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

examined this report, Independent of its national interest, it directly and immediately concerns his own constituents. The survey is not a mere local one; such was not its object. It did not begin at Maysville, or stop at Lexington. These are intermediate points on the great route. It began at Maysville, and continued on through the gentleman's own district to Florence, in Alabama. Is there any section of the United States more important than this? If there is, I should like to know where it is. I am very sorry, sir, to see so much alarm and excitement whenever a road bill is called up in these days. Such was not the case formerly. Sir, I am much gratified in the recol. lection that my friend from Tennessee was not always as much agitated as he appears to be at present at works of internal improvement. I remember with great pleasure the time and place when I had the honor of standing by the side of that honorable gentleman when he voted for six hundred thousand dollars for a great canal in the State of Alabama. Now, sir, since that period, many, very many projects, involving the same principle, have been, in various forms and shapes, submitted to our consideration, against which the gentleman had a fair opportunity of manifesting his hostility to this monstrous and alarming doctrine of inter. nal improvement. Did he do it? No. He sat silent and contented, thereby ratifying and confirming his former course. I regret, sir, when he comes to the borders of the poor and needy West, then he takes fire, then he becomes indignant; then, and not till then, he throws the whole weight of his intellect and his influence into the :: o opposition, although this is our first application r aid. [Here Mr. POLK explained. Mr. LETCHER resumed. ere was no call for any explanation. I had no intention of reproaching the gentleman for the canal vote. My only object was to show the similarity of that measure with the one now under consideration, and to revert to the pleasing recollection that the gentleman had once voted for six hundred thousand dollars for improvements in the State of Alabama. The gentleman says it was in land. Sup it was. How does that alter the case? You take my land instead of my money. Now, I cannot for my life, and never could, perceive any distinction in principle between an appropriation in money and an appropriation in land. Where is the difference It is all common stock, and belongs to the, people. However, that is immaterial. The question before the House is not on that gentleman's consistency; that is an affair between himself and his constituents. A word or two more for the information of the House in reference to the report of the engineers, who acted under the express authority of the Government. It was made by Trimble and Long, of whose reputation for skill and integrity I need say nothing. They are both well known to the nation. They made it out with great care and attention; and it consists of nearly forty pages, and bears every mark of the most scientific examination. In addition to this, the incorporated company also employed Mr. Williams, the late superintendent of the Cumberland road, a gentleman of high character for integrity and capacity in his profession. No man stands better. He, too, made an able report upon the undertaking, which is now before me. The gentleman complains that he has seen no accurate map of this work. , Here is one almost as-long as this little road itself; [holding up the map.] look at it; scrutinize it; a better one was never seen. What more can be required We have three reports: one executed by our own special order long ago, and yet information is still demanded. But I know very well, sir, that if I answer all the gentleman's calls, and all his objections, we shall not get his vote. He will continue to call and call again, and if he is driven from one point, he will take refuge under another, and another. e gentleman, I

[ocr errors]

think, sir, is resolutely determined to vote against the bill and it is quite in vain, so far as he is concerned, to show that his reasons for doing so are wholly insufficient. The gentlemen from Georgia [Mr. Fosten] repeats the assertion he made yesterday, that this road is not national It is very easy, sir, to make that declaration, but not to easy to prove it. already demonstrated that it is strictly and essentially no tional—but if I should again establish it beyond the possi. bility of a doubt, I shall not, I fear, thereby secure the vote of my worthy friend, any more than that of the gen: tleman from Tennessee. He has, it seems, constitutional doubts. Would it not, sir, be more prudent in that get tleman to reserve his constitutional arguments for a much greater occasion that may soon present itself, in which he will have a louder call for them i. It may happen, sir, be fore very many days, that application will be made for some millions of dollars to remove certain Indian tribes from his own State to some distant regions beyond the Mississippi; and some few gentlemen may possibly take into their heads to fancy that such a proceeding is not al. together aceording to the “strict letter of the constitu. tion. I refer to this subject in no spirit of unkindness, but to draw the attention of the j. gentleman to a sub ject of great magnitude, upon which I shall hear him, no doubt, maintain the argument upon the other side of the question, with great ability. Sir, who has heard a sug gestion within the present day, that it was unconstitution. al for the Government to subscribe for stock The gentleman, sir, is too late with his objections. The doctrine is settled, is fixed to the contrary by the repeated action of both Houses of Congress, sanctioned by every Executive. Certainly, sir, the gentleman must know, the most enlightened statesmen, and some of the most rigid constructionists of the day, unite in opinion upon this point, that o ... has the undoubted constitu. tional right to take stock in a private com , engaged in a design of public utility. It P. * ...; j merely, and presents no other difficulty. But the road begins in Kentucky, and ends in Kentucky, says the gentleman from Tennessee; and how can it possi. bly be national Why, sir, every work of this kind must begin somewhere. Where it begins, or when it begins. does not determine its character, I should think. The reason a beginning is made at Maysville, has been several times stated. The work has been commenced by indivi duals by virtue of an act of incorporation; which couldn't extend beyond the limits of the State. It is not, however, to stop in Lexington—far from it: it will progress further most certainly. Other companies will no doubt be form. ed to extend it from Maysville to Zanesville, in Ohio, on the one side, and from Lexington, by the way of Harrods. burg, Lebanon, and Nashville, to Florence, on the other, A bill for that purpose is indeed already reported, and will be called up by my colleague over the way [Mr. Kincup. the moment an opportunity offers. And, sir, if the hon: orable gentlemen will only exercise a little will very soon see this great road meandering its way through his section of the country. Then, I hope, one of his objections of its being too short will in some degree be removed. But I would seriously inquire, sir, does it depend upon

the length of a road or canal, whether it is national or

local # What is the rule of decision ? How is the esti. mate to be made I should like to hear how gentlemen would reason upon this part of the subject. I humbly conceive the length of a road, whether it be short or long, has nothing whatever to do with the fact of nationality. We must look to the accommodation it affords, its utility, its links of connexion, the various interests it unites, both agricultural and commercial, to ascertain its character. I know of no other method. The one proposed has every

requisite to recommend it. It combines essentially the in

- *

I think I have upon a former occasion

atience, he

[ocr errors]


APRIL 28, 1830.]

[merged small][ocr errors]

terests of the agriculturist and the merchant—it connects itself immediately and directly with the Ohio river, which most unquestionably is a national river, which in fact is to the West what the Atlantic is to the East. You contributed largely to the Dismal Swamp canal, and to the Delaware and Chesapeake canal—how far do they run? But short distances. How long is the Louisville and Portland canal? About two miles. When, sir, aid is asked to improve harbors, to build fortifications, to make light-houses, and to dig canals to unite with the Atlantic waters, we hear no sug. gestion that these are not national works. But the moment a road is mentioned, the scene is changed, the case is altered—then constitutional scruples come up, and the cry is raised at once that there is nothing national in it. Sir, we wish to be distinctly understood; we do not now, and never have complained of the great advantages, you have on the seaboard, or of the appropriations you have made for their improvement. We are proud to know you possess and enjoy them to such an unlimited extent. Though you have facilities that are wholly denied to us, we are far from begrudging them. Yet, sir, we do think, and must say, that justice should be done to us in some small degree, when we present a case so entirely and unexceptionably correct as the present. We do not ask you to give us money. We do not : Not at all. Gentlemen cannot rid themselves of the distressing idea that the money is to be given. No one, sir, expects or desires the Government to do any such thing, but only to aid a good work and a valuable enterprise, by a moderate, cautious, and well guarded subscription. To patronize a road, which connects an important internal city with the Ohio river, which is the Atlantic of the West, which passes through a growing flourishing country, of unparalleled fertility, a region, in many respects, of all others the most delightful and interesting, but one which is unfortunately deprived of navigable streams, upon which we can convey our abundant products to market. The result is, sir, from

the extreme difficulty and delay arising from the badness

of the road, our farmer is often cut out of the market altogether, and consequently his produce is left to rot on his own hands. Under these circumstances, let me ask, sir, what incentive is given to industry No man will continue to work, if he has to sit down and see the products of his labor thus perish on his hands for the want of a market. It cannot be expected, sir. He will not raise more than he can consume. Does the farmer need no protection and no encouragement? Is his interest to be wholly overlooked and neglected Sir, he is the first unan in the community who ought to be patronized by all well regulated Governments, and the very last man who should be neglected. He is the main stay and prop of the country. When he is prosperous and contented, every interest in society is so in a corresponding degree. Sir, I would inquire, of what use is legislation ? What have we to do, unless we lend every assistance to the encouragement of honest industry, and, by a prudent application of our resources, endeavor to improve the condition of our country : I am not myself, sir, disposed to see every scheme, however visionary and extravagant, supported and maintained by the wasteful appropriation of the public money. A sound discretion must be exercised in determining upon the merits of each project that may be presented for our consideration. If it be fair, laudable in its object, easy to be accomplished, moderate in its demands, and of great F. utility, why, sir, it ought to receive the helping d of the Government. Such, I think, sir, is the one now offered to the House; and, when completed, it is not for owr exclusive use. Gentlemen seem yet to labor under the erroneous impression that this is a road for our special accommodation, and they will not argue the question upon other grounds. Sir, we tell you, and we prove the fact beyond Ś doubt, that it will be a mutual advantage both to you and to us, that you will greatly increase

the safety and the speed of the mail, and that you will | save money by it to a large amount. Where, then, is the ground of doubt or difficulty about it? What do you now pay for the transportation of the mail? Have gentlemen looked into this matter? It costs you no less than eighty dollars and forty-five cents per mile along this very route. Is not this outrageous ! And will you continue to pay this extravagant price, rather than oin making this a good road Surely you will not. A due regard to economy forbids it, independent of every other consideration. Let this work be completed, and it will not cost you much more than one-third of the sum you now pay. , Your own interest, sir, ought to influence you to make the road out and out, even without the co-operation of our State and individual resources. w Kentucky has fully proved her sincerity and fidelity in this matter. She has first taken stock herself, and that to the full extent of her power, before she invited you to participate. Sir, it is well known we are poor; we make no secret of the fact, nor do we view it as a crime. It is our misfortune; and how could it be otherwise? We have no market for our commodities, and the State is embarrassed in her finances. And how did she become so? I need not explain the reason to this House. Gentlemen all know it originated in defending the cause of our common country. It is true, sir, as a gentleman near me says, that much of the public money during the war was expended there. Yes, sir, but it turned out to be ruinous to us. Its effect was to raise every thing to an exorbitant price. We were, for a time, the subjects of a perfect mania for speculation. While it lasted, money was ...; freely, and the country was excited to an unnatural degree, but afterwards there was a proportionate exhaustion; just as a patient, strongly operated on by o: afterwards suffers a collapse of all his powers. e have not entirely recovered from this state of debility. . This is the reason why we are unable to accomplish this work by our own means. But if it were entirely convenient, if our resources were ample, we ought not to do it without your assistance. The road is highly important to us, it is equally so to you, and will effect a saving in the public expense. Now, I put it to every man of a generous heart to say whether he will refuse to do an act which is right in itself, which is just, which is necessary, which, while it injures nobody, makes multitudes happy. You have a bountiful table, rich and abundantly spread by the hand of a beneficent Providence. All the world beholds, admires, and wonders at your prosperity. The Kentuckians lent their aid in preserving these blessings from violence and spoil. We do not wish to be understood as boasting—we oid our duty. We pay at this day more than a million a year to swell your treasures—and now we come here, and ask you to spare from this wide and magnificent table but a crumb, and that to be again ...; to you. Will you, can you refuse us? But the honorable gentleman from Tennessee [Mr. Polk] tells us that the national debt, must first be paid. The gentleman seems to superintend that department of the Government, and to have the public debt in his own especial keeping; and if you give—no, if you subscribe for stock to the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the consequence will be awful—yes, sir, tremendous, indeed. hy, sir, how o does the honorable gentleman suppose that this sum will delay the payment of the public debt? But a day or two, even if the money were strictly a donation. Are you asked to part with any money! Not a single dollar. You are asked to advance fifty thousand dollars a year for three years, on good socurity, in a design patronized by the State, and in which many private citizens have embarked their fortunes to a large amount. In return you will receive a valuable

stock, together with the gratitude and blessings of your

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

fellow-citizens. If all these considerations and inducements have no impression upon the House, I know not myself what will. Sir, I took the liberty of reading to the House a document which went to show the great number of persons who travel this road, even in its present miserable condition. It pleased the honorable gentleman to make some severe and humorous criticisms upon it. He observed that the paper did not tell us how many of the travellers were going to meeting, and how many were going to mill. Very true, sir. Neither did it inform us how many were driven in a different direction to avoid this infamous road; nor did it point out what the wagons carried. I did not read the paper as an official document; but I have letters in my possession from gentlemen of the first respectability, which can be examined by any gentleman, to show that it is fully entitled to credit. The company hired, as I stated before, a man of reputation for honesty, for one month, to ascertain as accurate§ as possible the number of persons, wagons, horses, &c. that travelled this road, and the quantity is enormous, and, to one wholly unacquainted with that region of country, almost incredible, but nevertheless true. What do the Government engineers tell you by their official statement? Permit me, sir, to read a short extract from the


or. Mr. L. read an extract from the report of the engineers.]

his corresponds with and confirms the statement I have

exhibited. We do not ask the House to act blindly or precipitately, but to act upon othentic information. We desire you to believe nothing that is not established by the most satisfactory proof. We feel ourselves prepared entirely to satisfy any gentleman who is not unreasonable in his requisitions, upon any and every point connected with our application, so far as facts can accomplish that end.

But this road lies within Kentucky, and therefore cannot be national, says the gentleman from Tennessee. Sir, was not the canal to which that gentleman voted six hundred thousand dollars, entirely within the limits of the State of Alabama? May not the same be said of the canal in Illinois, in Delaware, and Indiana, to all of which the General Government has been exceedingly liberal? Now I should be happy to hear any gentleman undertake to establish the correctness of the proposition, that a canal, exclusively confined within the borders of a State, however short it may be, is always national; but a road of the first import. ance, of ten times its length, upon which the great mail is daily conveyed, under similar circumstances, is never so. I have said, sir, and I repeat it, the proposed road, taken with its various connexions, each dependent upon the other, makes it not only national, but an object of the first moment.

You must consider the whole design together; you must be regulated, in coming to a decision, by the principles of common sense, as you would in a case of law. You must look at the entire case, and all its circumstances, before you come to a conclusion. You must not separate the circumstances, or break the links. So it is with this road: you must not take apart its links, but take the whole as one uninterrupted chain of communication. I make no argument, sir, about its being a military road: I would not care a single cent whether it was or was not. The case is made out fully, independent of that argument. The truth is, Kentucky will never require you to make a good road to get to your battle ground; but I maintain, and shall ever maintain, that it is connected, by means of a water communication, with the whole lower country, with the Atlantic Ocean, with the Ohio canal, and so with the lakes, and all the northern part of the Union, and therefore is national. If it be not, is there any scheme of the kind in the West that can be so? Where is one more, or even as much so? Let it be pointed out. Sir, if you refuse to aid us in this,

I know we can offer you no other to which you would subscribe. No, sir, if this fails, we are hopeless. Sir, the gentleman from Tennessee is very kind, indeed. He advises the friends of internal improvement to well what they are about, lest they bring their own system into disrepute, by pushing it too far. We are greatly obliged to the gentleman for his counsel. But I, for one, would much sooner take the advice of a friend to the system, rather than from one who is its avowed enemy. He tells the friends of the New Orleans road, for their espe:

cial comfort, that it is now “sleeping in death.”. Sir, it

was somewhat cruel to raise the dead, particularly after the funeral oration had been pronounced §: that honorable gentleman. I trust, he will not raise a ghost to alarm the House. It seems, sir, according to the positions assumed, the whole system of internal improvement is endangered. We cannot pass a ; : bill, because it is too great—we cannot pass a small one, because it is too small: so it appears we can pass no bill at all, and the whole scheme must come to an end. Now, sir, I am no believer in that notion. It is the people's system; and although it may be checked for a time, yet it cannot be put down. The people will have it in spite of all opposition. I believe no man lives, or ever will live, who can bring it to an end. I believe, further, that the object now proposed is as just, as fair, as expedient, as national, as any which has been or can be proposed to us. No o objection has been offered against it from any quarter., Sir, I am very sorry to have felt myself called upon to say as much as I have, although I have said as little as possible. The subject is one of the deepest interest. It is looked to with intense anxiety. I have now, sir, only to entreat that the question may be taken, and let the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

glorious news go home to the West, that this House has

extended its kind patronage to a work so useful and so

much desired. Whereupon Mr. MALLARY called for the previous uestion, and the bill was ordered to be for a ird reading.


The House then again resolved itself into the Commit. tee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, Mr. Polk in the chair, on the bill to amend “An act in alteration of the several acts imposing duties on imports,"— the amendment offered by Mr. McDUEFIE being under consideration.

Mr. McDUFFIE rose at half after two o'clock in continuation of his argument against the constitutionality and policy of the “protecting system,” and addressed the committee two hours, without having concluded; when he gave way for a motion for the committee to rise.


The engrossed bill, to authorize a subscription of stock to the Maysville and Lexington Turnpike road was read the third time, and the question stated on its e.

Mr. HALL said he hoped he should be excused for delaying the passage of the bill for a few moments only. He had no idea that he should be able to prevent its passage altogether; but, as he took no part in the debate yester. day, he wished to make a remark or two, not that he had any peculiar hostility to this particular object, for he could assure his friends from Kentucky that he would as soon vote for an appropriation for this object, as any other of the kind, even in his own district. But he rose to make some developments which he thought calculated to throw mueh light on the system of internal improvement gene. rally, of which this road is a part, and which involves the principles of the whole subject.

The developments which I am about to makes said Mr

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

H.] consist of emanations from the most respectable sources, from the Legislatures of two of the most wealthy and powerful States in the Union, New York and Pennsylvania. It is unnecessary for me to say, that, in presenting what I do from these sources, it is not from any want of respect. My *. is to show what New York and Pennsylvania have done, and the results at which they have arrived in the prosecution of works of internal improvement, as a beacon, and a warning to other States less powerful in the means necessary to the successful prosecution of these works. I hesitate not to say that no other States in the Union can push their plans of internal improvements to the extent which these States have, without the most ruinous consequences. The great State of New York, with means and appliances, physical and adventitious, which no other State in the Union has, or perhaps ever can have, will find some difficulty in extricating herself from the situation in which her splendid works have placed her. But with her resources, if she continues to exercise the wisdom in the management of her system which she has heretofore done, by applying her general revenue means as a sinking fund to her debt, and suspends the further extension of her system, she will in some few years wipe off this debt, which, if I am rightly informed, has been considerably reduced by this policy. The report of the canal board, in answer to a resolution of the Senate of New York, of the 25th of February, 1880, presents, among other remarks, the following; “The advantages to the people of this State, to be derived from the construction of the navigable communications between the great western and northern lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, were doubtless based upon the anticipated revenue which these works would produce. It was therefore wpparent, at the commencement of these works, that the local advantages, in the enhancement of the value of the property contiguous to them, would be participated by the landed proprietors and others inhabiting the canal section of the State; and that the great State community must look, as an indemnity for its expenditures, to the revenue to be derived from these works." Again: “A law was passed at the commencement of these canals, imposing a direct local tax upon twenty-five miles on each side of these works. This law was based upon the evident principle, that the property in the vicinity of the canal was enhanced in value to the amount of the difference between the land and water transportation. Owing, however, to the loss and inconvenience which would result from the assessment, collection, and payment of the tax, it was never imposed; and those who have been almost exclusively benefited by these works, having been thus exempted from all direct taxation, it would seem to be an obvious principle of justice that the whole State should never be subject to taxation on account of the canals. It cannot be imagined that the people of this State ever contemplated that works, which are principally beneficial in a local and individual point of view, should impose a tax upon the whole community; and it would doubtless be doing great injustice to that portion of our citizens, who inhabit the canal sections, to imagine that they ever supposed that those in other parts of the State would be subjected to taxation to make or maintain the canals, or to extinguish the debt.” The report goes on to say—“The State, in its political capacity, may be regarded as a corporation; and the same broad principles of justice, in reference to its wealth, will have perfect iro, In a corporation consisting of many individuals, an application of the funds of the whole for the benefit of a part, would be a transgression of the principles of equity, unless the funds were invested in such a manner as to return to the body corporate the principal and interest.” ain: “But the making of the canals has added to the wealth of the State, by enhancing the value of the property in the canal sections. . This is true.

But as this addition of wealth has not diffused itself, and cannot diffuse itself equally among all the citizens, as two-thirds or to: of the whole population derive little, if any, pecuniary advantage from the canals, it would be unjust and oppressive that works, which are thus partial in their benefits, should be general in their exactions.” It will be seen by what has here been presented, that the object of the report was to present to the people of New York, in the shape of an account of debit and credit between them and the canals, or canal interests, a view of what they cost and yielded. And it is further stated“The interests of the State, in reference to the amount of tolls which ought to be collected on the canals, will be clearly indicated by exhibiting an account of debit and credit between the Erie and Champlain canals and the State, from their commencement up to the beginning of the present year.” Here follows, after some further remarks, a set of calculations, showing, according to the views taken in the record, that the “whole amount of debt chargeable to the canals on the first day of January, 1880, was twelve million two hundred and thirty-seven thousand three hundred and ninety-nine dollars and seventy cents.” The report says further: “But regarded in the most favorable light in which any reasonable calculation can place them, the canals have yet done nothing towards the extinguishment of their debts; and, indeed, that they have not paid the annual interest of that debt, together with the moneys expended upon them for superintendence and repairs. That portion of debt which has been extinguished, owes its extinguishment entirely to the auxiliary funds, the duties ©n salt, on sales at auction, and sales of lands, &c. In the Pennsylvania Senate, on a bill making further appropriations for roads and canals, a member, Mr. Seltzer, said, “That the gentleman from the city had given us an eloquent speech; but had sung the old song—a song which he had sung many times before. There were some notes, however, that were discordant; there were some assertiors which were not founded on facts. He has told us that there were sufficient funds to pay the interest on our public debt until February, 1831. Now, sir, I deny it; I, sir, am bold to deny it; it cannot be shown to be true. We shall fall short of paying the interest this year more than three hundred thousand dollars! Now, sir, this old song is nearly worn out. It has been sung from year to year‘give us more money to extend a little further, and the canal will be profitable. When the money has been received, and the extension made, they come here, and the so g is sung over again, “give us a little more, and it will be profitable.' The State has already expended more than twelve millions of dollars, and not one mile of canal has been completed, and the gentleman from the city wants to borrow money to enter into new contracts, and then borrow more to pay the interest. Such a course, every one knows, would ". an individual to ruin; and who could doubt but that it will bring ruin on the commonwealth # 3 I have said, that, in presenting these emanations from these two great States, it was certainly from no feeling of disrespect, but rather from any other feeling. I have done it, sir, to notify the State which I have the honor in part to represent, as well as others, to take warning by the example, and experience of those who have gone before them, in undertakings which, whatever these States may do, it would be difficult for others to accomplish. I have quoted these documents,and particularly the report, to show what utter delusion prevails upon the subject of internal improvement, not only in the States, but as it is carried on, or pretended to be, by the General Government; and more particularly to show the fallacy of the idea of the nationality or generality of works and objects, whose rincipal attribute is that of locality of place. Sir, we we heard in this debate a great deal about national ob: jects; but what does the documentary evidence presented

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

by the Legislature of New York teach us? That the very work which, by way of excellence, if there is one in the Union, the Erie and Champlain eanal, is entitled pre-eminently to be called a national work, is yet shown by the report of the canal board to be one of local character and interest. Sir, there is not a greater source of error and mischief than the improper or equivocal use of language. It has been said by one of the most able and talented men ever produced by that country so prolific in great men, that “mankind in general are not sufficiently aware that words without meaning, or of equivocal meaning, are the everlasting engines of fraud and injustice.” The words national, American system, internal improvement, general welfare, &c., are striking instances. As they are frequently used, they are words of equivocal meaning, and have been used as engines productive of immeasurable, I fear of irremediable injury to the people of this country. These words confined to their proper use, have a distinct and appropriate meaning of their own; for words are the names of things, sir. Words are things, you know, and misused or abused, they may be made very wicked and mischievous things. But the word national—the national good—the general welfarel Sir, what is national Why, it would not be difficult, by a little logical legerdemain, to prove that anything, however local or circumscribed in its character, is national. The general welfare is made up of the particular welfare—the whole is made up of its parts. What is good for the whole is good for the parts, and, e converse, what is good for the parts is good for the whole. The nation is made up of individuals: what is good for the nation is good for the individuals; what is good for the individuals must be good for the nation; therefore, every individual advantage must be a national advantage. But it is of advantage to my old neighbor, that his potatoe patch or cornfield should be cultiwated, or that he should have a ditch cut, or a cowpen made; his individual advantage is part of the national advantage; and then these objects become national objects, and ought to have an appropriation from the national treasury. I repeat that I have no peculiar hostility to the Maysville road, and have no doubt it is quite as well entitled to an appropriation as many other works called national. But the gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. LETCHER) tells us that this road is a national road, because it is in connexion with the national river Ohio. But how came Ohio, par excellence, to be a national river! How are we to distinguish which is and which is not a national watercourse? As we have heard something about length aud breadth, &c. how are we to ascertain where, or when nationality begins. Sir, I should like to know from the great father of waters in the West, down to the meanest rill or mud puddle in North Carolina, where I used to catch crawfish when I was a child, how we are to tell a national watercourse from one that is not. And, suppose, according to the gentleman, Ohio being a national river, this road becomes a national road, because in eonnexion with it; does not the gentleman perceive (and I say this in the same good natured way in which he made the same remark) that, by the same rule, every other road, or path, that is connected with it, must therefore be national, and that even a sturgeon living in it must be a national sturgeon. The same remark was made in regard to the Cumberland road, that eternal road—eternal as to money. But I am extremely obliged to the Legislature of New York for the light which it has caused to be thrown upon this subject of the nationality of locality, which sounds something like a contradiction in terms. But, sir, I say that if there is any one work of internal improvement in the United States, entitled to be called, by way of eminence, a national work, it is that truly great work, the Erie and Champlain eanal. And what does the exposition which has been made, show ! That even in the estimate of the canal board this is a matter of local interest. And, sir if the great State of New York, an empire withinher

self, after having prosecuted with so much energy, and with a success that, from the very nature of her physical position and adventitious advantages, no other State ean use; if she, under all these favorable circumstances, has yet shown that this stupendous work is not only local, but, compared in its cost and profit, is as yet a losing business; I o what would be the result with any other single State, or, still worse, with the whole United States, cut up into roads and canals, at such rates? Could the people bear the taxation 1 Ought they to do it? I do hope that the people in every State, whose legislature has plunged into this system, will cause to be made out an account of debit and credit, showing precisely what they pay for the arti. cle, and what it yields. Had not the constitution become obsolete, except with a few old fashioned politician, I would say something upon the constitutional question...be. cause some of those who believe with me on this subject, by appearing to waive the question, may subject us un: justly to the imputation of having abandoned the ground. Sir, I have not; I never shall abandon my principles on this subject; and the more I reflect on them, the more firmly must I adhere to them. But I hesitate not to say, that, at cording to the practical construction of the constitution, or rather the practice of the General Government for some years past, if the people really believe that they are living under a Government of strictly limited [. whatever in its formation it was intended to be, I have only to say that I think them mistaken. That the Government was intended by the people of the States, when they adopted the constitution, to be one of limited and specified powers, I think any one may satisfy himself, who will consult the contemporaneous history of the times. And I wish my constituents could now hear me. I desire that what I say may go out to them. The friends of internal improvement by the General Go: vernment, claim the power principally from four sources: from the war power; the power to establish post roads and post offices; the power to *p. money; and the power to regulate commerce. From these sources, they claim the right of the General Government to make roads aud canals, improve harbors and rivers, and many other works within the jurisdictional limits of a State. The error into which those who derive the power over internaliń. [..."; from the war power, is their improperly lending the legislative and executive functions of the Government in relation to war. These departments are to be kept separate and distinct, in this as well as in other instances. Each has its appropriate part to perform. The Legislature declares war, o: Executive carries it into execution. It is his duty, being by the constitution the eon. mander-in-chief, the head of the military establishment. Military roads, ditches, culverts, the thrown up break works, the occasional taking or using private property for public purposes, are means necessary to the execution of the war power; they are parts of the war executed by the military. These are things left to the discretion of the military commanders, er necessitate rei flagrantebello, and could not be provided for by the legislative department of the Government; it results from the very nature of war. But as soon as the military is withdrawn, the General Government has no eontrol over these things; they belong where they did before. These operations really const; tute a part of the war; and to think of carrying into ef fect the executive functions of the Government in relation to war in time of peace, would involve the contradiction of having war in time of peace. But we all know that this discretion of military commanders is to be exercised upon their responsibility to the country; and that they are liable for any improper use or abuse of it. The post office power—the power to establish post road. and post offices, is so hackneyed a subject, that but little is required from me now. Withoutgoing into any philolo. gical disquisition on the word establish, I will rely on its

« 上一頁繼續 »