Copyright 1999. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress Project. All rights reserved.
I have not yet heard from Charles County at which I am much astonished and my Heart begins to misgive me— I really fear some Calamity has Still been chasing our unfortunate Family.
I have had a second attack of the same complaint I wrote Doctor Brown about— It Came on that Day Fortnight after the first. The Weather was the same and at both Days I heated myself in Walking. But this second attack has been plainly marked as having its Seat in the Stomach and in fact a nervous Colick— after the Violence of the pain had gone off I took it into my Head to take a Puke to relieve the prodigious pressure of my Stomach— and this resolution brought on another— To send for a Physitian— He is a sensible man— Said it is a nervous affection— gave me a purge Assef[oe]teda & Bitters— Recommends the same regimen that Dr. Brown does— I have confined my Self very much— and the Day before I was taken had made a very fatiguing Speech in Congress. I really fear that I must Speedily adopt a plan that has some time been in my Head— To settle on my plantation— Quit the Law— and go to work. We had a Question of Great importance in which all the Delegates who Speak at all were warmly Engaged— It was to insert in the Bill for "Erecting the Department of Foreign affairs"— these words— That the officers— "to be removeable by the President." This was Carried— but afterward (while I was out of the House & Sick) it was altered. Those words were Stricken out— But the Idea is Still in the Bill in Different language. You may see by the Constitution that— "The Presidt. by and with the advice and Consent of the Senate is to appoint officers" & ca. — And those who thought as I did wished to have the same mode of Dismissal— or if that was not thought right to Leave the matter to the Legal Operation of the Constitution without undertaking any Construction which might in the end be found to be Contrary to the Constn.
The House of Delegates is a wise Body and upon the whole very cool and Polite. There is a great Deal of Speaking because there are a great many Speakers but Oratory is not much attended to— reason is the thing that is heard. The Speakers are— Ames
, Maddison— Sedwick— Lawrance, Smith
) S. Carolina Vining
White, Gerry, Boudinot Page Sherman (Roger) Livermore, Jackson
Fizimons Stone (M. J. S.) and a great many others— who occasionally make remarks— I think you had better become a Subscriber to the Congressional register
— We go on Slowly but this is not owing to Idleness— The Subject is Extensive and new— No one Man can Grasp it we are obliged to avail ourselves of the Judgemt. and information of Every member present. Time must be taken for this and hence the fact is true the the position appears paradoxical that our tardiness is a proof [of
]our Industry. Could we consent to pass Bills as Committees readily bring them in— or Swallow propositions without examination we should go on fast— into errors.
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 unpublished letters. On the Web at http://mep.blackmesatech.com/mep/ [Accessed 25 October 2017]