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the chair of the senate while the subject was under the consideration of the house.
Proceedings of the house. An interesting question arose as to what disposition it was proper to make of this matter. The constitution gave the house of representatives no powers or jurisdiction in relation to the officers of government, excepting that of impeachment. As none believed the charge, or thought of moving an impeachment grounded upon it, no sufficient reason could be assigned for any proceedings upon the subject; and it was entirely aside from the constitutional and appropriate duties of the house gratuitously to undertake the task of purging the characters of public officers, from the slanders found in the newspapers, which no one believed afforded any ground to call into exercise the constitutional powers of the house, as the grand inquest of the nation. Respect for the feelings of the vice president prevailed, and led to a course of proceeding not justifiable on any other ground. A committee of seven were appointed to take the subject into consideration, with power to send for persons and papers. Their first step was to address a letter by their chairman to the vice president, informing him of their appointment, and that they were ready to receive any communication he might think proper to make. He replied that he had nothing further to communicate than what was contained in his letter addressed to the speaker, and that his friend Mr. M.Duffie would at. tend their sittings, to give any explanations that might be required. The committee now found themselves singularly situated, commissioned by the house to investigate charges which appeared no where but in a newspaper, under the signature of a character professedly infamous; charges which nobody believed, and nobody appeared to prosecute or defend, or furnish any means of investigation. No person appearing before them in the character of an accuser, they set themselves to work to investigate the transactions to which the publication alluded; and having had the subject under consideration from the 29th of December to the 13th of February, made a report, fully exonerating the vice president from the charge, and the war department from any knowledge or concern in the publication which had given rise to the investigation. The committee consisted both of the political opposers and friends of Mr. Calhoun. The latter supposed that the report was not as full in commendation of the vice president as it ought to be, and presented one differing from it in that respect. Accompanying these reports, was also a protest by Mr. Calhoun's friend, who attended the examination, complaining that the committee, in their proceedings, had not confined themselves to the strict rules which govern courts of law in the admission of testimony.
Duel. In this paper too, the proceedings of a committee of the house of representatives, in 1822, who had the Rip Rap contract under consideration, about which Mix's letter was conversant, was severely censured. Two of that committeee being at Washington, published a reply in which they say, that “the misrepresentations, not to say intentional ones, contained in the protest, demand and shall receive correction.” This expression gave offense. An explanation was demanded, and refused, and followed by a challenge. The defendant, according to the rules of this kind of warfare, having the right to choose the weapon, distance, and other circumstances, chose the rifle, at ninety feet. This arrangement in the relative condition of the parties, the one being feeble in body, and crippled in a foriner duel, the other an expert rifleman, put the life of the challenger entirely into the hands of his antagonist; a condition by no means to be desired. The terms were rejected. The broad-sword was then offered, and refused for the same reason. The affair terminated without bloodshed, each accusing the other of a violation of the laws regulating this species of homicide : the challenger complaining of the selection of unusual weapons, and the challenged charging his antagonist with having the courage to call him out, but not of meeting him in the field. This short session was disgraced by another challenge which terminated in a like harmless manner.
An apology may be deemed necessary for noticing these transactions. Since the commencement of the government, something like a score of duels have been projected, and terminated in various ways, some of them fatally, by members of the national legislature, and other officers in high stations. The scene is a sickening one; its record forms a dark page in the history of the country, which would gladly be left a blank, were it not that the example set by men in such stations, by committing the highest 'crime known to the laws, that of deliberate murder, is of the most pernicious tendency. Scenes of this nature are recorded only to be reprobated and avoided.
Northeastern boundary. The boundary between the United States and the Canadas, as defined by the treaty of
1783, is the highlands which divide the waters which fall into the St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic ocean. It was then supposed that this natural boundary might be easily designated ; this never having been done, the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent provided for the appointment of two commissioners, one on the part of each government, to ascertain and survey the boundary line from the source of the river St. Croix to the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, now New Brunswick, and from thence to the St. Lawrenoe or Iroquois in latitude forty-five north. As the geography of the country became known, it was found that the highlands from whence proceed the sources of the Madawasca, a branch of the St. Johns, bor. dered upon the St. Lawrence. From these highlands, to Mars hill, which divides the waters of the St. Johns from those of the Penobscot, is a distance of about one hundred and forty miles, embracing a tract of fertile land, watered by the Madawasca and Aristook rivers. The American commissioner fixed the northeastern boundary at the northernmost highlands, and the British, at Mars hill, and made their surveys and their reports to their respective governments accordingly.
Soon afterwards, the states of Massachusetts and Maine proceeded to survey, sell, and settle several tracts of land on the Madawasca and Aristook rivers, and to exercise ju. risdiction over them as a part of the county of Penobscot. On the same tracts, likewise, were some old French Canadian settlements, commenced soon after the peace of 1783 ; and the province of New Brunswick also extended jurisdiction over them as a part of their county of York. The mail rout from New Brunswick to Quebec lay across this territory, and over the lands of a Mr. Baker, a purchaser under the state of Maine. He, with several of his neighbors, who were also purchasers under the same title, erected a pole in a conspicuous part of his purchase, to which a cloth was attached, marked with the American stars and stripes; and stopped the British mail on its way to Canada. Baker and his associates were arrested by the authorities of New Brunswick, and carried to Frederic. ton, on a prosecution for a riot. Baker was tried, convicted, and punished by fine and imprisonment; the others were discharged. These circumstances led to pondence between the British and American governments, the result of which was, that neither party should exercise jurisdiction over the disputed territory pending the controversy, and that the question of boundary should be submitted to the king of the Netherlands for his ultimate de. cision. Mr. Preble, a distinguished citizen of Maine, was appointed minister to that court, specially charged with the business. In the mean time, a battalion of United States troops were stationed on its southern border. Soon after their arrival, their position was reconnoitered by Sir Howard Douglass, lieutenant governor of New Brunswick, from a neighoring eminence. No further disturbances have taken place, and the question of right is in a progress of settlement.
First session of the 20th congress-Choice of a speaker-Revision of the tariff
-Report of the secretary of the treasury-Committee on manufacturesTheir proceedings-Motion to authorize them to summon witnesses-Substance of testimony given before them-Their reports-Proceedings in the house of representatives—Tariff bill passed both houses-Chilton's resolutions on retrenchment-Referred to a select committee-Their proceedings and report-Reasons of the minority against it-Correspondence on the navigation of the St. Lawrence-Death of General Brown, and appointment of a successor-Excitement, and proceedings in the south respecting the tariff-British views, and debates in parliament on the American tariff-Proceedings of the British parliament, on the subject of fortifying the Canadas.
Meeting of the twentieth congress. On the 4th of December, 1827, the day designated by the constitution for the first meeting of the twentieth congress, every senator except two, and two hundred and seven out of two hundred and thirteen members of the house of representatives, appeared in their places. In the house, on the first ballot, Mr. Stephenson of Virginia, the Jackson candidate, had 104 votes, and was chosen speaker. His opponent, Mr. Taylor of New York, had 94. Mr. Stephenson's votes, with the addition of four for Mr. Barbour, being 108 against 97, determined the strength of parties, there being that majority against the administration. The revision of the tariff, with a view to afford adequate protection to American manufactures, was by far the most interesting subjeet, which presented itself to the deliberations of the legislature at this session. The period had arrived when an impost comparatively light with the other national resources, would be sufficient for the ordinary purposes of government, and the extinguishment of the remnant of the public debt. Two important questions now presented themselves; has the constitution given to congress the power to lay an impost for the protection of American manufactures, when not needed for the proper expenditures of the government ? If they have the power, is it expedient. now to exercise it? The subject of a tariff or rate of duties upon importations, is found to be the most difficult to adjust, of any within the compass of legislation. It addresses itself to the interests