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serve the purpose of a circulating medium, than to leave it a subject of mere speculation. If adequate funds should be provided for the payment of the debt, its effect upon the public credit would not be unfavorable. Nor was any evil to be apprehended from its flowing into the large cities. It would be a moneyed capital held by those who wish to place money at interest. Funding the debt would give the stock a permanent character, and enable its owners to sell it at its nominal value, instead of its present low rate. No injury could result from its being purchased by foreigners. Their purchasing our funds would bring specie into the United States; and the sooner the debt was brought to its proper standard, the sooner these benefits would be realized.

The question on the resolution to assume the state debts, was carried, 31 to 26. A few days after this decision, the representatives from North Carolina arrived; the resolution was recommitted, and after another warm and protracted debate, it was negatived, by a majority of two votes! Before the passage of the funding bill, however, the proposition for assumption was brought forward as an amendment to the bill, but in a modified form. Instead of assuming an uncertain sum, the amendment proposed the assumption of specified sums from each state. But the committee rose before a direct vote could be had upon the motion; and the bill reported to the house with an amendment proposing to fund the outstanding continental money at the rate of seventyfive for one, was passed, and sent to the senate for concurrence.

While the funding bill was pending in the senate, the law establishing a temporary and permanent seat of government was passed. It was by the aid of this law, that the friends of assumption finally succeeded in carrying the latter measure. Certain northern members voted to fix the seat of government permanently on the Potomac, in consideration of receiving in return a sufficient number of southern votes in favor of assumption, to carry the measure.

The act, as finally passed, authorized the president to borrow not exceeding $12,000,000, for the payment of the foreign debt; the money borrowed to be reimbursable within fifteen years. It also authorized a new loan for the whole of the domestic debt; two-thirds of the principal to draw interest at six per cent., to commence the 1st of January, 1791; the other third, to draw the same interest, but not to commence till after the year 1800. Subscriptions to the loan were payable in certificates of the domestic debt at their par value, and in continental bills of credit, at the rate of one hundred for one: the debt to be redeemable by payments not exceeding eight per cent, annually, on account of both principal and interest. Arrears of interest were also to be funded to the full amount, but to draw interest at only three per cent., commencing the 1st of Jan

uary, 1791, and to be redeemable at the pleasure of the government. Non-subscribing creditors were entitled to the same interest as subseribers ; but they were left to greater uncertainty, as they could be paid only out of any surplus in the treasury.

Of the debts of the states $21,500,000 were assumed, in specific sums from each state, regard being had to the amount of indebtedness of each. They were as follows: From Massachusetts and South Carolina, each $4,000,000; Virginia, $3,500,000; North Carolina, $2,400,000; Pennsylvania, $2,200,000; Connecticut, $1,600,000 ; New York, $1,200,000; New Jersey and Maryland, each $800,000; New Ilampshire and Georgia, each $300,000; Rhode Island and Delaware, each $200,000; (the former having joined the union, and her delegation having arrived before the passage of this act.) For these state debts an additional loan was to be opened, but on terms different from that for the continental debt. Four-pinths was to bear an interest of six per cent., commencing on the 1st of January, 1792; two-ninths, the same interest after the year 1800; and the other third three per cent. from January, 1792. No certificates of state debts were to be received on subscriptions, except such as had been issued for services or supplies in the war. A board, consisting of three commissioners, was constituted to settle the accounts between the states and the United States.

The duties imposed by the act of the last session were increased; and the duties on imports and tonnage, (after deducting $600,000 annually for current expenses,) together with the proceeds of the sales of western lands, were pledged as a permanent fund, for the payment of the public debt,

At this session of congress, the cession, by North Carolina, of her western lands, was received and approved ; and the territory south of the Ohio was formed into a government, similar to that previously estabblished north of that river. Its constitution did not, however, embrace the anti-slavery proviso contained in the constitution of the north-western territory.

The establishment of a permanent seat of government for the United States

, after the treaty of peace with Great Britain, received the early attention of Congress. In the month of June, 1783, congress then sitting at Philadelphia, was surrounded and insulted by a small body of mutineers of the continental army; and having, on application to the executive authority of Pennsylvania, failed to receive protection, removed to Princeton, in New Jersey, and afterwards, for the sake of greater convenience, adjourned to Annapolis. This circumstance probably suggested to congress the necessity of some place for a permanent residence under its own authority, which was subsequently provided for in the

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constitution. [Art. I, sec. 8, clause 17.) In October, 1783, it was resolved, that buildings for the use of congress should be erected on the banks of the Delaware; and a few days later, that buildings for a similar purpose should likewise be erected on the Potomac, with the view of reconciling the conflicting wishes of the northern and southern states, by establishing two seats of government. In December, 1784, it was farther resolved that a district should be purchased on the banks of the Delaware for a federal town, and that contracts should be made for the necessary buildings. But the appropriation of the money for these purposes, requiring the assent of nine states, was prevented by the southern interest.

The subject came up before the new congress, near the close of the first session. The eastern states wished,' at least for the present, to retain the seat of government at New York. Pennsylvania endeavored to bring it back to Philadelphia or its vicinity. The southern states desired its establishment on the Potomac. A majority of both houses not having agreed upon any place, the subject was postponed till the next session; when, by a combination between the friends of Philadelphia, (aided also, as has been observed, by certain northern members, and the friends of the Potomac, the seat of government was to be at Philadelphia for ten years, the time estimated to be necessary to erect the public buildings, and after the expiration of that term, to be permanently fixed on the Potomac.

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CHAPTER VI.

EXCISE ON DISTILLED SPIRITS. -INCORPORATION OF A NATIONAL BANK. —

APPORTIONMENT BILL.-WAR WITH THE WESTERN INDIANS.

The third session of the first congress, (this congress having held three sessions,) met at Philadelphia, on Monday, the 6th of December, 1790. Provision was to be made at this session for the payment of the assumed debts of the states. The secretary of the treasury had, in his original report, suggested for this purpose an increase of duties on imported wines, spirits, tea and coffee, and a duty on home distilled spirits. The assumption had not been adopted until near the close of the session, and the strong objections to the proposed revenue measure which had

been expressed, gave indications of a long discussion, upon which members were not then disposed to enter : and as the interest to be provided for was not to commence until the year 1792, the subject was deferred to the next session, and the secretary was ordered to report such farther provision as he should think necessary for the support of the public credit.

Party lines began to be more distinctly marked. The anti-federalists, having in a great measure relaxed their hostility to the constitution, now arrayed themselves against the financial measures of the government. No general opposition had been made by that party to the funding of the continental debt; but the assumption of the state debts encountered a bitter hostility from the beginning; and, in connection with certain other measures, was made the ground of general and open opposition of the anti-federalists to the administration. Resolutions denouncing the scheme were passed by the legislatures of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina. The peculiar friends of the state govern. ments regarded with jealousy any measure of internal taxation by the general government; and their aversion to excises needed little stimulus like that administered by their state legislatures, to raise it to indignation. To this cause, in part, has been ascribed the forcible resistance, in western Pennsylvania, to the execution of the law, of which we shall Boon have occasion to speak. The more western portion of the popula. tion being to a less extent the consumers of foreign goods, and consequently less affected by imposts, the greatest opposition to the duty on domestic distilled spirits came from that quarter.

A bill conforming to the report of the secretary was introduced, and, after a strong and vehement opposition, chiefly from southern and western members, was passed. The principal objections urged against the bill, were, that sufficient evidence had not been given of the insufficiency of the taxes already imposed, to meet the public demand; that the tax was unequal

, as it would throw the greatest burden upon those parts of the country which afforded no substitute for ardent spirits; and that a less exceptionable source of revenue might be found. A general increase of duty on imports ; a duty on molasses, a direct tax, a tax on salaries, pensions and lawyers; a duty on newspapers, and stamp duties, were severally mentioned by different members, as preferable to an excise on spirits.

In favor of the bill it was said, that estimates founded on official statements of the receipts into the treasury since the revenue bill went into operation, and other reliable data, showed the insufficiency of the existing sources of revenue. Imposts on foreign goods could not be safely carried farther. Mercantile capital was too limited, and the increased

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duties might induce smuggling, and diminish the revenue instead of increasing it. Experience had proved, that a tax on consumption was less burdensome than a tax on property; that, by indirect and insensible means, more could be drawn from the people than by open and direct taxation. The proposed tax was not unequal, and liable to the objections against excises generally, the burden of which fell upon the poor who buy in small quantities, whilst the rich by storing their cellars, escaped the duty. This bill required the duty to be paid by the importer of foreign spirits, and by the manufacturer of domestic spirits, and no article was a fitter subject of taxation. The bill passed the house by a vote of 35 to 21, and went to the senate, where it received some slight amendment, which was concurred in by the house.

The establishment of a national bank was the most prominent measure of the session. In reporting farther provisions for establishing the public credit, the secretary expressed the "conviction, that a-national bank is an institution of primary importance to the prosperous administration of the finances, and would be of the greatest utility in the operations connected with the support of the public credit.”

In the whole course of legislation under the constitution, no other questionthat of a protective tariff, perhaps, alone excepted-has been more thoroughly discussed than the one under consideration. Bills for the incorporation of a national bank have been no less than nine or ten times before the national legislature, and several times has the measure been arrested by the executive veto. At every discussion, the whole field of argument has been explored for reasons in favor of and against an institution of this kind; and quite as often has it been to the party politician the theme of fierce declamation, as to the statesman a subject of candid investigation. Not only have the most eminent statesmen differed on the question, but the same individuals have at different times opposed and supported the measure. Not only so; political parties as such, have changed sides on the question, as will be seen in the course of our history.

The slightest notice, in this work, of all the arguments that have been adduced for and against a national bank, is impossible. With a view to preparing the publio judgment for a future decision of this question, such notice would be unnecessary, as the subject, probably, will not be again agitated. For, conceding a national bank, as a fiscal agent of the government, to have been convenient and useful, or even necessary, at the time of its establishment, and during the greater portion of the period of its existence; its necessity at the present time, and under existing circumstances, will not be affirmed ; and no party will be likely to hazard its fortunes by the revival of a question which has more than

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