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The house resolved itself into a committee of the whole, on the state of the union.
Mr. Trumbull in the chair.
The propositions presented yesterday by Mr. Madison recurred, and the committee proceeded to consider the propriety of appointing a Secretary, or Minister of Finance.
Mr. Gerry entered into a lengthy discussion to shew that the powers which seemed to be in the contemplation of some members to be given to the Financier, would be more safely lodged in a Board of Treasury; he thought he was supported in this position by experience and the voice of the people of America.
Mr. Wadsworth contradicted Mr. Gerry's position, and declared, from his own experience of official boards, that generally there was neither system nor respectability[1
]in them; that the business of them was conducted without energy or decision, though at greater expence than when a department was under one man. He made some animadversions upon what the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Gerry) said relative to Mr. Morris's administration of the finances, declaring that he believed the reason why Mr. Morris's accounts were not passed already, was the want of power in the constitution of the present Board of Treasury for that purpose.
Several gentlemen spoke further on the subject; but at length the proposition for having the finances administered by one man was carried almost unanimously.
The war department was agreed to be administered in a similar manner.
now brought forward his proposition for making the domestic
one of the grand departments, when a motion for the committee's rising was made and carried.
Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America,
ed. Charlene Bickford, et al.
(Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 1999).
Electronic version based on the
Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America
(Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1992) Vol. 10, pp. 718-759. On the Web at http://mep.blackmesatech.com/mep/ [Accessed 9 January 2018]