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and rejected. On Major André's part it could be nothing but opinion, and such an opinion it was natural enough for him to entertain. Gen. Smith said, he knew Major André well—he was acquainted with him in England, where he had introduced him to his friends-he came over in the same vessel with him to America, and when the Major was a prisoner at West-Point, he had visited him there, and he declared that he would rely upon the word of Major André, as much as upon that of any man living. But this now related was only his opinion.
Mr. Wright dwelt upon the impropriety there would be in giving on such an occasion credence to the opinion of a person under André's circumstances--a man who could be a spy.
Col. Tallmadge again rose, and stated more circumstantially what had been related to him by Major André. The Major, he said, told him that the captors took him into the bushes and drew off his boots in the act of plundering him, and there, between his stockings and feet, they found the papers-that they asked him what he would give them to let him go--that he offered them his watch and money, and promised them a considerable sum besides-but that the difficulty was, in his not being able to secure it to them; for they had no idea of trusting to his honour. They reasoned a while upon the matter, and on the whole, concluded that it was best to bring him to the American army. Col. Tallmadge declared that André was above all falsehood or duplicity; and felt ready to die with shame, at being in such a mean disguise-nay, begged for a military cloak to cover him.
Mr. Forsyth, wished the report to lie on the table, in order to have the matter examined.
MR. PICKERING said, the information was perfectly new to him, but he perfectly believed it. As to Gen. Washington's life being in danger, that was out of the question, for he was at the time at Newport.
MR. ROBERTSON would not believe one word of the statement of Major André.
MR. SHARP was against the report being laid upon the table; and that motion was negatived.
After some further conversation, the motion of Mr. Wright for recommitment was negatived, and the report was agreed to.
The bill to authorize the President of the United States to employ Colonel Trumbull to compose and execute four paintings of the principal events of the revolutionary contest, to be placed in the capitol, was again read, and the question being put, that it be adopted by the house, a debate upon it arose, which occupied the house for a great part of the day.
Mr. Ross opposed it he could not perceive the use or necessity there was for employing artists to embellish the capitol with paintings, at an expense which knew no limits and he desired to have the question taken by yeas and nays, which was agreed to.
Mr. FORSyth opposed the resolution, and said, that though he had the most perfect confidence in the professional skill of Mr. Trumbull, he was not equally confident that the feelings of that gentleman were such as he should approve. Neither was he clearly of opinion that government ought to become a patron and encourager
of the fine arts. Besides, he would never vote to decorate, at a great expense, the capitol with paintings, till there was a monument erected over the body of Washington. He intimated moreover, that he should be glad to hear what the events of the war were, which were to be the subjects of Mr. Trumbull's pencil.
Mr. Calhoun said, that highly as he venerated Washington, he regarded with much greater satisfaction the events which that great man had been an instrument in bringing to their accomplishment, and without which, Washington would never have been other than a farmer on the banks of the Potomac. The whole expense, he had reason to believe, would not exceed twenty thousand dollars. Respecting the events that were to be selected, he did not pretend to speak with certainty--but he believed they were
The surrender of Burgoyne and Saratoga.
Mr. Hopkinson observed, that the house had seen enough of estimates to know how little they were to be depended on. The estimate made of the expenses of that uncouth wall, which en.' closed the square of ground in front of the capitol, was 30,000
dollars-while the probability was, that in the event, the public would have to pay 100,000 for it. An accurate estimate of the expense of the projected pictures, was unattainable the expense must depend upon the time and labour employed upon them--the time and labour upon the size of the pictures, and the size again upon the situations in which they were to be placed; respecting which there must necessarily be an arrange. ment between the painter and the architect. Upon the whole, however, Mr. Hopkinson thought that Mr. Calhoun's estimate would be the utmost.
Mr. ROBERTSON was against the resolution-nations, he said, like individuals, were bound to be just before they were generous, and he would not vote money to pay men for commemorating events, when the men who suffered in bringing about those events remained unrewarded. He would much rather pay the sufferers at New Orleans. He thought it best for the artist to execute his labours, and when done, present them for sale. He would, in short, rather first see the pictures.
Mr. HARRISON said, that if it were a mere question about the money to be paid, he might perhaps let it be negatived: but it respected a totally different object-it was to keep perpetually represented to the eyes of the representatives of the people, events which could not fail most powerfully to excite their patriotism. In this way, and for the same purpose, all republics had expended large sums, and as an instance he alluded to the high value set by the Athenians on a picture of the battle of Marathon. If the pictures were to cost four times as much, he would vote for them.
Mr. FORSYTH explained. The picture of Marathon had long been destroyed, and yet the memory of the event remained un. faded. He put it to the good sense of the house whether they would have paintings before they had monuments, which he considered as much more likely to produce emotions of the kind gentlemen talked of. No painting in the world, he maintained, could produce such strong emotions as the present rude tomb of Washington.
Gen. Smith said, the great objection was to the money; and it had been thrown out that they ought to be just before they were generous, as if they had been found wanting in justice. But on what occasion, he asked, had they not been just? Were they so poor that they could not be generous as well as just, or that they could not afford to hand down to posterity a view of those men who voted the declaration of independence, who won that independence at Trenton, at Saratoga and at York--and of Washington laying down his sword to congress, and like Cineinnatus retiring to the privacy of his farm, and to the plough. It was admitted by the world, and proved by a number of instances that the Americans had a natural genius for painting, and VOL. II.
on that account if on no other he hoped congress would not be parsimonious in encouraging the fine arts.
Mr. Pitkin said that Mr. Forsyth in objecting to the resolution, had mentioned that he did not know the feelings of the artist, and made this one of the grounds of his opposition. He therefore rose merely to state, for the information of the house, that at the commencement of the revolution, col. Trumbull took an active part in the defence of his country's rights, and, he believed, made one of Gen. Washington's family. Following, however, the strong bent of his inclination, in the course of the war he went to England to study under his celebrated countryman, Mr. West. While in England he was taken up as an American spy, and for some time was confined as a close prisoner in the tower. Through the interposition of Mr. West, he was afterwards liberated. At the close of the war he projected a series of paintings commemorative of some of the most important events of the American revolution, beginning with the battle of Bunker's hill, and ending with the scene of the immortal Washington's laying down his military command, and surrendering his sword to congress at the close of the war. Two of these, the battle of Bunker's hill and the death of Montgomery, the prints of which Mr. Trumbull presented to that house, were finished in England. This employment of his pencil threw him into the back ground in that
him no patronage then. In order to support himself he was obliged to defer his original plan, and engage in historical works more flattering to English pride. He accordingly painted the celebrated sortie of Gibraltar.
It was also well known (Mr. P. said) that colonel Trumbull was one of the commissioners under Mr. Jay's treaty on the subject of British spoliations, selected by Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Gore, the two other American commissioners, and that his vote gave our merchants many millions of dollars. These cir. cumstances Mr. Pitkin trusted would satisfy the honourable gentleman and the house, that the feelings of this celebrated artist are and always have been, truly American.
Mr. TALLMADGE observed that he knew the family of the Trumbulls well. The father of this artist was governor of the state of Connecticut during the revolutionary war, and his four sons were actively employed in the army. The whole family were unshaken patriots, and the present artist was among the most zealous in defending the rights of the country. Mr. Tallmadge further remarked that the present artist being personally conversant with the great events of the revolution, and acquainted with most of the patriots who planned, and the military characters who achieved our independence, was the only man on earth who could give their real likenesses. Mr. T. had examined the paintings now in the hall, and was ready to pronounce the likenesses very accurate so far as his knowledge of them
extended. He presumed colonel Trumbull, whose talent for historic painting had been justly celebrated in Europe, would do his best to accomplish the object he had in view; but he hoped there would be national pride enough displayed on this occasion to secure so valuable an exhibition of some of the most prominent events in the revolution. It was the only opportunity that would ever occur, and he hoped that congress would not by an overstrained parsimony, oblige the artist, their fellow citizen, to leave his native shores, nor deprive Americans of the delight of reading on canvass the history of those events.
Mr. RANDOLPH spoke with his usual animation and force in favour of the resolution. He enlarged with great felicity on the emotions produced by representations in painting of great' and important national events—who, he asked, could bear to have the old tapestry in the house of commons of England taken down, if it were for nothing else but for the beautiful apostrophe of the elder Pitt. He looked upon such things as he did on the old magna charta, which, in itself was but an old piece of parchment, but was a relic worth all the scapularies of the Catholic church.
Mr. Taylor of New York, opposed the resolution, which was on the other hand ably supported by Messrs. Nelson and Gaston, after which the resolution passed, the question being taken by ayes and nays-Yeas 114, nays 50.