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'ocal character; when she has pressed upon this Government the necessity of o: money for internal improvements of national importance, there will be no room to conclude that her people are influenced by sectional considerations, No, her support to these measures has a nobler origin; deeply impressed with the importance of this Union to their safety and happiness, and believing that its preservation depends mainly upon its facilities for internal commeree, they will always be found in favor of any means by which objects so desirable can be best accomplished. Yet I claim for them no virtue that is not common to their fellow-citizens of other States; for I must believe that the account which some of the gentlemen have given of the means by which certain people have been brought to advocate the bill before us, is drawn from the imagination. True, you find in every community a few who are lost to all sense of public virtue, and whose sordid passions prepare them for corrupt practices. But that any considerable portion of the o: whose districts, as has been said, have no sooner presented to them the golden bait, than they abandon fixed principles, and adopt new doctrines, and that these feelings are communicated to their representatives on this floor, who are moved and governed by them, is what I am not willing to credit. Such suggestions, made in this body, with no better foundation for them than exists, lead to the most injurious consequences. . . If , opinions on constitutional questions are to be bought; if men have become so flexible as to be swayed only by motives which address themselves to their private interests, what security is there for the continuance of our republican institutions? Our whole political edifice rests upon the virtue and intelligence of the people; and, if it be once admitted that all questions of constitutional power may be settled by an appeal to the base and sordid passions of our nature, we shall find, like the foolish man, that we have built our house in the sand, and that in some party tempest it will fall to pieces. But these pictures of supposed changes of opinion have been drawn from the fancy. The great mass of the people, whose interests were to be affected by internal improvements, could not have been informed of any constitutional impediments; and, if they searched to satisf themselves, they did not find any. In no condition of life are men prone to trouble themselves about matters which do not immediately affect them, particularly such as require labor to understand. But a spirit of enterprise begets a disposition to inquire, and that generally results in the expression of opinions which many mistake for new doctrines in opposition to those which were supposed to prevail. This is the most rational solution for the continued increase of the friends of internal improvement, without imputing to any portion of our people dereliction of principle. To show that the conferring of benefits cannot, in the least, influence members on this floor, when opposed to constitutional scruples or views of expediency, we have the declarations of several gentlemen from Virginia, who have taken part in this debate in opposition to the bill. They have said that, if the road were to pass through their farms, they would oppose it; nay, one of them has gone so far as to say, while he complained of the unequal distribution of the public revenues which the system of internal improvement gave rise to, that the rights of his State were violated by an appropriation of money to a company which that State had incorporated for making the Dismal Swamp canal. , Can we want stronger evidence of a disinterested spirit which would reject the paternal hand of the Government, which was extended only to confer among its people its benefits and its bounties? If so, there are kindred feelings, I am told, further south, and that at this session we shall have full proof of it. But it is unnecessary to add more to contradict assertions unsupported by evidence. After listening to the arguments of the gentleman from
Virginia, [Mr. Bannoun) who opened the debatein oppo. sition to the bill, I was forcibly struck with the contrast which they presented to the sound doctrines of the old Virginia school. The Washingtons, the Jeffersons, and the Madisons—the fathers of the republic. While their lessons of political wisdom took deep and permanent root in Pennsylvania, and in most of the States of this Union, they have been fated to be despised and rejected by the modern politicians of the ancient dominion. As early as 1790, President Washington, in fulfilling the constitutional injunction to recommend to Congress such measures, as he should judge necessary, and expedient, says, “that the safety and interest of the people require that they should promote such manufactures as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military supplies," and “of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad, as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home; and of facilitating the intercourse between distant parts of our country." Mr. Jefferson, in an unpublished letter to a near relative of my friend and oolleague, [Mr. LEIPEa] dated in January, 1809, says that he “had lately inculcated the encouragement of manufactures, to the extent of our own consumption at least, on all articles of which we raise the raw material;" that “its enemies say that the iron which we make must not be wrought here into ploughs, axes, hoes, &c., in order that the ship owner may have the profit of carrying it to Europe, and bringing it back in a manufactured form ; as if, after manufacturing our own raw materials for our own use, there should not be a surplus produce sufficient to employ a due proportion of navigation in carrying it to market, and exchanging it for those articles of which we have not the raw material.” In 1815, the same gentleman, in substance, repeats the same opinions. Sir, I hope to be pardoned for noticing a subject in this debate which does not legitimately belong to it; but the example was shown by several of the gentlemen who have spoken on the other side. In truth, the enemies of the protecting system in this House have, on several occasions, however unwarranted by the subject in discussion, indulged them
y |selves in no measured language in denouncing the existing
tariff. There seems to be a morbid sensibility in the minds of members from the South, on this question, which, at least in my hearing, has hitherto prevented a dispassionate examination of it. Fortunately for its friends, experience has proved that a wiser act was never passed. Our latest advices from abroad have informed us that in every part of Europe active measures are in operation for the protection of their domestic industry. Had we done nothing, therefore to countervail foreign commercial regulations, our condition would have been worse than colonial vassalage. Gentlemen, in depicting the effects of the tariff policy, have been misled by imaginary evils, for the sake of maintaining favorite theories: we know enough of human nature to be convinced that the pride of opinion, like the pride of authorship, is often the ruling passion, and that, rather than abandon dogmas which men have cherished and maintained from youthto age, they would see the fairest portions of our land visited with decay, ruin, and desolation. To what extravagant lengths have their metaphysical refinements upon constitutional power arrived They say that we are not authorized to provide for the safety of our navy and mercantile marine, in entering our harbors, by the erection of light-houses, beacons, piers, &c., nor to build safe and commodious harbors for them; that we have no power to promote education, literature, and science, by the appropriation of public money; that we cannot apply the public funds to relieve individual calamity; that we cannot protect our domestic manufactures by impost duties; and, finally, that we have no authority to expend any part of the national treasure in making roads and eanals, nor even a right to aid, by appropriations, compa
nies incorporated by a State Of what value would our Government be to us, stripped of these powers ? I am free to declare that it would not answer the great purposes for which it was instituted, that it would be unworthy the af. feetions of the American people, and that the sooner it was dissolved, the better. Permit me, now, to turn the attention of the committee to a better commentary upon the power of this Government to construct roads for national purposes, than all the refined arguments we have heard from the other side. It has not been, I believe, before noticed since the session it was introduced into Congress. It must be taken, considering the source from which it emanated, as conclusive on the constitutional question. In February, 1796, Mr. Madison introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives for the appointment of a committee to report a bill authorizing the President of the United States to cause to be examined, and, where necessary, to be surveyed, the general route most proper for the transportation of the mail between Maine and Georgia, with an estimate of the expense of making said road. On the third of May of the same year, Mr. Madison presented the following bill, which afterwards passed the House without a division: “Be it enacted, doe. That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause to be examined, and, where necessary, to be surveyed, the routes most proper for the transportation of the mail between the following places, to wit: Portland, in Maine, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, City of Washington, Alexandria. Fredericksburg, Richmond, Raleigh, Louisville, and Savannah, in Georgia; and that he cause a report of such examination and survey to be laid before Congress, together with an estimate of the expense necessary for rendering said routes the established routes for the transportation of the mail.” The second section appropriates five thousand dollars for defraying the expenses of the examinations and surveys. It will be seen, sir, that this bill not only provides for surveying the route of a road from one extreme of the then Union to the other, passing through all its principal cities and towns, but it requires an estimate of the expense to be made for rendering the routes mentioned the established routes for the transportation of the mail. It contemplates, in elear language, the construction or making of t roads under the authority of Congress. Let me now ask whether the warmest advocate for internal improvement ever insisted on a greater latitude of constructive power of the constitution than is contained in the principle
of this bill. It not only goes the full length of all that we now.
contend for, but it'sustains every position which has been disputed in this House heretofore. . It authorizes surveys .# the making of roads, and it assumes jurisdiction without the consent of the States. When we consider that this extensive project was introduced but a short time after the adoption of the constitution, and by a man who was ehiefly instrumental in its creation, who labored to defend it with as much zeal and ability as any who lived, that it was adopted by a body, without a division, who probably better understood the extent of the powers intended to be granted than any which has succeeded it, will it be believed that it contained an assumption of powers not granted, and that it violated the rights of the States ? It has been reserved for politicians of the present day to make this discovery—men, whose ingenuity and eloquence we may admire, but whose nice and subtle distinctions, mystifications, and abstractions, cannot be easily understood by those who pretend to nothing more than plain common sense. For us, who desire nothing more than that the resources of our country shall be developed and brought into full activity, we are content to follow the path which the statesmen of the revolution have sketched, convineed that, by steadily pursuing it, we shall best attain the objects of the social compact.
The gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Bannoun] says that the bill under consideration contains a new principle, not known before in this House, and that we are about to take “a new latitude and departure." He considered the Cumberland road as affording no precedent, because it was the result of an agreement between the States of which the Northwestern Territory was composed and this Government, by which two per cent arising from the sales of the public lands was to be employed in making roads leading to and through those States. Yet it will be recollected that the gentleman distinctly admitted a position taken by my friend and colleague, ū. HEMPHILL] that the consent of the States was not to be regarded, as they could not confer any power on Congress, except in the eases mentioned in the constitution, and that every other compact between them was a nullity. With this admission, I cannot understand how he can attach any importance to the agreement respecting the Cumberland road By his own showing, it is evident that this Government did not derive its right from that source. How, then, does this bill differ from the bill authorizing the construction of the Cumberland road Î and how does it differ from Mr. Madison's bill? But the gentleman, while he professes to be fully aware of the value of good roads and canals, contends not only that the power to make them does not belong to this Government, but that it ought not to belong to it—that they had better be left to the enterprize of individuals or to the States. The gentleman will find but few to go with him on that broad ground, even in his own State. It will be recollected that when the attention of Congress was called to this subject by Mr. Monroe and others, while they admitted that the right already existed to appropriate money in aid of incorporated companies, denied that it extended further; but as it was deemed of essential importance to the welfare of the people that roads and canals should be constructed under the authority of this Government, they strongly recommended an amendment of the constitution, so that it should be expressly granted.
It was apparent that great national works, extending to remote parts of this Union, could not be executed by companies or by States, even if their resources were adequate to them; that rival interests existed every where, each State exerting itself to divert commerce to its own commercial emporium, or to some other point least advantageous to its neighbor State. And even in case of the union of two or more States for this purpose, the common good of the whole Union would be the least object of their thoughts; nay, routes might be chosen positively injurious to the whole. It might happen, too, that distant streams and States could be united by roads and eanals, by which, from peculiar localities, the greater part of each State through which they were designed to pass, would not feel interested, rather looking upon injury than benefit as the result, while to the nation at large the comnexion would be of the highest importance. For these and other reasons which might be mentioned, no opinion appeared to be better founded than Mr. Monroe's, that the power to make roads and canals, with jurisdiction over them, should reside in the Government. But the gentleman from Virginia has come to a different conelusion, and seems alarmed at the consequences of encroaching upon State rights, and the accumulation of power in the General Government. To me, [said Mr. I.] this feverish excitement about State rights and Executive patronage seems altogether chimerical. Look into the papers published, and to the speeches made in certain conventions before the adoption of the constitution, and you will find the same evil forebodings, and the same alarming apprehel sions. And yet we have gone on prosperously in peace, and successfully in war, for more than forty years, without one of those being impaired. How, indeed, could it be otherwise, when every member of this Government, except such as compose the judiciary returns at short
intervals to his respective State The members of Congress, in which reside all the high powers of sovereignty, bring with them here—State attachments and State pride; they act under a sense of high responsibility to their constituents and to their State; they remain here but for a few months, return, and mix with their fellow citizens; with them every motive conspires to urge them to resist, not to suffer, an invasion of State rights. Usage and public opinion have limited the term of the Executive to eight years, at the expiration of which he returns to his State. Your judges are scattered over the Union, citizens of their respective States. All of them, presidents, legislators, ...? judges, have their families, friends, endearments, and attachments in their respective States—their homes— where they find their earthly resting-places. Gentlemen talk of our National and State Governments, as if the former were a distinct people, to whom certain powers were conceded, but, not content with their enjoyment, are constantly aiming to enlarge them at the expense of the rights of the latter. But view them as the same people, a por. tion of whom at stated periods exercise certain delegated trusts which a common feeling of interest urges them to restrict rather than enlarge, and the suggestion will cease to have any force. Equally illusory are the fears of Executive patronage, which the gentleman from Virginia so strongly deprecated. It is common to speak of this; but I ask for proof of its having been exerted under any administration, and, if exerted, with what effect? Do your officers of the army and navy interfere in elections or have you seen the judges of your courts canvassing for votes to subserve the fo. of the Executive . The most powerful motives that could animate the human heart, existed to sustain the administrations of the elder and younger Adams; but with what effect What did patronage do in these cases? Sir, it is a mere phantom, which has no terrors for a free and vigilant people. Take one of the eight thousand postmasters that the gentleman from Virginia has spoken of, and see what influence he is able to exercise in any city or town. It will be found, in most instances, that the person so situated can effect less, at any election, than if he had not an office. There is a watchful jealousy, among the people, which repels any undue or even active exertions of men in official stations to control or sway the elections. We have nothing to fear from them. As to the unequal distribution of the revenue, which, it is said, the system of internal improve. ment gives rise to, I answer, that the same may be said of every other branch of public expenditure: fortifications are erected on our coasts aud frontiers most exposed to attacks; light-houses, breakwaters, &c., on the sea coast. These, and many other works, do not immediately benefit the interior; \but in these and all other erections and improvements, regard is had to the general welfare. What. ever gives life and vigor to the whole system, must be beneficial to its parts; in like manner, the healthful action of the heart communicates its tone to the extremities. We have been told, too, that, by the reduction of duties upon tea and coffee, and certain luxuries of life which do not interfere with our domestic industry, as is proposed by a bill on our table, the revenue will § so much reduced as to leave no surplus beyond the ordinary demands of the Government. But it should be considered that the bills alluded to are prospective in their operation; and even if it were otherwise, 1 do not apprehend any very great diminution from the proposed measures. The great increase of population must create a proportionate demand. In aid of this, there is a law of political economy which is universally true, that the capacity to buy, from the comparative cheapness of the commodity, increases its consumption; in other words, the reduction of a duty will, in a corresponding ratio, increase the demand. After paying all the ordinary expenses of Government for the current year and applying eleven million five hundred
thousand dollars to the pnblic debt, the Secretary of the Treasury estimates that there will be a balance in the treasury on the first day of January, 1881, of four mil: lion four hundred and ninety-four thousand five hundred and forty-five dollars. It is, therefore, ap rent that two millions of dollars may, with perfect safety, be applied annually to internal improvements, leaving enough from all the sources of revenue, and the operation of the sinking fund, to extinguish the debt in five years. My constituents have no immediate interest in the road mentioned in the bill; from the nearest part of my district it is at least one hundred and eighty miles. But I advocate it because it is part of a great system which I consider this Government under the most solemn obligations bound to persevere in. The road, from this city to New Orleans, is not a new project; it was earnestly brought into view by Mr. Calhoun in 1818, in support of a bill which he introduced into Congress, to set spart, and pledge as a fund for internal improvement, the bonus and United States' share of the dividends of the National Bank. In a report which the same gentleman made while Secretary of War, it is noticed as one of the prominent national objects, and it has never since been lost sight of by the Committees on Internal Improvements of this House. By cherishing a spirit of con: cession, and merging all minor considerations in the great one of making a beginning upon the principle contained in the bill, its friends cannot fail to effect its passage. When we reflect upon the amazing extent of our country, the di: versity of interests and occupations of its inhabitants, and examine the barriers which its geographical features Present to direct and easy intercourse, we must come to the conclusion that it is impossible to bind the different parts together in any other manner than by good roads, and canals extending from the centre to the extremities of the Union. By these means we shall be able to preserve the sympathies of our nature, which distance is too apt to sunder. But we will realize their advantages chiefly during war, when the Government is compelled to rely for most of its revenue upon a system of internal taxation, its ordinary fiscal resources being in a great measure cut off. The effect of this system is to drain the interior of the country of its currency, and to direct it to the seaboard, or to places where troops are collected for the defen&e of exposed situations on the frontiers. It will be recollected that no part of the interior of the United States, was, during the late war, exempted from this evil; it operated peculiarly hard in the western part of Pennsylvania; specie in fact disappeared, and a miserable paper curren$y was substituted for it, flooding the country, and, with its natural tendency for depreciation, ruining thousands of the best part of our population—the farmers, the honest yeomanry of the country, who, in such a state of things, are always the greatest sufferers. It is the part of prudence to guard, as far as practicable, against a recurrence of so much suffering and calamity. We cannot, it is true, prevent the drain of our currency, that is the inevitable effect of direct taxation; but we can, in a great degree, mitigate its effects, by giving to our o: cheap and easy means of transporting their produce and stock to market; to that market where troops may be assembled, and where there is the greatest public expenditure. . If You deny them these means, you expose them to incalculable injuries, it will be impossible to satisfy the tax gatherer; judgments and executions will speedily follow; but all are nearly in the same situation; and where are the purchasers to be found The earnings of years of honest industry will be swept off in a moment, for a sum sometimes insuf. ficient to pay the cost of collection—always vastly disproportioned to the value of the property, either to enrich the cunning speculator, or to add to the already overgrown wealth of some nabob, or to increase the public lands and stock to remain unproductive, until better times
shall enable them to sell for sums equal to their claims. A Government expressly instituted to promote the happiness and wesfare of all its citizens, ...if provide in a time of peace, when its resources are abundant, against such ruinous consequences. In this way it will best secure the lasting attachment of the people. The gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. Coke] in speaking of the probable expense of the proposed road, said that the Cumberland road cost the Government fifteen thousand dollars per mile. He has fallen into an error. The whole distance of the road is one hundred and thirty-five miles; its aggregate cost one million seven hundred and two thousand three hundred and ninety-five dollars, which is equal to twelve thousand six hundred and ten dollars a mile. At a proper time, I will, I trust, be able to show to the House that no sum of money of equal amount has ever been expended with greater advantage to the country. But it is o: to say that at the time this road was commenced, this Government had no experience in the business; few possessed the requisite skils for it; then, and for many years afterwards, provisions were dear, and the wages of labor near one hundred per cent, beyond its present amount. , What added greatly to the cost of this road, is the number of bridges, some of which are built in a style of superior and expensive workmanship, exhibiting monuments of architectural skill not sur. passed in any part of the Union. The continuation of the Cumberland road from Wheeling to Zanesville, which is made upon the McAdam plan, and is said to be the best road in the United States, cost, I am informed, about six thousand dollars a mile. But the expenditure upon works of this nature is of secondary consequence. If a harbor is found necessary for the safety and convenience of our shipping, if a fortification is wanting for our defence, the expense of constructing them would not be regarded. There is a paramount duty which the Government owes to its citizens, compared to which, gold and silver should weigh but as dust in the balance. They claim from it protection at any price; and they ask the same measure of justice, I will not call it liberality, in making such improvements as the situation of the country admits of and requires, which State and individual enterprise is unequal to, and which are strictly of a national character. The perseverance in this system of internal improvements, it has been said, will give rise to a claim of jurisdiction by the United States over the roads they make, which will end in the erection of toll-gates, and the enforcing of penalties not by State authority. Claiming, as I do, for this Government, the right to make roads and canals without the consent of the States, it must follow that, after they are constructed, it has a complete right to preserve them by such means as it chooses to select. If I am right in assuming, for I have already said that I do not mean to argue it, that the constitution has given to Congress the principal power, the incident must follow; nor is it at all probable that any injurious consequences are likely to arise from the exercise | it. The authority to establish post offices and post roads impliedly confers the right to protect the transportation of the mail by the imposing of penalties. For this purpose, various laws have been passed, and punishments have been inflicted, without any complaint from a State, and, as I trust, without injury to it. Nor would any greater evil happen by punishing a man in the United States' courts for an injury done to the road. Offences of this kind would be of rare occurrence: when it was known that the presence of vigilant gatekeepers would probably prevent escape, and that speedy unishment would inevitably follow, little mischief would done. There is scarcely an instance of an indictment in our State courts for injuries done to roads, belonging to corporations, and the reason, that prevents their occurrence would apply to a road laid out under the authority of the Uni States. Besides, there could be no valid
objection to conferring jurisdiction on the State courts to
punish transgressors. Congress gave them power to entertain suits, to collect the internal revenue, and to enforce penalties under a clause in the constitution, declariug it the supreme law of the land, and that the judges of the State courts should be bound thereby. This power, I admit, was by some of the States disputed; but surely it would be going too far to say that evils were likely to arise from the exercise of it. And if there should be a disposition in any State to refuse the jurisdiction, offenders would have no right to complain if they were sent to the United States' courts for trial. Seldom, indeed, would there be occasion for such a proceeding; but if a case should arise, demanding it, is it likely the criminal would talk of its hardship? And, if not, who would be quixotic enough to complain for him? The jurisdiction of the United States over their roads, whether they should exert it by direct appropriations to keep them in repair, or by the erection of toll-gates, cannot be a cause of the least apprehension to the States, no more than they now feel from the punishment of a mail robber. It is impossible that injury can arise from it. The gentlemen from Virginia who have spoken on the other side of the question, have indulged themselves in a warmth of feeling and an asperity of remark not warranted, in my judgment, by the occasion. If the purposes of the bill should be answered, or if the system, of which it is part, should be pursued, the design is of the most laudable character, and entitled to no common praise; the end, the development of national resources, the promotion of social intercourse, the diffusion of substantial benefits—in a word, the prosperity of the confederacy. Yet it has been received as if some signal calamity was about to be inflicted, carrying in its train famine and pestilence and desolation. Are they afraid that the march of the system will realize all We hope and all we predict for it; and that “their occupation will be gone?" If, sir, I mistake not the “signs of the times," a great revolution is going on in public opinion, in the South, on this question; and the day is not very remote, when Virginia .# concede to this Government all that the most sanguine friends of internal improvement could desire. One of her distinguished statesmen, now a member of this House, has for years devoted his time and talents to the cause. Every day furnishes new evidence that his patriotic fellow-citizens are yielding the prejudices that would lock up the bounties which a beneficent Providence has so profusely scattered over our land. He merits the lasting gratitude of his countrymen, the richest reward of a public benefactor. The productions of our country, which soil and climate have a ready made so various, are becoming daily more diversified, insuring, at no distant day, a home supply of most of the luxuries as well as the necessaries of life. An important advantage which this view of our condition and prospects gives rise to, is, that the different parts of our Union will be made dependent on each other—an invariable effect of mutual wants. Nothing, therefore, demands from us higher regard or more deliberate consideration, than the means of uniting our whole people into one great commercial family. But it is unnecessary to dwell longer upon the beneficial consequences of an extended system of internal improvements; they must be familiar to the members of this committee. I have endeavored to avoid noticing the ints which have been urged by others in support of the [. and having reason to fear that the committee is already fatigued by a long discussion, I will conclude with thanking them for their attention. Mr. MONELL next rose. He said he had waited until this late period of the debate on the bill, in the hope and expectation that some one of his colleagues, more competent than himself, would give to the committee the views which he knew a large majority of the delegation of New
York, in unison with himself, entertained upon this question. No one [said Mr. M.] has felt disposed to do so; and as I cannot consent that the vote on this bill should be taken without the expression of an opinion from the State I have the honor, in part, to represent, I have, reluctantly, obtruded myself upon the attention of the committee.
As I am the warm friend of internal improvement by the States, and have at all times, and on all occasions, whether in P. or private life, supported every measure which I believed would benefit the citizens of my native State, it is necessary that I should give the reasons that will influence my vote on the present bill. Sir, the State of New York, unaided by the General Government, has advanced far in this system. She has connected her northern and western lakes with the majestic Hudson, and I trust will continue to progress until she extends its blessings to every portion of her citizens. Although she has advanced far, and elevated her character to a prominent station among her sister States, she has not done half that the wants of her citizens require, or the means she possesses will authorize. My immediate constituents are now anxiously looking to their legislature for that justice they believe themselves entitled to—an improvement along their lovely valley, which will place them on the level with other portions of the State. I trust they will not be disappointed.
Soon after this nation passed through a second war of independence with honor and renown, the State of New York, suffering as she had in that contest in blood and treasure, and believing herself entitled to the favorable notice of Congress, from the aid and support she had given to strengthen the arm of the General Government, applied for aid to enable her to prosecute the great works of internal improvement she had long conceived, but which were retarded by the breaking out and continuing of that war. What was she told by this Government? Although her good and faithful service was admitted, her losses and privations appreciated, yet it was unconstitutional to aid in the construction of roads and canals. She submitted to the decision; and, nothing daunted, rested upon her own resources to accomplish that which her citizens had willed should be accomplished. For one, I rejoice that she is not indebted to this Government for aid. By your refusal. the resources of the State have been developed; the pat: riotism of the people exhibited; the sound hearts and willing hands of her citizens enlisted to elevate her character, and place her upon an eminence that her extensive posses. sions and fertile soil intended she should assume.
What was unconstitutional when New York applied for aid, has, by the change of time and of men, become constitutional now. By the construction given to the constitution by modern statesmen, all power is vested in this Government. The doctrines contended for in former days are exploded, new ones have taken their place; and, under them, this Government is extending its influence over every part and portion of what was once considered independ: ent State sovereignty: the rights of the States are merged in this grand consolidated Government. I will not enter into the discussion of the abstract constitutional right of this Government to make roads and canals in the several States without the consent of the States or the people. It has been assumed and exercised so often, that, until some express provision to the contrary shall be made in the constitution, it is worse than useless to question the power. The advocates of the right do not claim it by ress grant, but by implication and construction of different parts of that instrument. It is claimed under the power to provide for the common defence and general welfare; under the j". to regulate commerce among the several States, and with the Indian tribes; under the power to establish post offices and post roads. I have always doubted whether this Government, under any or all of these pow
On more occasions than one, have I listened to the arguments of the ablest men of the nation, on this much disputed, nice question of constitutional law. Although, I will not discuss the question of abstract right, I may be permitted to deny the expediency of its exercise by this Government. The exercise of this, and all other constructive rights, claimed by this Government, should be narrowly watched by the representatives of the people. Our duty to our States and our constituents requires it, at our hands; and yet it appears to me that when we assemble here as the Congress of the United States, we forget home—we forget State rights, and lose State feeling. Qur whole thoughts are directed to the mighty power of this all absorbing and controlling Government, regardless of the feelings of our constituents, or interests of the States; we exercise not only all the powers given to us by express grant, but every other which, by implication or construction, can be tortured into a right. I beseech gentlemen to pause and reflect. If this Government does possess the ower contended for by its advocates, let it be discreet§ exercised, and only on acknowledged great national objects. Under the power to regulate commerce among the se. veral States, and to lay imposts and duties, this Government assumed the right to compel the canal boats on the New York canals to pay transit duty. In 1824 or 1825, orders were issued by the Treasury Department to the collector at Buffalo, to enforce the collection of duties. I well remember the feeling creatod in New York: her citizens, from one end of the State to the other, were prepared to resist what was considered an encroachment upon State rights; even her legislative halls resounded with the language of resistance, and a perseverance at that time, on the part of this Government, would have brought that State in direct collision with the General Government. Strong protests were entered by the representatives in Congress, from New York, against the assumed power, and great exertions were made by the Governor of the State to procure a withdrawal of the order. It was countermanded, but the right to enforce the collection of duties was not surrendered; it was suspended for the time being, to be enforced whenever the will of this Government shall direct. You have established your ports of entry in every part of her State—at Buffalo, Rochester, Sackett's Harbor, and Iknow not how many other places—upon every stream and rivulet—upon tide waters and inland lakes—in every city and town that you please to consider commercial; swarms of officers to execute the laws and collect the revenue, are stationed among the people. Under the power to regulate commerce, and lay imposts and duties, you claim, and may, at some future day, enforce, the power to collect duties on every canal made by State authority; and what is to prevent you? The broad and unlimited construction of constitutional power claimed, will cover every act of oppression, and usurpation of State rights; thus gradually, but certainly, will every vestige of State rights and State interests be swallowed up by the constructive powers of the General Government. Under the power to lay imposts and duties, to regulate commerce, and to promote the general welfare, the whole revenue of State canals may be claimed. Now your treasury is full, and it is not needed; but let war exhaust it, let commeree be impaired, or, what is most probable, your funds squandered in visio schemes of internal improvement, and the particular welfare of the States must surrender to the general welfare of this Government. The States must stand in the relation to the United States that individuals do to the States—bound to yield a portion of what they have for the general welfare. Sources of revenue which they fondly hoped would support their own Governments, .#enable them to extend the blessings of internal improvement by their own authority to every portion of their
ers, could exercise the right of making roads and canals.
citizens, will be diverted from their proper channels, and