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DE BATES IN () () N G R E S S :
COMPRiSing the LEADING DEBATES AND incipENTS
0F THE SEC 0 ND SESSION () F THE TWENTIET H C () N GRESS.
Monday, December 1, 1828.
At 12 o'clock M. the Hon. SAMUEL SMITH, President of the Senate, pro tempore, took the chair.
Thirty-two members appeared, and answered to their names.
The usual messages were interchanged between the two Houses relative to the formation of a quorum, &c., and a committee appointed to wait upon the President of the United States.
TUESDAY, Dec. 2, 1828.
Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, from the Committee appointed yesterday to wait upon the President of the United States, and inform him that a quorum of the two Houses had assembled, &c., reported that they had performed the duty assigned them, and that the PRESIDENT would make a communication to the two Houses to-day at 12 o'clock.
A message was shortly after received from the President of the United States, by Mr. John ADAMs, his Secretary, [which will be found in the Appendix.]
The message was read; and three thousand copies of the message, and fifteen hundred of the documents accompanying it, were ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate.
WEDNESDAY, DEc. 3, 1828. THE CUMBERLAND ROAD, &c.
Mr. JOHNSON, of Ky., gave notice that he should, tomorrow, or on some subsequent day, move for leave to introduce a bill, entitled “A bill for the preservation and repair of the Cumberland Road.” He said, the subject had called for and received the attention of Congress for the last twenty years, and that one million seven hundred thousand dollars had been expended upon the road, and that at this time the road from Cumberland to Wheeling was going rapidly to destruction. The road which had been the boast of the United States, and a credit to the country, would not, in a few years, be worth a single cent. It seemed to him, that it was the duty of Congress to act upon this subject, and to dispose of the road in some manner; and not let it be said to the American people that Congress could expend one million seven hundred th9ū
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sand dollars of the people's money, and then say, by their neglect of the road, that they had been prodigal upon a useless matter. He had, at a former time, introduced a motion, which passed both Houses, providing for the erection of toll-gates upon this road, which had afterwards been defeated upon constitutional principles. At an early day in the last session, he had introduced a bill which was referred ; but, from the pressure of other more important business, it was not possible to act upon it until the close of the session. The road had now become so bad that it was almost impossible to travel it, either upon horseback or in carriages, and it must soon be abandoned by the mail carriers; for they would not be able to travel upon it and fulfil their contracts. The State of Maryland, he believed (and if he was mistaken the President would be able to correct him), had given up to the United States all jurisdiction over such part of the road as went through their sovereignty. The State of Pennsylvania had also given the General Government power to erect toll-gates within their limits. The State of Virginia now only retained any authority over the road ; and as it was only fifteen miles from Alexandria where it left that State, he did not think that it was essential to have the privilege ; for it was not necessary to have a gate within their limits; and even if Virginia should withhold such liberties as might be desirable, still the road might be preserved. It was important, not only to the interest of the Western States, but to the character of this country. It was not possible that the Senate would allow its wisdom to be impeached, by saying, that we can expend the people's money upon this object, but we cannot improve and preserve it after it is completed. It was not of much consequence to him, but he called solemnly upon the Senate to consider the subject: to know if it were not their duty, either to abandon the road to the States through which it passed, or to exert the power given to them for its preser vation. The road was the grand thoroughfare between the East and the West, by which goods and travellers from all the Atlantic cities approached the Western country; and yet this leading communication would soon be abandoned by the traveller, by the mail contractor, and by the nation. We might as well have thrown the bills into the fire, or have melted the silver and thrown it to the four winds §§" as have expended one million seven hundred—