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rising disturbances in Europe, and advised to those precautionary measures, which had a tendency to secure to the United States the benefit of their com. merce. Mentioning to the House the sufficiency of the established revenue to the purposes to which it was appropriated, he expressed his hope “ that it would be a favourite policy with them not merely to secure the interest of the debt funded, but as far, and as fast as the growing resources of the country will permit, to exonerate it of the principle itself.” The address was closed in the following impressive
“In pursuing the various and weighty business of the present session, I indulge the fullest persuasion that your consultations will be marked with wisdom, and animated by the love of country. In whatever belongs to my duty, you shall have all the cooperation which an undiminished zeal for its wel. fare can inspire. It will be happy for us both, and our best reward, if by a successful administration of our respective trusts, we can make the established government more and more instrumental in promoting the good of our fellow citizens, and more and more the object of their attachment and confi. dence."
The respect and confidence of the Legislature in the Executive appeared on this occasion without diminution ; although one of the measures of the President was for the first time condemned. A member from Georgia pronounced the treaty with the Creek Indians to be a violation of the rights of that state.
In this session of Congress the Bank of the United States was established. Its constitutionality had been deeply argued in the Legislative body, and came before the Executive as a question involving the highest national interest. It was reviewed in the Cabinet with the deliberation it merited, The Council, on this occasion, as on most others, were divided. Messrs. Jefferson and Randolph were decided that the law was unconstitutional. Messrs. Hamilton and Knox were fully convinced of its constitutionality. The President called upon each member of his Council for the reasons of his opinion in writing. These he maturely weighed, and being convinced himself that the law was constitu. tional, put his signature to it.
With the 3d of March, 1791, terminated the period of the first Congress.
President Washington having made the ne. cessary arrangements, and appointed an Executive Council to attend to the business of the government,
, soon after the close of the session, commenced a journey to the Southern States. On his way he stopped at the Potomack, and pursuant to the pow. ers with which Congress had vested him, marked out the site of the Federal City, designed as the permanent seat of government. In the course of this tour he received the same general expressions of love and veneration for his character, and of confidence in his government, which he had experienced in his northern circuit. And he derived great satisfaction in contemplating the improvements of the country, and remarking the evidences of at
tachment to the Federal Government. The feelings excited by this journey are fully expressed in the following letter, written after his return to Phi. ladelphia.
“In my late tour through the Southern States, I experienced great satisfaction in seeing the good effects of the general government in that part of the union. The people at large have felt the security which it gives, and the equal justice which it administers to them. The Farmer, the Merchant, and the Mechanick, have seen their several interests attended to, and from thence they unite in placing a confidence in their Representatives, as well as in those in whose hands the execution of the laws is placed. Industry has there taken place of idle. ness, and economy of dissipation. Two or three years of good crops, and a ready market for the produce of their lands, have put every one in good humour; and in some instances, they even impute to the government what is due only to the goodness of Providence.
“ The establishment of publick credit is an immense point gained in our national concerns. This I believe exceeds the expectation of the most sanguine among us ; and a late instance, unparalleled in this country, has been given of the confidence reposed in our measures, by the rapidity with which the subscriptions to the Bank of the United States were filled. In two hours after the books were opened by the commissioners, the whole number of shares were taken up, and four thousand more applied for than were allowed by the institution. This circumstance was not only pleasing as it related to the confidence in government, but also as it exhibited an unexpected proof of the resources of our citizens."
The hearts of all Americans were with General WASHINGTON at this period; but notwithstanding these publick appearances, there was in fact much hostility to the government at the Southward.
On the 24th of October, 1791, the President met the second Congress in the established form.
During this session a great national question came before the Legislature which the President was necessitated ultimately to decide.
T'he constitution provides that there shall not be more than one Representative to thirty thousand inhabitants. An enumeration having been made, the House of Representatives passed a bill provid. ing for each state to send one Representative for every thirty thousand of its population. This ratio in several instances leaving a large fraction, operated hardly on the small states. The Senate, to cure the evil, assumed a new principle of apportionment. They found the whole population of the United States, and dividing this aggregate number by thirty thousand, took the quotient as the number of Representatives, and then apportioned this number upon the sev. eral states according to their population; to which the House concurred.
When the President had the bill before him for his signature, he took the opinion of his Cabinet upon the constitutionality of the arrangement. Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Randolph thought the bill unconstitutional. General Knox was undecisive, and Colonel Hamilton conceived that the expression of the Constitution might be applied to the United States, or to the several states, and thought it best to coincide with the construction of the Legislature. After due deliberation, the President thought the bill unconstitutional, and not hesitating to do his duty, he returned it with the following objections.
GENTLEMEN OF THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, “I have maturely considered the act, passed by the two Houses, entitled 'an act for the apportionment of Representatives among the several states according to the first enumeration,' and I return it to your House, wherein it originated, with the following objections.
“First, The Constitution has prescribed that Representatives shall be apportioned among the sev. eral states according to their respective numbers, and there is no proportion or division which, applied to the respective numbers of the states, will yield the number, and allotment of Representatives proposed by the bill.
“Secondly, The Constitution has also provided, that the number of Representatives shall not exceed one for thirty thousand, which restriction is by fair and obvious construction, to be applied to the separate and respective numbers of the states, and the bill has allotted to eight of the states more than one for thirty thousand.”
In a new bill, a Representative for every thirty three thousand to each state was substituted.