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Breach of Privilege.
which a daring editor might hurl against them punishment to be cruel or severe, but as mild and individually.
Tenient as the case would admit. He believed that it was as requisite to maintain Mr. Bloodworth, of North Carolina, doubted the privileges of the Senate as it was to support the power of the Senate to take cognizance of the the liberty of the press; the Constitution secured conduct of members in communicating with their the first as well as the last; and it became import- constituents, much less to punish them for pubant in considering the subject in this point to as- lishing circumstances respecting which no injunecertain the extent of the privilege on ihe present tion of secrecy had been imposed. He, however, occasion. The Constitution declares several pri- assured the Senate that he had not given the edivileges to belong to the members of Congress, and tor of the Aurora any information on the subject these privileges are given in order to secure the before them, or indeed on any other, for the editor execution of the public duties which are enjoined was a stranger to him; nor did he know that he upon us; it is for the interest of the people, and ever called at that printing office more than once not for our own peculiar advantage, that we enjoy or twice in his life. He hoped that the business these privileges, it is then proper that we should would be postponed for the present, and he should on their account maintain them; but, in defining have no objection to its being taken up at a future what may be privilege, we must govern ourselves ac- day, when genilemen might be better prepared to cording to the original intention, which is the pro- meet it. motion of the general interests of the citizens, and Mr. Paine, of Vermont, declared himself against here we can be guided only by sound discretion the postponement, nor did he think that the motion and common sense. In this point of view the sub- of Mr. PINCKNEY was so inconsistent with the moject becomes truly important. Will any gentle- tion before the House as to render a postponement man contend that our privileges are restrained to necessary; he thought the commitiee might inthis Chamber? No. Are there no other methods quire, and although the gentleman would stop, by by which our deliberations may be interrupted ? his proposition, from proceeding in case it turned Certainly there are. Of course, then, our authority out to be a fabrication of the editor of the Aurora, must extend to remedy the evil wherever we may yet if it should be found not a fabrication of his, meet it, or otherwise our authority is inadequate but that of a member or an officer of the House, it to protect itself. On the principle of self-preser- was admitted they might progress, without infrinvation, which results to every public body of ne- ging the sacred liberty of the press. Suppose that cessity and from the nature of the case, the right some person in the gallery should have furnished of self-preservation is vested in the Senate of the this spurious matter-and that may possibly be United States, as it is in your courts of justice and the case--will the sacred liberty of the press be other public institutions. Suppose a printer was violated if we order the doorkeeper to turn him to say that one of the judges had received a bribe in a out, and refuse him access in future? He thought certain case, would not the court be competent to the resolutions might be amended so as to give call him before them and punish him for the slan- greater satisfaction than they do at present; for his der, if it was one? And shall a printer insinuate own part he was not willing to declare all at prethat members of this body are guilty of a similar sent which they contained. He thought the bucrime, and they have no mode of giving redress ? siness would be simplified if the committee were Is it not of as much importance that the laws be directed to consider and report what measures dictated from pure motives, as that they be execu- would be proper to adopt in respect to a publication ted from pure motives? If it is admitted that we containing various untruths of the proceedings of have the right of protecting ourselves within these the Senate, and if the question of postponement walls, from attacks made on us in our presence, it was lost he meant to move several amendments for follows of course that we are not to be slandered that purpose. and questioned elsewhere. Will gentlemen deny Mr. Mason, of Virginia, had no objection to meet this ? then there is no complete remedy; for the the question at the present moment, but he thought defamation and calumny of yesterday, circulated it of such importance, both to the Senate and the in the newspapers, out-travel the slow and tardy citizens of the United States, that it should be taken steps of truth ; they have spread over the face of the up and discussed in a solemn and serious manner; country and entered every cottage, where the con- not hastily and lightly, as some gentlemen seemed tradiction may never penetrate. Or shall the foul to think who were opposed to the postponement aspersions of an editor circulate till you can send for a few days: if, however, the opposition to the to the attorney general to issue a writ, to the mar- postponement was persisted in, he had no doubt shal to serve it, to the court and jury to bring it, but the subject would prove itself well worth a before the contradiction can be published? This discussion of several days, and that the ultimate also would defeat the object. The Senaie, being decision would not be made till a period more reso long suspected, must have received a deep mote than that moved for by his friend from South wound, and some of its members may have to Carolina. He therefore recommended to gentlebe amputated before a right understanding is men to explore well the ground which the motion acquired.
of the gentleman from Connecticut had taken, and Mr. T. concluded with reiterating the idea that consider seriously of the consequences to which he did not mean to punish for publishing the trans- they would be led in pursuing their object. What actions which took place in Senate, but to prevent was to be the course of their proceeding? What misrepresentation and abuse; he did not wish the were the embarrasments likely to arise therein ?
Breach of Privilege.
He called the House to view the delicacy of the this floor what effects they are producing; do they situation in which they would be involved while not know that the sedition bill as it is called, and defining their newly discovered privileges and sub- i which the present motion may be considered as verting the old acknowledged privileges of the lib- supplementary to, has created a general alarm not erty of the press; he said the delicacy of their only among our citizens, but in several of our State situation, because he considered it a delicate one, Legislatures? Will not this measure increase that for he was far from believing that the privileges | alarm ? Or is it supposed that you may call upon of the Senate were as unlimited as the gentleman a printer and that he will answer, not knowing from Connecticut contended they were; if so, and that by the Constitution no man can be called upon they proceed to touch the liberty of the press
, which to give evidence against himself in criminal cases ? they may discover in the end to be secured against He concluded with the remark that he did not the invasion, they will be compelled to retrace mean to go into the subject fully, because the quesevery step they are now taking, which will neither tion before the House was confined to the postredound to their honor nor discernment. They ponement; but, if the postponement was refused, should be careful how they expose themselves to he should take the liberty of adding some further popular scrutiny in cases respecting their own observations to enforce the ideas contained in the power, for the public mind had been already con- motion brought forward by his worthy friend from siderably agitated, at what many conceived to bean South Carolina. unconstitutional exercise of power. If, session after Mr. Cocke wished that gentlemen who were session, attempts were made to fetter the freedom of the same sentiments with himself would acquiof the press, the people of the United States would esce in his motion for throwing out the subject at watch with anxious regard every movement of once, so that they might hear no more of it. He this body. A measure which originated in the was well convinced that the House had no powers Senate, and was subsequently acceded to by the to legislate in relation to publications in newspaother branch of the Legislature, had been justground pers, notwithstanding all that the gentleman from of alarm. It is no wonder that they watch our Connecticut had said. It had been asked where bills as well as our laws, for it must be recollected the Senate had got the power, and it is replied, by many of the gentlemen who hear me, that the they got it by a necessary and natural inference bíll called the Sedition Bill was first introduced from the Constitution. This idea of drawing here, and that, instead of being what it afterwards powers by inference and construction had been became, it was a billmore particularly to define trea- stretched, on former occasions, much beyond what son and sedition. The good sense of the House, I be considered a proper attention to its spirit would during the time it was upon the table and under- justify; but the doctrine on this point could not be going a political dissection, cut off from it many inferred from that instrument, because the arguof those monstrous excrescences which at first dis- ment by inference is rebutted by the express decfigured it, and at last trimmed it into a shapely laration made in the amendments to the Constiform; but after all it was removed below stairs in tution, wherein it is declared that all the powers a condition not fit to meet the eye of our constit- which are not given to the United States are reuents-even obliged to undergo a decapitation; the served either to the States or to the people; and head or the title of it was struck off, and instead again, it declares that every man shall be secured of being a bill defining treason-which is a thing his person and papers from unlawful searches totally out of our power
, the Constitution having and seizures; and further, no person shall be called declared in what alone treason should consist- upon in a criminal case to give testimony against instead of being denominated a bill against sedition, himself. it took the obnoxious head of being a bill to amend He supposed the resolutions considered the the law for punishing certain crimes against the publications in the Aurora as criminal, otherUnited States.
wise they would not make this stir about them. Nor, said Mr. M., do I think gentlemen do them- Gentlemen have asked, are the newspapers to be selves much honor in the declarations they make permitted to go on and villify the members of the on this floor, respecting the publication of the bill Legislature without punishment? He answered, for deciding the disputes in the election of a Pre- the printers of papers published on their own resident and Vice President; they seem to consider sponsibility, and if they had no authority for any the publication of such a bill with a declaration scandalous assertions respecting the Senate, they of its having passed the Senate as a scandal on the could be punished in the way pointed out by law. Senate. Well, it might perhaps be a subject of But would the members wish to draw the printers scandal as to the Senate, if they had passed it; but before the House and assume the judiciary powers is not this charging the committee who reported of the courts of justice? As they had not the it
, with reporting a bill which it would be a scan- advantage of grand juries from every vicinagę, to dal perhaps to advocate but certainly a scandal to present the libels as they arise in the various pass? According to this construction of the argu- quarters of the Union, they would be forced to ment, the gentlemen certainly cast as gross a cen- appoint another committee to remark the files of sure upon the committee who reported a bill which all the printers from Maine to Georgia, in order to is unfit to be acted upon, as the publication is sup- procure a knowledge of the numerous calumnies posed to cast on the House for having agreed to it. and slanders on the Senate, which have been faWith respect to the measures which are pursued bricated by them, or communicated by their friends. and pursuing, is it unknown to the members on He thought this a business of considerable extent,
Breach of Privilege.
and one which few gentlemen on the floor would only the actual ground on which they stood, but be willing to labor through; he thought, moreover, it was the proper, the dignified, and manly artiwhen they erected themselves into Censors of the tude for them to take. Every gentleman should Press they would find no leisure from their office be the guardian of his own honor; and here he to attend to the performance of their ordinary du- would just remark, that, from the style and manties of legislation or that portion of Executive ner used in the Connecticut motion, it was to be business which the Constitution assigned to their expected that in general the idea would be entercare. He was confident it would give more gen- tained that this procedure took its rise from an eral satisfaction to their immediate constituents, application made to the House either by himself the State Legislatures, if members would attend or some of his friends, as he was the only memto the business they were sent here to perform, ber named; and the committee are directed to than would be given by combining all powers of inquire by what authority the editor published in Government in their own body. It would cer- the Aurora that he (Mr. P.) had never been containly redound more to the honor of the Senate, sulted. Far be it from him to ask the protection if they left the courts to perform their duties of the House for any publication respecting himin cases of libel, than to undertake, in their own self; though few persons in the United States had behalf
, the ungrateful office of judge and the un- been more abused or calumniated than himself in graceful one of executioner; and all this either the modern newspapers, he had never complainwithout law or by a resolution tantamount to an ed; he either despised the abuse, or answered the ex post facto law, directly in the face of the Con-charges, which served to draw down contempt stitution, which restricts Congress from passing an upon the slanderer's head; and this was the line ex post facto law in all cases whatsoever. of conduct which he recommended to others, who
Mr. ÅNDERSON, of Tennessee, did not rise with should find themselves in a similar situation. He an intention of entering into the merits of the gen- trusted after what he had formerly declared, that eral question, as to the extent of the privileges he never gave or sent the editor of the Aurora of the Senate, which he conceived to be of great either the bill which he published of any of the moment, but merely to remark, as gentlemen al- information accompanying it, that it would be leged that the public mind was already agitated unnecessary for him to declare anything further. on the subject, the postponement would tend to He had said that he was prepared to go into the increase the degree of agitation, which he con- discussion, but his indisposition would scarcely ceived it was the wish of gentlemen ou both sides permit him to do the subject the justice which to have allayed as soon as possible. He therefore its merits deserved, and he therefore still hoped the concluded that would be better to go on with motion for postponement till Tuesday next would the business and come as soon as possible to a de- be agreed to. cision. One gentleman had said it ought to go Mr. Dayton had the highest confidence in the to the judicial courts, and that the Attorney Gen honor of the gentleman from South Carolina. (Mr. eral should be directed to prosecute: well, then, PINCKNEY,) and he never suffered himself to doubt that gentleman should give his consent to send of the truth of the declaration which had been the business to a committee, in order to inquire made. He thought the resolutions might be variwhether the case would warrant this interference. ed so as to get rid of the idea which the gentleman
Mr. Reed, of South Carolina, would not oppose objected to, in respect to the motion having been the motion of his honorable colleague for a post- brought forward at his instance; and might be ponement, if he had required it on his own ac- amended as suggested by the gentleman from count, or if its being negatived would prevent him Vermont, (Mr. Paine,) so as to reconcile it still from bringing forward the preamble and resolu- more to the sentiments of the Senate. This being tion he had read in his place, and at a proper time his view of the subject, he wished the business 10 of having them discussed; but neither of these proceed, and should therefore vote against the circumstances were urged; therefore, as his col
postponement. league neither required time for preparation por would be prevented from offering and supporting was now put, and the yeas and nays being called,
The question on postponing till Tuesday next, the intended amendment, he should vote against stood yeas 9, nays 19, as follows: the postponement. Mr. PINCKNEY, of South Carolina, supposed if
Yeas-Messrs. Baldwin, Bloodworth, Brown, Cocke, the postponement was lost, that the House would Franklin, Langdon, Mason, Nicholas, and Pinckney. proceed with the discussion on the Connecticut
Nays-Messrs. Anderson, Bingham, Chipman, Daymotion, which he conceived would be progressing ton, Foster, Goodhue, Greene, Gunn,
Hillhouse, Lauin an unnatural mode towards a decision." As he rance, Livermore, Lloyd, Paine, Read, Ross, Schureman,
Tracy, Watson and Wells. firmly believed that the privileges of the Senate were limited and defined by the Constitution, he
So the motion was lost. could not resist calling the House in the first place Mr. Nicholas, of Virginia, wished to ask for to consider of and decide this question. He had information. Was it intended by this resolution heard arguments which he imagined would satis- to charge the committee with inquiring into a fy them of the justness of the conclusions he had breach of privilege as it respected the majority of drawn, and which would demonstrate that the this body? For the resolution itself furnished no privileges of the members did not go out of the correct idea on this point. He wished also to know doors of their Chamber; and that this was not whether it was intended that the Senate should
SENATE. declare that the publication was a breach of priv- the manifest tendencies of this dreadful step, we cannot ilege?
for a moment allow ourselves to doubt, that the meaMr. Tracy, of Connecticut, said that if the gen- sure will be nipped in the bud by the decided negative tleman wished for information from him, he would of the Executive. Never can there be an occasion more endeavor to give it. He conceived it would be imperiously demanding that negative than the present. better to pursue the mode of inquiry in the first The President has expressly declared to both Houses of instance, through the intervention of a committee, Congress, that a steady perseverance in a system of naand not make at once a decision whether the pub- tional defence is indispensable to our peace and safety. lication was or was not a breach of privilege; impairing the grounds on which his administration rests, and further, that the committee should report to the Senate what other matters were the proper only be met on his part, by opposing a firm countenance
and on which his particular measures are bottomed, can subjects for the Senate's inquiry. He would not
to such attempts at the outset, or by recalling the steps undertake to say at this time whether there was
themselves. a breach of privilege at all, or whether that breach was in respect to a majority of the House, or of
The measure just adopted is more awful, I think, in
whatever aspect viewed, than that proposed by the honthe privilege of a single member. Mr. Marshall, of Kentucky, was of opinion was carried by federal votes; by gentlemen, who, under
orable member from Virginia. In the first place, as it that if the subject itself was a proper one to be in the influence of I know not what wretched calculations, quired into, then the mode was well devised, and advance into what they deem a neutral region, to embrace one liable to few or no objections; but there was the enemy. This neutral country is full of concealed another circumstance to which he begged permis
snares, and gins, and pitfalls: every step of it is mined, sion to call the attention of the Senate. He ob- and fraught with devices for their destruction. They served that the resolution pointed only to one ob-have been blown from it into the air more than fifty ject, and that was the publications in the Aurora; times, and yet they advance upon it again, with the he did not think this went far enough, if it was most sovereign unconcern. In the second place, from the intended to be anything more than a party man- excess of evil there often arises some important goodæuvre. If gentlemen meant to defend the honor of their extremes do often meet. From this benefit these this body, they should avoid anything like par- gentlemen have most kindly cut us off'; and by the half tiality, and direct their inquiry to all breaches of measures they have adopted, left us exposed to all the privilege, by publications in newspapers, let their mischiefs which could have resulted from the prevalence publishers be whom they might. "Believing that of the notion of Mr. Nicholas. Thirdly, the measure of the gentlemen were serious in the present under- stopping the recruiting service is worse than that of distaking, he wished them to give it the appearance banding the army; because nearly all the expense still of impartiality, without which, it would reflect continues, while all the beneficial effect of that expense disgrace on their proceedings. Gentlemen have is perverted to our injury. A monarch without subcomplained of the slander and calumny thrown jects, a general without an army, and an officer with upon them by the publications in the Aurora, but, of all mankind; and a surer mode could hardly have
out soldiers, are standing butts of the jest and ridicule however detestable they might be, he held in his been devised for disgusting every military man in the hand one still more vile and flagrant. He would country than this of depriving the officers of their troops, read it, and then move to amend the resolution thereby making each of them a pompous effigy of dignity, before the House by adding that the committee be a nomen et præterea nihil. These officers will not directed to inquire who is the editor of the United mutiny against their Government, because they are States Gazette, and by what authority he publish- amongst the most respectable and patriotic of men. ed in that paper the following paragraphs: It is my pride to boast an acquaintance with many of “ The Democrats have at length completely carried them in the rank of gentlemen, and with others who
them, who have laid aside professions which supported their point with respect to the permanent army. It was resolved on Monday, in the Senate, that the bill, sent to join this army, this phalanx of federalism, these co
relinquished every luxury and enjoyment of affluence, up from the House of Representatives, suspending the horts of justice and honor, against the infidel
, rapacious, enlistments, should pass into a law; and no other reli: and sanguinary invaders of our rights, and their atrocious ance is now left us for the preservation of this bulwark and unprincipled sectaries. I know they will not muof the public hope, from the effects of so ruinous a step, tiny; but if it had been sought to devise a scheme to but the courage of his Excellency the President of the drive men to the extremest excess of disgust, I know United States. The votes in the Senate on this momentous question,
not a more plausible one than this. were as follows:
The resolution proposed by Mr. Randolph ought now For putting a stop to the enlistments : Messrs. An- render this measure consistent with reason or common
in all reason to be adopted. It is necessary in order to derson, Baldwin, Bloodworth, Brown, Cocke, Foster Franklin, Langdon, Marshall, Mason, Nicholas, and is then cut down to about three thousand men! Precious
sense. The whole force of the mighty Twelve Regiments Pinckney. Also Messrs. Bingham, Dexter, Goodhue, Greene, machinations of domestic treason! Why, McKean will
defence against the invasion of a foreign enemy, or the Gunn, Hillhouse, Howard, Livermore, and Paine.
turn out more than this number of well-armed well-or. Gentlemen who voted for preserving the army accordo ganized militia-men from the city and county of Philaing to the law by which it was established-Messrs. delphia alone. I do not think that the movements of Chipman, Latimer, Laurance, Lloyd, Read, Schureman, that powerful Triumvirate, Jefferson, McKean, and Tracy, Watson, and Wells.
Monroe, are by any means to be despised or disregarded. Impressed as we are with the most serious alarms at It is no longer a doubt that our unhappy country nour
Breach of Privilege.
ishes in her bosom vipers who live but in the hope of tively considers the late events in France, will view that inflicting a mortal sting. There is not a doubt, that Republic as a more formidable enemy to America than there are men in America, and men too of powerful and ever-formidable in enmity, in fallacious peace still more operative force, who would prostrate without remorse 50: Gallis fidem non habendam. Talleyrand, who was every pillar of the public happiness, to found an hierarchy turned out of office by the old Government, for demandunder which they might more securely aggrandize them- ing tributes and bribes of our Ministers, we behold reselves; I do not less doubt that these Capulets are instated in his former office by the new governors! And abroad, that their hot blood is up and stirring towards for what particular merit more probably, than for his this object. And is this a time for disbanding troops ? care over the strong box of the Republic, to which Bona. Is there not extant a danger to be guarded against quo- parte appears to have a very single eye? With this cunque modo? But there seems to be a system for re- polluted, ill-omened Apostolus Diaboli our mission pressing in the Federal cause all spirit worthy of the must treat, if they be at all allowed to treat, which I part which it is called to act. Sure never till now, were deem very questionable. the counsels of Adonis relied on in affairs of State. Are these the auspices on which we are to rely for When the reins of the steeds and the chariot of the Sun peace : this the crisis at which our wisdom disbands the were entrusted to the guidance of Phæton, we read that only army the country has to boast of ?" the car was overthrown, and the presumptous youth sub
[Note.—The above comprises all of the debate on mersed in the waves.
this subject which the Compiler has been able to reTrue Americans will say, it is a vexatious suit that this man urges, when the truth is, that I have only to the “ Aurora,” will probably account for the meager
The explanatory remarks* by the Reporter for say vestra res agiture. They will exclaim, whence this
ness of the report.] abuse and illiberality against an economical and ciliatory measure ?' It was by this cursed economy that It was then moved to amend the motion, by the villain Neckar brought his monarch into all his trou- inserting, between the words - Senate” and the bles ; and it was by conciliatory measures that the un- word "and," in the fourth line from the end, these happy prince lost his head.
words: If the economy, and the squeamishness, and the pres- " And that the said committee be also directed to inent conciliatory disposition of Federalism endure much quire who is the editor of the newspaper, printed in said longer, its empire will pass away like a dream, or the sha- city, called the • Gazette of the United States and Philadows of illumination; no figure will encompass it around; delphia Daily Advertiser,' and by what means the said and its economy, and its conscientiousness, and its con- editor became possessed of the votes in the Senate on ciliation, and all its bitter delusions, will be atoned in the bill, sent from the House of Representatives, for susone truly republican succession of fire and blood.
pending the enlistments of the twelve regiments, &c., as The abuse of True Americans, half federalists, and published in the said newspaper, bearing date the 13th conciliation men, I have long learnt to despise. I feel of February (instant ;) and by what authority he pubinexpressible and uncontrollable chagrin and indignation lished those votes particularly, and under the classificawhen I see measures pursued, under whatever calcula- tion contained in the said newspaper; and, also, whetions, so evidently tending to the ruin and subversion ther the said editor is the author, or not, and if not, who of the order and peace of this society, and so utterly is the author of sundry assertions, observations, and remilitant against all usage and experience. Not having flections, immediately preceding and following the stateany gold to hug, like the poor, rich True Americans, and ment of the said votes, and published in the said paper, time-serving federalists and conciliators, I have no other of, and concerning the Senate of the United States, and object so near me as the success and prosperity of my the members thereof, in their official capacity :" much abused, sadly distressed country; and I will pro- It passed in the negative-yeas 11, nays 16, as test alike against the undivulged pretence of treasonous follows: malice, and the more fatal cowardice and ignorance of YEAS— Messrs. Anderson, Baldwin, Bloodworth, the enemies to every establishment by which, in this day Cocke, Franklin, Langdon, Lloyd, Marshall, Mason, of distress and tribulation, the great ark of our safety Nicholas, and Pinckney. might be preserved and maintained.
Nays-Messrs. Bingham, Chipman, Dayton, Foster, I will dwell but for a moment on the hope that the Greene, Gunn, Hillhouse, Laurance, Livermore, Paine President will interpose his veto between this alarming Read, Ross, Schureman, Tracy, Watson, and Wells measure and its consequences, and then quit a subject on which there will be nothing more to say.
THE JUDICIARY. The preservation of harmony between the different Agreeably to notice given yesterday, Mr. PINCKbranches of the Government is undoubtedly desirable ; ney had leave to bring in a bill to amend the act, at the same time when an important prerogative is en- entitled "An act to establish the Judicial Courts trusted to either department, and the exercise of that prerogative is demanded by motives of public safety, no * We are fortunately enabled to give a sketch of the proceedings considerations of this or any other nature ought to pre in the Senate of the United States on Mr. Tracy's resolution, revent the exertion of it. Nor do the reproaches of evil- specting a publication in the Aurora of the 19th ult., a subject in. minded men on such occasions, merit the slightest re- termining the liberty of the press, in a more decisive manner than gard. It is true that the newly enlightened citizens of either the Sedition law of the last Congress, or the judicial decis France murdered their royal master on this pretence; all its force under our Federal Constitution.
sion of the Chief Justice, that the common law of England exists in
We are sorry that our but the people of America, however debauched by the report is confined to a mere sketch, because the subject requires introduction of the profligate principles of that hideous the fullest display, but the extreme inconvenience of the scanty race, are not yet degenerated to so high a pitch of per- us from hearing in some cases with the accuracy we wished, and fectibility, civilization, and refinement. In this one re- limited our notes; we however trust that enough will be detailed spect, at least, they are not yet the freest and most en
to give a general' idea of the motives, intentions and objects by
which the members were respectively guided and influenced.lightened nation on earth. I think that whoever atten- Reporter for the