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THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FIRST CONGRESS.

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War ; Thomas Jefferson, Secretary for Foreign Affairs ; CHAP, John Jay, Chief Justice of the United States, and Edmund Randolph, Attorney-General.

1789. The first session of Congress, a laborious one of six months, was spent in organizing the government. It shows the spirit of the times, that before they adjourned Congress passed a resolution, requesting the President to recommend a “day of public thanksgiving and prayer, in acknowledgment of the many signal favors of Almighty God, and especially his affording the people an opportunity peaceably to establish a constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”

In January, the second session of the First Congress 1790. commenced. The President, instead of sending a written message, as is now the custom, made to both Houses, assembled in the Senate chamber, an address. He directed their attention to the public defence ; to the encouragement of agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and literature ; to the enactment of naturalization laws, and especially to the payment of the national debt. These various heads of business were referred to committees. During this session the official intercourse between the heads of departments and the Houses of Congress took the form of written communications.

Hamilton made his celebrated financial report, in which he recommended certain measures for obtaining revenue to defray the current expenses of the Government and pay off the national debt. This debt was in the form of certificates or notes of obligation to pay for value received. During the war they had been issued by the States as well as by Congress, to persons who furnished supplies to the army, and for other services. Congress assumed these debts, and also the foreign debt. The expenses of two distinct governments—the Federal and that of the separate States-were to be borne. The revenue could be derived only from taxes on property. As the control of commerce

CHAP had been transferred to Congress by the States, it was XXXIX.

fitting that the revenue derived from the tax or duty levied 1790. on imported merchandise should be appropriated to the

support of the Federal Government, while that arising from real estate and other sources, should be assigned to the use of the States. Hamilton proposed, and the government adopted the system of indirect taxation by raising revenue from the duties thus imposed ; and to meet a certain deficiency at the time, an excise, or tax on the manufacture of domestic spirits.

Near the close of this session, Congress, after much discussion, passed a bill to locate the seat of the General Government on the banks of the Potomac, and authorized the President to select the spot within certain limits, and to make arrangements for the erection of suitable buildings. Until these should be ready for occupation, its ses

sions were to be held in Philadelphia, at which place, acDec. cordingly, the second Congress began its first session. 6.

The President congratulated the members on the increasing prosperity of the country, and the unexpected success in obtaining revenue. On the recommendation of Hamilton, Congress gave a charter for twenty years for a National Bank, with the privilege to establish branches in any of the States. The capital of the Bank was ten millions, of which the government took two millions, and individuals the remainder. The Bank was as beneficial to the government as it was to the commercial interests of the country. Its bills were payable in gold or silver when presented at its counters. This feature had a decided effect; it raised the credit of the General Government, and inspired confidence in the commercial world. The first census, just taken, showed the population of the States to be almost four millions.

By assuming the debts contracted by the States in the defence of their common liberties, Congress had simply performed an act of justice ; provision was made to pay

COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE-DOMESTIC MANUFACTURES.

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the interest, and also in time to liquidate the debts them- CHAP:

XXXIX selves. The duties imposed upon imports to raise revenue, had also a beneficial effect upon the struggling manufac- 1790. tures of the country. The mutual confidence between the States and the Federal Government, produced a like influence upon the minds of the people; their industry was encouraged, and their commerce extended. American merchantmen were seen on almost every sea ; some sailed to the north-west coast of the continent, where, in exchange for trinkets, they obtained furs; these they bartered for cargoes in China, and these again they sold at home at an immense profit; while others were as busily employed in the trade to the East and West Indies, and to Europe. About this time Captain Gray, of Boston, returned from a voyage around the world—the first ever made by an American. On his second voyage he discovered, and

1792. to a certain extent, explored the Columbia river.

Though the Revolution broke the fetters with which English cupidity had bound the domestic manufactures of the colonies, still there were innumerable difficulties in the way. A coarse fabric, known as linsey-woolsey, and dyed in various colors, derived from the bark of trees in the forest, comprised almost entirely the extent of domestic cloths. At the town of Beverly, in Massachusetts, was established the first factory for making cotton cloth. “The 1789. patriotic adventurers” were not very successful in their enterprise, though they had machines that could " card forty pounds of cotton in a day, and spin sixty threads at a time.” Newburyport has the honor of having the first factory for making woollen cloths, and two years later an

1796 establishment for printing calico. These crude efforts were not very successful, but they were the harbingers of future triumphs.

Sir Richard Arkwright improved upon a machine invented by a poor man named Highs, who called it a • Jenny,' in honor of his daughter, and who, amid many

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CHAP: discouragements, and the jeers of his ignorant neighbors, XXXIX.

contrived to spin a dozen threads of cotton at a time. 1794. He turned his machine by hand ; Arkwright arranged it

to be driven by water-power. Samuel Slater, "the father of American manufactures," a native of Derbyshire, ad apprentice of Arkwright's partner, made himself familiar, not merely with the use of the machine, but with the construction of the machines themselves. The British government did every thing in its power to retain the knowledge of the invention within the kingdom. Slater resolved to emigrate to America, and there introduce this art of spinning cotton. He landed at New York, but not

meeting with encouragement, he went to Rhode Island, 1790. and at Pawtucket put in operation sixty-two spindles on

the Arkwright principle. Sixteen years later he was joined by his brother, John Slater, who brought with him the recent improvements in the art.

In the valley of the Ohio, Indian troubles were on the increase. The British neglected to give up the Western posts according to the treaty, but retained them with their small garrisons. The Indians became restless, and occasionally made incursions against the frontier settlements,

especially those in Kentucky. It was surmised that Oct. British emissaries had excited them to these outrages.

The year previous they had repulsed General Harmer, who had been sent against them, and this success increased their boldness. General St. Clair, now Governor of the North-west Territory, was appointed to the command of another expedition against them. In the mean time volunteers from Kentucky made desultory expeditions into the wilderness north of the Ohio. They attacked all the Indians they met, friendly or unfriendly, but the latter generally kept out of their way; to burn empty wigwams,

and destroy cornfields, only exasperated the sarages more 1791, and more.

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