Page images

H. of R.]

Revolutionary Pensioners.

(Mancu 19, 1830.

vices, until their creditors have turned them out of doors, Mr. WILDE addressed the House at large, in support and reduced them to beggary? In all the prosperity of of Mr. Williams's amendinent, and in support of the our beloved country, shall they alone go unrewarded; who, claims of the militia. amidst the perils of hunger and thirst, and nakedness and Mr. LECOMPTE spoke earnestly in faror of the bi], the sword, established its broad foundation, and cemented and the principle of providing liberally for the remnants it with their precious blood? I shall not begrudge--the of the revolutionary army. constituents of no honorable member on this floor will be Mr. CROCKETT, of Tennessee, said, he felt himself grudge, the appropriations of treasure which this bill may called on to submit a few remarks on the bill under conrequire. Would that the suffering remnant who may sideration. Sir, (said Mr. C.] I voted against the bill yespartake of its benefits were greater. I regret their num- terday, which is called an explanatory law of the act of bers are so few. God grant that those who survive may 1818, for the relief of the old revolutionary soldieis. Sir, long live, and enjoy in comfort the reward of their virtue I consider the provisions of the bill, as it is amended, a and valor.

partial one, and such a one as I cannot nor will not support. Mr. SPEIGHT moved to amend the amendment by the i have always been the firm friend of the old soldiers, and addition, that no person should be placed on the pension hope ever to remain their friend while I am entitled to roll, if his property shall exceed five hundred dollars inde- raise my voice in this House. pendently of his debis.

Sir, what are the provisions of the bill? You give any Mr. WILLIAMS did not wish his amendment to be en- and every man a pension, who has no more than one thou cumbered with any other proposition. He wished to ob- sand dollars, exclusive of his household furniture, house, tain the sense of the House on the simple and distinct ques- and land. Sir, in my country, we thing a man pretty tion which he had submitted.

well off' wlio owns that sum after paying all his debis, and Mr. CARSON objected to Mr. SPEIGHT's motion, that owning such property as is described. Sir, I do not consider it had been tried and rejected yesterday--that it was use that a man in such a situation ought to be entitled to the less to offer it again, and he wished to see Mr. Williams's bounty of his Government. Sir, in my country, for the amendment tried by itself.

sum of one thousand dollars, a man can purchase two On submitting this amendment, Mr. S. said that he rose good negro men and one hundred acres of the best land for the purpose of offering an amendment to the instructions in the country. That, sir, would support a man, without of his colleague, (Mr. Williams.] He had no disposition calling on the Government for a pension. I came here to enter into the general discussion of the question before [said Mr. C.) to do justice to every man, and under all the House; for he was well aware of the situation in which circumstances; and, if I cannot do this, I will not vote for a any gentleman was placed who might venture to express partial law like this. his opinion in opposition to a pension bill, however partial Sir, this bill provides for none but those of the contiit might be in its operation. It would seem, from the disposi- nental line, and excludes all the volunteers and militia w ho tion manifested by some gentlemen who have participated in fought in the old war, no matter how meritorious they the debate, that all those who venture to express objections were. Sir, some of those very men, who fought bravely, to this bill are to be regarded as unfeeling and ungrateful and who are tottering through life, almost ready to drop towards those who fought for the liberty of the country. into the grave, have been knocking at the door of Con He would inform gentlemen he felt as much regard for the gress for years; and what are we doing, sir? Passing a law welfare of them as any man. But he was opposed to this to exclude them, and to provide for men that do not need bill, because it made an invidious distinction; it contem- the bounty of the Government. Sir, tack them all together, plated provisions only for those who belonged to the regu- and I will go as far for them as any gentleman in Congress

. lar line; and it was known that the Northern States were What was said by the gentleman from New York Mr. the theatre of war with the British, while, in the South, a Taylor.) He has drawn the distinction between the regupartisan warfare was carried on, whieh eventuated in pro- lars and the militia and volunteers, and has decided in famoting the cause of liberty as much as that in the North. vor of the regulars receiving the bounty of the GovernBy the passage of this bill, no provision would be made ment, to the exclusion of the others. "Sir, I must beg for the troops in the South of the gallant Marion, Sump- leave to differ in opinion with that gentleman. If I were ter, and Caswell; and, in his opinion, they were equally to draw a distinction, I would give the preference to the entitled to the fostering hand of the Government as the militiaman and the volunteer. The regular sold himself regulars. He appealed to the magnanimity and the grati- to the Government for a bounty of land and money, which tude of the House, to say if the militia were to be passed he received long since; and the others went and fought by unnoticed. He knew many of them who were old and for the love of their country; they left their homes and bowed down by infirmities, and their situation called on their wives and children, and fought bravely through the this House for aid as much as any portion of the revolu- war, and received the little pittance of common wages. tionary patriots. By this bill you make provision for Sir, is it just, is it honest, to exclude those men? No, ; those of the regular line; and if they, as I have no doubt I am bound to decide entirely in their favor, if we gire was the fact with many of them, who never saw an enemy and any a preference. But, sir, it is my wish to provide for all

. never fired a gun, are to be provided for, while the poor I hear gentlemen say that we will bankrupt the nation. inilitiamen, who left their homes, had their wives and chil. Well, sir, let it be som I go for all or none. I see millions dren butchered, their houses burnt, and every thing de- after millions of money voted away--for what, sir? For stroyed, are to be unnoticed, he was opposed to the bill and the petty little object of supporting your fortificat ons all such partial legislation.

breakwaters, or light-houses. The amendment he had proposed fixed the maximum of Sir, in my district I know some of those deserving old property at five hundred dollars. In his opinion, that was men, who cannot long trouble this Government with the high enough; and any who was worth that amount of voices, asking aid, in their old age, to make them feel con property, after his debts were deducted, was able, without fortable. A few days more, and they bid adieu to this the aid of the Government, to support himself. Though, world. I do insist that they never ought to be forgotten in conclusion, he would say, he could not so much as say or neglected, while there is one of them to claim our gtawhat might be the sum fixed on, he hoped the bill would titude. They have achieved the glory and horor of our be committed with the instructions to extend the pension country by their bravery. The privileges which we are law to the militia.

1 now enjoying on this floor, were purchased by their tal The debate now assumed a general and comprehensive and blood. Sir, let me tell gentlemen that I had the scope,

honor, in our last struggle, to shoulder my gun, and march

March 20, 1830.]

Revolutionary Pensioners.

[H of R.


in to the field. There I discovered who fought bravest, The law of the 15th March, 1822, 1,451,245 64 the regulars or the volunteers and militia. Sir, when the

3d March, 1823,

1,538,815 regular troops were living bountifully, the militia were in

10th March, 1824,

1,281,716 39 a state of starvation. I have witnessed this, and, therefore,

21st February, 1825, 1,248,452 26 I am enabled to judge from that circumstance how they

18th January, 1826, 1,352,790 fared in the first war. Sir, there are but few of those

29th January, 1827, 1,260,185 poor oli veterans in my section of country, though I imagine it is very different in the North. I have been in


$14,190,144 29 formed, and believe it, that they never die in the Eastern “The precise number of applications cannot be ascerStates. Sir, from what I can learn, I should expect that tained, as a correct account of them was not kept at the they live always there.

commencement of the operation of the law; but the amount I discover that some gentlemen wish to get the funds of is known to exceed thirty-one thousand. this Government distributed, and they care not for what. “ The number of men in the continental army, at the Sir, I'came here to do justice; and I will do justice, or 1 close of the revolutionary war, was thirteen thousand four will do nothing. In my district, I know one case, where a hundred and seventy-six. The army was larger in 1776. poor old revolutionary soldier, who served as a volunteer than at any other period of the war: it contained forty-six for some tiine, then enlisted as a sailor, and served three thousand eight hundred and ninety-one men." years on the ocean, who is unprovided for. Sir, it is la

March 19, 1830. mentable to view his situation, and hear him tell of his sufferings. It is out of his power, at this time, to find any

“ 'The amount of appropriations up to this time, includof his old brother sailors who served with him. Sir, his ing the appropriation of this session, if rightly added, is situation is this: one good neighbor has supported the sixteen millions five hundred and fifty-eight thousand three poor old man, and another bis old lady, and maintain them hundred and twenty-four dollars and twenty-nine cents.” just as an act of charity. I presented the poor old man's

The question being put on Mr. SPEIGHT'S motion, it claim to this House, and what is the result? He is rejected, was negatived without a decision. and for the reason that he cannot obtain proof, only by his

The amendment offered by Mr. WILLIAMS was then own oath. Sir, I do not believe he would make a misre also decided in the negative by the following vote: yeas, presentation for any consideration. This is one case; and I

74--nays, 107. bave no doubt but there are many other such cases. For

Mr. POLK then spoke some time against the passage of God's sake, if you do extend charity to one class, do

the bill. When he concluded, all. I voted against the old officers' bill, last session, be

Mr. DODDRIDGE called for the previous question, cause you would not attach the solliers to them, who which was seconded, 84 to 74; and the main question was fought with thein side by side. Now, sir, if you cut off ordered, the effect of which was to set aside all amend. the volunteers and militia, I will vote against this bill. I ments and intermediate motions. So that will not go for them piecemeal; I take all or none, as I

The question was put on the passage of the bill, and have before stated. To draw a distinction between men

decided in the affirmative, as follows: who have performed the same services, is what I never

YEAS-Messrs. Anderson, Arnold, Bailey, Barber, will agree to do. If you do not adopt the amendment of Barrenger, Bartley, Bates, Baylor, Beekman, Bockee, the gentleman from North Carolina, and attach the militia Borst, Brodhead, Brown, Burges, Butman, Cahoon, and volunteers, as proposed by Mr. Chutox, of Ken- Campbell, Chandler, Childs, Clark, Coleman, Condict, tucky, I will enter my protest against the bill, and believe Conner, Cooper, Coulter, Cowles, H. Craig, R. Craig, that I have acted honestly. Sir, I will detain the House Crane, Crawford, Creighton, Crowninshield, Daniel, Dano longer.

venport, J. Davis, Deberry, Denny, De Witt, Dickinson, Mr. CHILTON took the same side, and strenuously ad- Doddridge, Dudley, Dwight, Earlí, Ellsworth, G. Evans, vocated the amendment of Mr. WILLIAMS.

E. Everett, H. Everett, Finch, Forward, Gilmore, Green, Mr. RICHARDSON, remarking that this was one of the Grennell, Halsey, Hammons, Harvey, Hawkins, Hinds, days set apart for private bills, thought it right to make an

Hodges, Howard, Hubbard, Hughes, Hunt, Huntington, eifort to prevent the day being consumed by this debate; thrie, Ingersoll, T. Irwin, 17. W. Irvin, R. M. Johnson, and he therefore moved the previous question--but the Kendall, Kincaid, P. King, A. King, Lecompte, Lent, motion was lost.

Letcher, Lyon, Magee, Mallary, Martindale, Thomas Mr. CARSON spoke against the recommitment of the Maxwell

, Lewis Maxwell, McCreery, Mercer, Miller, bill, and in favor of its passage in its present shape.

Mitchell, Monell, Muhlenberg, Norton, Pearce, Pettis, vir. WILLIAMS had refrained from going into any rea

Powers, Ramsey, Reed, Richardson, Russel, Scott, Shields, sons when he offered the amendment, hoping it would be Semines, Sill, S. A. Smith, A. Spencer, R. Spencer, decided without debate, as every man's mind was doubt. Sterigere, Stephens, W. L. Storrs, Strong, Sutherland, less made up on the question; but as he bad been disap- Swann, Swift, Taylor, Test, John Thomson, Verplanck, pointed in this hope, he now proceeded to submit at large Washington, Weeks, Whittlesey, c. P. White, E. D. his reasons in favor of his amendment.

White, Wilde, Wingate, Young.--122. Mr. WAYNE followed on the same side, and addressed

NAYS--Messrs. Alexander, Alston, Angel, Archer, the House at considerable length, in support of the claims Armstrong, P. P. Barbour, Barnwell, Bell, James Blair, of the militia of the revolution to equal favor, at least, at John Blair, Boon, Carson, Chilton, Claiborne, Clay, the hands of the Government.

Coke, Crockett, Crocheron, W. R. Davis, Desha, DrayMr. HALL handed to the Chair the following extract ton, Gaither, Goodenow, Hall, Haynes, Isacks, Jennings, from a letter which he had received from the chief of the C. Johnson, Lamar, Lea, Lewis, Loyall, Lumpkin, Mc Pension Office, which he desired to be read for the infor. Coy, McDuffie, Nuckolls, Overton, Polk, Potter, Renmation of the House.

cher, Roane, W. B. Shepard, A. H. Shepperd, A. “It appears that the following appropriations have been Smyth, Speight, Stanberry, Standifer, Wiley Thompson, made for paying pensioners under the act of March 18, 1818. Trezvant, Tucker, Vance, Vinton, Wayne, Wickliffe, The law of the 20th April, 1828, appropri

Williams, Yancey.--56. ated

$ 300,000 15th February, 1819, 1,780,500

SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 1830. 14th April, 1820,

2,766,440 The resolution offered by Mr. SWIFT, and the amend. 30 March, 1821,

1,200,000 ment to the same offered by Mr. DRAYTON, were again

H. of R.]

Revolutionary Pensioners.

[March 22, 1830.

have a navy:

He appre

taken up for consideration. The question being on re. We boast of our navy, (said Mr. S.] and it is our policy to ferring both to the Committee on Military Affairs.

We can protect our coasts by our nail, Mr. HUNT was opposed to referring this resolution to without squandering the resources of the country in erectthe Committee on Military Affairs. That committee had ing fortifications. He condemned such a policy, and he already been discharged from the consideration of it, and would not vote away : cent to advance it. it would be useless to refer it to them again. He con- hended that the secret of applying for money to erect forsidered the fortifications to which the resolution pointed tifications, was not so much the necessity for them, as as necessary to be erected on the line mentioned, although the benefit to be derived from the expenditure of the he admitted with the gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. money in the part of the country where they are to be WICKLIFFE) that fortifications were useless in woods, or in built. Mr. S. said he did not impute any such motives a champain country, where the contending parties met on to the gentleman from Vermont, who offered the resoluequal terms. But he said in this case circumstances were tion; but let such projects come from any quarter, lie different. Lake Champlain extends from Lower Canada would not give his assent to what he believed a lavish and one hundred miles and upwards into our country, and a useless expenditure, delaying the extinguishment of the few miles north of the boundary line. The British have national clebt. He said he was not prepared, nor did he erected fortifications. The object of the resolution was intend, to debxate the policy of the course which had been to have an examination made for a suitable place south of pursued; but, if a fit occasion presented itself, he wouk! the line to build a fortification. He was informed that it discuss, and he hoped to be able to show, the absurdity of could be done for a little expense, and he would under the course which had been pursued of building fortifica. take to say that there was no place on our northern or tions, merely to go to decay and to become dilapidated. southern boundaries more important either for offensive or Mr. FINCII saidi, if bis colleague had been acquainted defensive operations, than this place on our northern boun- with the exigencies of the late war, as he was, he would dary line. Mr. H. referred to the expenses which wercin. have been convinced of the necessity of having fortificacurred during the late war for defending the frontier, tions on the northern frontier. During that war, not a where a large army was constantly required. Had a forti-month passed that the towns of that part of the country fication been built here, these expenses would not have were not stripped of their inhabitants. Government was in been necessary, and the army might have been employed consequence compelled 10 expend four times the amount to advantage in some other part of the country. The of money in defending the country on the borders of Legislature of Vermont deemed some security as neces. Lake Champlain that would be required for building a sary here; and as the expense will be but trifling, he hoped fortification. The naval defence was not sufficient. The the resolution would be adopted.

enemy came up our rivers, and burned or devastated our Mr. HOFFMAN thought that in reference to this sub- towns. The expense of the fortification would not be ject we were acting too early, and that, if even that were great, as the materials of the former fortification still re. not the case, it would require a joint resolution of both remain at our disposal. The War Department is of Houses to effect this object. How can we proceed a step opinion that the measure is necessary; they have recomin this inquiry (said Mr. H.] until the boundary line be- mended it, and it is at their suggestion the resolut.on has tween Canada and the United States is determined? The been offered. Former experience has taught us the neboundary line may be varied by the decision at least ten cessity of having some defensive position on the frontier, miles; and while such is the case, he thought a survey in case a like attack should ever be made against us. He would be useless. He hoped the resolution would be laid hoped the resolution would be adopted. on the table; and, unless he heard something from gentle Mr. DRAYTON opposed the reference of the resolu. men to alter the opinions he entertained, he should make tion to the Committee on Military Afairs, as they had a motion to that effect. . We have already she said) ex- been discharged from thie consideration of the subject al. pended much for a similar project, and it is uncertain readly; Ile wished that no further proceedings should whether the object of it has been useless or not.

take place with respect to this resolution. It appears that Mr. SPENCER, of New York, said, that, about the year an appropriation will be required for making the surveys 1816, subsequent to the termination of the last war, Go- if the resolution offered by the gentleman from Vermont vernment directed a fortification to be erected on Lake be adopted. At this time (Mr. D. said) it would be imChamplain, at Rouse's Point: propositions were made to possible to make the desired surveys, as the land there is effect this at an expense of probably half a million of dol- covered with water. And it would be impossible to comlars. After having incurred this expense, Mr. Ellicot, one ply with that part of the resolution requiring a suitable of the professors at West Point, was directed to ascertain site to be selected for building a fortification, until the the latitude of Rouse's Point, and it turned out that the boundary line is settled. lle had no doubt, howerer, that fortification was about to be built one mile north of the line, the War Department would be enabled to make satisfac. whereby the whole amount expended was lost, and the tory returns by the next session of Congress. Mr. D. did materials of the building, if exposed to sale, would be not agree with the gentleman from New York, (Mr. Sper: worth little or nothing. Mr. S. said he had a higher ob- Cer] that the country bordering on Lake Champlain did jection to the proposition. He supposed that they on the not require fortifications for its defence in time of war; other side of the line required fortifications, and not we. for, in the event of another war, as in the last, the enemy The idea that the weaker power should attack us, and that could march into the very bowels of the country. In the we require a fortification for our defence, he thought pre- opinion of the Government they are required; and when posterous. The State of Vermont was alone and unaided, the boundary line shall have been settled, then the procapable of defending herself; if not, New York could jects of gentlemen can be more easily carried into effect. pour forth an overwhelming force.

(Mr. D. concluded, but the debate was discontinued, as Mr. S. said, he had to reproach himself for having re- the hour allotted for considering resolutions had elapsed.] mained in the House silent, while very large appropriation bills had been passed tor erecting fortifications. He asked why we should erect fortifications which will re

Monday, March 22, 1830. quire fifty thousand men' to defend them. He believed

REVOLUTIONARY PENSIONERS. that this country would never be invaded; and believing Mr. BURGES moved to take up the bill for the belief this, he was not in favor of studding it with fortifications of the revolutionary pensioners, to exempt them from He reproached himself for permitting such appropriation arrest on civil action, &c. it being the special crder of the bills to pass, without entering his protest against them. I day. The motion was carried in the affirmative.

March 23, 1830.]

Case of Judge Peck.--Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. of R.

[ocr errors]

The House proceeded to the consideration of the bill, BUFFALO AND NEW ORLEANS ROAD. which is as follows:

The House resolved itselfinto a Committee of the Whole, Be it enacted, &c. That no person who was, during any and took up the bill to lay out and establish a national road part of the revolutionary war, engaged in either the land from Buffalo, in New York, by Washington city, to New or naval service of the United States, and who has already, Orleans. or may hereafter receive, in consideration of such service,

Mr. TIEMPHILL rose, and entered into a general depecuniary aid from his country, by pension or otherwise, fence of the proposed measure, maintaining its constituin any way other than his pay, subsistence, clothing, and tionality-being a work emphatically national--its high bounty, shall at any time hereafter, be liable to be ar- importance to the Union, &c. He had not concluded his rested, holden to bail, or imprisoned, on civil process remarks, when he gave way for a motion for the commit. issued under any authority of the United States, for or op tee to rise. account of any demands the consideration of which originated before such aid was granted to such persons.

TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 1830. Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That whenever any

CASE OF JUDGE PECK. person, having been in service and receiving aid so as aforesaid, shall have been arrested, holden to bail, or im

Mr. BUCHANAN, from the Committee on the Judiciary, prisoned for any demand, such as aforesaid, under process to which was referred the memorial of Luke E. Lawless, issued from any authority other than that of the United of Missouri, complaining of the conduct of James H. Peck, States, and the creditor or creditors at whose suit such pro. Judge of the District Court of the United States for the cess shall have issued, shall, while the same is pending, or District of Missouri, madle a report thereon, concluding after final judgment thereon, receive of such person, in with the opinion that the sail judge ought to be impeached. consideration thereof, or any release therefrom, any sum

Mr. BUCHANAN, in presenting the above report, stator sums of money arising from any such aid granted to cd that the committee had deemed it fairest towards the him, so as aforesaid, or any promise to pay therefrom, or party accused, not to report to the House their reasons at any order or draft to receive the sum at any future tiine, length for arriving at the conclusion that he ought to be such creditor shall forfeit and pay twice the amount there impeached. In this respect, they thought it advisable to of, one moiety to the use of such person, and the other to follow the precedent which had been established in the whomsoever shall sue for and recover the same; and such case of the impeachment of Judge Chase, Mr. B. moved suit and recovery may be had before any tribunal of com

to print the report and documents. petent jurisdiction.

Mr. CLAY moved to amend the motion to print, by add. Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That no creditor of any ling the words, “ And also the memorial of Luke E. Law. such person receiving aid, so as aforesaid, shall, by letter less, and the address of the judge to the committee." of attorney, order, draft, or otherwise, from him, be enti

Mr. HAYNES moved to suspend the rule of the House tled to receive any dividend or payment due to such per- which probibits debate on motions to print, so far as conson at any office or place where, by law, the same may be cerns the subject under consideration. Negativedl. payable to him; and no person whoever, as agent or at.

The amendment proposed by Mr. CLAY was rejected, torney, shall at any time receive any such payment, unless and the report and documents were ordered to be printed. he first makes oath that he had no interest theiein, and

Mr. BATES, from the Committee on Military Pensions, that he will pay over the amount thereof to the person to and by order of that committee, moved that the Commit wbom the same was so as aforesaid granted.

tee of the Whole llouse on the state of the Union be disMr. P. P. BARBOUR rose, and addressed the House at charged from the further consideration of the resolution considerable length in opposition to the bill-deerning its reported from the Committee on Military Pensions, on the provisions objectionable in principle, particularly the re 8th of January Jast, to extend the pension laws of the troactive portion of them.

United States, so as to include within its provisions every Mr. BURGES was proceeding to reply; when

soldier who aided in establishing our liberties, and who is Mr. BARBOUR said, it'the second section were expung-solution be made the special order of the day for Monday

unable to maintain himself in confort; and that the said reed, it would remove his objections to the bill.

Mr; BURGES suggested that this object would be at. next, the 29th instant. tained by striking out the word “ consideration,” and to

Mr. B. saiil, gentlemen wiio were in favor of the amend. the end of the first section.

ment of Mr. WILLIAMS, on Friday last, to provide for Mr. HOFFMAN, of New York, opposed the bill as im- the militia, would, by this resolution, be present d with an politic and unjust, and of no benefit to the individuals opportunity of effecting their wishics; and, on the motion which it proposed to benefit.

which he made, he asked the yeas and nays. They were Mr. RAMSEY, of Pennsylvania, also contended that it

ordered accordingly, and were as follows: would be prejudicial to the interest of the persons them.

For the motion; 129,-Against it; 47.

Mr. SWIFT moved a reconsideration of the vote taken selves, as they would not be able to hold any office in the collection of revenue, &c., as they could not be sued for yesterday, by which the resolution relative to fortifications delinquency—and that it would deprive them of credit, &c. on Lake Champlain, offered by him on the 18th instant,

Mr. GOODENOW, after some remarks in support of was referred to the Secretary of War--the question bava the bill, moved to amend it by inserting after the word ing been misapprehended at the time it was put--many “bounty” in the first sction, the words and who shall members supposing it was on his original resolution, wherecontinue to receive such aid;” which was agreed to.

as it was on the amendment. Mr. BURGES then rose, and replied at large to the ob

The motion was agreeii to; but the expiration of the jections which had bee: urged to the bill, and defended

hour arrested further proceedings to-day. its justice, expediency, and bumanity.

BUFFALO AND NEW ORLEANS ROAD. Mr. DRAYTON, considering the closing part of the The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the second section as having an ex post fucto operation, moved Whole House on the state of the Union, Mr. Harnes in to strike out all after the word “time," and inserting the chair, and resumed the consideration of the bill “ for other words, which lie sent to the Chair.

making a road from Buffalo, through Washington city, to The question was then put on ordering the bill to be en- New Orleans." grossed for a third reading, and decided in the affirmative Mr. HEMPHILL concluded his remarks in support of by the casting vote of the SPEAKER--the vote being 60 the bill. They were to the following effect: för and 69 against it.

Mr. H. b gan by saying that he would, at this carly

H. of R.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[MARCH 23, 1830.

stage, endeavor to explain the reasons why the bill before proved entirely of the expediency of exercising this power the committee ought to pass into a law. It embraces, (said by the General Government. Mr. H.] as I conceive, a subject of the highest interest. The Mr. Monroe has expressed his opinion on the subject in usefulness which the contemplated road will be to the coun- the most satisfactory manner. I beg leave to read this part try, is of itselfexceedingly important; anıl besides, this legis- of the document, called bis views on internal improvements. lative enactment will hold out full assurance that national [Here Mr. H. read the following:) improvements are intended to be prosecuted by the Ge “ It cannot be doubted that improvements for great na. neral Government. In this light, the magnitude of the tional purposes, would be better made by the General Goquestion, now ready for discussion, cannot be overrated. vernment than by the Governments of the several States.

In the commencement, I will be permitted to remark, Our experience, prior to the adoption of the constitution, that it is not the design of the friends of national improve. demonstrated that, by the exercise by the individual States ments to interfere with the annual extinguishment of the of most of the powers granted to the United States, a con. public debt, as now provided for by law. The regular tracted rivalry of interests, and misapplied jealousy of each operation of existing laws will soon clear the nation of other, had an important influence on all their measures, debt. The exertions of statesmen towards the accomplish to the great injury of the whole. This was particularly ment of this object are no longer required. But as to the exemplified by the regulations which they severally made momentous question of improving the country, for its own of their commerce with foreign nations and with each. It prosperity and glory, it ranks first, and is truly worthy of was this utter incapacity in the State Governments, prothe best efforts of the nation. It is equally interesting to ceeding from these and other causes, to act as a nation, and the present age and to posterity; and nothing less than to perform all the duties which the nation owed to itself

, complete success will ever terminate its repeated debates under any system which left the General Government de on this foor. I will dwell no longer at present in general pendant on the States, which produced the transfer of remarks.

these powers to the United States by the establishment of Some gentlemen entertain the opinion that these great the present constitution. objects ought to be accomplished by the several States. I “The reasoning which was applicable to the grant of never could accord with this opinion. The States are to any of the powers now vested in Congress, is likewise so, take care of their own local interests within their own limits; at least to a certain extent, to that in question. It is nait is not their duty to legislate with a view to national pur- tural that the States individually, in making improvements, poses. Neither could they, without the consent of Con- should look to their particular and local interests. The gress, confederate to make extensive roads, passing through members composing their respective legislatures, repre. many Stätes, for great and national pur ses. In this im- sent the people of each State only, and might not feel mense country, it is impossible to foresee all the channels themselves at liberty to look to objects in these respects through which our inland commerce may take its direction. beyond that limit. No exact plan can be devised; it would be rash to desig “If the resources of the Union were to be brought innate all the places where roads, canals, and bridges should to operation, under the direction of the State assemblies, be made fifteen or twenty years hence. It will be judi- or in concert with them, it may be apprehended that every cious to select a few objects at a time, and to progress with measure would become the object of negotiation, of bar. the rising conditio: of the country. Congress will always gin, and barter, much to the disadvantage of the system, be the best capable of selecting the grand and leading ob- as well as discredit to both Governments. But Congress jects which will accommodate themselves to the good of would look to the whole, and make improvements to prothe Union at large; and for these purposes, Congress, ac- mote the welfare of the whole. It is the peculiar felicity cording to my conception of the case, ought to retain in of the proposed amendment, that, while it will enable the her own hands her own means. This brings me to the United States to accomplish every national object, the imconsideration of an opinion which has gained some stand-provements made with that view will eminently promote ing, and has even attracted the attention of the President; the welfare of the individual States, who may also add I mean the propriety of distributing the surplus revenue such others as their own particular interest may require.” among the several States. The President has expressed In addition to this enlightened view of the subject, I his doubts in relation to its constitutionality; and I think may be permitted 10 submit a few remarks: and the first that, on a further consideration of this subject, he would is, that when the plan of distribution is once adopted, it be enabled to speak more positively as to the constitutional can never be recalled; it will grow into a species of right: barrier.

and a majority of the representatives from the several I assime it as a principle which, on a fair examination, States will never vote to restore the funds to the General cannot be shaken, that whenever money is in the treasury, Government. A thousand reasons will be assigned to opit is immaterial from whence it has arisen; the constitution pose its restoration, whenever the General Government puts no mark upon it; it may be pledged by previous laws, shall stand in need of it. Ainong others, it would be for constitutional purposes, but in no event can it be with said (and with great justice) that the faith of the United drawn from the treasury, unless it is to effect some ex- States had been pledged, and, on this reliance, schemes of pressed or implied provisions in the constitution. A power internal improvements had been partially executed; and in the General Government over internal improvements to withdraw the funds, would be to sacrifice the expendihas never been chuimed, except on such objects as Con- tures already made. This oppression would vary in the gress may, from time to time, deem national. Lands have different States according to the condition of their works been ceded to States for specific objects of national im- --it would create conflictions and confusions of interest provements. The bill which was rejected by Mr. Madi- that woull be alarming. The funds which belong to the son in 1817, retained the control over the objects on Cnion, would be entangled in local and minor undertakwhich the expenditures were to be made in each State. ings. But while the General Government retains its

But if Congress should distribute money generally among own resources, she will always be prepared to meet the the States for internal improvements, it may be expended great and complicated concerns of the nation, whether in on local and minor objects, over which Congress themselves peace or in war. She can select the objects of improve. have no power. The States, in expending the money, will ments, on such a scale as not only to be able to complete not look to national objects, but to their own internal them, but also to be in a state of readiness for any sudden concerns, and perhaps to a rivalry with their adjoining emergency. neighbors.

This road, leading from the seat of the General Govern. Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison, in their messages, up-ment to Buffalo and to New Orleans, two frontiers which


« PreviousContinue »