery, and if Colonel Hamilton had anything to propose to him [Morris] he might meet him there, as if by accident. I went in the morning there, and found him on the sod before me." Mr. Hamilton said he wanted one vote in the Senate and five in the House of Representatives; that he was willing and would agree to place the permanent residence of Congress at Germantown or Falls of the Delaware, if he would procure him these votes.
Mr. Morris owned that he complied on his part so far as that he agreed to consult some of the Pennsylvania delegation (I abruptly said, "You need not consult me"), but proposed that the temporary residence of Congress in Philadelphia should be the price. They parted on this, but were to communicate on the subject again.
Mr. Morris and Mr. Fitzsimons made a party out of town and took Mr. Read with them, yesterday, as the man whose vote they would engage. (Let me here recollect the application made to me on Saturday night by Mr. Wynkoop. I now know that he was trying me on that subject, and the Speaker was not much out when he said Wynkoop was gone to Fitzsimons. He should have added, "and Morris.")
Mr. Read's answer was what Mr. Morris called polite: "Gentlemen, I am disposed to facilitate your wishes." But now, this morning, says Mr. Morris, I have received a note from Colonel Hamilton that he can not think about negotiating about the temporary residence; that his friends will not hear of it. Mr. Morris added: "I know he has been able to manage the destruction of the Baltimore vote without me, but I can not yet tell how. I sent for Mr. Read. He says they have accounts that the Senators from Rhode Island are appointed and expected every moment." But Mr. Morris added, "I think he has some other assurances." I now parted with Mr. Morris and joined the Committee on the Funding bill.
The Senate were formed some time before we joined them, and after some of the routine business of the day was done, and the Baltimore resolution handed in, it was called for. Schuyler moved it should be postponed a fortnight. Governor Johnston, of North Carolina, seconded him. Elsworth got up; said this matter mixed itself with all our affairs. There was a secret understanding, a bargaining, that run through all our proceedings, and therefore it ought to be postponed.
I retorted his secret understanding, bargaining, etc., on himself. As he knew there were such things, he knew where they arose, and, if they "mixed" with and polluted our proceedings, it was time to put an end to them, which could only be done by deciding the matter, etc. The question was put, and it was the old eleven and thirteen.
This was mess-day. I did not join the company until about five o'clock, and stayed until after eight. But, oh, such noise and nonsense! Fitzsimons railed out at one time against Pennsylvania interferences about the assumption of the State debts. Had it not been for these, the funding system would have been completed months ago. He had received letters that stones would be thrown at him in the streets of Philadelphia if he were there, etc.
June 15th. — We finished our observations on the Funding bill, and reported. The whole day was spent in debate on it. I had so often expressed my sentiments respecting the subject of this bill, that I need not set any of them down here. I was not often up. I took at one time some pains to explain the nature of facilities and indents, but no question was taken on any point. All was postponed.
Dr. Elmer told me as I left the Hall that he had something to impart to me. Mr. Morris, however, called me aside and told me that he had a communication from Mr. Jefferson of a disposition of having the temporary residence fifteen years in Philadelphia and the permanent residence at Georgetown on the Potomac, and that he (Mr. Morris) had called a meeting of the delegation at six o'clock this evening at our lodging on the business. I was really unwell, and had to lie down the most of the afternoon. The delegation met at six. I was called out. However, when I came in, what passed was repeated to me. Hamilton proposed to give the permanent residence to Pennsylvania at Germantown or the Falls of the Delaware, on condition of their voting for the assumption. In fact, it was the confidential story of yesterday all over again. Mr. Morris also repeated Mr. Jefferson's story, but I certainly had misunderstood Mr. Morris at the Hall, for Jefferson vouched for nothing.
I have seen no prospect of fixing the permanent residence of Congress at the present session, and whenever it is gone into will be involved in much difficulty. I have, therefore, declared against everything of the kind; but to continue the temporary residence here, under the promise of the permanent residence being in any part of Pennsylvania, I consider as madness. It was giving them time to fortify and intrench themselves with such systemetic[sic] arrangements that we never should get away while the law acted as a tie on us and bound us hand and foot, but gave them all the power and all the opportunity of fixing us permanently in this place. I would rather be under no obligation and keep up an unremitted effort to get away, which I had no doubt would be crowned with success.
I know not whether what I said was the reason of it, but these sentiments seemed to be adopted. As to the bargain proposed by Hamilton, I spoke of it with detestation. Mr. Morris now proposed that a paper should be drawn up, with reasons for our conduct, that they might not be able to brand us with any neglect of the interests of Pennsylvania; and a committee for this purpose was appointed — Mr. Morris, Mr. Fitzsimons, and Mr. Hartley.
- Meaning a supporter of the measures adopted by the Administration.