Page images


District of Columbia.

(JUNE 6, 1834.

self gradually, according as its resources increased; which erty was perhaps double that amount; and in some cases policy greatly enhanced their burdens. In the mean amounted, according to the report of the committee, to while, the gratuity which had been conferred upon them- four and a half per cent.; more, in fact, than the property selves was held and enjoyed without taxation of any kind. would rent for. The public property had been exempt. Mr. S. insisted it was a case of sheer justice, of obvious, ed from taxation for thirty-four years; in that time we had imperative duty. Congress had received property in sold lots to the amount of seven hundred and thirty-four trust, and they were bound to fulfil their trust. He thousand dollars. Property held by the United States would even go further. He did not regard this District within the States was liable to taxation; and why should as constituting a distinct community, like the States; nor it not be here, especially when its expenditure promoted were its relations to Government exactly like those of the our personal comfort, and the improvement of the public Territories. The framers of the constitution had intend- property? It is now proposed by this bill, to pay a proed to provide for the people of the whole United States a portionable tax for three years only, to relieve the people certain exclusive portion of territory, for the general ad- of this city, who are no longer able to bear up under vantage of the whole Union; and they had therefore con- their burdens; and the question is, will we do it? or will ferred upon Congress the power of exclusive legislation, we see the people of this city, and the city itself, sink in all cases whatever, over its inhabitants. Here, then, under it? Surely not. This pittance will not be withwas no possible conflict of authority; the power had been held. It was due to the national honor, to the national vested expressly, to the end that money might be expend-pride, to avoid the deep disgrace, in the eyes of foreigned here for the use and convenience of the representa-ers, of beholding this national city, the City of Washingtives of the people. Hence the costly buildings erected ton, founded by and bearing the name of the father of by the Government; hence the beautifying of the public his country, become bankrupt, and bankrupt, too, in a grounds; hence the improvement of the avenue connect- noble and patriotic effort to advance the national interest ing the Capitol with the President's house; and would, it and glory, by the accomplishment of a great national im. be consistent with this policy, that Congress should suffer provement. the very city which it inhabited to be overwhelmed with But justice required the passage of this bill upon another debl, and fall into a heap of ruins? Every State in the ground. For the last five or six years, this city, in addiUnion had an interest in the prosperity of this their com- tion to its other burdens, paid about $60,000 as interest mon city; yet such was its present situation, that either on a million of dollars expended on the Chesapeake and the city must sink under its hopeless embarrassments, or Ohio canal; a work not local, but eminently national in Congress must extend a helping hand to its relief. all its aspects, connecting, by the nearest and best route,

Mr. MERCER had never, he said, known any subject the Atlantic seaboard and the seat of Government with the to be discussed here relating to the City of Washington, vast valley of the Mississippi. This work, being nationwithout an attempt on the part of some members to build al, ought to bave been accomplished by national means. up a popularity elsewhere, by abusing and making a As its benefits are national, it was but reasonable that the sport of the unfortunate citizens of the District. Mr. M. nation should take the burden for three years off the went on to argue, that every capital in Europe' had been shoulders of this city, and enable it to stand up until the built up at the expense of the Government. The policy work reached its great source of revenue, the coal mines which was proposed in regard to the District was, therc. at Cumberland. "This would be accomplished in three fore, neither new nor exiraordinary. The Chesapeake years, when Congress, and the city, too, would be forand Obio canal, for which the city had contracted a heavy ever relieved from this burden. debt, was a work which was every way entitled to the aid But it is said by gentlemen that this is but an entering of the Government. He would refer the gentleman from wedge-ihat this burden would become permanent--that New York to the example of his own State. The Dela- this canal would be unproductive. Now, so far from this ware and Hudson canal stock was, at one time, worth being true, he had no doubt that, from the moment the little or nothing. The company applied to the State for canal reached the coal mines, its revenue would not only relief. The State loaned to the company its credit; the pay the interest accruing on the folland loan, but also all canal was completed; and now its stock is greatly above the ordinary expenses of the city. This was an opinion par. Mr. M. went into many statements to prove that not hastily formed; it was formed upon a minute and carein Chesapeake and Ohio canal, when completed, would ful comparison of the advantages of this canal, as to disbe more productive than any similar work in the United tance, lockage, sources of revenue, and every other maStates or in Europe; and that, in reference to the perpe- terial consideration, with similar works in this and other tuity of the Union, it was more important than any other countries, and the result was a firm and settled conviction work in the Union.

that, after this canal reached the coal mines at Cumber Mr. STEWART said that, as the grounds on which he land, taxation in this city would cease. He pronounced would give his vote for this bill were essentially different the opinion with confidence, that the proceeds of this from those assumed by other gentlemen on the same stock would be equal to the whole amount required to deside, he would state them as briefly as he could. The fray the expenses of this corporation, which was stated relief proposed by the bill had been represented as a at $117,000. He would not, at this late hour, detain the mere gratuity—as a grant without consideration He did House by a reference to all the evidence upon which this not view it in this light. The question was, whether this opinion was founded; but he would state, in a few words, Government, the proprietor of half the lots in this city, what bad been the result of several canals lately comtogether with lands and buildings valued at six millions of pleted in Pennsylvania, leading to coal mines, from which dollars, benefited and enhanced in value by every dollar gentlemen might draw their own conclusions. The facts expended in it, would, because they had the power as were derived from the report of a committee of the the local Legislature, exempt their property from taxa- Senate of Pennsylvania, who had given a whole year's tion, and continue to throw the whole burden of opening attention to the subject. and improving forty miles of magnificent streets, in this In that State numerous canals had been conducted to national city, on the few people who had came and settled coal mines, and they had all been attended with similar in it, to minister to the wants of the Government and its results. While those works were in progress, as here, public otticers located here. The sixty thousand dollars, the stocks were depressed, and the canals unproductive; now proposed to be granted for three years would not but, as soon as they had reached their destination at the coal exceed one per cent. on the valuation of the public prop- mines, the stock had risen from one hundred to three hunerty in this city, while that assessed on individual prop- dred per cent., yielding from ten to fifteen per cent. on the

JUNE 7, 1834.]

The Public Deposites.

[H. OF R.

cost of their construction. As an example, he mentioned terest than any similar work in the United States, or, perthe Schuylkill canal. When this canal was completed to haps, in the world, and enable the Government to disthe vicinity of the coal banks, in 1825, the whole ton- pose of the stock which they might invest in it greatly nage upon it amounted to only 5,306 tons per annum; the above par. Such had been the result on all other canals slock was worth little or nothing. In a few years after, conducted to coal mines, and why not on this? The advan. when the mines were opener and a railroad made to carry tages of this work, in reference to climate, position, and the coal to the canal, the tonnage increased to 250,588 sources of revenue, are greater than any other. It has tons, yielding a revenue of about fifteen per cent. on its inexhaustible supplies of coal, lumber, iron, lime, and original costs, and the stock rose from below par to $130 marble, superadded to all the usual supplies of travel, for $50 paid in. Like results had attended the completion commerce, and agriculture. of numerous other coal canals, both in this country and He therefore contended that the relief sought by this Europe, and similar and even more favorable results we bill was but temporary; and that there was no kind of had a just right to expect from the extension of the Chesa- foundation for the allegations made by the gentleman peake and Ohio canal to the inexhaustible coal mines at from New York and the gentleman from Kentucky, that Cumberland, especially when we consider the great ad- this was but an entering wedge, and that the canal, after vantages enjoyed by this work in many respects over any it reached the coal mines, would continue unproductive. other in the Union.

Until it reached that point, no one ever pretended that it Near Cumberland the Potomac cuts its way through would be profitable. The coal of Cumberland and the coal banks twenty feet in thickness, which can be thrown commerce of the West were the great and productive from the banks into boats with a shovel. This was bitu- sources of revenue to which its friends had always looked minous coal of superior quality, found no where else east to remunerate those who patronised this great national of the Alleghany mountains. In Pennsylvania, the anthra- undertaking, on which there had already been expended cite coal was found less than 100 miles from Philadelphia, $4,000,000, more than two-thirds of the whole sum re. and was there sold at $5 per ton, or 18 cents per bushel. quired to complete it to Cumberland, where he hoped to The bituminous coal they had to carry 287 miles, by the see it soon conducted by the passage of another bill, reSusquehannah, Union, and Schuylkill canals, and cost $9 ported early in the session, granting a second million of per ton, or 30 cents per bushel. Now, it was susceptible dollars to this noble enterprise; and when it reached this of mathematical demonstration, taking the cost of trans- point, and the stock is raised in the market, as in the case portation and the rate of toll charged on other canals as of the Pennsylvania coal canals, all further difficulty to the basis of calculation, that the fine bituminous coal at the progress of this great bond of national union to its Cumberland could be delivered on tide-water, at this city, ultimate destination, at the Ohio river and the lakes, will for 12 cents a bushel, or $3 50 per ton. Thus

be completely removed. Public spirit and patriotism aside,

Cenis. show capital that it is profitable, and the object is achieved Cost at the mines, per bushel,

2 reach Cumberland, and, my word for it, the difficulty is Transportation, at the usual rate,

1 overcome, the great object is secured. The East and the Tolls, at cent per ton, per mile, being the usual West will be united by a bond of union, which, even should charge,

3 all others be sundered, will remain firm and unbroken

forever. 6 After some further debate, in which the bill was op

posed by Messrs. Hardin and Mann, and supported by This was an estimate furnished by a gentleman of the Messrs. Chinn, and Wardwell, highest respectability, familiar with the subject, and living

Mr. VINTON moved the committee rise; which was on the spot; but let it be doubled, and you have 12 cents carried: Ayes 62, noes 60. per bushel. This being established, it was clear that, The committee accordingly rose, and the bills passed although it might not displace, in a material degree, the through the committee were reported to the House, and anthracite coal of Pennsylvania, yet it would certainly progress made on the last bill. supply the whole sea-board, Boston, New York, Phila The House then adjourned. delphia, Baltimore, &c., with the bituminous coal, required for many uses to which the anthracite coal could not be ap. plied_ibe working of iron, propelling steamboats, manu

SATURDAY, JUNE 7. facturing of gas, coke, &c. Gentlemen ask, where will be found a market for this coal? 'The demand would

On motion of Mr. HCBBARD, the consideration of the only be limited by the ability of the canal to supply it; reports of the committee on the Kentucky contested the felling of the forests and the progress of the arts were clection, which was the unfinished morning business, was daily creating new demands for coal. The coal trade postponed until Tuesday next. Fould soon be one of the most extensive and profitable

THE PUBLIC DEPOSITES. branches of our foreign as well as internal commerce; considerable quantities of coal had already been exported; Mr. J. R. ADAMS remarked that he believed the time and when, by the means of these canals, it could be had come, for which he had been waiting nearly two brought, at a reduced rate, to the sea-board, its exporta- months, when the resolution, formerly submitted by him, tion abroad would be greatly increased. To show the calling for information as to the State banks, was then increasing importance of this trade, it was stated, in the next in order to be considered. report just referred to, that the amount paid for coal in The SPEAKER having ascerlained that it was so, Philadelphia was about $3,000,000 per annum; and that, Mr. ADAMS said he would modify the resolution to if the demand continued to increase for ten years to come read as follows: as it had for ten years past, the amount in 1843 required Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be dithere would be $52,544, 450 worth. Do but furnish the rected to lay before this House the names of the 'presimeans to complete this great work, now more than two-dents, cashiers, directors, stockholders, lawyers, and 80thirds done, to the coal mines at Cumberland, and he licitors of all the banks selected by him as depositories would guaranty that there would not only be an ample of the public moneys in the place of the Bank of the market, but gentlemen might dismiss all apprehensions United States and its branches; together with the amount about being burdened with the payment of the interest of stock in said banks held by each stockholder, and the on this city debt. The work would realize a higher in- amount of debt due by each president, cashier, and

VOL. X.--276

H. OF R.)

The Public Deposites.

(JUNE 7, 1834.

director of each of the banks to the said bank, at the time public funds committed to their charge, were in the sitwhen it was selected as a depository, and at this time. vation which he had described. The information, as to

The question being on the adoption of the resolution, the quantity of stock held by private stockholders, was

Mr. CAMBRELENG said that, as he did not consider not what he desired. was full information as to the information as to the private debts of the individuals condition of the selected banks, with regard to the debts named in the resolution to be at all necessary for the due to them by their own officers, acting as public offiHouse to have, he would suggest to the honorable mem- cers and trustees of the property of the people, that he ber from Massachusetts that the resolution should be required. further modified by him, so as to require only the aggre Mr. STEWART said he could not see any possible gate amount of debt due by the presidents, directors, &c. valuable object to be attained by including in the call the of these institutions. Presuming that the honorable mem- names of “the lawyers and solicitors," whose residence ber was actuated, in calling for the information, by mo- might, for 'aught they knew, be scattered all over the tives of a public nature only, he was persuaded that he Union. He thought that the call for information might would only seek to attain his object in such a way as not with as much propriety be extended to the various agents to cause injury or inconvenience to any individual. IIe employed by these institutions. He moved to strike out presumed that the object of the gentleman was to as- the words " lawyers and solicitors.” certain the amount of debt due by these individuals, Mr. POLK said that he did not perceive what object which he was perfectly justified in having, that it might the honorable member from Massachusetts could have in be known whether the capital that ought to be in these view by the resolution. But, let the object be what it banks was not improperly employed, and the institutions might, the same information proposed by it to be obthus weakened. For this object, however, the aggre- tained from the State banks, it was as necessary to have gate amount of debt due by them would suffice.

from the Bank of the United States; and, with that view, Mr. J. Q. ADAMS said that the information slated by when in order to do so, he would move the following as the honorable member from New York [Mr. CAMBRE- an amendment, viz: LENG] was not what he desired. He desired to have the “The Secretary also communicate to this House the statement of the debt, as well as of the stock, held by the amount of debts due by the president, cashier, and directpresident and directors of these State banks respectively. ors of the Bank of the United States to said bank at this The aggregate amount, therefore, could not furnish that time, or at any time within one year last past, and also information which he had called for by the resolution. the names of the lawyers and solicitors of the Bank of the His object was cerisentý, in calling for it, of a public na- United States and branches, and the amount of debt due ture, and was not intended for the gratification of any by each to said bank at this time, or at any time within personal feeling. He required it, because it was what he one year last past.” supposed would be vitally interesting to the public. Il This amendment, Mr. Pork said, might have the effect must be interesting to them to know the condition of in- of procuring information which other means had failed to stitutions selected as public depositories. The amount elicit. Ile cared not to what extent the inquiry was proof debt, the proportion of stock that had been, as well posed into tbe condition of the depository banks, provias the amount which was at present held, would give full ded the honorable member would allow the inquiry to proand a better insight into their condition than any other ceed pari passu into the affairs of the Bank of the United means they could devise to acquire it.

States. What power the Secretary of the Treasury might Fle would add further, that the information as proposed have to procure the information from the State banks, he by bis resolution was essential to ascertain the safety of koew not. But it had been said that there were no legal the State banks for the object for which they were re- means by which he could compel them to give it; none, cently selected. It was essential to ascertain the charac- in fact, unless it should be voluntarily given. From re. ier, the credit, of these banks. This was made necessa- cent events, however, the House were not now to ry on the part of the public to have known, when it learn that, with power greater than the Secretary's, they should be recollected that many, very many, banks had hall not been able to procure such information as they been governed by directors chosen from year to year, had desired from the Bank of the United States. but who, apparently having large interests in banking Mr. STEWART inquired if it was possible for the Secinstitutions, yet had been known not to have one dollar retary of the Treasury to communicate the information vested in them in reality. Such might be the condition of called for by the resolution? some of those who then had at their discretion the control Mr. COULTER said he felt very little solicitude for the of the funds of Government, as well as that of private in fate of the amendment proposed by his colleague, [Mr. dividuals. The manner in which this control was acquired STEWART,) although he would not vote for it. He had was this: at the commencement of a banking instilu no douht that the honorable member from Massachusetts, tion, it was in the power of a favored individual, or indi- in submitting his proposition as it stood, was actuated viduals, to put his name down for 50,000 dollars of stock, solely by objects of public consideration, worthy of himgiving therefor, to the institution, their own promise to self, of the House, and of the nation; and he was willing pay. This being wkat was commonly called a stock to go with him in having this information, because he be. note, upon this the stock being obtained by each respec- lieved that the State banks had been (whether constitutively. The person obtaining it has thie power to vote tionally or not, he would not stop then to discuss) conthercon, to appoint directors at pleasure, whilst, in fact, verted into fiscal agents for the receipt and disbursement there may not be placed in the institution-one dollar of of the public treasure. Being then fiscal agents, he thought real capital; the person so acting owing to the institution it became their duty to make manifest to the House their the whole amount upon the stock of which the power to own situation in every particular in which that situation vote was claimed and exercised.

could have a bearing on the safety of the public money It was for the purpose of ascertaining, then, whether intrusted to them for safe keeping. In this view it was any banks, usually called “ family concerns," so managed, he felt that the information called for, as to the names of had been selected as trustees for the management of the the lawyers and solicitors, was correctly called for; that public money, that he had been induced to offer the res- it might be known whether any of these institutions in. olution; and it was precisely the information objected trusted the management of their corporate funds to into by the honorable member from New York, which it competent agents, or whether to persons who were conwas necessary for Congress to have, that it might be seen nected in any degree with the Treasury of the United whether any of these trustees, who had the control of the States itself. This it was particularly necessary to know,

JUNE 7, 1834.]

The Public Deposites.

[H. OF R.

as there was an act passed in 1789, by the provisions of purpose of substituting one of their own--of filthy rag's. which any persons having the disbursement of that treas. He questioned the relevancy and the propriety of the ure was prohibited from entering into any business or en- amendment proposed by the member from Tennessee, gagements of such a nature whatever as would have a ten- [Mr. Polk,] whilst the subject was pending before the dency to make the custody of the public money hazard- House; and he could not but feel the more anxious that ous in their hands. He would openly avow that this was the resolution calling for information should be insisted one object which he had in supporting the resolution, on, as to the condition of the State banks, when he heard because it had been stated in the public papers of the that it was made a matter of doubt that the Secretary of day that the present Secretary of the Treasury, in con- the Treasury could procure it. This alone would make travention of this act, regulating the duties of his own him insist on having it; that, as these depositories had now Department, was not only a large stockholder, but held more of the public money than the Bank of the United the appointment of attorney to one of the very banks se. States, the people might be timely warned of the danlected by himself as a depository for the public money. gerous state in which their treasure had been placed, and If this was so, then he was desirous to know it; and, to see the consequences of persisting in the present ruinous, obtain this knowledge, he felt compelled to vote against rash, and mad " experiment." the amendment of his colleague.

Mr. MILLER trusted that the resolution would be He would not inquire whether the Secretary of the adopted, and that no objection would be made to its adopTreasury had the power to cause this information to be tion on the part of any friend of the administration, holdgiven; for, if he had it not, he ought to have had it, as it ing, as he did, that it was not only their right, but it was was by his own act the public treasure had been placed the bounden duty of Congress, to have full information in these institutions, and Congress should hold him ac of the condition of those institutions in which the public countable for the funds so put by him into these State money was deposited. It would, indeed, be good cause, banks. Under the circumstances in which the country he thought, if they had not this power to inquire into was at present placed, with respect to the public treas-them, or if the bank should refuse the information when ure, he was anxious to have all the information that could called for, to remove the deposites from the State banks. be given as to the condition of the State banks, and it He desired to have the same information from the Bank was therefore, he confessed, with regret that he saw the of the United States. Trusting that its friends would not honorable member from Tennessee disposed to clog its have any objection to its being given, he would vote for being procured by the amendment which he had propo- the resolution, and for the amendment of the member sed: for this amendment was not necessary when it was from Tennessee. recollected that the subject of it was, at that moment, Mr. GILLET hoped that, as the proposition was made pending in another shape and in another form. Anxious, for inquiry, no member would be found refusing his aid then, as he was, with that gentleman, that full informa- to have the same information procured from one insti

, tion should be obtained from the Bank of the United tution that was derived from the other. He maintained States, he believed that it was in the power of Congress that it was important to know the precise situation of all to obtain it legally; holding, as he did, that the bank was the banks in which the public money was deposited. their fiscal agent for revenue purposes, and, as such, For, if they were in an unsound state, what better reason under the control of Congress, who could as lawfully in could be furnished for their restoration to the place from spect its proceedings as they could that of any other whence they were taken? functionary. He hoped, therefore, every information The question having been then put on the amendment would be forthcoming for the same reason, then, that of Mr. Stewart, to strike out the words " lawyers and he thought Congress had this right, he would maintain solicitors," it was negatived. that, as the State banks were intrusted with the pos Thereupon Mr. POLK, as he had previously intimated, session of the public treasure, we had a similar right to submitted his amendment, calling for information from call for information from them.

the Bank of the United States. Mr. EWING said that, when he had originally submit Mr. J. Q. ADAMS rose and said that, if the honora. ted the amendment as to the lawyers and solicitors, ble member from Tennessee [Mr. Pork] was disposed to which the honorable member from Massachusetts had modify the amendment, and make it only co-extensive adopted as a modification of his resolution, he had no with the call for information for inquiry into the State idea it would have caused such a discussion; bis objec: banks, he was perfectly willing to accept it as a modificabeing simply to present to public view and to public tion of his own motion. execration the names of those solicitors who were pock The amendment of the honorable member went further cting, out of the institutions which had been selected as than that proposed by him. He not only proposed to exfiscal agents of the Government, the means by which tend it to the lawyers and solicitors, but he desired also they were bellowing, for selfish purposes, against ano- to know the proportion of private debts due by them rether and a better institution. His object was to counter- spectively. This was a sort of inquiry which (Mr. A. act the poison disseminated in the official organ of the said) he had himself never centemplated... As he had alGovernment itself, and show to the world what was as- ready stated, he was willing to extend the inquiry, to serted in that paper to be bribery and corruption on the have it known who were the lawyers and attorneys of the part of the Bank of the United States, by eliciting the United States Bank, as well as of the State banks desigfact that, if fees to lawyers be bribery, then they were nated; but he could not accede to have the resolution given ten to one; ay, he might say in the proportion of further extended, - lest they would be entering upon twenty dollars to one, more by the State banks than by grounds of a questionable nature, as to the right of the the other much ill-used institution. But it was a misno- House to make the call. Iner to term these State banks. With the exception of Mr. BEATY proposed, if in order, to amend the one, he knew of none that deserved to be called State amendment of the honorable member from Tennessee, banks. No. They were a set of institutions generally by inserting the following words: intrusted to the guidance of political partisans; and it Be it further resolved, That the Secretary of the was his main object to show them up, that it might be Treasury also inform the House of Representatives wheseen who it was that were truly pocketing large amounts ther the President of the United States, heads of Departin the shape of bank fees, and who it was that were en- ments, and Treasurer, have been in the habit of keeping gaged in crying down the Bank of the United States, their private accounts in the Branch Bank of the United with the view of upsetting a sounder currency for the States, in the City of Washington; and at what time did

H. OF R.]

District of Columbia.

[JUNE 7, 1834.

they, or either them, cease to keep their accounts in said question for the House, then, to consider was, as to the branch bank.”

power and obligation upon Congress to appropriate it. Mr. SELDEN suggested some alteration in the phrase- in the course of the debate, he said, much stress had ology of the amendments, which he thought might obvi- been laid, that the claims of the city were strong upon ate some difficulties in procuring that information from Government, because much of the embarrassments under the State banks, as well as from the Bank of the United whiclı it labored arose from circumstances connected with States, of which gentlemen on all sides of the House the original cession of the land where it was situate, and seemed now desirous.

upon the plan and extreme length with which the streets Mr. J. Q. ADAMS said he would accept of the amend of the city bad been laid out, which rendered it necessary ment suggested by the bonorable member from New for the corporation to level bills, fill up lollows, &c., at York, as a modification. He presumed that it was not considerable expense. He must, however, contend, anxthe object of the honorable member froin Tennessee to ious as he was, nevertheless, to afford them relief, that, introduce matter, as necessary to be inquired into, with for the parts ceded to the Government, the city had reany view of defeating the object he had proposed by the ceived a fair equivalent, and more than that, from the resolution. lle (Mr. A.) could not expect that the honor- General Government. For what was the situation of the able member would take such a course, and he hoped, land, and what was its value, comparatively speaking, to therefore, that he would not persist in requiring the in- what it then was, from having been selected by the faquiry, which he had originally proposed, to be extend ther of his country as the seat of the General Governed further as to the Bank of the United States than he ment? He denied, as was contended by the advocates of had proposed to extend it to the State banks. Besides, the city, that it was any thing unusual or any hardship that he must recollect that the information he now asked for it should be deemed that this Government should be ex. had been several times communicated to Congress. The empted from paying taxes to the city, conceiving that there only thing that was not in possession of the House, he was no instance to be found of a Government taxing itself. believed, was the information called for, to which he did Mr. P. here read several statements, to show that the not object, being the debts due by the president and di- expenditures by the Government, in the erection of the rectors, respectively, to the institution, which there could various buildings, amounted, up to 1826, to $3,674,849, not be any difficulty in having procured.

which he said would rebut the statements, thal much Mr. POLK said, as the question before the House was detriment had occurred to the city, because, as was alon the amendment proposed by the member from Ken- leged, the Government had not improved the property tucky, [Mr. BeATY,) for an inquiry of a still more extend that had been given to them; and, on account of which ed character than that contemplated by the resolution, it had been also said they were partaking in all the benehe must now advert to it, and say that he was perfectly fits arisi from the outlay for the improvement of the ready to meet it. But, whilst that honorable gentleman city, whilst they did not contribute a fair share, or any proposed to inquire into the private bank accounts of the thing like it, to the benefits derived from the lots given President, heads of Departments, and Executive officers, to it. Mr. P. made several other statements to show that he (Mr. P.) would go still further, and include along the value of those lots was generally exaggerated; arguwith them the members of the Judiciary, of the Legisla- ing that if, in fact, they could find purchasers for tive branch, and all others connected with the Govern. them, it would be good policy, to dispose of them and

This inquiry it was, in fairness, due to have made take up, with the proceeds, the stock of the corporainto the affairs of all public officers, if of any; and, when tion. ile, however, begged to be understood that, in such was proposed, as he was himself from a whole-bog making these remarks as to the expenditures of the Gov. country, he could not be unwilling to be met on a whole- ernment in the erection of buildings, and as to the advantabog principle. If examination was to take place, he de- ges derived by the Government from the lots given to it, sired it should not be into isolated facts, from which the he was not actuated by a desire to prevent relief being country might be drawn to infer that, with respect to given, but he made them rather in vindication of the them, which might not be true. The member from In- General Government from what he considered to be undiana (Mr. EWING) had let out the secret, that it was in- just charges preferred against it on this head. He was tended to ascertain whether the Secretary of the Treas- not for abandoning the city, believing that, if the debt, ury might have been an attorney of a deposite bank. at present so onerous upon it, was removed, the city must

Mr. EWING appealed to the House to say whether he eventually, prosper. It was then for the committee, had used the Secretary's name at all.

knowing that the city was insolvent, could not pay her Mr. POLK. Well, then, I am corrected. I find it was debts or the interest upon them, now to say what was to from another honorable member this came, and was be done. For something must be done, and speedily, or avowed as a reason for inquiry. But, if inferences were matters would be worse and worse. to be drawn, (Mr. P. said,) the House should have the This he thought it was the bounden duty of Congress, facts all spread at large before the public.

under the peculiar circunstances in which the city and The debate was here arrested by Mr. STEWART, District were placed, to attend to forth with, without any who called for the special orders of the day, being the reference to the question of right, (which he did not acconsideration of bills in relation to the

knowledge,) in order to avert from it total ruin. He said DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

he had no faith in the great advantages that honorable

members said were likely to arise from the revenues of The House then went into Committee of the whole the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, when completed. The thereon, (Mr. Burags in the chair,) and resumed the con- history of other canals throughout the Union showed sideration of the bill for the benefit of Washington city. low little reliance was to be placed on revenues from

Mr. PARKER, having the floor from the previous day, such a source. At all events, nothing could be expected rose and said he felt every disposition to relieve ilie city -if even then--from this canal, unless the Government from the burdens under which it must, if that relief was who, as well as the corporation, was so largely interested not given, evidently break down, provided that they in it, as holders of its stock, should, as he hoped they could agree upon the means and manner in which that would, take its management into their own hands, for relief could be accomplished. The committee, in the re- the purpose of being completed. On the whole, le proport presented by them, went into statistical statements, fessed his willingness to join in any reasonable plan that Sasing their application for relief, first on the benevolence should be proposed, in order to extricate the city from her of Government, and then upon other grounds. The embarrassinents.


« PreviousContinue »