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21st Cong. 1st Sess.]
Bank of the United States.
[H. OF R.
tain, than that every unfavorable vicissitude in trade, Deeply impressed with the conviction that the weak every period of commercial distress and embarrassment, point of a free Government is the absorbing tendency of would give rise to importunate and clamorous calls for Executive patronage, and sincerely believing that the indulgence
, and for an injudicious extension of discounts, proposed bank would invest that branch of the Governwhich no administration would have the firmness to rement with a weight of moneyed influence more dangersist. Every one who has witnessed the urgency and ous in its character, and more powerful in its operation, unanimity with which the representatives of the states than the entire mass of its present patronage, the comindebted for public lands, have pressed the claims of their mittee bave felt that they were imperiously called upon, citizens for indulgence and remission, must be satisfied, by the highest considerations of public duty, to express that, if the citizens of all the States should become in the views they have presented, with a frankoess and debted much more largely for bank loans, the Govern- freedom demanded by the occasion. It is, at the same ment would have scarcely any fnculty of resistance, when time, due to their own feelings, that they should state appeals for indulgence should come from all quarters of the unequivocally their conviction, that the suggestion of the Union, sustained by the strong plea of public distress and Chief Magistrate, which they have thus freely examined, embarrassment.
proceeded froin motives of the most disinterested patrioThe policy of extending indulgence to the public debt-tism, and was exclusively designed to promote the wel. ors, and of granting more liberal loans to the communi- fare of the country. This is not the mere formal and ty, would, in the natural course of things, become the fa- beartless homage, sometimes offered up to official stavorite theme of those who aspired to popular favor. Po- tion, either from courtesy or iutereet, but a tribute which litical parties would come to be divided upon the ques. is eminently due, and cheerfully rendered, to the exalted tion of observing towards the public debtors a strict character of the distinguished individual on whom it is be. banking policy, indispensable to the maintenance of spe- stowed. cie payments, on the one hand, or a liberal Government policy, necessarily involving & sits pension of specie pay. Extract of a letter from an intelligent merchant in Charles
a ments, on the other. And when it is considered that the ton, South Carolina, to the Obairman of the Commitwhole class of debtors, always the moet numerous and ac- tee of Ways and Means, illustrating the exchange operative portion of the community, would be naturally in fa- tions of the Bank of the United States. vor of increasing bank issues, and extending bank indul- « This effect of diminishing the vast difference of exgencies, it can scarcely be doubted that specie payments change between the various points of the country, was would be suspended in the first great pecuniary exigen evidently produced by the bank. The advantages procy, growing out of embarrassments in our commerce, or duced by this institution, in the intercourse between the deficiencies in our revenue.
Western and Atlantic States, can be duly appreciated, The Government, therefore, which is upder the most ovly by one who sees, passing before bim, the actual opeBacred obligations to constrain all the banks to maintain ration of the system of exchange it has created. For specie payments
, with a view to the uniformity and example: Lexington, in Kentucky, annually accumulates soundness of the currency, would by its own example, a large surplus of funds to her credit in Charleston, perpetuate the great national evil of & fluctuating and de- derived from the sale of horses, hogs, and other live preciated circulating medium.
stock, driven to that as well as to other Soutbern marThese evils, which would be so highly probable in time kets by her citizens. Philadelphia is indebted to Charlesof peace, would be almost certain in the event of war.
ton for exchange remitted, dividends on bank stock, &c. The temptation to supply the Federal Treasury by the and Lexington is indebted to Philadelphia for merchaneasy process of bank issues, rather than resort to the up-dise. Without the transportation of a single piece of popular process of internal taxation, would be too fascicoip, Lexington draws on Charleston, and remits the nating to
resisted. We should thus experience what check to Philadelphia in payment of her debt there; every nation has experienoed in like circumstances, the which operation adjusts the balance between the three manifold evils of a mere paper currency, having no rela- points of the triangle almost without expense or trouble. tion to any standard of intrinsic value.
Could such facilities be obtained from any other than an In these views the committee are fully sustained by the acting as co-partners in one
institution having branches in different parts of the Union
Local banks, opinion of Mr. Lowodes, expressed in 1819. These are whatever might be their willingness, could not accommohis words: “That the destruction of the [United States] date in the same mapper and to a like extent." Bank would be followed by the establishment of paper
“The discounting of bills on the low terms establish money, he firmly believed; be might almost say, he ed by the Branch Bank at this place, is a great benefit to knew. It was an extremity from which the House would the agricultural interest, particularly in enhancing the recoil, if now proposed: but if the resolution on the table price of cotton and rice; and were the back to stop its were passed, it would very soon be proposed. The sub-operations, there is no saying how far these. staples ject was too large for an incidental discussion. Gentle would be depressed. The private dealers in exchange men thought the amount of Government paper might be would take the place of the bank in that business, and limited, and depreciation prevented, by the rate of inter- their profits on bills would be taken out of the pockets of est which should be exacted. Ioadequate every where, the planters, as the merchants would always regulate the the security was particularly ineffectual in the United price they would give for an agricultural production, by States."
the high or low rate at which they could negotiate their But the inevitable tendency of a Government bank to bills. On account of its connexion with all parts of the involve the country in a paper system, is not, in the Union, the bank affords this important advantage to the opinion of the Committee, the greatest objection to it.— public. It is always a purchaser and always a seller of The powerful, and in the hands of a bad administration, exchange at fixed avd low rates, and thus prevents extorthe irrresistible and corrupting influence which it would tion by private dealers.”
" Before exercise over the elections of the couotry, constitutes an this Bank went into operation, exchange was from eight objection more imposing than all others united. No mat. to ten per cent. either for or against Charleston, wbich ter by what means an administration might get into pow. was a loss to the planter to that amount on all the proer, with such a tremendous engine in their hands, it would duce of Georgia and South Carolina, and indeed you be almost impossible to displace them withopt some mira- might say, all the produce of the Southern and Western culous interposition of Providence,
H. OF R.)
Veto on the Maysville Road Bill.
[21st Cong. Ist SESS. “ If the Bank of the United States were destroyed, the all my duties. Diversity of sevtiment among public funclocal banks would again issue their paper to an excessive livnaries, actuated by the same genvral mutives, ou the amount; and while a few adventurous speculators would character and tendency of particular measures, is an incibe much benefited by such an issue, the honest and unsus dent common to all Governments, and the more to be pecting citizens of our country would, finally, be the losers. expected in one which, like ours, owes its existence to the
back to what took place in New York, Penn- freedom of opinion, and must be upheld by the same insylvania, the Western States, and even in our own State, Auence. Controlled as we thus are, by a higher tribunal, we shall see the grossest impositions committed by Banks before which our respective acts will be canvassed with commencing with a few thousand dollars in specie, buy the ivdulgence due to the imperfections of our nature, and ing up newspapers to puff them as specie paying Bauks, with that intelligence and unbiassed judgment which are in order to delude the public, and, after getting their the true correctives of error, all that our responsibility debills into circulation, blowing up, and leaving the unsus- mands is that the public good should be the measure of our pecting planter and farmer victims of a fraud, by which views, dictating alike their frank expression and honest they were deprived of the bard earnings of years of hon- maintenance. est industry. But, Sir, I believe the Bank owes a great In the message which was presented to Congress at deal of the opposition which exists, and has existed, to the opening of its present session, I endeavored to exhibit the fact that it has put down these fraudulent institutions briefly my views upon the important and highly integot up by combinations and conspiracies of speculators ; resting subject, to which our attentiou is now to be diand who, after receiving large dividends, managed to de- rected. I was desirous of presenting to the Representa stroy the credit of their own paper, and, by the agency of tives of the several States in Congress assembled, the in. brokers, bought it up at half its nominal value.
quiry, whether some mode could not be devised which "Since I lust wrote you, I had a conversation with a would reconcile the diversity of opinion concerning the gentleman in the confidence of some of the moneyed powers of this Government over the subject of internal men of the North, and he says they are determined to improvement, and the manner in which these powers, if break up the United States' Bank, to enable them to use conferred by the Constitution, ought to be exercised. their money to advantage; as that institution gives so The act which I am called upon to consider, has theremany facilities to the community, as to deprive thein of fore, been passed with a knowledge of my views on this their former profits."
question, as these are expressed in the message referred * There is another consideration ; the distress would be to. In that document the following suggestion will be immense, which a refusal to renew the charter would found : produce among those who are indebted to the institution :
“After the extinction of the public debt, it is not profor I find that to this Branch, the planters, owe upwards bable that any adjustment of the tariff
, upon principles of a million of dollars ; and I have no hesitation in saying, satisfactory to the people of the Union, will
, until a reAs safe a debt as is owing to any Bavk in the Union. But mote period, if ever, leave the Government without a if the Bank should wivd up its affairs, these planters considerable surplus in the treasury, beyond what may could not get credit from other institutions ; and as the be required for its current service. As then the period Bank can sue in the United States' Court, where judg. approaches when the application of the revenue to the ment is obtained almost at once, property would be payment of debt will cease, the disposition of the surplus for half its value. Throughout the Union, all classes Congress : and it may be fortunate for the country that it greatly, depressed, and moneyed men would buy it up will present a subject for the serious deliberation of would suffer, except those who should hold up their is yet to be decided. Considered in connexion with the money to go into the brokerage business, or buy property difficulties which have heretofore attended appropriaat a sacrifice. If I were sure the bank would not be re- tions for purposes of internal improvement, and with chartered, I would couvert any property into money, with those which this experience tells us will certainly arise, a view to dealing in exchange. I could make a vast whenever power over such subjects may be exercised by fortune by it."
the General Goveroment, it is hoped that it may lead
to the adoptiou of some plan which will reconcile the MAYSVILLE ROAD BILL.
diversified interests of the States, and strengthen the
bonds which unite them. Every member of the Union, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, May 27, 1880.
in peace and in war, will be benefited by the improveThe following message was received from the Presi. ment of joland navigation and the construction of highdent of the United States, returning to the House of Re- ways in the several States. Let us then endeavor to atpresentatives the enculled bill entitled “ An act authoriz- tuin this benefit in a mode which will be satisfactory to ing a subscription of stock in the Maysville, Washington, all. That hitherto "adopted has been deprecated as Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Road Company," with his an infraction of the Constitution by many of our fellowobjections thereto :
citizens; while by others it has been viewed as inexpedi
ent. All feel that it has been employed at the expense To the House of Representatives :
of barmony in the legisiative councils ;" sod adverting to GENTLEMEN : I have maturely considered the bill pro- the constitutional power of Congress to make what I conposing to authorize “a subscription of stock in the Mays- sider a proper disposition of the surplus revenue, I subjoin ville, Washington, Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Road the following remarks : " To avoid these evile, it appears Company," and now return the same to the House of Re- to me that the most safe, just, and federal disposition presentatives, in which it originated, with my objections which could be made of the surplus revenue, would be its to its passage.
apportionment among the several States according to their Sincerely friendly to the improvement of our country ratio of represeutation ; and should this measure not be by means of roads and canals, I regret that any difference found warranted by the Constitution, that it would be exof opinion in the mode of contributing to it should exist pedient to propose to the States an amendment authorizbetween us; and if. in stating this difference, I go be- ing it.” yond what the occasion may be deemed to call for, I hope The constitutional power of the Federal Government to find an apology in the great importance of the subject, to construct or promote works of internal improvement, an upfeigued respect for the high source from which this presents itself in two points of view; the first, as bearing branch of it bas emanated, and an anxious wish to be cor- upon the sovereignty of the States within whose limits rectly understood by my constituents in the discharge of their execution is contemplated, if jurisdiction of the ter. 21st Cong. 1st Sess.]
Veto on the Maysville Road Bill.
[H. OF R.
ritory wbich they may occupy, be claimed as necessary constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigato their preservation and use; the second, as asserting the tion of water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and simple right to appropriate money from the National give security to internal commerce among the several Treasury in aid of such works when undertaken by State States, and to render more easy and less expensive, the authority, surrendering the claim of jurisdiction. In the means and provisions for the common defence." Regarding first view, the question of power is an open one, and can the bill as asserting a power in the Federal Government be decided without the embarrassment attending the to construct roads and capals within the limits of the other, arising from the practice of the Government. States in which they were made, be objected to its passage,
Although frequently and strenuously attempted, the on the ground of its unconstitutionality, declaring that the power, to this extent, bas never been exercised by the assent of the respective States, in the mode provided by Government in a single instance. It does not, in my the bill, could not confer the power in question; that the opinion, possess it; and no bill, therefore, which admits it, only cases in which the consent and cession of particular can receive my official sanction.
States can extend the power of Congress, are those specified But, in the other view of the power, the question is and provided for in the constitution; and superadding to differently sitnated. The ground taken at an early pe- these avowals, bis opinion, that “a restriction of the power riod of the Government, was “ that whenever money has to provide for the common defence and general welfare,' beer raised by the general authority, and is to be appli- to cases which are to be provided for by the expenditure ed to a particular measure, a question arises, whether of money, would still leave within the legislative power the particular measure be within the enumerated author- of Congress all the great and most important measures of sties vested in Congress. If it be, the money requisite Government; money being the ordinary and necessary for it may be applied to it; if not, no such application means of carrying them into execution," I have not been can be made.” The document in which this principle able to consider these declarations in any other point of was first advanced, is of deservedly high authority, and view, than as a concession that the right of appropriation should be held in grateful remembrance for its immediate is not limited by the power to carry into effect the agency in rescuing the country from much existing abuse measure for which the money is asked, as was formerly and for its conservative effect upon some of the most contended. valuable principles of the constitution. The symmetry The views of Mr. Monroe upon this subject were not and purity of the Goveroment would, doubtless, have left to inference. During his administration, a bill was been better preserved, if this restriction of the power of passed through both Houses of Congress, conferring the appropriation could have been maintained without weak- jurisdiction and prescribing the mode by which the Feening its ability to fulfil the general objects of its institu- deral Government should exercise it in the case of the tion; an effect so likely to attend its admission, notwith Cumberland Road. He returned it with objections to its standing its apparent fitness, that every subsequent ad- passage, and in assigning them, took occasion to say, that ministration of the Government, embracing a period of in the early stages of the Government, he bad inclined to thirty out of the forty-two years of its existence, has the construction that it had no right to expend money, adopted a more enlarged construction of the power. It except in the performance of acts authorized by the other is not my purpose to detain you, by a minutë recital of specific grants of power, according to a strict construction the acts which sustain this assertion; but it is proper that of them; but, that, on further reflection and observation, I should notice some of the most prominent, in order that his mind had undergone a change; that his opinion then the reflections which they suggest to my mind, may be was, “that Congress have an unlimited power to raise better understood.
money, and that, in its appropriation, they bave & disIn the administration of Mr. Jefferson, we have two cretionary power, restricted only by the duty to appropriate examples of the exercise of the right of appropriation, it to purposes of common defence, and of general, not lowhich, in the consideration that led to their adoption and cal, national, not State benefit;" and this was avowed to in their effects upon the publio mind, have had a greater be the governing principle through the residue of his adagency in marking the character of the power, than any ministration. The views of the last administration are of subsequent events. I allude to the payment of fifteen such recent date as to render a particular reference to them millions of dollars for the purchase of Louisiana, and to unnecessary. It is well known that the appropriating the original appropriation for the construction of the Cum- power, to the utmost extent which had been claimed for it, berland Road; the latter aet deriving much weight from in relation to internal improvements, was fully recognized the acquiescence and approbation of three of the most and exercised by it. powerful of the original members of the confederacy, This brief reference to known facts will be sufficient to expressed through their respective Legislatures. Al show the difficulty, if not impracticability, of bringing though the circumstances of the latter case may be such back the operations of the Government to the construction as to deprive so much of it as relates to the actual con- of the Constitution set up in 1793, assuming that to be its struction of the road, of the force of an obligatory expo-true reading, in relation to the power under consideration : sition of the constitution, it must, nevertheless, be ad- thus giving an admonitory proof of the force of implimitted that, so far as the mere appropriation of money cation, and the necessity of guarding the Constitution is concerned, they present the principle in its most im- with sleepless vigilance, against the authority of preposing aspect. No less than twenty-three different cedents which have not the sanction of its most plainly laws have been passed through all the forms of the con- defined powers. For, although it is the duty of all to stitution, appropriating upwards of two millions and a look to that sacred instrument, instead of the statute balf of dollars out of the national treasury in support book, to repudiate at all times encroachments upon its of that improvement, with the approbation of every Presi- spirit, which are too apt to be effected by the conjuncture dent of the United States, including my predecessor, of peculiar and facilitating circumstances; it is not less since its commencement.
true, that the publio good and the nature of our political Independently of the sanction given to appropriations institutions require, that individual differences should for the Cumberland and other roads and objects, under yield to & well settled acquiescence of the people this power, the administration of Mr. Madison was cha- and confederated authorities, in particular constructions racterized by an act which furnishes the strongest evi. of the Constitution, on doubtful points. Not to concede dence of his opinion of its extent. A bill was passed this much to the spirit of our institutions, would impair through both Houses of Congress, and presented for his their stability, and defeat the objects of the Coustitution approval, “ setting apart and pledging certain funds for itselt
The bill before me does not call for a more defi- | appears, that if no adverse and upforeseen contingency nite opinion upon the particular circumstances which happens in our foreign relations, and no unusual diversion will warrant appropriations of money by Congress, to be made of the funds set apart for the payment of the aid works of internal improvement ; for, although the national debt, we may look with confidence to its entire extension of the power to apply money beyond that of extinguishment in the short period of four years. carrying into effect the object for which it is appro- The extent to which this pleasing anticipation is depend
priated, has, as we have seen, been long claimed and ent upon the policy, which may be pursued in relation to ! exercised by the Federal Government, yet such grants measures, of the character of the one now under conside
have always been professedly under the control of the ration, must be obvious to all, and equally so, that the general principle, that the works which might be thus events of the present session are well calculated to awak. aided, should be "of a general, not local-national, not en public solicitude upon the subject. By the statement State” character. A disregard of this distinction would from the Treasury Department, and those from the Clerks of necessity lead to the subversion of the Federal sys- of the Senate and House of Representatives, herewith
tem. That even this is an unsafe one, arbitrary in its na- submitted, it appears that the bills which have passed into r ture, and liable, consequently, to great abuses, is too ob- laws, and those which, in all probability, will pass before
vious to require the coufirmation of experience. It is the adjournment of Congress, anticipate appropriations however, sufficiently definite and imperative to my mind, with which the ordinary expenditures for the support to forbid my approbation of any bill having the charac- of Government, will exceed considerably the amount in ter of the one under consideration, I have given to its the Treasury for the year 1830. Thus, whilst we are diprovisions all the reflection demanded by a just regard minishing the revenue by a reduction of the duties on for the interests of those of our fellow citizens who have tea, coffee, and cocoa, the appropriations for internal desired its passage, and by the respect which is due to improvement are increasing beyond the available means a co-ordinate branch of the Government; but I am not of the treasury; and if to this calculation be added the
able to view it in aby other light than as a measure of amount contained in bills which are pending before the I purely local character; or if it can be considered national, two Houses, it may be safely affirmed that ten millions
that no further distinction between the appropriate du- of dollars would put make up the excess over the Treaties of the General and State Goveroment, need be at- sury receipts, unless the payment of the national debt be tempted; for there can be no local interest that may pot postponed, and the means pow pledged to that object with equal propriety be denominated national. It has applied to those enumerated in these bills. Without a DO coupexion with any established system of improve well regulated system of internal improvement, this exments; is exclusively withiu the limits of a State, start- hausting mode of appropriation is not likely to be avoiding at a point on the Obio river, and running out sixty ed, and the plain coosequence must be, either a continumiles to an interior town; and even as far as the State ance of the national debt, or & resort to additional is interested, copferring partial instead of general advap- taxes. tages.
Although many of the States, with a laudable zeal, Considering the magnitude and importance of the pow- and under the influence ap enlightened policy, are er, and the embarrassments to which, from the very pa. successfully applying their separate efforts to works of ture of the thing, its exercise must, necessarily, be sub- this character, the desire to enlist the aid of the General jected; the real friends of internal improvement ought Government in the construction of such as from their nanot to be willing to copfide it to accident and chance ture ought to devolve upon it, and to which the means What is properly national in its character, or otberwise, of the individual States are inadequate, is both rational is an inquiry which is often extremely difficult of solution and patriotic; and, if that desire is not gratified now, it The appropriations of one year, for ap object which is con does not follow that it never will be. The general intelsidered national, may be rendered dugatory, by the re- ligence and public spirit of the American people furnish fusal of a succeeding Congress to continue the work, a sure guarantee, that, at the proper time, this policy on the ground that it is local. No aid can be de- will be made to prevail under circumstances more auspirived from the intervention of corporations. The ques. cious to its successful prosecution, than those which now tion regards the character of the work, not that of exist. But great as this object undoubtedly is, it is not those by whom it is to be accomplished. Notwith the only one which demands the fostering care of the standing the union of the Government with the corpora- Government. The preservation and success of the Retion, by whose immediate agency any work of internal publican principle rest with us. To elevate its characimprovement is carried on, the inquiry will still remain, ter and extend its influence, rank among our most imis it national and conducive to the benefit of the whole, or portant duties; and the best means to accomplish this local, and operating only to the advantage of a portion of desirable end, are those which will rivet the attachment the Union.
of our citizens to the Government of their choice, by the But, although I might not feel it to be my official comparative lightness of their public burdens, and by the duty to interpose the executive veto, to the passage of attraction which the superior success of its operations 8 bill, appropriating money for the construction of such will present to the admiration and respect of the world. works as are authorized by the States, and are nation- Through the favor of an overruling and indulgent Provial in their character, I do not wish to be understood as dence, our country is blessed with general prosperity, expressing ad opinion, that it is expedient at this time and our citizens exempted from the pressure of taxation, for the General Government to embark in a system of which other less favored portions of the human family are this kind, and anxious that my constituents should be obliged to bear; yet it is true, that many of the taxes possessed of my views, on this, as well as on all other collected from our citizeos, through the medium of imsubjects, which they have committed to my discretion, posts, have, for a considerable period, been operous. lo 1 shall state them frapkly and briefly. Besides many mi- many particulars, these taxes bave borne severely upon nor considerations, there are two prominent views of the the laboring and less prosperous classes of the communisubject, which have made a deep impression upon my ty, being iloposed on the necessaries of life, and this, too, mind, which, I think, are well entitled to your serious in cases where the burden was not relieved by the conattention, and will, I hope, be maturely weighed by the sciousness, that it would ultimately contribute to make People.
us independent of foreign pations for articles of prime From the official communication submitted to you, it necessity, by the encouragement of their growth, and
21st Cong. 1st Sess.]:
[H. OF R. manufacture at home. They have been cheerfully borne, admitted by all candid minds. If we look to usage to de because they were thought to be necessary to the support fine the extent of the right, that will be found so variant of Government, and the payment of the debts unavoidably and embracing so much that has been overruled, as to inincurred in the acquisition and maintenance of our pational volve the whole subject in great uncertainty, and to redrights and liberties. But have we a right to calculate on der the execution of our respective duties in relation to it, the same chcerful acquiescence, when it is known that the replete with difficulty and embarrassment. It is in regard necessity for their continuance would cease, were it not to such works, and the acquisition of additional territory, for irregular, improvident, and unequal appropriations that the practice obtained its first footing.. In most, if not of the public funds ? Will dot the people demand, as all other disputed questions of appropriation, the construc, they have a right to do, such a prudent syselm of ex- tion of the Constitution may be regarded as unsettled, if penditure, as will pay the debts of the Union, and au- the right to apply money, in the enumerated cases, is thurize the reduction of every tax, to as low a point as placed on the ground of usage. the wise observance of the necessity to protect that por- This subject has been one of much, and I may add tion of our manfactures and labor, whose prosperity is painful reflection to me. It has bearings that are well essential to our national safety and independence, will calculated to exert a powerful influence upon our hithallow? When the national debt is paid, the duties upon erto prosperous system of governinent, and which, on those articles which we do not raise, may be repealed with some accounts, may even excite despondency in the safety, and still leave, I trust without oppression to any breast of an American citizen. I will not detain you section of the country, an accumulating surplus fund, which with professions of zeal in the cause of internal improvemay be beneficially applied to some well digested system ments. If to be their friend is a virtue whieh deserves of improvement.
commendation, our country is blessed with an abundance Under this view, the question, as to the manner in of it ; for I do not suppose there is an intelligent citizen which tho Federal Government can, or ought to embark who does not wish to see them flourish. But though all in the construction of roads and canals, and the extent to are their friend, but few, I trust, are unmindful of the which it may impose burthens on the people for these means by which they should be promoted : Done cerpurposes, may be presented on its own merits, free of all tainly are so degenerate as to desire their success at the disguise, and of every embarrassment, except such as may cost of that sacred instrument, with the preservation of arise from the Constitution itself. Assuming these sug- which is indissolubly bound our country's hopes. If difgestions to be correct, will not our constituents require ferent impressions are entertained in any quarter; if it the observance of a course by which they can be effected ? is expected that the People of this country, reckless of Ought they not to require it! With the best disposition their constitutional obligations, will prefer their local ioto aid, as far as I can conscientiously, in furtherance of terests to the principles of the Union, such expectations works of internal improvement, my opinion is, that the will in the end be disappointed; or if it be not so, then soupdest views of national policy at this time, point to indeed has the world but little to hope from the exam. Buch a course. Besides, the avoidance of an evil influence ple of free government. When an honest observance of up n the local concerns of the country, how solid is the constitutional compacts cannot be obtained from commu. advantage which the Government will reap from it in the nities like ours, it need not be anticipated elsewhere; and elevation of its character ! How gratifying the effect, the cause in which there has been so much martyrdom, of presenting to the world the sublime spectacle of a and from which so much was expected by the friends of republic of more than twelve millions of happy people, in liberty, may be abandoned ; and the degrading truth, that the fifty-fourth year of her existence, after having passed man is unfit for self government admitted. And this will through two protracted wars, the one for the acquisition, be the case if expediency be made a rule of construction and the other for the maintenance of liberty-free from in interpreting the Constitution. Power in no governdebt, and with all her immense resources upfettered ! inent could desire a better shield for the insidious adWhat a salutary influence would not such an exhibition vances, which it is ever ready to wake, upon the checks that exercise upon the cause of liberal priuciples and free are designed to restrain its action. Government throughout the world I Would we pot our- But I do not entertaiu such gloomy apprehensions. If selves find, in its effect
, an additional guarantee, that our it be the wish of the People that the construction of political institutions will be transmitted to the most roads and canals should be conducted by the Federal Goremote posterity, without decay! A course of policy vernment
, it is not only highly expedient, but indispensadestined to witness events like these, cannot be bene- bly necessary, that a previous amendment of the Cupstifited by a legislation which tolerates a scramble for ap- tntion, delegating the necessary power, and defining and propriations that have no relation to any general system restricting its exercise with reference to the sovereignty of improvement, and whose good effects must, of necessity, of the States, should be made. Without it, nothing exbe very limited. In the best view of these appropriations, tensively useful can be effected. The rigbt to exercise the abuses to which they lead, far exceed the good as much jurisdiction as is necessary to preserve the works, which they are capable of promoting. They may be and to raise funds by the collection of tolls to keep them in resorted to as artful expedients, to shift upon the Govern: repair, cannot be dispensed with. The Cumberland road ment the losses of unsuccessful private speculation, and should be an instructive admonitiou of the consequences of thus by ministering to personal ambition and self aggran- acting without this right. Year after year, contests are dizement, tend to sap the foundations of public virtue, witnessed, growing out of efforts to obtain the necessary and taint the administration of the Government with a appropriations for completing and repairing this useful demoralizing influence.
work. Whilst one Congress may claim and exercise the In the other view of the subject, and the only remain power, a succeeding one may deny it; and this fluctuation ing one, which it is my intention to present at this time, of opinion must be unavoidably fatal to aby scheme, which, is involved the expedienoy of embarking in a system of from its extent, would promote the interests and elevate internal improvement, without a previous amendment of the character of the country. The experience of the past the Constitution, explaining and defining the precise has shown that the opinion of Congress is subject to such powers of the Federal Government over it; assuming the fluctuation. right to appropriate money, to aid in the construction of If it be the desire of the people that the agency of the national works, to be warranted by the contemporaneous Federal Government should be confined to the approand continual exposition of the Constitution, its insuffi- priation of money, in aid of such undertaking, in virtue ciency for the successful prosecution of them, must be lof State authorities, then the occasion, the manner, and