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& ‘OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS, Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
March 30, 1830.]
29,580,315 78 1,774,818 94
Interest to 1st Jimmy, 1833,
81,355,134 72 Deduct, according to Secretary's estimate, 12,000,000 00 19,355,134 72 Add for interest on sum, beyond three per cent stock, (on which no interest should be charged for this year, it having been added at six per cent. for the year 1832 to 1833,) say on six millions fifty-eight thousand eight • hundred and eighty-five dollars and twenty-seven cents, to January, 1884, - 363,533 11 - 19,718,667 88 Deduct as above, according to estimate. 12,000,000 00 Leaving a balance of 7,718,667 88 of the public debt on the first day of January, 1884, at which time there will be in the treasury between three and four millions of dollars, beyond all ineffective funds that are there, which may be placed at one million, about which sum they are; and the United States will be unindebted, except as above, owner of seven millions of United States' Bank stock; nor will the balance be so great as I have made it, for all the debt (except three per cent. stock) is supposed, for convenience sake, to be at six per cent interest, when, in reality, twelve million seven hundred and three thousand ninety-eight dollars and sixty cents carry but five per cent and thirteen million seven. hundred and sixty-six thousand seven hundred dollars and fourteen cents draw only four and one half per cent. Indeed, the debt may be regarded as fully discharged when we shall have reached within seven millions of its apparent amount; for to that extent it was incurred by subscription for United States' Bank stock, which the Government still holds. Not more than twenty thousand dollars can be wanted for surveys and laying out the road before the spring of 1832, nor perhaps more than thirty thousand dollars until 1833, for it cannot be begun to be opened until it is all laid out, so that it may be seen what the average cost will be; which, if it shall exceed fifteen hundred dollars per mile, will prevent the President from proceeding. This sum will not beggar-the treasury. At either of the above times, the reduction of the debt will be such, that the sum heretofore paid for interest will go a considerable way to bear the expenses of the road. And, in January, 1834, it will be paid off, with the exception of a fraction. Any thing to be apprehended from the alleged interference with the ". of the public debt is fanciful. This bill, if it shall become a law, will not have that effect. The honorable gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Polk] tells us that the State Governments were made for intermal and municipal purposes, and the General Government for external purposes. Not so exactly. But I do not reeur to this matter to quarrel with him about his division of wers, but to say, with the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. P. P. BAaBoun] that I would not take from this Government one, even the smallest and most inconsiderable of its powers. I will add, for myself. I would not bestow upon it one jot of authority beyond what rightfully belongs to it. But it does seem to me that the fashionable doc. trine of jealousy of the General Government, and the danger suggested that it will swallow up State power, is chimeri. cal. Who compose this Government? We are ourselves its most efficient branch. Where are all our strongest politiesl attachments? In the several States, and I honor the sentiment. What sustains us here? The belief that we
stand well at home. , Take from any gentleman his State support, and will he have influence in this House? I think not. What inducement can there be to strengtheu the hands of the General Government? None that I can perceive; and these seats change occupants too often to allow even a corrupt man to hope for any personal advantage from so doing. Each Government, General and State, can only perform its functions within its designated sphere. There they may each long happily move, nourishing and cherishing, and fostering and securing, by their light and influence, the free institutions of our country ! I am, indeed, with the honorable gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr. Polk] for the Union, and as its devoted friend, opposed to all doctrines which have the slightest tendency to make the most deplorable of all events familiar to us. I cannot bring my mind to adopt the idea that a State has a right to abrogate a law of this Government. It is an opinion fraught with the worst consequences, and leading to the most lamentable issue. Are not, I ask gentlemen, our fortunes freighted in the same vessel ? The tempest which overwhelms one, will assuredly involve othera; and, when this gallant barque shall be stranded, if stranded it must be, he who wils have the fortune to seize a plank, by which he can reach the land, will find himself on a shore not worth inhabiting. Mr. STANDIFER said, he hoped the committee would not think he was trespassing on its patience, whilst he attempted, in his own way, to give his views on the important subject before the committee. But, sir, [said Mr. S.] you will readily account for the embarrassment under which I labor, when I inform you that I was raised to the plough, at a time, and under circumstances, which prevented my getting any but the most limited education. My embarrassment is increased, also, from the unfortunate difference of opinion which prevails in the delegation from my own State, with all of whom my intercourse has been friendly. But, whatever may be the difficulties with which I have to meet, I am determined, when I see a subject under discussion which involves the best interests of my constituents, and the nation at large, to represent the views of that generous and enlightened people who sent me here, and with whom, when at home, every thing dear to me is to be found. ... I mean to give my full support to this bill, and wish to allow my colleagues and .." others the same privilege of acting freely that I take myself. I know this is not the course of all the members of this House; but I hope I may be allowed to say that my two worthy colleagues (BLAIR and Isacks) who spoke on the same side of this question with me, and myself, live in the mountain region, where we breathe liberal air. We do not set ourselves up for little captains to lead others on ; we aim at no such unenviable distinction. We are perfectly willin that they should think and act for themselves, and we will leave it to the proper tribunal to decide between us. Neither of us o hold up the constitution to shelter ourselves from responsibility, and save us from the people at the ballot boxes. I will say for the worthy gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. BARBoun] that he has, in opposing this bill, which is my favorite one, acted with his usual fairness and candor. He has argued upon the ground of expediency alone, and I give him credit for it: for who that would be thought sincere, could oppose this bill on constitutional grounds, when it is pretty well understood here that two-thirds of this House are satisfied of the existence of the power of Congress to make internal improvements? I know that some of my colleagues will bear me out in saying, that, on my way to Congress in 1823, I expressed myself in favor of the system of internal improvements, and, after taking my seat, voted under the influence of that belief; and I tell my worthy colleague [Mr. Polk] who last spoke, that that opinion remains unchanged by any thing that I heard from him in the course of his remarks.
This road is one of the first importance to the Government in three points of view: military purposes, mail transportation, and last, though not least, commercial.
Speaking of it as a military road, I must call in to m aid plain common sense, as I am not possessed of * book information. My view of the United States in its warlike preparations is, that it may be compared to the encampment of an army in an enemy's country, when commanded by a skilful general. That encampment is in a hollow square, keeping in the centre a portion of his best troops, in order, if attacked on any side, to throw this reserved force to the place of attack. Now, the United States have frontiers around all the States except Kentucky and Tennessee: they are in the centre of this great encampment, and ready to be thrown to the defence of the line attacked. Will you, then, refuse to give them a road to go upon to fight, not for their own personal safe3. but that of their country? They are safe if you leave them to defend themselves, for their frontier and seaboard neighbors must be cut down to reach them: but they do not wait for danger to themselves—they volunteer, and bare their bosoms to the bayonet of the enemy for their exposed neighbors, and surely it must be important to make them good roads.
The mouth of the Mississippi is very important, and may be said to be the key of the whole Western country. Suppose that a foreign foe should take possession of it, and lock up its mouth, it would strike at the interest of nine of our States and one Territory. Mobile is still more indefensible than New Orleans, and depends upon East Tennessee for succor. Georgia will have to look to her own frontier, and will not be able to assist. It is, there. fore, all-important to make this road, which runs three hundred miles through Tennessee, and crosses the Tombigbee, in Alabama, below the mouth of the Black War. rior river, where steamboats run, and troops and provi. sions could be carried on this road to that point, and then sent down to Mobile. Sir, the people of the lower country do not raise É. to support an army—hardly for themselves; for, like all others, they raise that from which they can make most, and it so happens that that is cotton and sugar. East Tennessee, through which this road is to run, is the place from whence their supply must come, as well of provisions as men; and I have tilled the lands of that valley long enough to know, experimentally, that if you give us the channel upon which to send the provisions, we can raise them. * This road, if made, passes through the country which was the scene of suffering during the late war. Perhaps, from my participation in those times, I feel more on the subject than I otherwise would. I cannot, whatever others may do, forget the difficulties and troubles of that day, and much of it arose from the want of such a road as the bill now proposes to make. I saw, on the line of this road, your sick and diseased soldiers, who were fighting for your country, wading through mud and water, whilst the measles and other diseases were fastened upon them. On our return from the Horse-shoe to Fort Williams, we had to carry our sick and wounded, some on horseback, and others on biers, by their brother soldiers. From Fort Jackson to Fort Williams it fell to my lot to be one of the officers of the rear guard; our duty was to keep the men before us, and leave none behind. From hunger, sickness, and fatigue, they kept falling back, until they far exceeded the number of the guard; some had eat nothing for four or five days, and they literally gave up to die, and sought every o to dodge the guard and hide behind logs and brush, and risk the savages in preference to the fatigue of travel, under the prospect of starvation. . I ann ... in the opinion that no man living, save the very distinguished general who had the command, could have kept in subjection men in their condition. He was kind and tender to them, and treated them as a parent
would his children; he gave his own horses to the sick sol: diers, and took to the mud and water with the rest...but those who were inclined to be disobedient he forced into obedience. Who, sir, were these soldiers that endured all this suffering They were neither enlisted nor hired men; they were the respectable freemen of Tennessee, man from my own district, who volunteered, and left their wives and children as widows and orphans, to defend the liberties of the country. But you starved them in war for the want of a road to carry them provisions; you dis. eased them by subjecting them to trudge through mud, and wade waters, for the want of a road; and now your country's flag is floating in peace, and you are willing...if you reject this bill, to let them again endure the like afflictions. Let me tell you, this road is more needed than many of i. other preparations for defence. It has been my happy lot to live among the mountain boys, as they are sometimes called. I have been with them in the field of battle in one war, and I can assure you, if the servants of the people will do their duty, and give to us roads so that we can travel to the points of danger, you never will again see the smoke of an enemy's fire * the walls of this capitol. The people to be benefited by this road are in a situation to ask little from the Government, but they ask you to prepare the means of defence before another war may overtake you, and they, for the want of them, be again exposed to suffer sickness and famine. The utility of this road for mail purposes does not seem very clear to some of its opponents. The gentleman from North Carolina [Mr. CARson] says, that upon this road to Nashville we now have six mails a week, and on his but one, therefore there is no need for this road for mail purposes. If the gentleman means that going and returning should each be counted, then we have six mails to that place; but, counting in the same way, I could make twice a week upon his route. The growing importance of all that new and advancing country, and its increase of popu: lation, renders it probable that the time is close at hand, when the necessity for a daily mail on that route will arise. The gentleman from Virginia [Mr. BARBoual admitted, as I thought all would, the importance of this road in that point of view. When the cost of mail transportation is now looked at upon that route, can it be possible that there is any one who would not agree to the benefits to flow from making this road as a mere post road, and the advantages to the citizens who live upon it? But I will now pass to the benefit which can be felt, and properly weighed, by the farmers of our country. I mean that of aiding trade and intercourse. Take a view of this road and the country through which it passes: It falls into the valley of Virginia, west of the mountains, and traverses that valley until it intersects the ridges at the head of the Roanoke, thence to the head of Holston, through one of the best grazing countries in the Union, and passing through the whole extent of East Tennessee. For several hundred miles on that way the lands are rich, and present the most inviting prospects to the farmer and grazier, but unfortu. nately must depend upon land transportation for the means of interchange of their products with other more favored quarters. I said that I was a farmer, yes, a practical far: mer, and I know how to sympathize with that class. . I know what it is to labor throughout the summer in the burning sun, and have on hand throughout the fall and winter the product of your labor, if not spoiling on your hand, lying uncalled for, for the want of outlets to mar: ket. The farmer is the class for whom your legislation should mainly provide; they till the earth and feed the country; yes, we who are now the great men of the nation, legislating in this splendid hall, were sent here by them, and they are now feeding us by the sweat of their brows. They have been oppressed and borne down in the country from which I come, on account of the channel in which their money has heretofore been appropriated by
this body. I do not understand gentlemen when they talk about the revenue being raised in the great cities or seaports; my experience teaches me that the consumer pays this revenue, and my constituents pay their proportion;
and how has it gone since the estabilshment of the Govern
ment Upon tide water. Has any thing gone to the
can be blinded by reasoning which tends to license the ex-
if permitted, take an opportunity, at some future time, to To Louisiana, - -
state more directly and fully my reasons for the amendment I propose. The question, whether the power to construct the proposed road is delegated to Congress by the constitution, appears to be waived. I understood the gentleman from irginia o: P. P. BARBouk) as distinctly abandoning the ground of unconstitutionality as the ground of his objections to the bill. [The gentleman states that he was misunderstood on this point.] The measure proposed by the bill, I consider as of great importance, as it will be one of a decisive character to settle the long contested question, whether this Government will persevere in the system of internal improvements, or whether it will abandon, this system as inexpedient. The constitutionality and policy of the system are subjects on which I have bestowed some inquiry, and some serious reflection. Others having declined a discussion of the question of constitutionality, I will not trouble the com: mittee with my views of it. I will attempt to show that the measure proposed by the bill, if amended, is expedi. ent, because it will conduce to the general welfare of the country. The proposed national road is part of a system of internal improvements. This system has been, for many years, going forward. It is now twenty-four years since this Government appropriated thirty thousand dollars for the construction of the Cumberland road. It is twenty-four years since the Government o. twenty-eight thousand dollars for opening a road from the frontier of Georgia to New Orleans, and from the river Mississippi to the Ohio; and from Nashville, in Tennessee, to Natchez, in the Mississippi Territory. It is twenty one years since this Government appropriated twenty-five thousand dollars to extend the canal of Carondelet, leading from Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans. It is twelve years since this Government appropriated, for the construction of the Cumberland road, above three hundred thousand dollars. By what authority, sir, have these appropriations been made They were appropriations for neither military roads nor post roads, which come within what are called the speci. fied powers of the constitution. No, sir, if based on any wer, they were based on the specified power delegated to Congress by the eighth section of the constitution— the power “to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.” And now, sir, after a series of legislative acts, commenced twenty-four years since, and an expenditure of nearly fourteen millions of dollars, applied without any regard to princiles of equal distribution among the several States and H.H. is this system to stop? The system cannot stop here without great injustice to a number of States in this Union. By a report made to the Senate during the present ses. sion of Congress, by the Secretary of the Treasury, it appears that, for purposes of education, and the construction of roads and canals within and leading to a number of States and Territories, from the adoption of the constitution to the 24th December, 1828, the following appropriations have been made: . . .
To Maine, - - - - $9,500 To New York, - - - 4,156 To Tennessee, - - - 254,000 To Arkansas, - ,- - - 45,000 To Michigan, - - - - 45,000 To Flori - - - - 83,417 To Ohio, - - - - 2,527,404 To Illinois, - - - - 1,725,959 To Indiana, - - - - 1,513,161 To Missouri, - - - - 1,462,471 To Mississippi, - - - • 600,667
To Alabama, - - - - 1,534,727 - 1,166,361 In addition to these appropriations, the Government has been authorized to aid, by subscription, the following works: Delaware and Chesapeake canal - 300,000 Ohio and Chesapeake do. - 10,000 Dismal Swamp do. - 150,000 Louisville aud Portland do. - 90,000 Cumberland road - - - 2,230,903 Western and Southwestern State roads 76,959 $13,838,886
These appropriations have been in lands at the minimum price, in two and three per cent funds and in money. No part of this sum, it appears has been applied to Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, or Massa. chusetts. A number of other States, in December, 1828, had received no appropriations for similar purposes. The appropriations for Maine and New York are mere fractions, rom what sources have the appropriations in money been derived In 1828, the revenue accruing on the im: portation of goods in the States through which it is proposed the national road shall be constructed, did not exceed six millions of dollars. In the same year, the revo nue accruing on the importation of goods into New York and the New England States, amounted to about twentyone millions of dollars. Admit that this amount of duties which is paid into the treasury is paid by the consumers, and according to this rule the peo o of New York and of the New England States pay a ; proportion of it. Why should they not share an equal part in the public improve: ments constructed by the authority of the General Govern: ment? It is said that the people living in the Atlantic States have received their portion of the aid of Government, in appropriations for the erection of light-houses, and in improving their harbors. But there are facilities for com: merce, which yastly more than repay their cost by the revenue they bring into the national treasury. If the Atlantic States be charged with these improvements, then they
ought to have more credit for the duties they collect. Sir, ,
in setting up a claim to the extension of this road into the Eastern States, I have no direct interest, as I should have in case it was proposed to extend it through the district I represent. If extended to Boston, it will come within about ten miles of that district. If the proposed road even crossed a navigable river running through Plymouth dis’ trict, I should consider it of no trifling value." Wherever great roads cross navigable waters, or where there is war
ter power, there is a place of business. In those places
hundreds and thousands of our industrious inhabitants are collected. There is a market for the produce of the farmer. There is employment for the mechanic. There the value of the land rises rapidly. The national road proposed by this bill, if the amendment be adopted, will do something towards equalizing this system. It will extend some benefits of internal im’ provement to the inhabitants of the interior of this coun: try, through an extent of nearly two thousand miles, be: sides the benefits it will extend § an increased activity of business and commerce, from the points on the numerous rivers this road will cross, to the great marts of trade and commerce along our whole coast, from North to South. This plan has in it something approaching nearer the principle of regard to the people of the Union, than any other that has appeared under the name of internal improvements. But this system has been opposed by some of the States, and by some of our statesmen, entitled to great respect. The constitutionality of the power of Congress to continue this system, I consider as virtually decided by the public voice, until the decision shall be reversed by a direct ap:
peal, either to the Supreme Court of the United States, or to the people of the United States. I hold that it is not competent for either the constituted authorities, or the people of any individual State, to decide upon this question. On this great and long agitated question, the will of the majority of the people of the United States, through their representatives, has been repeatedly and most decidedly expressed. The members of this House are not representatives of State sovereignties, but of the people of the United States. The will of the majority in this House I consider in no other light than as §. will of the majority of the people of the United States. If in any department of this Government, or in any sense, State sovereignties are represented, it is in the Senate of the United States. This guestion of constitutional power, then, has been repeated. § decided by majorities of the State sovereignties. When e will of the majority has been fairly and fully express. ed, I hold myself bound, as a supporter of the constitution, and by all the principles on which a republic or a democratic form of government is predicated, to obey that will. i. other course would seem to me to lead to anarchy, and to the most disastrous consequences. These, in my view, are principles essential to the safety and welfare of this republic. hoever may embrace or abandon them, I shall not abandon them. Opprobrious names will not alienate me from them. Even o my own judgment were against the proposed measure, as unconstitutional, when the voice of the constituted authorities of my country has often, and through a succession of years, declared an opposite judgment, would it become me P". to oppose that expression of the public willi Obedience to that will, when expressed in constitutional forms, becomes a duty. If, against the decisions of Congress, I perseveringly oppose my own will or judgment as an inflexible arbiter, do I not plainly indicate what I would do if I had power In what should I differ from a despot? Can a representative of the people, consistently with his duty, by his opposition to a system of measures, preclude them from participating in the benefits of that system, to which, by the will of the majority, they are entitled ! Surely, in such ease, he stands opposed to their participation in the general welfare. I doubt whether the people will long be satisfied with a system that allows them no participation in its benefits. Will this proposed road conduce to the general welfare? If any road or canal, or the removal of any obstructions to the navigation of our rivers, be conducive to the general welfare, it will not be denied that this road will be so. The fact has been adverted to, and is too important to be forgotten, that Presidents Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and I believe all our Presidents with hardly an exception, have repeatedly and earnestly recommended to Congress the construction of roads and canals; or, in case their power was doubted, that measures should be adopted by Congress to procure an alteration of the constitution for that purpose. In this one point, all our Presidents, without exception, have agreed; that is, that a system of internal improvements would be highly beneficial to this country. If they had apprehended danger to individual States, or to the Union, from such a system, would they have recom. mended it? . They evidently saw no dangerous tendency to consolidation. They saw no serious objection against confiding to the General Government the power to construct internal improvements. They concurred in opinion, on this point, with all the ablest and most approved writers on politieal economy. Malthus has this remark, with particular reference to England: “That if all the roads and canals of the country were broken up, and the means of distributing its produce were essentially impeded, the whole value of the produce would greatly fall. Upon
adaptation of it to the wants, tastes, and powers of the consumers were more complete than at present, there can be no doubt that a great increase in the value of the whole produce would follow.” This writer further adds, that łł. the introduction of good roads and canals in England, the prices of produce in many country districts were extremely low, compared with the same kind of produce in the London markets. After the means of distribution were facilitated, the price of country produce, and of some sorts of London produce which were sent into the country in exchange for it, rose, and rose in a greater degree than the country produce fell in the London markets; and consequently the value of the whole produce, or the supplies of London, and the country oft. was greatly increased; and while encouragement was thus given to the employment of a greater quantity of capital by the extension of demand, the temporary rise of profits, occasioned by the extension, would greatly contribute to furnish the additional capital.” Page 321. It must be seen, at a glance, that the natural effect of such improvements would be the enhancement of the value of produce, and of all other kinds of property—an effect ift; favorable to those classes engaged in callings of industry, or in trade and commerce, or to the class in debt. It is clearly beyond 'dispute, that the fall of the nominal value of produce, of land, and all property in trade, must be ruinous to the holders. In a young and enterprising nation, this class of citizens is of course numerous. A wise Government will not disregard the interests of a class so important to the welfare of the whole, whether in peace or war. Another writer on political economy, (Mr. Say,) than whom there is no better authority on these subjects, remarks thus: “But although the public can scarcely be itself a successful producer, it can at any rate give a powerful stimulus to individual productive energy, by well planned, well conducted, and well supported public works, parti. cularly roads, canals, and harbors. Facility of communication assists production, exactly in the same way as the machinery that multiplies manufactured products abridges the labor of production. It is a means of furnishing the same product at less expense, which has exactly the same effect as raising a greater product with the same e e. If we take into account the immense quantity of goods conveyed upon the roads of a rich and populous empire, from the commonest vegetables brought daily to market up to the rarest imported luxuries, poured into its harbors from every part of the globe, and thence diffused by means of land carriage over the whole face of the territory, we shall readily perceive the inestimable economy of good roads in the charges of production. The saving in carriage amounts to the whole value the article has derived gratuitously from nature, if, without good roads, it could not be had at all. Were it possible to transplant from the mountain to the plain the beautiful forests that flourish and rot neglected upon the inaccessible sides of the Alps and Pyrenees, the value of these forests would be an entirely new creation of value to mankind, a clear gain of revenue both to the landholder and the consumer also.” P. 207-8. The same author adds the following: “Roads and canals are costly public works, even in countries where they are under judicious and economical management. Yet, probably, in most eases, the benefits they afford to the community far exceed the charges. Were we to calculate what would be the charge of carriage upon all the articles and commodities that now along any road in the course of a year, if the road did not exist, and compare it with the utmost charge, under present circumstances, the whole difference that would appear will be so much gain to the consumers of all those articles, and so much positive and clear nett profit to the
the same principle, if the means of distributing the F. duce of the co were still further facilitated, and if the Wol, WI.a-90.
community.” Vol. ii. p. 229.