Gazette of the United-States. (New-York [N.Y.]) 1789-1793, September 12, 1789, Image 1

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    [No. XLIV.]
For The Tablet, No. XLIV, fee /ast page.
NEW-YORK, September 12, 1789.
Viite mthcfdjcß tf fixing the PERMANENT SEAT of GOV
THE motion of Mr. Goodhue being read, Mr. Madison
observed, that as thegentleman has been candid enough to
inform the committee that theu measures have been preconcerted,
and that the better half of the Union are to be difpofcd of by con
tract at the {Sovereign will of the other, I hope they will be also
io candid as to Ihew in the clearest manner, that the principles
which have now been established are applicable to the motion
made by the Member from Maflachufetts. I wifti they would
prove that the place which they have pitched upon, is in fa£t the
permanent center, and New-York the temporary center of wealth,
population and extent of territory, that the grounds may be
known on which this great qucftion is to be dccided.
Mr. Goodhue replied that the Sufquehanna is not far from
the center of territory ; that itis further south than the center of
population, which may fall fomewhereon the Delaware. I believe
that this center of population will never alter materially, as I sup
pose it will always incline towards the manufa&uring States.
Mr. JaPkson I was originally opposed to the question's com
ingforward, and am so flill. I thought the fubjett ought not to
be touched upon till the States who have not yet acceded io the
Union might have an opportunity of giving their voice ; I agree
with the gentleman from Virginia. lam sorry that people
Ihould learn that th : s matter has been precipitated ; that they
(hould learn that the Members from New-England and New-York
had fixed on a feat of government for the United Slates. This is
not proper language to go out to freemen. Jealousies have already
gone abroad. This language will blow the coals of sedition anti
endanger the Union. I would ask if the other members of the
Union are not also to be consulted ? Are the taftern members
to dictate in this business, and fix the feat of government of tbe
United States ? Why not also fix the principles of government ?
Why not come forward and demand of us the power of legiflatior,
and fay, give us up your privileges, and we will govern for vou ?
If one part has the power to fix the feat of government, they mzy
as well take the government from the other-—This looks like ari
stocracy. Not the United, but the partial voice of America is
codccide—how can .gentlemen answer for this, who call t.bem-
Xclves Representatives on the broad basis of national interest ?
I deny the fa& oi the territorial centrality of the place propof
td. From New-York to the nearest part of theprovince ot Maine,
it is two hundred and fifty miles ; and from New-York to the
nearest part of the upper diftriffc of Georgia, from which my Col-
Itague, General Matthews comes is eleven hundred miles ; and
from the proposed place on Sufjquehannah, it is four hundred
miles to the nearest part of Maine, and qco to the nearaft part of
that diftrift.—The proportion is more than four to one. But the
gentleman should have an eye to the population of Georgia. One
of the fined countries in the worlA cau not but rapidly extend her
population. Nothing but her being harraffed Dy the inroads of
hajchecked her amazing increase, which must under the
of peace and fafety people her western regions.—Georgia
will soon be as populous as any State in the Union. Calculations
ought hot to be mad eon its present situation.
He concluded with himfelf in favor of the Patowmae.
Mr. Goodhue replied that the diflance from that partofthe
province of Maine, from which one of his Colleagues came, to
Sufouehannah is seven hundredandfixty miles;from Savannah, to
the fame center about seven hundred ; and from Kentucky nearly
the fame.
Mr. Laur ance observed, that when this matter was under dif
cuflion feme time, it appeared to be the wilh of the members from
the eaftwajd, and of the Representation from this State, that this
cili should not now be decided. TKey urged ieveral reasons
vto U would be improper. I xho.ughl those relfofns weighty, and
poflponing the consideration till next meeting : But it was
jnfwcred that the business was important; that the citizens of the
tnrtcd-States were uneasy andanxirtils, that factions-did not now
**iil, : and Chat k was now the pct>per time to decide tins qtitflion.
the Representation from the eastward to do ? Was ft
Wt neceflary tor them to con Cult, and fix upofi the proper place ?
They are disinterested. It is well known, he said, that gov
ernment is expected to be "fixed in Virginia, Maryland, Penn
sylvania, or Jerffcy. We are called on to determine on a question
w whigh we conceive ourselves unbialTed, and to detertnirfe it on
principles wjiich wil) rcfleft honor on th»s House. I trust it
wi'lbe found that we have fixed on those principles, and that this
resolution ivill be confirmed by Congrcfs. do not, he said,
decide for the Union, nor for the southern States. We decidc
•or QHtfelVej, arid if our .reakms are substantial, I trust that gen
ticineu-wiU meet us in the 4vteripinasiQo.
There are Several which have been agreed to in the
general refo'likion. I believe it will be {hewn with exattnefs,
'hat the place prop<Mc*tl will come within principles. The
tutpopulation. Isihe Houlie tocoqfider the present or the
<Xpe£icd population ! The rcfolutioii has a determinate meaning :
lpeaks ;h r e Bt tjbe present period : and to calcu
ljte on this principle, gentlemen can not fay *is unjust. The Rt>
P'tfeMetipn in this House is itfdf a demonstration of it. The
fopulatiou vof this country may be determined pretty fafelv by
• e pioporno:i in thgrlloufe ; for k is probable that it iveftablifhod
on this ground. 1 believe therefore that the principle-os popuJa
'ontcadsto this place in preference to a more southern fituatioij.
But to take up the principle of territory, are the House to caL
on the uninhabited w.ildernefs ? Shall they takethe Lake
J the Wcods on ont fide, and the Miflouri an the othor, and
nd a-gcogiaphical center ? Iffo, to what an extent must tiiey
V .populated part of the country ought
10 considered. I-f St. Croix is taken as thjs eastern limit,
, f Mar y a * southern, the conter of tht l*ne will be found
ooh pretty the Sufquehanna.
it is another important confederation that this center is cn navi-
f a snd fufficientlw removed from the Atlanticcoaft,
'\Vet a ' as to security. With refpeft to the
e u-m Country, its situation is convenient favorable, with
2n°'^ muw ! caiK)n k»»d and and easy. But
thi° l ? r^n< *^P^ e ihould be attended to. It been bintt'd that
ought not to govern; but 1 think it of .fom.e importance.
jJ. [« mca ,ou ld look to those part's of t' where is the
,5* portion, the c-omtnercial and opulant cities, ilhd fee
11 r , e \\»ealth,thc ftrcngth the Union, nwails-b<y
lie iU ted State.*- are tojic pi:ote£»ed, and tfce sources from
foiw ■^|? vernincnt tod raw its principal fiqjports. It will be
i,- /ut r c ofthefe is the 'uorther.ii and casern States,
wc 1J » Member*had: confuted their o\v.n intercfts, they
u J 'c cliofcn the banks of the Delaware ; but they |knew it
SATURDAY, September 12, 1739.
would not be deciding oo those generous principles, which might
e expected. They knew that there is one State not yet in the
Union, to which fueh a measure would givedifgujt.
r. Sedgwick asked if there was really any impropriety in
gent emen s consulting together, who had a uniformity of interests
upon a queltion, which it had beenfaid, was so infinitely impor
tant. My colleague, said he, has barely stated that such a con
u tat ion iias taken place, and that in consequence of it, men's
ni have been induced to run in a current. Is there any thing
wrong in this ? Let those who are determined not to consult nor
ave any communication on luch a fubjeft, determine for them
( v es. I should think myfelf loft, to that regard which I owe to
3n< * ' mm? diate constituents in particular, should I
a rtract myfelf from the contemplation ofthebenetits which would
low from knowing the feelings and sentiments of those with
whom lam to act. Instead of being an evidence of that aristo
cratic spirit which has been mentioned, it is only a proof that
men, attentive to their business had preferred that way, which
C r u*°ri . m3n have had in view. I have contemplated
t lelubjecl with great anxiety, and though I can not declare that
my loca4 situation has had no influence on rny mind, yet I will-fay
I endeavored that it-should have none. I believe that die trite
interests of the country will be beil answered by taking a pofrtion
ealtward and northward of the Sufquehanna. The, Delaware is
one extreme, the Patowmac another. But when I rcfleft how
anxious forue gentlemen are foror\e, and Come -for the -another. I am
willing io accommodate by advancing to a middle ground, to
which I hope the public mind will be reconciled. I-n fixing this
opinion I was alto influenced by the sentiment of the celebrated
Montcfquieu. He has laid it down that in a country partaking of
northern and fuuthem interests, of a poor and a produ&ive foil,
the center and the influence of government ought to incline to
that part where the former circumflanoes prevailed ; beca.ufe ne
ceftity stimulates to industry, produces habits and a fu, of
labour ; because such parts are the nurseries of soldiers and fail
oips, and the fourcesot that energy which is the best security of
the government.
The Sufquehanna in my opinion is southwest of the center of
wealth, population and resources of every kind. I would sug
gest another idea. In my view, on the principles of population,
the Sufquehanna is far beyond the center; for I do not think it
just on this fubjett to take the constitutional computation. Will
any gentleman pretend that men who are merely the fubjeft of
property or wealth should be taken into the eftirnate, that the
slaves of the country, men, who have no rights to prote&, being
deprived of them all, fhotild be taken into view in determining
the center of government ? If they are considered, gentlemen
may as well estimate the black cattle of New-England.
I would aik if it U of no importance to take a position in which
the credit ofthe government may procure those fupplics, that its
neccflities require. Will the strength and riches of the
country be to the iMrth or to the south of the Sufquehanna ? Cer
taiuly to the uorth.
It is an opinion of all the eastern States, that the climoXe of Pa
towmac, is not only unhealthy but deftru&ive to northern con
stitutions. Itrs of importance to attend to this: for let the thing
be true or falfir, rfiich is the public prepoffeflion. Vast numbers
of ea&ern adventurers have gone to the iouthcrn States, and all
have found their graves there. They have met dc&ru&ion asfoon
as they aYrived. These accounts have been spread, and .filled the
northern people with apprehension.
With regard to the temporary residence, I originally had very
little concern where it (hould be, but I believe that it the govern
ment should take a temporary Hand so central as Philadelphia, so
seducing would be the accommodations of that city, and foftrong
the interefl of that powerful State, that it would be more difficult
to remove Congreis ever from it, than from a place which is ac
knowledged to be improper for their permanent feat.
Mr. Viking observed, that he muil acknowledge himfqlfa
p-rty to the bargain, though he had no share in making it. It is,
said he, an Unexpe&ed bargain to me, though it involves the in
terests ofthe State which I represent. lam yet to learn whether
Congress arc to tickje the trout in the stream of the Codorus,
to build their sumptuous palaces on the banks of the Patowmac,
3r to admire commerce, with her expanded wings on the waters
jf the Delaware. I have on tliis occasion educated my mind to
impartiality, and have chastised its prejudices.
I copfefs to the House and to the world, that viewing this fub
jt£l with all its ckcumAances, i am in favor ®f the Patowmac.
I wish the feat olf government to be fixed there, because I think
the intercft. the honor, and the greatness of this country require
it. I look on it as the center from which those streams are to
flow, that are to animate-and invigorate the body politic. From
thence it appears to me the rays of government will most natural
ly diverge to the extremities of the Union. I declare that I look
on the Western Territory in an awful and striking point of view.
To that region the unpo'lifhed sons of the earth are flocking from
all quarters. Men to whom the prote&ion of the laws and the
corttrouling force of the government arc equally neceflary from this
great consideration I conclude that the banks of the Patowmac are
the proper station.
With refpeft to the temporary residence. The accommoda
tions which have been fnentioned operate as retffons against New-
York. It is indeed but too agreeable; its allurements are too dan
gerous ; when I look round I fee such handfomp arguments addres
sed to my feelings that my underflanding dreads their imprcflion.
Mr. Lee moved to flr.ike out the words " ea-ft bank of the Suf
quehanna" and to insert a clause to this effect, That whereas the
banks of the Patowmac united all the aforefaid advantages with
fertility of foil, salubrity of climate, &c. Resolved that the per
manent feat of government ougltf to be fixed some where on the
banks ofthe said river.
He then stated at large the comparative advantages of Patow
itiac, its great and increaling improvements, the extent of its navi
gation, its direst communication with the WefternCountry,and its
eaTy communication with the Eastern and Southern States.
The house, he said, are now to determine whether regard is to
he had to a central position—whether regard is to be had to the
people o.f the Western Territory, to the greater portion of the ter
ritory of the Union : In point of climate, it is extremely falubru
ous, in fertility it is exceeded by no country on earth. Thither
will emigrants from all quarters flock.
I afk-if this government is intended for a temporary or a lasting
one ; whethar it is to be a fleeting -vision, or to continue for ages ?
I hppe that the result will proclaim that the government iscalcula
ted for perpetuity, and that the common interests of the country
have been consulted. If that is done, the government will be le
movedto the Patowmac ; if not, we shall stop short of it ; and
what will be the confcquenGe ? I am averse to found alarms, or
introduce terrors into theihoufe ;ibut if they are well founded, I
think it my duty. It is well known with what difficulty the
Copftitution was adopted by the .State of Virginia. It was then
-feid that there would be corffederacie9 of the States East of Penn
sylvania* which would deftrov the Southern States. That they
would unite their councils in difcufling questions relative to their
particular interests, and the Southern States would be tUfregarded.
To these suspicions it was answered, no ! It was contended that
the magnanimous policy arising from mutual interests 2nd com
\_PitbliJbed (jti Wediiefday arid Saturday .J
mon dangers would unite all the States, and make them pursue
objcfts of general good. But if U Ihould be found that there are
such confederacies as were predicted, that the Northern States do
consult their partial interests, and form combinations to fuppoit
them, without regarding their South ren brethren, they will be a
larmed, and the faith of all south of the Patowmac will be shaken.
It will be ( them, that what was predicted by the enemies
to the Constitution has come to pass, that the Northern States liave
not even waited till the Government was organized, but arc facri
ficing the Southern people to their own interests.
Let the feat be fixed where it will, Virginia has not fol.icited
Congress to place its feet in her State. She only contends that the
interests of the Southern and Western country Ihould be consult
ed. And I declare, that these interests will be facrificed if Con
£refs fixes on any place but the Patowrriac. The greater part of
Virginia is distant from that river. Man-y parts are not nearer
than New-Jei fey. She wishes not co have the feat on the Patow
mac but for the general good. It is not for the benefit of that
State, but the Union.
Mr. Laurance said it is improper and imneceffary to hold out
terrors to the fancy of members. The true way to convince them
is to address their understanding, 1 -am fnr« there is no danger
ous confederacy which the gentleman has talked of. I believe
that the conduct of the .Northern States will bear the striCtest scru
tiny; that if probed to the bottom it,will be found fair and candid.
I remember in the debate upon the tonnage bill a gentleman from
Virginia observed that could the moderate and equal policy pfthat
day's proceeding have been forefeen in the Convention of Virgin
ia, it would have obviated many objections that were there pro
duced againit the Constitution.
In conducting the bulinefs before us, I trufl. that gentlemen will
find no cause eventually to entertain different fentiraents from what
he then delivered.
Mr. Madison: I admit that oft a former occasion I applied
the remark quoted by the gentleman from New-York ; but I now
as veTily believe, that had a Prophet darted up in that Convention,
and foretold the proceedings of this day, Virginia would not now
be a party to this Constitution. A motion being made for riling.
Mr. SiDcwieK : I hope the committee will not rife. Will it
be contended, that the majority shall not govern; and (hall the
minority because they cast not carry their points, accuse the House
of want of candor ? Are we to be told that an important State
would not have joined the Union had they known what would
have been the proceedings of this House. Gentlemen have brought
forward this business themselves : They have precipitated the
House into it. We prayed, said he, We supplicated for time ; and
now gentlemen from some causes not explained, wish to postpone
the matter, in order to have time to deliberate. I believe that
a deliberation of fix weeks would not alter airngle opinion, and
it is not proper to consume the public timeofelefsly.
Mr. Mao;isjon contended for a poftponernem a* a right. De
bate ought not to be precluded, said he. The minority certainly
are to be governed bj the majority, butthey claim a right to bring
forward all those fads and arguments which can have a*iy poflible
influence. It is unuiual to pcefjs for a decision an occasions like
these, after a partial diCotiliioii of a Tingle day. Questions of less
magnitude has occupied weeks. This business prefects an afpeCk ;
it marks a genius in this body, which will cootradiCt the expecta
tions of its warmest friend*. I wiftx to make many observations
for whiph there is not now an opportunity. I wish to fpeaJc to
gentlemen who wiU open their ears ; and nottp Client majorities,
who bear down every thing before them. I hope another day to
experience a cooler and more favorable temper.
Mr. Ames : I remember, said he, that when this futijeCt cac>e
before the House the other day, when we solicited for delay, it
was observed that she neceflities of the Union required an imme
diate decision—that it would take up but little time—that the pro
per centre might be easily ascertained—that this would depend
on geographical calculation, and that little dircuflion would be ne
cessary. Now, when circumstances appeaTto be changed—when
the calculation is made—when the House are ready to vote, gen
tlemen come forward and pretend that they want time. I hope
the queftiou will be now decided. While I am up I would ob
feive that I do not entertain a doubt of the patriotism and good
intention® of the gentlemen from Virginia. I believe however,
that their judgments are influenced by tbeir wilhes, for they fee«n
to be engaged with a degree of eagtrnefs whith none else appear
to feel. The very language of their motion declares this. They
seem to think the banks of Patowto&c a paradise, and that iiver a
Euphrates. I have been told it is a fine spot—and I (interely *rifh
those bleflings may ever reside there.
Mr. Burke : The Northern States have had a fortnight to ma
nage this matter, and will .not now allow the Southern a day.
What is the conduCt of gentlemen ? A league has been formed
between the Northern States and Pennsylvania. [Here Mr. FitE
firaons contradicted him.} This morning furnimed the firft in
formation of it. 1 want information. I call on gentlemen for
the honor of the House to give more time.
The qucftion pn rising was carried.
Friday, September 4.
Mr. ScOtt, being called on, said, he had no to give
his sentiments. The refolvfc which I laid on the table has been
honored by & majority of the House. It contains such principles
as I believe ought to govern in the settlement of this grand ques
tion. Whether the place which hai been moved for is the right
one, is a matter yet to be decided.
Taking the Atlantic coast for a guide, the Sufquehanna involves
undoubtedly the center of wealth, population and territory-
All that has been said of the western territory has not induced me
to wish that all that immense country should be brought into
view. The resolution holds out an idea that the Atlantic States
fliouldgo as near that country as their own convenience would al
low. I his is all I expeCt or hope for. lam convinced that to
go farther weft than this point of convenience, would be to injure
the Western Territory itfelf. The question feem.s to lie between
the Sufquehanna and Pawtomac. The center which I contemplate
J *es between them, at nearly equal distances, but rather nearer
the latter. lam pretty well acquainted with both rivers.
He then gave a geographical description of those rivers, which
to avoid any poflible errors, we shall not attempt to trace. The
description related to their several advantages of communication
with the Western Territory. In his calculation he considered
Pittsburgh as the key of that Territory ; and that the advantages
ol one river of the other mulVbe determined, by its relation to the
place. Therefultof his detail was a concluGon clearly in favor of
the Patowmac. To do justice to the committee, he said, I mnft
declare that there is no comparison between the advantages of one
communication and the other, with respeCt to the Ohio Country.
Patowmac will no doubt, one day, be a' very important channel
into thqfe regions.
He concluded by observing, that though he thought that the
Patowmac was nearer that centre of communication between the
Atlantic and the Ohio, than the Sufquehanna, as there was no
prospeCt ol a decision in favor of the former, he should give his
vote for the Sufquehanna. In this situation, as he was a native of
Pennsylvania, there was a certain duty which he owed to his coun
try. and which he should now perform.