. After warm debates the House of Representatives sent to the Senate this day a bill
to establish the seat of national government at a site ten miles square, to be chosen
by commissioners who were to be appointed by the President, “at some convenient place
on the banks of the river Susquehannah, in the state of Pennsylvania” ( Penna. Packet
, 28 Sept. 1789). The Pennsylvania delegation in the House, which had carried its
objective against a strong Southern bloc that favored a site on the Potomac, had in
mind the area surrounding the village of Wright's Ferry, now Columbia, Penna. Thanks
to the determination and skill of Senator Robert Morris, the proposed Susquehanna
site and an amendment substituting a site on the Potomac were both defeated, and the
new site agreed on by the Senate was Germantown and the Northern Liberties of Philadelphia,
Vice-President Adams casting the deciding vote. The fullest record of the debate in
the Senate, including the bargaining maneuvers that accompanied it and incorporating
the usual severities on JA
's conduct as presiding officer, is in William Maclay's Journal
, 1890, p. 158–165; see also Rufus King's notes in King, Life and Corr.
, 1:370–375; U.S. Senate, Jour.
, 1st Cong., 1st sess., under 22–24 Sept.; Bryan,Hist, of the National Capital
, 1:27–35; McMaster, History
, 1:555–563. Congress adjourned before agreement could be reached between the two
houses, and the Residence Act that eventually passed in July 1790 placed the capital
at Philadelphia for ten years and then permanently on the Potomac.