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Reduction of the Price of the Public Lands.
[23d Cong. 1st SEss.
Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That the lands herein granted to the States above named shall not be disposed of at a price less than one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, until otherwise directed by law; and the nett pro. ceeds of the sales of said lands shall be faithfully appled to objects of internal improvement within the States aforesaid, respectively, namely, roads, bridges, canals, and im: provement of water-courses, and draining swamps; and such roads, canals, bridges, and water-courses, when made or improved, shall be free for the transportation of the United States mail and munitions of war, and for the passage of their troops, without the payment of any toll whatever.
House of Reparsentatives, December 27, 1833. Mr. CLAY, of Alabama, from the Committee on Public Lands, to which the subject had been referred, made the following report: The Committee on the Puhlic Lands, to whom have been referred memorials from the Legislatures of the States of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Alabama, asking a reduction and graduation of the price of that portion of the public lands which has been offered at public sale, and remains unsold, and also sundry resolutions of the House, instructing them to inquire into the expediency of such a measure, have had the same under consideration, and beg leave to report: That they have given to the subject the attention and deliberation which seemed to be demanded by its nature and importance. Whether considered in reference to the interest of the General Government, the harmony of the Union, or the welfare and prosperity of the new States, which embrace the public lands, the question involved is one of more than ordinary magnitude. The committee have felt it their duty to look into the origin of the claim of the United States to the public domain, the better to comprehend the motives and inducements to the various cessions which were made by the States having claims to Western lands, and the obligations incurred by the General Government under those compacts. It is from this source that the title of the United States to much the larger portion of the public lands is derived. The inducements to cessions, held out by Congress to those States having western territory, were to aid in supplying the means of extinguishing the national debt created by the war of the Revolution, and “to promote the harmony of the Union,” and “the stability of the general confederacy.” On the one hand, it seems to have been considered not only desirable to obtain the means of payment, but to gain the confidence of the public creditors, by appearing to possess them. On the other, it was no less important to the harmony of the Union to suppress controversies as to territorial claims among the States, to prevent too great inequality of size of the different States, and to keep down the jealousy which would have been inseparable from such disparity. The public debt no longer presents any obstacle to the exercise of such policy as may, in other respects, be compatible with the terms of the compacts. Before any measure, producing any important change, can be carried into operation, it will have been entirely extinguished. It appears, by the terms and conditions on which the several States owning Western lands ceded the same, that one, if not the chies consideration, was the formation and establishment of new States, to be admitted into the Union with equal rights and sovereignty. In the act of the General Assembly of Virginia, authorizing the trans. fer and conveyance of her extensive domain northwest of the river Ohio, the first, and, doubtless, the seading in. ducement is expressed to be “upon condition that the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into States, containing a suitable extent,” &c., “and that the States
so formed shall be distinct, republican States, and admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence as the other States.” In like manner, North Carolina expressly stipulated in her act of cession “that the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into a State or States, containing a suitable extent of territory,” &c. Georgia, in her articles of agreement and cession, is not less careful in exacting, as a condition of her grant, “ that the territory thus ceded shall form a State, and be admit- . ted as such into the Union, as soon as it shall contain sixty thousand inhabitants,” &c. And in the third article of the treaty by which Louisi. ana was acquired, is to be found a stipulation on the part of the United States, substantially to the same effect. It is, that “the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States, and admitted, as soon as possible, according to the principles of the federal constitution, to the enjoyment of all the righ's, advantages, and immunities of citizens of the United States,” &c. Pursuant to the terms of the several compacts, to which reference has been made, the Government of the United States has, at different periods, admitted into the Union seven states, comprising portions of the territory thus acquired. In every instance, it is believed, very small portions of the public lands had been previously sold; and the acts authorizing the admission of new States into the Union, have uniformly imposed certain conditions, to which the agreement of the people inhabiting said States, was indispensable, to enable them to such admission. Among other conditions, the conventions of the respective States have been required to “provide by an ordinance, irrevocable without the consent of the United States, that the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the waste and unappropriated lands lying within said territory; and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States; and moreover, that each and every tract of land sold by the United States, [after the formation of a constitution by the particular State,) shall be and remain exempt from any tax, laid by the order, or under the authority of the State, whether for State, county, township, parish, or any other purpose whatever, for the term of five years from and after the respective days of the sales thereof,” &c. “And that no tax shall be imposed on lands the property of the United States,” &c., The committee do not propose a discussion of the question whether, in the language of some of the acts of cession referred to, the new States have been admitted into the Union with “ the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence, as the other States;” nor whether Uere is strict propriety in the declaration to be found in all the acts and resolutions of Congress for the admission of new States, that they are “admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever.” It is not now, and we hope it never m y be, necessary to inquire how far the want of em:nent domain—the power to dispose of or tax soil within her limits, is compatible with the “sovereignty” of a State; not to show that the original States, from the time of their independence, and at the date of the several compacts, had that right. The new States having, as a condition precedent to their admission into the Union, disclaimed all right and title to the waste and unappropriated lands lying within their limi's, and also the right to tax them while owned by the United States, and for the term of five years after the sale thereof, if not absolutely foreclosed, would doubtless be reluctant to raise the question. But it is, in some instances, the language, in all, the spirit, of the compacts under which the public do
23d CoNg. 1st Sess.]
Reduction of the Price of the Public Lands.
main was acquired, that new States should be formed and admitted as soon as possible. States cannot be formed without inhabitants. It would not, then, have been a compliance either with the letter or spirit of those compacts, to have fixed so high a minimum on the public lands, as to have prevented their sale, and consequently, their legal settlement; for if it had, it would have been in the power of one of the parties to have defeated the main object which induced the other to enter into them. It seems fair to conclude that the United States were bound to pursue such a policy as would result in the speedy settlement of the public domain, fixing prices bearing some relation to the value of lands in the same quarter of the Union, at which alone they could have been expected to sell. Nor did the obligations of the United States, as regards the sale of the public lands, cease with the admission of the several States into the Union. Conceding, on this occasion, the right of the General Government to exact of the people of the new States a disclaimer of the right of soil, and the right of taxation, as the price of their admission into the Union, it cannot be maintained that further sales of the public lands could rightfully be arrested altogether; or (which would be equivalent) that they could be held at prices so far above their relative value as not to sell. What would be the difference, in effect, between a law suspending further sales entirely, and one requiring four or five times the value to be paid? In either case, no land would be sold; no settlements could be made in conformity with law; and the growth and maturity of the State would be most injuriously retarded. Such a policy would not only contravene the spirit of the several acts of cession which have been adverted to, but would be inconsistent with the several compacts between the General Government and the new States, on their admission While those compacts in their terms restrain the new States from interfering with the primary disposal of soil, or taxing lands of the United States for the term of five years after their sale, they do not release the United States from the duties imposed by the terms of cession, and, at least, imply an obligation on the part of the General Government to sell in a reasonable time. That cannot be done, except on reasonable terms. Suppose, on the admission of any one of the new States, the General Government had addressed her in this language: “You shall not extend your settlements beyond their present limits; if your population increase, it must be crowded on lands which we have already sold.” Would it not have been pronounced on all hands a voilation of the compact, and a most revolting breach of good faith on the part of the United States? If, however, the subject be considered in reference to the financial interest of the General Government alone, it is believed that the price of the public lands should be reduced, after having been first offered at public sale, and then remaining a reasonable time subject to private entry, at the present minimum. The Government of the United States is probably the only vender, either of land or any other properly, that holds the most inferior quality of any article at the same price with the best. . If an individual were to maintain that all domestic animals of a given species were of the same value, how inconsistent would he appear! If a merchant were to refuse to sell kerseys at any lower price than he could obtain for superfine broadcloths, his conduct would certainly be deemed utterly absurd. Yet there is not greater absurdity in either of these positions, than there is in maintaining that land of every quality is worth, or should command, the same price. The experience of the last ten years has demonstrated that lands of the greatest fertility, when sold at auction, will only command a very small fraction above $1 25 per acre. To prove this, it is only necessary to refer to offi.
cial documents now on the files of the House. It is not probable that more than one-tenth of the public domain is of the first quality; yet we refuse to let the remaining nine-tenths go at any lower price. By a report (which is hereto annexed) made by the Secretary of the Treasury on the 22d January last, in answer to a resolution of the House, it appears that the quantity of land to which the Indian and foreign titles had been extinguished, was 301,965,600 acres. Of that quantity there had, on the 31st December, 1831, been offered for sale, 130,932,205 acres; and only 26,524,450 acres had then been sold. By the same report, the quantity of land subject to private entry, on the same day, (and which, of course, had been offered at public auction, and refused, at $1.25 per acre,) was 104,407,755 acres. As evidence of the great inferiority of this large quantity of land, it is shown by the same report that the quantity which had been offered and refused, at public sale in the several States, had been in market, and subject to private entry, the following periods: That in Ohio had nearly all been in market twenty years, the greater portion from twenty-five to thirty years; that in Indiana had nearly all been in market from fifteen to twenty years; that in Illi. nois had nearly all been in market for fifteen years and upwards; that in Missouri, an average of about twelve years; that in Alabama from twelve to twenty-two years, the average period may be said to be fifteen years; that in Mississippi from twelve to twenty years; that in Louisiana about thirteen years, and that in Michigan about thirteen years. In December, 1828, a statement compiled from official documents, and printed by order of the Senate, showed that 74,358,881 acres were then subject to private entry, having been offered at public sale, and refused, at $1 25 per acre; and that, of this quantity, 28,247,000 acres (more than one-third) were unfit for cultivation. Taking the same relative proportions of the quantity now subject to private entry as the basis of calculation, and it follows that we now have about 40,000,000 acres, not only inferior, but unfit for cultivation. Yet our system is based on the hypothesis that there is no difference in the quality or value of the public lands. As an additional proof of the inferior quality of those hundred and odd millions of refuse lands, the fact may be stated, that it is dispersed through the oldest, as well as the more recently settled parts of the States and Territories. It is not in such detached bodies, and so far removed from the improved and cultivated lands, as to impede its settlement and cultivation; on the contrary, were the soil good, its locality would afford unusual facilities in both respects. It is wholly unreasonable to suppose that such land will sell for the same price at which land of the best quality can be purchased. But, if reduced to its fast relative value, much might be sold. Inferior lands, lying . adjacent to those which are improved and cultivated, would be valuable appendages to them, and would be purchased by present land proprietors. Other portions would be purchased by poor men, who have been driven from the more fertile tracts by men of large capital, and by speculators. As we have seen, much of this land has already been in market, unsold, for twenty years or upwards; for a period how much longer it may remain on hand, it is impossible to determine; but, is it not perfectly obvious that it would have been to the interest of the Government, regarding money alone, to have sold it at half the price in the first instance? Add interest for twenty years, at six per cent. per annum, on the value of a given quantity of land, estimated at fifty cents per acre, and it will be about equal to the price demanded by the Government. Yet we have this land still on hand, with its relative value diminished, not only in the ratio in which all other real estate has declined, but by being shorn of much of its valuable timber, by those residing in its neigh
Affairs of the Post
Office Department. [23d Cosg. 1st Sess.
borhood, or by settlers, who have no permanent interest in the soil. Besides, we have sustained the expense of keeping up a number of land offices, amounting to thousands of dollars every year, which would have been rendered unnecessary by a speedy sale, if the price had been suitably reduced. The proposed policy would result in the sale of many thousands, if not millions of acres, which, otherwise, will not be sold, but be deprived of timber, exhausted, and worn out, by those who have no inducement to preserve the soil longer than for merely temporary use; which is not only detrimental to the interest of the United States, but highly injurious to the particular State in which they may happen to lie. But the amount of money to be realized from the public domain is not the sole, nor even the chief consideration which should influence and determine the policy of a wise and paternal Government. In the language of the President, in his annual message of December, 1832, “The wealth and strength of a country are its population, and the best part of that population are the cultiva. tors of the soil. Independent farmers are, every where, the basis of society, and true friends of liberty.” These sentiments, it is hoped, will find a cordial response in every bosom. Their truth and justness are attested by all history. It may be asked, triumphantly, when did the cultivators of the soil willingly abandon the principles, or knowingly become the enemies of fee government? The soundness of the principle laid down is sustained by the most approved doctrines of political economy, and sanctioned by practical experience. The committee also concur in the sentiment expressed in the same message, that it is “our true policy that the public lands shall cease, as soon as practicable, to be a source of revenue, and that they should be sold to settlers, in limited parcels, at a price barely sufficient to reimburse the United States the expense of the present system, an the cost arising under our Indian compacts.” The new States have, as they manifestly feel, a deep interest in this subject. By their memorials, they have urged upon Congress repeatedly, within the last ten or twelve years, the policy, the justice, and necessity of reducing the price of refuse lands. They have represented, and truly represented, as the committee believe, that the existing law in regard to price operates materially and wrongfully to their injury. The high price of land inevitably retards the population of a country, and, taken in connexion with the want of power to tax it, must postpone the maturity of its resources. In the opinion of the committee, it is due to the people of the new States, that the existing state of things should be terminated as soon as practicable. It is certainly desirable that every acre of land should, if possible, be ren. dered productive; and this can never be done till it is in the hands of individual proprietors. Population is em. phatically the strength of a state; and to render a people free, prosperous, and happy, they should be the owners of the soil they cultivate. After a full consideration of the compacts between the General Government and the original States which surrendered territory, and those with the new States upon their admission into the Union; regarding that good faith with which engagemen's so grave and important ought to be fulfilled; looking to the interest of the Government, either as to the amount of money to be realized, or the harmony, strength, and resources of the Union at large; and considering what is due to the tranquillity and re. sources of the younger members of the confederacy, the committee cannot resist the conclusion that a law should be passed, reducing and graduating the price of that por. tion of the public lands which has been offered at public sale, and remains unsold, in proportion to the time it may have been in market. And they accordingly report a bill for that purpose,
IN SENATE, June 9, 1834. Mr. Ew ING, from the Committee on the Post Office and Pos' Roads, made the following report: The Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads, in obedience to the resolution of the Senate of the 29th of March, A. D. 1834, proceeded to inquire into the condition of the Post Office Department, and, having made progress in their investigation, now report— That your committee, at an early day after they were invested with authority so to do, called for a statement of the available claims due from postmas'ers and others to the Department, and of the funds on hand, and also the amount of its debts. In answer to this inquiry, they were informed that it would be the work of several months, with all the disposable force of the Department, to prepare the statement; the shortest time named as possible, extending much beyond the probable adjournment of Congress Statements, therefore, said to be accurate, were ob. tained wherever it was practicable; and, where such were not to be had, your committee received conjectural estimates, so orn to by the he'ds of the appropriate bureaus. By these, it appears that the Department is largely insolvent, and that since some time in the year 1832 the Postmaster General did, without warrant of law, borrow from the banks large sums of money on interest for the purpose of sustaining it. The interest account, exhibited here with, shows that some of those loans were made du. ring the last session of Congress, and within a short time after the date of the annual report of the Postmaster Gen. eral, which states that there is an available surplus fund on hand of $202,811 40, and which contains no intimation of any probable deficit, present or future. It is also worthy of remark, that his last annual report is wholly silent on the subject of these loans. But the Postmaster Gen. eral has, since the commencement of this investigation, represented to your committe that aid from the Treasury is necessary to enable him to carry on the operations of the Department, and he has stated that $450,000 is the smallest sum that will serve that purpose. The sums borrowed and overdrawn on banks to the 11th April, 1834, and then existing as a debt against the Departinent, are stated by the officers to be $488,600 00 And they state the amount due to contrac
tors on the 1st of April, 1834, at - - 635,000 00
Making the aggregate of its debts - $1,123,600 00
They also state that there was, on the 11th of April, 1834, a balance of deposites in banks in favor of the Depart
ment, of - - - - - - $37,000 95; Of which there was deposited in banks which have failed, - - - - 5,455 07
Leaving to the credit account, funds in — bank, April 11th, 1834, available, - $31,545 88;
They also reported, as a conjectural estimate, that there was due from postmaster, for postages, accruing prior to January 1st, 1834, $300,000. The books from which this estimate was drawn have been examined by the cominittee, and the result of that examination leaves no doubt that the amount of this credit is greatly exagge rated. It appears that the receipts of the Department for the last quarter of the year 1833, according to the best estimate that can be formed, (the books and accounts not having been made up as they should have been,) amounted to - - - - - $467,449 GO | That there was deposited by several postmasters in banks, during said quarter, for the use of the D. partment,
Leaving an apparent balance outstanding in the hands of postmasters, of .
Ibut it is understood that considerable sums were received from postmasters, exclusive of the deposites in banks, which are estimated to reduce the amount in their hands for receipts, during the last quarter of 1833, to $83,725; which sum, resulting from the several data to which we have access, is fixed upon as the nearest approximaticn to the truth, attainable within the limited time, which it was in our power to devote to this part of the investigation. We believe, however, that any person acquainted with the books, and the course of business of the Departmen", and whose attention should be exclusively devoted to the subject, could, in a little time, esti. mate the amount-of debts due to the Department, with a very near approach to accuracy; and that the officers of the D-partmeat can, at any time within a few days, make an abstract statement of its fiscal concerns at the termi. nation of any quarter, sufficiently accurate for the ordinary purposes of general information or legislation. The officers of the Department also estimated the amount due from postmasters for postages, accruing with. in the first quarter of the year 1834, at #500,000. Your committee examined, as far as practicable, the data upon which this estimate was made, and they have reas on to believe that this sum is also much above the true annotin". It is estimated by the chief clerk of the Department, that the nett receipts for postages in the first quarter of 1834, will amount to - - - - $520,000 00 Your committee have ascertained that there was deposited in banks for the use of the Department, within that qt, and prior to the 1st day of April, - - - Which will leave, of the receipts of that quarter, in the hands of postmasters, on that day, - - - - -
A conside rable portion of this sum, probably, was received by the Department in drafts on postmasters, but to what amount your committee have no means of ascertaining. They; therefore, take the above sum as the amount due for that quarter on the 1st of April, 1834. This estimate of the sums due and outstanding, will s' ill appear large, if we compare it with the amount of smolar claims under a former admini-tration; at a time, too, when the Department was not involved in debt, and had no particular reasons to press its collections with peculiar urgency. It appears by the first report of the prescnt Postmaster General, made on the 24th of November, 1829, that, on the 1st day of July of that year, the whole amount due and outstanding, in the hands of pus' masters and others, was $94,400 21; and we can see no good reason why the amount of balances should have been sufsered to rise to $289,429, much less to the enormous sum of $80,000, as is estimated by the chief clerk, especially at a time when the Department is insolvent, and borrowing from banks, and overdrawing its deposites daily, and even descending to ask the credit of ind,viduals to sustain it in its most necessary functions. But, admitting the sum estimated by your committee to be due from postmasters, the credits of the Depart. ment will stand thus: Amount of available debts for postages accruing within the qr, ending the 1st of Jan, 1834, - $83,725 00 Amount of available debts for postages accruing in the quarter ending the 1st day
of April, 1834, - - - - - 205,296 00 Fund's deposited in solvent banks, - - 31,546 00 Making the aggregate of credits conside ed
available, - - - - - - $320,567 00
The amount of debts due on that day, as stated by the officers of the Dep or ment, was $1,123,033. Balance against the Department on final settlement of
all its accounts, except old balances prior to the 1st of October, 1833, would be $802,444. The above estimate of the sums due from the Depart. ment, is taken entirely upon the credit of the officers of the bureaus to which the superintendence of those accounts properly belong. They profess to have given them with all practicable accuracy, and your committee, having no particular reason to doubt their correctness, have not gone into an investigation with a view to test them. With respect to the credit or outstanding claims of the Department, your committee could not place the same reliance on the general estimate presented to them. The amount was much larger than they had reason to suppose was correct, from their knowledge of the general course of business in the Department; and their investigation has satisfied them that the error was even larger than they were at first led to anticipate, amounting, as has been already shown, to about $500,000. Your committee have also made, and here present, an estimate of the revenue and expenditures of the Department for the last quarter of the year 1833, by which it will be seen that, without some real and substantial reform in the management of its concerns, there is little prospect that it will extricate itself from its present embarr.'ssments. It appears, as stated above, that the receipts for postages
in that quarter amounted to - - $467,449 00 The transportation for the
same qr, amounted to . $522,714 00 Add incidental expenses to 27,935 00 Total expenditure, . - - - - 550,649 00
Excess of expenditure over the revenue, $83,200 00
Which continuing in the same ratio throughout the year, would leave an annual deficit of $332,800. An opinion was expressed by the immediate predecessor of the present Postmaster General, in his report of November 13, 1827, that the Department, by a vigilant administration of its affairs, would be able to supply all the wants of the community, and in a few years to pay into the treasury an annual sum of $500,000. This estimate seems to have been grounded upon the rapid increase of the receipts for postages, the improvement of roads and means of conveyance, and the great and increasing number of passengers in the stages, which add to the profits of the contractor, and thereby lessen the cost of transportation of the mail. And your committee entertain no doubt that, had its affairs been conducted prudently, with a view to the public interest, the anticipation would at this time have been realized; unless, indeed, it should have been thought expedient to reduce the pos' ag, s, and thus relieve the community from a part of its present burden in the transaction of business, and the general diffusion of knowledge. In order to present this subject more distinctly to the Senate, your committee have taken, and here present, a comparative view of the revenue and expenditures of the Department for the four years first preceding, and the four years next foliowing, the time at which it was placed under the superintendence of the present Postmaster General. They find that, on the 1st July, 1825, there was a sur. plus fund of - - - $283,089 00 That on the 1st July, 1829, the surplus fund was, according to the statement of the former Postmaster General, - But according to the statement of the present Postmaster General, it was reduced to - - - - - 230,489 00 Which, for the purpose of the present esti
Within that time, some new mail routes were established, and some improvements were made in previously existing routes, but all these bear a very small proportion to the increase of expenditures. Possessing, therefore, as this Department has done, those increased elements of prosperity and means of usefulness, it appeared obvious to your committee that there must have been some mismanagement of its affairs, and a lavish expenditure of its funds, to reduce it in so short a time to its present insol. vent condition, and to render necessary the appropriation of so large a sum as four hundred and fifty thousand dollars from the Treasury, to enable the Postmaster Gen. eral to redeem its credit, and carry on its essential operations. And before determining whether they should recom. mend such appropriation, your committee thought it their duty to ascertain, as far as practicable, the accuracy of the several official statements which were made to them, as well as those which have from time to time been transmitted to Congress touching the condition of the Department; also, that they should investigate the cause of the sudden insolvency of this important department of the Government, which has heretofore sustained itself from its own resources, which, in former years, actually contributed 1,103,063 dollars to the general revenues of the country, and which was, but a few years since, in a most flourishing and prosperous condition. The prosecution of that inquiry was attended with much difficulty and embarrassment. The annual reports of all contracts entered into by the Department within the preceding year, (Law of 1808, v. 2, p. 1092,) have, in two instances, been wholly omitted by the present Postmaster General, and, in a third, the réport came in too late to be referred to by your committee, and to aid them in their investigation. No answer has yet been given by the Secretary of the Treasury to a resojution of the Senate adopted on the 11th day of March last, on motion of one of your committee, which calls for copies of the duplicates of contracts, bids, ord extra allowances which the law requires (1825, vol. 3, p. 1088, s. 10) should be fied in the office of the Comptroller of the Treasury. The duplicates of contracts and bids Vol. X. —C c
are said to have been consumed in the Treasury building; and it was also communicated to us by the officer employed to answer the call, that no statement of extra allowances had been filed there by the present Postmaster General. And the report of the Postmaster General, which accompanied the President’s message at the opening of the present Congress, apprizes us that his prior reports, as to the liabilities and resources of the Department, are erroneous. Thus the checks, few and ineffectual as they are, which the law imposes upon the transactions of the Department, having been in a great measure disregarded, or rendered abortive, and no certain means being left us to determine the accuracy of the statements and reports issuing from it, except by causing calculations to be made in all cases where there were data on which to found them, and by comparing those reports with themselves, and with each other, your committee adopted this course, and thus they believe have been able to arrive at a conclusion very nearly correct, as to the general value of those reports and statements. In order to account for the increase of expense in the transportation of the mail, the Postmaster General has, in his several annual reports, presented us an enormous increase also of mail transportation. In his report accompanying the President's message of December, 1832, he states that the annual transportation of the mail on the 1st of July, 1829, was 13,700,000 miles; and in that accompanying the President’s message at the commencement of the present session of Congress, he states that, on the 1st day of July, 1833, it was 26,854,485 miles, making an increase of transportation from the 1st July, 1829, to the 1st July, 1834, of 13,154,485 miles. From the knowledge which your committee possessed of the general situation and business of the Department at those periods, it appeared to them that this statement carried the stamp of improbability upon its very face. They, therefore, for the purpose of ascertaining as nearly as possible the state of the matter, called on the officers of the Department for the particular data on which they had founded their estimates, and asked also for the original paper showing the calculations; but they were told that those papers were all destroyed. Your committee having subpoenaed Doctor Phineas Bradley to attend before them, and give evidence, placed in his hands the advertisements for mail contracts, and the book containing the statement of extra allowances, and gave directions that he should be furnished with all such information from the Department as would enable him to make a full and fair estimate; and they instructed him to make out and report to them, under oath, a true statement of the amount of transportation, in miles, at the periods above mentioned. After he had proceeded very far with his estimate, and was nearly ready to make his report, your committee was informed, through their chairman, that the calculations from which the report of transportation for 1832 was made out, had been found, and that a copy could be furnished. It was accordingly furnished, but came too late for your committee to compare it with the actual routes, and with the advertisements and books of the Department. And it contains nothing of itself to enable us to determine on its correctness. It stands, therefore, on precisely the same ground with that of the annual reports above mentioned, and requires the same evidence to sustain it. The report of Doctor Bradley, in whose diligence, integrity, and knowledge of the subject, we have the fullest reliance, is hereto attached, verified by his oath. It shows that the transportation of the mail, on 1st of July, 1829, just after the Department came under the superintendence of the present Postmaster General, was 15,209, 039 miles, being 1,509,039 miles more than it is stated in the annual report above referred to, and that the transportation on the 1st of July, 1833, was 21,156,844, in