ePub 版

MARCH 25, 1830.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. of R.

My people want this road; they want to come here with their produce; there is no direct road to this place in a northern direction; all the roads in my State lead to the seaboard. The influence of Philadelphia has caused all our public roads to point that way. Last year the Legislature of Pennsylvania nearly unanimously refused to permit the patriotic Baltimoreans to make a railroad up into that State. It is said this is to be a direct road. I can tell the gentlemen from Virginia and North Carolina, that if the Government will give me the one thousand five hundred dollars per mile that this bill proposes, I will make a road for two hundred miles from this place towards Buffalo for that sum, which they would travel forty miles out of their way, were they going in that direction, to get upon, if they did not think their consciences were to be effected by travelling on an unconstitutional road. My constituents want this road. They say they have a right to ask for it. There is money enough to make it. The people along this road have paid more money long since into the treasury than would make it. They have sent me here to speak for them, and express their wishes and desires; I do it most willingly, and honestly believing I ask nothing but what is just and right.

way between the North and Western frontier and the sea- I ask, where is the difference between granting a sum of board. It is a road that will be of immense importance money to be expended under the direction of this Governto this place and to the Government. It will be a welding ment to clear out the mouth of a river or creek, or the link to solder together this Union. There is not a mem- granting a sum of money to make a road? The one is to ber in my hearing, that does not know that each State in let the boat pass, and the other to let the wagon pass. the Union has a seat of Government within the central And, further, where the difference between the United limits of the State, and has erected public buildings for States making a steamboat channel to carry the United the convenience of the legislative bodies and public offi- States' mail through, or the United States making a road cers. I take it for granted that other States have done as to carry the mail over? I, for the soul of me, can see none. Pennsylvania bas. Harrisburg is the capital, or seat of Go- It is four hundred miles from this to Albany; we are as vernment, and that State has, out of the State funds, ex- near Buffalo at this place, (Washington city,) as when we pended very large sums to make roads and avenues to and arrive at Albany. Now, will any gentleman tell me that from that place-a turnpike road by the southern route, it is of no importance to save four hundred miles in the as it is called, to Pittsburg; one by the north route to the transportation of the mail from this place to Buffalo? same place; one to Lancaster, one to Reading, a bridge at Harrisburg, and one at Clark's ferry. Not less than five hundred thousand dollars of money has been expended to make roads, bridges, &c. to lead to and from the seat of Government of my State, so that every individual who had business to transact at the seat of Government might have a good, safe, and convenient way to travel over, Now, are we not sent here to legislate for the whole community, and particularly for this ten miles square, the District? Will this great, growing, and prosperous Union be behind the States? This Government, with a treasury overflowing, will it refuse to make roads and avenues to lead to and from this capital? I hope not. I do not know, nor do I believe there has been one dollar expended by this Government, to make a road from the interior to reach this place, the capital of this Union. Then, if the different States make good roads and avenues to lead from different parts of the State to the capital, on the same principle I contend that we are called on to aid in making similar provision to reach this capital, from the interior of this great and very rapidly growing nation. I hold it as an imperative duty for us to do so. Make the road from this to Buffalo, (that is, the part I will speak of,) it will run through some of the most rich and fertile valleys in the United States. You will see, in ten years or less from this time, from fifty to a hundred wagons a day, in the months of November, December, and January, in the streets of this city, loaded with iron, flour, beef, pork, whiskey, and a great variety of other articles. Would that be of no advantage to this place? Have we not our navy yard here, our marine barracks, with a great variety of other public works? And no doubt more will be built. Would it not be of vast importance that every thing from the interior should be got upon the best terms to supply those public works? And where will you get such supplies but from the interior? Yes, make this road as contemplated by the bill, and you will see wagons and teams from the district I have the honor in part to represent, in the streets of this city, one of which would load up and haul off ten of your wagons, horses, and loads, that we now see in the streets, at one load. It is said we have no right to legislate beyond this District on the subject of roads. Now, suppose Maryland and Virginia were each to pass a law to make a wall around the District, (as it is contended we cannot go beyond it,) what would we then do? Would the fine spun arguments of the gentlemen from North Carolina and Virginia keep us here, or not let us come to this capital to legislate for the whole United States? Of what use would this House, and all the public works erected here, be to the United States, if we could not get to them? What would be said of Congress, after spending from six to ten millions at this place in erecting public works, if we could not get to them for want of a road.

We have been doing indirectly that which it is contended we cannot do directly. Congress has appropriated near four millions of dollars to internal improvements, such as canals, roads, &c., and as much of the public lands as would make four millions of dollars more for roads and canals.

I expect a disinterested magnanimity from many of the members from New York. It is true this road will run through but a corner of that State : it does not lead down the canal to the city of New York; yet I hope to hear the members from that State say, much has been done for the eastern end of the State, we will not now withhold from the western end this small pittance they ask. I hope noue of my colleagues will be found voting against this bill; the western part cannot, with any propriety, in my opinion, vote against it; they have had many favors extended to them out of the public treasury, and they expect many more. The eastern part I know will not, from the example set by the chairman of the Committee on Internal Improvements, who reported this bill. He has acted a highly honorable part in this project, and he merits the applause of the American nation.

I now appeal to another class of men, and I hope to see them act the part of honorable, liberal men-I mean the commercial part; they have had upwards of thirty millions of dollars given for light-houses, sea-walls, harbors, piers, wharves, fortifications, &c. to protect commerce. The State of North Carolina alone has got upwards of two hundred and eighty thousand dollars for light-houses, and I be lieve one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the Dismal Swamp canal; yet gentlemen say she has got nothing. Now, can gentlemen ask me, or any other member residing off the seaboard, to vote away, millions annually for the breakwater, light-houses, &c. for their direct and consequential advantage, and not give to the people in the interior what they have a right so justly to ask for, that they may have some of the direct and consequential advantages from an expenditure of a part of the public money amongst them? If the deepening of channels, opening the mouths of creeks, rivers, harbors, and inlets, and the erection of light-houses and fortifications, &c. is necessary to the convenience and interest of commerce on the seaboard, and a direct advan

H. OF R.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[MARCH 25, 1830.

foreign commerce? If not, how can be contend that to make a road is to regulate commerce aniong the States? Sir, when it shall be proved that canoes, ships, and roads are commercial regulations, otherwise commercial laws, then I will give up this point.

tage to the neighborhood where the money is expended, tribes ? Will he contend that to build a ship is to regulate let me ask those seaboard gentlemen, if we, who reside in the interior, have not a right to ask their aid in the passage of this bill! I think none will deny that we have that. Methinks I hear every gentleman recording his vote in favor of it. If they do not, they say to us, you may get to the seat of Governinent by some of the old Indian paths, or down some stream in a canal, or on the back of a packhorse or mule. No, no, I cannot for one moment harbor such an opinion; but as high-minded, honorable men, to whom the interior has always granted every thing they have asked for, I hope to see one and all of you come out manfully and vote for the bill, and not shelter yourselves behind the constitution; for there is no other excuse left for you, in my opinion.

I am too feeble to say more; I hope some gentleman more capable than I am will do justice to this subject. Mr. SMYTH said, I have had no concern whatever in forming the bill now before the committee. I am to vote upon it; and I will do my duty to my constituents, the commonwealth, and the constitution. I will very briefly discuss, first, the power claimed by this Government to make roads, and assume jurisdiction over them; second, the power to appropriate money for the purpose of mak ing roads, without assuming jurisdiction over them; third, the power to aid internal improvements, by subscribing for the stock of companies incorporated to make them; fourth, the power to appropriate money in fulfilment of a compact; fifth, the power conferred on the President by the bill; sixth, the general expediency of this appropriation; seventh, the particular utility of the road proposed to be made.

[ocr errors]

The gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. ISACKS] contends that the power to establish post roads, conferred on Congress by the constitution, is a power to make them. I contend that establish," wherever used in the constitution, signifies, to give legal existence, or legal effect. The people "ordain and establish the constitution;" one of their objects is declared to be "to establish justice;" Congress shall have power "to establish a uniform rule of naturalization;""the ratification of the convention of nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this constitution." "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." In all these cases, it is obvious that to establish means to give legal effect, to give legal existence, to set up by law. Congress have power "to establish post offices and post roads." Whatever be the meaning of establish, as it relates to post offices, must be its meaning as relates to post roads. The same word, used in different sentences, may have different meanings; but the same word, only once used in the same sentence, cannot have different meanings. Does power to establish post offices signify power to build, to put up brick and mortar? No, it signifies power to give legal existence to offices. So, power to establish post roads, is power to designate, by law, the roads on which the mail shall be carried; and this construction has been acted on by Congress during forty years.

The gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. ISACKS] contends that Congress have power to regulate commerce "among the several States ;" and, therefore, may make roads for carrying on that commerce.

Sir, the power to regulate commerce, signifies power to pass laws controlling commerce. Laws are regulations. Regulations are laws. "No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce, or revenue, to the ports of one State over those of another." The power given to Congress to regulate commerce among the States, is a power to control it, and to prevent the State Legislatures from burdening it by duties, taxes, or licenses, and so on; by which one State might oppress the inhabitants of another. Will the gentleman from Tennessee contend that to make a canoe is to regulate commerce with the Indian

Sir, if there is any question respecting the power of Congress, that has been decided against the claim of power, in a way that ought to be satisfactory, fiual, and conclusive, it is this. We have the authority of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, that Congress do not possess jurisdiction to make roads. Mr. Madison and Mr. Monroe expressed their opinions in the most solemn manner, when rejecting bills passed by both Houses of Congress, assuming this power. The last act of Mr. Madison's administration was to return, rejected, a bill assuming this power. But we have not only the authority of these great names. This House has repeatedly, on great debate, decided that Congress have not the power; and there is not an act in the whole statute book that assumes it. In March, 1818, after a protracted discussion, this House decided that Congress had not power to construct post roads and military roads, by eighty-four votes against eighty-two; and that Congress had not power to construct roads between the States, by ninety-five votes against seventy-one. And when Mr. Monroe had negatived the bill establishing toll gates on the Cumberland road, and returned it with his objec tions, on reconsideration, a majority of the House voted against it; a satisfactory proof that it had been passed without due consideration.

Sir, as this power is claimed by implication, and as in forty years not one act has been passed that asserts it, this long nonuser should be taken as evidence that it is not contained in the grant; and we should now consider it as settled, that Congress have not power to enter into a State, assume jurisdiction, and construct roads.

I will now consider the claim of power to appropriate money to the making of roads, without assuming jurisdiction. I have not found it in the constitution. But more than fifty acts of Congress, passed during the last twentyeight years, make such appropriations. The ground on which we, who opposed the construction which authorizes such appropriations, stood, is nearly beaten from under us. The States and the people may construe their constitution; and the construction thereof, by them, must be conclusive. The long use of a power by Congress, by the approbation of the State Legislatures and the people, may sanction the construction of the constitution by which it is assumed. I would like to see the opinion of the State Legislatures taken, to ascertain if three-fourths of them admit that this power is in Congress. The people, by re-electing those who have assumed it, seem to have given it their sanction.

I will next consider the power of Congress to aid internal improvements, by subscribing for the stock of companies incorporated to make them I have always been of opinion since I had a seat here, that Congress possessed this power as a fiscal operation, which might be necessary if the treasury was full. It is well known to my colleague, the late chairman of the Committee on Internal Improvements [Mr. MERCER] that such has been my opinion. If we have a surplus revenue, it would be inexpedient to have it lying in the treasury, or in bonds, unproductive. It must be a question of expediency, whether money should be thus invested; and I hold that it will be always inexpedient, when we have a debt to pay, and that debt is payable. The object of such an operation should be a profitable investment of our money. The promotion of internal improvements would be an incident. This power, duly exercised, would give to the Government command of the accumulated surplus of its revenue, on any emergency; and it would be very convenient to have fifty millions of productive stock to dispose of at the commencement of a war. This power

March 25, 1830.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. or R.

has been exercised, and we do possess stock to a considera- they are the only duties which are not imposed for their

ble amount.

I am next to consider the power of Congress to appropriate money in fulfilment of a compact. In 1802, the United States entered into a compact with the State of Ohio, on admitting that State into the Union, that five per cent. of the nett proceeds of land in that State, sold by Congress, should be applied to the making of roads from the navigable waters of the Atlantic to and through the said State, under the authority of Congress, with the consent of the States through which the road should pass; and, in consideration thereof, the State engaged to exempt from taxes, for the term of five years from the sale thereof, the land to be sold by Congress. In pursuance of this compact, the Cumberland road was made. And here again we have the authority of Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison, and Mr. Monroe, who severally approved the appropriations for this purpose.

benefit. Repeal those duties, and you exempt the manufacturers from all burdens. Let me caution Southern gentlemen against repealing these seven and a half millions of duties. Such a measure would render the reduction of the imposts which oppress their people hopeless. Let the whole of the imposts be gradually reduced, so as not suddenly to affect any interest. The manufactories being brought into existence by protection, it ought not to be suddenly withdrawn.

My colleague would not follow the example of France and England, in making internal improvements. The people of those countries are depressed, and many of them paupers. Sir, it was not the canal of Languedoc that depressed the people of France in the reign of Louis XIV. That great work cost five hundred and forty thousand pounds, and was finished in fifteen years. It was the perpetual wars of Louis XIV, which, in his latter days, were Now, sir, you have the like compact with the States of disastrous. It was that despicable bigotry which drove Alabama and Mississippi. That with the State of Alaba- five hundred thousand protestants from their country, and ma provides that five per cent. of the nett proceeds of scattered their wealth and arts over all christendom. It lands within the territory, "shall be reserved for making was not the expense of making canals and roads that depublic roads, canals, and improving the navigation of pressed the people of England. Canals in England are rivers, of which three fifths shall be applied to those ob- but of recent date; they are made by companies; occasionjects, within the said State, under the direction of the le-ally the Government gives a small grant. It is the public gislature thereof, and two-fifths to the making of a road debt of England that depresses the people. At the end of or roads leading to the said State, under the direction of the year 1701 it was six millions; in 1714 it was fifty Congress." And, in consideration thereof, the State of millions; in 1775 it was one hundred and thirty-five milAlabama has engaged not to tax the lands sold by Congress lions; in 1784 it was two hundred and sixty-six millions; it for five years; that the lands of non-residents shall be tax- is now perhaps a thousand millions. Thus, we see that it ed no higher than that of residents, and that no tax shall was the wars of the American and French revolutions that be imposed on the lands of the United States. Here, then have involved England in a debt which can never be paid: we have a valuable consideration for the money which we and this depresses her people. Her hierarchy adds grievshall appropriate to make this road, leading to Alabama ously to the burden. The revenues of the Episcopal and Mississippi. We owe a debt; we have an unquestiona- Church in England amount to about forty millions of dol ble right to appropriate money to pay it. This appropria- lars, paid to eighteen thousand priests; while eight thoution, in pursuance of our compact, is as fully authorized. sand other priests receive about two million two hundred as the appropriation of fifteen millions for the purchase of and twenty thousand dollars. It is not the expense of inLouisiana, made in fulfilment of a treaty.* ternal improvement that has reduced seven thousand of the people of Dublin to live on three half-pence each day. In Ireland, seventeen hundred episcopal priests receive five million seven hundred and seventy-two thousand dollars, extorted from agriculture, while two thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight other priests receive one million and sixty-one thousand dollars. There is no danger that internal improvements will depress the people.

I will next consider the powers granted to the President by the bill. He is authorized to appoint commissioners, who are to lay out the roads; he is then to take the necessary measures for the construction of the road; contracts are to be entered into, and releases obtained from the proprietors of lands. No jurisdiction is assumed; no power is given to take and condemn the lands. In adopting mea sures for the construction of this road, the President must pursue the authority given by this bill, or have recourse to the existing laws.

I will now notice some of the objections made by my eloquent colleague, [Mr. P. P. BARBOUR] who opposed the bill. He would dissuade Congress from making this appropriation, because there are seven and a half millions of imposts which might he repealed without touching the duties which protect domestic manufactures. Sir, many of those duties which he would thus repeal, protect agriculture; many of them are paid by manufacturers, and

[ocr errors]

Extract from a speech delivered by Mr. Smyth in the House of Representatives, in February, 1823. "I will justify the appropriation made for the construction of the Cumberland road. Congress are authorized to dispose of, and make all needful regulations respecting the territory and other property belonging to the United States.' Now I apprehend no regulation can be more needful' than one which preserves to the United States a title to their property. Is it certain that, admitting a new State into the Union on an equal footing, in all respects, with the original States, would not vest in the State the domain? Would it not operate like an acknowledgment of the independence of a colony? Be that as it may, Ohio, by this compact, surrendered her right to tax, during five years, the land which the United States might sell, and thus gave an equivalent for the two per cent. which the United States engaged to disburse in making roads leading to that State. To make needful regulations respecting the public lands, is a granted power. Congress may pass the necessary laws to execute that power, and consequently may pass appropriation laws for executing this needful regulation,' this compact with Ohio. Thus the appropriations for making the Cumberland road, appear to have been constitutional." VOL. VI.-86.

I will say something of the general expediency of this appropriation. If there is a surplus of revenue to expend in a beneficent way, it should be distributed as generally and as equally as circumstances will admit. This appropriation will be extensively beneficial; seven great States will share in its benefits. This road will extend through the interior of the country, where nothing has been dispensed for internal improvements, and little for any other of the expenses of the Government. Set one point of a pair of compasses at my residence, describe a circle of the diameter of five hundred miles, within that extent, not a cent has been disbursed by this Government for any work or improvement; not a salary is paid within my knowledge, and no compensation, except to members of Congress, mail contractors, postmasters, jurors, and for taking the Your expenditures for the army, navy, fortifications, and collection, of revenue, are on the seaboard, in the cities, or on the frontier. The interior suffers by a perpetual drain of its money, none of which is restored by the Government. The prevailing policy is to have a revenue above the amount of the necessary expenses of the Government. I did not,sanction this policy; but, as it is adopted, as the system is fixed upon us, let a small part of the surplus be expended, according to our compact with the Southwestern States, in the district of my colleague, and of mine. I am to say something of the particular utility of the road proposed to be made. My colleague [Mr. BARBOUR] Sup


H. OF R.]

Internal Improvements.-Pensioners of the United States.

[MARCH 26, 1830

For the continuance of the road from Detroit to Chica

For the continuance of the road from Pensacola to St. Augustine, with five thousand dollars

posed it of no commercial utility. Commerce, he says, goes from West to East. He has never been in the south-go, with eight thonsand dollars. west quarter of Virginia, and knows nothing of the direction of the commerce of that part of the country. The commerce of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia does Mr. HEMPHILL moved to amend that clause of the not go to the East. The merchants obtain their merchan- bill containing the appropriation of thirty thousand dollars dise from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. The for defraying the expenses of examinations and surveys, caravans of wagons which carry on merchandising between and of arrearages for the years 1826, 1827, and 1828, by Knoxville and Baltimore, now pursue the proposed route increasing the sum to thirty-five thousand dollars. three hundred and fifty miles; and, when the road is made, they may pass through this place, or continue through Winchester, as at present. It is true, that, eastward of the Blue ridge, in Virginia, commerce goes to the East; therefore the middle route, on the east side of the Blue ridge, would be useless for commercial purposes, except that some hogsheads of tobacco, within thirty or forty miles of James river or Roanoke, might be carried along the proposed road, if made on that route, to those rivers. Mr. HEMPHILL withdrew his amendment; and then The commerce of the interior and western ports of North Mr. WICKLIFFE moved to amend that part of the bill Carolina passes eastward to her own towns, or to Nor- stating the objects of the appropriation, so that they would folk and Petersburg. The most eastern route through be confined to surveys already commenced and not comthe capitals of the Southern States will only facilitate go-pleted, and to works of a national character. He was vernmental and commercial correspondence. On the west-opposed to instituting any new surveys.

Mr. WICKLIFFE desired that the arrearages should be made the subject of a separate appropriation, and not blended with that for defraying the expenses of the surveys. He inquired of the chairman of the committee who reported the bill, what was the amount of arrearages. Mr. McDUFFIE replied they amounted to five thousand one hundred and forty dollars.

At the suggestion of Mr. INGERSOLL,

ern route, the cotton of Alabama and the south of Tennes- Mr. CLAY and Mr. MERCER opposed the amendment. see may be brought to, and manufactured in, the towns Mr. M. urged the necessity of continuing the surveys, of the great valley as far as Winchester, and will pass which [he said] were done at so trifling an expense, since four hundred miles along the proposed road. The engi- the topographical engineers who made them must of neneers have given this route a decided preference; they cessity be employed by Government, even if the surveys show it to be the best and the cheapest; it will require less were discontinued. expense in causeways and bridges: and the expenses of making the road from this place to New Orleans, should it be Macadamized, would cost, according to their estimate, more than a million of dollars less than making it on the middle route, advocated by the gentleman from North Carolina, [Mr. CARSON.]

Mr. LEA suggested to Mr. WICKLIFFE to enlarge the object of his amendment, so as to embrace "such surveys as are recommended by either House of Congress."

Mr. WICKLIFFE said, he would prefer that the gentleman should offer the subject of his suggestion as an amendment. He wished to test the sense of the committee on the proposition he offered.

On motion of Mr. McDUFFIE, this bill was then laid aside, and the bill "making appropriations for improving harbors," &c. was taken up.

The engineers do not seem to have observed the fact, that James river is navigable where the western route Subsequently he accepted the amendment as a modifipasses that stream. There will terminate the trip of wacation of his proposition. gons bringing from the Southwest produce for the Rich- The amendment was negatived: yeas, 50-nays, 66." mond market. To the other recommendations of the On motion of Mr. VERPLANCK, an appropriation was western route, I will add that the accommodations for inserted of five thousand four hundred and fifty dollars for travellers, along the great valley, from Knoxville to Win-office rent, &c. chester, about four hundred and fifty miles, are, in my opinion, not equalled, in goodness and cheapness, on any road, of the same length, in the world. Sir, the road through the southwest of Virginia is an exceeding important highway. It was formerly the usual road to Kentucky; but the making of the Cumberland road, and the Kenhawa road, has lessened its importance. It is still necessary to the inhabitants of the south of Kentucky, as the gentleman before me [Mr. LETCHER] well knows. They send along it to market vast numbers of live stock, to the northern parts of Virginia, to Maryland, and even to Pennsylvania.

The gentlemen from North Carolina [Mr. C.] asks if this road can ever compete with the Mississippi. Sir, the Mississippi does not run near us; and if our branches of that river were navigable, New Orleans never can compete with Baltimore in supplying us with merchandise.

On motion of Mr. SHEPARD, the committee then rose, and reported progress.


On motion of Mr. McDUFFIE, the House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, Mr. LETCHER in the chair, and took up the consideration of the bill "making appropriations for examinations and surveys; and, aleo, for certain works of internal improvements." The blanks in that part of the bill containing the appropriation for the continuance of the road from Detroit to Fort Gratiot, was filled with seven thousand dollars.

For the continuance of the road from Detroit to Saganaw bay, with seven thousand dollars.

The blanks containing appropriations for the improvement of certain harbors therein mentioned, being filled, The committee then rose, and reported the two bills.

FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 1830.

PENSIONERS' OF THE UNITED STATES. Mr. BATES, from the Committee on Pensions, reported the following joint resolution:

Resolved by the Senate, &c. That the heads of the departments who may be severally charged with the administration of the pension laws of the United States of America, be, and they are hereby, respectively directed and required, as soon as may be after the opening of each session of Congress, to present to the Senate and House of Representatives a several list of such persons, whether revolutionary, invalid, or otherwise, as shall have made application for a pension or an increase of pension, and as in their opinion respectively ought to be placed upon the pension roll, or otherwise provided for, and for doing which they have no sufficient power or authority, with the names and residences of such persons, the capacity in which they served, the degree of relief proposed, and a brief statement of the grounds thereof, to the end that Congress may consider the same.

The resolution was twice read; and

Mr. TUCKER moved to amend it, by adding to it the following words:

MARCH 27, 29, 1830.]

Pay of Members.

"And also the names of the several pensioners, and their residence, who continue to receive their pensions; and likewise the whole amount of applicants for pensions, under the law of 1818, giving pensions to revolutionary


MONDAY, March 29, 1830.

683 [H. or R.

lution offered by Mr. McDUFFIE on the 18th instant, The House again resumed the consideration of the resorelative to a reduction of the compensation of members, in case they remain in session after a certain period in each

Mr. TUCKER'S amendment was agreed to: yeas, 77-session, as specified therein. nays, 69.

Saturday, against the adoption of the resolution.
Mr. COULTER concluded his remarks commenced on

[They were to the following effect:]

Mr. CHILTON was opposed both to the amendment and the resolution. He argued that the power and the patronage of the Executive Department of the Government were sufficient already, without vesting in it what the re- concerning the proposition now before the House. I am Mr. Č. said, I would not of my free choice say any thing solution proposed; for, if it passed, not five or ten, but induced to do so solely by the accidental circumstance of fifty additional officers would be necessary to examine the my belonging to the Committee on Retrenchment, whose cases, and prepare the information called for. Instead of especial duty, it seems to be considered, is to aid and abet this general reference of all the cases of application for every gentleman in cutting down and breaking up every pensions to the War Department, or a Board of Commis- part of the machinery of this Government which does not sioners, with discretionary power to dispose of them, he meet with his approbation. As I cannot, in this instance, preferred that every case should come at once before Con- labor in the vocation which has been assigned to me, it is gress to judge of its specific merits. The plan he thought perhaps due to myself, and only respectful to the House, wrong, because, after imposing this labor on the officer, to state my reasons. If, however, this resolution had been the cases would still have to come to Congress; so that the offered, as some have been, and I suppose will be again, only effect would be to give useless employment to a large by gentlemen who love to amuse their constituents, I number of additional clerks. Mr. C. went on to remark should not have touched it. It might have come upon the on another subject. He was aware [he said] that the stage, made its bow, and exit, and went off, like its pretransaction of the legislative business required commit- decessors and associates, in a flourish. But it comes upon tees; but he thought it a dangerous practice to give to us urged and sustained by a gentleman of high political committees unlimited confidence, and making it an apolo- consideration, who is likely to win for it much favor, here gy for members of this House to neglect investigation and in the nation. It is meet, therefore, that it should be themselves. He meant no reflection on the motives of considered with the gravity and respect due to the gentleany one; but the practice was bad. The consequence man from South Carolina, [Mr. McDUFFIE.]

was, that the House passed measures without knowing any those who now give this proposition their patronage, had thing of their merits, trusting entirely to the reports of not brought it forward at an earlier period of the session, regret that committees. No chairman of a committee, he presumed, especially as a most appropriate occasion was then affordwould venture to report a pension bill solely on the ab-ed them for presenting it to the House. It will be recolstract which should be furnished by the Secretary of War, and therefore it would be as well for the subject to stand as it does, and let the committee report the cases on their

own examination.

lected that one bill, concerning the compensation of members of Congress, passed this House about the last of December. In that bill the proposition now under conCommittee on Retrenchment of this year divested the sideration was once contained. But a majority of the bill of what they considered an unjust and odious feature. Yet when it was undergoing the action of the House, it was competent for the gentleman from South Carolina, or the chairman of the Retrenchment Committee, [Mr. WICKLIFFE] to have offered an amendment, embracing this their favorite proposition. Business had not then thickened upon the House, and time, which, it is now said was then wasted, might have been employed in considering what we are now discussing. If it had then been acted upon, it might, by operating on our avarice, have produced some of the good with which the gentleman from South Carolina feeds his fancy. Now it is too late for this Congress, at all events. But at that time we heard nothing of this proposition. No, not even from the lation to the daily pay of members, which the gentleman Magnus Apollo of retrenchment. from Kentucky [Mr. CHILTON] did then offer as an amendA proposition in rement, received so little countenance or encouragement, that the House refused to order the yeas and nays upon

Mr. BATES was indifferent to the fate of the resolution since the amendment was added to it, because it would require the reporting of a large volume every year of useless matter. The resolution had been offered to the House by the committee, because a great deal of time was now lost in investigating individual cases, which have been presented to the War Department, and, after examination there, rejected, as not coming with the provisions of the existing laws. The committee thought that, as these cases necessarily passed under the investigation of the head of the department, he could prepare with ease and accuracy a summary view of the nature and merits of each case, for the information of the committee. Nothing was to be referred to his discretion; he was merely to report facts; it imposed on him no additional responsibility, and would give him but little additional trouble. thought it a wise provision, calculated to save time, and Mr. B. therefore facilitate the business, so as to grant relief in cases which were entitled to it, and ascertain at once those which were improper. The resolution was then ordered to a third reading-its rejection. I think the House did wisely and weli," It

yeas, 95,

[ocr errors]



is certainly a delicate affair for this or any other legislative body to agitate the question of its own compensation. The necessity of the case constitutes it an exception from the general rule, which forbids public functionaries to be the judges of their own salaries. It has been

The House again resumed the consideration of the reso-judged safer, in all free countries, to vest this power in lution offered by Mr. McDUFFIE on the 18th instant, reducing the compensation of members of Congress to two dollars a day for every day the House may sit after the expiration of one hundred and twenty days of the long session, and of ninety days of the short session.

Mr. COULTER addressed the House in opposition to the resolution, till the hour for considering resolutions elapsed.

the legislature, though interested, than in any other department. But the delicacy of their position ought to make them cautious in their movements. If they attempt to increase their allowance, it will be ascribed to love of get or deserve credit for patriotism or sincerity. They gain. If they attempt to reduce it, ten to one if they either will most probably be charged with the grovelling design of purchasing popularity, by relinquishing a modicum of

« 上一頁繼續 »