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Compensation of Members.
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held the purse-strings of the nation at their dis- ments on political subjects, and although it was posal.
a measure in which every member was concerned Mr. H. concluded by repeating, he did not individually, he never, on any occasion, consulted think the sessions long. The House was some- more the honor, the happiness, the rights, the intimes vexed with the cacoethes loquendi, but the dependence of his constituents and his country, consequence was, that measures had a fair and than in proposing a change in the mode of comdeliberate consideration. It was necessary, he pensation to members of Congress. thought, the community should rightly under- He had been a member of Congress for eight stand the acts of Congress; and one of the advan- years, in times of trial and difficulty, when ihe tages of this speechification, was, that the people rights of the nation had been violated, when would be well informed, and our measures be storms menaced its peace and tranquillity, and well matured. Long speaking, he contended, when a severe and sanguinary war threatened the was no such great evil as had been asserted; he very basis of our independence. During all this would rather have ten days speaking than one period, he had discovered imminent danger to law; for many laws were an evil. Mr. H. said the Republic in the councils of the nation, in the that the Abbe Sicard, so celebrated for teaching very councils to which the American people the deaf and dumb, had lately published that there looked for wisdom and direction-the Congress was a nation in North America who had no lan- of the United States. We wanted energy and guage at all, but did everything by signs. He decision of character to take wise and strong was friendly to debate because he bimself felt its measures. The people called for despatch of good effects, for he now entertained very different business, and we answered them with long opinions on some subjects from those he brought speeches. We were many times upon the point here. Ours, he said, was a logocracy; it was in of taking the most important questions; and when vain to deny it, and we ought to act in the spirit it was expected that some great measure would of the Government, &c. Mr. H. adverted to the be decided, a motion for adjournment was carried. charge of folding newspapers, &c., and said it was lo this way, from day to day, from week to week, no worse than the practice of lounging about the and from month to month, a long session was House as some did. He concluded by declaring spun out, the six dollars per day pocketted, and it his opinion that instead of diminishing the little or nothing done to relieve our distresses. sessions, he thought it would be better to make When, under this state of things, the people, them longer; and as to the pay, he thought the driven almost to despair, poured upon us their honor of the station was sufficient to bring gen- anathemas, every member could go home and tlemen to Congress, without any influence from tell his constituents that he himself was innocent, pecuniary considerations.
and that the fault of indecision and delay rested Mr. RANDOLPH said, in reply to Mr. HUGER, entirely with others. It was impossible for the that he agreed with him in just one half of one people to ascertain who attended to his duty or of his propositions, which was that speeches did who neglected it. The members, in this respect, no harm. In his opinion they were like old evaded their responsibility, because invisible to women's physic, they did neither good nor harm their constituents. Although we might patrol The gentleman (Mr. HOGER) thought no pay the streets, or vote for an adjouroment at three ought to be allowed, because gentlemen ought to o'clock, or even at an earlier hour, the people come here for honor; if that is the case, many, remained ignorant of our delinquency. said Mr. R., come for what they do not get.
Mr. J. said he wished every man to be responMany of the clerks, it had been said, received sible for his conduct to the people, the legitimale more than the members of Congress-yet, Mr. R. fountain of power and authority. He said he said, there was no clerk who ever drudged harder wished his constituents were collected, and after than he did ; in proof of which, he briefly detailed hearing the subject discussed, could decide on the course of labor and study be imposed on him- this occasion. They were a wise people, a patriself whilst here in the public service. Mr. R. otic people, a well-judging people, who valued denied that the members could live comfortably independence, liberty, and honor more than a on six dollars a day now, whatever might have few cents, or dollars, or pounds. Although he been the case when the pay was first fixed. did not wish to say anything of his owo attendHe adverted also to the salaries of some other ance, it was known to his friends that he lost no officers of the Government, particularly the Chief time during sessions of Congress, and he never Justice, who was put off with a scanty pittance.voted to adjourn when the House could progress The pay at first fixed for those officers was some with business. So much for the change of the thing like a decent compensation, but now pitiful mode of compensation. But one objection has and disgraceful. The gentleman (Mr. HOGER) been made, which was that Congress might hurry must pardon me, said Mr. R., if I think his argu- business, and not well mature it. There was no ments are better calculated for what is called on danger of any such thing. Business of importthis side of the river stump, than for this Com-ance would always be thoroughly investigated; mittee, &c.
and as to matters of less difficulty, of course, they Mr. Johnson, of Kentucky, said he wished would be easily understood; and not only so, but this measure correctly and properly understood, the mode of doing business precluded the idea of that the people might judge of its merits. He too much despatch. What was that mode ? A never concealed from his constituents his senti- subject was introduced by resolution or by com
H. OF R.
Compensation of Members.
munication from the President, or head of a de- ought to take place in the United States, but partment, or by petition. In either case, the sub- which are becoming common. Every extra sesject was referred to a committee of seven mem-sion would cost the Government at least from bers, who investigated and reported, for or against $120,000 to $150,000 more than the per diem in the 'measure; the report was committed to the mileage and contingencies. But let it be recolwhole House of 182 members in committee, lected that in case of an extra session, which we printed, and taken up at some future day, when may suppose pecessary in some extreme case, no it was read twice over, discussed by sections, and member will bave anything more in consequence then reported to the House. If, after this inves- of it. It may be asked, what would you do in tigation, it was approved by the House, it was any emergencies, such as those which have proordered to a third reading, and engrossed, subject duced extra sessions? In such cases, the call of to the inspection of an engrossing committee. It Congress some four or five weeks previous to the was then read over a third time to the House time of adjournment, would always answer the before it was finally decided. If it passed the purpose, as in the case of the attack upon the House, it was sent to the Senate, where the same Chesapeake. routine was pursued, after which it was enrolled Connected with the whole system of expense, and inspected by a joint committee of both therefore, the public will save money; and if thai Houses, and ultimately examined and approved be the case, no patriol will think the compensaby the President. So much as to the only objection too great to be paid for the representative of tion made to the mode.
his choice. Let us now attend to the other branch of the But let us confine our view to the compensaargument, the amount of compensation. On this tion, abstracted from the foregoing considerations. subject Mr. J. said he felt much less anxious than Members cannot consider this as a great augmenon ihe other. He wanted a certain sum given tation. Indeed none can think so, compared for the year, whether it amounted to one dollar with what we get. Nine months sessions will per day, or to ten; and, as to himself individu- give each member, at six dollars per day, one ally, he did not care whether the sum was one thousand six hundred and twenty dollars. Mr. J. thousand five hundred dollars, or half that sum; said, he had himself received ai one session, one that was with the House to determine. He was thousand five hundred dollars at six dollars per aiming at a reform in the proceedings of Cop- day; and he was convinced, that in a very little gress-a reform which musi take place now or time, the wealthy would unite with another class at some other period, or the country would one of men, and have either perpetual sessions, or sesday he endangered, and the rights of the people sions that would bring to each member at least invaded. Every member who has voted against one thousand five hundred dollars. This, he this measure has declared the present compeasa. said, demonstrated the propriety of having a tion ioadequate. Some of them have said we fixed sum, beyond which we could not go; that should have nine, others ten, and others twelve if we wasted our time, it would be at our own dollars per day. Mr. J. said he would not vote expense. Suppose, said he, we were to continue for one cent in addition to the per diem. It our eight months sessions, what enormous conwould be an inducement to protract the sessions, tingent expenses should we incur? At our last till they would become perpetual, and that would session, our contingent expenses amounted to be the final result of raising the wages by the $50,000, or thereabout. Despatch of business day. But if members would vote for the change, would prevent this. In a session of three months, and thereby shorten the sessions, and not only the contingent expenses ought not, nor would shorten the sessions, but despatch and transact they be, more than about $20,000, a saviog of all the public business, then, he said, he was will. $30,000'in each session of six months. Indeed, ing to vote for a liberal compensation-a compen with the rules of reform which this measure sation which would induce members to remain must introduce, instead of $50,000, the amount in their seats, wbich would, in some degree, in- heretofore expended for printing, stationery, fuel, demnify them for the sacrifices of happiness and attendants, and other contingencies, the whole property, which any man of business must make, ought not to exceed $15,000 for the contingent who serves his country as a Representative. expenses of a session. But Congress have not
Mr. J. said he would vote for bo sum which, only had a session which gave each member in his opinion, would ultimately cost the people $1,500; it is in our power, (and I fear the time of the United States one cent more than the pres. is not far distant when we shall avail ourselves ent system. He asked, then, whether the sum of it,) to remain in session till each member will proposed would be too great ’ and whether such draw $2,000 from the Treasury. In this point à sum would ultimately cost the Government of view, it is necessary to limit that power. 'But more? Mr. J. said he had looked back into the there are many other weighty reasons why this various sessions since the beginning of the Gov- compensation is not 100 great. ernment-at the various contingent expenses of 1st. It will unite patriotism and interest to see each session, and he had no doubt but that under cure the attendance and industry of members. the proposed compensation money would be saved 2d. It will enable a man of merit, though poor, to the nation. In this pecuniary point of view, as well as the man of wealth, to come to Congress, the nation would be the gainer. '1st. By dispen- if elected by the people, which is no trifling consing with extra sessions of Congress, which never sideration. This is the only free and happy Gov
Compensation of Members.
H. OF R.
ernment on the earth. Other nations are groan-country more than by advocatiog the measure ing under the yoke of despotism. Privileged now under debate. orders are established a pobility to riot upon Mr. Clay took the opportunity afforded him the spoils of the people. Here all are on an equal. by the Committee of the Whole, io yield his supity, and eligible to office. The people, on the port to the bill, and at once to commit himself in day of election, look to merit, not to riches. They its favor. As to the amendment to defer the ask for the qualities of the candidates. They in- commencement of its operation until the next quire into their political sentiments, their per- Congress, he would remark, that, in his judgsonal integrity and talents, and they decide ac ment, there was more propriety in the law endcordingly. These persons may have families to ing than in beginning there. It was more resupport, dependent upon their business or profes- spectful to our successors to leave them free to sion, which, if neglected, will subject them 10 determine what was the just measure of indemsuffering. It is then the duty of the people to pity for their expenses than for us to prescribe afford inem such compensation as will justify the rule for them. We can best judge for ourtheir engagement to serve them, that the country selves. With regard to the supposed indelicacy may not be subject to the dominion of the idle of our fixing upon our own compensations, let and profligate, or of such as are born to princely the Constitution, let the necessity of the case, be fortunes, while the most meritorious are driven, reproached for that, not us. Mr. C. said his own by a sense of that duty wbich they owe to their personal experience determined bim in voting for families, from public employment. Mr. J. said, ihe bill. He had attended Congress, sometimes he advocated the amount, not on his own indivi- without his family, and at others with a part of dual account. In his present situation, he felt it; and although his compensation, while he had little interest as to the amouni. He was, never- enjoyed the honor of presiding in this House, theless, willing to receive it, because he did not was double that of other members, he declared, think it too great. It was after all a poor com- with the utmost sincerity, that he had never been pensation. His main object was, to shorten ses- able to make both ends meet at the termination sions, and despatch business, for he would rather of Congress. serve three months for pothing, than six months The honorable gentleman from South Caroin each year for six dollars per day. The sacri- lina (Mr. Huger) tells us be was born to opufice was, in breaking in upon all the avocations lence. He oughi to recollect that few in this of the farmer, the mechanic, the lawyer, the mer. House have had the same good fortune. Would chant, &c., which began generally, and always he reserve the seats here for the well born and demanded special attention, in the Spring, the rich alone? And yet they must be confined
31. The rights and honor of the nation will be to them, upless such an allowance is made as will preserved by a despatch of public business, and by enable the poor and the middling classes to come acting with more promptness upon petitions and here. Mr. C. thought the rate of compensation other claims during the session in which they are ought to be such at least as that ruin should not presented, and not continue them from session to attend a long service in this House. And yet session for ten years, as has been done in many how many are driven out of it by their inability cases of just claims, when the amount has been to sustain the expenses and losses incident to the exhausted by the expenses of attendance. Such situation! This had been particularly the case a course is incompatible with the dignity of a from the State to which he had the honor of bemagnanimous nation-there must be a reform. longing. And he regretted to find that this cause
But admit for a moment, that the United States was still operating, and was about to deprive the would be charged with a few thousand dollars House and the country of the valuable services more, what is that compared with the effects of of several of his colleagues. Mr. C. thought the such a measure? No more than a grain of sand compensation ought to effect more; it ought to upon the seashore to a mountain. It is well guaranty the independence of the members of known that six dollars a day was given twenty- this House against the influence of the Executive five years ago, which was more, compared with branch. How was the fact in another country? expenses now, than three times the amount There the members of the Legislature received would be at present. This compensation may no stipend; and the consequence was, that it was so remain for twenty years to come, because filled with pensioners, placemen, and the creamany are afraid to do right upon a subject of sotures of the Ministry. The laborer is worthy of much delicacy, for fear the wicked may misrep- his hire; and if you do not give him the wages resent, and the motives of members may be mis- of honesty, it is to be apprehended the wages of understood. But, delicate as this subject is, it corruption may, in process of time, come to be ought to be borne in mind, that no other branch sought. He should give his most decided vote of the Government has power to touch it. Mem. for the bill. bers may be accused of sordid views and selfish mo- Mr. Johnson, of Virginia, said, he should vote tives—but, Mr.J. said, he was willing to be judged for the amendment-not from any motive of by his constituents as to motives and views. popularity-he disclaimed so unworthy an influHe was not afraid on this point-they would not ence. Adverting to the reason advanced by the judge him harshly. They were a different people, mover of the amendment, Mr. J. said he generThey would take ihe whole of his conduci toge-ally found, that those who attributed improper ther, and he considered he had never served his motives to others, would, if they took a glance at
H. OF R.
Compensation of Members.
the mirror, find those motives reflected from their gislature of Virginia, and he was not afraid to own bosoms. He admitted the pay was too low, encounter the same responsibility now. and ought to be augmented; the pitiful sum of Mr. Huger entered into some explanations in six dollars might induce a lounging lout to come reply to Mr. RANDOLPH, and added a few more here, but he was convinced it would be inade remarks in opposition to the bill. quate of itself to bring any gentleman here. Al. Mr. PICKERING said, if the present compensathough this was his opinion, he thought the tion was inadequate, let it be augmented. He amendment proper, and should vote for it. was in favor of the bill for many reasons. It
Mr. Robertson said a few words in support would certainly despatch the public business and of the bill, which he thought was proper, simply save the public money: The depreciation of because the present pay was not enough; and as money had been more than fifty, some thought to popularity, be knew his vote would arrive at seventy-five per cent.; and if, as had been said, home about the time of his election, and he the compensation was originally fixed on demowished to give his constituents the opportunity of cratic principles, it ought now to be increased to deciding on his conduct.
what would equal the value of what six dollars Mr. BARBOUR said that he should vote for the were when that sum was fixed. If the change is amendment, and disclaimed any influence but proper, said Mr. P., shall we adopt a self-denying that which was correct and proper. The six dol- ordinance, and say we will not give to ourselves lars now allowed, if taken as a salary, he said, what we are willing to give to our successors ? was not enough; but, if as an allowance to sup- After some remarks on an alteration in the mode port members of Congress while here on the pub- of doing business which Mr. P. thought would be lic business, was insufficient for many, though he useful, if the bill passed, he concluded by saying himself could live comfortably on that sum. He that, as to that rascally prudence which had been disclaimed any concealments, and was the last to mentioned on a former day by Mr. RANDOLPH, impute an impure motive to others. He sup- he was as destitute of it as anybody. He had posed, therefore, gentlemen were governed by never in his life taken time to think whether an correct motives in supporting this bill, and act would make him popular or otherwise, and claimed for himself the same allowance. He he should disregard such a consideration on this knew it was a delicate matter to act for self; occasion. there was an inextinguishable feeling in such a Mr. RANDOLPH declared that he had such an case, which pature had implanted in us, and he aversion to the bare name of self-denying ordiwas aware that in acting on it, the greastest pu- nances, that since his motion had been so denomirity could not escape suspicion. Like Cæsar's nated, he was induced to withdraw it; which he wife, not wishing even to be suspected of impro- did accordingly. per views in this case, he should vole for the Mr. STANFORD then said that there were some amendment. He avowed his desire of that popu- in this House who had believed that the Constilarity which attended good actions not that rution prohibited Congress from increasing its which was got without merit, and lost without a own pay; and, as he was averse to augmenting fault. He should, therefore, vote for the motion. it, he renewed the motion just withdrawn by
Mr. Jackson said, it was unnecessary to say Mr. RANDOLPH, to refer the operation of the act anything with regard to the real object of the to the next session of Congress. tremely pleased that there was no diversity on and negatived by a large majority. the subject, because he did not wish to see the The Committee of the Whole having risen time when the places here should be filled solely and reported the bill to the Houseby men of fortune; neither did he desire to wita Mr. STANFORD renewed the motion just reness the reverse, when members of this House jected, and made a subsequent motion to leave should be liable to Executive influence on ac- the sum in the bill blank; both of which were count of their needy circumstances. With re- successively negatived. gard to discrimination, Congress had heretofore Mr. BURNSIDE moved to reduce the proposed passed laws giving themselves compensation, as salary to one thousand one hundred dollars ; well while here as for mileage, travelling ex- which was also lost. penses; to prove which, he quoted the acts of Mr. TAYLOR, of New York, then moved 10 Congress of 1795. The amendment, Mr. J. said, strike out "one thousand five hunded,” and insert was useless, because one branch of the Legisla- "one thousand dollars," as the salary. ture was indissoluble, and to postpone the act Mr. Root rose to express his opinion of the until it would cease to affect any of the present scheme, as it might be called, proposed by the members, might be to put it off for fifty years. bill. It was intended, he was informed, to cure If it be right in relation to ourselves, said Mr. J., a great evil, and that evil was the length of the it must be right in relation to the Senate also; sessions; and as it was wrong to apply the preand if not so to them, cannot be to us. Mr. J. vious question, the evil must be cured by an ansaid, he was not deterred from supporting this nual salary. This object, he said, bore no relameasure by any fear of the effect it would pro- tion to the present compensation; and, therefore, duce at home. The people had once before it was to advance the pay in disguise. It was borne him out in a similar course, when he had argued that the pay was inadequate, and that the voted for an increase of compensation in the Le-1 members staid here to increase it, thereby pro
on the motion,
Increase of the Rates of Pension.
H. OF R.
tracting the sessions; and that an annual salary twice, and referred to the Committee on the Pubmust be allowed to remedy this evil.' These rea lic Lands. sons were inexplicable to him. He had no ob
INCREASE OF THE RATES OF PENSION. jection that members of Congress should receive an adequate compensation for their services; but
Mr. Chappell, from the Committee on Penthat would depend on their mode of living. If sions and Revolutionary Claims, who were insix dollars were not enough, meet the question structed by a resolution of the 29th of December fairly, and not in this disguised manner. "He be- last to inquire into the expediency of increasing lieved the increased privilege of franking and certain pensions, made a report thereon, which continuing the mileage allowance, would virtu- was read; when Mr. C. reported a bill to increase ally make the proposed compensation twelve dol. the pensions of invalids in certain cases, for the lars per day. "Mr. R. said he was bred a demo. relief of invalids of the militia, and for the apcrat, and never could tolerate anything like aris. pointment of pension agents in those States and tocracy. He, therefore, rejected the distinctions Territories in which there is no commissioner of which had been claimed for members of Con- loans; which was read twice, and committed to gress on account of the dignity of their stations, a Committee of the Whole.' The report is as and their not being day.laborers, &c. Some of follows: them, he said, might be more honest than day. Claims, to whom was referred the resolution of the
The Committee on Pensions and Revolutionary laborers, but take mankind in the gross, and you House of Representatives of the 28th of December last, will find honesty and intrinsic merit pretty gen. directing an inquiry into the expediency of increasing erally distributed through the different classes of the rate of pensions to officers and soldiers disabled in society. The bill was then ordered to a third reading with Great Britain ; and also into the expediency of
the service of the United States during the late war by a large majority.
amending the law relative to the proof required from
officers and privates in the militia to establish their FRIDAY, March 8.
claim to a pension, report :
That the pension now allowed to a non-commisMr. CREIGHTON presented a resolution of the sioned officer or soldier for the greatest disability is five General Assembly of the State of Ohio, request. dollars per month, and to the commissioned officers ing that power may be vested in that State to sell the half of their monthly pay; making the highest as much of reserved land in the county of Jack- pension, per month, son, in said State, as may be necessary for lay- Of an ensign amount to
- $10 00 ing out a town thereon.-Referred to the Com. Of a third lieutenant
11 50 mittee on Public Lands.
Of a second lieutenant
12 50 A message from the Senate informed the House Of a first lieutenant
15 00 that the Senate have passed a bill, "relative to
Of a captain
20 00 settlers on the lands of the United States;" also,
Of a major
30 00 a bill in addition to an act, entitled 'An act in
Of a lieutenant colonel relation to the Navy Pension Fund;" in which
That for all disabilities less than total, the pension bills they ask the concurrence of this House.
is proportionably less; and that the half-pay of a lieuMr. YANCEY made a report on the petition of
tenant colonel is the highest pension which any officer
can receive. Joseph Wilson, which was read; when Mr. Y.
In the investigation of this subject the committee reported a bill for the relief of Joseph Wilson; have been necessarily led to consider the time when the which was read twice, and committed to a Com- present rates of pensions were established, and to con. mittee of the Whole.
trast the then prices of the articles which constitute Mr. Yancey also made a report on the petition the necessaries of life with the present. The differof Gustavus Loomis, which was read; when ence is manifest; and the result is, that what was then Mr. Y. reported a bill for the relief of Gustavus considered a competent provision now falls far short of Loomis, which was read iwice, and ordered to be the object. Sixty dollars per annum is the pension alengrossed and read a third time to-morrow. lowed a soldier for the greatest disability. This, under
Mr. Yancey also made a report on the petition the change which has taken place in the prices of artiof Paul D. Butler, which was read; when Mr. cles, the committee deem insufficient to enable him to Y. reported a bill for the relief of Paul D. But support himself plentifully and comfortably. They ler, which was read iwice, and committed to a
think that whatever sum the Government may allow, Committee of the Whole.
should have, at least, this end in view. It seems to be Mr. ROBERTSON, from the Committee on the the object of all Governments—it is certainly the pePublic Lands, made a report on the petition of culiar duty of this, dictated alike by a just regard to Gabriel Winter, which was read; when Mr. R. sound policy and the injunctions of humanity.
The same absolute necessity may not exist to inreported a bill confirming certain lands in the county of Arkansas, in the Missouri Territory: ble they may, with the present rates, live free from
crease the pensions of the officers, because it is possito the heirs of Elisha Winter, deceased, to the actual want; but as there is a difference in their grade heirs of William Winter, deceased, and to Ga- and responsibility, in their pay whilst in service, and briel Winter, which was read twice, and com- the pensions which have been allowed, not only in mitted to a Committee of the Whole.
this, but in other Governments, the committee deem it The bill from the Senate "relating to settlers improper to depart from these rules; they think some on the lands of the United States, was read regard should be paid to the conditions of men, and