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cured by virtue of this act shall be distributed to each state and territory.
This act, which was passed on the 23d of April, 1808, appropriates $ 200,000 annually for the purpose of providing arms and military equipments for the whole body of the militia of the United States, and provides that all the arms procured in virtue of this act shall be transmitted to the several states and territories composing the union, in proportion to the number of the effective militia in each state and territory, to be distributed to the militia under the direction of the several legislatures.
On the 8th of July the committee reported that the funds appropriated by the act of the 23d of April for arming the whole body of the militia, amounted, on the 23d day of April last, to one million of dollars; that of this sum 94,792 dollars had been actually expended, and that the whole number of arms procured up to this day amounted to 34,477 stands, all derived under contracts of supply; and that of these the following disposition had
' been made, viz:
Before the 24th December, 1812.
2,500 Rhode Island
1,000 New Jersey
500 North Carolina
2,130 South Carolina
2,000 New York
1,500 District of Columbia
2,200 Making an aggregate of 26,000 stands delivered, and leaving a balance of 8,477 stands subject to future distribution.
It had been suggested by some of the members, that each transmission or distribution of arms should be in the proportions pointed out by the law, and that no discretion was left
with the executive as to furnishing them first to those states that were most exposed and worst provided. The committee, however, expressed a different opinion. They contended, that if it had been the intention of the legislature to bind the executive to a simultaneous or periodical transmission, the language of the law would have been “shall be transmitted at the same time," or "shall be transmitted biennially or triennially.” The committee likewise reported that in their opinion no alteration in the law was requisite. That if a periodical and simultaneous distribution were ordered, it might happen that within the limited period so few arms might be received, that the expence of distribution might exceed that of their manufacture ; that in small numbers they might be lost in the transmission, or would be suffered by the states to lie neglected and forgotten; and that it appeared to them that the executive had pursued the wisest course, by distributing them, at first, according to the wants, the frontier position, and the actual exposure of the states.
$11. On the 10th of July, Mr. J. G. Jackson, in the house of representatives, presented a resolution proposing amendments to the constitution. Mr. Jackson said, that he presented this resolution, not with a view to ask a decision on any question involved in its scope during the present session ; but in order that at the commencement of the next session it might be taken up, and, if sanctioned by congress, be presented to the state legislatures, in time to be acted on at their winter sessions ; so that the nation might possess the benefits it contemplated as soon as practicable. In the mean time, the members of congress and the states can deliberate on the subject, and be prepared then to pronounce their decision. The first amendment proposes to authorise congress to lay a tax on exports—a power indispensable to counteract the measures of foreign nations who tax their exports to this country, and collect from that source a large revenue annually, which falls upon the consumer, and consequently is a tax on the United States. The other three amendments propose authorising congress to make roads and canals, and to establish a national bank the first of which was linked with the internal prosperity of the country, and the last almost indispensable to a due execution of the fiscal concerns of the nation. I am aware, said Mr. Jackson, that many persons in the nation believe that congress are already clothed with these powers; but it is equally true that a great portion also deny the authority, whilst almost all, I believe, agree that it is proper
and necessary to possess it. It is therefore the dictate of sound reason to reconcile these opinions by the express grant, in preference to resorting to construction and implication. which are always dangerous, and may be rendered wholly unnecessary.
, Mr. Jackson then read the following resolution:
Resolved, by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America in congress assembled, two thirds of both houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed as amendments to the constitution of the United States, each of which, when ratified by three-fourths of the said legislatures, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said constitution.
1. Congress shall have power to lay a tax or duty on articles exported from any state.
2. Congress shall have power to make roads in any state, with the consent of the state within which the same shall be made.
3. Congress shall have power to make canals in any state, with the consent of the state within which the same shall be made.
4. Congress shall have power to establish a national bank, with branches thereof in any state or territory of the United States.
Mr. Jackson said it was his intention to limit the law for taxing exports to an ad valorem duty on all articles exported, but he thought it best to present the simple proposition, without details, which may be supplied hereafter.
The resolutions were ordered to lie on the table.
$ 12. In each of the two last sessions of congress a bill had been passed by the house of representatives, making provision for the naturalization of British subjects who had settled here before the war with the intention of becoming citizens. The first of those bills
had been rejected by the president, the second by the senate. The subject was again taken up this session, and a bill finally enacted into a law on the 30th of July. This law provides, that persons resident in the United States at the time of the declaration of war, who had before that period made a declaration according to law, of their intention to become citizens of the United States, or who by the existing laws were entitled to become citizens at that period without making such declaration, may be naturalized, notwithstanding they may be alien enemies. Nothing in this law, however, is to be construed so as to prevent the apprehension and removal, agreeably to law, of any alien enemy, previous to his naturalization.
$ 13. A bill had likewise passed the house of representatives last session, which had failed in the senate, for prohibiting the use of licences from the government of Great Britain by American vessels. The proclamation of the governor of Bermuda, however (see Congressional Documents), presented the subject in a more striking light, and a law was passed, which enacts that any person concerned in obtaining or using, granting or selling such licences, shall, upon conviction, for every such offence, forfeit a sum equal to twice the value of vessel and cargo, and moreover be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanour, and be fined in a sum not exceeding five nor less than one thousand dollars. A ship found in the waters of the United States having such licence, is also declared forfeited with her cargo, one half to the United States, the other to the informer, after the duties are paid out of the proceeds of the sale of the cargo. The public and private armed vessels of the United States are likewise authorized and instructed by the act to send in as prizes all vessels having such licences. The act is to be enforced as to all American vessels clearing from any port in the United States after the promulgation of the act at the port of clearance ; to all Ame
; rican vessels in Europe, in the Mediterranean, or the western coast of Africa, after the first of November, 1813; and in any port east of the Cape of Good Hope after the first of January, 1814. Exceptions are made in case of unavoidable accidents, &c.
$ 14. A memorial was presented to congress by Stephen Girard and others, owners of certain ships which had been seized in the Delaware for a breach of the non-intercourse law. It appears that those ships had sailed from Great Britain for Amelia island, in East Florida, with cargoes, the entrance of which into the United States was prohibited by law.
These vessels were lying in one of the ports of that island, when it was taken possession of by general Matthews, under a pretended authority of the government of the United States.
15. From the documents that were published at the time this extraordinary transaction took place, it appears, that general Matthews and colonel John M.Kee were appointed commissioners for carrying into effect certain provisions of an act of congress relative to the Floridas.
The right to a part of these provinces had been a subject of negociation for a considerable period between Spain and the United States, and it is understood that the cession of the remainder was expected to take place, as indemnities for certain spoliations by Spain on the commerce of the United States. The revolutions that were taking place in Spanish America rendered the retaining possession of the Floridas by the Spanish government very precarious, and the claims of the United States, though they did not consider them as authorizing the VOL. I. PART I.
taking the country from the existing government, rendered them unwilling to let it pass into other hands. A law was therefore passed, authorizing the president to take possession, in case of the inability of the existing government to hold the country.
The commissioners were instructed by the department of state, in case they should discover an inclination in the
governor of either of the Floridas, or in the local authorities existing there, to surrender those provinces into the possession of the United States, to accept such surrender, and, if required, to stipulate for the re-delivery of it, at a future period, to the lawful sovereign. The commissioners were further instructed, in case of the actual appearance of any attempt by a foreign power to take possession of the provinces, to take immediate effective measures for their occupation by the troops of the United States, and for the exclusion of the foreign force.
Without, however, either of those contingencies taking place, general Matthews took possession of Amelia island and several other parts of East Florida. As soon as the government of the United States received intelligence of this transaction, the general was superseded, and Governor Mitchell, of Georgia, appointed in his place, with instructions immediately to restore the country to the Spanish authorities.
Meanwhile Matthews had established a local government in Amelia island, to whom the agents of the petitioners, deeming their situation insecure, applied for permission to proceed to Philadelphia with the property, under such conditions and restrictions as might secure it from the penalties and forfeitures, to which, by the then existing laws, it would be exposed if import.ed into the United States. This request was granted, general Matthews considering, as he himself expressed it, “ that the vessels and cargoes were already under the protection of the Aag of the United States, and within the waters of an integral part
of our common country,” and that they would not therefore be subjected, by going to Philadelphia, to the prohibitions of the non-importation law. He directed that the vessels and cargoes should be delivered in charge to the collector of Philadelphia, and should so remain until the determination of the government respecting them should be known, and took bonds for the performance of this condition.
On the arrival of those vessels in the river Delaware, on their way to Philadelphia, they were seized by the collector of the district of Delaware.
The grounds on which the memorialists asked for relief were, that the lading of the merchandize on board their ships, in the