May 21st. — Went about half after nine to Mr. Morris' lodgings. He was out, but was expected in. Stayed until ten, then went to the Hall and stayed until the Senate met. Our Vice-President is progressive in reformation. He used to keep us until half after eleven, or a quarter at least. He was here this day at eight or ten minutes before eleven, and, strange to tell, he was without a sword.

The Impost bill, being the order of the day, was taken up and postponed until Monday. A resolution was handed to the Chair by Elsworth. It was for the Senate forming something like a committee of the whole. However, it seemed to amount to nothing more than a suspension of our rules for the time mentioned or alluded to in it. Adjourned. I returned home to write letters.

An idea has gone abroad that the mercantile interest has been exerted to delay this [impost] bill. The merchants have undoubtedly regulated the prices of their goods agreeable to the proposed duties, so that the consumers of dutied articles really pay the whole of the impost; and whatever the proposed duties exceed the State duties now paid is clear gain to the merchant. Some of them, indeed, dispute the payment of the' State impost. The interim collection bill is rejected in the Lower House, and the reason given is the most loose I ever heard assigned, viz., "It was said a better one was forming." Surely this was no parliamentary reason. Had any new bill been offered to the House, had any been in the hands of a committee, the reason would have justified the measure; but because it is said Mr. Williams, of Baltimore, is making one of {45} his own motion, and without any order of the House, it is not so proper. Perhaps it may turn out best.

May 22d. — Attended at the Hall at ten o'clock, and waited a whole hour for the committee for arranging the rooms. They did not meet. The Senate met. Soon after, the Clerk of the Lower House attended with the bill for taking the oaths, which was presented to the Chair. The Vice-President rose and addressed the House: "I have, since the other day, when the matter of my signing was talked of in the Senate, examined the Constitution. I am placed here by the people. To part with the style given me is a dereliction of my right. It is being false to my trust. Vice-President is my title, and it is a point I will insist upon." He said several other things, then paused and looked over the bill. He then addressed the Senate again, and with great positiveness told them that he would sign it as Vice-President of the United States and President of the Senate. He asked Mr. Lee if it had been compared, and handed it to Mr. Lee. I can not say whether he signed it before he spoke to Mr. Lee or after, but it was not read nor was any question whatever put upon it — whether it should be read, whether it should be signed, or any other motion whatever. Mr. Elsworth got up and declared himself satisfied with that way of signing it. Mr. Strong got up and thought it should be Vice-President alone. This certainly is a most egregious insult to any deliberative body, but, as Patterson told me a day or two after the gracious affair* that if I had not opposed that measure somebody else would, I determined to see who would oppose this — and all was silence.

[* See under date May 1, 1789.]

Adjourned fill Monday at eleven o'clock.

Called on Mr. Morris this afternoon. Told him that murmurs were abroad against the conduct of the Congress; that, although the duty was not collected for the use of the public, yet, as the rates were in the possession of everybody, the merchants had raised their goods in proportion; first the public was now in the act of paying, and the merchants gainers, for the public treasury got nothing; that commercial influence was blamed for the delay. He replied, "I suppose they blame {46} me." I answered, "These things were said before he came to town." I desired him to appoint some time when I could wait on him in order to examine the Impost bill, that we might be prepared with any amendments which we would offer. He appointed Sunday at 9 A. M. I asked his opinion as to the height of the duties generally. He said he wished to see the bill for collection, and to know under what penalties smuggling would be prohibited, that from them he could form an opinion whether they were too high or not. I replied that they would not be too high with regard to the amount of the revenue raised, and I would have the penalties and prohibitions against smuggling as severe as possible; and if, under the circumstances, the depravity and villainy of people would render the impost unproductive, it would, at least, demonstrate the necessity of adopting some other mode of supplying the treasury.

May 23d, Saturday. — This a fine day and all the world are run a-gadding. Mr. Dennis called this morning. He says the ship Chesapeake from Bengal is unloading at Amboy. The duties on this ship would, by this act, have been about eight thousand pounds; some say ten. I am much distressed with the delays of Congress, The reputation of our Administration will be ruined. The merchants have already added the amount of the duties to the price of goods. In this point of view the impost is levied, but not a farthing goes into the Treasury of the United States; and all the difference between the State duties levied and the proposed duties is clear gain to the merchants. In the Jerseys it is all clear gain, for they have no duties, and vessels are daily crowding there to store their goods until the impost takes place. Delany's estimate of the impost for Pennsylvania for the year was $863,623 — 323,858:12:6. Half of this taken for the spring importation is $161,929:6:6; as Pennsylvania is supposed one eighth of the Union, if we were adopting States, the loss would be $1,295,434:10; and the devil of it is that the sum will actually be paid by the consumers.

I could not bear my own thoughts on this subject any longer. I considered it as my duty to go and rouse our Pennsylvania members. I called on the Speaker and his brother {47} first. They admitted all I said. From there I went to Mr. Scott. He said it was undeniable. I endeavored to rouse all of them. From there I went to the lodgings of Mr. Fitzsimons and Mr. Elsworth; found Mr. Fitzsimons, declared my mind with great freedom, and he heard me with more patience than ever I remember. He said he wished he had stuck to this business from the beginning; that he had brought this draft of a bill which was committed to Gerry, Lawrence, and himself. He left it with Lawrence, being an official man, to correct; that Lawrence kept it three weeks and did nothing; that Gerry then took it, and kept it two weeks, and put it in the hands of Mr. Williams, of Baltimore, who had kept it until within three or four days; that it came from Williams a most voluminous thing of more than forty pages; that he would now stick to it until it was finished.

There could not have been selected within the walls of the House two such improper characters as Gerry and Lawrence: Gerry highly anti-Federal, married, and intimately connected with the trade of this place; Lawrence, of New York, a mere tool for British agents and factors. Nothing else could have been expected. The foregoing calculation, founded on Delany's estimate, is certainly much too high. But if we suppose the port of Philadelphia to receive one fifth only of the importations, and throw one half off for errors and accidents, yet stilt the loss sustained will be near a million and a half of dollars, and the greater part of this sum actually remains as profit to the merchant. Mr. Fitzsimons has promised that the bill shall be reported on Monday. The Speaker has promised to go among the members and rouse them all in his power. For my part, think what they will of me, I will not be silent.

May 24th. — Being Sunday, I attended Mr. Morris, agreeable to appointment. We did not perfectly agree about the preamble of the bill, but there was no difference of consequence. It was verbal only. We came to the discrimination between nations in treaty and those not. Here we differed. He was totally against it. He used arguments. I made some reply, but each retained his opinion. Mr. Morris said the teas would bear more. He said double, and I agreed to it. I alleged that all seven and a half ad valorem articles should be {48} raised at least to ten per cent. Mr. Morris seemed of the same way of thinking. Mr. Morris, however, suddenly exclaimed: "Let us go to Fitzsimons, he knows all about it; he has been thinking on the subject. I want to go and take a stroll somewhere." I thought by this he did not like close thinking. I have been of this opinion before now. He has, however, a strong and vigorous mind when it does act. To Fitzsimons we went and found him very busy at the bill. Mr. Carrol, of the Representatives, came in. We got on the discrimination. We were all of a different opinion from Mr. Morris. We asked Mr. Fitzsimons the reason of so many articles being at seven and a half, which we thought should be ten, along with glass and china. He said there really was no reason for it, but the House would not agree to it.

Mr. Morris proposed a jaunt to the Narrows, but no boat could be got. We then walked up the North River to one Brannan's, who has the greenhouse and gardens. Here we dined. Mr. Morris often touched me on the subject of my dislike to the Vice-President. We got on the subject of their salaries. Mr. Morris mentioned $20,000 for the President and $8,000 for the Vice-President. I opposed both, but it was in the funny way, all of it. At one time, however, when Mr. Morris was absent, I spoke seriously to Fitzsimons, saying the old proverb must be reversed. Here it was, "Be no service, but salary." Mr. Morris had alleged that the Vice-President must see the foreign ministers, etc., as the President could not, and the salary was to enable him to do so. And what obligation is he under to do so? Some of the Presidents of Pennsylvania have had £1,250 to enable them to see strangers. Some have not spent £10 per annum in that way. They had hinted so often at my dislike of the Vice-President that after dinner I gave them one of his speeches in the Senate. Was this prudent? No. But I never was a prudent man.

Strolled after dinner about the house taken by the Vice-President. Sat in the shade. Crossed through the fields and came at length to Baron Polnitz. This man we found sensible and well informed. He has studied agriculture, and has more machines in that way than I have seen before. I have heard him spoken rather disrespectfully of. This, however, I suppose, {49} flowed from the force of our old habits, derived from the English, who seldom speak well of a foreigner. I will see him again. It is said he has moved in the higher stations of life and seen much. But I intend to hear from him, and perhaps will hear more of him in the mean time.

May 25th. — Wrote letters to my family. Went early this morning to the Hall. The Senate met. The Impost bill was taken, and, according to Elsworth's resolution, we were to act as if in a committee of the whole. But the Vice-President kept the chair, and I thought it made Mr. Elsworth look foolish. A message was announced from the President by General Knox. According to the resolution we were in committee, but the Vice-President kept the chair, and the General Knox advanced and laid the papers — being very bulky — on the table. The Vice-President had given us a speech before the minutes were read, on the subject of receiving a message from the President. His supreme delight seems to be in etiquette. But I really believe he had a further view in it. The entry on the minutes for Friday did not appear to me to correspond with the facts. There was something that imported the bill being reported by the committee that composed it, and the minute read that the Vice-President signed it. I determined I would not imbroil myself with him if possible, and nobody made any observation. By making his observations at this time, he diverted the attention of the Senate from the minutes.

We sat on the Impost bill, and debated long on the style of the enacting clause. It was an old field, and the same arguments were used which had formerly been advanced; but the style of the law which had already passed was adopted. Now came the first duty of twelve cents on spirits of Jamaica proof. We debated until quarter past three, and it was reduced to eight. Adjourned.

When I came home in the evening I told Mr. Wynkoop the business of the day. He said things of this kind made him think whether our style of government in Pennsylvania was not best. Certain it is that a government with so many branches affords a larger field for caballing; first in the Lower House, and the moment a party finds a measure lost or likely to be lost, all engines are set to work in the Upper House. If {50} they are likely to fail here, the last attempt is made with the President, and, as most pains are always taken by bad men and to support bad measures, the calculation seems in favor of the exertions and endeavors that are used more than in the justness of the measure. On the other hand, a fuller field is open for investigation, but, unfortunately, intrigue and cabal take place of fair inquiry. Here an observation forces itself upon me: that, in general, the further any measure is carried from the people, the less their interests are attended to.

I fear that our impost will be rendered in a great measure unproductive. This business is the work of the New England men. They want the article of molasses quite struck out, or, at least, greatly reduced; therefore they will strike at everything, or, to place it in a different point of view, almost every part will be proscribed either by one or other of those who choose to be opponents, for every conspirator must be indulged in the sacrifice of his particular enemy. I called on Mr. Fitzsimons some time ago to express my fears on this very head, and I wished him to consent to a reduction of the molasses duty to four cents, to avoid a thing of this kind; but I was not attended to. Indeed, I thought he had the best right to know. I felt too much confidence about that time in the return of Mr. Morris.

May 26th. — Attended the Hall early. Was the first. Mr. Morris came next, the Vice-President next. I made an apology to the Vice-President for the absence of our chaplain, Mr. Linn. There had been some conversation yesterday in the Senate about the style of the Bishop. It had been entered on the minutes right reverend. The Vice-President revived the discourse; got at me about titles. I really never had opened my mouth on the affair of yesterday. He, however, addressed to me all he said, concluding: "You are against titles. But there are no people in the world so much in favor of titles as the people of America; and the Government never will be properly administered until they are adopted in the fullest manner." "We think differently, indeed, on the same subject. I am convinced that were we to adopt them in the fashion of Europe, we would ruin all. You have told us, sir, that they are idle in a philosophic point of view. Governments have {51} been long at odds with common sense. I hope the conduct of America will reconcile them. Instead of adding respect to government, I consider that they would bring the personages who assume them into contempt and ridicule."

Senate met. After some motions as to the business which should be taken up, and the appointment of a committee of conference on the mode of receiving communications from the President, the impost was taken up. There was a discrimination of five cents in favor of nations having commercial treaties with us per gallon on Jamaica spirits. Then rose against all discrimination, Mr. Lee, Mr. Dalton, Mr. Izard, Mr. Morris, Mr. Wingate, and Mr. Strong. At first they rather gave opinions than any arguments. I declared for the discrimination; that if commercial treaties were of any use at all, nations in treaty should stand on better terms than those who kept at a sulky distance; but, if we now treated all alike, we need never hereafter propose a commercial treaty. I asked if we were not called on by gratitude to treat with discrimination those nations who had given us a helping hand in the time of distress. Mr. Carrol rose on the same side with me. I was, however, answered from all sides. All commercial treaties were condemned. It was echoed from all parts of the House that nothing but interest governed all nations. My very words were repeated and contradicted in the most pointed terms. I never had delivered anything in the speaking way on which I was so hard run. Mr. Strong, who is but a poor speaker, showed ill-nature; said nothing like reason or argument had been offered. It was insisted that this discrimination was showing an inimical disposition to Great Britain; it was declaring commercial war with her.

I had to reply as well as I could. I alleged that these arguments. were against the whole system of administration under the old Congress, and, in some measure, against the engagements entered into by that body, although these engagements were sanctified by the Constitution; that Great Britain had nothing to do in this business; that nations in treaty were on terms of friendship; that strangers had no right to be offended at acts of kindness between friends. She might be a friend if she pleased, and enjoy these favors. On the contrary, {52} I thought our friends were the people, who had a right to be offended if no discrimination took place. It had been asserted that interest solely governed nations. I was sorry it was so much the case, but I hoped we would not in every point be governed by that principle. The conduct of France to us in our distress, I thought, was founded, in part, on more generous principles. Had the principle of interest solely governed, she would have taken advantage of our distress when we were in abject circumstances and would have imposed hard terms on us, instead of treating on the terms of mutual reciprocity. She likewise remitted large sums of money. Was this from the principle of interest only? What had been the conduct of the two nations since the peace? Civility on the part of the French, and very different treatment by the British. Our newspapers teem with these accounts. Elsworth had said, it has been asked if we were not called on by gratitude, etc. I answer no. The answer "no" has been given to the calls of gratitude in this business, but the great voice of the people at large would give a very different answer. So far as my sphere of knowledge extended I had a right to say so; but the sense of the people at large, expressed by their representatives in the clause before us, holds a different language.

Mr. Langdon spoke, and seemed to be of our opinion. I did not hear a "no," however, on the question but Mr. Carrol's and my own.

All ran smooth now till we came to the molasses. Till quarter after three did the New England members beat this ground, even to the baiting of the hook that caught the fish that went to buy the molasses. The motion was to reduce it to four cents from five. I had prepared notes, but there was such an eagerness to speak, and, finding that we should carry it, I let them fight it out. The votes for four [cents] carried. All the arguments of the other House were repeated over and over.

May 27th. — I spent this morning in writing letters to my family, to go by General Butler, who sets off this day and will pass by Harrisburg. Attended Senate. The minutes were read. I was astonished to hear Strong immediately get up and begin a long harangue on the subject of molasses. One {53} looked at another. Mr. Carrol had taken his seat next to me. Several of the gentlemen murmured. At last Mr. Carrol rose and asked pardon for interrupting any gentleman, but said that matter had been determined yesterday. The Vice-President said the question had been taken on four cents being put instead of five, but no question had been taken on the paragraph after it was amended. The whole sentence was on molasses per gallon, four cents; that a second should be put on it was idle; but it was plain that this matter had been agreed on between the Vice-President and the New England men, and in all probability they have got some people who voted for four yesterday to promise to vote for less to-day. Dalton, however, got up and made a long speech that some of the gentlemen are absent, and particularly the gentlemen who moved for the four cents, and desired it might be put off till to-morrow. I must declare this the most uncandid piece of proceeding that I have ever seen in the Senate.

Now came wine of Madeira. All arguments of yesterday were had over again, and it was voted at eighteen cents. When we came to loaf-sugar, it was postponed. When we came to cables, the New England men moved to postpone everything of that kind (Mr. Langdon being absent) until we came to steel. I then moved an adjournment, as it was near the time, for I wished Mr. Morris to be here, as I expected a pointed opposition on that business, and as he has all the information on the most of subjects. I have been as attentive as possible to get information, as far as my sphere of influence extended, but the private communications of the citizens of Philadelphia have generally been by letter to Mr. Morris, Mr. Fitzsimons, or Mr. Clymer. I regret that they furnish me with none of this information. I must, however, serve my country as well as I can. The collection bill is at last reported. I can not think but that there has been a studied delay in this business. The bill itself is said to be a volume. It is ordered to be printed.

May 28th. — Having found the opposition to run hard yesterday against the impost, I determined to go this morning among all my Pennsylvania friends, and call on them for any information which they could give me in the way of their private {54} letters or otherwise. I got an account of all the sugarhouses in Philadelphia from the Speaker. Called on Mr. Morris. Told him the war on molasses was to be waged again. Called on Mr. Clymer and Mr. Fitzsimons. Got from Mr. Fitzsimons a list of the Pennsylvania protecting duties. Then went to the Hall. I was here near an hour before any person carne. Langdon, Carrol, and the Vice-President came. The discourse was general on the subject of government. "If our new Government does well," said our Vice-President, "I shall be more surprised than ever I was in my life." Mr. Carrol said he hoped well of it; it would be sufficiently powerful. "If it is," said Mr. Adams, "I know not from whence it is to arise. It can not have energy. It has neither rewards nor punishments." Mr. Carrol replied the people of America were enlightened. Information and knowledge would be the support of it. Mr. Adams replied, information and knowledge were not the sources of obedience; that ignorance was a much better source. Somebody replied that it had formerly been considered as the mother of devotion, but the doctrine of late was considered as rather stale. I began now to think of what Mr. Morris had told me, that it was necessary to make Mr. Adams Vice-President to keep him quiet. He is anti-Federal, but one of a very different turn from the general cast. A mark may be missed as well above as below, and he is a high flier.

Senate met. Cables, cordage, etc., came up. They stood at seventy-five cents. Mr. Langdon spoke warmly against this. Mr. Morris moved a reduction to fifty cents. I urged him so much that he said sixty. This was seconded. I had to show some pointed reason why I urged sixty. Indeed, it was much against my will that any reduction took place. The protecting duties of Pennsylvania were 4s. 2d., about fifty-six cents. To place the manufacturers of Pennsylvania, who had a claim on the faith of the State, on a worse ground than they stood before, would be injurious in a degree to their private property, and break the engagement the State had made with them. This argument went to all the protecting duties of Pennsylvania. Gentlemen had complained that they had no hemp. in the Western States. This was the case of Pennsylvania. At {55} the close of the war the protecting duties on cordage called for the manufacturing of it. The manufacture called for the hemp. It was, in fact, a bounty on the raising of that article. The effect of the protecting duty in Pennsylvania was at first felt by the importers. It was for a time an unproductive expense. It is thus almost with every distant prospect. He that plants an orchard can not immediately eat the fruit of it; but the fruit had already ripened in Pennsylvania, and so it would in other places. I was up four times in all. We carried it, however, at sixty.

We passed on with little interruption until we got to twine. Mr. Lee kept us an hour and a quarter on this business, because the Virginians had hitherto imported their nets from Britain. Once for all I may remark of him [Mr. Lee] that he has given opposition to every article, especially the protecting duties. He declares openly against the principle of them. Mr. Grayson declares against all impost as the most unjust and oppressive mode of taxation. It was in vain Lee was told he could be supplied with all the nets Virginia wanted from any part of New England; that what could be supplied from any one part of the Union should be protected by duties on the importation of the same articles from foreign parts. It was lowered to one dollar and fifty cents.

And now for the article of molasses. Lee, who is a perfect Ishmael, declared the second question totally out of order. It is true, parliamentary precedent might be alleged in favor of such second question; but in the present case it was evidently a trick, and I guessed some parties had changed sides. From the discourse it appeared to me that Mr. Few, of Georgia, had changed. The.Vice-President made a harangue on the subject of order. The facts were all agreed to, viz.: that it was agreed to strike out five cents; that the first motion seconded was to insert two cents. The second motion seconded was for three cents. The third motion seconded was for four cents. That a very long and tedious discussion took place with all the three motions before the Chair; that an adjournment had been called for, and negatived expressly on the avowed reason that the committee would first get rid of the article; that the Vice-President mentioned from the chair that he would put the {56} question on four first, that being the highest sum. The question was put and carried, and the Senate afterward adjourned.

The Vice-President made a speech, which really was to me unintelligible. He seemed willing to persuade the members that the above was a very unfair mode of doing business, and that they had not an opportunity of declaring their sentiments freely in the above way. He concluded, however, that after the four [cents] had been carried it was in order to move for any lower sum. Somebody whispered that he ought to get his wig dressed. Mr. Morris rose and declared it was with reluctance that he differed with the Chair on a question of order, and was beginning to argue on the subject, but the New England men, seeing their darling Vice-President likely to be involved in embarrassment for the unguarded steps he had taken in their favor, with one consent declared they were satisfied to pass the article at present and take it up in the Senate.

Now came the postponed article of loaf-sugar. Lee labored with spite and acrimony in this business. He said the loaf-sugar of America was bad. It was lime and other vile compositions. He had broken a spoon in trying to dissolve and separate it, and so I must go on breaking my spoons and three millions of people must be taxed to support half a dozen people in Philadelphia. He pronounced this sentence, especially the part about the spoon, with so tremulous an accent and so forlorn an aspect as would have excited even Stoics to laughter. There was a laugh, but no retort on him. I supported the motion by showing that the sugar-baking business was of importance, as it gave employment to many other artificers — the mason, bricklayer, carpenter, and all the artificers employed in building, for they had to build largely. The coppersmith, potter, and cooper were in much employ with them. The business was in a declining state, and some sugar-houses discontinued; that in Pennsylvania the old protecting duty was 9/10 per hundred-weight, and the raw sugar was one per cent; that now there was no protecting duty whatever, for one cent on the pound of brown sugar was in proportion to three on the, loaf; that the sugar-baker of Pennsylvania was therefore undeniably on a worse footing than formerly, {57} at least by the whole amount of the Pennsylvania protecting duty, as he paid 6/6 per hundred-weight more on the importation of the raw material. The British, too, aimed at a monopoly of this business, and gave a bounty of 26s. sterling on exportation; so that it became us to counteract them or lose the manufacture. Mr. Morris and Mr. Dalton satisfied some gentlemen as to the manner of importing sugars. I thought this as plain a subject as could come before the House, and yet we divided, and the Vice-President gave us the casting vote. He desired leave to give us the reason of his vote. This seemed to imply a degree of vanity, as if among us all we had not placed the matter in a right point of view. For my part I was satisfied with his vote. It was near four o'clock. Adjourned.

May 29th. — The Senate met. The article of steel was passed over with little difficulty, and here I confess I expected considerable opposition. Nails and spikes came next. Here an opposition from the Carolina and Georgia members led to an increase of the duty. Now came salt. Up rose Mr. Lee, of the Ancient Dominion. He gave us an account of the great revenue derived from salt in France, England, and all the world. Condemned the general system of the bill. Said this was almost the only article in it that would reach the interior parts of the State. The interior parts of the country with their new lands could much better afford to pay high taxes than the settlers of the exhausted lands; that the carriage of it was nothing, for they all had teams and fine horses. He concluded a lengthy harangue with a motion for twelve cents, which, in his opinion, was vastly too low. He was seconded by Mr. Carrol, of Maryland. Elsworth rose for an augmentation, but said if twelve was lost he would move for nine. Lee, Carrol, Elsworth, and Mr. Morris, speakers in favor of the augmentation. Any reduction seemed out of the question with everybody. Against the augmentation [were the] speakers Izard, Few, and self.

I thought my friends on our side of the question were rather warm, and used some arguments that did not apply well. They, perhaps, with equal justice, thought the same of me. I advocated the new settlers; endeavored to show that {58} their superior crops were justly due to superior labor; that every acre of new land cost from five to ten dollars per acre, clearing and fencing. The expenses of new buildings were immense. Men spent an active life on a farm, and died with the farm in debt to them; that new settlers labored for posterity — for the public. They were the real benefactors to the community, and deserved exemption if any. It had been said it was their choice. No. Necessity, dire necessity, compelled many. But were they exempted from the effects of the other part of the bill? No. They could raise no sheep, of course no wool, coarse duffels,* blankets, swan-skins — in a word` all their woolens were imported, and they would of course pay the imposts on these articles from necessity, which was not the case in general with other citizens, who might either manufacture or buy as they had the materials.

[* A coarse woolen cloth, having a thick nap.]

But, over and above this, luxuries would find their way among them. All people, down to the savage, were fond of finery, the rudest the most so. And I was convinced that the poor, the amount of their several stocks taken into consideration, spent more in superfluities than the rich; that, all these arguments apart, the article of salt was the most necessary of any in the bill, and in proportion to the original cost was the highest taxed; that it was a new and an untried source of revenue in many of the States; that it ought, therefore, to be touched with a gentle hand, if at all; that I knew not whether the discontents would follow that had been predicted, and I hoped they would not, but wished we could avoid giving occasion for any; that for these reasons I should at present be for leaving it where the wisdom of the other House had placed it. The question was put. The House divided, and the Vice-President gave it in our favor.

In the course of the debate it came out that Mr. Fitzsimons had furnished Mr. Carrol with all his remarks and the documents which he had collected on the subject of revenue, as well respecting Pennsylvania as the Union in general. I do think that as an individual I have taken as much pains to collect information as any of them. But I am much less known, {59} and of course information by letter from individuals has generally fallen to the share of Mr. Fitzsimons, Mr. Morris, and Mr. Clymer. The information from the Collector's office I never could get at, although Mr. Fitzsimons told me in Philadelphia that Mr. Delaney had furnished him (but voluntarily) with. Mr. Morris has a statement of the Custom-House of Philadelphia, or some such paper. He used it this day as he sat beside me. I asked him to let me see the article of salt in it. He said it was not there.

What shall I think of Lee, this Ishmael of the House? He labored [on] the subject of titles with a diligence worthy of a better cause. He seemed disposed to destroy the whole effect of the Impost bill on every other article. The tax on salt he knows must be odious, and this he is for doubling at the first word. He is a great advocate for an excise. If I really wished to destroy the new Constitution, to injure it to the utmost of my power, I would follow exactly the line of conduct which he has pursued. Far be it, however, from me to say this of him. People employ the same means for very different ends, and such is the vanity of human opinion that the same object is often aimed at by means directly opposite. Adjourned to Monday.

May 30th. — The Speaker called. He dined yesterday with the President. A number of the Senators were present. The Pennsylvanians had agreed to call on Mrs. Morris between ten and eleven. Mr. Morris had yesterday mentioned that time as convenient time to her. The gentlemen of Congress have, it seems, called on Mrs. Washington and all the congressional ladies. Speaker Wynkoop and self called on Mrs. Morris half after ten. Not at home. Left our cards. Being in the lady way, we called to see Mrs. Langdon and Mrs. Dalton. Found Mr. Langdon; the ladies abroad. This finished the visiting tour. Came home; felt uncommonly heavy this day. It was warm. Never wished so much for home; think I must absolutely set off for home about this day week. The Collection bill is reported, and I will do all I can to inspire my acquaintances with a spirit of expedition in both Houses.

May 31. — Being Sunday, was called on this morning by General St. Clair. He desired my commands for Philadelphia. {60} Wrote by him to Mr. Peters and Mr. Harris. I find going out hurts me. I come home almost from every walk with a sore throat, complaint in my breast, or something of that kind. I therefore determined to stay at home more. Read and kept my room.

June 1st, Monday. — Called this morning on Mr. Clymer and Mr. Fitzsimons. I wished for a general abstract of the trade of the United States; Mr. Fitzsimons had such a paper, for he one day gave us some business from it. He, however, put Sheffield's pamphlet into my hand. I had never read Sheffield's work, and therefore received it with pleasure. Came to the Hall and was soon delighted with the reception of letters from my family, who were all well, and my dear little son Billy recovered of tire small-pox, for which he has been inoculated.

The Impost bill was taken up, and a number of articles passed over. When we came to tea, the impost proceeded on a discrimination in favor of our own ships. Here a motion was made by Elsworth, seconded by Lee, that went against all discrimination in favor of our own shipping, or, in other words, against any protecting duty for the East India trade; and, indeed, the argument went against the East India trade altogether. I got up early in this business. I laid it down that the use of tea was now so general that any interdiction of it was impossible; that have it the people would. If this, then, was the case, common prudence told us to get it from the first hand; that it was evident teas were now obtained vastly cheaper than before our merchants traded to China. This difference had been stated at fifty per cent on some teas. It had been alleged against this trade that it destroyed the lives of seamen. The fact had been represented to me differently by those who made the voyage; that it was the practice of all nations to encourage their own trade, but our permitting the British to supplant us in this trade was suffering them to encourage their trade at our expense.

It had been said the British would take raw materials from us and give us teas. I was well informed that the Chinese took many articles from us, and some that no other people would take. A detail of these articles I had no doubt would {61} be more fully entered into by some of the gentlemen who would follow me. To talk of not protecting a trade sought after by all the world was a phenomenon in a national council. I therefore was clearly for the discrimination. Mr. Morris followed. He went most minutely into the India trade; showed that ginseng was a considerable article in that trade, anchors, iron, spars, masts, naval stores of all kinds. He, in fact, made it clear that a dollar sent to Europe for East India goods would not import more than half a dollar sent to the East Indies. The debate was amazingly lengthy. Both Few and Elsworth said the trade had been represented as flourishing; this it had obtained without any protecting duties; why, then, give any now?

I rose to information, and mentioned that the protecting duty of Pennsylvania was twopence per pound and the protecting duty of New York twopence, and that the ill policy of withdrawing these duties now, when the trade to the East Indies was threatened with combination against it, was evident. We got the discrimination carried by nine votes to eight.

Now for the duty. Mr. Morris moved to raise all the tea-duties. This was lost. But I wish we had uniformly moved to raise, for by this means we secured it at the rate in the bill. When we came to the real discrimination, now a great debate arose. Four cents was the difference on Boheas, and so, nearly in proportion. Mr. Lee moved for eight, avowedly on this principle that the four cents were more than the old protecting duty under which the trade had flourished. This debate was mostly conducted on our side by Mr. Morris. I only showed that, though the difference between six and ten cents was more than the old protecting duties, the difference between six and eight was less, and that the gentlemen, on their own principle, should have moved for more than eight. But in the critical situation of the trade to the East, with combinations in India contracts and ships fitted out at Ostend, and the increasing endeavors of the English to engross the whole trade of the East, the discrimination of four was not too much. Carried at four o'clock — at nine to eight.

In the first argument I mentioned that, if there had been {62} any exclusive company engrossing the India trade, there might be something in the arguments. This, however, was not the ease, nor could it be.

June 2d. — Had an excellent opportunity of writing home by the person who brought my letters yesterday. This employed me to near eleven o'clock. Attended at the Hall. After some preliminary business, proceeded on the Impost bill without much opposition till we came to an enumeration of fifteen or sixteen articles which all stood at seven and a half per cent. The most of these articles stood, in the old protecting duties of Pennsylvania, at twelve and a half per cent. I feared much the spirit of reduction would get into the opposers of the impost, and that they would be for lowering everything. From this sole motive I would have an augmentation, by way of securing the duty where it was. However, I had better ground. I set out with naming over the greater part of the articles on which the protecting duties of Pennsylvania were over twelve and a half per cent and thirteen per cent in New York. I reasoned from the effect of these duties on the promoting the manufacture. But by the present duties the manufactures would stand on worse ground by five per cent than they had done under the State laws; that although the United States were not absolutely obliged to make good the engagements of the State to individuals, yet, as individuals had embarked their property in these manufactures, depending on the State laws, I thought it wrong to violate those laws without absolute necessity.

I was, as usual, opposed by the Southern people. Before I rose I spoke to Mr. Morris to rise and move an augmentation. He said no. Mr. Few, of Georgia, asserted that the manufactures of Pennsylvania would be better off under the seven and a half than they had been under the twelve and a half per cent. Mr. Morris got up and asserted the same thing. I declare I could not believe either of them. Mr. Morris, however, stated the manufacture of paper to be in the most flourishing condition imaginable in Pennsylvania; said he was afraid to mention the amount of paper that had been exported last year lest he might not be believed; that it had been stated to him at not less than £80,000. He went through the business {63} down to gathering the rags in the street. After this it was in vain to say anything more, but the effect was that it stood at seven and a half.

A number of articles were now raised to ten per cent. But what surprised me was that Mr. Morris was against raising leather and leather manufactures, canes, Walking-sticks, whips, ready-made clothing, brushes, gold, silver, and plated ware, jewelry and paste-work, wrought tin and pewter ware. He gave no reason for this, which is not usual with him. Some of the articles were, notwithstanding, placed at ten without him. His weight in our Senate is great on commercial subjects. Mr. Morris moved, at my request, to have cotton exempted for some time from duty. This was carried by a kind of compromise. We proceeded smoothly till we came to the drawback on fish, etc., and New England rum. Long conversations on this subject; but agreed to. We expected a sharp debate on the drawback or discount on American vessels, but it was passed nem. con. The last clause Mr. Morris moved to expunge, but it was carried, and I heard not a "No" but his own. It was now late, and we adjourned.

I omitted to mention in its proper place that Mr. Morris moved for tell per cent on a long list of scythes, sickles, axes, spades, shovels, locks, hinges, etc., down to plow-irons, but none of them were carried, and, of course, stood in the mass of five per cent.

June 3d. — In rather a disagreeable situation with my swelled knee. This vile rheumatism seems determined to torment me while I stay here. Attended at the Hall at ten; read the newspaper. At eleven the Senate met. The Clerk from the House of Representatives came with a message and brought up the law about the oaths. The impost was taken up; the title and preamble debated, and altered a little. And now a lengthy debate took place on a motion of Mr. Lee to put off the consideration of the bill until Monday next. I spoke first against the motion. I was for proceeding immediately. The bill had been very long under consideration. The public expectation had been tired. A million of dollars had been lost to the treasury, and, what was still worse, the people had paid the money; for the merchants had raised their goods, and the {64} impost was in actual collection on all the spring importations; that I wished the new Government might stand fair with the public and give them no just cause of censure at so early a period. After very considerable debate, Mr. Morris moved that to-morrow be assigned for the second reading in the Senate. This was agreed to.

Now a very long debate took place about the newspapers. All the printers in the city crowd their papers into the hands of the members. The bulk of the papers consist of advertisements. Useful information ought not to be excluded; but this is overdone. The real mean appears to me to be the taking of one or two papers by each member. But one part of the House struggled for taking all, the other for taking none. No vote could be carried for either, and, of course, the printers will continue their old practice of sending and expecting payment.

Mr. Morris some time ago promised the London prices current. His words were, "I will give you one." They are of no use in the world to anybody further than all the duties are marked in them, and on the business of the impost they may be useful. I thought he was long in performing his promise, and this day asked him for it. lie said he had one and would let me see it, but he had it not here; perhaps I was mistaken in this business.

June 4th. — Went to the Hall at ten, but found the members occupied by two committees. Sauntered about till eleven; rather disagreeable. Senate was formed. The minutes were read. They stood: Mr. Langdon administered the oath to the Vice-President; the Vice-President administered, etc. The law is, the oath, etc., shall be administered by any one member of the Senate to the President of the Senate, and by him to all the members. And again: The President of the Senate for the time being. The minutes are totally under the direction of our Vice-President, or rather Otis is his creature. I told Patterson that I would not get up again, but let them be as they would.

But now a discourse was raised again whether the members should be styled honorable on the minutes. The Vice-President declared from the chair that it was a most serious affair, {65} and a vote of the House should be taken on it. He gave us a touch again on the subject; was against using the word unless "right" was added to it. He said a good deal to this purpose. Lee was up in a moment for it. The Vice-President made us a second speech. He said it was of great importance. If we took the title "honorable," it was a colonial appellation, and we should disgrace ourselves forever by it; that it was applied to the justices of every court. Up now rose Grayson, of Virginia, and gave us volley after volley against all kinds of titles whatever. Louder and louder did he inveigh against them. Lee looked like madness. Carrol and myself exchanged looks and laughs of congratulation. Even the Vice-President himself seemed struck in a heap — Izard would have said rotundity. Grayson mentioned the Doge of Venice in his harangue, as he was mentioning all the great names in the world. "Pray, do you know his title?" said the Vice-President from the chair. "No," says Grayson, smartly, "I am not very well acquainted with him."

We now took up the Impost bill, and proceeded smoothly till we came to the article of molasses. It was the wish of the majority of the Senate to have the question without any debate; but now Mr. Dalton rose, and we were obliged to hear everything over again which had been formerly advanced. It was long and tedious. Some observations were just and pertinent, but many were quite foreign to the purpose. Dr. Johnson rose on the same side. Dalton was for lowering it to three cents, but Dr. Johnson said he had been convinced that it ought to be but two, or rather none at all. The drift of the doctor's argument was: Molasses, imported, is either distilled, and then as a raw material it ought not to be taxed, or it is consumed by the poor as food, and so ought not to be taxed. So it ought not to be taxed at all.

Up rose Strong, and, facing himself to the right where Mr. Morris and myself sat, fell violently on the members from Pennsylvania, with insinuations that seemed to import that we wished to overcharge New England with an undue proportion of the impost. What was the most remarkable, Mr. Morris had whispered to me that he would not get up on this business, but would attend with the utmost attention to all their {66} arguments, fully determined to give them their utmost weight. But when this attack was begun, I could see his nostrils widen and his nose flatten like the head of a viper. Elsworth, however, ever, got up before him, and this gave him time to recollect himself. He rose after Elsworth, and charmingly did he unravel all their windings. It is too long to set down, but he was clear and conclusive.

I, in the mean while, busied myself in examining the abstract of the importations into Philadelphia given me by Delany. In this place I can not help remarking that there is something of a singularity in my disposition. Although I was equally concerned, I really felt joy on this attack, and the more so when I saw Mr. Morris was moved. The buffetings that I used to get from some of these people in his absence, and the sentimental insults that I received, seemed now to say, "Take you, too, a part."

When he had done, I rose and repeated from their own observations that the whole of the molasses imported into Massachusetts was three million gallons. Two millions they distilled and had the drawback, if they chose to export it, so that this was totally out of the question. That consumed in the State, in substance, was the remaining million. But we imported last year so much molasses into Pennsylvania that, making sufficient allowance for two distilleries that were worked, the remainder for consumption, in substance, was half a million. Was this the object to make such a stir about? It was said that some of the New England rum was drunk in the State. Be it so. Take any given quantity, be it what it may, it is consumed under a duty of four cents per gallon; for the gallon of molasses yields in distillation rather a larger than a less quantity than gallon for gallon. But we import near one million of gallons of spirits into Pennsylvania, and this is consumed under a duty of from eight to ten cents per gallon. We imported also five million gallons of raw sugar; above one million of coffee, which was said to be half of the coffee used in the United States; besides a full proportion of all other goods. I spoke not at random nor without book. Here was the abstract in the handwriting of Sharp Delany, the collector. Were we, then, the people for imposing unequal burdens? {67} No. We were imposing no burdens of which we were not about to bear a share — a great, perhaps the greatest, share.

Dalton rose and remarked on the great uncertainty of all calculations. He was, however, modest. A variety, of people spoke. Some heat seemed at one time to rise between Lee and Langdon. There was a considerable shifting about the question. It was at last settled that the question should be to reduce the duty to three cents, expressly on the condition of taking away the drawback. Mr. Morris and myself voted against it. Izard, Gunn, and some others voted expressly on the condition of the drawback being taken away. The others joined, but with a design of retaining the drawback, So stands this curious affair till to-morrow. Past three, and adjourned. I must not omit that Carrol got up and spoke well on our side. He stated the inequality of duty on molasses and sugar as sweets; that a gallon of molasses was equal, as a sweet, to seven pounds of good brown sugar. Seven cents on one, four on the other.

June 5th, Friday. — Came with my swelled knee. Called this morning on Mr. Fitzsimons, and got from him a list of the imports into Pennsylvania and into Virginia. Went to the Hall, and waited until the meeting of the Senate. We now fell to the imposts, and proceeded to the article of loafsugar; and here they directly moved a reduction of one cent. Lee and Elsworth spoke against it, as formerly. I rose and repeated the sum of the old arguments. Dr. Johnson, who was with us before, now fell off. Dalton changed. It was reduced to three. We swam on smoothly to teas, imported from any other country than China. This clause admitted all foreigners to come directly to America from China and India. Dalton moved an amendment that should confine the direct trade from India and China to the United States to our own vessels. Mr. Morris got up and said that although he was in sentiment with the gentlemen, yet, as he believed it would not meet the approbation of gentlemen, he would not second the motion, but leave the matter until experience would fully show the necessity of it.

Mr. Carrol got up, said if the matter was right it should be tried now and not wait for experiment, which might be {68} attended with detriment, and seconded the motion. And now, strange to tell, both Lee and Elsworth rose and supported the motion. I listened with astonishment when I recollected the debates on this very subject on Monday last. The whole trade to India was then inveighed against, condemned, and almost execrated, and now the very men declared for it and for securing it exclusively to ourselves. This change I can not account for. If there was any preconcerted measure, Mr. Morris certainly knew nothing of it. One inference, however, follows clearly from the conduct of Lee and Elsworth, that they are governed by conveniency or cabal. Had judgment been the rule of their conduct, their behavior on Monday would not have been so inconsistent with that of to-day. I was content with the bill as it stood. The difference of duty and the discount of ten per cent in favor of our own vessels I thought pretty well for protecting our trade without absolutely excluding all the world. But I had another reason. I doubt much whether the House of Representatives will agree to our amendments. Every new one will or may be a source of dissension or delay. I have labored with all the diligence in my power to hasten on the impost, but I am counteracted; for what can one man do? It now seems evident that remarkable influence is exerted to delay the impost until they get in all their summer goods. This is detestable; this is — But I have not a name for it. I wish we were out of this base, bad place.

Yesterday was the anniversary of his Britannic Majesty's birth. It was a high day, and celebrated with great festivity on that account. The old leaven anti-revolutionism has leavened the whole lump, nor can we keep the Congress free from the influence of it.

People may act as they think proper in their elections, and they will still do so. Lawyers and merchants are generally their choice. But it seems as difficult to restrain a merchant from striking at gain as to prevent the keen spaniel from springing at game that he has been trained to pursue. tidbit with them has become a second nature. Indeed, the strongest propensities of nature are often postponed to it. Lawyers have keenness and a fondness for disputation. Wrangling is their business. But long practice in supporting any cause that {69} offers has obliterated regard to right and wrong. The question only is, Which is my side? And this, the slightest circumstance, a word, a hint, a nod, a whim, or silly conceit, often determines with them. Who are above pressing influence, treats, dinners, attentions, etc.? And whenever the digit is made, whenever the part is chosen, all that follows is a contest for victory. O candor and integrity! jewel of the human soul, where are ye to be found? Seldom in professional men; often in the plain and sober countryman; never, however, in the sordid clown.

About two o'clock the words "levee" and "adjourn" were repeated from sundry quarters of the House. Adjourn to Monday? The Vice-President caught hold of the last. "Is it the pleasure of the House that the adjournment be to Monday?" A single "No" would not be heard among the prevailing ayes. Here are the most important bills before us, and yet we shall throw all by for empty ceremony, for attending the levee is little more. Nothing is regarded or valued at such meetings but the qualifications that flow from the tailor, barber, or dancing-master. To be clean shaved, shirted, and powdered, to make your bows with grace, and to be master of small chat on the weather, play, or newspaper anecdote of the day, are the highest qualifications necessary. Levees may be extremely useful in old countries where men of great fortune are collected, as it may keep the idle from being much worse employed. But here I think they are hurtful. They interfere with the business of the public, and, instead of employing only the idle, have a tendency to make men idle who should be better employed. Indeed, from these small beginnings I fear we shall follow on nor cease till we have reached the summit of court etiquette, and all the frivolities, fopperies, and expense practiced in European governments. I grieve to think that many individuals among us are aiming at these objects with unceasing diligence.

Settled with Mr. Vandalsen, and he owes me 11s. 6d.

June 6th. — It was half-past ten when Mr. Bell called on me. lie represented Mrs. Baxter's situation to be so low that I might never see her if I did not do it soon. He seemed so earnest that I should go with him that I agreed to meet him {70} in half an hour at the ferry-house and accompany him home. The wind was high and direct ahead. It was five when we reached Elizabethtown Point. Here was Governor Livingston and a dinner party. They had eaten their fish, and were sauntering on the porch. Mr. Bell introduced me to the Governor — a man plain and rather rustle in his dress and appearance. I had often heard of his being a man of' uncommon abilities, and was all attention; but the occasion offered nothing but remarks of the convivial kind. But we learned that the old gentleman, in returning late, was overturned in his [sedan] chair and much bruised.

'Twas near night when we came to Mr. Bell's. Poor Mrs. Baxter lay a skeleton indeed. I can not say but she may recover, but much, indeed, does it seem against her. She, too, was gay, and she yet is young. Useful lesson to the fluttering females of the neighborhood, if lesson were of any service in these giddy times. I soon found I was not the only member of Congress in this quarter. Most of the Representatives from South Carolina were floating in this neighborhood this evening and all Sunday. The house was filled with decent visitants, mostly, however, females, and charmingly did they chat it. The almost only subject was the measures that were pursued to detain Congress in New York. There is in this vicinity a Mrs. Ricketts. This lady leads the business in this quarter. She enters into it with a spirit that risks reputation and sets censure at defiance; indeed, the volumes of conversation poured out on this subject might be styled with propriety the "Campaigns of Mrs. Ricketts." But, while she is characterized as the mere flash of frivolity, her husband is represented as a pattern of industry and economy, and that he indulges his cara sposa in her utmost extravagance, not from a sheepish or sneaking disposition, but from the purest motives of benevolence and a sincere desire of making her happy. This character made a deep impression on my milky temper, and I sincerely wished to have seen him somewhere in a field by himself that I might have chatted with and learned something more of him.

June 8th. — Wrote letters to my family and Mr. Harris. Set off in a frail [sedan] chair for the Point with a lady, but the chair had like to have broke down, and I quitted it to her. {71} Came to the Point [Elizabethtown Point] a few minutes too late for the first boat; left it at a quarter after ten in a second boat, but it was half after two before I reached New York, sweated and almost boiled in a burning sun. Upon the whole the jaunt was a disagreeable one, but it was right to see the poor, languid, perhaps dying Mrs. Baxter. How lately was she as gay as the summer insect, and how soon may any of us be as she is!

Heard, on my coming to my lodgings, of the arrival of two Indiamen at Philadelphia, under command of Barry and Truzton, who report all the rest to be on their way. And now perhaps we shall get the Impost and Collection bills passed.

June 9th. — Although I was not present yesterday, nevertheless they were busy at the impost. The affair of confining the East India trade to the citizens of America had been negatived, and a committee had been appointed to report on this business. The report came in with very high duties, amounting to a prohibition. But a new phenomenon had made its appearance in the House since Friday. Pierce Butler, from Carolina, had taken his seat and flamed like a meteor. He arraigned the whole Impost law, and then charged (indirectly) the whole Congress with a design of oppressing South Carolina. He cried out for encouraging the Danes and Swedes and foreigners of every kind to come and take away our produce. In fact, he was for a Navigation act reversed. Elsworth, Morris, Carrol, Dalton, Langdon, for the report; Few, Izard, Butler, Lee, against it. And until four o'clock was it battled with less order, less sense, and less decency, too, than any question I have ever yet heard debated in the Senate.

I did not like the report well, but concluded to vote for it, all things considered, rather than, by rejecting it, to have all set afloat on that subject again. Butler's party had conducted themselves with so little decorum that any effect their arguments might have had was lost by their manner; and nobody rose but themselves. This was really the most misspent day that I remember in Congress. I did not rise once, but often called for the question. To-morrow is assigned for the third reading of the bill, and I hope we will finish it, or at least send it down to the other House. If I had stood in need of any {72} proof of the instability of Lee's political character, this day gave me a fresh instance of it. Now again he has vilified and traduced the India trade.

June 10th. — Attended at the Hall at the usual time, and the Impost bill was taken up for a third reading. I will not enter into any detail of the speeches and arguments entered into. We once believed that Lee was the worst of men, but I think we have a much worse than he in our lately arrived Mr. Butler. This is the most eccentric of creatures. He moved to strike out the article of indigo. "Carolina was not obliged to us for taking notice of her affairs"; ever and anon crying out against local views and partial proceedings; and that the most local and partial creature I ever heard open a mouth. All the Impost bill was calculated to ruin South Carolina. He has words at will, but scatters them the most at random of any man I ever heard pretend to speak. He seems to have a particular antipathy to Mr. Morris. Izard has often manifested something of a similar disposition. We sat until four-o'clock, but did not get quite through it.

June 11th. — Attended the Hall as usual. Mr. Izard and Mr. Butler opposed the whole of the drawbacks in every shape whatever. Mr. Grayson, of Virginia, warm on this subject, said we were not ripe for such a thing. We were a new nation, and had no business for any such regu0lation — a nation sui generis. Mr. Lee said drawbacks were right, but would be so much abused he could not think of admitting them. Mr. Elsworth said New England rum would be exported instead of West India to obtain the drawback.

I thought it best to say a few words in reply to each. We were a new nation, it was true, but we were not a new people. We were composed of individuals of like manners, habits, and customs with the European nations. What, therefore, had been found useful among them came well recommended by experience to us. Drawbacks stood as an example in this point of view to us; but, if the thing was right in itself, there could be no just argument drawn against the use of a thing from the abuse of it. It would be the duty of the Government to guard against abuses by prudent appointments and watchful attention to officers; that, as to changing the kind {73} of rum, I thought the Collection bill would provide for this by limiting the exportation to the original casks and packages. I said a good deal more, but really did not feel much interested either way. But the debate was very lengthy. Butler flamed away, and threatened a dissolution of the Union with regard to his State, as sure as God was in the firmament! He scattered his remarks over the whole Impost bill, calling it partial, oppressive, etc., and solely calculated to oppress South Carolina; and yet ever and anon declaring how clear of local views, how candid and dispassionate he was! He degenerated into mere declamation. His State would live or die glorious, etc. We, however, got through by three o'clock.

I will now memorandum one remark. The Senators from Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, in every act, seemed desirous of making the impost productive both as to revenue and effective for the encouragement of manufactures, and seemed to consider the whole of the imposts (salt excepted) much too low. Articles of luxury many of them would have raised one half. But the members, both from the North, and still more particularly from the South, were ever in a flame when any articles were brought forward that were in any considerable use among them.

Dined this day with Mr. Morris. Mr. Fitzsimons and Mr. Clymer, all the company, except Mrs. Morris and three children. Mrs. Morris talked a great deal after dinner. She did it gracefully enough, this being a gayer place, and she being here considered as at least the second female character at court. As to taste, etiquette, etc., she is certainly first. I thought she discovered a predilection for New York, but perhaps she was only doing it justice, while my extreme aversion, like a jealous sentinel, is for giving no quarter. I, however, happened to mention that they were ill supplied with the article of cream. Mrs. Morris had much to say on this subject; declared they had done all they could, and even sent to the country all about, but that they could not be supplied. She told many anecdotes on this subject; particularly how two days ago she dined at the President's. A large, fine-looking trifle was brought to table, and appeared exceedingly well indeed. She was helped by the President, but on taking some of it she had to pass her {74} handkerchief to her mouth and rid herself of the morsel; on which she whispered the President. The cream of which it is made had been unusually stale and rancid; on which the General changed his plate immediately. "But," she added with a titter, "Mrs. Washington ate a whole heap of it."

But where in the world has this trifle led me? I have ever been very attentive to discover, if possible, General Washington's private opinions on the pompons part of government. His address of "fellow-citizens" to the two Houses of Congress seems quite republican. Mrs. Morris, however, gave us something on this subject. General Washington, on a visit to her, had declared himself in the most pointed manner for generous salaries; and added that, without large salaries, proper persons could never be got to fill the offices of government with propriety. He might deliver something of this kind with propriety enough without using the word "large." However, if he lives with the pompons people of New York, he must be something more than human if their high-toned manners have not some effect on him. On going first among Indians, I have observed decent white people view them with a kind of disgust; but, when the Indians were by far the most numerous, the disgust would, by degrees, wear off, indifference follows, and by degrees attachment and even fondness. How much more likely are the arts of attention and obsequiousness to make an imitative impression!

June 12th. — Attended the Judicial Committee and had the bill read over. It was long and somewhat confused. I was called out; they, however, reported it soon after the Senate met, and a number of copies were ordered to be struck off. Monday sennight appointed for it. The Indian treaties were now taken up and referred to a committee of three to report. Mr. Butler made a most flaming speech against the Judicial bill. He was called to order from the Chair, and was not a little angry about it. The French Convention was called up and read respecting the privileges of consuls, vice-consuls, etc., but was postponed.

We now adjourned, and I went to the levee. I was rather late. Most of the company were coming [away]. I felt easier than I used to do, and I believe I had better attend every day {75} until I finish the affair of Davy Harris. I spoke to Colonel Humphreys, and desired to know when I should call on him. He said nine o'clock. I believe I will go at that hour to-morrow. In the evening, Mr. White, of Virginia, called on me. We walked after tea; had much discourse on the subject of removing Congress. I have not been mistaken in my opinion of the Virginians. He declared for staying here, rather than agree to the Falls of the Delaware. As we came home, the Speaker overtook us on horseback.

June 13th. — Being Saturday, and having no party made to go anywhere, went to the House of Representatives to hear the debates. They were on the Collection bill. I stayed two hours. They were in committee, and really made but small progress. There was not one debate worth committing to paper.

Settled with my landlord. He owes me £1 10s. 2d.

June 14th. — Wrote this day two sets of letters home — one to Mr. Harris, inclosing one to Mrs. Maclay, to go by a Mrs. Ofsay, of Harrisburg; the other set to go by the post. Oh, this was a dreary, joyless day! I think I shall long remember it. I was ill with my sore knee; went to the bathing-house and bathed; did not go to any place of worship; could not engage myself to reading; had, indeed, no book of an engaging nature. I will leave a blank here, which I can fill up at my leisure if I choose.

My mind revolts, in many instances, against the Constitution of the United States. Indeed, I am afraid it will turn out the vilest of all traps that ever was set to ensnare the freedom of an unsuspecting people. Treaties formed by the Executive of the United States are to be the law of the land. To cloak the Executive with legislative authority is setting aside our modern and much-boasted distribution of power into legislative, judicial, and executive — discoveries unknown to Locke and Montesquieu, and all the ancient. writers. It certainly contradicts all the modern theory of government, and in practice must be tyranny.

Memorandum: Get, if I can, The Federalist without buying it. It is not worth it. But, being a lost book, Izard, or some one else, will give it to me. It certainly was instrumental {76} in procuring the adoption of the Constitution. This is merely a point of curiosity and amusement to see how wide of its explanations and conjectures the stream of business has taken its course.

June 15th, Monday. — Attended at the Hall, and the Tonage Act was taken up. We got about half-way through the first clause of it by four o'clock. A clause stood, "On all ships or vessels within the United States, and belonging wholly to citizens thereof." Izard moved to have the latter part struck out, the effect of which would have been that no discrimination would have been made between our own citizens and foreigners. Lee, Butler, Grayson, Izard, and Few argued in the most unceasing manner, and, I thought, most absurdly, on this business. The first time I made a short remark that the foreigner and citizen must both build their ships in America, and then evidently, for everything that followed, they stood alike; that the superior capital of the foreigners would enable them to build ships lower than us, and would in time give them the whole of our trade; that the bill bore on the face of it a discrimination in favor of our merchants, but the fact would turn out otherwise, and therefore I was for continuing the clause as it stood.

A little before the question was put, I rose a second time; said no former transaction was so likely to throw light on this subject as a short history of the British Navigation Act. Cromwell originated it in a spleen against the Dutch, but the effects were seen before the Restoration [1660], and it was then re-enacted. Great murmurs arose. The Scotch thought themselves ruined, and sent their peers up to remonstrate against it. The tonnage of Great Britain then stood 95,266. In fifteen years it was 190,533; in twenty years more it was 273,693. The present tonnage of Massachusetts alone is now 100,000.

It has been urged that it would be time enough, half a century hence, to talk of measures for a navy. A single State was in a better condition now, in point of shipping, than the British nations at the Restoration. Therefore, delay was the worst policy. It was generally allowed that the spirit of the Navigation Act was to give a monopoly of the trade of the {77} British nation to their own shipping and sailors. In a view solely mercantile, this was perhaps wrong, as by these means our foreign articles would be dearer and our home produce cheaper. But the object was a national one. Shipping and sailors were the objects; and, though the landed part of the community was not perhaps so rich, yet the nation was safe, for national power is of more consequence than individual wealth. The suspension of the Navigation Act, it was believed, would be productive of a great flow of wealth to the British nation, or at least the manufacturing and agricultural parts of it, but the purchase would cost them their shipping and sailors. And, finally, the foreigners would have a monopoly of the whole traffic, one of the worst of evils, provided they conducted their navigation on terms of more economy, as was generally believed of the Dutch. But what are we doing? Were we passing a Navigation Act? No. A slight discrimination was all that was aimed at, and if the motion was adopted the discrimination would operate against us. The question was put and the clause remained.

Near four o'clock, and adjourned.

June 16th. — This day passed the residue of the Tonnage bill, with much debate. Broke up early, and went to hear the debates in the House of Representatives. After dinner went and walked a considerable time to try to gain strength in my knee. Some observations having called me up this day, I endeavored to comprise all I had to say in as little bounds as possible, by observing that there were two extremes in commercial relations equally to be avoided. The principle of the Navigation Act might be carried so far as to exclude all foreigners from our ports. The consequences would be a monopoly in favor of the mercantile interest. The other was an unlimited license in favor of foreigners, the consequence of which would be a monopoly in favor of the cheapest carriers, and in time a total dependence on them. Both extremes ought to be avoided, by giving certain indulgences to our own trade and that of our friends, in such degree as will secure them the ascendency, without hazarding the expulsion of foreigners from our ports.

June 17th. — The balloting business prevented my mentioning {78} in order the more important debate on the Tonnage Act. The villainous amendments (for which we may thank the influence of this city) for doing away with the discrimination between foreigners in and out of treaty with us have been carried. It was in vain that I gave them every opposition in my power. I laid down a marked difference between impost and tonnage. The former imposition is paid by the consumer of the goods; the latter rests on the owner of the ship, at least in the first instance; that sound policy dictated the principle of encouraging the shipping of our friends; that nations not in treaty would not be considered as the most friendly. I read the fifth article of the commercial treaty with France, and defiled that we had power of imposing any tonnage on her shipping, save an equivalent to the one hundred sols on coasters. I gave my unequivocal opinion that a want of discrimination in her favor was contrary to the spirit of the treaty, and expressed fears of her resentment. Elsworth answered me, but the most that he said was that our interests called for it, and he pledged himself that we would never hear from France about it. But speaking was in vain. I never saw the Senate more listless nor inattentive, nor more determined.

Inclosed copies of the Judicial bill to Lewis, Peters, Tenth Coxe, and Myers Fisher. Called on Mr. Morris, and signed with him jointly letters to the President and the Chief Justice inclosing copies. From here called on Mr. Scott. Told him of the request of the arrangement committee. Met and made a short report. The Senate formed, passed the residue of the Impost bill without much debate.

In now came Mr. Jay to give information respecting Mr. Short, who was nominated to supply the place of Mr. Jefferson at the court of France while Mr. Jefferson returned home. And now the Vice-President rose to give us a discourse on the subject of form; how we should give our advice and consent. I rose, perhaps more early than might have been wished by some, and stated that this business was in the nature of an election; that the spirit of the Constitution was clearly in favor of ballot; that this mode could be applied without difficulty; that, when the person was put up in nomination, the favorable tickets {79} should have a yea and the others should be blanks. Few, of Georgia, rose and seconded me. Izard made a long speech against it. Mr. Carrol spoke against it, Mr. Langdon, and Mr. Morris; but Lee, Elsworth, and Butler for it. Mr. Morris; speech turned principally on its being below the dignity of the Senate, who should be open, bold, and unawed by any consideration whatever.

I rose at last and spoke perhaps longer than I had done on any former occasion. It had been considered as unworthy of a Senator to conceal any vote. The good of the public, however, required secrecy in many things, but the ballot did not take away the right of open conduct. On the contrary, it was the duty of every Senator to disclose the defects of any candidate where they were great or might be attended with danger to the public. But as the nominations came from the President, it was not to be expected that characters notoriously flagitious would ever be put in nomination. Every Senator when voting openly would feel inconvenience from two quarters; or at least he was subjected to it. I would not say, in European language, that there would be court favor and court resentment, but there would be about the President a kind of sunshine that people in general would be well pleased to enjoy the warmth of. Openly voting against the nominations of the President would be the sure mode of losing this sunshine. This was applicable to all Senators in all cases. But there was more. A Senator, like another man, would have the interests of his friends to promote. The cause of a son or brother might be lodged in his hands. Will such a one, in such a case, wish openly to oppose the President's judgment?

But there are other inconveniences. The disappointed candidate will retaliate the injury which he feels against the Senator. It may be said the Senator's station will protect him. This can only extend to the time of his being in office, and he, too, must return to private life, where, as a private man, he must answer for the offenses given by the Senator. The ballot left the judgment equally free, and none of the above inconveniences' followed. When, then, equal advantages flowed, without any of the disadvantages, the mode least subject to inconvenience was preferable. Many gentlemen had declared {80} how perfectly indifferent it was to them. I believe the same thing of every Senator in the present House. But was this always to continue? No. We must expect men of every class and every description within these walls. The present character of our President was no security that we should always have men equally eminent; that in those places where elections were conducted viva voce the hopes and fears of electors were so wrought on by the wealthy, powerful, and bold, that few votes were given entirely free from influence, unless it was by the happy few who were independent in spirit as well as in fortune; that we need not expect the Senate would always be composed of such desirable characters. it had been clearly stated and admitted that the mode by ballot was equally applicable to the present ease as that by viva voce, and, being free from any inconveniences that the other was subject to, ought undoubtedly to be adopted.

June 18th. — And now the mode of approving or disapproving of the nomination. I did not minute it yesterday, but our Vice-President rose in the chair and delivered his opinion how the business ought to be done. He read the Constitution, argued, and concluded: "I would rise in the chair, and put the question individually to the Senators: Do you advise and consent that Mr. Short be appointed chargé d'affaires at the court of France? Do you and do you?" Mr. Carrol spoke long for the viva voce mode. He said the ballot was productive of caballing and bargaining for votes. He then wandered so wide of the subject as to need no attention. Mr. Elsworth made a most elaborate harangue. A great part of it was, however, about the duty of our Vice-President, and inventing a mode how he also might ballot in the case of a division. He, however, toward the close of it made a strange distinction, that voting by ballot suited bashful men best, but was the worst way for bad and unprincipled men. I wished to repeat nothing of what had been said yesterday, but replied that, so far from balloting being productive of caballing, it was the very bane and antidote against it; that men made bargains for certainties, but it was in vain to purchase or bargain for a vote by ballot, which there was no certainty of the party ever obtaining, as he had no method of securing the performance of a {81} promise or of knowing whether he was deceived or not; that as to the distinction of balloting being the worst way for bad men, I thought differently. The worst of men were known to respect virtue. The ballot removed all extrinsic force or obligation. It was the only chance of making a bad man act justly; the matter was left to his own conscience; there were no witnesses. If he did wrong, it was because he loved vice more than virtue, which I believe, even among bad men, was not the fact in one case out of ten. The question was at last taken, and carried by eleven votes, seven against it. Izard was so crooked he voted against us, though he had spoken for us, and quoted Harrington to show his reading.

The people who lost this question manifested much uneasiness, particularly the Vice-President and Langdon. Langdon was even fretful. The Vice-President threw difficulties in our way. The Senate had decreed their advice and consent by ballot. "Nothing like this in history had ever been heard before. But what rank was Mr. Short to hold in the diplomatic corps? What kind of commission was he to have?. This must be settled by ballot." He [Adams] set us afloat by these kinds of queries, and an hour and a quarter was lost in the most idle discourse imaginable. He seemed willing to entangle the Senate, or rather some of them were entangled about the Secretary of the Legation and the chargé d'affaires, not knowing the distinction. We, however, got through it by a resolution declaring our advice and consent in favor of Mr. Short.

After having again explained the manner of concurring or rejecting a nomination by ballot in a manner so plain as did not admit of contradiction, I replied to the observation that "no example of anything of the kind could be found in history," that in the old kingdom of Aragon, where, though the executive was monarchical, yet that republican provisions had been attended with unexampled attention. The court appointed by the Justiza gave their sentence by ballot, and [I] offered to produce history to the point, but was not contradicted. Took up the impost and talked idly to pass the usual time of adjournment. An adjournment was called for and took place.


I have ever been as attentive as I possibly could be to discover the real disposition of President Washington. He has been very cautious hitherto, or rather inactive, or shall I say like a pupil in the hands of his governor or a child in the arms of his nurse? The message about Mr. Short touches a matter that may be drawn into precedent. It states the desire of Mr. Jefferson to return for some time, and nominates Mr. Short to supply his place during such absence. The leave for return, etc., is not laid before the Senate. Granting this power to be solely with the President, the power of dismissing ambassadors seems to follow, and some of the courtiers in the Senate fairly admit it. I chose to give the matter a different turn, and delivered my opinion: That our concurring in the appointment of Mr. Short fully implied the consent of the return of Mr. Jefferson; that if we chose to prevent the return of Mr. Jefferson, it was only to negative the nomination of Mr. Short or any other one to fill his place. It is the fault of the best governors, when they are placed over a people, to endeavor to enlarge their powers by applying to public stations what would be laudable in private individuals, a desire of bettering their stations. Thus the farmer acts well who by industry adds field to field, and so would the governor who would add to the public wealth or happiness; but adding to the personality, if I may so speak, or to the personal power of the governor, is a faulty industry. A question has been agitated with great warmth in the House of Representatives whether the sole power of displacing officers, or, to speak strictly, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, shall remain with the President. From the small beginning in the case of Mr. Short, it is easy to see what the court opinion will be with respect to this point. Indeed, I entertain no doubt but that many people are aiming with all their force to establish a splendid court with all the pomp of majesty. Alas! poor Washington, if you are taken in this snare! How will the gold become dim! How will the fine gold be changed! How will your glory fade!

Neutrality, the point of profit, the grand desideratum of a wise nation, among contending powers. Multiplied engagements and contradictory treaties go to prevent this blessing and invite a nation in foreign quarrels. China, geographically {83} speaking, may be called the counterpart to our American world. Oh, that we could make her policy the political model of our conduct with respect to other nations — ready to dispose of her superfluities to all the world! She stands committed by no engagement to any foreign part of it; dealing with every comer, she seems to say, "We trade with you and you with us, while common interest sanctifies the connection; but, that dissolved, we know no other engagement."

June 19th, Friday. — And now the Impost bill, as sent back from the House of Representatives with an almost total rejection of our amendments, was taken up. There was but little speaking. Mr. Lee made a distinction, in his parliamentary way, between the word "insist" and "adhere," and it was carried to use the word "insist." After the first two articles were insisted on, Mr. Morris moved that one question should be taken on all the other disagreements. "Saving time" was his object, but we only lost by it. He did not seem to have been well understood. I rose and explained his motion, and to his satisfaction, as he said. The result of the whole was that we insisted on nearly all our amendments, and I suppose they [the Representatives] will adhere to the original bill. This really seems like playing at cross-purposes or differing for the sake of sport. I voted on the principles of accommodation throughout the whole. Indeed, this was but repeating my former vote. Indeed, there was nothing to differ about; only opinion founded on conjecture. One imagined a thing was too high; another thought it too low; my opinion was they were all too low to raise the money which we wanted; others wished them low on purpose that the deficiency might be so great that we would be forced into an excise. I abhorred this principle, though my colleague is fond of it. Adjourned over to eleven o'clock on Monday.

And now I will endeavor to use this interval in riding, to try to drive this vile rheumatism out of my knee. I have never been perfectly recovered of it, and my right knee is still much swelled. Went to hire a horse after dinner. Could not get a very indifferent one with saddle and bridle under two shillings per hour; thought this extravagant, and would not pay it. Spent [until] night trying to get one. Vandalsen {84} hired one for me at a dollar per day or half for half a day. Saturday was on horseback at five o'clock and rode to near eight; came home; breakfasted; rested one hour and a half; rode to twelve; asked what I had to pay, and was obliged to pay six shillings. The horse would not have sold for more than six or seven pounds. Was exceedingly fatigued; bathed; rested to near four, and joined the Speaker and a party to drink tea at one Lephers, where we were civilly treated. Think my knee is not the worse of the riding. The day excessively hot.

June 21st. — Rode till eight o'clock; very warm; think I never felt the heat more oppressive in my life. Stayed at home and wrote to my family. In the evening Clymer and Fitzsimons passed; walked a short way with them. I gave my opinion in plain language that the confidence of the people was departing from us, owing to our unreasonable delays; asked them, "Have you received any letters showing signs of such a temper?" Fitzsimons said no, but the thing told for itself, and could not be otherwise.

£1 7s. 8d. due by my landlord.


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