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credit allowed by law on the three last instalments, is charged on the monies thus credited more than ten per cent. per annum above those that make prompt payment, and in most instances, if he possess no other resources than those arising from the land itself, he suffers a forfeiture of the money paid, and the land with its improvements.
“ If, as is now proposed, part of the public lands were offered in tracts of eighty acres, at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, every individual who is able to pay $100 might acquire a freehold estate, without encumbering himself with any debt whatever.
may be added, that the present appears more favourable for the proposed change than any subsequent period. Several land offices have been authorized, which have not yet gone into operation: these might all commence sales on the proposed plan without the inconvenience of change."
This subject was not further acted on during the session.
09. A bill passed the senate on the 19th of January, 16 to 9, to carry into effect the report made to congress in February, 1803, by the secretary of state, secretary of the treasury, and attorney-general of the United States, commissioners, &c. recommending a compromise of the Yazoo claims. In the house of representatives it was referred to the committee on the public lands, who, on the 1st of February, reported it with amendinents. The bill and report was laid over till next session, on account of the pressure of important business preventing a full discussion of the subject during the short period of the present session. An elucidation of this subject will be presented in the “ Historical Register," when it next occupies the attention of congress,
0 10. A bill passed both houses at the preceding session, making provision for the naturalization of certain aliens (British subjects). This bill appeared to the president to be liable to abuse by aliens having no real purpose of effectuating a naturalization, and therefore was not signed by him ; and having been presented at an hour too near the close of the session to be returned with objections for reconsideration, the bill failed to become a law. The subject was again taken up by the house of representatives, agreeably to the recommendation of the president, and a new bill passed on the 23d of February. This bill fell through in the senate.
9 11. A bill passed the house of representatives the preceding session for erecting the Mississippi territory into a state, which was rejected by the senate on account of an objection which it was understood would soon be removed by the consent of the state of Georgia to the measure. A new bill was therefore originated in the house of representatives. This bill passed the house by a considerable majority. In the senate, it was referred to a committee, to whom was likewise referred a memorial of sundry citizens of the territory, praying that all proceedings thereon might be suspended. Nothing further was done on the subject during the session.
12. An act was passed authorizing the post-master-general to contract for carrying the mail in steam-boats in any place where they may be established, provided that the expence should not be at a greater rate, taking into consideration distance, expedition, and frequency, than is paid for carrying the mail by stages on the post-roads adjacent to the course of such steamboats, and that the contract should secure the regular transportation of the mail throughout the year.
013. For the encouragement of vaccination an act was passed, authorising the president to appoint an agent to preserve
the genuine vaccine matter, and to furnish it when applied for through the medium of the post-office. The act provides also, that packets to or from the agent, not exceeding half an ounce in weight, containing vaccine matter, or relating to the subject of vaccination, and that alone, shall be free of postage.
14. At different periods in the course of the session the president transmitted to congress the official letters of captains Decatur, Jones, and Bainbridge, containing the account of their brilliant exploits on the ocean. He likewise transmitted a correspondence between the secretary of the navy and captain Chauncey and lieutenant Elliott, relative to the capture of the brigs Detroit and Caledonia on lake Erie*. In communicating captain Bainbridge's letter, the president recommended to the consideration of congress, the equity and propriety of a general provision, allowing, in cases in which the condition of the captured ship, by rendering it impossible to get her into port, presents a bar to the reward of successful valour, a fair proportion of the value which would accrue to the captors, on the safe arrival and sale of the prize. Agreeably to this recommendation, an act was passed authorizing the president to have distributed, as prize money, to captain Isaac Hull of the frigate Constitution, his officers and crew, the sum of fifty thousand dollars, for the capture and destruction of the British frigate Guerriere; and the like sum in like manner to captain William Bainbridge, his officers and crew,
for the capture and destruction of the British frigate Java ; and the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars in like manner to captain Jacob Jones, of the sloop of war Wasp, his
* The whole of these letters will be found among the Official Documents in the second volume.
officers and crew, for the capture of the British sloop of war Frolic. The president was likewise requested to present to captains Hull, Decatur, Jones, and Bainbridge each a gold medal, with suitable emblems and devices ; and a silver medal, with like emblems and devices, to each commissioned office of the aforesaid vessels, in testimony of the high sense entertained by congress of the gallantry, good conduct, and services of the captains, officers, and crews of the aforesaid vessels, in their respective conflicts with the British frigates the Guerriere and the Macedonian, and the sloop of war Frolic: and the president is also requested to present a silver medal, with like emblems and devices, to the nearest male relative of lieutenant Bush, and one to the nearest male relative of lieutenant Funk, in testimony of the gallantry and merit of those deceased officers, in whom their country has sustained a loss much to be regretted. The president was likewise requested to present to lieutenant Elliot, of the navy of the United States, an elegant sword, with suitable emblems and devices, in testimony of the just sense entertained by congress of his gallantry and good conduct in boarding and capturing the British brigs Detroit and Caledonia, while anchored under the protection of Fort Erie.
15. On the 18th of January, Mr. Pickens, of North Carolina, submitted, in the house of representatives, the following resolution for an amendment to the constitution of the United States. On the 20th, the same resolution was submitted in the senate by Mr. Turner, in pursuance of instructions from the legislature of the state of North Carolina. The resolution passed the senate 22 to 9, but no order was taken thereon in the house of representatives.
Resolved, by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America in congress assembled, two thirds of both houses concurring therein, that the following amendment to the constitution of the United States be proposed to the legislatures of the several states, which, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the said states, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the said constitution:
That, for the purpose of choosing representatives in the congress of the United States, each state shall, by its legislature, be divided into a number of districts equal to the number of representatives to which such state may be entitled.
Those districts shall be formed of contiguous territory, and contain, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants entitled by the constitution to be represented: in each district the qualified voters shall elect one representative, and no more.
That, for the purpose of appointing electors of president and vice-president of the United States, each state shall, by its legislature, be divided into a number of districts equal to the number of electors to which such state may be entitled: those districts shall be composed of contiguous territory, and contain, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants, entitled by the constitution to representation. In each district the persons qualified to vote for representatives shall appoint one elector, and no more. The electors, when convened, shall have power, in case one or more of those appointed as above prescribed shall fail to attend, for the purposes of their said appointment, on the day prescribed for giving their votes for president and vicepresident of the United States, to appoint another or others to act in the place of him or them so failing to attoud.
Neither the districts for choosing representatives, nor those for appointing electors, shall be altered in any state, until a census and apportionment of representatives under it, made subsequent to the division of the state into districts, shall change the number of representatives and of electors to which such state may be entitled. "The division of the states into districts hereby provided for, shall take place immediately after this amendment shall be adopted and ratified as a part of the constitution of the United States, and successively afterwards whenever, by a census and apportionment of representatives under it, the number of representatives and of electors to which any state inay be entitled, shall be changed: the division of such state into districts, for the purposes both of choosing representatives and of appointing electors, shall be altered agreeably to the provisions of this amendment, and on no other occasion.
9 16. On the 16th of December, in the house of representatives, Mr. Quincy submitted the following resolution, which he prefaced by some observations favourable to the policy of conferring honorary rewards for bravery ; and certainly, he remarked, no class of men more justly deserved the meed of honour than those attached to our gallant little navy.' But, as it was a part of the duty of the house to pass such votes, it was also their duty to see them carried into execution. He applied these remarks to the vote br congress of a gold medal, sword, &c. to commodore Preble and his companions in arms, for their spirited exertions before Tripoli. He stated, that an appropriation of $20,000 had been made and expended to carry this vote into effect; and yet, he said, he believed no officer concerned had received the swords voted to them; if they had, he had not been able to hear of one. As to the medal voted to commodore Preble, and the month's pay to the seamen, his knowledge did not extend. But if the swords were given, as the resolution directed, to those who had distinguished themselves on that occasion, it was as necessary to the object of the vote that their names should be known as that the swords should be received. He therefore proposed a resolution, substantially as follows:
Resolved, that the president of the United States be requested to cause to be laid before this house a statement of proceedings had under the resolution of congress of the 3d March, 1805, whereby the president of the United States was requested to cause a gold medal to be presented to commodore Preble, and swords to the officers, &c. and that he be requested to cause to be stated the names of the officers who received these distinctions, and stating the manner in which the appropriation of 20,000 dollars, made for this object, was expended.
The motion was agreed to, and a committee appointed to
ait on the president, who, in compliance with the resolution, transmitted to the house a report of the secretary of the
navy on the subject. The secretary stated in his report, that, in pursuance of the resolution of congress of the 3d of March, 1805, a gold medal, emblematical of the attacks on the town, batteries, and naval force of Tripoli, by the squadron under commodore Preble's command, was presented to the commodore, accompanied by a letter from Robert Smith, then secretary of the navy, requesting him to receive it as a testimony of his country's estimation of the important and honourable services rendered by him.
The secretary further stated, “That one month's pay was allowed, exclusively of the common allowance, to all the petty officers, seamen, and marines of the squadron, who so gloriously supported the honour of the American flag, under the orders of their gallant commander in the several attacks :'
“That no sword has been presented to either of the commission officers, or midshipmen, who distinguished themselves in the several attacks :
“And that it is not known to this department, that there ever was made by.congress a specific appropriation of twenty thousand dollars for the purpose of carrying into effect the resolution referred to.
“With respect to that part of the resolution which requests the president to cause a sword to be presented to each of the commission officers and midshipmen, who distinguished themselves,' it is presumed that the president saw what to his mind appeared difficulties of great delicacy, from the peculiar language of the resolution. By the resolution he was requested to present swords to such only as had distinguished themselves ;
VOL. I. PART I.