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Mr. Foot's Resolution.
(Jan. 19, 1830.
and cultivated by the thousands of civilized freemen, States, according to present numbers. He was glad, he with small pecuniary means, who are now looking, in the sa:d, to find a measure proposed from the Northeast- that pursuit of happiness and new hoines, to Canada and Tex- would bring this identical plan into re-consideration bc. As? To borrow a course of reasoning applied so often in fore the Committee, supported by the arguments of the regard to the tariff, he would ask if no counteracting re- gentleman from New Hampshire; and should vote for his gulations were necessary to meet the measures of other proposed amendment. nations. Many who have sought, and many who would Mr. SMITII, of Maryland, said there was no necessity now seek, what once were called the Western wilds, look for the amendment, as the Committee had already the to us for a new policy, in accordance with the new condi- sme powers it proposed to confer. Although he was tion of this country and the age in which we live. Public opposed to the measure which the resolution of the genpolicy, forty years ago, might have been rather to contract tleman from Connecticut (Nr. Foot} purported to have the settlements, for increased security against the toma- in view, yet he should vote for the resolution. What would hawk and scalping knife. But no such motive now exist- be said, if this resolution were rejected? That we were ed. Our own little world should all be open where to afraid of inquiry. At the first stage of the new adminis. choose; to the young and enterprising of the East as well tration he would wish to avoid the charge of being hostile as the West. Compared with former years, they had no to any investigation. If the resolution goes to a comdangers nor difficulties there to fear, and their friends be-mittee, they will makea report, and he said it was desirable hind felt much less reluctance at parting with them in to put down the jealousies which a contrary course would their removal to regions of improved and improving laws, excite. The excitement of one part of the Union against institutions, and morals. Those behind, also, he trusted, the other was, if prevalent, extremely unfortunate. Mr. felt neither jealousy nor distrust. Many of them had S. stated that the policy of the Government in all probeen reared under the same roof, taught in the same jects having reference to the Western St: tes las been in schools, had worshipped in the same temples.
dulgent. He said he would vote against the amendment He hoped that these and similar considerations, as well as being unnecessary, and in support of the resolution, for as those suggested by him on a former occasion, would the reasons stated. A gentleman had been alluded to by vindicate him in the wish to have all the public lands sur- the gentleman from Missouri, [Nir. Benton) in the course veyed as speedily as possible, and then sold on such terms, of his remarks, of which he (Mr. S.] thought it necessary and with such dispatch, as the present state of this coun- to take notice. That gentleman said, alluding to a siis. try and of the world rendered proper, looking 10 our true tinguished character, that he had ceded by negotiation a and lasting interests, and exercising, in regard to the fair portion of the land belonging to the United States. lands, a policy worthy the impartiality and liberality so of Mr. S. said that he had been an actor on that occasion, and ten professed
was well acquainted with the subject; that he had been Mr. W. concluded by offering the following amendment: informed at the time thai a quarrel had taken place heAfter the word “expediency," insert the words “of tween the gentleman alluded to and Don Onis, the min. adopting measures to hasten the sales, and extend more sister on the part of Spain, and they b:uci separated not to rapidly the surveys of the public lands-"
meet again on the subject; that a quarrel arose, as he was Mr. FOOT made a few observations in reply to Mr. informed and believed, on the determination of the AmeWoodvrny. The anienılınent (he said) was opposed to rican negotiator that the Colorado must and should be the resolution he offered. It proposed an inquiry direct the boundary line; that the negotiators met again at the re: ly the opposite to his. He suggestel whether the gentle- quest of mutual frier.ds; what passed afterwards he did man might not as well offer his amendment in the form of not know, further than that he could assure the Senator a distinct resolution, after the adoption of the resolution from Ilissouri that the gentleman alluded to by him was he offered, and then the whole subject would lie open to not the first to recede to the Sabine as the boundary of the the Committee.
United States. Mr. BARTON said he liked this amendinent, ard the Mr. LIVINGSTON sud, in all delibejative asscmremarks of the gentleman from New Hampshire. Hebe- blics with which I have been acquainted, there are two lieved the inquiry, in the form proposed by thic amend-modes of deciding on a resolution requiring the opinion ment, would throw open precisely the same field of inqui- of a comunittee on the expediency of a proposed measure ry as that of the gentleman from Connecticut; and, as one ---one, the most ortlinary and regular mode directing the member, he should take into view these topics suggested reierence as a matter of course, which mode gave rise to by the latter, if the resolution should assume the new no presumption of the opinion of the House on the meaform. This forin of inquiry would also prevent the very sure proposed by the resolution; the other mode is that excitements in the West deprecated by the gentleman from of opposing the inquiry as useless, or by an investigation Maine. It was a great object to have free inquiry into our of the subject, showing that it would be improper to public concerns. It was, he said, also a great object to ground any measures on such a result of the inquiry as şive public satisfaction, and to allay and prevent sectional seemed to be expected by the resolution-f say seemed jealousies and suspicions. He also accorded in opinion to be expected, because the mover certainly would not with the gentleman from New Hampshire in the propriety have wished for an inquiry merely to satisfy curiosity, anul of counteracting measures against the bounties to eni- the phraseology of the resolution evidently shows the ob. grants held out in Canada by the British Government, and jeet to be, tirat the sales of lands shall be restricted to in Texas by that of Mexico. The Senate would recollect those alreadly surveyed. The debate, then, not liaving that, in 1828, in his opposition to the “Graduation Bill,” turned on the necessity of an inquiry, but on the propriety his only objections were the encouragement it would give of the measure itseit, which was to be made the subject speculators, and its prostration of the actual cultivators of inquiry, it was as competent to the Senate to dečide under the weight of combination and wealth. But he now, whether such restriction of the sale of lands was an had, at the same time, proposed a substitute, offering to advisable measure, as it would be on the report of a give small cstates in lands to those who would settle them. committee: for such report could give us no facts that we To give away lands to the citizens who needed them, as a were not in possession of; and, after the turn the debato countervailing measure to the policy of our surrounding had taken, a vote of ref ence to a committee woull be neighbors, who tempt away some of our people, was his considered as an acquiescence in the propriety of the constant policy; but it had been smothered under the measure contemplated by the resolution. Therefore, alschemes of the day; and nothing had, as yet, been obtain though I should have voted for the reference, if the measure ed, except a disposition to divide the lands among the had taken its usual course, I cannot do so under existing cir
Jax. 19, 1830.]
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
cumstances. The State whose interests I advocate and Resolved, That the Committee on the Public Lands be partly represent, has suffered too much from the delay in instructed to inquire whether it be expedient to limit for the sale of the public lands already, not to render this a certain period the sales of the public lands to such lands proposition of restraining them still further, a fatal one to only as have heretofore been offered for sale, and are subher interest, with a population of one hundred and sixty ject to entry at the minimum price. And also whether thousand inbabitants, to bear all the charges of Govern- the office of Surveyor General may not be abolished withment: her increase has been checked for twenty-five years: out detriment to the public interest, or whether it be exduring which, according to the natural course of things, pedient to adopt measures to lasten the sales, and extend that population ought to have been at least doubled. The more rapidly the surveys of the public lands. lands of the United States, amounting to thirty-one mil Mr. S. said, if the gentleman from Connecticut, [Mr. lions, are not only exempt from taxes, but the inhabitants Foor) and the gentleman from New Hampshire, (Mr. are forced, if they wish to keep up a communication be- WOODBENY) would consent to this modification, he would tween themselves in some of the settlements, and to pro- now, if in order, move it as an amendment. If it was not tect their property from inundations, to make roads, now in order, he said he would make the motion at bridges, and embankments, on the public lands. A law to another time. restrict the sales of public lands to those already survey The PRESIDENT said the motion was not in order. ed, would be equivalent to a law to stop them altogether: Mr. FOOT made a few observations in reply to Mr. for although, of the thirty-one millions of acres owned by Bestoy and Mr. WoonBURY. He repelled the imthe United States, two millions seven hundred thousand putation that it was through any hostile motives to the have been surveyed, yet not a tenth part of that quantity West he proposed the resolution. He said the question has been sold, and of what remains, not a tenth part will here involved was one of great and increasing importance ever sell; it is morass or pine barren. Therefore, a law to and interest, and added, that if the resolution and amend. stop the surveys would be equivalent to a law to put a ment, in the modified form, were adopted, he'should move stop to the fiurther increase of the State, and entailing to add to the whole, the words "propriety of making upon its present inhabitants and their descendants, the donations to actual settlers." birthen of all the taxes and all the services required for On the motion of vir. SMITH, of Maryland, a division defending and improving the lands of the United States. of the question was ordered. There are two views in which the subject may be consi. Mr. HAYNE said that, if the gentlemen who had discus. dered; that in which the pecuniary interest of the sed this proposition had confined themselves strictly to the United States is alone considered--the other, that in which resolution under consideration, he would have spared the the infinitely more important political interest of the news to the trouble of listening to the few remarks he now States is concerned.
proposed to ofier. It has been said, and correctly said, In the first view, considering the United States simply by more than one gentleman, that resolutions of inquiry as a great landholder, what are its interests? To sell as were usually suffered to pass without opposition. The speedily and for as good a price as they can; but the parliamentary practice in this respect wascertainly founded greater choice you give to settlers, the more speedily it in good sense and sound policy, which regarded such reis evident; that you can sell; and the better land you throw solutions is intended inerely to elicit information, and thereinto the market, as evidentlythe better price you can com-fore entitled to favor. But (said Mr. H.] I cannot give mand. This can only be done by continuing your surveys. my assent to the proposition so broadly laid down by some The political view of the question is one that would re- gentlemen, that, because nobody stands committed by a quire an investigation not now necessary to be gone into. vote for inquiry, that, therefore, every resolution proposThe strength of the Union depends on the popula- ing an inquiry, no matter on what subject, must pass almost tion, wealth, resources, and industry, of the States, its com- as a matter of course, and that, to discuss or oppose such ponent parts. Whatever cramps them, restrains the gen- resolutions, is imparliamentary. The true distinction seems eral welfare, and reduces its strength. The money to be to be this: Where information is desired as the basis of drawn from the sale of the lands is but a feather in the legislation, or where the policy of any measure, or the scale of great national policy; and if the population of the principles it invelves, are really questionable, it was States would be increased by disposing of them, even always proper to send the subject to a committee for invesfor nominal price, we ought not to hesitate. In another tigation; but where all the material facts are already known, point of view, the surveys are highly important. They and there is a fixed and seitled opinion in respect to the give is an accurate knowledge, not only of the situation, policy to be pursueil
, inquiry was unnecessary, and ought but the quality and value of our land. Its facilities for to be refused. No one, he thought, couli doubt the corimprovement by roads, canals, and proximity to market; rectness of the position assumed by the gentleman from and even if the sales were stopped, the surveys ought to Missouri, that no inquiry ouglit ever to be instituted as to go on.
What great landed proprietor who does not be the expediency of doing "a great and acknowledged gin by this operation? And shall the greatest of all land- wrong. I do not mean, however, to intimate an opinion holders, from a fear of expense, neglect it? These are that such is the character of this resolution. The applicasome of the advantages resulting from a perseverance in tion of these rules to the case before us will decide my the judicious plan which has been adopted in relation to vote, and every Senator can apply them for himself to the our public lands. These are some of the injurious effects decision of the question, whether the inquiry now called which would result from abandoning it. Whatare the bene- for should be granted or refused. With that decision, fits expected from a change? I have not heard a single one whatever it may be, I shall be content. suggested. My votewilibe governed by these considerations. I have not risen, however, Mr. Pres'dent, for the pur
Air. SPRAGUE suggested the propriety of combining pose of discussing the propriety of instituting the inquiry both the propositions before the Senate in one resolution, recommended by the resolution, but to offer a few remarks He said he was willing to vote for an inquiry, whether the on another and much more important question, to which surveys of the public lands ought, on the one hand, to be gentlemen have alluded in the course of this debate-I mean stopped, or on the other hand, whether they ought to be the policy which ought to be pursned in relation to the estended. If the gentleman would consent to adopt both public lands. Every gentleman who has had a seat in propositions, he [Mr. S.] said he would support the re- Congress for the last two or three years, or even for the solution. Both objects contended for by gentlemen would last two or three wecks, must be convinced of the great be thus attained. He would therefore suggest a moditi- and growing importance of this question. More than cation of the resolution, in the following form:
half of our time has been taken up with the discussion of
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
[Jan. 19, 1830.
propositions connected with the public lands; more than licy and that of every other nation that has ever attempted half of our acts embrace provisions growing out of this to establish colonies or create new States. Without pausfruitful source. Day after day the changes are rung on ing to examine the course pursued in this respect at earlier this topic, from the grave inquiry into the right of the periods in the history of the world, I will come directly to new states to the absolute sovereignty and property in the the measures adopted in the first settlement of the new soil, down to the grant of a pre-emption of a few quarter world, and will confine my observations entirely to North sections to actual settlers. In the language of a great America. The English, the French, and the Spaniards, orator in relation to another “vexed question,” we may have successively planted their colonies here, and have all truly say, “ that year after year we have been lashed adopted the same policy, which, from the very beginning round the miserable circle of occasional arguments and of the world, had always been found necessary in the settemporary expedients.” No gentleman can fail to per- tlement of new countries, viz: A free grant of lands, ceive that this is a question no longer to be evaded; it without money and without price." We all know that must be met-fairly and fearlessly met. A question that the British colonies, at their first settlement here, (whether is pressed upon us in so many ways; that intrudes in such a deriving title directly from the crown or the lords proprievariety of shapes; involving so deeply the feelings and in- tors) received grants for considerations merely nominal. terests of a large portion of the Union; insinuating itself The payment of “ a penny,” or a “pepper corn," was into almost every question of public policy, and tinging the stipulated price which our fathers along the whole the whole course of our legislation, cannot be put aside, Atlantic coast, now composing the old thirteen States, paid or laid asleep. We cannot long avoid it; we must meet for their lands, and even when conditions, seemingly more and overcome it, or it will overcome us. Let us, then, substantial, were annexed to the grants; such for instance be prepared to encounter it in a spirit of wisdom and of as “settlement and cultivation.” These were considered justice, and endeavor to prepare our own minds and the as substantially complied with, by the cutting down a few minds of the people, for a just and enlightened decision. trees and erecting a log cabin—the work of only a few The object of the remarks I am about to offer is merely days. Even these conditions very soon came to be conto call public attention to the question, to throw out a few sidered as merely nominal, and were never required to be crude and undigested thoughts, as food for reflection, in pursued, in order to vest in the grantee the fee simple of order to prepare the public mind for the adoption, at no the soil. Such was the system under which this country distant day, of some fixed and settled policy in relation to was originally settled, and under which the thirteen colothe public lands. I believe that, out of the Western coun-nies Alourished and grew up to that early and vigorous try, there is no subject in the whole range of our legisla- manhood, which enabled them in a few years to achieve tion less understood, and in relation to which there exists their independence; and I beg gentlemen to recollect, and so many errors, and such unhappy prejudices and miscon-note the fact, that, while they paid substantially nothing to ceptions.
the mother country, the whole profits of their industry There may be said to be two great parties in this coun. were suffered to remain in their own hands. Now, what, try, who entertain very opposite opinions in relation to the let us inquire, was the reason which has induced all nations character of the policy which the Governinent has here to adopt this system in the settlement of new countries? tofore pursued, in relation to the public lands, as well as Can it be any other than this; that it affords the only certo that which ought, hereafter, to be pursued. I pro- tain means of building up in a wilderness, great and prospose, very briefly, to examine these opinions, and to perous communities? Was not that policy founded on the throw out for consideration a few ideas in connexion with universal belief, that the conquest of a new country, the them. Adverting first, to the past policy of the Govern- driving out “the savage beasts and still more savage men, ment, we find that one party, embracing a very large por. cutting down and subduing the forest, and encountering tion, perhaps at this time a majority of the people of the all the hardships and privations necessarily incident to the United States, in all quarters of the Union, entertain the conversion of the wilderness into cultivated fields, was opinion, that, in the settlement of the new States and the worth the fee simple of the soil? And was it not believed disposition of the public lands, Congress has pursued not that the mother country found ample remuneration for the only a highly just and liberal course, but one of extraor- value of the land so granted in the additions to her power dinary kindness and indulgence. We are regarded as hav- and the new sources of commerce and of wealth, furnishing acted towards the new States in the spirit of parental led by prosperous and populous States? Now, sir, I subweakness, granting to froward children, not only every mit to the candid consideration of gentlemen, whether thing that was reasonable and proper, but actually robbing the policy so diametrically opposite to this, which has been ourselves of our property to gratify their insatiable de invariably pursued by the United States towards the new sires. While the other party, embracing the entire West, States in the West bas been quite so just and liberal, as insist that we have treated them, from the beginning, not we have been accustomed to believe. Certain it is, that like heirs of the estate, but in the spirit of a hard task- the British colonies to the north of us, and the Spanish and master, resolved to promote our selfish interests from the French to the south and west, have been fostered and fruit of their labor. Now, sir, it is not my present pur- reared up under a very different system. Lands, which pose to investigate all the grounds on which these opposite had been for fifty or a hundred years open to every setopinions rest; I shall content myself with noticing one or two tler, without any charge beyond the expense of the surparticulars, in relation to which it has long appeared to me, vey, were, the moment they fell into the hands of the that the West have had some cause for complaint. I no- United States, held up for sale at the highest price that a tice them now, not for the purpose of aggravating the public auction, at the most favorable seasons, and not unspirit of discontent in relation to this subject, which is frequently a spirit of the wildest competition, could proknown to exisit in that quarter-for I do not know that duce, with a limitation that they should never be sold bemy voice will ever reach them—but to assist in bringing low a certain minimum price; thus making it, as it would others to what I believe to be a just sense of the past po- seem, the cardinal point of our policy, not to settle the licy of the Government in relation to this matter. In the country, and facilitate the formation of new States, but to creation and settlement of the new States, the plan has fill our coffers by coining our lands into gold. been invariably pursued, of selling out, from time to time, Let us now consider for a moment, (said Mr. H.] the certain portions of the public lands, for the highest price effect of these two opposite systemis on the condition of a that could possibly be obtained for them in open market, new State. I will take the State of Missouri, by way of and, until a few years past, on long credits. In this re-example. Here is a large and fertile territory, coming inspect, a marked difference is observable between our po- to the possession of the United States without any inha
Jar. 19, 1830.
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
bitants but Indians and wild beasts-a territory which is that all the sales that have been effected had been made to be converted into a sovereign and independent State. by the State; and that the proceeds had gone into the You commence your operations by surveying and selling State treasury, to be returned back to the people in some ont a portion of the lands, on long credits, to actual set- of the various shapes in which a beneficent local governtlars; and, as the population progresses, you go on, year ment exerts its powers for the improvement of the condiafter year, making additional sales on the same terms; and tion of its citizens. Who can say how much of wealth this operation is to be continued, as gentlemen tell us, for and prosperity, how much of improvement in science and fifty or a hundred years at least, if not for all time to come. the arts, how much of individual and social happiness, The inhabitants of this new State, under such a system, it would have been diffused throughout the land! But I is most obvious, must have commenced their operations have done with this topic. under a load of debt, the annual payment of which must In coming to the consideration of the next great quesnecessarily drain their country of the whole profits of tion, What ought to be the future policy of the Governtheir lahor, just so long as this system shall last. This ment in relation to the Public Lands? we find the most debt is due, not from some citizens of the State to others opposite and irreconcileable opinions between the two of the same State, (in which case the money would re-parties which I have before described. On the one side main in the country) but it is due from the whole popu- it is contended that the public land ought to be reserved lation of the State to the United States, by whom it is re- as a permanent fund for revenue, and future distribution gularly drawn out, to be expended abroad. Sir, the among the States, while, on the other, it is insisted that amount of this debt has, in every one of the new States, the whole of these lands of right belong to, and ought to actually constantly exceeded the ability of the people to be relinquished to, the States in which they lie.
I shall pay, as is proved by the fact that you have been compel. proceed to throw out some ideas in relation to the proled, from time to time, in your great liberality, to extend posed policy, that the public lands ought to be reserved the credits, and in some instances even to remit portions for these purposes. It may be a question, Mr. President, of the debt, in order to protect some land debtors from how far it is possible to convert the public lands into a bankruptcy and total ruin. Now, I will submit the ques-great source of revenue. Certain it is, that all the efforts tion to any candid man, whether, under this system, the heretofore made for this purpose have most signally failpeople of a new State, so situated, could, by any industry ed. The harshness, if not injustice of the proceeiling, or exertion, ever become rich and prosperous. What puts those upon whom it is to operate upon the alert, to has been the consequence, sir? Almost universal pover-| contrive methods of evading and counteracting our polity; no money; hardly a sufficient circulating medium cy, and hundreds of schemes, in the shape of appropriafor the ordinary exchanges of society; paper banks, tions of lands for Roads, Canals, and schools, grants to relief laws, and the other innumerable evils, social, politi-actual settlers, &c. are resorted to for the purpose of concal, and moral, on which it is unnecessary for me to dwell. trolling our operations. But, sir, let us take it for grantSir, under a system by which a drain like this is constantly cd that we will be able, hereafter, to resist these applicaoperating upon the wealth of the whole community, the tions, and to reserve the whole of your lands, for fifty or country may be truly said to be afflicted with a curse for a hundred years, or for all time to come, to furnish a which it has been well observed is more grievous to be great fund for permanent revenue, is it desirable that we borne " than the barrenness of the soil, and the inclemen-Should do so? Will it promote the welfare of the Unitcy of the seasons.” It is said, sir, that we learn from our ed States to have at our disposal a perinanent treasury, own misfortunes how to feel for the sufferings of others; not drawn from the pockets of the people, but to be deand perhaps the present condition of tlie Southern States rived from a source 'independent of them? Would it be has served to impress more deeply on my own mind, the safe to confide such a treasure to the keeping of our grievous oppression of a system by which the wealth of a national rulers? to expose them to the temptations incountry is drained off to be expended elsewhere. In seperable from the direction and control of a fund which that devoted region, sir, in which iny lot has been cast, it might be enlarged or diminished almost at pleasure, withis our misfortune to stand in that relation to the Federal out imposing burthens upon the people? Sir, I may be Government, which subjects us to a taxation which it re- singular--perhaps I stand alone here in the opinion, but quires the utmost efforts of our ivslustry to meet. Near- it is one I have long entertained, that one of the greatest ly the whole amount of our contributions is expended safeguards of liberty is a jealous watchfulness on the part abroad: we stand towards the United States in the rela- of the people, over the collection and expenditure of the tion of Ireland to England. The fruits of our labor are public money--a watchfulness that can only be secured drawn froin us to enrich other and more favored sections where the money is drawn by taxation directly from the of the Union; while, with one of the finest climates and the pockets of the people. Every scheme or contrivance richest prodlucts in the world, furnishing, with one-third by which rulers are able to procure the command of moof the population, two-thirds of the whole exports of the ney by means unknown to, unscen or unfelt by, the peocountry, we exhibit the extraordinary, the wonderful, and ple, destroys this security. Even the revenue system of painful spectacle of a country enriched by the bounty of this country, by which the whole of our pecuniary reGod, but blasted by the cruel policy of man. The rank sources are derived from indirect taxation, from duties grass grows in our strects; our very fields are scathed by upon imports, has done much to weaken the responsibithe hand of injustice and oppression. Such, sir, thoughi Tiiy of our federal rulers to the people, and has made probably in a less degree, must hare been the effects of a them, in some measure, careless of their rights, and rekindred policy on the fortunes of the West. It is not in gardless of the high trust committed to their care. Can the nature of things that it should have been otherwise. any man beliere, s.r, that, if twenty-three millions per an
Let gentlemen now pause and consider for a moment nui was now levied by direct taxation, or by an apporwhat would have been the probable effects of an oppo- tionment of the same among the States, instead of being s.te policy. Suppose, sir, a certain portion of the State raised by an indirect tas, of the severe effect of which of Missouri had heen originally laid off' and sold to actual few are aware, that the waste and extravagance, the un. settlers for the quit rent of a peppercorn” or even for authorized imposition of duties, and appropriations of a small price to be paid down in cash. Then, sir, all the money for unconstitutional objects, would have been tomoney that was made in the country would have remained lerated for a single year? My life upon it, sir, they would in the country, and, passing from hand to hand, would, not. I distrust, therefore, sir, the policy of creating a like rich and abundant streams flowing through the land, great permanent national treasury, whether to be derivhave adorned and fertilized the whole. Suppose, sir, ed from public lands or from any other source. If I had,
Mr. Foot's Resolution.
(Jan. 19, 1830.
sir, the powers of a magician, and could, by a wave of ety, and by so doing you will but fulfil the great trust my hand, convert this capitol into gold for such a pur- which has been confided to your care, pose, I would not do it. If I could, by a mere act of my Sir, there is another scheme in relation to the publie will, put at the disposal of the Federal Government any lands, which, as it addresses itself to the interested and amount of treasure which I might think proper to name, selfish feelings of our nature, will doubtless find many adI should limit the amount to the means necessary for the vocates. I mean the distribution of the public lands among legitimate purposes of the Government. Sir, an immense the States, according to some ratio hereafter to be settled. national treasury would be a fund for corruption. It would Sir, this system of distribution is, in all its shapes, liable to enable Congress and the Executive to exercise a control many and powerful objectioris. I will not go into them at over States, as well as over great interests in the coun- this time, because the subject has recently undergone a try, nay, even over corporations and individuals—utterly thorough discussion in the other House, and because, from destructive of the purity, and fatal to the duration of our present indications, we shall shortly have up the subject institutions. It would be equally fatal to the sovereignty here. “ Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." I and independence of the States. Sir, I am one of those come now to the claims set up by the West to these lands. who believe that the very life of our system is the inde. The first is, that they have a full and perfect legal and conpendence of the States, and that there is no evil more to stitutional right to all the lands within their respective libe deprecated than the consolidation of this Government. mits. This claim was set up for the first time only a few It is only by a strict adherence to the limitations imposed years ago, and has been advocated on this floor by the genby the constitution on the Federal Government, that this tlemen from Alabama and Indiana, with great zeal and system works well, and can answer the great ends for ability. Without having paid much attention to this point, it which it was instituted. I am opposed, therefore, in any has appeared to me that this claim is untenable. I shall shape, to all unnecessary extension of the powers, or the not stop to enter into the argument further than to say, influence of the Legislature or Executive of the Union that, by the very terms of the grants under which the Unitover the States, or the people of the States; and, most of ed States have acquired these lands, the absolute properall, I am opposed to those partial distributions of favors, ty in the soil is vested in them, and must, it would seem, whether by legislation or appropriation, wliich has a di- continue so until the lands shall be sold or otherwise disrect and powerful tendency to spread corruption through posed of. I can easily conceive that it may be extremely the land; to create an abject spirit of dependence; to inconvenient, nay, highly injurious to a State, to have imsow the seeds of dissolution; to produce jealousy among mense bodies of land within her chartered limits, locked the different portions of the Union, and finally to sap the up from sale and settlement, withdrawn from the power of very foundations of the Government itself.
taxation, and contributing in no respect to her wealth or But, sir, there is another purpose to which it has been prosperity. But though this state of things may present supposed the public lands can be applied, still more objec- strong claims on the Federal Government for the adoption tionable.
I mean that suggested in a report from the of a liberal policy towards the new States, it cannot affect Treasury Department, under the late administration, of so the question of legal or constitutional right. Believing regulating the disposition of the public lands as to create that this claim, on the part of the West, will never be reand preserve, in certain quarters of the Union, a popula- cognized by the Federal Government, I must regret that tion suitable for conducting great manufacturing establish- it has been urged, as I think it will have no other effect
It is supposed, sir, by the advocates of the Ame- than to create a prejudice against the claims of the new rican System, that the great obstacle to the progress of States. manufactures in this country is the want of that low and But, sir, there has been another much more fruitful degraded population which infest the cities and towns of source of prejudice. I mean the demands constantly made Europe, who, having no other means of subsistence, 'will from the West, for partial appropriations of the public work for the lowest wages, and be satisficd with the small. lands for local objects. I am astonished that gentlemen est possible share of human enjoyment. And this diffi. from the Western country have not perceived the tendenculty it is proposed to overcome, by so regulating and li- cy of such a course to rivet upon them for ever the sysmiting the sales of the public lands, as to prevent the tem which they consider so fatal to their interests. We drawing off this portion of the population from the manu- have been told, sir, in the course of this debate, of the facturing States. Sir, it is bad cnough that Government painful and degrading office which the gentlemen from should presume to regulate the industry of man; it is suf- that quarter are compelled to perform, in coming here, ficiently monstrous that they should attempt, by arbitrary year after year, in the character of petitioners for these legislation, artificially to adjust and balance the various petty favors. The gentleman from Missouri tells us, “if pursuits of society, and to “organize the whole labor and they were not goaded on by their necessities, they would capital of the country.” But what shall we say of the never consent to be beggars at our doors.” Sir, their resort to such means for these purposes! What! create course in this respect, let me say to those gentlemen, is a manufactory of paupers, in order to enable the rich pro- greatly injurious to the West. While they shall conprictors of woollen and cotton factories to amass wealth? tinue to ask and gratefully to receive these petty and parFrom the bottom of my soul do I abhor and detest the tial appropriations, they will be kept for ever in a state idea, that the powers of the Federal Government should of dependence. Never will the Federal Government, or ever be prostituted for such purpose. Sir, I hope we rather those who control its operations, consent to emancishall act on a more just and liberal system of policy. The pate the West, by adopting a wise and just policy, looking people of America are, and ought to be for a century to to any final disposition of the public lands, while the people come, essentially an agricultural people; and I can con- of the West can be kept in subjection and dependence, by ceive of no policy that can possibly be pursued in relation occasional donations of those lands; and never will the to the public lands, none that would be more " for the Western States themselves assume their just and equal stacommon benefit of all the States," than to use them as the tion among their sisters of the Union, while they are conmeans of furnishing a secure asylum to that class of our stantly looking up to Congress for favors and gratuities. fellow-citizens, who in any portion of the country may What, then, (asked Mr. H.] is our true policy on this find themselves unable to procure a comfortable subsist- important subject? I do not profess to have formed any ence by the means immediately within their reach. I would fixed or settled opinions in relation to it. The time has by a just and liberal system convert into great and four- not yet arrived when that question must be decided; and I ishing communities, that entire class of persons, who would must reserve for further lights, and more mature reflecotherwise be paupers in your streets, and outcasts in soci- tion, the formation of a final judgment. The public debt