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H. OF R.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[MARCH 25, 1830.

committee, and to offer the amendment which is on your whatever. It is utterly impossible, after having collected table.

Mr. CRAIG said, he should play the hypocrite were he to attempt to disguise the interest he felt in the bill under consideration, Many of the people whom I represent [said Mr. C] have a deep and direct interest in the road which it proposes to establish; and if, under existing circum stances, I did not give it my humble support, I should feel a conscious conviction of misrepresenting their interests, and of betraying the trust with which they have honored

by taxation a sum of money from the people, ever to return it to them again individually, in the portion in which it was taken from them. The nearest approach that can be made to such a distribution, is to be effected by throwing it into general circulation, and leaving it to the influence of individual enterprise to control its particular destination. It seems to me, then, that we cannot adopt a better policy, at this time, than to put into general circulation a few hundred thousand dollars annually of the people's money, by constructing with it, for their accommodaThe representative, according to my political creed, is tion, this great national road. You will then have the bound, in all cases, except where the constitution inter-pleasure of reflecting that you have returned to them not poses barriers, in this or any other body, to reflect the wishes and interests of his constituents, and not his own individual views. To do this is happily felt by me not to be less a duty than a pleasure.


Although I am one of those who construe the constitution as denying to Congress a general right to make roads, even though their extent invests them with the characteristics of nationality, yet the peculiar combination of circumstances which exists in relation to this subject, at this time, rids my mind of all scruples upon this point.

The constitutionality of the measure, as I conceive it, is not now involved. The question is not whether Congress possesses, under the constitution, power to make this road; but it is, more properly, has Congress a right to re-distribute the surplus money in its treasury, beyond what may be necessary to defray the ordinary expenses of the Government, and what may be applied to the extinguishment of the national debt, among the people of the Union ?

only their money, but, along with it, a great national improvement. And here, sir, the question is not unworthy your most serious reflection, how far this capital, thus collected and thus expended, will have suffered diminution when it returns again to its legitimate channels of circulation among the people. Will it have suffered any diminution? As I view the subject, it will not. Then, if it will not have suffered any diminution, is it not a fair deduction that the road will be a clear gain to the people?

The policy of a nation, in regard to its pecuniary funds, is very different, in some important particulars, from that of an individual person. It is the policy of a nation to have on hand no greater capital than is sufficient for the emergencies of the time-it is the policy of individual persons to augment their funds as much as possible. The wealth of an individual depends upon himself the wealth of a nation depends upon the wealth of its citizens; and whether capital be in the private pockets of the citizens, or in the public treasury, it is alike the capital of the nation. Now, if, without occasioning any sensible inconvenience or distress to the people composing the body politic, a sum of money can be drawn from them in the course of a few years, sufficient to produce a work of great national benefit, a work of the advantages of which thousands of your citizens will be highly sensible, what sound objection, upon the score of policy, can be urged against the execution of such a plan?

A little reflection will satisfy you, sir, that the appropriation of money involved in this bill is an evil (if it be an evil, as some apprehend it to be) which has its root in the existing revenue system. So long as the present tariff of duties is maintained, it is manifest that we shall find in our treasury a large annual residuum, after all ordinary appropriations have been made. And who can doubt, after what has occurred here, in this session of Congress, that it is the fixed determination of a majority of this body, There have been, for many years past, large annual and, by inference, the determination of a majority of the balances in the treasury, which have been, to the nation people of the United States, to persist in the existing tariff and the people, dead capital. On the first day of Januasystem The question, then, unavoidably occurs, what ry, 1828, there was in the treasury an unexpended baldisposition ought to be made of this surplus money? Surely ance of six million six hundred and sixty-eight thousand no one will contend that it ought to lie rusting in our cof two hundred and eighty-six dollars and ten cents; on the fers; none will contend that, after it has gotten there, first day of January, 1829, there was a balance of five the constitution will require it to remain there. And to million nine hundred and seventy-two thousand four hunwhat use shall we appropriate it? Can we appropriate it dred and thirty-five dollars and eighty-one cents; on the first to any more valuable use than to internal improvements? day of January, 1830, there was a balance of four million I would myself have preferred that this surplus of reve- four hundred and ten thousand and seventy-one dollars and nue should have been apportioned out amongst the several sixty-nine cents; and, on the first of January, 1831, accordStates, according to their population, for purposes of inter- ing to the estimates of the Secretary of the Treasury, there nal improvement; but in this we, who construe the consti- will be a balance of four million four hundred and tution rigidly, are opposed by a majority. Congress now, ninety-four thousand five hundred and forty-five dollars as to all practical effects, possesses the power to appro- and two cents. Now, sir, it strikes my mind, if Congress priate the money of the public treasury to objects of in- had commenced this road four, five, or six years ago, it ternal improvement, as fully as if the constitution, in so might, before now, have been finished; and yet no portion many words, gave that power. Nor has this power been of the people would have been sensible of the least pecudormant. It has been exerted in a variety of instances. niary loss or pressure. And now, sir, if you proceed to its The money collected into the public treasury from im-construction, what pecuniary embarrassments can you exposts, &c. belongs to the people in the mass; and it be pect to encounter? The whole sum estimated as necescomes our duty to return it to them by that mode that will sary to complete the road, is considerably short of the most equally distribute it among them, and, at the same balance which, it is believed, will be in the treasury on time, effect for them the greatest general good. In no way, the first of January next, and which must be regarded as does it seem to me, can this end be more advantageously dead capital, if not employed. What mischief, I ask, will attained, than by expending it upon a work like that pro- you do! What injury to the people, or any portion of the posed in the bill under consideration. The road will ex people, will you do, by appropriating a part, or even the tend from the northern to the southern extremity of the whole, of this balance to the construction of an improveUnion, and, as a road, will accommodate a vast proportionment so valuable as that proposed by this bill will be? of its citizens; besides, the money expended in making it But, sir, I have not yet presented this subject in its most will be as generally scattered among the people as it could flattering point of view, in reference to the resources of be by being appropriated to any object or improvement the nation. It should not escape reflection, that in five or

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six years from this time at most, the annual balance in the treasury will rise from four, five, or six millions, to ten or twelve, or, if the tariff of duties should be reduced to such a standard as that no one could complain of it as oppressive, to a steady balance, as I believe, of from five to eight millions. When our revenue shall thus overflow, which will certainly be the case after the extinguishment of the national debt, what course of policy shall be pursued? Will it be constitutional or expedient that a portion of the people should sit still and obstinately refuse to participate in the excess of revenue, because it was collected in a manner they did not approve?

[H. or R.

by appropriating three, four, or six millions of dollars to this road; because, it cannot be denied, that, if the surplus money of the treasury be not appropriated to this object, it will be appropriated to some other, perhaps, of less national value; so that, at last, the whole effect of voting for this bill will but tend to decide the choice of Congress in favor of this over many objects, some of which are destined inevitably to absorb your surplus funds. If we, in the South, will not take your offered favor, others, less fastidious, in other sections, will.

I am not disposed, because the world will not go on precisely as I could wish, to fall out with it, and turn cynic. But gentlemen say, let us prevent this unnecessary ac- On the contrary, I find it to be the easiest and the best cumulation of revenue, by a reduction of the tariff of im- policy, generally, to conform in some degree to that port duties, &c. Sir, it should be remembered that this uncontrollable state of things which I find around me. I tariff is suspended upon another interest, the manufactur-have no idea of denying myself a fair participation in the ing interest, which influences a majority of the people of blessings of this Government, because every thing is not the United States to continue it as a system of protection done according to my notions of sound policy and constito manufactures; and, I confess, I do not see any symptoms tutionality. It would be too much to expect that my to justify the opinion that it will be abandoned. This pro- opinions should rule in all things. I can estimate the retecting system may, from its over-tension and consequent spect which I owe to the opinions of other gentlemen, by inaptitude to an infant and agricultural community, break the respect which I would claim for my own. down; but I am persuaded, from what I have seen here this session, that it is the determination of a large majority of the people of the United States to adhere to it.

There is another reflection which intrudes itself here, and is not to be disregarded. It is this: However justly the people of the South may hope for an amelioration of the present tariff, it were too much to expect a total abandonment by the Government of those interests which were brought into existence and nurtured by its own patronage. To abandon them suddenly to the storm of foreign competition, would be an act alike marked with cruelty and injustice, and might be justly reprobated as an act of bad faith on the part of the Government. Do not understand me here as advocating the tariff system to the extent to which it has been carried. By no means; I mean only to say that the Government, having induced the citizen, by holding out protection to such investment, to invest his capital in manufacturing operations, is bound in good faith, if it shall find it expedient to abandon the policy, to recede from it gradually, at least so gradually as to give the capital thus employed time to seek new and more advantageous channels.

Whenever a people become so dissatisfied with their Government as to refuse to accept its benefits when tendered to them, they or their Government must be in gross error. If the Government be in such error, (a condition which cannot be induced without corruption,) it should be reformed at all hazards. If the people, or a part of them, be thus in error, the cure is to be expected from their own sobered reflections.

It has been intimated here, and elsewhere, that the people are, in some sections of the country, in such a state of inquietude as to endanger the Union. In relation to this intimation, I can only speak for those whom I know, or think I know. I cannot believe that there is any portion of the Virginians, much as I have heard since I came here of the nullifying doctrine, who meditate a dissolution of the Union, or who would not deprecate it as the severest calamity. Sir, I think I know the temper of Virginia upon this subject. I have had many opportu nities to know it; and I may say, that, so far from harboring any wish adverse to the Union, her sons would be among the first, if danger threatened, to rally round its sacred standard. Nor can I do my fellow-citizens of South For my own part, I have always thought that the con- Carolina, to whom allusion has been made in this debate, stitution was never intended to confer upon Congress the the injustice to believe that her sons cherish any such deright to protect manufactures by revenue regulations, sign. It may be thought extravagant, after what we have further than that protection might be incidentally afford-witnessed in the other branch of Congress during the preed by the operation of a tariff of duties intended to raise a revenue for the purposes specified in the constitution. But I find myself, in relation to the tariff and internal improvements, in the situation of a mariner who is borne away by a storm which he cannot resist. Although he may be driving with the speed of the wind in a direction exactly opposite to that to which he should go to gain his Go among the common people, who form the body and destined port; yet, if he be skilful, he will not be found strength of your community, and I shall be much deceived idly fighting against the wind and tide, but he will yield if you do not hear another than the language of disunion, to the power, and thus acquire a velocity greater than the even in the South. The hot-headed politician is not at all current; by which means his bark is made obedient to her times to be regarded as affording fair indications of the helm, and he is enabled, in some measure, to direct her temper of even the people among whom he resides. His course. Here, sir, although I cannot control the circum-inflammation is very often personal, and therefore does stances and events which surround and pass me, yet, by falling into the current with them, and yielding myself in some degree to their control, I may, possibly, aided by others of similar views, give them another and better direction, in my opinion, than they would otherwise have taken.

By voting for this bill, it may happen that an expenditure of money will be made, advantageous to the country, in the welfare of which I am more directly interested, and that an improvement will be effected, which will directly diffuse its benefits through it. And I know that, to the nation, nothing in the form of money will be lost,

sent session, but I do not hesitate to say it, as my opinion, that the approach of danger to the Union-the common palladium of their liberties-would again unite even old Massachusetts and South Carolina in those strong bonds of affection which held them together in the struggle for independence.

not threaten imminent danger to the Union. Indeed, I believe much less is meant, generally, in relation to this subject, than the language used would seem to import. It may be, and I think sometimes is, intended merely to deter from the prosecution of disagreeable measures.

Permit me here to bespeak your reflections upon these questions. If the Government, at any time, shall have engaged in a system of measures which some of us may, perchance, think impolitic or unconstitutional, will we, who think thus of that system, be justified in thwarting all its operations, and in rendering it, as much as possible, productive of bad instead of good effects or will it be

H. OF R.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[MARCH 25, 1830.

come our duty, when we, being the minority, can no upon the policy of confiding to the General Government longer, with any hope of success, resist the establishment the power to construct works of national improvement. of that system, to give it such a direction and such an operation, as to make it productive of the greatest public good! I do not, myself, hesitate about the answer which, in my humble judgment, ought to be given to these questions. Certainly, if, as I believe to be true upon our principles of government, the majority have the right to rule, and, consequently, a right to settle the policy of the Government, the minority are bound to lend their aid in producing the best results from any system which the majority may adopt. I do not mean to include extreme cases such as can only exist under the influence of corruption. It is, I admit, right enough that the opponent of any system should, upon every occasion involving its propriety, directly vote to abandon it. But this, it seems to me, does not imply that it is prudent or proper to oppose every incidental measure which may grow out of it. To illustrate my idea by the very case under discussion: if the internal improvement system is to be maintained, it is proper that those who oppose it should aid in selecting the most advantageous objects of its action, and, of course, keep back those less advantageous.

I hold, sir, that the adoption of an error may make that right, which would otherwise have been wrong; or, to speak perhaps with more precision, that may be rightfully done, as resulting out of a previous error, which, if that error had not been committed, would never have arisen to be done..

I have nothing to do, in this argument, with the ulterior and unalienable right of any people to resist oppression, when they may choose no longer to endure it.

I have said that I gave such a construction to the constitution, as denies to Congress the right to make internal improvements; and have endeavored to justify myself for voting for this bill, upon the ground that that power exists in fact, (a large majority of this House, and, by inference, of the people, being for it) and, as to all practical effects, as fully as if the constitution was without the shadow of a doubt upon the subject; and because, by so voting, I do nothing more, and intend to do nothing more, than to give a preference to this object over the many that are proposed; not doubting, as there is no room to doubt, that whether this bill pass or not, internal improvements will be carried on under this Government commensurate with its means, In this operation of my judgment, I assume to be my own casuist. My conscience quiet.

The policy of protecting manufactures by high duties on imports, begets the necessity of creating some system of policy for the consumption of the money arising from that source. I am not chargeable with the tariff system. I found it fully established when I came here; and have since lent the aid of my vote, at three different times, for a modification of its provisions. We all know the result. I, and those who voted with me, found ourselves in a minority. What, under such circumstances, ought we to do? We cannot, reasonably, expect the majority to sacrifice their opinions to ours. It would be the merest arrogance in me to assume infallibility for my opinions. I can see no just line of conduct but to acquiesce. I am, as I have said, opposed to the tariff of 1828; but I cannot see, in justice, in reason, in conscience, why the people whom I represent, as they bear their share of its burdens, should not have their share of its profits. I do not see the line between submission to the majority, and what tends to a dissolution of the Government.

A disposition has been manifested, in this discussion, to waive the question of constitutionality, and to rest the claims of this bill upon the grounds of expediency. Such has been the course pursued by my intelligent and eloquent colleague, [Mr. P. P. BARBOUR.]

And here, sir, before I meet my colleague upon this ground, I request to be indulged in a few brief reflections

Although I cannot, as I have already said, see in the language of the constitution any satisfactory authority for the exercise of this power, yet I am unable to discover any good reason why this power, under well defined limitations, should not be confided to it. The mere power to make roads, canals, &c., has in it, as I conceive, no dangerous tendency whatever. The probability that such a power would benefit the States is a thousand fold that of the probability that it would injure them. The danger consists in the retention of jurisdiction over these works after they are made, not in making them. With this view of the subject, it is my present impression, that, if I were now sitting in convention, for the purpose of amending the constitution, I would vote to confer this power, limiting it to the making of the work. I would do so, as at present persuaded, for another, and perhaps more powerful reason. It consists in this: the States have, for obvious and imperious reasons, surrendered the entire regulation of their commerce to this Government; and thus have surrendered the richest and by far the most convenient and least oppressive sources of revenue. I should not, therefore, think it at all unwise to require of the General Government, in times, like the present, of extraordinary prosperity, that a fair proportion of the means derived from these sources should be made available to the States in internal improvements, or in education, where the preference might be given to that object.

The States, being dependent for their means upon direct taxation, can never effect great improvements but by producing uneasiness amongst their citizens. The United States, through their custom-houses, can collect from the people millions, by a process so magical, that the people will be wholly insensible of having paid them. And thus it would seem that, as the means of the United States are much more ample than those of the individual States, the United States ought to have the power of employing them for the good of the States.

Indirect taxation, as a mode of raising revenue, is preferable to direct taxation, not only because all classes of citizens feel the operation of the former less than the latter, but because, under the former mode, the rich citizens are sure to pay their just proportion of the revenue. They, having the ability to do so, will consume vastly more of those articles which bear heavy duties than the poorer


Under a system of indirect taxation, a person may resort to his prudence-to abstinence for an amelioration of its burdens. He may, if he choose, abstain wholly from the use of wine, cogniac, tea, and various other articles in which the rich may choose to indulge, without materially impairing his comforts, and thus avoid subjection to a large proportion of indirect tax.

The proposition is generally true, that actual consumption is measured by the ability to consume; and as the ability is enlarged or diminished, actual consumption is increased or diminished.

Having made these remarks, I will now endeavor to answer some of the arguments used by my colleague [Mr. P. P. BARBOUR] for the purpose of showing that it is inexpedient to make the proposed road. I am sorry that this gentleman, and that other gentlemen should, on account of their opposition to it, have thought it necessary to undervalue this road. Sir, if we are to give full credit to their arguments, we could not resist the conclusion, that, if this road would not be indeed a national evil, it would be, at least, useless. The warmth of opposition, I must think, has carried gentlemen too far. The utility of this road is not to be seriously denied by any whose situation enables them properly to estimate it.

The honorable gentleman from North Carolina [Mr. CARSON] has advanced the opinion that it will not be


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MARCH 25, 1830.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. or R.

even an indirect accommodation to the people of Kentucky. you please, rather as many roads all united, than as one My situation enables me to correct this misapprehension. rond: for, whilst the various sections of it will be crowded I live directly upon the track along which it is proposed with travellers, you will rarely find one destined to pass to construct this road; and I do know that many Kentuck- along the whole line. This view of the subject will obviians do, yearly, use this track, and that great quantities of ate, I think, many objections which are made to the bill. stock are taken along it from that State to the interior of Virginia, and sometimes to Pennsylvania.

Who would think, says the gentleman, of transporting My colleague [Mr. BARBOUR] asked, will this road be of carried by water? Where is the grand canal of New York? ordnance from here to Buffalo by land, when it might be any commercial advantage? It will run, [said he] a great Sir, these questions produce no difficulty. No one would part of its way, between the waters which flow to the East be so foolish, I suppose, as to think of conveying ordnance and the waters which flow to the West, crossing some of by land when he could convey it by water. But, supposing them near their head springs, at right angles and almost your waters to be blockaded by your enemy, would you in the same breath said, that if the road ran parallel with then deem it foolish to prefer a transportation by land to any of these navigable waters, it would be still of less a transportation by water? I should think not. commercial importance. To what does this argument amount, except to this: that although the road is most ju- ed this bill, having, in the course of the very interesting The honorable chairman of the committee which reportdiciously located, in reference to the interior navigation of views which he presented to this committee, alluded to the the country, yet it is wholly useless. Who can believe state of internal improvements in England and France, this! What country was ever so situated as not to feel my colleague, [Mr. P. P. BARBOUR] as if determined to the advantage of good roads? The gentleman here, as iu- strip improvements everywhere of all claim to public fadeed throughout, seems to have been under the influence vor, asked, in what countries do you find a poorer and of feelings excited by the warmth of his opposition JaThe gentleman next intimated that the estimate of ex-man will not seriously contend that the internal improvemore oppressed people, than in these? Surely, the gentlepense in the bill was far too low; that the road would, ments of a country are disadvantageous to it. And yet, more probably, cost ten or twelve millions of dollars, than sir, what other inference can you deduce from this questwo and a quarter millions. Now, in answer to this remark, tion? Immediately after putting this question, in the I have only to say, that, whilst it is undeniably true that manner I have represented, the gentleman expressed his ten or twelve millions will make a better road than two and a quarter millions, it is equally true that two and a quarter millions will make a very good road. Again, the expenditure of two and a quarter millions upon this road Twill not, as insinuated, lay Congress under any obligation to expend a further sum upon it. But if the prosperous state of the treasury hereafter, combining with other cir cumstances, should make it expedient, Congress may, in Brits discretion, appropriate additional funds to that object. I cannot see that Congress that it will be wrong to do so, at some future time, say may not, as I cannot foresee fifty years hence, if you choose, cause the whole line of this road to be Macadamized.

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willingness, nay, auxiety, that the improvement of the country should go on. He was willing to bring roads and canals to every hamlet-to every door; but by the States themselves, and not by this Government. Now, how does this declaration comport with the question which the gentleman put to the committee relative to the pauperism of England and France? How much less, I will ask the gentleman, will this road, or any other piece of improvement, be worth, having been made by the General Government, never before heard it insinuated that improvements pro than if it had been made by the State Governments! I moted pauperism. I cannot avoid thinking that the vioassertion of jurisdiction over the soil of the States, by the lence of the opposition which the gentleman feels to the General Government, sharpens in a high degree the opposition which he feels to this measure, on the ground of expediency; else, why such strong efforts to undervalue, to disparage, the proposed road.


Can a State,

***The gentleman further said, that the interest upon the sum proposed to be expended upon this road is more than the whole cost of transporting the mail throughout the whole of its distance, and then drew the conclusion, that it was inexpedient to make it for the accommodation of the mail. This argument, though the conclusion may be just, is, certainly, not quite fair. If the accommodation of the move the expenditure of money from the influence and The gentleman has said, that, in proportion as you remail were the sole object of its construction, then the ar- control of self-interest, you increase extravagance. I subgument would be fair. But it should not be forgotten that scribe most heartily to this proposition. Self-interest this is but one of three objects to be effected by making when it can be brought to bear upon the subject, is the the road. In addition to the advantages which are to be surest guaranty of economy in the expenditure of money. derived from the superior facilities in the transportation of But how will the gentleman apply the principle, with the mail which this road will afford, are to be considered advantage, to the case under discussion? the advantages which it will afford to internal commerce, any better than the United States, dispense with agents in and the advantages it will afford, as a military road, in time executing its schemes of internal improvement! If it can of war. The aggregate of advantages, resulting from these not, I should think the argument was without force. There three sources, constitutes the reason of the committee for are no means, in reference to this subject, it seems to me, reporting this bill. We all know of how much importance which can be employed by a State, that cannot, with equal the despatch of the mail is, at any time, but particularly in facility and advantage, be employed by the United States. time of war. The delay of a day may cost a city and many The plan adopted in Virginia, and referred to by the lives. The battle of the 8th of January, 1815, at New Or- tleman, of requiring the subscription of three-fifths of the leans, was fought because despatches, which were on their stock necessary to complete a work of this character by way, had not reached their destination. The value of this private individuals, as a condition upon which the State road, in a military point of view, I admit to be, chiefly, will subscribe the remaining two-fifths, is wisely accommocontingent. It may, in this relation, be incalculably valu- dated to the limited means of the State. But I apprehend able, or not, according to circumstances, Again: The gentleman asks, will troops ever pass from an abandonment of some of the most important objects, in the adoption of a similar principle here would amount to the Northern frontier to the Southern, or from the South- a national point of view. I have already intimated that ern to the Northern I answer, I have no expectation the wealth and prosperity of a nation does not always conthat they ever will. Nor have I any expectation that many sist in the amount of money which it may have in its cofpersons will, either in times of peace or war, travel through fers; and that the wealth of its citizens was the wealth the entire line of this road. But this, I conceive, is no of the nation. Every convenience, every commercial facidrawback from its value. This road is to be regarded, if [lity enjoyed by the citizen, adds to the general stock of


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national wealth. Why, then, I would ask should conveniences, commercial or personal, be withheld, when they can be so easily supplied by the Government? The gentleman himself admitted, if I rightly understood him, that the money of the treasury was collected imperceptibly from the people: if so, the complaint upon this score is rather imaginary than real. I will venture toaffirm that the advantages of this road, should it be constructed, will be something more than a phantom of the imagination. Besides this view of the subject, I repeat, that funds far more than necessary for the ordinary purposes of the Government will flow in upon us, and that we must make some disposition of them."

[MARCH 25, 1830.

There is, I confess, a good deal of ludicrousness in the idea of Congress roaming over the country in search of ob jects of this kind; but that they should be brought to its view by applicants or petitioners, is a mode of proceeding quite too common to excite risibility.

The gentleman thinks that, upon a fair division of ten millions of dollars among the States, the share of Virginia would be one million; yet, he says some portion of its inhabitants (the people of Norfolk) felt great joy when the United States subscribed one hundred and fifty thousaud dollars to the Dismal Swamp canal stock, as if they had, through the mere bounty of Congress, got something that did not belong to them.

The gentleman again said, that this system of distribut- Now, upon looking over the ideas here conveyed by my ing the public money was unequal in its operation, and colleague, the inference is to be drawn, that, instead of one therefore unjust. Now, it would appear to me that if this ob- hundred and fifty thousand dollars, one million ought to jection be sound, a system of internal improvements could have gone to Virginia. The idea seems not to have been not be sustained, either by the State, this, or any other Go- present in his mind when this train of reflection entered, vernment, for the objection certainly lies as strongly against that from ten to twelve millions, and upwards, have been it in one place as another. Sir, all civilized nations admit annually consumed by the national debt. He seems to the importance of internal improvements. All have prae- have proceeded upon the idea that there had been an antised, to some extent, under the principle of their import-nual fund of ten millions to be distributed among the peoance; and shall we now be told, that, because in construet-ple. If this had been the case, the people of Norfolk would ing them we cannot distribute the money employed upon them with perfect equality among the people, we must abandon them altogether?

Sound policy requires that the most important improve ment should be selected, with due regard to national advantage, including equality of distribution of money, so far as practicable, as well as every other fair consideration, and nothing more.

Perfect equality in the distribution of the public money is not expected-is not possible.

I do not feel the force of this remark of my colleague, that exactions and contributions should be equal.

How equal? Literally and arithmetically? If he mean that they shall be literally and arithmetically equal, then I take issue with him, and without an argument will submit the question to the decision of this House. If he mean, as I presume he does, that the constitution requires only practicable equality in public exactions and contributions, then I will content that in the construction of no work which can be selected, would a more equal distribution of the people's money be made among them, than in the construction of the proposed road. Exaction-as that is a term which belongs to the tariff, a matter which the gentleman declined to discuss-I shall permit it to sleep undisturbed.

The gentleman said it would be unjust, after he and another had, with great nicety, weighed out each one hundred pounds, in gold scales, as contributions to the Goverument, that that other person should take the whole sum, and appropriate it to his exclusive use.

I should certainly not differ with my colleague in opinion here. I will, however, ask the gentleman how he applies the remark to this bill? It may mean something, if it be taken as referring to the tariff; but I do not understand it in its bearing upon the proposed road The two or three millions which will be expended upon this road, should it be made, will, instead of going into the hands of one or a few, be scattered amongst thousands.

have been miserable dupes indeed, to have exulted because their State had got one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, when it was in fact entitled to one million. Such, however, was not the fact. The people got a hundred and fifty thousand dollars through the favor of Congress, rather than because, at that time, Virginia had any particular claim to a dividend from the treasury.

My honorable colleague was pleased, in the course of his eloquent speech, amongst other things, to direct our attention to old Rome, once the proudest city of the world. He asked, where is Rome, with all its splendid aqueducts, towers, and temples-Rome, that once urged its conquests almost to the Ganges? Aye, and where are the Romans themselves, who built these splendid works? They, too, are gone. They were the workmanship of the Deity, yet they have perished. Could mortality impart immortality? No. Athens, Rome, and Carthage once were, but now they are not. The reflection is melancholy, but it is irresistible. The time will come when our beloved republic will live only in history. It is the common fate of all things beneath the sun. But I do trust, that, under the blessings of a kind Providence, ages upon ages will run their ample round ere it will be asked, where, now, is the once splendid republic of North America?

As the downfall of no Government, heretofore, is to be ascribed to its improvements, there can be no just cause to apprehend such a consequence from such a cause in future. Sir, let gentlemen say what they may, it will, nevertheless, remain an unshaken truth, that internal improvements are a source of wealth and prosperity to a nation.

A well regulated system of internal improvements will, I doubt not, be found to be one of the most efficient ligaments of our Union, whilst it will give no just ground for the apprehension of consolidation, and a destruction of the State sovereignties.

If destruction shall come upon our Union, (which God forbid !) it will be alike to me whether the fault shall have been with the Federal Government, or the State Governments. Disunion is the dreaded result. It may as readily happen from the ill-devised measures and ill-timed opposition of the State Governments, as from similar causes springing out of the action of the General Government. Both sides should be alike careful to avoid this resultboth animated with a spirit of conciliation and forbearance. Mr. RAMSEY said, he did not mean to detain the com

The gentleman, as if willing to defeat this bill by any honorable means, here ridiculed the idea of applicants coming before Congress from all quarters of the Union, for internal improvements-some with propositions for a tional improvements-some with propositions for more national improvements, and-some with propositions for most national improvements. Sir, there is nothing in this conceit at all ludicrous or ridiculous in my mind. Immittee long, nor did he intend to enter upon the constituprovements of all these several degrees of nationality being submitted to Congress, from which to make selections, it is to be inferred that the selections will be made from that class denominated most national.

tionality of the power of Congress to make the road contemplated by the bill. I [said Mr. R.] consider that question settled long since. I go upon the expediency of the measure. The road proposed by the bill runs about mid

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