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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0008-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1789-09-23

[Notes of Debates on the Residence Bill, continued] Sept. 23. Wednesday.

Mr. Lee. Navigation of the Susquehannah.
Mr. Grayson. Antwerp and the Scheld. Reasons of State have influenced the Pensilvanians to prevent the navigation from being opened. The limiting the Seat of Empire to the State of Pen. on the Delaware is a characteristic Mark of Partiality. The Union will think that Pen. governs the Union, and that the general Interest is sacrificed to that of one State.
{ 223 }
The Czar Peter took time to enquire and deliberate before he fixed a Place to found his City.
We are about founding a City which will be one of the first in the World, and We are governed by local and partial Motives.
Mr. Morris moves to expunge the Proviso.1
Mr. Carrol. Against the Motion to expunge the Proviso. Considers the Western Country of great Importance. Some Gentlemen in both houses seem to undervalue the Western Country or despair of commanding it. Government on the Potowmack would secure it.
Mr. Butler. The question is not whether Pensilvania or Maryland shall be benefited—but how are the United States benefited or injured.
Mr. Macclay. Pensilvania has altered the Law this month respecting the navigation of the Susquehannah.
1. A proviso in the House bill required Pennsylvania and Maryland to consent to improving the navigation of the Susquehanna. Morris opposed this proviso on the ground that it would give commercial advantages to Baltimore over Philadelphia; see his speech and Carroll's and Maclay's replies as reported in King, Life and Corr., 1:371–372, and in Maclay, Journal, 1890, p. 159–161.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0008-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1789-09-24

[Notes of Debates on the Residence Bill, continued] Sept. 24. Thursday.

Mr. Grayson. moves to strike out the Words, “in the State of Pensilvania.”1
Mr. Butler. The Center of Population the best Criterion. The Center of Wealth and the Center of Territory.
Mr. Lee. The Center of Territory is the only permanent Center. Mr. Macclay. See his minutes.2
1. That is, following the words “river Susquehannah” in the House bill, and thus assigning the federal capital to Maryland; all the senators present from the South voted for this amendment, but it lost by ten votes to eight.
2. Maclay's “minutes” of this day's debate are very full, but it would have been remarkable if he had offered to let JA see them, since they accuse him of grossly unfair conduct in the chair (Journal, 1890, p. 162–165).

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0009-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1790-01-25

[Notes of Debates in the Senate concerning unfinished business] 1790 Jan. 25. Monday.1

It was not the sense of either House, or of any member of either, that the Business pending at the Adjournment should be lost.2
Where is the Oeconomy of repeating the Expence of Time?
Can this opinion be founded on the Law of Parliament? The K[ing] can prorogue the Parliament. But there is no such Power here.
The Rule of Parliament that Business once acted on, and rejected { 224 } shall not be brought on again, the same session, is a good Rule, but not applicable to this Case.
Mr. Elsworth. In Legislative Assemblies, more to be apprehended from precipitation than from Delay.
1. Early in the second session the question arose whether business not finished between the two houses in the former session could “now be proceeded in, as if no adjournment had taken place.” On 20 Jan. a committee of the Senate was appointed to confer with a committee of the House on this subject, and on the 25th the Senate debated the joint committee's report. JA doubtless took his brief minutes of the debate in anticipation of the possibility of a tie vote. But the Senate voted, ten to eight, to accept the report, in these words: “Resolved, That the business unfinished between the two Houses at the late adjournment, ought to be regarded, as if it had not been passed upon by either”; and next day the House concurred. See U.S. Senate, Jour., 1st Cong., 2d sess., under dates of 20–26 Jan. 1790.
2. Though JA failed to name this speaker, it was almost certainly Maclay of Pennsylvania, who both in the joint committee and in the Senate had vigorously contested the view that business between the two houses should be begun de novo in each session. During the debate on the 25th, Maclay wrote, “I was four times up in all.” See his Journal, 1890, p. 179–186.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.