The Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, 1789-1791

The Daily Advertiser

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The house then resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the state of the Union.
Mr. VINING moved his resolution respecting the establishment of a home department— comprehending and detailing a variety of domestic duties which he said were not included and provided for in any establishment which had been already made.
The general principle of these resolutions met with earnest opposition from Mr. WHITE, Mr. SEDGWICK, Mr. GERRY and others. It was contended that such a department was unnecessary, because the functions to be executed in it would be properly distributed among the officers already created; that it was impolitic, because it was expensive, and because an increase of great officers would alarm the people. It was said that many of the duties proposed to be annexed to the office were unimportant in themselves; others might be performed by the chief magistrate; some might be executed by the minister of foreign affairs, and others again by the secretary of the senate, or the clerk of this house.
Mr. VINING replied at large to the arguments which were urged; and defended each clause of the resolutions.
The question was at length taken on the first clause, which provided generally for the establishment of the department, and was negatived.
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