ePub 版
[ocr errors][merged small]

sation between Mr. FILLM on E and Mr. HAw Es, was laid aside. The committee then rose and reported all the bills to the House. The bill to reappropriate an unexpended balance of a former appropriation for the payment of the Georgia militia claims for the years 1792, 1793, and 1794, was ordered to a third reading, read a third time immediately, passed, and sent to the Senate for concurrence. Mr. POLK gave notice that on Mohday he would move that, instead of receiving petitions and memorials, the House proceed with the appropriation bills. The House then adjourned.

Mox DAY, JUNE 16. Mr. POLK asked the unanimous consent of the House to take up, for final disposition, the appropriation bills lying on the Speaker's table to be engrossed. Mr. GRENNELL said, as this was probably the only day left for the presentation of petitions, he must object.

Mr. HARDIN inquired if the honorable chairman of

the Committee of Ways and Means did not know that this day was set apart for that purpose?

Mr. POLK replied he knew it very well; but, under the state of the public business, and if objections were made, he must move a suspension of the rule to enable him to take up these bills.

Mr. BORGES. Pray let us not turn a deaf ear to the petitions of our constituents, and let us hear the voice of a suffering people. Their petitions have been lying on our table, unacted upon, some of them for nearly five weeks. Is it not of more consequence to them to hear their voice, than to undertake to dispose of their money?

Mr. POLR modified his proposition, so as to move to have the rule suspended to take up the appropriation bills at half past one o’clock; which motion, after a desuitory discussion, in which Mr. Surhen LAN p, Mr. Polk, Mr. V1N'ron, Mr. Chilton, Mr. GRENNELL, Mr. WAYNE, and Mr. DENNY, participated, prevailed: Ayes 125, noes 38.

WAYNE COUNTY (IND.) MEMORIAL. The House proceeded to the consideration of the mo. morial of 1841 inhabitants of Wayne county, Indiana, for the restoration of the deposites and recharter of the Bank of the United States, which was the unfinished buso il C.Ss. Mr. McCA it'TY rose and addressed the Chair as follows: Sir, said Mr. McC., when I presented this memorial, and asked its postponement to a certain day—and which, by the business of the House, has been postponed till now,-. it was with a view to await other testimonials and expres. sions of public opinion on this subject, from other counties comprising the district I have the honor to represent on this floor. I had expected that inasmuch as the subject of the currency, always of the deepest importance to a well-regulated community, had been agitated there in such a manner as to call forth an expression of public opin. ion of so large and respectable a portion of my constituents—of the largest county, not only of the district, but the State—that the surrounding counties would have manifested some indication of their sentinents or feelings on the subject; but in this anticipation I have been disappointed. I was the more desirous of obtaining an expression of something like the sentiments of the majority of my immediate constituents, because this memorial contains sentiments not cntirely in accordance with my own opinions, and because I stand committed to the people I represent, to obey their instructions on this very question. It is true, said Mr. McC., that this memorial does not emanate from a majority of my constituents; but the fact

(Ind.) Memorial.

[Just 16, 1834. that it is signed by so large and respectable a number of the freemen of my district, and that the statements of the memorialists are uncontradicted by counter memorials; this, taken in connexion with the time which elapsed since this memorial was transmitted to this place, had much influence in directing my votes, recently given, upon the resolutions of the Senate, which, by the decision of this House, now sleep upon your table. The memorial is from the most populous, and one of the oldest counties of the State I have the honor, in part, to represent. It is signed by 1841 of my immediate constituents; a majority, I believe, of the legal voters of that county. They are composed of farmers, mechanics, manufacturers, merchants, lawyers, physicians, and of every profession and pursuit incident to that section of the country, and are emigrants from almost every State in the Union. In looking over the names of the memorialists, I find that a large proportion are of that class of citizens who seldom participate in the party conflicts of the day. It they vote at all, which they do not always do, they approach the polls silently, vote, and return to their various occupations, without meddling with others, or obtruding their political sentiments on their neighbors with a view to influence their suffrages. They are of that denomination of citizens called “Friends,” whose -opinions are seldom formed or exercised for party purposes; they proceed from due deliberation, intelligent, cool heads, and honest hearts, and are therefore entitled to much weight and consideration. There is another class of citizens whose names are attached to this memorial, who are entitled to equal respect; and who, in point of intelligence, integrity, and patriotism, would not lose by a comparison with the people of any section of this Union. Many of these men were the first settlers of that region of country, and among them I recognise distinguished names who were associated, in times of great peril, with that eminent and gallant general (Wayne) from whom the county of their resodence takes its name. They belong to both political parties. Sir, said Mr. McC., a majority of the memorialists are no political friends of mine; but they are my constituents, and, although differing in some degree from me upon this subject, I have thought it due to them to say till is much in reference to the influence and respect whicle 1 claim for their opinions in this House. They remonstrate against the course taken by the Executive in the removal of the deposites from the Bank of the United States, believing, they say, that it was an assumption of power not authorized by the constitution, and a violation of time contract between the Government and the bank; procłttcing, they allege, uncxampled individual distress, and a total loss of confidence in the circulating medium of the country; and that, consequent upon this state of things, all the staple commodities of the country have undergo one a decline in value. Iłusiness and improvements are at a stand; and great sacrifices are made in order to ful in previous engagements. They ask for a recharter of the bank, with such modifications as Congress may thin to proper to make; and also that the deposites be restored to the Bank of the United States. It is not, said Nir. McC., my purpose to discuss the merits of this question. It has been ably, eloquently, and profoundly examine, 1, in both branches of Congress, by more cyperienced heat is than mine; and, in my opinion, much has been unneces. sarily said on both sides; nay, the subject has literally been exhausted and worn out, until the heart almost sick. ens at the very recital of the question. But justice to

memorial, and those I represent, seem to require that I should say something in explanation of the course I have felt it my duty to pursue in reference to this subject. I am now, and ever have been, opposed to the U 1 site. 1

myself, from the attitude in which I am placed by this Jus E 16, 1934.] States Bank as at present chartered; though I am clearly of opinion that a national bank is absolutely necessary, both as a safe and convenient fiscal agent of the Government, and a salutary regulator of the currency, as also to atford a sound par circulating medium throughout the country. Sir, I have never entertained any other opinion upon this subject. Though I always have been and still an opposed to the present charter, my opposition is not to the system, but to the uncontrollable power it possesses, and may improperly excrcise, to say nothing of what has beca done, over the politics of the country. I would, said Mr. McC., greatly prefer a new bank altogether; for there cannot be a doubt that great and salutary improvements may be made upon the system, were Congress rightly disposed. But, if it is found to be impracticable to create a new bank, I would not hesitate to vote for a recharter of the present, with proper guards and modifications; without which I could not, unless instructed by my immediate constituents, which instructions this memorial does not contain. In reference to the public deposites, simple justice to the bank might possibly require their restoration to its custody; but I am unable to sce how such a restoration would restore the complained of paralyzed industry, broken considence, and deranged currency, to their wonted health and vigor. If such a state of things really exists; if the bank shall not be rechartered, which this House has decided it ought not; and if the removal of the public moneys from the Bank of the United States has produced this unexampled distress throughout the country, would not the withdrawal of the same amount from the local banks, merely to be again placed in the United States Bank for the short period of little more than twenty months, the limitation of the present charter, when they must again be withdrawn and placed somewhere else, have a tendency to augment that distress? It seems to me that this result cannot be doubted. But upon this point, as upon all others not involving constitutional objections, affecting the interest, prosperity, and happiness of my constituents and the country, 1 shall feel bound to obey their wishes as soon as they shall be fairly made known to me. Sir, said Mr. McC., I am no advocate of the local banks as a depository of the public revenue, nor of the absolute control of the Secretary of the Treasury over them. I believe the power legitimately belongs to Congress, and that they owe it to their country, their constituents, and themselves, to dispose of this subject speedtly by positive cnactment. I will not, said Mr. McC., detain the House at this protracted period of the session, to say as much as I had intended to say upon this subject. I move you that the memorial, with the names, be printed and referred to the committee to which the bill regulating the deposites is referred. Mr. WARDWELL, observed that he had not, during this protracted session, occupied the time of the House by saying a word upon the subject of the bank and of the distresses of the country; and he would not, at this time, trouble the House with any remarks, were it not for a most singular communication which he had received from a highly respectable constituent. This memorial from the State of Indiana states, in substance, that there is an unexampled distress throughout the country, in consequence of the removal of the public deposites from the Bank of the United States. If this be the case, the people which he had the honor to represent must be subject to the same calamity. But they had not sent their complaints here—the district gave a majority of votes against General Jackson at the last presidential election; yet he had not received a single petition or menorial complaining of the removal of the deposites, or in favor of the bank. He had, it is true, received letters stating that the district was liberally supplied with •peeches and reports in favor of the bank and against the

Wayne county (Ind.) Memorial.

[ocr errors]

administration, and that, for two or three months past, there had becn much excitement in that section of the country; he had no doubt but that this cycitement was, in some measure, produced by the unexampled exertions of political partisans, who, no doubt, were anxious to make the people believe that they were really distressed. The manner in which he had reason to believe the names of some of his constituents were obtained, for the purpose of furnishing them with these political papers in favor of the bank, he would now state to the IIouse. By this morning's mail he had received in a letter from a gentleman of the first respectability, and in whose statements the most implicit considence may be placed, a printed paper or circular, which he would now read to the House. Here Mr. W. read a paper dated in February last, at the city of New York, and signed by J. N. Bolles and two others, requesting the names of the ministers of the gospel, exhortars, elders, deacons, and of moral, influential, public-spirited, and benevolent persons, for the purpose of transmitting to them a paper containing a circular which they wished to send through the State. Mr. W. read also an extract from the letter which cmclosed the circular, stating that, to the persons whose names had been furnished agreeably to the request contained in the circular, there were forwarded from time to time, and franked by members of Congress, the speeches of Mr. Clay and Mir. J. Q. Adams, and the report of Mr. Webster in the Senate, February 5, 1834, from the Committee on Finance. From these facts gentlemen can draw their own conclusions. He knew nothing of the matter himself. He only stated the facts as received by him. He could vouch for the respectability, high character, and moral worth of the individual who sent him the circular. All may be right. Doubtless it was, so far as the names of members of this I louse are concerned. As to distress in his district, he would state that he could say nothing of his own knowledge. He had, however, received letters recently, stating that many kinds of propcrty sold by farmers had not brought a better pricc since the year 1817. He would state further, that, at the last session of the Legislature of the State of New York, a bank was incorporated and located at Sackett's IIarbor, in his district, with a capital of $200,000; and such was the eagerness to obtain stock, that nearly $600,000 were subscribed. This shows, most conclusively, that there is some moncy left in the district, notwithstanding the removal of the deposites. Mr. P. C. FULLER said that, in the present condition of the business of the House, (the rules having been just suspended two hours only, for the presentation of petitions,) he certainly should not occupy much time either in giving or requiring explanations. In reference to the charge of having forwarded documents and speeches to persons in the district of his colleague, he would only say he had done so; but to an exteilt by no means commensurate with his own wishes, or, he believed, with the wishes of no inconsiderable portion of the gentleman's constituents. How he had been furnished with names he would cheerfully, explain to his colleague; but he felt neither called upon nor at liberty to detain the House with details so unimportant and personal. For what purpose, (said Mr. F.,) or on what precise evidence, my colleague is inclined to connect letters and packages I may have sent to Jefferson county with the operations of gentlemen in New York whom I know not, and of whom I never have before heard, I am unable to determine. It is sufficient for me at this time to disavow, as I do, all knowledge of the circular commented upon--its object, its authors, or its conncxion with any transaction whatever, of a political or any other character. Mr. GRENNELL sail, as the controversy was chang

[ocr errors]

Franklin county (Mass.) Memorial–Rhode Island Resolutions--Cumberland Road. [Jun E 16, 1834.

ed from State to church affairs, he would move to lay the memorial on the table; but withdrew it at the request of Mr. SELDEN, who observed that, as his name had been alluded to by the honorable member from New York, [Mr. WARDwell,) he would say a word in answer. It was intended to be insinuated that the circular read by to gentleman (which appeared to be a circular by some religious association) had some connexion with the distribution of documents in the county of Jefferson. Mr. S. said that, unfortunately for himself, he had very little to do with the church; less, no doubt, than he ought to have. With the circular, however, she had nothing to do, either directly or indirectly. Now, for the first time, he had heard of it. And the attempt made by the gentleman to form any alliance between him and the authors of this circular is wholly unfounded; there is not a shadow of truth in it; there is no evidence of any description in the possession of the gentlemaro or any other person, which could justify him in making the suggestion. It is untrue throughout. A bookseller of the county of Jefferson, who visited Washington in February or January last, and with whofm, if he recollects, the honorable member is acquainted, requested him to send documents to dif. ferent individuals, contained in a list which he prepared and handed to Mr. S. He had sent some, and was very sorry that he could not send more. He would, with pleasure, furnish the gentlemen with a list of names of his constituents, if he would undertake to supply them with information; and if the gentleman was unwilling or afraid to trust his own constituents with the truth, he would also furnish them with information, so far as it might be in his power. Mr. S. said he had no fear to trust his constituents with any document or speech. They were able to ascertain and understand the truth. Was it to be understood that the honorable gentleman was unwilling to do the same? Were not his constituents to be trusted with information? Did he fear that they could not understand it? or, under. standing it, did he fear the consequences? Is this the ground upon which the representative under our Gov. ernment hopes to preserve our institutions? Is it necessary, for this purpose, to keep the people in ignorance? Mr. WARDWELL replied that he had not complained that the gentleman had sent documents into his district, but of the manner in which it was done. He had read a circular issued from the city of New York, requesting the names of the religious people in his district, and had stated the fact that the documents were sent to them under the frank of “D. Selden” and “ P. C. Fuller.” The franks might be forgeries, for ought he knew; but the documents were sent in the manner he had mentioned. He was perfectly willing that the gentlemen should send information into his district, but he (Mr. W.) was unable to furnish documents to the gentleman's constituents. He would furnish them, with pleasure, if he could get them without paying for them, as he presumed the gentleman did, Mr. SELDEN now understood the gentleman, he said, to convey the charge further than he did at first. He had insinuated that he sent blank franks to New York or left them there, which he unequivocally denied. So far as the House has any interest in the question, it was right to say that all the documents franked under his name were franked by him and from this city, and not elsewhere. His colleague, who had also been charged in like manner, had made the same denial. The gentleman ought to be cautious in making suggestions, to go out to the public, without any reasonable foundation. If the gentleman intended to raise this insinuation, it was a matter between him and the gentleman. He would ask him to point out any proof of any kind in support of the charge. Mr. GRENNELL said, as he perceived the honorable members were passing from “the State” to “the

church,” it was as well to arrest the debate and proceed to other business. With this view he moved to lay the memorial on the table, and that it should be printed, with the names; which motion prevailed.


The memorial from the inhabitants of Franklin county, Massachusetts, for renewing the charter of the Bank of the United States, and for the restoration of the deposites, having been taken up,

Mr. GRENNELL supported the views of the memorialists at length. [His remarks have been given in preceding pages. }

The memorial was printed.


The resolutions of the Legislature of Rhode Island on the subject of the Bank of the United States, presented on a former day, being taken up,

Mr. BURGES addressed the House in support of them, and in condemnation of the ruinous course of the administration.

Mr. PEARCF obtained the floor, in reply; but the hour appointed for passing to the orders of the day having arrived, his remarks were postponed.


The House then took up the bill from the Senate for the continuance and repair of the Cumberland road, from Cumberland, through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Mr. POLK said he felt no hostility to the passage of this bill, but could not consent to the large amount of appropriation it contained. It exceeded the appropriation of last year by six hundred and seventy-seven thousand dollars; and he was assured by the chief engineer that, whatever sum might be appropriated, not more than three hundred thousand dollars could advantageously be applied by the department during the present season. The war Department had submitted three plans for the repair of the road east of the Ohio. The first was the construction of a clay road, which would cost one hundred and forty-seven thousand dollars. A second plan proposed to cover the road with stone taken from the immediate vicinity, which would cost two hundred thousand dollars. A third plan was to take up the stone sounda: tion which had been laid for the road on the old plan, and then to grade and Macadamize the whole in the best manner; this would cost six hundred and fifty-two thousand one hundred and thirty dollars. This was for the one hundred and thirty-two miles between Cumberland and Wheeling; and would amount to about five thousand dollars a mile. Mr. P. deprecated the latter plan, as profligate and extravagant. He thought that it would be sufficient to cover the old foundation with a coat of stone, such as was found on the spot by the road side; and, under this persuasion, he moved to amend the bill by striking from it the appropriation of six hundred and fifty-two thousand one hundred and twenty dollars, and inserting three hundred thousand dollars. He called for the reading of the report from the Committee of Ways and Means; which having been read, Mr. STEWAIRT called for the reading of the report of the Secretary of War. He said it was now too late to deliberate on which of the plans should be adopted, as the Department had already acted on the last plan. The old four dation had been taken up, and broken stone had been laid down upon the Macadam plan; it would be useless to cover the road with sandstone, which, in a short time, would be ground to powder by the immense travel constantly passing over the road. The reduction now proposed had been moved in the Senate, and rejected; should the bill now be reduced, it would probably

laid on the table, and ordered to be

share the same fate. The money appropriaaed last year

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

had been expended in November, and nothing having since been done to the road, all that was then done was, for the most part, lost by the effect of rains, frost, and travel. The States were ready to receive the road as soon as it should be put in good repair. The sum now asked would put it in complete repair; the Government would be entirely relieved, and the friends of the road would pledge themselves never to ask for another dollar. Mr. DAVIS, of South Carolina, inquired how often the same pledge had been given? Mr. STEWART replied never, by himself, or by any one he knew of, because they had never been in a situa. tion to give such a pledge. Mr. DAVIS scouted the idea of gentlemen thus giving a pledge which they could not enforce. The same prom. ise had been repeated on every new demand for money. He hoped the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means would persevere. Mr. McKENNAN inquired of Mr. Polk, whether he meant to include in his amendment the striking out of the limitation in the last section of the bill, which provided that no more money should hereafter be appropriated for this object, and that, when this money had been expended, the road should be ceded to the States? Mr. POLK said that he did not. He thought two hundred thousand dollars was sufficient to put the road in such a state of repair that it should be fit to be ceded. He referred to the large sums of money which had successively been appropriated to this work. He inveighed against the extravagance of the sum proposed in the bill, and went into estimates to show that this road had already cost the Government from eighteen to nineteen thousand dollars a mile. Mr. McKENNAN signified his willingness to assent to the amendment. Mr. WHITTLESEY pressed Mr. St EwART to do the sanne. Mr. STEWART said that he could not, until he knew whether the chairman would himself vote for the bill, if reduced as proposed. Mr. POLK, without directly answering this question, said that, if Mr. St EwART was willing to risk the bill as it now stood, he had no objections; but if the gentleman insisted upon the whole six hundred thousand dollars, he was ready to meet him. Mr. McKENNAN was willing to accept the bill with the reduction, provided the restriction should be stricken out. The enlargement of the sum in the Senate had been the work, not of the friends, but of the opponents of the road, who had proposed this large sum, as a final grant, to get rid of the subject. The restriction declared that no more money should be appropriated. Supposing, then, that the three hundred thousand dollars should not be quite sufficient to complete the repairs, was the road to be left to go to ruin? Mr. BEATY proposed, as a compromise, that the sum be divided, one-half to be expended this year, and the residue next. Mr. McKAY, after quoting the several acts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, assenting (the last two gonditionally) to the cession of the road, proposed to amend the bill by reducing the sum appropriated to 500,000 dollars, with the proviso that no more than 100,000 dollars should be expended until Pennsylvania and Maryland should change the form of their acts, assenting to the cession, by dispensing with the condition now theréin contained. Mr. WILSON was willing to accept the bill, if the restriction should be taken out of it. Supposing the sum, as reduced, should sail to put the road in such a state of repair as was contemplated in the act of Pennsylvania and Maryland, how could the General Government require of

lieve it to be nugatory, as was intimated. Those who gave it would stand by it; nor had he any doubt that the States would act honorably, and fulfil, to the letter, what they had promised.

Mr. THOMAS corrected the statement of Mr. Polk, from which he thought an impression had been left on the House that the proposed reduction would be in conformity with the views of the Secretary of War. The bill, as it came from the Senate, had received the approbation of that officer, having, in fact, been founded on estimates furnished by him. Mr. T. quoted the report of the War Department in support of this position; dwelt upon the waste of public money which had been occasioned by partial and insufficient appropriations, and insisted, at large, and with much earnestness, on the propriety of granting the whole sum proposed by the Senate. As to the condition of the treasury, to which the chairman had alluded, there was good grounds to justify the belief that the receipts for the next year would exceed, by three or four millions, the estimate submitted by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Mr. SUTHERLAND pressed for a decision.

Mr. WHITTLESEY believed 300,000 dollars would be enough. He was opposed to taking up the foundation of the . r03 (1.

Mr. SUTHERLAND moved to amend Mr. Polk’s amendment, by substituting for the striking out of the 652,000 dollars, a proviso, that no more than 300,000 dollars of the money should be drawn from the treasury, during the present year, for the repair of said road. Mr. ARCHER supported this amendment, and ridiculed the idea of giving pledges, which should bind their successors. No guaranty of that kind was of any value. Mr. STEWAlrt expressed his surprise that this motion should come from the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, [Mr. Polk, ) who, he understood, would interpose no obstacle to the passage of this bill, though from constitutional doubts he would be constrained to vote against it. But as that gentleman had, notwithstanding, thought proper to move the reduction of the sum from 652,000 dollars to 300,000 dollars, he would not object to it, provided the gentleman would modify so as to strike out the provision in the bill which made this appropriation final, and thus make it conform to the bill reported by the Committee of Ways and Means; but if it was the object of the gentleman to reduce the sum more than onehalf, and still retain the restriction which made the appropriation final, he would be obliged to resist it; and he now wished to know distinctly from the honorable chairman whether he would so modify his motion of not? [Mr. Polk signified his unwillingness so to modify, and said that his purpose was to reduce the sum and make it final, as he thought it sufficient, and the estimate extravagant.] Mr. ŠtewART said he would be glad to know upon what ground the gentleman undertook thus to condemn the estimates of the War Department as extravagant. The secretary of war, the Chief Engineer, and the officers of the engineer corps, who made this estimate, had no interest in making it extravagant; besides, it was made after two years' operations on the road, when the precise cost of labor and materials was accurately ascertained. This cstimate was printed, and placed, more than two months ago, on the gentleman's table, giving, in detail, the exact quantity of work required to be done; every perch of stone; every drain, culvert, side-wall, and bridge; every thing required to complete the road from one end to the other, with the precise cost of each item. Now, let the honorable chairman take up this estimate-no doubt he had examined it—let him point out a single item that is

those States, in that case, to take the road off of its hands? As to what had been said of the pledge, he did not be.

unnecessary, or too high; a single thing that is extravagant; let him put his finger on it, and I will consent to

[ocr errors]

strike it out. This he has not attempted. Why, them, shall the gentleman, without knowledge or examination, rise in his place, and, with his eyes shut, pronounce at random this minute and detailed estimate, made after two years’ experience, by practical, disinterested, and scientific engineers, absurd and extravagant? Why ask this House to adopt his mere dictum in opposition to the enlightened opinions of the War Department, communicated to this House by the President himself. To do so would be cquivalent to a vote of censure, which he hoped the House was not prepared to give. It is an easy matter, sir, for gentlemen to talk here about extravagance and prodigality; it is casy to say, as has been said, that this road has cost 50,000 dollars a mile; and that the people upon it have made fortunes, by getting contracts at extravagant rates; this is mere declamation. Look at the records in the Department, and you will find that the most difficult portion of this road—made during the late war, in the midst of mountains, overcoming disticulties considered insurmountable, at a time when the price of labor and provision was at the highest, passing sixty miles over mountains—cost less that 10,000 dollars per mile; the next portion, from Uniontown to Washington, cost only 6,400 dollars per mile, including bridges. A cheaper road, under similar circumstances, he contended, had never been constructed; and, so far form making fortunes, the fact was notorious that there were more honest and industrious men ruined on this road, by taking contracts, too low, than had made fortunes by getting them too high. But how, it is asked, is the repair of this road now so expensive? By attending to a very brief statement of the facts, this would be readily understood. This road was originally constructed by laying down a substratum or pavement of loose stone, one foot in thickness, and superadding six inches of fine stone, to give it a smooth surface; and thus it was lesi, without any system for its preservation, exposed to the uncontrolled action of the travel and the elements, for more than sisteen years, during all which time only three appropriations were made for its repair, amounting, together, to one hundred and seventy-eight thousand dollars. The road was, therefore, in a most ruinous condition; the whole of the six inches of fine stone gone, and much of the rough pavement cut through and destroyed. In this condition, the States of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, took it up, and passed the laws referred to in the bill, providing for the Crcction of gates and collec. tion of tolls, whenever Congress should appropriate a sum sufficient to put the road in “a complete state of repair.” To these acts Congress has assented; and two appropriations, one in 1832 and the other in 1833, have been made to carry these acts into effect, and thereby throw the burden of repairs, from the national treasury, on those who have the use and benefit of the road. The condition of the road was inspected personally by the Secretary of War, and also by General Gratiot, the chics engineer, who were satisficq, from its dilapidated and ruinous condition, that a complete and thorough repair, such as was expressly required by the State laws, could only be effected by taking up the road from its foundations, and reconstructing it on Macadam's plan, for which lirnestone (very scarce and expensive in the mountains) was the only suitable material; and it is mainly attributa. ble to this fact that the expense of the repairs has been so great. In pursuance of this plan, more than two-thirds of the whole road has been taken up, and the first stratom of four and a half inclies of fine broken limestone put down, and on much of it the second stratum, making nine inches of metal. It is, therefore, too late for the gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Polk] to talk about a different plan; it is too late to rake up estimates made seven or eight years ago. The plan has been adopted by the Ex

Cumberland Road.

[Jun E 16, 1834. - - --- - - - - - - - - - - –– ecutive department, it has been sanctioned by Congress, and has been two years in progress; and now, after the whole road (except about forty miles) has been taken up, and is partly completed on the plan adopted, the gentleman talks about a new system. It is too late, sir. Surely, the gentleman would not himself consent to put broken sandstone on the fine limestone already put down. To do so would, indeed, be a wanton waste of public money; it would not last six months; it would all be ground into sand before the next meeting of Congress, when a further appropriation would be required to place the road in a condition to receive gates; the State laws requiring, as a condition precedent, the “complete and thorough repair of the road,” preliminary to the erection of gates. The question, therefore, as to the plan and the amount required, Mr. S. regarded as definitively settled by the concurrent action of the Department and of Congress; and the only question remaining to be decided was, who: ther the whole, or a part only, of the sum required should now be appropriated. This was a question about which he felt very little solicitude, and should be perfectly satisfied with any decision the House might think proper to make. He would, however, suggest a few considerations which seemed to him to favor the appropriation of the whole sum. - 1. In the first place, the Department, having the certainly of funds, could regulate their operations accordingly: The whole road would at once be put under contract, and the work continued throughout the year, without the injurious delays which occur here in the passage of appropriation bills, by which the work has now been suspended for nearly eight months. And a considerable portion of the work done last summer bad, during the winter and spring, been entirely destroyed by the combined action of the frost, rain, and travel, and must again be repaired at additional expense. - - Again: Congress, by making a final appropriation, would be relieved from all further trouble with this most troublesome subject; and those interested in the road would find it their interest to hasten the erection of gates, and promote an economical and profitable expenditure of of the money, it being the last appropriation. But while Congress appropriate partially, from time to time, they have no such interest. Hence, he thought, every consideration of economy and sound policy favored the appropriation of the entire sum at once. The gates would be sooner up, it would cost less, and be in every, way, better than to continue to encounter the delays and embarassments which attended partial appropriations. The objection urged against appropriating the whole sum by the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, on the ground that it would lock up this large slim in the treasury till the road was finished, was altogether unfounded, Surely, that gentleman knows that the money would be drawn from the treasury, only as wanted, and that, till required, it would remain blended with the other funds, and applicable to the other wants of the Government. But the gentleman has also endeavored to alarm the House with the idea of a deficiency of revenue; and standing as he did, in the attitude of chancellor of the exchequer, his opinions were entitled, on that account, to some weight. But here the gentleman again comes in direct collision with the Secretary of the Treasury, who says, in his annual report, communicated early in the session, that, after satisfying all the estimates for the service of the year, and discharging the last dollar of the public debt, there would still remain, exclusive of unavailable funds, in the treasury on the 31st December next, $2,981,796 05, nearly three millions of dollars. And a few days since, in answer to a cali from the Senate, the Secrétary says the revenue has so far overrun this estimate, that the actual surplus, at the end of the

year, after satisfying all demands, will exceed four mil

« 上一頁繼續 »