North Carolina Newspapers

    The North-Carolina Chronicle ; or, Fayetteville Gazett
yoL. 1.]
MONDAY, May io, 1790.
February 24.
A Memorril of Tliomas Barclay was rea3 anS
A memorial of N. Gore was read and referred to
the fecretary at w.;r.
A memorial of David 3. Franks was read and laid
'■ on the table.
Thelionfe refolved itfelf iiitb la committee on the
report of the fecretary of the treafury.
Mr. Benfon in the ci:-iir.
The propofition for the aliumption ol the (late debts
being under confideration.
Some debate took place on tlris propofition, when
Mr. Madifon moved for an amendment to the follow,
ing purport—That eflelual provilion be at the lame
time maie for the liquidation Of, and crediting to tire
hates, the whole of the expertces during the war, as
the fame Jiias been, or may be ftated for that purpofe,
that the beft evidence of the fame be taken that the
nature of the cafe will admit.
The committee role without deciding on tisc propo-
iition or the amendment.
February 25*
Several petitions tveie read.
The bill to provide for the enumeration of the inha
bitants of the United States was b.ouglitin cngfofi'ed,
when the fpcaker figned tlic fame.
The bill forfecuring to authors and inventors the
exclutive right of fqjling copies of their wiiiings and,
inventions, was rcac a fecond time and con nit •^d.
The houfe then refolved itfclf into a vin nn.icc on
the report of the fccictary of the treafuty, rel.itive to
a provifion for tiic fupport of the public credit of the
United States.
Mr. Tenibn in the chair.
The propofition relative to the alfiimption of the
ftate debts, and the amendment propofed thereto by
Mr. Madifon, being ftill under confideration.
Mr. Huntington Hated objeftions to the lall
part of the amendment propofed by Mr. Madifon,
which declares “ that tlie beft evidence fhall be taken
as the nature of the cafe will admit.” There was no
neceflity, he faidf of drawingfuch a nile into prece
dent. And if there were any paiticular cafes, fuch
as the lofs of vouchers, &c. that required legillativc
interferencerCongrefs could always make a.proVifion
for the purpofe.
Mr. White then rofe and ptbpofed tin amendment
to this effefl—that only the balances due by the itates,
over and above the quota required of them for the
common defence, fiiouhl be affirmed by Con,grcfs.
Mr. Gerry, in a fpeeclj of fome length, enm-
b.itted the principle on wliich the moiiofi was
founded—it contemplated, he faid, the debts in quef-
tion as the debts of the ftates, while in faift they were
the debts of the United States ; for the -ftates had con-
Irafled tho debts as agents of the Union—and it was
well known, that a debt contrafted by an agent was
as binding as though it !i*d been done by the princi
pal, it l-ieing an cftabliflied maxim, ''quodfadt p:r
ahcrinnficit per fe," there can be no diftimftion in equi
ty then between a debt contraifted by Congrels, its
quarter-maflers, or other purchafing officers, and by
a ft.itc employed by Congrefs ; tlie creditors in each
cafe being tbc creditors of the Union. Mr. Gerry
faid, he had before dated, that the firll army, although
federal, was railed, fuppnvtcc! and fupplied by the
ftates, till it was commanded hy continental officers-^
that the flat* ;, on the rcqnifitions of Congrefs, had
ma le good the clepredi.ition of the pay of the army—
had frequently fupplied and recruited it, luu! at the
requeft of Congrefs, ajJuuieJ the ddh of the Union, by
taking up certificates of pnicliafcs niatli! by federal
officers, by paying intereft 01 tlie federal debt, and by
various other modes, and one ftate (I’ennfylvania) if
he was not mifinfonned, had aflunied to the amount
of five million dollars of the federal debt due to her
citizens, and placed thisfum on the ftate funds. As
the ftates then are indebted to their citizens, ought not
thefe in equity to l>c paid by the United Stater for pro
perty thus fupplied tbeju ? When tlie citizens crcilitcdv
the ftate.s, the latter all the reibnrees of tlie Uni-
on ; they had the impoll, excise, niul frilc riglit of di
reft taxation ; for although Congrefs not ilic [low
er of taxing /P/j/e/, they,coni J go no farther, anti that
power could not he exei cil'ed from the want of a nyle
cf apportionment required by the confetlerarion, be-
caufe' the ftates could not form an eftimate of their
property as required by that com pad : it mnft tlieie-
fore be evident, as the citizens entniftsd tlie ftates
with futiplies for the llnion, on the credit of certain
ftate reibnrees, and by the late revolution in the fvf-
tein of government, ihei'e reibnrccs are by the nr,ion
p:ii 1 alicnatevi frorr, th Hales to th>. federal goveni-
Xneut, .vhich is tlic core of the impoli j and as Congtefs
are now extending their taxation to another part, the
‘c.xcife, on which rtfotirccs the ftate creditors jirincipal-
iy dejiended, Congrels ate bound injultice and equity
to piovide for the payment of thelc debts comraded
at ilic retpiell and lor the benefit of the Uniteu btaie.s.
'I'hey are liona fide debts’ of' the Union, and only dif
fer from tlie federal liquiilated debt in the form of
the negociation ; jicrliaps it may be faid, that the cre-
dilbi s having conlulered the ftates as debtors, have
no le^^al claim again!! tlie United Slates. But Ihould
Congrefs ad upon Inch an uiijull and ungenerous
principle, would not the llatp creditors have realon to
confidcr the whole as a Hate trick or juggle to deliaud
them of their dues ! And would they over after re
ly on theya/W of There can be no good
rcafon then for the allerlion, that the ftates can only
be creditors, or in other words, that their debts can
be only afliimed, according to the proportions of the
balances that may be due to tJiem relpedively on a
final liquidation. Mr. -Gerry faid, tlie gentleman
(Mr. Wliite) had obl'erved, ;La'' by adopting the firft
amendment w e tlionld again open the door for ftate
claims ; that ifft ftinuld remain Ihnt, perhaps fome in-
juilice would lake place, but if the doors fliculd again
be opened, tlierc would be great uneafincl's among
fome of the ftates. In anfwer to tliis Mr Gerry con
ceived, that the ftates conlidercd juflice as the balls of
their fyliem of policj-, and would never be oppol'cd to
a miafurc that would prevent injullice. Jf liowevcr,
he was miftaken in tliis point—if tl'.rf foundations of'
the llatc and federal governments were not laid in jul-
tice, lie thought tfieir career woi ’d be but IhoVl} but
■he had no apprchenfions of tliis kind.
Fl-e obferved, iliat Mr. White had faid, in c.afe of
ah alfiimption, Mfhc ftate creditors may accede to it,
and others not ; that of the latiernimihcr would pro- .
baiji) be the citizens ol Virgini.t—-in wliicli c-ife flic
miiil pay her own creditors, and contiibt-.te to ihs pay
merit of the debts by the union. But where
is the diilicuhy, fays Mr. Getn', rn this cafe ? Con
grefs, cnnlidering the ftate creditors tif Virginia as
creditors of the union, will provide for them as for
other federal creditors. And it will make no differ
ence to the creditors, to the finite or to Congrels,
whether the latter j-iays the inrereff to the (Itite, and
the ftate to the creditors, or whether Congrefs pays
it direftly to the creditors. This feems too cleat to
The gentleman has faid, if the debts are'affitmed,
Congrefs will fund, but not difeharge them ; whereas
•the itales will do both. How, fays Mr. Gerry, does
it appear that Congrels will be lefs difpofed than the
ftates to pay off the public debt? The fecretary in
his report has an eye to a finking filnd ; and there is
no doubt of every exertion on file part of the union to
difeharge the debt. True it is, the llatcs, with the ini-
poft and etcife, have made fome progrefs in this biifi-
nefs ; but deprived of thole refources, there -will be
lefs profpeA ofthe debts being [laid by the ft.itcsthan
by the United .States. The debts (if the ftates will
now accumulate, as the federal debt did wliilft the
ftates had thole rcfnitrpcs.
The gentleman lavs, that if .ill the revenue fmm im-
poft and excife is tlirow-nlnto oiir hands, it will - 01
be adequ.ale, -ind wc mnft refnit to direCl taxes, w hi li
would nicdt llie difapj-irobaiion of all the fiat s. But
in anf-ver to t’i.s, Mr Gerry phferved, that we 1 ave
had but little experience of the avails of rh? impofl,
and none of the excife, and can therefore form no
judgment how far thev are capable ’f impiovciT’cnt. -
One thing we know, t'nnt the in-poft is greatlv injured
hy the ftate adminiftration of cxcife, and we alfn know
that the latter is eluded in a gieat meat'nra in eai-'-
ftate ; lb ihar tiin'cr the federal adininiftraiinn of irn-
port anti excife, both would proirably be much iiureaf-
Mr. Gerry then mentioned the dcfalrailons of cx-
cife ; that the collet?) ion of it was generally fnj-| ofed
in MaliachufeUs, not to erceed 2." per cent, of w ha>
ought to be the amount, and Dated tlie nninner in
w hich the payment of it was chided. It is inipoffible
therefore, fays he, at iliis time to dliterniine wlieilur
ihofe rcfiairces are or a;c not equal to the fluids re
quired. Biitinppole they are not, how dioes it appear
that the ftates will be uneafy ai dii-.^^! Ia\ati('n, if it is
nccefi'ary to fnpport public endit? I ronfider public as tbc m.ain pillar of tlie government. If ij is
well eft-.i!>lifhcd it w ill he more vahiable llian the mines
of''.’em ; for it will comniand lefmirces you,
mav want—and tliof'e can do no niore : it will allii
coTiiniand the confidence and attiK-hment of -i («nr fiell
citizens, which will be infinitely valii.ilje—will
f' cnjiilien your government, and m;.' e It immcveable.
A govtrnnieiU founded in juftice I'sfo gntal a bleflinp;,
as enlighteiie.l ciiizem, like thole of the United
.States, will not only contrilnile their pioj'e’-Ly, • hii’
w ill rifle every tiling in fnppnri of fiic’i a';oveinrient.
Mines may enable a governmi-nr to procure an arrr
cf nicrceinuics; bu'. iliepo-.vcr cf tkefe is not to Le
compared with that of grtod citizens. • '' ‘ Aorp pi, .
cipic. It cannot thercfoi e be .doubt- ii tin- - are necelfary to [lay the juft debts o. .he uni-,
and to fujiport its credit, the citi'zens willfubmii
If we refer to the propofitions 3f the ftates f-
•amt-nding the coiiftituiton,-lieie is notiiiiig in tlit
that jullilics the contrary lup[ olition ; blit I lhal) ■
always oppolfd to'direei ta.xCs till it lhali appear tl.
they arc indlipcnfibly necefiaTV T he genileman lu;
poles that the aft' will Idfen the'influence «
tlic ilates anu ci-. .1., ihc g(,ncral govcnimenr, and li •
qii.itc my obfi-rvation, tfiu'i the Itates out of dehl
would he out of danger : and not as ge.ntlemen i
the oppofition conceived, in debt oiu of danger. T
coufnte this dt'ifliine, the genilen an has liatttl a call
and fays, if ow ning an eftate he ow etl money on i'
he fhould think it more I'aie to take tltccilate into lii
own hami.s a-nd-jSay Ills debts \. iih n.. incomes, that
to ni'irfgagc hrs ellatc to another i;n his erignging it
pay the debts—But Mr., Gerry obfetved, th.ii the re
fonrees for paying the Date debts are taken frtsrr; tliemi.
and the qneltion in the cafe liated is, whe-her th t
owner of an elfate who owed debts on it, would noV
exiieft ih.uilie ptrlon who occiipic.' it llif.uld with ihd
incomes p iy t];._. debts of the cilaie r.itlicr th. n leavQ
the owner to pa-y them. In the cate of a minor,
ought no. iiis-gnarjian, who receives tlie incomes of
an eftate, u pay tlie minor's delits, and not to tipply
the incomes to his own life w'liilft the debts are aepu-
niiriaiing? Much been laid refpecfrrg part (,f tlie
llaie debts liting for/w/.-and not for jedcral putpolcs :
blit W( nld any gentleman deny that a moli il.e whole
expemliitircs of the Hate', excL[''mg the cxpcnccs of
their civi; govefr'iuncnis, were for federal puipofcs, or
tliHt the ta> cs of tlic Kates had fan exceeded the civil
lifts and other eyperr -s f the fta’es ? Is it not c.’iitent
then that the cxilling delif (ft the ftates miift be far
iliort of th'.'it demands agaiiill ilie Ifnlrctf Stu'es for
npi'lies fnrnilbeiJ by their citizens ? And where is he
loici,- of this blitecftioi) ? It !::ts been urged by anoifier
gentleman from Virginia, (Mr Moorcl that an af-
oimptiim is iinconftitniional. 1 le incniioTied the
-iccniints of that Ifa'e, which cnntainii'g ftate and fe
deral charges, obliged the ftate to dffciimiiiate be
tween them. Blit how docs this prove the uncorfti*
tutionality of tlie mcaiure ? Ti e debts of t! e llatcs
are either debts of tlie union or not ; it' nist, we l.ave
no delire to afinnie them ; if th^y-u'e, tlnnk it nn-
jull to avoid payment, becaufe of the wide in which
ijiey have been ncg.-iclated j and we cimccivt it is fiif-
ficienfly evident iliai the exi ting ftate dchis are for
'he property or ferviccs of indi.‘idu.tls rcccivcif b> he
union. Blit fuppofe we fhoti’d refnfe to ; lionic the
itatc debts, will no*- the ini'irei’ creditors of t)..,- ftates
be forex ^roppoied to yoiii g.-.v run ent ? \Vi I they
notcoiJ .lerthis mea'iire. exjik.incd as it w ill be in .he
progtclsol the deba’-cs, as a Dale ;>r ftic- t x th-fiaiid
tlietii ol their ]xrn()erty ? For ;illlinii h lie int.’gritv of
the honourable fnover is iinqucft aniablc, y.-l if htr
pro])o)ition, ivhcn examined, has the 'emltfncy polr-ed
out, it wil!.,.if adopted, be conlidi-i ed as artifiee. 'I'l-'v
ft.tte^ creit'Cixr. in a ci'nininn cattle will [irnl-.iblv not
c nliiie I lie:r oppfxbiinn to 'he coHeiftion of a f deia ex-
cile, hut will extend it to llie iinpoft, wliicli wi.l be
c .niixlercd ,asan nnjnft alieniition of llie fl itc funds
to [lay tly IcdcrHl .it the ex[ience r f tl-.c llaie' ci ei'itots.
bii'-fi policy initon.lnl [immo'i'K-; peace nixd'con. f'nf,
w ill be a fi'urce of war and difci.rd between t.’te dil-
f.-ient dalles 01 citl'c s of the Tbiiied States. Fi'r
llicle and oilier n aloos ihai max be in ged, Mr. Gerry
hoped the [in .pol'tion xvoiild be n j'‘fltal.
Mr. J.ivctn'oi.e was of the fimio ocinlorx a- Mr.
White, that C rig-ei- ftf i.l.l afti'it’e- onlv fiuii debts
-IS w ere ow ir... bythe ateS over and alinve their juft
[iroportton of the ex|.'cnce.s of the war. In
.’inc g. iKi .il ohf.-rvatioiis in objcdiiig to the ongiii.d
pr. politloii, he fil'd it was liad pr'IIcx- to p.y money
111 ft, and then fettle ibe acn tint afvcrxx-ards. lleal-
xxays likeil lolec acconnfs firfl fettle.!, and then 'lij
mr.iicx- paid. 1 r apj'ea'ex! ft'■angc to iiim, how an in-
diviiliial, or a na'ion, .fi cqily in d'-bt, could raile tbeir
cn'dit by alfiiiniii.r to pay tlis debts of otiiers. The
affiimption of’iieft.ite ddits xx-oulft injure i! c indivi.
duals who xxerc crclltors—-they had trnllcd lb.- llalcs,
and Congrefs had no lii'bt 'o iiiier'cre in ihcf.- i-on-
n-ads. Asfor his part. If.-(houl I no man for
lakiiig his efbii,’out of l is i. uuh *0 o:"- h'- • _b»
ftiould ra her handle the money hiniftlf. LVi'h refpe.51
to the tT.a vim, out ol debt nut of iiiirgcr, l e-fhon' lit
irw-ont agaiiiftthc meafure ; ■'crtaiii’y then going in
to ddil vx'as goiui.-ictn danger ; :in..l xxoiild 10 pen-
t'emcii have 1)10 fame concern for the gcucia! a- for
t! c Date gov. riiTT-eiits. And w hyntn the geacial
.(Toverrmeiu into danger when there was no need of
it ?
.ftome nirilier oonvcriation too’; plaoc on 'be fub-
ic.'’. XX lien the conimiitsc role w ithout coming to a de-

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