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H. OF. R.)
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[MARCH 29, 1830.
be be willing that the money of his constituents should gentlemen who are more particularly interested in it. be expended to construct it on any other than his own What does this prove, sir ? Why, that we are each repreroute! I shrewdly suspect he would not. If it so hap- senting our own local interest; and to what will it lead, pens that it should not cross Cumberland mountain at and to what has it led upon this very bill? To combina, all, bis constituents will be apt to think they have been tions of local interests, to effect that which no one local badly treated, and that it would be inexpedient to make interest by itself could effect. Why was it thnt the road the road on any other route. And if it does cross from Washington to Buffalo, and the road from Washiog. Cumberland mountain, New Philadelphia and the peo-ton to New Orleans, were united in one bill? Was there ple on that route will be dissatisfied. If gentlemen any necessary connexion between them? Were they ever are determined to construct this road, I submit to them united before the present session! Was such a union whether it would not be better to have the precise ever dreamt of before I Am I at liberty to suppose that route fixed with certainty, by previous survey, and then they were united for the purpose of combining local inconsider of the expediency of passing a law to construct terests enough to carry the whole, but wbich peitber, it. But that is objected to ; and wby? I know of do rea- standing independent of the other, could effect? I put son, except that the bill would lose some of its present it to my colleagues, and to the two gentlemen from Virsupport, by locating the road to any one route definitely: givia, to know if they would vote, if their constituents All those routes which did not get it would fly off and would justify them in voting away so large a sum of the vote against it. I shall vote against this bill, let the route people's money, to construct the road from Washington be where it may. I bave brought to the notice of the to Buffalo, if the New Orleans end of the road was struck committee the conflicting interests of different sections, out of this bill
. Would the gentlemen residing on the and large masses of your population arrayed against each Buffalo end deem it expedient to vote for the New Orleans other, for the purpose of showing the corrupting tendency end, if that to Buffalo was struck out ? Sir, I beg gentleof this whole system, by addressing itself to the sordid ih- men to trace the operations of these combinations of local terests of sections and localities. I speak of the tendens interests a little furtber. I hold in my hand an amendcies and certain effects of the system. *I do not wish to be ment laid upon the table by a gentleman from Massachumisunderstood by my colleagues, or any one else, upon setts
, [Mr. RICHARDSON) • few days ago, and printed by this subject. I do not intend to impute to them or their order of the House, which he intends to offer to this bill, constituents any thing which does not equally apply to my as soon as he can get the flour. I will read it. Sir, it pro own, and to the constituents of every other gentleman up- poses to extend the road “ from Buffalo, in the State of on this floor. There are but few districts that will resist New York, to the head of Lake Champlain, in Vermont, the lure of local gain, in the shape of a road or a canal, if and thence to Boston, in the State of Massachusetts.” If you will hold it out to them. 1 bave seen something of this amendment should be adopted, we shall have a giganits effects in my own district. This same pational road was tic, a tremendous road, indeed. A road from Bostop to mounted as a political bobby, three or four years ago, in New Orleans. If this does not give strength enough to that district. For a time, the
people seemed to he carried the bill to pass, add more to it. Extend it to Hartford, if away with the prospect of having millions of public money you please; we may need a military road in that direction, expended among them. We were to have à main route in the event of another war. If this is not still sufficient, and cross routes intersecting the district in every direc- I see a bill reported, and now upon our tables, proposing tion. It was to run down every creek, and pass through to appropriate forty-four thousand dollars " to improve almost every neighborhood in the district. As soou as Back creek;" and where Back creek is, I am again at there was time for reason to assume ber seat, the delusion fault, no doubt from my want of knowledge of the geopassed off. The people very properly reflected that the graphy of the country; but it must, of course, be a great money to build the road was collected by taxes paid in national work. Add this to one end of this road; put on part by them. They reflected, too, that the nation owed it “ Conneaut creek” and “Cunningham creek," and dià debt of many millions, upon which a large annual inte vers other creeks, which I see bave been surveyed by the rest was paid. Their better judgment taught them that it United States' engineers as great national objects, and be was time enougb,yif ever, to enter upon these splendid sure that you upite local interests enough to carry the bill. and extravagant schemes of internal improvement when this is the magnificent and beautiful system that is now in the public debt was paid. And, sir, this is the conclusion the full tide of experiment. Can we close our eyes, if we to which the people of every district must and will finally would, upon its unequal, unjust, and pernicious operation, come, when they properly understand the practical ope- both bere and upon the community, if it is persisted id ! rations of the system. The delusion may, and probably I have spoken of conflicts between sections of country, will
, continue as long as localities and sections are Aattered and between different masses of people arrayed against with the immediate prospect of gain to themselves, at the each other, and I have spoken of combinations of intecost of all the rest of the people of the Union. But
, rests to effect a common purpose. These conflicts and Booner or later, the veil which obscures the vision will be combinations will exist, not only out of this House, but in rent asunder; they will see the evil effect of this system, it. They will exist here; and, by saying this, I do not and put it down.
wish to be understood as imputing any thing wrong to any There is one remarkable fact attending the discussion of oue. It is the natural and almost inevitable consequence, this bill, which illustrates the tendency of which I have if this system goes on. The combinations of the strong spoken. Every gentleman who has advocated it, with the sections of the Union represented in this House will oversingle exception of the honorable chairman who reported shadow and overpower the weak; and in this general it, represents districts through which some one or other of scramble for the public money, (for I can call it by no other the many routes of this mammoth road is expected to pame) the weak will get no portion of the spoil. pass. Each advocates his particular part of the road, and I bave taken this road as one out of the many objects of seems to have but little care for any other. The gentle improvement which have been projected, to illustrate the man from Pennsylvania (Mr. RAMBEY] advocates the Buf- evil tendencies and pernicious effects of this system generalfalo end of the road; that passes through his district. He ly. From a report of the Board of Topographical Engineers, says he leaves the New Orleans end of the road to other communicated to Congress at its last session, I find that, on gentlemen who are interested in it. My two colleagues, the 8th of December, 1828, there had been projected and and the two gentlemen from Virginia, who have addressed surveyed one hundred and twenty-eight distinct objects the committee, argue to prove the importance of the New national internal improvement. Since that time we have Orleans end of the road; they leave the Buffalo end to no report showing the increased pumber. No one knows
MARCH 29, 1830.)
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[H. oF R.
how many more there are. All, of course, great national poses to appropriate two and a quarter millions of dollars works. The power to construct each and all of them accord- to make a mud rond. The interest for a year upon this ing to the ductrines of the advocates of this system, is deriv- sum, at six per cent per annum, is one hundred and thirtyed either from the war-making, the commercial, or the post five thousand dollars. So that the simple interest per anoffice powers. In this document we find, among other num, upon the amount now proposed to be expended to equally national works, the following truly important pro- commence this road, will be fifty-seven thousand dollars jects; “survey of Conneaut creek, with a view to its improve more than the whole amount now paid for transporting the ment;" removing obstructions at the mouth of Ashtabula mail on the present roads. Now the money, if left in the creek ;" * survey at the mouth of Sandy creek,” &c.; and pockets of the people, and especially in the Westeru bow many other creeks of great patioval importance, have States, is always worth simple interest, and more; and will been survoyed and examined, I will uot fatigue the com. my colleague tell me where the saving, in a pecuniary point mittee by reciting. Each gentleman can examine this of view, upon which he dwelt with so much confidence, very interesting document for himself. One or two others, would bei If we estimate the value of this improvement bowever, I must mention, before I pass from this docu- by a calculation of dollars and cents, will there not be a ment. I find, sir, a " survey of the Cobboseconte canal clear loss instead of a saving ! But the two and a quarter route,” a “survey of the Winnepiseogee canal route.” (1 millions, to be expended under the provisions of this bill, do not know that I pronounce these dames right. The will be but a small portion of the amount which will be learned gentleman before me [Mr. EVERETT) says I do. I required to complete it. This is only inteuded by the am glad of it. I believe it is the first time I ever saw the advocates of the bill make it a mud road. It will not words in my life.) But no doubt they are great national be more than sufficient to locate it, to clear out the brush, works. I fiud, too, there has been a “survey of the Suna- to throw up the earth, and graduate it. To construct it pee caval route," & "survey of the levels of the Audros- upon the McAdam plan, the engineers, iu their report, coggin river,” a “survey of the Armonoosack canal estimate that it will cost : route," and many other such great national works. Every From Buffalo to Washington,
$1,877,063 92 creek, and mill path, and corner of the couotry, at which From Washington to New Orleans, 5,997,802 30 a United States' engineer touches, assumes, as if by magic, nationality of character. It is at once dubbed a great pub Making a total of
$7,874,866 22 lic improvement, and its construction by Congress clearly authorized, according to the doctrines of the advocates of This immense sum, as all other estimates for similar this system, under the war, the commercial or the post works have proved to be, will doubtless fall much below office powere. Whatever the President, or his engineers, the real cost. - But suppose this sum to be sufficient to or Congress, in their discretion, choose to denominate da construct it, the annual interest upon it, at six per cent. tional works, become so ipso facto; but there is no security per annum, will be four bundred and seventy-two thousand that what is national this year will continue to be so the next. four hundred and ninety-one dollars and vinety-six cents.
I have no means of calculating what the probable cost of The interest upon the cost of construction will be more constructing all the works contained in the long catalogue than six times the whole amount now paid per annum for of projects contained in this document would be. I have transporting the mail. Where, then, will be the saving understood that some general estimate has been made, by of which my colleague speaks? If we take the actual which it is calculated that it will require the revenue which cost of the Cumberland road as the criterion by which to we may bave to spare for more than half a century to estimate the probable cost of this, it will amount to more come, to complete them. All candot be constructed at than twenty-one millions of dollars ; and the annual interest once, and presently we will see conflicts between the upon the cost will be more than a million of dollars. The friends of different objects for precedence in point of time. road when made will have to be kept in repair ; and if we When we contemplate the illimitable extent of these vision- take our experience upon the Cumberland road as any ary and wild schemes ; when we see the abuses to which it evidence of what is to occur upon this road when made, has been, and may be subject, ia scattering, and wasting we shall be called upon annually to make large appropri. the public money; when we see that it has been, and may ations to keep it up. And if we do not make them, it again be used as a powerful branch of Executive patron will dilapidate and go to ruin. The States through which age, to buy up whole sections of country to the support of it will pass will have the humiliating honor of being annual the powers that be,” even if there was an express grant beggars for life at your door, asking for appropriations to of power in the constitution, ought we not to stop in our keep it in repair. This, sir, is the saving we will witness. wild career, and pause and hesitate before we push it This great road, according to the arguments of my colfurther
lengue, (Mr. Blair) is to constitute a great artery from the I beg leave now to notice some of the arguments which southern extremity of the Union to the northern border ; have been urged in support of this bill, and to inquire what is to afford facilities for the marching of troops and the advantages would result in a national point of view, from transportation of the means of defence from the interior to the construction of this road. I admit that good roads are the extremes, in the event of war. uo advantage to a neighborhood, or county, or State, He insists that the munitions of war could be transportor the nativo ; and if made by the proper authority, and if ed, the troops from Kentucky and Tennessee could be they do not cost too much, I do not object to them. But marched upon it in a much shorter time, to the defence of all roads are not national, and some of the benefits which the southern frontier. Now, sir, all who will examine the my colleagues suppose would be derived from the con map of these two States will at once perceive that it would struction of this road, in the manner proposed, I am sure require more time for an army from Kentucky and some are rather ideal than real. One of my colleagues [Mr. portions of Tennessee to march across the country to get Isacks) urged, with much earnestnegs, that it would be a to this road, than it would to go on board a steamboat on saving of thirty-nine thousand dollars per annum in the the Ohio or Tennessee river, go to the South, fight the transportation of the mail. A very short examiuation, battle, and almost get home again. From Kuoxville, by a more financial view, will show the fallacy of this argu- land, through Alabama to New Orleans, the way this road ment. I understand that the average cost of transporting is to go, is more than seven bundred miles. If this road is the mail in stages, on the present roads, from Buffalo to to be constructed, either for military or commercial purNew Orleans, is fifty-two dollars per mile. The distauce poses, or for the transportation of the mail, any one who is fifteen bundred miles. At this rate, the amount paid looks upon the map will perceive that the proper route annually is seventy-eight thousand dollars. This bill pro- I would be direct from Knoxville to Memphis. or some other
H. of R.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[MARCH 29, 1830.
point on the Mississippi river, from which steamboats rud gument upon this floor, which gained him a reputation at all seasons of the year. It would pass, on this route, which I am sorry to see bim about to impair. In bis arguthrough a portion of the country upon which New Orleans ment upon this bill, he still denies the power, not only to must depend for defence in the event of war; the land tra- construct, but to appropriate money to construct, roads and vel would be shortened from two to four hundred miles; canals within the limits of the States. He places bis vote and at the Mississippi you would be within two or three for this bill upon a ground wbich do one before had thought davs of New Orleans.
of. He places it upon the ground of compact with the If any road is to be made for national or for any other States of Alabama and Mississippi, and says it rests upon purposes, this is the direction it ought to take. The Le- the same ground that the power to construct the Cumbergislature of Tennessee, at its late session, have said that land road rested. Will the gentleman inform the committhe State contemplates making a road from the Virginia tee, if the constitution does not confer the power upon line to the Mississippi river; they have asked the co-opera- Congress, (and he says it does not,) how it is that a comtion of Virginia to extend the road through that State; and pact or a bargain with a territory about to be admitted into she has said further, that the only manner in which this ihe Union, or how it is that an agreement with a single Goverument could give any aid, in the construction of such State can confer it. What is the compact with Alabama works, “consistent with the sovereignty of the States, and and Mississippi ? Nothing more than that which has been the legitimate powers of the United States," was by sub made with most of the new States, upon their admission scription for stocks in companies incorporated by the States. into the Union. It is, that five per cent of the nett proI do not mention this to raise the constitutional question; ceeds of the sales of the public lands within their respecI only mention it to show, if the friends of this system are tive limits shall be reserved, three-fifths of which shall be determined to make this road, regardless of all conse- applied by the legislature of that State to make roads withquences, they ought to make it in the most useful direc- in the State, and two-fifths to the making a road or roads tion. I understand that an amendment will be offered to to the said State, under the direction of Congress !” What change the route to the Mississippi river; for that I shall is the compact with Obio? It is, that one-twentieth, or five vote, but will finally vote against the bill on any route. To per cent of the nett proceeds of the sales of the public East Tennessee, whether in a military or commercial point lands within that State "sball be applied to the laying out of view, if improvements must be made, I submit to my and making public roads, leading from the navigable waters colleagues and to the committee, whether it would not be emptying into the Atlantic, to the Ohio, to the said State, of infinitely more advantage, and at less than a fourth of and through the same, such roads to be laid out under the the cost of this road, to remove the obstructions in the authority of Congress, with the consent of the several Tennessee river, and connect the waters of the Tennessee States through which the road shall pass." Although the with the rivers flowing into the bay of Mobile by a short consent of Peovsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, through canal. Could not troops and the products exported reach whose territory the Cumberland road passed, from the nathe points of destination much earlier and much easier by vigable waters of the Atlantic to the Ohio, was given, yet, water than by this road? As to military purposes, no ene so strong have the gentleman's opinions heretofore been my is likely to invade our southern border at any other against the exercise of this power by Congress, that he season than in the winter, and at that season our rivers are bas uniformly voted against all appropriations to construct always navigable. East of the Alleghany mountain, from or repair the Cumberland road." At the first session of Western Virginia, the road to market, or to the defence the last Congress, at the very last session, he voted against of Virginia, is to Richmond or Norfolk. There are already an appropriation for this object. He now says that, under good roads made by State authority from Staunton and the compact with Alabama and Mississippi, if the road Charlottesville to Richmond. From this city to Buffalo, passes through any part of the territory of those States, we how a road was ever conceived to be of importance in a have the power to construct it, and as there is no point of national point of view, I do not know. The gentleman beginning designated in the compact, we may begin it at from Virginia, near me, (Mr. Mercer) formerly at the Buffalo, or any other point, and run it through the terrihead of the Coinmittee on Roads and Canals, no doubt can tory of several intermediate States, whose consent has not tell. He has a peculiar felicity in nationalizing every ob- been given. The consent of the gentleman's own State ject of improvement, whether it be the mouth of a creek, has not been given, and I shrewdly suspect will not be. or a neighborhood canal or road. If that gentleman shall The gentleman's argument amounts to this: that although be blessed with a continuance of life and health for twenty in his opinion the constitution does not confer the power, years more, and continues in the service of this House, I yet, if you think proper to begin a road in one corner of have no doubt he will be the most voluminous writer of Alabama or Mississippi, you may extend and ramify it all the age upon the subject of roads and canals. He will over the Union, and that, too, without the consent of the leave a posthumous reputation behind him that will live in other States, upon the ground of compact. Surely the the documentary history of the country. And it will be gentleman, upon furtber reflection, will not attempt to fortunate for him if that reputation sustains no injury ; maintain this position. But, if he could, we are not aufrom the fact that he has largely contributed to fasten upon thorized or bound, by the compact itself, to appropriate the country a system that will embarrass the finances, op. more than the five per cent of the nett proceeds of the press the people with upvecessary taxation, and distract sales of the lands within those States. This bill approprithe harmony of the Union,
ates much more. Suppose it could be placed on this ground; I cannot but express my utter astonishment and deep re- are Alabama and Mississippi asking for the execution of gret at the argument that fell from another gentleman (Mr. this compact, by passing this bill, or making this gigantic Smyth, of Virginia) in support of this bill. It is true this road? T'hey are not. You have no memorials upon your road is expected to pass through his district, and address- table from those States for any such
purpose. es itself to the local interests of his constituents; but he is sentative from Mississippi upon this floor is opposed to the the last man in the House that I should have expected to bill; the delegation from Alabama are divided; I undersee shake and falter in his long settled opinions. It is stand a majority of them will vote against the bill. The the strongest evidence we could have of the effects of this gentleman must look out for some other ground-this cersystem, when it addresses itself to the local interests of|tainly cannot be maintained. sections. In the course of a long service here, the gentle. The constitutional question I shall not argue or touch. man has uniformly denied the power of this Government It has long since been exhausted. But I beg to look at to prosecute this system. In 1824, his powerful mind some of the details of this bill, and inquire of its advocates operated upon this great subject, and he delivered an ar- | how they are to avoid some of the inherent difficulties
March 29, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(H. OF R.
which must present themselves in the construction of this ping. Now, I would say to the gentleman, that he ongle rond through the States. Commissioners are to be ap- to be certain, in the first place, that the disease exists. In pointed to receive releases from the owners of lands over my opinion, he has mistaken the symptoms. But, if it which the road is to pass. But, suppose the owners are does exist, I have understood that tapping is a very danminors, non-residents, or beyond seas, how are you to pro- gerous operation, and ought never to be undertaken but cure the release ? Suppose the owner is unwilling to give by senior physicians, and then not until all other means to it to you, will you extend the arm of the federal power, save the patient had failed. The honorable chairman of and coerce hiin! You have not ventured to put such a pro- the committee, [Mr. HEMPHILL) who reported this bill, is vision in the bill. That would be too bold. It might alarm a senior; but even he should not bazard so perilous an the State sovereigoties, and create resistance-constitution operation, without a regular consultation of political docal resistance, I mean. It might produce collisions, difficult tore. There is, I believe, in some of the colleges, such a to manage, between the federal and State authorities. degree as bachelor of medicine; and those who take it are The same power that would enable you, by force, and accounted junior members of the profession. The gentleagainst the consent of the owner and the State, to run your man from Virginia, and my two colleagnes, bave taken road through a man's plantation, would enable you to cut this degree, but are not yet entitled to be ranked as sedown bis orchard, to demolish his houses, or to tear down niors. The junior members of the profession ordinarily court-bouses if they stood in your way. Will you assume enter upon the practice by dealing in simples. They comexclusive jurisdiction over the road, and punish offences mence by drawing teeth, blood-letting, and administering committed upon it, by the federal judiciary? These are simple sudorifics; but it is contrary to all rule for them to weighty considerations, worthy of much deliberation. Jf use ibe knife in difficult surgical operations. And I would this road crosses the mountains at Rockfish Gap, it will say to my two colleagues, and to the gentleman from Virintersect a State turnpike road, constructed by a compary ginia, that they ought to be exceedingly cautious how they incorporated by the State of Virginia. Can this Govern- enter upon the operation which they are about to perform; ment and the State of Virginia both exercise exclusive ju should iake care that they do not draw off from the body risdiction, at one and the same time, over the sume space, politic too much of its substnnce, and thereby lenve the and on the same subject matter? This turnpike company patient in an enfeebled and sickly state. It might linger have vested rights under their charter, and the State of and die on their hands. Sir, to be serious, you are about Virginia is pledged to guaranty them; and if their private to tap the treasury with a vengeance. I bave taken some interest should be affected by the construction of this road, pains to ascertain the amount proposed to be appropriated and they should appeal to Virginia to make good her gua- at this session of Congress for objects of internal improveranty, is there no danger of serious collision I merely ment. The amount proposed to be appropriated by the throw out these things for the consideration of gentlemen, bills already reported upon this subject, and now upon without intending to enter into the argument.
the table, including the iwo and a quarter millions con But my colleague (Mr. Blair) says that the question tained in this bill, amount to four million two hundred and is settled; the constitutional question, I suppose, he meads. thirty-nine thousand dollars for the present year. How Without admitting the fact, suppose, for the purposes of many more projects are under examination in the Comthe present argument, that it was, is that any reason why mittee on Iuternal Improvements, I do not know, but we we should vote for every visiopary and extravagant pro- know that we have a new bill reported to us every day. position wbich shall be presented, under the guise and li- Have gentlemen looked to the state of the treasury to see very and name of internal improvement! Is it any reason whether it will bear these heavy appropriations i Will why we should beggar the treasury, or postpone the pay they invade the sioking fund, and check the payment of ment of the public debt! But my colleague says that he the national debt? We all know, that, besides the annual would have the Government to do as he himself would do sinking fund of ten millions, whatever surplus may at any as an individual. If he had plenty of money, he says, he time remain in the treasury, over two millions, is applicawould buy a new coat; but if he had not, he would do ble, by the act of 1817, to the payment of the interest and without it. And if the Government has a full treasury, extinguishment of the principal of the national debt. And he would make a road. Let me ask him if he had plenty whatever appropriations are made for objects of internal of money, as he calls it, and was indebted, if it would not improvement, or for any other purpose other than the nebe the part of prudence first to pay the debt, and then cessary expenses of the Goveroment, is so much subtractconsider whether be could afford to get the coat! And ed from the payment of the debt. I was sorry to bear if the nation is indebted, let me ask him if it is not the part the sentiment fall from my worthy colleague, (Mr. BLAIR.) of prudence first to pay the nutional debt, and then consi. In his zeal to pass this bill, he said he need not be told der of ihe propriety of making the road ?
that the public debt must be paid before we go into this I would next call the attention of the committee to an system. I differ from my colleague in opinion.
We owe argument of an extraordinary character, used in support a debt of more than forty-eight millions of dollars upon of this bill by a gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Craig.] which we pay an annual interest. And although our pubThe gentleman, if I understood bim, denied the power of lic debt is small, and indeed very trifling, when compared Congress to make roads through the States ; without the with the British debt, and perhaps that of every other ciconsent of the States ; but, as this road passed through his vilized nation in the world-I look to its total and speedy district, and addressed itself to the local interests of his extinguishment as an event devoutly to be wished for. A constituents, he concluded to vote for this bill, without part of it is a debt, not only of obligation, but of gratithe consent of the States. The reasons assigned for the tude; a debt of the revolution ; a part of the price of the vote were singular enough. They were, that the money liberty we enjoy. I am gratified that it is a part of the was already in the treasury; and whether it got there con- policy of the present administration speedily to pay it. I stitutivnally or unconstitutionally, it was the people's mo- would make none but the necessary appropriations for the pey, and we should not keep it on band, useless and idle, support of Government, and thus leave in the hands of the but should distribute it amongst the people. The gentle Executive all the means which the receipts into the treaman takes for granted a fact which does not exist. We sury would furnish, to enable bim to accomplish it. If, have not a dollar on hand but what we have immediate use by large and extravagant appropriations, we absorb a large for, either in defraying the expenses of the Government, portion of the revenue in objects of internal improvements, or in paying the debt. He seemed to suppose that the its payment, pro tanto, must be retarded. I wish to see treasury was overflowing; that it was laboring under this nation exbibit to the world the rare spectacle of a dropsical affection; and he proposes to relieve it by tap-Igreat and a powerful people freed from her pecuniary
H. OF R.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(MARCH 29, 1830.
pbligations ; of a nation possessing vast resources, without or about twelve millions of dollars, is required to pay the a debt of a dollar. My colleague complains that large dis- necessary expenses of the Government. For the necesbursements are made on tide water in fortifications, in sary support of Government, the people, every where, will building ships, in supporting a navy and army, io prepar- cheerfully submit to any amount of taxation. The other ing the means of defence, and in protecting commerce, balf
, or about twelve millions of dollars appually, is appliand he wishes to distribute a portion of the public money cable to the payment of the principal and interest of the in other quarters of the Union. He does not expect an public debt, unless it is diverted from that application by equal distribution under the operation of this favorite sys- appropriations such as this. After the debt is paid, actem of his, but he would have it so as nearly as may be. cording to the present rates of taxation, the people will pay It is idle to talk about equality in this general scramble twelve millions of dollars per annum, or a dollar a head for for the public crumbs. We will never get it. The sys- every soul more than is required for the support of the Gotem itself, if it goes op, is unequal and unjust, and we can vernment. When the debt is paid, will the people of this never expect to receive, our due proportion. We had country submit to pay this enormous and undecessary tax, better pay off the debt first, and then reduce the taxes, merely for the purpose of evabling their representatives modify the tariff
, and leave in the pockets of the people here to scramble for it, and waste it by unequal disburseall that is not absolutely necessary for the support of Go- ments in wild projects of internal improvements, or for vernment. My colleague candidly admitted, in the course any other purposes i or will not public opinion force you of argument, that if the money was collected by a direct to reduce your taxes, and thus leave in the pockets of your tax upon the people, he would not vote to appropriate it people a great portion of what they now are compelled to for this or any other object of internal improvement. Now pay? Sir, let ne apply these palpable facts to my own what is the difference? Do not the people now pay every State, to the districts of my two colleagues, and to my own dollar of the revenue by a tax imposed upon them, and district, and see how the account stands. The constitupaid by them, in a different mode * The tax collector, it ents of my colleagues and myself, and the mass of the peo, is true, does not go to their doors, and demand and re- ple of Tennessee, are agriculturists. The population of ceive the portion of each. Each individual does not see that State is about six hundred thousand souls; and upon the amount of tax-which he pays go into the hands of the the supposition that they pay their ratable proportion of collector; but, potwithstanding, be pays the tax in the in the annual revenue, (and no one doubts the fact) they then creased price that he pays upon almost every article of pay annually, in the shape of indirect taxation, one million necessity wbich he eats, drinks, or wears. He pays it up two hundred thousand dollars. Half this amount, or six on every bushel of salt he uses, upon every pound of iron, hundred thousand dollars, goes to the support of the Goupon coffee, tea, sugar; upon every blanket and great veroment, leaving the other balf, or six bundred thousand coat that protects him from the inclemency of the season dollars appually, to pay the public debt, and, after the debt in winter. "In short, every head of a family, whether rich is paid, if the taxes are brought down to the necessities of or poor, pays a tax, and a heavy tax, in the increased the Government, leaving in the pockets of the people of price he pays upon every article bimself or his family buys that State six hundred thousand dollars per year, no longer or are compelled to use, and which he does not furnish required from them in the shape of taxes. Suppose this himself by his own labor or the domestic industry of bis system of interpal improvement should be persisted in family. The revenue of the country is collected by a tax after the debt is paid, and the people should continue to upon the people of the country. The tax is an indirect be taxed to raise money to carry it on; let me ask either one. It is a tax on consumption; but it is as much a tax, of my colleagues if they believe that Tennessee, in this and is as oppressive upon the people, as if it was a direct general scuffile, when all will be contending for as much tax. According to the admissiou of my colleague, if the as they can get, will ever receive six hundred thousand tax was paid directly by the people, so that each indivi: dollars per appum for her share? Will she ever receive dual could see, and feel, and know, the precise amount back as much as she pays in ? She will not. And if she which be did pay, he would not vote for this or any other did, upon what principle of sound political economy is it, appropriation for similar objects; but as the tax, although that you will collect a tax from your people, for the mere paid by the people, is collected in a different mode, and purpose of re-distributing or returning it back to them! the people do not so well see and know the amount they It will be impossible, under any system that you can adopt, do pay, he will vote for this and all other similar proposi- to re-distribute the money to the different sections of the tions ; the argument is, in fact, this: If the mass of the peo- Union in the same proportion that it is contributed. ple saw and understood the amount of taxes they pay, my Is this system of excessive taxation to endure forever? colleague, and others who favor this system, would not, and unust this systein of internal improvement be kept up and dare not, vote to waste and squander public money for the mere purpose of absorbing the surplus revenue in projects like this. There are not a dozen members up- Does any thinking man suppose it will, or can! There is on this floor-I doubt whether there is a single individual, one point, I believe, upon which tariff men and anti-tariff who would dare to support this system in the wild and vi- men are agreed, and that is, as soon as the debt is paid, at siopary extent to which it has been pushed, if the revenue all events, gradually to reduce, and fioally to repeal, the was collected by a direct tax, or if the amount of taxation duties on all those articles which do not come in competiactually paid under the present mode of collection, by im- tion with our own manufactures
. This will reduce the posts and duties, could be brought home to the knowledge taxes upon all sections from seven to eight millions per of each gentleman's constituents.
The surplus would then be from four to tive The whole annual revenue of the United States, paid millions per annum. Must this excess of taxes be kept up by the people in the shape of indirect taxation, may be to carry on internal improvements? Will you still keep put down in round numbers at twenty-four millions of dol: this surplus in the treasury, to wrangle and contend about lars; it is about that amount. The aggregate of federal here! Did any wise Government in the world ever tax population, including three-fifths of the slaves, taken into its people more than the exigencies of that Government the enumeration by the constitution, is about twelve mil. required! I know it is the policy of the friends of a cerlions of souls. Double the number of dollars, then, are tain system to keep up the higă taxes; to procrastinate collected than there are souls in the United States; so that the payment of the public debt; and, when it is paid, to every man, woman, and child, in the country, pays an have a plausible pretext to expend the surplus that is not average tax of two dollars per head. Each head of a fa- needed for any pecessary purposes of the Government. mily probably pays, upon an average, an annual tax of fif- Sir, it is as well to speak out plainly what I think of this teen or twenty dollars. About half the annual revenue, I policy. The "American system,” as it is falsely called,