[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Since the general peace in Europe, a large portion of the people of this country have been suffering under heavy embarrassment, in consequence of having contracted debts when the nominal value of all property was at a high rate, This embarrassment is the necessary effect of the general depression of the nominal value of property. It has borne most severely on the inhabitants in the interior of our country, who have a few facilities to obtain a market for their produce to pay their debts; and of course they cease, to a great extent, to be purchasers of the products of the industry and enterprise of others. Malthus lays down this ° sound proposition—that “whenever the produce of a country, estimated in the labor which it will command, falls in value, it is evident that with it the power and will to purchase the same quantity of labor must be diminished, and the effect we demand for an increase of produce must, for a time, be checked.” P. 32. Facilities for transportation, then, are facilities for production. What gives to the great State of New York, and to her city of that name, their pre-eminence in this Union ? Sir, it is their enterprise by means of the facilities for transportation they have created and extended—facilities for internal commerce. Without these, their external commerce would rapidly decline. And, sir, I hope the enlightened delegation from that State will not oppose the attempt of the General Government to do for the Union what she has so wisely and successfully done for herself. Much as she has done, the interior of that State would be greatly improved by more good roads, and the value of her own canals would be augmented. But gentlemen seem to be alarmed at this proposed exercise of power by the General Government, as tending to a consolidation of the powers of the State Governments into one sovereignty. I have not been able to discover this tendency. But, sir, I have seen cause for the most solemn alarm at the apprehension of an opposite tendency—a tendency to insubordination and disunion, with all their attendant hor. rors. The period is but just passed, when the evident weakness of the bonds of this Union, and the want of national sympathy and national character, filled the hearts of the most devoted and intelligent friends of the Union with deep consternation. Had the period of trial been prolonged, no man can calculate what might haye been the consequences. Now, sir, is the favorable time to strengthen the bonds of the Union, by interests that will identify us as one people; that each citizen in either extreme of this Union may feel that in each citizen in the opposite extreme he has a brother. Will the construction of a road encroach upon State sovereignties? Will they contend for the exclusive right to promote their own interests? The power of the General Government to construct a road in any individual State, I consider as not necessarily a supreme power, but as a concurrent power. Hence there is no cause for alarm to State authorities. The power of Congress to construct roads in an individual State, implies no denial of power to that State to construct roads. Much of the o: of Congress, and of the several States, has been concurrent legislation. The militia laws of the United States, and of the several States, are acts of concurrent legislation. By concurrent legislation I do not mean that the action of one part is necessary to the action of the other, as in the case of two branches of the same legislature. The power I speak of is, the power which either the General Government or a State Government may exercise without encroaching upon the proper right of the other. It is a power that belongs not exclusively to either. If the distinguished statesmen whose names have been mentioned, who have received the homage of all hearts, had imagined that a system of internal improvements would lead to consolidation, or to an undue ascendency of the General over the State Governments, they never would have recommended that system. If any men ever lived for the cause of liberty and their

country, this meed belongs to them, Are we wiser than they were Are we more patriotic Do we better understand the policy of free government that they understood it ! There is no system of policy that the General Government can ever pursue, without giving offence to some parts of the Union. I would have the individual States retain and exercise every particle of their rightful wer. But, sir, I maintain that allegiance to the Union is essential to the preservation of the liberties of all the individual States. Mr. Madison remarks on this principle of paramount power, which is distinctly asserted in the constitution of the United States, that if this had not been adopted, “the world would have seen, for the first time, a system of government founded on an inversion of the funamental principles of all government; it would have seen the authority of the whole society every where subordinate to the authority of the parts; it would have seen a monster, in which the head was under the direction of the members.”—Fed. No. 44, p. 285. It must ever be painful to the friends of the Union on such occasions as the construction of a road, the passage of a tariff act, or even of a law declaring war, to hear the language of revolt from any portion of the citizens. The following remarks by Mr. Madison in the forty fifth num'ber of the Federalist, are too pertinent and monitory to be omitted here: “If the Union, (he says) as has been shown, be essential to the security of the people of America against for reign danger; if it be essential to their security against contentions and wars among the different States; if it be essential to guard them against the violent and oppressive factions which embitter the blessings of liberty, and against those military establishments which must gradually poison its very fountain; if, in a word, the Union be essential to the happiness of the people of America, is it not prepos. terous to urge as an objection to a Government, without which the objects of the Union cannot be attained, that such a Government may derogate from the importance of the Governments of the individual States ? “Was, then, the American revolution effected, was the American confederacy formed, was the precious blood of thousands spilt, and the hard-earned substance of millions lawished—not that the people of America should enjoy peace, liberty, and safety; but that the Governments of the individual States, that particular municipal establishments, might enjoy a certain extent of power, and be arrayed with certain dignities and attributes of sovereignty We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape, that the solid happiness of the people is to be sa, crificed to the views of political institutions of a different form # It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued, and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object. Were the plan of the convention (that formed our present constitution) adverse to the public happiness, my voice would be, reject the plan. É. like manner, as far as the sovereignty of the States cannot be reconciled to the happiness of the eople, the voice of every good citizen must be, let the ormer be sacrificed to the latter.” The same counsels were repeated by the illustrious and venerated father of his country, in the parting blessing he pronounced on his retirement from the Fo In my opinion, sir, whatever may be said or done by political o: to the contrary, the people, and a large majority of them, too, will sustain the General Government in measures to strengthen the bonds of the Union. They have no pleasure in contemplating that either they or their children may be involved in strifes between State

sovereignties, or in civil war from any cause.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

From some quarters in this House, it has been said that the money to construct this road ought not to be taken from the treasury; that it would be better to repeal the tariff to abolish the system of duties, and let the people keep their money in their own pockets. By such a course, sir, the Union itself would soon be abandoned. Instead of the present burdens, each State, if she would have commerce, must maintain her own navy. If she would guard her rights, she must support her own armies. The great States would soon conquer the small States, and then would result a consolidation of most fearful character. Would it be wise to abolish the revenue system, and cut off the resources that replenish the treasury; Soon would our navy be reduced, and our commerce every where would become the rey of freebooters. War, or disgrace and ruin, must follow. ir, if the duties be too high, let them be reduced, but let not the General Government be stripped of its sinews to save a little money in the pockets of the people. During Mr. Jefferson's administration, in one of his mes. *ges to Congress, he took into consideration the question of the expediency of abolishing a part of the revenue. He came to this conclusion, which Foil give in his own words. “Patriotism would certainly prefer the continuance of impost, and its application to the great purposes of pub. lic education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of federal powers." In reviewing the history of this Government during nearly half the period of its existence, and the principles and measures which have been warmly advocated by the wisest and most distinguished of its founders, I come to the conclusion that the system of internal improvements is destined to go forward, and that fidelity to my constituents, and to “the general wellfare,” demands my efforts, though humble, to equalize the benefits of it as nearly as practica. ble to all parts of the country. In this system I consider the people of the United States as having a more direct and important interest than in any other that can be devised, excepting that of education, which may carry its benefits to every family and every individual. w Is there anything of imposing splendor in the plan of a free road, extending a distance of two thousand miles through the interior of this country From one end to the other, where now are fens, and caverns, and forests, will be a highway for the march of civilization, and of the prosperity of the people; an extended line of communication to the eye of the patriot and the philanthropist, beau. tifully studded with flourishing villages and towns. To a vast number of our citizens it will hold up new encouragements and new means to throw off their almost hopeless embarrassments, new encouragements and means to . port schools and seminaries for the education of their youth, and in numerous ways to add to the general wealth and prosperity of our country. Does this proposed measure threaten to the country an oppressive burden? If it were so, I would not advocate it. This road may cost three, or even six millions of dollars. During a number of years past, after ...; the ordinary expenses for the support of Government, and the appropriations, a balance has been left in the treasury of more than three millions of dollars, and amounting, in some instances, to more than six millions of dollars. The duties Qu several articles of necessity may then be reduced, and, no short time, the public debt will have been discharged, and the revenue will be equal to all probable demands *pon the Government. In a few years the appropriations for the payment of military pensions must almost entirely Cease.

Sir, the revenue, amounting to twenty-six or twentyeight millions of dollars, is drawn from the people of the interior as well as from the rest. For the improvement of that part of the country, let a few millions go back to

reward their labor in the construction of the proposed road. It will not be lost to the country nor to the Government. The true capital of a country consists not in money, but in its amount of productive industry. . Good roads are of more value to the country than money in either the pockets of the people or in the national treasury. Malthus justly remarks, that, “amongst abundance of other'causes of the misery and weakness of the countries subjected to the Ottoman dominion, it cannot be doubted that one of the principal is the vast quantity of capital remaining in a state of inactivity.” Vol. ii, p. 87. Construct this national road, and, from the eastern extremity of our Atlantic coast, through the interior of the country, to the Mississippi, there will soon be a line of villages and towns of greater value to the Union than would be a chain of mountains of the richest ore. When this road is completed, if the prosperity of the country continues, let there be branches extended from this road into other sections of the Union. By a policy like this, the citizens of this republic may be more firmly attached to their Government, and better satisfied that its designs are

." Lofty and pure, and meant for general good.”

The gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Polk] is alarmed at the cost of this road. If the road be extended as proposed by the amendment I intend to offer, according to the estimate of the committee who reported the bill, it will cost three millions of dollars. The gentleman from Tennessee says seven millions. The truth may prove to be between the extremes.

In the treasury, on the first of January, 1880, was a balance of six million six hundred and sixty-eight thousand two hundred and eighty-six dollars, a surplus beyond what the service of that year required. On the 1st of January, 1829, there was a surplus of five million nine hundred and seventy-two thousand four hundred and thirty-five dollars not required for the service of that year. The estimated balance in the year 1830 falls somewhat below five millions of dollars. This, I have no doubt, is a very safe calculation. The amount of the public debt redeemable is rapidly diminishing. The amount paid in 1828 was above twelve millions of dollars. Nearly the same amount of public debt was paid in 1829. But the statement of the Secretary of the Treasury shows that the amount of public debt redeemable is rapidly sinking. The amount redeemable in 1830 is set at eight million seventeen thousand six hundred and ninety-five dollars. The amount of public debt to be paid, that is, to fulfil the engagements of the Government,

For 1831, is estimated at - - - $7,705,960 For 1832, at + - - - 8,413,479 For 1833, at - - - - 3,313,247 For 1834, at - - - - 5,720,948

Thus the gradual"diminution of the public debt, as redeemable, would leave a sum sufficient to build, every year, a road such as this bill proposes. But those sums stated by the so will not discharge the whole debt. The Secretary of the Treasury proposes the sum of twelve millions to be paid annually. This, he says, will complete “the payment of the whole public debt within the year 1834, without applying the bank shares.” Why, then, this alarm at a proposition to construct a road that will cost three, or even six, millions of dollars?

Another objection. This road will be a subject of controversy. Will this be a good reason against the measure? Every measure requiring appropriations is contested. It will ever be so. In all parts of our country, in every town and district where there are ronds, there are controversies. And, generally, where are the most controversies, there are the best roads.

The opposition to this bill has been powerful and ingenious, but, to my mind, far from being convincing. I hope the bill, in an amended form, may pass—that the road may

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

be truly national, or, I would rather say, republican in its character, equalizing and extending its benefits as far as practicable. For the permanent benefit of so great a portion of the population of the United States, in my judgment there is no instance in which the money of the treasury has ever been better applied. In no instance have the people of the interior of this country, to an equal extent, received from the many millions paid by them and nded, benefits so substantial as is proposed by this bill. It is cn this ground, and for reasons I have now offered, I support it. I ask only that it may have a national character, or at least that it may have something of the proportions of a system adapted to the claims of the country. For appropriations to carry forward internal improvements in various parts of the Union, other than the eastern States, I have uniformly voted since I have had the honor of a seat here. For the part of the Union from which I come, I should be false to my trust if I did not claim a share in the benefits of this system. If this claim be not allowed, I shall consider myself under no obligation to vote for the bill. . If it be allowed, I shall hold myself bound to vote for it. This course I have determined on for myself, as fair and consistent, and no more than just to my constituents and to the eastern section of this Union.

Note by Mr. R.

Mr. P. P. BARRouh has subjoined to his speech on the proposed national road, a note, containing some statements of the revenue derived from the New York canals, and of the balance against thern in expenses. He shows that the interest on the original cost of the canals, and the expenses for superintendence, repairs, &c. in 1826, exceeded the amount of revenue accruing from them in the sum of four hundred and six thousands one hundred and forty-three dollars and seven cents. Is it inferrible from this fact that the canals are unprofitable to the State of New York? I put this question to the gentleman as a fair one. I am not aware that the gentleman could have had any other object in bis note, than to lead the public to this inference. But is this inference authorized by the premises? Would the gentleman oy that, by the facilities created by the canals, the amount of millions of dollars in the products of the State is annually transported to market? It may be confidently asserted that the facilities for obtaining a market actually increase to an almost incredible degree the products of a country. If the question rest on the principles of loss and gain, then the canals are profitable to the State. They give a spring to industry and enterprise, and greatly augment the power of production. This to any people is wealth, and the procuring cause of their prosperity and their happiness. On what principle are county or State roads constructed Are they constructed for purposes of public revenue ! . Surely not. In towns or counties all the citizens are taxed for the purpose of making and repairing one or more principal roads passing through them. The principal road does not go by every man's dwelling; but all are taxed for roads, which some of the citizens seldom or never pass. By a good road through the centre of a town or county, the value of every estate in that town or county is augmented. Yet it is impossible, in the nature of things, that all the citizens in a town, county, or State, should derive equal advantages from the principal roads. To resist the construction of roads, because the facilities afforded by them would be unequal, would be entirely preposterous. Would the author of the note insist that appropriations ought not to be made i. for purposes of revenue # This doctrine would abolish, not only our roads and canals, whether constructed by towns or States, but the whole system of public schools and colleges wherever they exist. They yield no revenue into the trea. sury; but they yield that which is infinitely more valuable to communities-intelligence, the blessings of civilization, the thousand varied delights of social intercourse. If the

value of the rights and liberties enjoyed by the people of a republic consists in every citizen's keeping his dollars and cents in his own pocket, whilst those around him are illiterate, idle, and denied the facilities for convenient intercourse, a republic has no charms for my mind. The character of a people under its influence must sink into a state of imbecility and degradation. In many parts of this country, good roads cannot for a long time be obtained, unless the General Government constructs them, or they are Constructed by what are called private corporations, with power to tax every passenger. It is incumbent on the friends of liberty to consider well the probable conse. quences that may result from placing the great roads of this country under the control of such corporations. The gentleman from Virginia might be pointed to a bridge corporation, that, on the ground of its pretended vested rights, to the subversion of the rights of the public, have wrung from a great and enterprising community a vast amount of their hard earnings. This was the necessary . of neglect on the part of the public authority to make provision at the public expense for facilities demanded for the convenience of that community. There is no portion of the community exposed to suffer more than the agricultural, by the want of facilities to transport their produce to market. Why is corn worth only from twelve and a half to twenty-five cents per bushel in the interior of Virginia, and at the same moment worth from fifty to seventy-five cents per bushel in Boston The want of fa. cilities for transportation accounts for this difference of from one hundred to five hundred per cent. This is an illustration which, with many others, puts to a severe test the notions of political economy advanced by the very able and eloquent member from Virginia in his speech against the proposed national road. Mr. CROCKETT, of Tennessee, submitted an amendment, providing that the roud should run from the city of Washington, in a direct route to Memphis, on the Mississippi river, in the western district of Tennessee. In ..o. of his amendment, Mr. CROCKETT said, he was truly sorry, under existing circumstances, to trouble the committee with any remarks upon the subject, especially as a considepable portion of time had already been consumed by i. from his State, no less than four gentlemen from Tennessee having addressed the committee, [Messrs. BLAIR, Isacks, Polk, and STANDIFER) all of whom [said Mr. C.] are much better qualified to give light on this subject than myself. When she continued] I consider the few opportunities which I have had to obtain information on this important topic, I shrink at the idea of addressing so intelligent a body as this, upon matters relating to it. My lips would be sealed in silence, were I not fully convinced that there has been in some instances, a partial and improper, legislation resorted to during the present session. I was elected from the western district of Tennessee, after declaring myself a friend to this measure; and I came here quite hot for the road—yes, the fever was upon me; but I confess I am getting quite cool on the subject of expending money for the gratification of certain gentlemen who happen to have different views from those I entertain. Let us inquire where this money comes from. It will be found that even our poor citizens have to contribute towards the supply. I have not forgotten how I first found my way to this House; I pledged myself to the good people who sent me here, that I would oppose certain tariff measures, and strive to remove the duties upon salt, sugar, coffee, and other articles, which the poor, as well as the rich, are, from necessity, compelled to consume. The duties on these articles are felt to be oppressive by my fellow-citizens; and, as long as I can raise my voice, I will oppose the odious system which sanctions them. Those who sustain the Government, and furnish the means, have, by the illiberality of their servants, been

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

kept in ignorance of the true cause of some of their suf. ferings. These servants, after the people entrust, them with their confidence, too often forget the interest of their employers, and are led away by some designing gentlemen, who, to gratify some wild notion, are almost willing to enslave the poorer class at least. I am one of those who are called self-taught men; by the kindness of my neighbors, and some exertion of my own, I have been raised from obscurity without an education. I am therefore compelled to address the committee in the language of a farmer, which, I hope, will be understood. I do not mean to oppose internal improvements—my votes on that subject will show that I am an internal improvement man, though I cannot go, as the Kentuckian says, “the whole hog.” I will only go as far as the situation of the country will admit, so far as not to oppress. I will not say that I will vote against the bill under all circumstances, yet, at this moment, I consider it a wild notion to carry the road to the extent contemplated, from Buffalo to this city, and from this to New Orleans. Adopt my amendment, and you will shorten the distance five i. miles, which will save, in the outset, upwards of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the country. Is not this worthy the consideration of the committee Besides, it would, in a measure, be useless to open the road as contemplated by the bill. I recollect there was a road opened by the army, from the lower end of the Muscle shoals, on the Tennessee river, to Lake Pontchartrain, and thence to New Orleans, and now it is grown up, except about one hundred and twenty miles, so that it is impassable; this is according to information I have received from gentlemen who are acquainted with the road. From East Tennessee to New Orleans it must be upwards of eight hundred miles; from that place to Memphis, I mean from where the road would pass, between two and three hundred. I am well acquainted with the local situation of East Tennessee, and do not doubt that it would be of great use to make a good road from Memphis to this city. The contemplated road is to commence at Buffalo, come to this city, and go thence to New Orleans. But suppose, we should say it were best to begin at Memphis, and come to this place Will this be opposed? Will the rule not work both ways? If not, it is a bad concern. I am astonished that certain of our eastern friends have become so kind to us. They are quite willing to aid in distributing a portion of the national funds among us of the West. This was not so once. And, if I am not deceived, their present kindness is merely a bait to cover the hook which is intended to haul in the western and southern people; and when we are hooked over the barb, we will have to yield. Their policy reminds me of a certain man in the State of Ohio, who, having caught a racoon, placed it in a bag, and, as he was on his way home, he met a neighbor, who was anxious to know what he had in his bag. He was told to put his hand in and feel, and in doing so he was bit through the fingers; he then asked what it was, and was told that it was only a bite. I fear that our good eastern friends have a hook and a bite for us; and, if we are once fastened, it will close the concern. We may then despair of paying the national debt; we may bid farewell to all other internal improvements; and, finally, we may bid farewell to all hopes of ever reducing duties on anything. This is honestly my opinion; and again. I say, I cannot consent to “go the whole hog.” But I will go as far as Memphis. There let this great road strike the Mississippi, where the steamboats are passing every hour in the day and night; where you can board a steamboat, and, in seven or eight days, go to New Orleans and back; where there is no obstruction at any time of the year. I would thank any man to show this committee the use of a road which will run parallel with the Mississippi for five or six hundred miles. Will any man say that the road would be preferred to the river either for transportation

or travelling 1 No, sir. Then is not your project useless, and will it not prove an improper expenditure of the public funds to attempt to carry the road beyond Memphis? New Orleans has local advantages which nothing can take from her; it cannot injure her to have the road terminate at Memphis; and if the road should so terminate, it would be on the direct route from this city to the province of Texas, which I hope will one day belong to the United States, and that at no great distance of time. These considerations, I think, are entitled to the notice of the committee. If we must burden the people by a great expenditure, let us endeavor to do it with a view to the general good of the country. As to the defence of the country, every man must know that the valley of the Mississippi can produce a sufficient number of troops to meet any enemy who may have the audacity or vanity to attack our western frontiers or New Orleans-that noted battle ground, where, a few years since, we made the most powerful enemy on earth tremble; where the roud troops of #: headed by their haughty Lord ackenham, so soon became tired of our present Chief Magistrate and his brave little band. We are at present much stronger than during the last war; and if we desire to transport an army to New Orleans, or any thing else, nature has furnished us with the best road in the world, the importance of which we have once experienced. Should it ever happen that your brave soldiers, who fought so gallantly at Bladensburg, should be called on to render us assistance, I should be in favor of their taking a water passage at Memphis; a ride on the water, and a pleasant nap or two, might recruit their strength, and sustain their natural bravery. I do not anticipate that those heroes will ever be called on to protect us; if there is a call, it will be on the other side; and it is now to be regretted that you had not been aided here by a few Kentucky and Tennessee boys, in your brave exertions to prevent the disgraceful burning of the capitol. In the district which I represent, there are eighteen counties, in the whole of which there is not a spot of ground twenty-five miles from a navigable stream; and, for my part, I would much rather see the public money expended in clearing out those rivers, than in opening roads. By the bill, fifteen hundred dollars per mile is to be expended. This, I fear, would be but an entering wedge. But we will suppose the road to be fifteen hundred miles in length; at this rate it would cost two million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. But I believe the distance to be farther than gentlemen have calculated, and the expense will be greater. There is another objection to carrying the road to the extent contemplated by the bill. I think many gentlemen hove a very erroneous idea about the nature of the country through which they mean to make the road; they, perhaps, do not know that a considerable portion of it will pass through a low, flat, and marshy country, entirely destitute of rock, gravel, or stone. These low grounds are, in many instances, a perfect swamp; and I cannot be convinced, by any gentleman, that a mud road can be of an use after it is made. Gentlemen are much mistaken if they think the country bordering on the Mississippi, to be like this, My opinion is, that if you were to have the road thrown up as contemplated by the bill, it would be impassable the whole of the winter season; neither wagons nor horses could travel on it during the time when it would be most wanted. If an attack is made on New Orleans, it will be in the winter, because troops, on account of liability to sickness, will not be taken there during the summer; and in the winter your road would be of no use. The Mississippi gives to New Orleans the advantage over any other point on the continent, so far as regards the facility with which she can be furnished with a force and the materials of war. At a few days' notice, a sufficient force can be collected at that place, to contend with any foe; but I do

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

not expect that we shall ever again be called on to defend that point. I am reminded that I have, in several of my speeches to my constituents, given it as my opinion that General Jackson would diminish the national debt faster than any President who has preceded him. I would be pleased to see him effect what I have anticipated; and I think it would be equally pleasing to the nation at large. We boast of our freedom; let us also place ourselves in a state in which we can boast of our unembarrassed situation. I am one of those who feel willing to give the present administration a fair opportunity to pay all the public debts, if possible, during its existence. I wish not to embarrass it by creating large public expenditures—let it have a chance to do its best. I heard a few days since on this floor, that we were about to bankrupt the nation by bestowing a portion of the public funds upon the remaining few of that glorious band of revolutionary worthies, whose blood and toil have purchased for us our boasted liberties; who have been knocking at the door of Congress so long, that but a meagre group remain—the rest having tottered to their graves. If we wait a little longer, the few left will also be out of the reach of our slow charity. Yet gentlemen will talk of bankrupting the nation, when these aged heroes, who gained our independence, extend their hands; and still find excuses for large expenditures, the expediency of which is doubtful. My vote will always be given for the aid of our revolutionary heroes, in preference to your Buffalo road, or any other road. To be honest, I must lay this matter before the people in a plain manner. I must say that there is but one reason by which I could justify myself for voting for the bill. It is this: I discover a determination to squander the public funds in some way; and, therefore, I should strive to “come in for suacks.” There is a bill on your table which will take from your treasury about six hundred thousand dollars for erecting light-houses, and making surveys along the seaboard. Some money, certainly, ought to be distributed to the West; and, to effect this, I must vote for the road bill. I have seen three attempts made, during this session, to reduce duties, and all to no effect. If, then, high duties are to be kept up, should I not try to extend a portion of their avails to the people of the West, who have to pay their proportion ? I would much rather, however, let the people keep the money in their own pockets, than to have it expended in paying high salaries to the men who gather the money into the treasury, and in paying ourselves high wages for squandering it to the four winds. These are evils which should be remedied; a host of those who subsist on treasury pap should be dismissed, or their wages lessened; and much of the money which is now, required for our various appropriations, should be left in the pockets of the people. This doctrine will suit our western and southern people, but it may not be acceptable to some eastern gentlemen, who are so anxious to encourage manufactures of all kinds at any sacrifice. It is my firm belief that our eastern brethren wish to place us of the South and West in such a dilemma, that we shall be compelled to keep up the duties to their highest extent. They well know that, if we commence this work, fifty millions of dollars will be asked to complete it. If we but once commence, they will have us bound to maintain a high tariff for many years: and I would not be surprised if we should finally be obliged to resort to a system of direct taxation. This will be a tough morsel for the people in my part of the country to swallow. I hope never to see it offered to them—but I confess I am getting somewhat alarmed. I came here as much authorized to vote for this measure as any man in Congress. I had expressed my willingness to support the measure to all my constituents; but its expediency, at this time, I must confess, appears to me extremely doubtful. I do not hesitate at all on account of

[ocr errors]

scruples as to the rightful power of Congress—having always voted for internal improvements—and I will even support this bill if you will adopt my amendment, and car; ry the road direct to Memphis. By this, Memphis would soon become an important point; and certainly the other route can be of no essential benefit to New Orleans, that I can discover. I have endeavored to be candid in giving my views on the subject. I thought it right to give a fair statement of facts. Gentlemen may now think that I am pledged to vote against the bill, but I wish not to be misunderstood. I repeat, that I will vote for the bill with my amendment. And if you will take into consideration the fact, that the Legislature of Tennessee have directed their Senators and Representatives here, to ask the Government to subscribe half a million of dollars to make a turnpike road from the Virginia line to Memphis, and that the road contemplated in the bill, if carried to Memphis, will supersede the oine which the Tennessee Legislature has in view, I think you will see the importance of the amendment, which, if adopted, will secure my support of the bill; but no consideration will induce me to vote for the southern route. With these views I will submit the question to the committee, to whom I return my thanks for their polite attention. Mr. CHILTON gave his reasons against the measure, although friendly to the system of internal improvement: The debate was continued by Messrs. COKE, CAR: SON, CRAIG, of Virginia, SPEIGHT, PETTIS, and BARRINGER; but, before a vote was taken on the final question, The committee rose, and reported progress.


The House then resumed the consideration of the follow ing resolution, offered by Mr. McDUFFIE: “Resolved, That the Committee on Retrenchment be instructed to report a bill providing that whenever the first session of Congress shall continue for a longer period than one hundred and twenty days, the pay of the mem: bers shall be reduced to two dollars per day from and after the termination of the said one hundred and twenty days; and that whenever the second session of Congress shall continue for a longer period than ninety days, the pay of the members shall be reduced to two dollars per day from and after the termination of the said ninety days." The question being on the motion of Mr. EVERETT to amend, by striking out the whole resolution after the word Resolved, and inserting the following words: “That provision ought to be made, by law, that the first session of Congress shall be limited to the 15th da of April; and that the second session of Congress shall commence on the first Monday of November, except when otherwise provided by law.” Mr. SMYTH, of Virginia, spoke at some length, in opposition to the resolution. He said the object of the gentleman from South Carolina, who had introduced the resolution, seemed to him to be the application of a forfeiture of the pay of members for the purpose of curtailing the length of the session of Congress. It also contemplated an indirect reduction of the per diem allowance of members. He .# believed it was no part of the policy of that gentleman [Mr. *] to seek popularity by his proposition; but he believed him mistaken in relation to the effect which would result from its adoption. He believed its effect would be to leave the business of legislation, or throw it into the hands of less competent incumbents. It went upon the hypothesis that one hundred days were sufficient for the transaction of the public business. To this he could not agree; its admission would be to pass condemnation upon their predecessors. The last five

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »