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Frr. 7, 1831.]
The contracts have been made for the ensuing four years from the first of January next, including all these improvernents, at a sum less than the amount now paid for
transporting the mails in that division, by 25,047 87 To this sum add the estimated value of the improvements, as before stated, - 47,793 02 And the actual saving to the department in the renewing of the contracts, will amount, annually, to - - - - 72,840 89
Besides the very considerable amount gained in the increased expedition of the mails on many routes of great interest to the community, the value of which cannot be well estimated. In this saving in the expense of the contracts, and the additional revenue which may be anticipated from the improvements they secure, together with the general increase of postages, which is still progressive, will be seen a foundation for the belief which has been expressed, that the current revenue of the department for the succeeding year will be sufficient for its disbursements. I have timus shown to the Senate the condition of the fiscal concerns of this department, and the improvements which have been made in the transportation of the mail. I now approach a subject more intimately connected with the inquiry before the Senate. The removals of postmasters, called by the gentleman from Maine “proscription,” a word which, from long habit and frequent use, he pronounces better than any man in this nation. There are about eight thousand five hundred postmasters in the United States; and, since this administration came into power, which has been near two years, about five hundred have been removed. Let us now see whether thcre be not unquestionable causes of removal, which may properly have produced as great a result as this. If a postmaster should commit any depredation on the mail, he surely ought to be removed, although the gentleman from Maine should exclaim “proscription.” Should a postmaster violate the secrecy of correspondence, which some men have done, the Postmaster General ought not to be deterred from removing him by the cry of “proscription.” The same fate should await all delinquents in paying their dues; likewise those who fail to render their accounts, or who abuse the franking privilege; and if, for any of these causes, removals take place, the gentleman from Maine entertains the Senate with his “proscription.” Fraudulent exactions of postage—concealing or detaining letters, newspapers, or pamphlets--constitute just causes of removal; and if they are made, we hear the gentleman from Maine cry out “proscription!” Habits of intemperance disqualify a man for the office of postmaster; and, although temperance societies have done much in removing this destroyer of the human race from our land, I would still ask, if there be no drunkards in Miaine? And should I be answered, that these worthy societies have entirely succeeded in the East, we are not quite so fortunate in the West, although they have made promising and successful progress. Still this vice in some degree prevails; and should a postmaster be seen staggering and reeling to his office, so blind that he could not see a letter, and he should be removed, the gentleman from Maine, unconsciously and from habit, would cry out “proscription.” Insulting or unaccommodating deportment to persons having business at the office—habitual carelessness and inattention to the duties of the station, constitute just cause of removal; incompetency--refusing to comply with the standing regulations of the department—employing assistants of bad character—-the commission of crimes—a dissolute course of life— such conduct as is calculated to destroy public considence in the office, these are just causes of removal; and if a postmaster be removed for any of these, another victim is added to the gentleman’s “proscription.” The remote residence of the postmaster from the office--the refusal
Post Office Investigation.
to give new bonds when required—being engaged in pursuits of a disqualifying character; such as will cause long periods of absence from the office—having too considerable a correspondence for the postage to be withdrawn from the revenue--being concerned in a mail contract—the inconvenient location of the office--all these render removals proper; and yet the present Postmaster General cannot act upon such cases as these without hearing the political clamor of “proscription!” And men should, in some instances, be removcd to obtain the services of those better qualified to discharge the duties of the appointment. It has happened under every administration; it has happened under this, and will occur under every succeeding one, that from misrepresentation some improper removals and appointments will take place. Taking into view all these causes which I have enumerated, is it not rather matter of wonder, that, in the course of nearly two years, but a few more than five hundred out of eight thousand five hundred have been removed. My apprehension is, that even yet there remain among the subordinate agents of this department some men unworthy of their places. I confidently hope that the present Postmaster General will go on, until none shall be continued in the employment of the department, but men of worth and integrity, and that he will not be deterred from his duty by the cry of “proscription.” The power of appointing his deputies, is given by law to the Postmaster General solely. What right of supervision has the Senate over his discretion in these matters? If they have any, it must result from the claim that the functions of the Executive are to be performed in subordination to this body. This is neither in accordance with the theory, the practice, nor the principles of the constitution of this Government. I will now show to the Senate some of the effects of this “proscription,” which, in the poetical language of the gentleman from Maine, “makes the land turn pale.” It will be recollected that, on the 1st May, 1829, the postmaster in this city was removed, and Dr. Jones—who is no Miidas, at whose touch every thing turns to gold—was appointed his successor. According to the report on my table, the nett proceeds of the office, immediately preceding this change, for one year, was $2,803 25, and in the first year under Dr. Jones's management, the nett proceeds amounted to $7,943 11 producing a clear gain in one year of $5,139 86. Yes, sir; this single post office, under the present administration, without the aid of additional commerce, or any unusual assemblage of citizens, has produced a profit in one year to the Government, of the sum which I have quoted, and this is “proscription.” I call it reform—call it by what name you may, it has produced results beneficial to the country; and the profits, since the year which I have mentioned, have shown that the increase is not of a temporary character. Another effect produced by what the gentleman calls “proscription,” may be exhibited. There are not half so many new cases of delinquent postmasters as at former periods; there is a reduction of the number of delinquencies since the first of January, 1825, of more than one-half; and this reduction has been sensibly experienced within the last year. This must be owing to some adequate cause. I know of no other to which it can be ascribed, but the terror of “proscription,” which teaches, that for failures in the discharge of their duty, they will be removed from office. When I see such effects produced, I shall not be dismayed by the term “proscription;" for my country profits, though the incumbent lose his place. We shall hear no more of such losses as $10,000 in a single post office, as in the case of Fowler. A charge has been exhibited in the committee against the Postmaster General of indebtedness to the Government; and Abraham Bradley, the dismissed assistant Postmaster General, has been examined to support this charge.
Although his testimony does not tend to establish the fact
an individual of high legal attainments, whose interest in the subject, if he had any, was only to collect the debt due to his department. Upon the facts thus stated, who can pronounce the present Postmaster General a debtor to the Government?
I am aware of the legal dotrine which may be urged on the other side; which is, that if one individual be indebted to another upon two bonds, and payments be made by the debtor to the creditor, without any direction on the part of the debtor, to which bond the payment should be applied, the creditor may elect to which he will give the credit. This is admitted to be the law, where no other individuals are interested than the debtor and creditor; but I should very much doubt whether a court and jury could be found in this country, when the question was between different sets of sureties, who would permit the delinquency which had accrued during the liability of one to be thrown upon others subsequently given, when no kind of delinquency had occurred during the last obligation. In the case of public officers, this would be particularly unjust; the legal effect of the condition of the last bond was, that Fowler should pay punctually, at the end of every quarter, the public money received by him in the preceding quarter: this he had done, and the condition was complied with. Can it be believed that, in this state of things, a court would be warranted in giving judgment against the new sureties for the delinquency which accrued prior to the execution of the new bond; more especially as it can be shown that Fowler directed the application of the payments to the new bond, and this long before the department had applied the money to either? I had thought, sir, the judiciary of the country to be the proper tribunal before which to try a question of indebtedness. The Government has sought to render Major Barry liable before that tribunal, and the suit failed. From the facts now disclosed, it always must fail. Although the Government, by its acquiescence, seems to have abandoned the claim, and this long before the present administration came into power, yet, for party purposes, and to gratify the feelings of a dismissed officer, Mr. Barry is to be denounced as a defaulter, and unworthy of public confidence. Whenever it shall be shown that Major Barry, the present Postmaster General, or either of the Assistants, Colonel Gardner or Major Hobbie, shall have surrendered the of ficial bonds of postmasters, I will not stand here as their defender. No, sir; the clerk of a court who should surrender an insolvent marshal's or sheriff's bond, for the purpose of favoring and releasing the sureties, would stand in a light equally favorable with me. Such conduct, practised by whom it may be, is a high misdemeanor, and merits expulsion from office.
Mr. President: When men set out resolved to find fault, they seldom permit themselves to be disappointed. If facts fail, imagination supplies their place. I cannot, in any other way, account for the censure thrown by the gentlemen from Delaware and Maine on the Postmaster General, for not having answered the interrogatories transmitted by the committee to the department in December last. The Senate will recollect what was said by those gentlemen on that subject; but did any Senator suppose from what they said, that at that moment they had in their possession a letter from the Postmaster General, which gives the most satisfactory reasons for the delay, and which letter had been in the possession of the chairman for several days? I will take the liberty of reading that letter to the Senatc, that they may judge whether the Postmaster General be culpable, or the complaint of the gentlemen be without cause.
Mr. GRUNDY here read as follows:
“Sin: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 18th and of the 27th instant.
This letter tells the gentlemen why the interrogatories sent by the committee have not been answered, and still they urge that this officer has not, in this particular, done his duty. He has also been censured for not making his report in obedience to the call made by the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Ben NET.) On this morning we have received that report, containing upwards of 6,000 pages; and surely, aster gentlemen have heard the reasons assigned by the Postmaster General for the delay, their lips will be sealed upon this subject.
The gentleman from Maine has expressed a hope that the objection involved in this resolution did not come from the Postmaster General; but admonishes us that the public will say that it came from that quarter. I cannot tell what the people in Maine may be taught to say on this subject. I shall say to the people of Tennessee, that I made this objection upon my own judgment and responsibility; and to prevent him from falling into an error, I will now state, that although the Postmaster General and myself have been in company, both before and since this question has been agitated, I have never heard him express or intimate a wish, or opinion, on the subject. It is argued on the other side, that as the committee have sent inquiries to the Postmaster General, asking him to assign the general causes of removal, that therefore the individuals removed ought in justice to be heard. The committee have not inquired of the Postmaster General why any particular officer has been removed; but if this were even so, is it an argument that should be brought to bear against my friend from New Hampshire and myself? We objected to that course, and were overruled; and now a wrong committed by the gentlemen themselves is insisted on as a justification of a still greatcr croor. It is said that the contingent expenses of the department have been increased. This may be true, and the gentlemen themselves cannot be ignorant of the causes which have produced it. There are not clerks in the department sufficient to perform the ordinary and current business: and these large calls for information upon the department create a necessity of employing other clerks to perform the additional labor. The very report laid on your table this morning must have cost several thousand dollars, and the calls made by the committee will cost several thousand dollars more. These form a portion of the contingent expenses of the department. I cannot believe it fair for gentlemen themselves to occasion the expenditure of money, and then raise a complaint that it is spent. Although I am perfectly willing to see the public money expended for beneficial purposes, and especially for the dissemination of useful information among the people, I cannot discern any valuable purpose that is to be answered by the copies of the 1,400 bonds, under the call of the gentleman o Ohio, this morning received by the Senate from that department; none of them will ever be read, either by the Senator, or any other man in the community.
As to the suggestion that the committee have refused to send to Virginia for witnesses to testify in relation to the great southern contract, these are the facts: A citizen of Virginia addressed a letter to a Senator from that State, complaining of the department for the manner in which
that contract was made. He, as was his duty, handed over that letter to the committee. The witnesses were named in the letter, and a suggestion also that their affidavits had been taken. A proposition was made to send for the witnesses; this was not refused; but it was suggested, and concurred in by a majority of the committee, that before that step was taken, application should be made at the department for the purpose of seeing whether the affidavits of the witnesses were not there, and such other information as might be satisfactory; or at least enable the committee to act more understandingly in making the investigation. The chairman and myself were directed to call at the office and make the examination. I took care to mention to him that I would attend him at any time he should name, when the Senate was not in session. He has not found it convenient to this day to call on me for the purpose of discharging this duty. I have called at the office: I have seen the papers, and they contain a most ample vindication of the départment. After the contract was made, the whole subject was laid before the President of the United States at the instance of those who were dissatisfied. The affidavits of the witnesses named in the letter referred to were taken; and, after a patient and full investigation, the President decided that the Postmaster General had acted correctly. If the gentlemen on the other side were anxious to obtain full and correct information in relation to the transactions of this department, why have they not pursued the course I have so often pressed upon them, that the committee should go to the department and examine into all its transactions and doings? I have assured them that I was authorized by the Postmaster General to say that, should such a course be deemed advisable, every thing should be thrown open to the inspection of the committee; that he, his assistants, and clerks, would afford every facility and give every assistance in their power to the committee. By proceeding in this way we could acquire a correct knowledge of the condition of the department, and how it is conducted. This course of proceeding is declined, perhaps wisely, as thereby every pretext of complaint might be removed, and the gentleman from Maine would be so fastened down by facts, that even his fruitful imagination could not furnish materials for accusation. The gentleman from Maine has stated that in his own county there are thirty-one postmasters; that eight of them were friendly to the election of Mr. Adams; and of these seven have been proscribed; and this, with him, constitutes just ground of complaint. The people from that quarter differ from him in opinion. Since these occurrences took place, the people of that congressional district, with a full knowledge of all the circumstances, have elected a representative favorable to this administration; and in his own county and town, the votes have been cast in favor of a senator and representative to the State Legislature of the same description. If, therefore, the gentleman's complaints are to be tried by the voice of his neighbors, the verdict is against him. The Senator from Maine has said that this voracious Postmaster General has, in the State of New Hampshire, devoured six full blooded Yankees at a single meal. [Mr. Ho LMEs here interrupted Mr. GRUN or, and said he did not say six, but twenty-five: Mr. GRUN py proceeded.] This shows most strikingly the difference between a man of imagination and one who deals in sober realities and facts. I had been '...". my poor imagination in pursuit of the gentleman from Maine, and could scarcely arrive at six, when he with ease, (such is the power of his fancy,) can reach twenty-five. Twenty-five }. blooded Yankees have then been devoured by the Postmaster General at a single meal. If this is to be taken literally, all I can say is, that he is a man of bad taste and strong stomach, for methinks I sometimes see one, the very sight of whom is enough for me. If this
expression is to be taken figuratively, and the gentleman
only means that the Postmaster General has put them aside, and removed them a distance from him, as unfit to be associates with him in the administration of his depart. ment, then he may have acted in good taste and no furtherance of the public interest. The Senate will not expect me to notice the poetry of the gentleman from Maine. My business is with dollars and cents—post offices, and post roads, and this is a poor subject for poetical display. It requires the imagination and genius of the gentleman from Maine to strew flowers over post roads at this, inclement season of the year. I will, however, notice his delicate and classical story respecting the public “mcat cellar,” and make the true application. As I understand it, this “ cellar” belongs to the people of the United States; the gentleman and his friends were once placed in it to take care of it; the people were of opinion that they were not faithful sentinels; they turned them out, and have placed others in, who they bà. lieved were more faithful, and the gentleman and his friends are now endeavoring to break in, but the people will not let them. The gentleman further remarks, that when men are seeking for power, any means are resorted to for the accomplishment of their object. Did the gen. tleman recollect that it might be said that he was illustrating the truth of his doctrine by his own example, and that the tendency of his whole conduct in this whole procecding went to show that there were no morals in politics? The gentlemen exclaim there will be no report made by this committee. If there be none, the fault shall be thcirs, not ours. I hope a report will be made, one that will silence calumny and seal the lips of slander. I have admitted that by means of misrepresentation some men have becn removed, whom it would have been better to have retained, and the gentleman from Maine may have known some one instance of that kind; and such is his imagination, that whenever he hears of a removal, let the cause of removal be what it may, he supposes that it has been done improperly, and from a spirit of proscription. He reasons like the medical student; he was taken by his preceptor to see a sick patient; the patient had become worse, and the doctor charged the family with their having given him eggs to eat, which had increased his illness; the fact was admitted; the doctor again prescribed and returned home; the student was curious to know how his preceptor had come to the knowledge of the fact that his patient had eaten eggs; the preceptor told him he had seen the shells under the bed. On the next day the student was sent to see the same patient, and found the man dying, and informed his preceptor that the man had caten a horse; the preceptor said that was impossible; the student persisted in it, and upon being asked the reason why he thought so, he said he had seen a bridle under the bed; and whenever the gentleman from Maine sees a bridle, or a change of postmaster, a horse or a Yankee, in his imagination, has been devoured. The gentleman charges this administration with flinching. He who is now at the head of this Government never learned the art of flinching, nor will he permit those who act under him, cither in the ficla or cabinet, to do so; and the gentleman will learn this, should the Chief Magistrate entertain the same opinion I do in relation to the call made on the Postmaster General to assign the causes which have produced the removals of postmasters. I have said that I thought that neither the Senate nor the committee have the constitutional right to make this demand. Should the Chief Magistrate think so, of one thing I am certain, that he who never suffered his own private rights, or the rights of his country, to be invaded, will not permit an encroachment upon the rights of his official station. Sir, we cannot mistake the object which gentlemen have in view; they cannot desire to sacrifice the Postmaster General, a man so amiable and honest, an officer
Mr. BENTON rose to ask leave to introduce a bih to repeal the duty on alum salt. He said that this kind of salt was not manufactured in the United States; that it was indispensable in curing provisions, and had to be bought at whatever price it might cost. He said that the uses of salt, and the injury done to the community by taxing it, had commanded the attention of the British Parliament, and occasioned a committee to be appointed in the year 1818, whose labors were a monument to their honor, and a title to the gratitude of their country. They had taken the examinations in writing of more than seventy witnesses, comprehending men of the first character in every walk of life, of whom he would mention Lord Kenyon, Sir Thomas Bernard, Sir John Sinclair, Arthur Young, and Sir John Stanley, whose testimony, with the reports of the committee, extended to four hundred folio pages. He would read some parts of their testimony, and . believed that the Senate would perform a great service to the American people if they would direct a committee to make an abstract of the whole, and publish some thousand copies for distribution among the people.
Mr. B. then began to read a part of the extracts which he had made, when he was interrupted by Mr. Foot, of Connecticut, who made several points of order, one of which was, that Mr. B.’s motion was not seconded. The Vic E PREs in ENT said that it was not usual to have motions seconded in the Senate; that the rule was a formality which had not been attended to in practice; but, if any Senator made it a point, the rule must be enforced. Mr. B. then appealed to the Senators from the south of Mason and Bixon's line to furnish him a second. Several rose, and, observing, among them Mr. Woon nt; Ry, of New Hampshire, he gave him the preference, because he was from the north of Mason and Dixon’s line, and because he had been the first to open the campaign against the salt tax several years ago. He said that the report and speeches of the Senator from New Hampshire against the |solt tax would remain as monuments to his honor when his own poor exertions were forgotten; and he took pride and pleasure in paying this tribute to him, and making it more fully known in the West, that he was only the fol. lower of that distinguished and patriotic Senator, so justly dear to the whig republicans of all quarters of the Union, in waging a war of determined hostility against the salt tax.
The other objections of Mr. Foot being disposed of, |Mr. B. went on to read, or state, the extracts to which he referred.
Exton Act". 1. From Sir John Sinclair's evidence.--I was once at the farm of a great farmer in the Netherlands, a Mr. Messelman, at Chenoi, near. Havre, where I was surprised to see an immense heap of Cheshire rock salt, which he said he found of the greatest use for his stock. He said, first, that, by allowing his sheep to lick it, the rot was effectually prevented; secondly, that his cattle, to whom he gave lumps of it to lick, were thereby protected from infectious disorders; and the cows being thus rendered more healthy, and being induced to take a greater quantity of liquid, gave more milk. And I saw lumps of this salt, to which the cows had access, in the place where they were kept. He also said, that a small quantity pounded was
FEs. 8, 1831.]
given them, if the oats were at all moist. * * * He gave them great lumps, that they (the cattle) might lick when they chose. * * * one of the most important uses of salt, as connected with agriculture, is, that it preserves seed, when sown, from the attacks of the grub.” * * *. In a communication to me from Sweden, by Baron Schultz, he says, the salt destroys the different sort of worms found in the bodies of sheep, but in particular the liver worm. Extract. 2. orthur Young's Testimony.—Did you ever try salt in the feeding of your cattle? Yes; but chiefly with sheep; and I found the sheep astonishingly fond of it. Do you think that it would be beneficial in preventing the rot in sheep? I found it so in the years when my neighbors' sheep were generally affected with the rot: my sheep escaped, and my land was quite as wet as my neighbors'. Do you think, considering the advantages in health, fattening, and the power of using inferior food in the feeding of cattle and stock in general, that the free use of salt would be an advantage equivalent to seven shillings a head to the farmer? I should think it would be worth a great deal more. I think it is invaluable. In short, let my answer be what it would, it would be under the mark. Dr. Young then gave his opinion that the stock in England would be increased in value above three millions sterling, nearly fifteen millions of dollars, by the free use
of salt. He estimated the stock in England to be— Horses, - - - - 1,500,000 head Cattle, - - - - 4,500,000 do. Sheep, - - - - 30,000,000 do. 1.xt it. At T. 3. Testimony of William Glover, superintendent of the cat
tle of the Hon. Mr. Curwen, M. P.
This deponent began to give salt to the cattle under his care the 19th November, 1817, and from that time till now the cattle have had salt, as follows: 40 milch cows and breeding heifers, each 4 ounces per day; 30 oxen, 4 ounces each per day; 27 young cattle, each 2 ounces per day; 26 calves, 1 ounce each per day; 48 horses, each 4 ounces per day; 444 sheep, 2 ounces each per week. The advantage of salt for sheep appears to this deponent to be great; as he says none of the stock have died in the sickness since they commenced giving salt; and they have had none in the rot; in other years they lost some of the ewes and wethers in the sickness. And this deponent says that he has now kept the cattle at Schoose farm ten years, and they were never so long without sickness.
4. The affidavit of thirty-two formers.
We, the undersigned, being farmers, and the owners of land in the neighborhood of Workington, do hereby certify, that we are acquainted with and witnesses to the fact of Mr. Curwen giving salt to his cattle and horses, with their food, at the Schoose farm and at Workington; and that we are desirous of using the same for our live stock if we could obtain it without difficulty, and at a cheap rate.
“The importance of the free use of salt to agriSalt con
accelerates and promotes the quantity of milk given by milch cows. [In another place Mr. C. says that the use of salt prevents the ill taste which the feeding on certain weeds and vegetables imparts to the milk.] It prevents the rot in sheep, and the effect of hoving, when stock are fed on turnips or clover. * * * Salt renders damaged hay palatable and nutritious; and, if applied in difficult seasons, prevents an undue fermentation and heat in the stack. Chaff and straw would be rendered available to a much greater extent than at present by the application of salt. It would be a most valuable ingredient in the preparation of warm food for stall-fed cattle in the improved system of soiling; and, from my experience of its salutary effects, I should consider the free use of it, as a condiment, the greatest boon the Government could bestow on the husbandman. * * * * I consider the advantage from salt, in feeding my stock, on a farm of eight hundred acres, worth about one thousand pounds per annum, would exceed three hundred pounds per annum! (that is, add a third to the annual value of the farm.) The probable consumption of salt for sheep and cattle may be taken as follows, to wit:
Per annum. 14 lbs, the stone. Stones. 30,000,000 sheep, - - || 2 stone cach, - || 60,000,000 1,421,000 cows, - - || 6 do. - 8,526,000 2,000,000 young cattle, 4 do. - 8,000,000 1, 100,000 fatting beasts, 6 do. - 6,600,000 1,200,000 draught cattle, 4 do. - 4,800,000
300,000 colts and sad
dle horses, - - || 3 do. - 900,000 1,200,000 horses, - not estimated, 88,826,000
N. B. 14 pounds 1 stone, 4 stones 1 bushel, 4 bushels 1 cwt.
gjo The English bushel of salt is 56 lbs.
6. Lord Kenyon's evidence before the committee.—By the information which I have been able to collect, I am induced to consider salt, when sparingly applied, as an admirable manure, especially for fallows and arable land; and, when mixed up with soil out of gutters, or refuse dirt or ashes, to be very valuable also on grasslands. My own experience convinces me that it is very powerful in destroying vegetation if laid on too thick, having put a large quantity of refuse salt on about one-fourth of an acre of land, which, after two years, still remains quite bare. A land surveyor of high character in my neighborhood, considers that the use of salt would be likely to be very valuable in destroying the slug, wire worm, snail, &c. which often destroy whole crops. He also remembers that salt was used largely in the neighborhood of the Higher and Lower Wiches in Cheshire, before the duties were raised to their present height. With respect to its value for cattle, horses, and sleep, I am informed that it is very highly thought of, both as nutriment, and as used medicinally, internally and externally. Its value also is extremely well known for rendering bad and ill-gotten hay more nourishing and more palatable to cattle than even good hay.
7. Eridence of Mr. Kingston.--In reply to your querics, as an agriculturist, I have no hesitation in saying that salt, if freed from duty, would become one of the most useful and general articles of manure that ever was thought of, if properly composed, by mixing it with mud of any kind—the cleanings of ditches and ponds, the surface of coarse ground thrown into heaps to rot, blubber, &c. 1