The First Federal Congress Project
Documentary History of the First Federal Congress

Diary of William Maclay

 Friday, 17 July 1789 
attended at the hall half after 9 O'Clock—  we read and corrected the long Judiciary the Senate Met at the usual time. This same Judiciary was taken up and went over. and Now Mr. Butler rose against it. Mr. Grayson spoke against it, and Mr. Lee was more pointed than any of them. had Mr. Lee joined in my Objections against it at an early period, perhaps we might have now had it, in better form. Mr. Butler offered a Motion, for leave for any Member to enter his dissent on the Minutes. This proved a most lengthy debate, it was 4 O'Clock before it was decided. he lost his Motion tho' I thought it, and right. and now Mr. Lee, Mr. Grayson, Mr. Butler,Mr. Izard Wingate rose for the Yeas and Nays on the Judiciary bill  they were given, I was in the negative. I opposed this bill from the beginning. It certainly is a Vile law System, calculated for Expence, and with a design to draw by degrees all law business into the federal Courts. The Constitution is meant to swallow up all the State Constitutions by degrees and this to Swallow by degrees all the State Judiciaries—  This at least is the design some Gentlemen seem driving at. Oh Sweet Candor when wilt thou quit the Cottage, and the lisping infants lip, and shed thy Glory round the Statesman's head. is it inscribed on human fate, that Man must seem grow wicked to seem wise. and must the path of politicks, be for ever incumbered with briars and Thorns—
I had been much pressed to dine with the Speaker in a Company of Pennsylvanians I went there and sat till Six, I am a poor String in a convivial Concert, my lame Knee will neither let me eat nor drink—  I am old and ought to know it, I came away quite tired of the volatile Tattle of the Table, I never had much but now much less taste, for convivial Joy. some of the Company grew very talkative before I left them— {particularly the Governor of the Western Territory.1 he must soon sink in the publick Opinion, if he conducts himself as he did this Evening, he was Tediously talkative & dwelt much on the fooleries of scottish antiquity; and what was worse shewed ill nature when he was laughed at.}
    1. Arthur St. Clair.

Recommended citation: Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2002). XML version based on the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1988) Vol. 9, pp. 104-117; 134-135; 445-449; 465-467; 483-489. http://adh.sc.edu [Accessed (supply date here)]

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