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have full confidence; and although thick clouds may seem to gather over us at this time—although there may seem to be a spirit abroad in the land, unfriendly to the permament existence of our free institutions—although, on some great national interests, honest politicians may honestly differ in opinion, yet the republic will safely ride out the storm. Our country, our whole country, is a sentiment which cannot fail to influence the public conduct of every upright legislator. The people may think differently— ut in jeopardy their liberties, and they will act together. f the majority of the tax payers of this republic are favorably disposed to the subject of internal improvements— to this road-making project—the system will continue; if otherwise, it cannot progress. And I do, therefore, entreat gentlemen who profess to be the ardent supporters of this system, not to halt, but to go forward, and put the subject home to every man in the community. Let the people not be deceived—let them see—let them feel the effect of this policy at once. I presume that no member of this committee will pretend that he can, constitutionally, take a given portion of the common fund, and approriate it for purposes of local internal improvements, unless É. could impose a direct tax to the same amount upon the people for the same object. No, even in this day of strange things no such absurdity would be pretended. I would, therefore, for the purpose of ascertaining the true state of the public mind on this subject, which is in all probability hereafter to elaim much of the time and attention of Conress, recommend to the warm friends of this measure to let the treasury alone, to keep their hands clean, and imse a direct tax upon the people; for the amount wanted. aise a sum of five millions of dollars (for a less sum will not suffice) by direct taxation. Send your tax gatherers to every hamlet—to every man in your country: tell him you want his money for the purpose of constructing a national road from Buffalo to New Orleans, or, should the amendment of the gentleman from Massachusetts be adopted, from Boston, by the northern and western lakes, to the city of Washington, and from thence to New Orleans; and the return of these officers will tell you a tale that cannot be misunderstood. They will give you the honest state of public opinion; and Igreatly miscalculate the signs of the times, if the present friends of this system would not then be found among its enemies. I greatly misjudge if the sovereigns of this country would not speak in such a manner as to make the throne, itself tremble. At any event, in this way the honest, unbiassed sentiment of the ublic mind would be made known in relation to the important subjects of making local internal improvements,
at the cost and under the direction of this Government.
This would be the fair course. This would be the honest eourse. But the course now pursued, first filling your treasury by indirect taxation, and then taking therefrom what is wanted to answer particular purposes, is the most deceptive to the people at large. The consumers, who are the tax payers of this country, annually contribute to the filling of the public treasury, without seeming to care in what way the money is expended. They know that a large public debt is outstanding— they know that the Government must be sustained—they know that fortifications must be erected, and must be armed—they know that our navy must be supported, and that our army will not be deserted. They know these things; and they know that the resources of the nation may be le. gitimately applied to these objects. And they believe that their public servants will not appropriate from the common fund for anything not connected with the common defence or promotive of the general welfare. On this point a great portion of the American people have not sufficiently reflected, because their attention has not been drawn to it by any regard to their interest—but directly to them—put home upon them—let them feel, let them
and they will reflect—they will consider, and they will determine in this grand question. With that determination future Congresses would be content; and, acquiescing in that determination, nothing more would be said or done about expending the property of all for the benefit of the few. It is of no importance to determine whether more or less of the revenue is collected in one or in another section of the country. Although frequent allusions have been made to the amount paid into your public treasury by particular States, yet, is it not to be inferred from that circumstance that the inhabitants of those particular States are in that proportion the actual contributors to your revenue? No! At ports of entry your revenue is collected, but the peo: ple—the consumers are the payers; and, although, in the region of country where I happen to live, the people may not be known at the treasury, yet the wares and merchan. dise by them consumed draw heavily upon their purses, to supply the common fund; and whether the goods are entered at Providence, or Boston, or Portsmouth, they are nevertheless part of the consumers of the country, and pay their full and just share for the support of the Gov. ernment. The good citizens of my own State are not, and never have been, behind the citizens of the other States, in contributing their full portion of physical and pecuniary means for the common defence of the republic, and for the advancement of its general welfare. But I hold it to be unequal and unjust that they should be taxed for the be: nefit of o: sections of the Union. Such a course
of our free institutions—as at war with the first principles of our federative Government. And entertaining such sentiments, we will not aid in such projects; as much as we love our sister States, and rejoice in their prosperity, we cannot but regard this measure as an attempt to ap: propriate a portion of the common fund for local objects, by mere numerical force, without the consent and against the will of some of the old members of the confederacy, who were partners to the original contract. And believ. ing that T |. the sentiments of New Hampshire on this subject, I should be unfaithful to my constituents should I withhold my vote against this project: should I suffer it to pass without raising my voice against it. I must oppose the measure as fraught with the grossest injustice. It is not my purpose, at this time, to present an argo ment on the constitutional powers of Congress to construe: roads—that subject has been often and ably discussed; but I have been, and I shall be obliged, in the further prose. cution of this subject, to submit some incidental remarks in relation to the legitimate exercise of the power granted to Congress by the express provisions of the constitution, in relation to the subject of making loeal improvements at the expense of this Government. I have said that I must oppose this particular bill now under consideration; and the principal reasons which have induced this opposition, independent of constitutional ob. jections, I will succinctly state. I do not believe that this road would be of such national importance—of such indispensable necessity, as to justiff Congress in constructing and perfecting it at the expense of the Government. I do believe that all these facilities of communication between one section and another section of our country should be provided at the expense of the several State", within whose limits such improvements are required. I do believe that all appropriations made for such put poses, at the cost and expense of the General Government, must of necessity be unequal and unjust; bearing lightly on some sections of the Union, and heavily on othersbestowing your munificence on some sections of the Unio —withholding it from others—and on this account, such projects should not receive the favorable consideration of Congress.
know that their money is wanted, and for what purpose,
strikes my mind as anti-republican—as against the s irit
I do not believe that national expenditures for purposes of internal improvement, tend to a dangerous increase and influence of Executive patronage I do believe that a sense of justice, which should inva. riably control the operations ... Government, requires, upon some fixed and established principle, a just distribution of the surplus revenue among the several States, provided that fund must continue to be drawn from the kets of the people, for the purpose of being expended in the construction of roads and canals. I say that a sense of justice, in such a case, demands that an equitable division should be made among all the members of the confederacy. Any thing short of this would savor of injustice and oppression. These are among the reasons why I shall vote against this bill. I cannot regard this measure, notwithstanding all that has been urged, as necessary either for commercial or military purposes, or for the more safe or more expeditious transportation of the public mail. The inexpediency of this particular project, on these several points, has been most fully and satisfactorily shown, by the able argument of the gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. BARBourj who first ad. dressed the committee; and at this late hour of the debate, I do not purpose to trespass on their patience by any minute examination of these topics, but shall merely give some very general views in relation to them. It is alleged that this road would be of great national importance, in a commercial point of view; that, regarding it as the means of affording great commercial facilities, it ought to be constructed at the expense of the republic. I ask, where is the evidence in support of this fact Where are the reasons, the considerations, which would warrant this committee in coming to this conclusion ? We look in vain for them. They exist merely in the imaginations of gentlemen! They have no real foundation. It is not in the nature of things that our commercial intercourse between Buffalo and New Orleans can be, or would be, inereased by the construction of this road. Any individual, acquainted with the geography of the country, cannot for a moment suppose that should this road, in course of time, become like the Appian way— should it become perfected by the location of iron rails— that any of the commerce of the lakes—that any of the trade in the proximity of these lakes—that any of the business of Buffalo, or of that region of country, would be diverted from their natural channels. No ; make this national road as fine and as perfect as the art, the ingenuity, and the industry of man can make it—still, not a single ton less of the produce of the country would float down the western canal; not a single ton less of merchandi-e would be transported upon it from the market to the interior. The great object of the farmer is to find a market for the produce of the labor of his hands. The great object of the cultivators of the soil is to obtain, at the least possible expense, a market for all they make to sell; and it cannot seriously be urged that the products of the agriculturist or the manufacturers would be transported from the region of Buffalo, over this road, through the State of Pennsylvania, to the city of Washington, and from thence to New Orleans. The idea is preposterous. A better way is already provided—one, not by the funds of this Government, but by the enterprise and the efforts of a single State. A better market is at hand; and our farmers would be a little too attentive to their interests to abandon that way and that market for this great national road, or for all the prospects of gain which Washington or New Orleans could afford. The expense of constructing this road cannot be justified for any commercial purpose. It is further urged that this road would be of great national importance, regarding it as the means of facilitating the transportation of
the munitions of war. That this nation would have this for a great military road, I am equally incredulous on this point as on the one which I have just noticed. It cannot be wanted for this plain reason—that such are the facilities of communication which now exist between the different sections of this republic, that even should this country be visited with the calamity of another war, in that event, this road between Buffalo and New Orleans would be but little used as a military road. Better ways are now in existence or in progress for carrying heavy ordnance and all munitions of war from Buffalo and the region of the lakes, by our canals and our rivers, even to New Orleans. And such is the nature of these facilities for internal communications, that our munitions of war can, at all times, be conveyed with much less expense and loss than would be unavoidable in the use of this national road for any such purposes. And such transportations can, at all times, be made with the most perfect safety to the country, free from the danger of attack from any enemy whatever. It is further urged that this road is intended for the transportation of the public mail, and in that view should be regarded as of sufficient national importance to warrant the expense of constructing and completing this contemplated improvement. I am free to admit that it should be among the leading objects of those who have the administration of the legislation of the country committed to their hands, to provide for the safe and expeditious transportation and conveyance of the public mail. It is due to our citizens, it is due to the people that their representatives should do all that can with propriety be done, to give them the means of receiving information of the passing events of the times, with safety and with all possible expedition. Nevertheless, in the establishment of a post road, or in the construction of any way over which the public mail is to be conveyed, every unnecessary or imprudent expenditure of the common treasure should be avoided. Some sacrifices must be made for the public weal—individuals must submit to some inconveniences for the advancement of the general welfare. Now, this road is not called for, to facilitate or to expedite the public mail from Buffalo to Washington. It is well known that such a new way for any such object is not required, and would not tend to the promotion either of individual interest or of the general good. And how is the fact in relation to the contemplated road between the city of Washington and New Orleans? Whatever reasons may exist for constructing a post road, on a part of the route, for the mere purpose of a more safe and expeditious conveyance of the, public mail, I cannot for a moment entertain the idea that, at this period of our history, there exists any necessity for this Government to lend her aid in the construction of any public road, for any purpose whatever, through the territorial limits of these parts of the Union. Is it come to this, that the funds of the nation are to be taxed to make a national road through Virginia, for the pretended purpose of the necessary transportation of the public mail? No, it cannot be; and I was not surprised—I was gratified—to hear one of the lineal sons of the ancient dominion, on this floor, in so eloquent and so forcible a manner, repudiate that idea. The facts, which are within the reach of every member of this House, must satisfactorily prove that this road is not indispensably necessary, either for the safe trausportation, or for the more expeditious conveyance of the public mail. I cannot, therefore, feel justified, upon any view of the subject, in lending any aid in accomplishing this improvement at the expense and under the direction of this Government, on the ground that it is of a national character, and of national importance. And I am unable to discover why this better deserves the name of national road, than any public road which begins and which, ends in my own State. It merits not the name; and we, the re
presentatives of the people, ought not to appropriate the property of this nation in establishing this road, either for the pretended purpose of facilitating the intercourse be: tween different sections of the Union—for carrying on internal commerce, as it is called—for the purpose of a military road, or for the purpose of a more safe and expeditious conveyance of the public mail. The object to be at: tained would not justify the expense; and, as the faithful guardians of the interests of the people, it does strongly impress my mind that we should oppose the measure, at all events as inexpedient and as impolitic. In the course of my remarks, I have said, and I now repeat, that if the £o tariff of duties should be continued; if we are determined annually to drain from the kets of the people twelve millions of dollars more than can be necessary for the gradual reduction and ultimate discharge of the public debt, and to meet the ordinary expenditures of this Government; if such a surplus shall annually be at the disposal of the Congress of the United States; if this amount is annually to be distributed, under the direction and control of the National Legislature; if this sum, or any portion of it, is to be appropriated on objects of internal improvement, I ask, how shall it be divided ? how shall it be distributed In one section of the Union? Forbid it, ye ministers of justicel I answer, as the whole Union contributed to the common fund, let the whole Union participate in the benefits of the distribution. As I have before said, apportion this fund, upon some settled and equitable principles, among the several States, unless you are disposed to do a still greater act of justice, by leaving it untouched in the pockets of the ople. If the United States should receive no more from imposts than would be required to meet the current expenses of the Government, to provide the ways and means of extinguishing the public debt, would Congress presume to impose a direct tax, sor the express purpose of collecting a fund to be appropriated in the construction of roads and canals, or any other objects of internal improvement not clearly warranted by the letter of the constitution ? They would not dare to do this. Such an experiment, would, in my judgment, prove fatal to the best hopes of the friends of this system. How would the proposition have been received, (by the tax paying people of this country,) to have incorporated a provision in the constitution, vesting a power in Congress to establish and regulate imposts, not for the purpose of collecting a revenue for the support of Government; not for the purpose of protecting any particular interests; but for the mere object of collecting a fund to be appropriated, under the direction of Congress, from time to time, on local objects of internal improvement?... Sir, such a proposition would have excited a general feeling of hostility, from one to the other extreme of the confederacy. The constitution never would have been accepted by the taxpaying people of this republic, if such a provision had been expressly introduced into it by our political fathers. They too well understood the character of the American people, to have recommended to them to invest in Congress any such power. Would New Hampshire have gone forward, and by her vote unqualifiedly accepted the constitution as binding upon herself? Would any of the small States of the nion have done this, if the great States, in the legitimate exercise of their constitutional powers, could appropriate any portion of the revenue for making roads and canals, or for any objects of internal improvement? No, sooner would they have remained in their colonial relation to the mother country, than to have jeopardized their particular rights, by yielding any such general power; and not until the latter period of our history, have any such powers been attempted to be exercised. When the constitution came fresh from the hands of the people, its provisions were
perfectly well understood; the powers granted and the powers reserved by the people were not then matters of speculation. The great struggle, which had terminated in the establishment of our country's independence, was too recent; the people were then too jealous of power, to have accepted . charter of their liberties, containing any provision which might, by possibility, prove dangerous to their rights as freemen. Never would they have jeopardized their equal privileges, by giving to the majority of Congress the power, at any time, to appropriate the common funds as their mere will and pleasure should direct. If such a power had been supposed to have existed under our constitution, it would have been early exercised; and I presume to state, that we should not at this time have had to cross over a road so badly made as we now find between the city of Richmond and the Potomac. If such a power had been supposed to have existed, the great influence of Virginia in the council of this untion would have been successfully exerted in the construction of all her public roads, at the expense and under the direction of this Government. If such a power had been supposed, in our early history, to have appertained to the Congress of the United States, not a road or canal would have been made without the application of the pecuniary means of the republic. But no such sentiment was then entertained; no such idea was harbored by our political fathers. They then believed, and they then practised, that Congress only had the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.” They believed, and practised, that they had not the power of laying and collecting imposts for any other purpose. It was reserved for this day of strange things to give a different coustruction to the constitutional powers of Congress. In some of the members of this Union, admitted since the establishment of our present Government, a construction seems to be given to the constitution, compatible with an eularged and liberal exercise of congressional power. And if the sentiments of the States are fairly represented by the opinion and votes of their delegates, there are some of the oldest States who now believe that a power exists in Congress to lay and collect imposts for urposes of internal improvement—such a liberal and enarged construction to our constitution must have been the growth of modern time. I cannot believe, however, such to be the sentiment of New Hampshire; and on this point I do not speak without authority. In 1822, our legislature had their attention drawn expressly to this subject, by our then chief magistrate; and I must ask the indulgence of the committee while I read from his message the following passages: “The words “to provide for the common defence and general, welfare, are merely mentioned as the objects for which the power to raise taxes is given, and the power to lay taxes is the only specific power given by this article of the constitution. Under this erroneous construction, a majority of Congress seem to suppose that they are invested with power to appropriate the national resources to objects of mere internal improvement, such as making canals and roads in the interior of our country, which have no connexion whatever with either the common defence, or the general welfare, other than that which all internal improvements, even the building of bridges or mills, or the improvement of the soil, possesses. It is too obvious to be disputed, that, if this clause of the constitution gives to Congress the authority to make such roads and canals, even a less extended construction of it must include every specific power vested by that instrument, and thus render them wholly impertinent and unmeaning—an inconsistency and absurdity which could not be admitted, except under the most imperative necessity. Were the phrase in question to be regarded even as a delegation of
power to provide for the general welfare, yet, on every known and acknowledged principle of interpretation, it would be liable to receive a strict construction, and consequently could authorize only such measures of Congress as were in their nature general, extending direct benefits to every part of the nation, and not such as were directly beneficial only to a part, and to the remainder merely incidentally, by possibility, or on some remote and uncertain contingency. The consequences which may naturally be expected to result from giving so broad and indefinite a construction to this clause of the constitution, as would authorize Congress to o: the national resources to mere objects of internal improvement, ought not to be disregarded in a consideration of this question. The national resources, so applied, would generally be directed to great and imposing objects in those parts of the country which were susceptible of them on that extensive and magnificent scale which would gratify those national feelings which always have a powerful influence, whilst those which were less adapted to gratify these feelings, although of equal or even greater importance, and those affecting the interests of the smaller and more remote sections of the country, would be either wholly neglected, or receive less than a proportionate share of the attention of the Government. “Jealousies and discord would inevitably spring from real or supposed partiality in the appropriations for these objects, and endanger that general harmony which is in: timately connected with national or. It would greatly extend that indirect power and influence of the Government, derived from its patronage, which ought always to be feared as a principal source of that intrigue and corruption which has so generally destroyed or impaired every thing valuable in human Governments. No motives are discovered that should induce such a wish that the constitution might be found susceptible of a construc. tion which should authorize Congress to expend the national resources in mere objects of internal improvement, unless accompanied by a belief that these objects would be more judiciously and economically attained under the direction of the National than of the State Governments. But no facts or evidence are known to exist, which can be thought to warrant the expectation. In National Governments generally, (it is to be hoped our own may prove an exception) waste and profusion, corruption and favoritism, connect themselves with every national undertaking and expenditure.” he legislative assembly of New Hampshire—the immediate representatives of the people, did not, on that occasion, withhold the expression of their opinion on this subject. They responded to the sentiments of the Executive, and declared, |. their resolutions, which were adopted with great unanimity, “that the constitution has not yested in Congress" the power which is now attempted to be exercised, and that no such power should be vested in Congress. It was believed that the existence of such a power would be dangerous to the rights and privileges of the small States. Such I believe to be the sentiments of New Hampshire—a sentiment I feel bound, no less from a sense of duty to my constituents, than from the force of individual feeling, to assert and maintain. We have works of internal improvements in that State, which we should be pleased to have accomplished. But relieve us from the national debt, and then forbear to levy upon us unnecessary taxation. Free my own constituents from an annual tax of not less than fifty thousand dollars, which they now pay in the oppressive duty on salt: relieve them from a like amount which is now drawn from their pockets by the present duties on teas; relieve them from the onerous duties on iron and on coffee; all which articles are of general use, and which duties remain in the aggregate as an annual tax upon their industry, of not less than two hundred thousand dollars; free us from these burdens,
too heavy to be borne, and we will work out our own salvation. We will go on as we have done; appropriate and work out as we have done, the annual tax of two hundred thousand dollars, in making and repairing our highways, and in effecting the desirable objects of internal improvement under our own supervision. But if the present policy must be persevered in, if the people must continue to be indirectly taxed for the purpose of filling the public treasury, to be appropriated, under the direction of this Government, in the construction of roads and canals, the language of New Hampshire is—be just. She does not solemnly protest against an act of such flagrant injustice as o: her while she makes her own roads, at her own cost, to appropriate annually one hundred thousand dollars (twice the amount of her State . to help the great State of Pennsylvania to make ers. This expenditure of the public treasure is attempted to be justified on the ground that it serves to cement more firmly the various parts of the confederacy. It is a most fallacious and deceptive argument. The very circumstance of an equal distribution of the common fund, which must necessarily take place in effecting objects of internal imrovement, . create distrust and jealousy among the ess favored members of the Union; and if it has any bearing, its tendency must be of a character different from that which the friends of the system have urged. But the fact is certain, that the State of New Hampshire does not require the exercise of any such power to bind her to the Union. She fully realizes the value of our free institutions, and she would be the last State in the confederacy to i. up the ship. She rallies around the constitution as the charter of her liberties, the foundation of her hopes, and she needs not that rope of sand to rivet her af. fections. There is no disloyalty within her borders. Her citizens contribute much of her treasure, and have spent much of her blood, in procuring and maintaining public freedom. And while the names of her Stark, of her Sullivan, and her Scummel, shall be remembered, so long as the sacrifices and services of her revolutionary patriots shall be preserved in mind, the loyal faith of New Hampshire will never be questioned. Some solitary individual may linger among the wilds of the interior, who has dared to breathe forth the sentiment of disloyalty. But if, in fact, such a sentiment ever had a real existence, it never could have extended beyond him who conceived and who brought it forth. I have observed that I do not oppose the improvement of your harbors, your ports of entry, for I cannot but regard such measures as directly connected with the public welfare; and I have, since the commencement of this session, voted for a just distribution of the avails of your public lands among the several States. I consider, the public domain as the property of the whole Union, ceded for the common benefit, or purchased by the common fund; and I voted for this, because we were told by the President in his message, that we should not want the present amount of revenue, either for the payment of debts, or for ordinary expenses. And when the resolution of the gentleman from North Carolina, [Mr. CoNNER] proposing a reduction of the duty on salt, was introduced, it was then immediately strangled—a duty which bears most hardly on my own people. , I became satisfied that the present tariff must be continued at all events. Then Iwas for doing for the benefit of my people all that was within my power. I should have much preferred to have had a judicious adjustment of our tariff of duties. I should have much preferred to have let the money remain in the pockets of the people. I should have much preferred to have had my constituents saved from the annual tax on their industry of two hundred thousand dollars at least, in the way of duties on salt, on tea, on coffee, and on iron —articles of prime necessity, and which enter very gene
rally into their consumption. But I was convinced that this would not be done; and although existing duties on these articles were not wanted for purposes of manufacturing protection, yet Congress was apparently determined to retain them; and the subsequent history of our proceedings will show that I had not ormed erroneous conjectures. Under these circumstances, and with these considerations, I voted for an equal distribution of the avails of the public lands. I shall do it again—not out of any hostility to the West, but because, in my judgment, their interest would not be injured, and a benefit would be conferred on my own citizens. A few words more, and I have done what I have felt it 'my duty to offer. This confederacy may, with perfect propriety, be compared to a partnership concern. The several States, as partners, contribute, according to the articles of agreement, their respective proportions, to make up the common fund. They are, under the articles of agreement, interested in this common property. All have contributed —all are alike, upon certain principles, entitled to the beneficial operations of the concern. But it would be no greater act of injustice for one partner, in any other concern, to withdraw not only his own investment, but actually appropriate the half of his associate's to his own exclusive use, against his will, than it would be for this Government to appropriate from the common fund, the property of all, or to use any portion of that fund for the exclusive advantage of any one of the original partners of any one of the States. We should pause and well consider before we thus act. “The evil men do lives after them.” Mr. PEARCE said, he had finally succeeded in placing himself upon this road, not, however, without a struggle. How long he should remain upon it, he could not now say; but it was not his wish to travel it from one end to the other, a distance of thirteen hundred miles, and, as some gentlemen had told us, more than that: lest [said Mr. P.] (pointing to some notes before him) I should faint by the way side, I have taken with me some viands, from which I can receive relief if any should be wanted. I cannot, however, read a speech, for I never was able to write one before I obtained the floor, on any question or subject under discussion, and never able to write one out after I had finished my remarks. In either case, I could employ the gentleman now in my eye, (Mr. Stansbury,) much better than I could employ myself. The gentleman who has just taken his seat will excuse me if I do not follow his example. I appear before the committee under circumstances somewhat different from those of many others. It has been said that New England, New York, and several other States, have no direct interest in this road, and that, therefore, there is no reason why they should contribute their * to the bill, or their money to carry it into effect. The opposition has been urged, not merely on grounds of principle, but appeals have been made to the worst feelings of our nature—to the selfish feelings of individual interest—as if nothing ought to be done by any gentleman on this floor, unless it contributes immediately and directly to the interest of his individual district, or the State from which he comes, I am influenced by no such feelings, and am prepared to say, what gentlemen have told me was true, that Rhode Island has no interest in this road. What then If the nation has an interest, is it right to withhold my vote, and refuse this measure my support? Others can speak for themselves, but it is sufficient for me if this road will contribute to the benefit of the country at large; that conviction is sufficient to command my vote, and, in obeying it, I have no doubt I shall be sustained by those I am proud to represent. I know that designs of this kind present very different subjects for legislation. We have all seen this difficulty. Some gentlemen, with all their constitu
tional scruples, would not have any serious scruples to this road, if it could pass through their district. At any rate, if it must be made, the route through their districts is the proper route, notwithstanding all the engineers have said upon the subject. The road is assailed by objections the most various, and frequently of the most opposite kind. For some, it is too far west; for some, not far enough; for some, it is too long, and ought to terminate at Memphislooking towards Texas; for others, it is too short, and ought to go to Boston, by the way of Lake Champlain. One thing is certain—it is too long and unmanageable to be laid upon the bed of Procrustes, and shortened and stretched to meet the views or gratify the wishes of every one. If mere local feelings are to influence us in all the proceedings of this House, what can ever be done for the good of the Union? So far as relates to me, I merely ask myself whether the scheme that is proposed is calculated in its nature to confer benefits on the whole country, without reference to any particular section of country. Is it not familiar to us all, that, although the western portion of this Union is entitled confessedly to an armory somewhere upon its waters, yet, owing to local disputes, and sectional differences of interest, the site has been a bane of contention for many years ? From the time I took my seat as a member of this House, to the present period, there has been among gentlemen from the West a sharp and animated debate on this subject. Some have thought that Pittsburg was the most eligible situation, sonne West Tennessee, some North Carolina; and others, among whom I can name the gentleman from Kentucky, [Mr. Johnson] and his predecessors, that the district of country which he represents is the place which should be selected for that purpose; and, from all I can learn upon the subject, I think, with him and them, that it is—but so far as relates to my present argument, not but that the necessity for an armory somewhere upon the western waters existed, yet, owing to the divisions and differences which have existed, none has been established, and none will be, so long as they shall continue. If they eannot among themselves agree, they have no right, and cannot with propriety arraign the Government for withholding the appropriation of money necessary to commence an establishment of this description. The remarks which I have made relative to the western armory, will apply with equal force in reference to the establishment of a military academy in the western section of our country. More than twelve years ago a bill passed the Committee of the Whole House, establishing a military academy in the western section of our country; but it was defeated, because gentlemen from the West would not agree upon the place where it should be loeated. Both the House and the country assented to the design. But such was the struggle of local interests, that members here could never agree. In reference to this bill, and the proposed route of this road, it is sufficient for my purpose and my vote, that it comes to us under favorable auspices, and recommended by those who have no interest in this or that route, which does not belong to them as members of this confederacy. The chairman of the committee who at a former session reported a bill in the words of this, or similar to it, is a gentleman [Mr. MERCER who, we all know, has given as much attention, and devot as much time to subjects of this kind, as any member of this House; and no one will deny that on this and similar subjects his zeal has been untiring, and his exertions indefatigable. The venerable gentleman who at this session reported the bill in favor of this road, [Mr. HEMPHILL] comes from a State that is identified with internal improve: ments; and at home, in reference to objects of this d scription, he is first among his peers. What motive, have a right to ask, has either of those gentlemen to prefer one route to the other, independent of the general good? None, I think I am warranted in saying Sir, during the pendency of the bill, and this discussion which