CHAPTER VII.

SALARIES AND PENSIONS.

May 3d, Monday. — There really was a considerable deal of business done in the Senate this day, and would have been much more had it not been for an appeal that was made to the Chair for information respecting the salary necessary for an ambassador. Full one half of our time was taken up in two speeches on the subject of etiquette and expense attending and necessary to constitute the very essence of an ambassador. The lowest farthing should be three thousand pounds sterling, besides a year's salary at setting out. Much of what he Adams] said bore the air of the traveler; in fact, I did not believe him, and, of course, voted in the face of all his information. A commitment of the bill was called for, and I was, contrary to my expectations, put on it. Another short bill was committed, which I really suspect is a base job, calculated to make a nest for an individual. The spirit of the last session really was to make offices for men, to provide for individuals without regarding the public or sparing expense. I fear this spirit is not yet laid.

For some time past the Philadelphians had been proposing a weekly dinner. Our former meetings sank into disuse, but they are now very urgent, and this day we began the business. Judge Wilson, being a Pennsylvanian, was, of course, invited. We soon relaxed into conviviality, and, indeed, something more. We expected something political would be proposed by Fitzsimons, and out it came: "Gentlemen, it is expected of us that we should fix the Governor of Pennsylvania." I introduced some trivial remarks of the weather, etc., and the thing was checked for a time. Scott, General Heister, and {255} General Muhlenberg went away. It was now broached seriously by Fitzsimons. Morris made a public declaration that he was fully sensible of the honor done him in the present appointment, but if the chair of the Governor fell to him he would discharge it with impartiality, etc.; that he considered the present Governor as a very improper man, and hoped they would create opposition to him. The Speaker declared himself in terms of a similar nature. The result was this, that their friends should determine and that their utmost should be united to keep out Mifflin. Mr. Morris, by way of finishing the business, addressed himself to the Speaker. "May you or I be Governor." There is a prospect of Tench Coxe succeeding Duer in the assistancy of the Treasury. His character was spoken of with great asperity by Fitzsimons, Morris, and Wilson. Clymer rather supported him.

We got on the subject of the finances of Pennsylvania. Fitzsimons asserted that our State had drawn between two and three millions of dollars from the Continental Treasury, and that we had not more than four millions substantiated against the Union. I hinted to him that from anything I had seen we had not drawn more than about a million from the Continental. Treasury, that Nicholson had rendered accounts to the amount of ten millions, and had stated an unliquidated charge of five millions; but, I added, let the account be fairly settled, and if we are really in debt let us pay it. We sat too long and drank too much; but we seemed happy, and parted in good humor.

May 4th, Tuesday. — I felt in some degree the effects of the bad wine I had drunk, for I had a headache. Dressed, however, for the levee. I had a card yesterday to dine with the President of the United States on Thursday. The pet, if he had any on him, has gone off*

[* Referring to his [Maclay's] not receiving a similar invitation a month before when the President gave a dinner, to which many Senators were invited.]

A great deal of business was done this day in the Senate in the way of passing and reading bills, but no debate of any consequence. Elsworth manifested some strong traits of obstinacy.

{256}


Went to the levee, made my bows, walked about, turned about, and came out.

May 5th, Wednesday. — A great deal of business was done in the Senate, but no debate was entered on. The Rhode Island committee reported. The amount of it was to put that State in a kind of commercial coventry, to prevent all intercourse with them by the way of trade. I think the whole business premature. We adjourned early.

I went to call on R. H. Lee and Mr. Langdon, both of whom are sick. Mr. Hazard, whom I met in the street, told me Mr. Langdon could not be seen. I called on Lee. Found him better. I now addressed myself to suit the merits of a bill, referred to myself and others, for the allowance of fortyfive dollars per month to a Colonel Ely, which, by attending to his accounts in the office of the commissioner for army accounts, I find to be a most groundless and unjust charge. A petition of his was referred to the Secretary of War, and the Secretary of War reported in his favor — the great Pin on which so much hung.

The assumption of the State debts having failed, every other thing that can be thought of will be brought forward to increase the volume of the national debt. We already rejected in the Senate a bill which appeared to me of mischievous consequences touching the communication and half pay and pensions of officers. It is renewed and sent up to us. Baron Steuben is supported in a demand of near six hundred guineas a year. In fact, to overwhelm us with debt is the endeavor of every creature in office, for fear, as there is likely to be no war, that if there should be no debt to be provided for there would be no business for the general government with all their train of officers. Henry, of Maryland, expressed himself in words full up to the foregoing ideas to me a few days ago, but I spoiled his communications by expressing a wish of the sooner the better. It is remarkable to me at least that he has since that time left his usual seat, which used to be near, and commonly rambles from one empty seat to another on the opposite side of the House. The Secretaries have had a clear majority in the House of Representatives on every question save the adoption of State debts. They carried this at first, but some {257} publications reminded the gentlemen that there was an election approaching.

May 6th. — Little was done in the Senate this day. Two bills came up from the House of Representatives. Agreed to. The Rhode Island committee requested that they might have back their report to amend it. This was complied with. Their amendment amounted to an adjournment, and I joined the committee on the bill for the salaries of ministers plenipotentiary, chargé d'affaires, etc. I bore my most pointed testimony against all this kind of gentry; declared I wished no political connection whatever with any other country whatever. Our commercial intercourse could be well regulated by consuls, who would cost us nothing. All my discourse availed nothing. The whole committee agreed with me that they were unnecessary. Why, then, appoint any or make provision for the appointment of any, for so sure as we make a nest for one the President will be plagued till he fills it? We agreed to the bill as it stood, but I proposed twice to strike out all about ministers plenipotentiary.

Went to dine with the President agreeably to invitation. He seemed in more good humor than I ever saw him, though he was so deaf that I believe he heard little of the conversation. We had ladies, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Page, and Mrs. White. Their husbands all with them.

May 7th, Friday. — The ailment called the influenza rages to a great degree all over the city. I feel a dryness and sourness of my throat, and a pain and heaviness in my head and flying pains all over my body, so that I had better be as attentive as possible to my health.

No business of consequence done in the Senate. The members began to straggle about after the minutes were read. I called on the committee who had Ely's bill. We sent for Ely, and heard a peck of stuff from him, too flimsy to impose even on children. He may have rendered service to the sick. on Long Island, but it appears that his own emolument was his object, and he has had this pretty completely answered already by a generous settlement with the State of Connecticut.

On my return into the Senate chamber one member of it {258} only remained, sitting in a state of ennui. I have remarked him for some weeks past, and he really affords a striking proof of the inconveniency of being fashionable. He set up in a coach about a month ago, and of course must have it come for him to the Hall. But behold how he gets hobbled: the stated hour for the Senate to break up is three, but it often happens that the Senate adjourns a little after twelve, and here a healthy man must sit two or three hours for his coach to take him three or four hundred yards. This is highly embarrassing, and some excuse must be found for his staying for the carriage, and he is now lame and stays alone till the carriage comes for him. Thus Folly often fixes her friends.

Tench Coxe came this day to town in order (as he said) to enter on the assistancy of the Treasury. He was deeply affected with the literary itch, the cacoethes scribendi. He has persevering industry in an eminent degree. These are the qualities that have recommended him to this appointment. Hamilton sees that the campaign will open against him in the field of publication, and he is providing himself with gladiators of the quill, not only for defense but attack.

May 8th. — I felt myself rather indisposed, and stayed at home all this day. Drew a report on the affair of Colonel Ely. Read and lounged away the day.

May 9th, Sunday. — This day I employed, as usual, in writing to my family. I spend my time but miserably in absence from them. I will, however, endeavor to make out of this lesson. Colonel Hartley returned to town this day. What a strange piece of pomposity this thing is grown! He is, if possible, more affected and disgusting than ever. He called to see us, but took the Speaker twice out and kept him out with him almost the whole of the time he was on his visit. The State [Pennsylvania] has really a poor bargain of him, and if she can dispose of him at the October sales [elections] she need not care at how low a rate.

May 10th, Monday. — Attended the Hall at ten o'clock to hear Colonel Ely's witnesses. He failed in proving the points he had alleged in his favor. We spent some time while the Senate was engaged in business. When we came in we found them on the Rhode Island resolves. The committee had been {259} called on to give reasons on which they founded their resolutions. Elsworth spoke with great deliberation, often and long, and yet I was not convinced by him. I saw I must, if I followed my judgment, vote against both resolutions. It was, therefore, incumbent on me to give some reasons for my vote. I observed that the business was under deliberation in Rhode Island; that the resolves carried on the face of them a punishment for rejection, on the supposition that they would ruin our revenue. Let us first establish the feet against them that an intercourse with them had injured our revenue before we punish them with a prohibition of all intercourse. This resolution I considered premature.

The other, for the demand of twenty-seven thousand dollars, I considered as equally so. Let the accounts be settled, and Rhode Island has a right to be charged with and has a right to pay her proportion of the price of independence. By the present resolutions the attack comes visibly from us. She is furnished with an apology, and will stand justified to all the world if we should enter into any foreign engagements.

This was a day of company at our mess. The strangers were Captain Barry, Colonel Moylan, and Mr. Tenet Coxe, now succeeded to the assistancy of the Treasury. I could not help thinking of last Monday, as he sat in one of the seats, whence censure had been thrown on him a week ago. I was too sick to enjoy the company. I could eat but little and drink nothing.

May 11th. — The morning, or part of it, spent on the troublesome affair of Colonel Ely. The Rhode Island resolutions were taken up. I was twice up against these resolutions. They admitted on all hands that Rhode Island was independent, and did not deny that the measures now taken were meant to force her into an adoption of the Constitution of the United States; and founded their arguments in our strength and her weakness. I could not help telling them plainly that this was playing the tyrant to all intents and purposes. I was twice up; said a good deal, but it answered no purpose whatever.

May 12th. — This day, as chairman of the committee on Colonel Ely's bill, I handed in a report which was dead against Colonel Ely. The report stated that Colonel Ely had submitted {260} his case to the Legislature in Connecticut; that they had made him what they considered as ample allowance. We had the whole fire of New England on us for this step, but we supported the attack, and finally carried. the business hollow. I would now remark, if I had not done it before, that there is very little candor in New England men. Mr. Morris was in most of the time, and showed a disposition to make away from my side of the question. Surely, I had better keep myself to myself with regard to him. Wingate, though of the committee, behaved dirty on one point; at least I thought so at the time. It is vain to be wasting paper with this subject. Dr. Johnson certainly gave a most improper certificate on this subject, and one part of it was not true, viz., that the reason Colonel Ely had not an allowance in the old Congress was this, not having nine States when there were eleven at the time alluded to. I can not keep some other strange opinions out of my head about him and the report, which can not be found now by Alden, his son-in-law. The money saved by rejecting this bill [is] $2,025, or thereabout.

This day exhibited a grotesque scene in the streets of New York. Being the old 1st of May, the Sons of St. Tammany had a grand parade through the town in Indian dresses. Delivered a talk at one of their meeting-houses, and went away to dinner. There seems to be some kind of scheme laid of erecting some kind of order or society under this denomination, but it does not seem well digested as yet. The expense of the dresses must have been considerable, and the money laid out on clothing might have dressed a number of their ragged beggars. But the weather is now warm.

Joseph Thomas is the name of the man who has the statistics at large — an unsalable book. It is found we may occasionally want such a one. It is true that heretofore we used to be supplied with this book when we wanted it from Jay's or some other library, but it was soon found to be convenient (for the Yorkers) that we should take everything off their hands, that they can not otherwise dispose of, even to their insolvent debts.

May 13th. — This day was remarkably busy with me, and some singular occurrences happened. As chairman of the {261} committee on the Baron Steuben's bill, I had called on the Commissioner of Army Accounts. He had furnished me with all [the information] in his power. Finding that a resolve had passed the old Congress on the 27th of September, 1785, giving him [Baron Steuben] seven thousand dollars in full, I called on Mr. Nousee, the register, for the receipts given by the baron for this sun, which were indorsed on the warrants or warrant given for it. I had first transacted some business of my own. Mr. Nousee was extremely polite and attentive; took the note or memorandum which I gave him, assured me my request should be complied with, asked when I would have the papers; followed me to the head of the stairs. As I came down-stairs I told him I wished for them this day. He said I should have them.

This was ten o'clock. I received between eleven and twelve, at the Hall, a few lines from Mr. Nousee, stating the resolves of Congress: that three warrants had passed for the payments — one four thousand, the other for two, and the last for one thousand dollars; that the warrants themselves were deposited at the bank for the Secretary among the papers of the late Treasurer until a settlement could take place. I thought there was evasion on the face of this business, but I concluded that, if Mr. Hillegas had lodged his papers at the bank, the key and the care of them must be with some person; and off I went to the bank. I received for answer that some books, papers, or property of that kind, were lodged at the bank by Mr. Hamilton, who had the keys and the care of them.

I should have minuted that, as I left the Hall in Wall Street, I passed the Baron; he on one side and on the other. I wished to make him a bow, as usual, but such an aspect he wore! nay, if he had brought all the gloom of the Black Forest from Germany he could not have carried a more somber countenance. Just as I came out of the bank-door I met Hamilton, and told him what I wanted. He refused me in pretty stiff terms; he could not answer for it, to open any gentlemen's papers, I told him I would take unexceptional characters with me — the Speaker of the Representatives. The papers I wanted belonged to the public and to no private gentleman {262} whatever, nor would it do for him to refuse information to a committee of Congress. He then said if there was a vote of a committee for it he would get the papers. I told him any member of Congress had a right to any papers in any office whatever; that as chairman of the committee I had promised to procure what papers were necessary. I deemed this necessary, and of course called for it. He begged for half' an hour to consider of it, and he would write me a note on the subject.

I parted with him, telling him I should expect to hear from him in half an hour. He said I should. This was before twelve; the Senate adjourned at one. I sat half an hour longer waiting for my note, but it came not. I went directly to the Treasury. The warrant to draw my indents was delivered to me with all the pomp of official ceremony. I told young Kuhn that I had further business with the Secretary [Hamilton]; that he had promised me a note, which was not come to my hands. He returned to me, and desired me to walk into the inner room, or rather to enter the entry into a room in the other end of the house. I did so, and after being admitted into the sanctum sanctorum I told his Holiness [Hamilton] that he had been good enough to promise me a note which was not come to my hands. He got up, went out, and left me alone for a considerable time. Crone in with young Kuhn with him.

But now a new scene opened. Before he went out he said the papers I wanted were here. I said, "What, here in the office?" He said yes. He now asked Kuhn, before me, "Do you know of rely box, desk, or any place where Mr. Hilligas kept the warrants?" The young man said yes, the desk in the other room had them in it; he added, "If I had them, there was no receipt on them, only 'received the contents.'" Hamilton said the desk was locked and bound around with tape, and Mr. Hilligas had the key in Philadelphia. I expressed great surprise that Mr. Hilligas should lock public papers belonging to the Treasury in his private desk. Hamilton affected to believe I must [have] some censure on his conduct. I repeated what I said, and declared I thought it very strange of Mr. Hilligas to do so, and concluded, "I suppose, then, {263} I must write to Mr. Hilligas for to send over the key before I could see the papers." He said I could not get them otherwise; and by way, I believe, of getting me out of the room, told me to come and see the desk. I walked into the room of the Assistant Secretary, and he there showed me the desk as he said contained the warrants.

I need make no comment on all this. I think I have his history complete. A schoolboy should be whipped for such pitiful evasions.

I went to see Mr. Meredith, but he was out. Fell in with Mr. Fitzsimons. He talked familiarly with me. I am tired of minuting any more for this day, but I must note part of Mr. Fitzsimons' discourse. These Southern people have a matter much at heart, and it is in my power to oblige them. They fear settlement; they can not bear it; they have been negligent of their accounts, and the Eastern people have kept exact accounts of everything (perhaps, and more than everything added.) This moment Hartley, fine as a lord, met us and broke off our discourse. Some trifling chat engaged us for a few moments, and Hartley parted from us. I waited for him [Fitzsimons] to take up the discourse again, but he did not.

We were approaching the Hall, where I knew we would part. I began: "They will want you to support them on the discrimination of tonnage, too, against the New England men; but as they are the people who keep us here, by joining the New England and York votes, I have no objection to see them whipped with their own rod." He seemed to enjoy this thought and laughed heartily, but the Hall was at bald and the old subject lost.

May 14th. — The business of most importance agitated this day was the Rhode Island bill, which must have had a first reading yesterday when I was out. I contented myself with giving my negative to every particle of it. I knew I could gain no proselytes, and that, as the bill could not be justified on the principles of freedom, law, the Constitution, or any other mode whatever, argument could only end in anger. Mr. Morris was one of the warmest men for it, although he knows well that the only views of the Yorkers are to get two Senators more into the House on whose votes they can reckon on {264} the question of residence. But he must think the getting [of] Rhode Island is superior to all other considerations. The yeas and nays were called, and now, after the question was taken, there seemed to be a disposition for argument, and some very remarkable expressions were used. Izard said, "If gentlemen will show us how we can accomplish our end by any means less arbitrary and tyrannical, I will agree with them."

When we came to the clause for demanding twenty-five thousand dollars, Mr. Morris said, "This is the most arbitrary of the whole of it." The nays were Butler, Elmer, Gunn, Henry, Maclay, Walker, Wyngate — seven. Yeas: Bassett, Carrol, Dalton, Elsworth, Johnson, Izard, King, Langdon, Morris, Strong, Schnuyler, Read — twelve.

This day, to my great joy, a statement of the Pennsylvania accounts came forward — $10,642,403.43 specie and $47,010,138 Continental money, liquidated and charged against the United States by our State, and delivered to Mr. White, the general agent, and receipt taken for it in due time, besides an unliquidated claim of five millions specie. I understood this to be the state of our accounts at the beginning of the session; and so it seems to be considered by all of us; for Mr. Morris, Mr. Clymer, and Fitzsimons used to harangue on this subject, and cry up that so large an annual interest would be due to Pennsylvania that she would draw money from the continent to pay her whole civil list, make her roads, build her bridges, and open her canal. I knew that Hamilton was fool enough, at one time, to think that he could make the State governments dependent on the General Government for every shilling. I used to oppose all this dream of folly, but all at once the State debts must be assumed. It was demonstrable that this measure would defeat all settlement.

Now the very gentlemen who had promised us such revenues from the Union cried out: "Burn the books"; "No settlement"; "Pennsylvania is in debt; she had drawn from the continent between two and three millions of good dollars and had not substantiated but between four and five millions against the Union" A mutilated account of but about this sum was actually exhibited and handed about by Clymer and Fitzsimons, and an attack begun on the Comptroller about the {265} same time, as if to annihilate his reputation, and turn him out of all employment; as if it had been foreseen that he was the only one who could detect this management or obtain justice for the State.

15th May, Saturday. — Devoted this day, although I was sick, to the matter of removing to Philadelphia. Mr. Morris entertained me with a long detail of the difficulties he met with in the settlement of his accounts. I believe the clamors against him make the officers inspect everything with a jealous eye.

I really acted rather improperly in ranging about so much this day in my bad state of health. Should the effects of my influenza. increase, and I fall a victim to my zeal for serving the city of Philadelphia, my character would only suffer ridicule, and my dear family the loss of their head. I will, however, do what I think my duty.

Called to see the President. Every eye full of tears. His life despaired of. Dr. MacKnight told me he would trifle neither with his own character nor the public expectation; his danger was imminent, and every reason to expect that the event of his disorder would be unfortunate.

May 16th, Sunday. — I called on Mr. Morris to advise with him in some points the little scheme we laid. Did not succeed in bringing in Lee, of Virginia to make our motion. Mr. Morris proposed to me to call on him and walk out of town and catch a dinner. We did so, and the day was lost. I had written to my family in the forenoon.. I considered the day as lost. Not a sentiment nor an expression that touched the heart or warmed the bosom with philanthropic feelings or vibrated on the strings of domestic joy. We dined at one Brannon's, where there were a greenhouse and some elegant improvements, but all was a mere flutter.

May 17th, Monday. — I was engaged this morning getting documents and papers respecting the bill for the granting the Baron Steuben seven thousand dollars and an annuity of two thousand dollars. I really never saw so villainous an attempt to rob the public as the system which has been brought forward by the Secretary of the Treasury. The baron's whole accounts have been settled on a liberal scale indeed. An office {266} was created, in addition to his rank as a major-general, for which he had additional pay and emoluments. Seven thousand dollars over and above were granted to him. All these payments he has received. A mountain has been tortured to put money into his hands. The Secretary [Hamilton] has, however, framed a system which has as the basis of it the allowing him of five hundred and eighty guineas a year* over and above all his emoluments, both as a major-general and inspector-general of the army, and interest calculated up to a compound ratio on all the balances. And, after all, he is not able to raise a balance of more than about seven thousand for the baron. But all this without the shadow of proof of the baron ever having had any such office or salaries. However, if he had ever been possessed of them, he could not have held them and served us at the same time, and, since he chose our service and our pay, we are obliged to him, but we have no right to pay him for what he did not hold.

[* Allowing twenty-one English shillings, to a guinea, this would be $3,045.]

The baron's papers kept us of the committee until after three o'clock, and, this being club day,† I went to dine with the Pennsylvania mess. We sat down to dinner half after three. Eating stopped our months until about four, and from that to near nine I never heard such a scene of bestial badney‡ kept up in my life. Mr. Morris is certainly the greatest blackguard in that way I ever heard open a mouth. But let me shut out the remembrance of it forever.

[† Meaning the day when the Pennsylvania delegation had agreed to dine at one house once every week.]

[‡ A word, no doubt, in common use at that time.]

May 18th. — No debate of any consequence arose this day until the Rhode Island bill, which had been recommitted, was reported. Mr. Lee opposed it in a long and sensible speech. Butler blustered away, but in a loose and desultory manner. King, Elsworth, Strong, and Izard spouted out for it. It was long before there was a slack. As this was to be the last reading, and as the yeas and nays would, in my opinion, be called, I took what I thought was new ground. The bill had been assigned to various motives, self-defense, self-preservation, {267} self-interest, etc. I began with observing that the Convention of Rhode Island met in a week; that the design of this bill was evidently to impress the people of Rhode Island with terror. It was an application to their fears, hoping to obtain from them an adoption of the Constitution, a thing despaired of from their own free-will or their judgment. It was meant to be used in the same way that a robber does a dagger or a highwayman a pistol, and to obtain the end desired by putting the party in fear; that where independence was the property of both sides, no end whatever could justify the use of such means in the aggressors. I therefore was against the bill in every point of view, etc. The debate was long. I was up a second time, but to no avail. The question was put at about three o'clock and carried. The yeas and nays were called and stood nearly as before, with the addition of Mr. Lee in the negative.

I labored hard to arrange our affairs for bringing on our question of removing to Philadelphia, and can not help remarking that the Philadelphians seemed the slackest of any people concerned in the business. I appointed, warned, or I know not what well to call it, a meeting of the delegation at Clymer and Fitzsimons' lodgings. Mr. Morris and the Speaker were all that met. The Philadelphians really threw cold water on the business. Mr. Morris twice proposed that it should be the new Congress that was to meet in March next that should assemble in Philadelphia. Once he got on the subject of Trenton. Here he and I rather clipped. I proposed that we should all be busy in the motoring among the members. I engaged to call on Gunn, Langdon, and Bassett, and set them to work on others. The form of the resolution was agreed to, but it all seemed up-hill or like a cold drag with the Philadelphians. I hope one day to be independent of them, but this is a matter I must consult them in now.

May 19th. — I ran this morning like a foot-boy from post to pillar — now to Gunn, then to Langdon, Bassett, etc. Langdon refused to bring forward our motion, and I then called on Bassett. He excused himself. With much ado I got them to keep the motion, which I put into their hands. Neither of them would make the motion. Mr. Morris did not come near {268} the Senate chamber until after twelve o'clock. I called him out. He said it must be omitted this day. I found I need not oppose him, and we came into the Senate chamber. Langdon soon after came and told us that Dalton objected to going to Philadelphia until March next, and that we must alter the resolution. Mr. Morris and Dalton went together, and Mr. Morris returned and told me he had agreed with Dalton that it should be the first of March next. Thus it is that all our measures are broken in upon, and, after all the pains I have taken, this business will end in smoke.

The most villainous and abandoned speculation took place last winter from the Treasury. Some resolutions have passed the House of Representatives, and are come up to us. King and Dr. Johnson and Strong, with many others, opposed these resolutions. In an abandoned and shameless manner this engaged the House [Senate] to three o'clock. They were committed, and the House adjourned.

General Heister and Mr. Buckley called on us this evening. We talked over the affair of the day. Mr. Wynkoop came in, and a kind of an agreement was made that the Pennsylvanians should meet to-morrow at Clymer's.

May 20th. — I could not attend at Clymer's this morning. I, however, saw the Speaker at the Hall. Some strange manoeuvres have taken place. Jackson, of the President's family,* has been with both Morris and Langdon. Morris is set right, and Dalton will agree with us, but new mischief has happened. Dr. Elmer has crossed to the Jerseys; Patterson is not yet come; Few and Gunn are both absent, so that two States are this day unrepresented. I offered to make the motion. Mr. Morris, however, now makes a point of doing it; but the thinness of the Senate seems a good reason for putting it off for this day. I can not account for Jackson having meddled in this business, or his knowing anything of it by any other means than through Buckley. However, we have got the errors of yesterday corrected. Mr. Morris was called out, and came in with a most joyous countenance. "I was called out by Boudinot," said he, "to make proposals to {269} me from the New England men in favor of Trenton." I immediately told him [Morris]: "You can not possibly make any bargain by which you will not lose as much as you can gain." A bargain with the Eastern people is to lose Maryland, Virginia, and all southward. A Southern bargain will, on the contrary, lose all the Eastern interest. We must be able to declare upon honor that we have no bargain.

[* Meaning one of the avowed supporters of the Administration measures.]

He was a little hurt and said, "Leave that all to me." "No, sir, I will make no bargain! If it is but suspected that we have a bargain, we are ruined." I was called out and took the opportunity of calling out Mr. Fitzsimons, and told him of Boudinot's being in treaty with Mr. Morris, and begged him to counteract everything of this kind. He promised that he would.

The Senate got into a long debate on the resolves relating to arrears due to the Virginia and North Carolina lines of the army in 1782 — '83, which have been made the subject of an abandoned speculation. The report had an addition of Elsworth's, calculated as much as possible to favor the speculation. It was debated to three o'clock, and adjourned.

Elsworth is really a man of ability, and it is truly surprising to me the pains that he will display to varnish over villainy and to give roguery effect without avowed license. I can see him warping over in the case of the baron [Steuben's extra pension case] to get a sum of money on his account, or rather only in his name, which would sink immediately into the jaws of Hamilton and his' crew.

May 21st. — And now again Elmer is absent, and Patterson is not returned; and Mr. Morris thinks the motion had not best be made until they return, so one day more is lost.

I spent a good deal of time on the affair of the Baron Steuben, got the report agreed to, and now the debate of the day came on respecting the resolutions,* or rather the amendment offered to the last one. The amendment was supported by King, Elsworth, Dr. Johnson, Izard; and others. Lee answered them. Toward the end of all the debate I rose and explained the {270} reason of the resolves, that they regarded the sums due, the places in which the payments were to be made, and what kind of transfers were to be considered as valid. All this was directory to our own officer, and had nothing to do with the proceedings of courts. Soldiers had entered into contracts, the resolves before the Chair defaced writings or tore the seals from obligations, and the law was open. The directions were, moreover, in conformity with the laws of North Carolina, one of the States whose citizens were concerned; that the present amendment was a modification of the resolution to protect the interest of the late speculation. The reason offered for it was that probably some innocent person might suffer. I did not believe this was possible. I would cheerfully agree that it was better ten guilty should escape than one innocent suffer, but no innocent man was privy to this business. The soldiers knew nothing of the matter. The speculators know, and they only know, in whose hands the lists were lodged, for the soldiers, having received their final settlements since the service was performed, concluded that nothing more could remain due, etc. The question was put and the amendment lost — ten for, twelve against. The question was now put on the third resolution and carried — thirteen and nine. King, however, and a number of gentlemen called for the yeas and nays. Yeas: Bassett, Butler, Carrol, Few, Gunn, Hawkins, Johnson, Henry, Lee, Maclay, Read, Walker, Wyngate. Nays: Dalton, Elsworth, Johnston, Izard, King, Langdon, Morris, Strong, Schuyler.

[* Relative to the troops of Virginia, North and South Carolina, who were entitled to arrears of pay.]

Now a new whim came into their heads, and they would have the yeas and nays on the former question. They were told that it was out of order. However, they had them, and now Mr. Butler voted for the amendment, lest he should lose his interest at the Treasury, and of course we were tied, eleven and eleven. But for once, in my opinion, our Vice-President voted right, and gave it against the amendment.

May 22d. — Being Saturday, and no Congress, I got a horse and rode out. Came home about noon, prodigiously tired, indeed. The little exercise I have taken for the last three or four months makes me almost sink under it. I went to bed and slept about an hour, and rose much refreshed.

In the evening a large number of gentlemen called at our {271} house. My barber had disappointed me in the morning. I was rather in déshabille, but came down-stairs. Although I am not in the least given to dress, yet I found that I was on this occasion below par; and to know that any point about one is deranged or improperly adjusted, imparts an awkward air to one. It is on this account, more than any other, that a propriety of dress should be attended to. To suspect that your company believes anything wrong about you distresses a modest man. Of the company was Mr. Fitzsimons. He took me by the hand and said:

"To-morrow, at nine o'clock, I wish to meet you and the Speaker."

May 23d. — It was near ten when I was called down on the coming of Fitzsimons. He had been some time with the Speaker. We had considerable loose talk on the subject of the removal of Congress. But Fitzsimons, after some time, declared that was not the business on which he came. It was to settle something as to the government of Pennsylvania. Who should be run for the Chair of it at the next election? He spoke of the dignity of the Speaker's present place, and the certainty of his continuance in it. It was evident that he wished the Speaker to decline.* The Speaker said, "Very well, I will give you an answer to-morrow morning."

[* The nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania.]

Nothing remarkable happened this day. I wrote to my dear family, as usual.

May 24th. — I dressed and went early to work. Called on R. H. Lee, of Virginia, on Walker, and Dr. Elmer. After Senate met I reported the amendment on the Baron Steuben bill. It was the opinion of the committee that he should have an annuity of one thousand dollars. There never was so vile and barefaced a business as this. It is well known that all he would get would immediately sink into the hands of Hamilton. It lay, however, over for to-morrow. Some business came up from the Representatives.

And now Mr. Morris rose and made the long-expected motion in the following words: "Resolved, That Congress shall meet and hold their next session in the city of Philadelphia." {272} Langdon seconded the motion. A dead pause ensued. Our Vice-President asked if we were ready for the question. General Schuyler got up and hoped not, as it was a matter of great importance to move the seat of government. He moved a postponement. Mr. Morris said, "If the gentleman will name to-morrow, he had no objection," and to-morrow was accordingly named for it. The Senate soon after adjourned, and now Izard, Butler, Dr. Johnson, Schuyler, and King flew about. The people they mostly attacked were Governor Johnston, Hawkins, and Gunn. I soon left them and came home.

But this was mess-day, and I went at half-past three and found the company already seated and file dinner almost eaten up. I could not stay long, as we had an appointment with Jefferson, the Secretary of State, at six o'clock. When I came to the Hall, Jefferson and the rest of the committee were there. Jefferson is a slender man; has rather the air of stiffness in his manner; his clothes seem too small for him; he sits in a lounging manner, on one hip commonly, and with one of his shoulders elevated much above the other; his face has a sunny aspect; his whole figure has a loose, shackling air. He had a rambling, vacant look, and nothing of that firm, collected deportment which I expected would dignify the presence of a secretary or minister. I looked for gravity, but a laxity of manner seemed shed about him. He spoke almost without ceasing. But even his discourse partook of his personal demeanor. It was loose and rambling, and yet he scattered information wherever he went, and some even brilliant sentiments sparkled from him. The information which he gave us respecting foreign ministers, etc., was all high-spiced. He had been long enough abroad to catch the tone of European folly. He gave us a sentiment which seemed rather to savor of quaintness: "It is better to take the highest of the lowest than the lowest of the highest." Translation: "It is better to appoint a chargé with a handsome salary than a minister plenipotentiary with a small one." He took his leave, and the committee agreed to strike out the specific sum to be given to any foreign appointment, leaving it to the President to account, and appropriated thirty thousand dollars generally for that purpose.

(273}

May 25th. — This day again I was engaged in the main business. Called on sundry of the members. The Yorkers are now busy in the scheme of bargaining with the Virginians, offering the permanent seat on the Potomac for the temporary one in New York. Butler is their chief agent in this business. Walker, a weak man, seems taken off by it. Patterson, however, is not yet come.

Baron Steuben's business was taken up. The committee were called on to give the reasons of their report. As I was chairman, I had to take the lead. I knew there was blame ready to fall on us. I, however, did not decline the business, but laid down the outlines in as strong colors as I thought consistent with truth: that those who came after me might not be bashful, and thus taking scope enough for them to act in. I thought I took many of the Senate with me; some I knew it was impossible. In fine, I thought demonstration was on our side; that the baron could demand nothing. Izard is certainly a bad man in grain. He drew conclusions that were obviously wrong, indeed, to his own party. Even Butler disowned his reasons; but he was for doing the same tiring without a reason. Elsworth got up and spoke exceedingly well for more than an hour. He was severe in some of his strictures, but I was pleased to hear him. The debate lasted until past three o'clock, and an adjournment took place without any question. One object of the delay was to put off our question on the residence.

May 26th, Wednesday. — This day may be considered by me as an unlucky one. Last night I rested but poorly, owing, I believe, to a rheumatic fever. My short slumbers were much interrupted by fanciful appearances of warriors passing by in flights or gliding along. I really have no faith in dreams, but, ever since I was plagued with this kind of fabling during my distress on board the sloop Swallow, I can not help considering such illusions as unfortunate.

The baron's [Steuben] bill, as it was called, was taken up. Perversion of reason, perversion of principle. The world turned upside down only could justify the determinations. But the cabals of the Secretary [Hamilton] were successful, and the baron's bill was triumphant. I put a question to {274} myself whether there was on the face of the earth a deliberative body that could possibly depart further from the principles of justice and a regard to the public welfare. None, none, answered every faculty about me. But the fact is, that every officer of the Treasury has embarked in this business with the warmth of solicitors. John Adams gave twice the casting vote in this business. I really felt a disposition to take a lamentation over human frailties.

But after this was done, Mr. Morris called for his motion. If he really intended to lose it, he could not possibly have taken a more certain method. He rose, laughing heartily every time he got up. King laughed at him, and he laughed back at King, and a number more joined in the laugh. This was truly ridiculous. Few, Butler, and King rose, and the amount of all they said was that a removal was inconvenient; that Philadelphia was not central; if we once got into it we would be accommodated in such a manner that we would never leave it, etc.

I replied that a removal was not called for immediately by the resolution; that the next session of Congress was to meet in Philadelphia; that, although it was not central, it was more so than the place where we were now. The universal consent of the provinces, before we were States, and of the States since, was in favor of Philadelphia. This was verified by every public assembly which had been called, from the meeting of the first Congress down to the late meeting of the Cincinnati; that the arguments drawn from the conveniences of Philadelphia, and the insinuations that if we were once there nobody would ever think of going away from it, I thought were reasons which should induce us to embrace this place, which would come so completely up to our wishes. I begged gentlemen, however, to be easy on that subject. Philadelphia was a place they never could get as a permanent residence. The government [of Pennsylvania] neither would nor could part with it. It was nearly equal to one third of the State in wealth and population. It was the only port belonging to the State. It was excepted by the Government in her offers to the Congress; that in such a place the deliberations of Congress on the subject of the permanent {275} residence could be carried on to the greatest advantage, etc., etc.

I was up a second time, but to no purpose. A postponement was moved by Butler and seconded by Gunn. For the question of postponement: Strong, Dalton, Johnson, Elsworth, King, Schuyler, Patterson, Hawkins, Johnston, Butler, Izard, Few, Gunn — thirteen. Our side: Langdon, Wyngate, Elmer, Morris, Maclay, Read, Bassett, Carrol, Henry, Lee, Walker — eleven.

May 27th. — Mr. Morris went off yesterday in company with King, and I really thought there was too much levity in his conduct all through. I really suspected that he did not treat the matter with sufficient seriousness. This day he showed a violent disposition of anger, cursed and swore that he would go anywhere, but insisted on withdrawing the motion. I could not readily agree with him as to the propriety of withdrawing the motion, but he swore he would. Butler rose and said he gave notice that he would bring in a bill on Monday next to establish the permanent residence. Mr. Morris jumped up in haste and moved for leave to withdraw his motion. Langdon agreed. There was some demur, but the question was carried.

Now the baron's [Steuben's] bill, as we have called it, was taken up. If the fate of the Union had depended on it, it could not have been more pertinaciously adhered to. Elsworth persevered and cut King in argument more severely than ever I heard any member of the Senate heretofore. King felt it, and I confess I enjoyed it. Butler, by one of those eccentric motions for which he is remarkable, flew his party and voted on our side. Good God, what a consternation! I observed him rising, and said aloud, "It is carried."

The whole day was spent in a contest between the Secretary's [Hamilton] tools and the independent part of the House. As the arguments were nearly the same on every question, it is in vain to repeat them. Bonny Johnny Adams took uncommon pains to bias us, without effect. I voted uniformly against allowing him [Baron Steuben] one farthing, as I was convinced nothing was due him. I can not help noting John Adams' foolish speech. In extolling the baron he told us {276} that he (the baron) had imparted to us the arts and principles of war, learned by him in the only school in the world where they were taught, by the great King of Prussia, who had copied them from the ancient Greek and Roman lessons; and that, in fine, to these arts and principles we owed our independence. Childish man to tell us this, when many of our sharpest conflicts and most bloody engagements had terminated fortunately before ever we heard of the baron.


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