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nominal ones, and that the surpluses redeemed by particular States should be credited to them at the same rate. Mr. CARROLL alone dissented to the plan, alleging that a law of Maryland was adverse to it, which he considered as equipollent to an instruction.
For filling up the blank, several rates were proposed. First, one for forty-on which the votes were, no, except Mr. HOWELL. Second, one for seventy-five, no; Mr. White and Mr. Howell, aye. Third, one for one hundred, no; Mr. HamilTON and Mr. FitZSIMMONS, aye. Fourth, one for one hundred and fifty, no; Mr. Fitzsimmons, aye. The reasons urged in favor of one for forty werefirst, an adherence to public faith; secondly, that the depreciation of the certificates would reduce the rate sufficiently low, they being now negotiated at the rate of three or four for one. The reason for one for seventy-five was—that the bills passed at that rate when they were called in, in the Eastern States; for one for one hundred—that as popular ideas were opposed to the stipulated rate, and as adopting the current rate might hurt the credit of other securities, which derived their value from an opinion that they would be strictly redeemed, it was best to take an arbitrary rate, leaning to the side of liberality; for one for one hundred and fifty—that this was the medium depreciation when the circulation ceased. The opposition to these several rates came from the Southern Delegates, in some of whose States none, in others but little, had been redeemed, and in all of which the depreciation had been much greater. On this side it was observed by Mr. MADISON, that the States which had redeemed a surplus, or even their
quotas, had not done it within the period fixed by Congress, but in the last stages of depreciation, and in a great degree even after the money had ceased to circulate; that since the supposed cessation, the money had generally changed hands at a value far below any rate that had been named; that the principle established by the plan of the eighteenth of March, 1780, with respect to the money in question, was, that the holder of it should receive the value at which it was current, and at which it was presumed he had received it; that a different rule, adopted with regard to the same money in different stages of its downfall, would give general dissatisfaction. The committee adjourned without coming to any decision.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9TH.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10TH.
A motion was made by Mr. Ramsay, directing the Secretary of War, who was about to visit his family in Massachusetts, to take Vermont in his way, and deliver the resolutions passed a few days since to Mr. Chittenden. For the motion, it was urged that it would ensure the delivery, would have a conciliating effect, and would be the means of obtaining true and certain knowledge of the disposition and views of that people. On the opposite side it was ·
exclaimed against as a degradation of so high a servant of the United States, as exposing him to the temerity of leaders who were, on good ground, suspected of being hostile to the United States, and as treating their pretensions to sovereignty with greater complaisance than was consistent with the eventual resolutions of Congress. The motion was rejected.
A motion was made by Mr. Gilman, that a day be assigned for determining finally the affair of Vermont. The opposition made to the motion itself by Rhode Island, and the disagreement as to the day among the friends of the motion, prevented a decision, and it was suffered to lie over.
For the letter of the Superintendent of Finance to Thomas Barclay, Commissioner for settling accounts in Europe, agreed to by Congress, see Secret Journal of this date.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11th.
The Secretary of War was authorized to permit the British prisoners to hire themselves out, on condition of a bond from the hirers for their return. The measure was not opposed, but was acquiesced in by some, only as conformable to antecedent principles established by Congress on this subject. Col. Hamilton in particular made this explanation.
Mr. Wilson made a motion, referring the transmission of the resolutions concerning Vermont to the Secretary of War in such words as left him an option of being the bearer, without the avowed sanction of Congress. The votes of Virginia and
New York negatived it. The President informed Congress, that he should send the resolutions to the Commander-in-Chief to be forwarded.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12TH.
The report made by Mr. WILLIAMSON, Mr. CARROLL, and Mr. Madison, touching the publication in the Boston paper, supposed to be written by Mr. HOWELL, passed with the concurrence of Rhode Island; Mr. HOWELL hesitating, and finally beckoning to his colleague, Mr, COLLINS, who answered for the State in the affirmative. As the report stood, the Executive of Massachusetts, as well as of Rhode Island, was to be written to, the Gazette being printed at Boston. On the motion of Mr. OsGOOD, who had seen the original publication in the Providence Gazette, and apprehended a constructive imputation on the Massachusetts Delegates by such as would be ignorant of the circumstances, the Executive of Massachusetts was expunged.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13TH.
Mr. Howell verbally acknowledged himself to be the writer of the letter from which the extract was published in the Providence Gazette. At his instance, the subject was postponed until Monday.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14TH.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 16TH.
The answer to the objections of Rhode Island as to the impost, penned by Mr. HOWELL, passed without opposition, eight States being present, of which Rhode Island was one, a few trivial alterations only being made in the course of discussion.
Mr. HOWELL, contrary to expectation, was entirely silent as to his affair.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17TH.
Mr. CARROLL, in order to bring on the assair of Mr. HOWELL, moved that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs be instructed not to write to the Government of Rhode Island on the subject. The state in which such a vote would leave the business, unless the reason of it was expressed, being not adverted to by some, and others being unwilling to move in the case, this motion was incautiously suffered to pass. The effect of it, however, was soon observed, and a motion in consequence made by Mr. Hamilton, to subjoin the words, “Mr. Howell having in his place confessed himself to be the author of the publication.” Mr. Ramsay thinking such a stigma on Mr. HOWELL unnecessary, and tending to place him in the light of a persecuted man, whereby his oppo