網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

H. of R.] plan now proposed by the War Department ought to be preserred. - In reply to statements which had been made, showing the large sums of money heretofore expended on this road, Mr. T. appealed to the House, and entreated them not to permit such exhibitions to prejudice their minds. What have we to do with the errors of the administrations which have preceded this? It is certain that Mr. Jesser. son's administration committed one error in not providing for the continued repair of the national road in some economical manner. And the administration which succeeded his, erred also in attempting to keep this road in repair by annual appropriations from the national treasury. But are we to permit these things to create a prejudice against the present measure? We now propose to make a good road, to reject the worthless material heretofore used, and then to erect toll-gates to collect a sum sufficient to relieve the treasury from this drain. What, said he, are we reminded, too, of the very large sum which this road originally cost? He agreed the sum expended was enormous, and was at a loss to know how so much money could have been honestly expended for such a purpose. But are we to refuse an appropriation asked for by the present head of the War Department, solely because his predecessors, or , their subordinate agents, under former administrations, have wasted or mis: applied appropriations made by Congress. He hoped not. He hoped the House would examine the estimates now furnished, and if they were, as he believed they were, reasonable and accurate, he trusted the whole sum of $652,000 would be given. Mr. T. said the House need not be alarmed at the suggestion of the gentleman from Tennessee, that this sum would embarrass the Treasury Department. It was now well understood that the receipts from the customs for the year 1834 would exceed considerably the estimated receipts made by the Secretary of the Treasury at the commencement of the present Congress. Besides, the whole sum asked for cannot be expended within the year. It was most probable not more than 150,000 or $200,000 would be actually drawn from the treasury during the year 1834. So that the only difference between the bill from the Senate and the bill, if amended as proposed by the gentleman from Tennessee, would be this: If we make now an appropriation of $300,000 we shall be called upon next year for more money; we shall waste time again in a long debate, and perhaps suffer the repairs to be again suspended. On the contrary, if we sanction the bill from the Senate, we shall place at the disposal of the War Department a sum sufficient to relieve us from all further applications, and accomplish the object which the friends of the road desire. Mr. SUTHERLAND reminded the House that, when this report had been made, the States had not agreed to take the road; they had, since then, agreed to take it, if in good repair. But if the sum now given should sail to accomplish that end, how could the Government insist on the States taking the road off its hands? Mr. McKINLEY insisted that the road pertained to the States, and that no condition need be interposed to oblige them to take it. As to the contract with the Western States, it was only to apply two per cent. of the sale of the public lands sold within their limits. This amounted to $371,251, and that was insisted upon to meet an expenditure on this road of $2,175,000. He inveighed against the contract, as a most unholy compact to deprive the new States of a portion of their sovereignty over their own territory They were just born, scarce able to crawl, and yet were forced to walk and to walk alone, too. He insisted that they were sovereign States; and that nobody could hold lands within their jurisdiction. The argument was just the same as had been used in support of the bill for

Cumberland Road.

{June 16, 1834.

streets, because it could not tax the United States lands within the city bounds. There were three other new States just as well entitled to this two per cent. fund as the States north of the Ohio. Was the Government going to make another road to their bounds also He did not find a dollar in the bill for a road to Alabama. He declaimed, with warmth, against the large appropriations already made for the road, and the constant increase of the sums asked for. Gentlemen in the opposition had told him, some time since, that there was to be no money in the treasury; but now these same gentlemen were loudest in favor of large appropriations for roads and canals. Where was the money to come from, if we had no treasury? Mr. JONES, of Georgia, referring to what Mr. Vascr. had said of the Cumberland road being the head and source of all the works of internal improvement in this country, observed that, if it was so, this road had been the fruitsul mother of an odious offspring. He presumed that the House would hardly bear to hear any thing about the constitutional question involved: they were in fact so conscious of the truth on that subject, that it would only be a reproach to have it mentioned. On the subject of the contract with the new States, if the Government was bound to make them a road, it had done that: the contract, therefore, was fulfilled. The Government was not bound to keep the road in repair. And if the road could not be given away, let the Government lose it, and let them find it: if it was not worth keeping in repair by those that passed over it, it was surely wrong to call on the United States to keep it up. He concluded by moving to lay the bill upon the table. Upon this question Mr. WHITTLESEY demanded the yeas and nays. It was decided in the negative: Yeas 68, nays 133. Mr. ADAMS, of Massachusetts, moved to amend the bill by striking out that clause of it which declares that the law is “to carry into effect” the laws of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland, accepting the road. He considered the clause as not only useless, but quite improper. He declared himself willing to assent to the reduced sum: but equally prepared to vote the whole appropriation reported from the Senate. He considered it a mere question of time, whether the whole sum should be granted by one act or by two. However, as he was ready to vote for any thing bearing even the semblance of economy, he would assent to the amendment. He could not, however, consent to declare that this law of Congress was passed to carry into effect the laws of the States. IHe did not believe such to be the proper function of the Congress of the United States. It had enough to do to carry its own laws into effect. As to its being a compact, it was one which Congress could annul at pleasure. The assent of Congress to the State laws accepting time road had been expressly declared as continuing in force “during the pleasure of Congress.” He now called upon the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means to say whether any act had been passed, by either of the States concerned, assenting to such condition? The act certainly had no force to create a compact, unless the subsequent assent of the States had been given to it. Of itself it was a mere nullity. The gentieman from Virginia [Mr. Gholson] considered it very doubtful whether Virginia was bound; indeed, he denied that she was bound at all, and so did Mr. A. It could not be pretended that either Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Virginia were bound, by the acts which they had passed, to take this road of the hands of the Government. To what use was it, then, to say that this law was passed, to carry into effect the laws passed by the States? As to the fourth section of the bill, it was one which Congress had no right to pass. They had no right to declare that no more money should be expended upon the road, or that, when what was now

the city of Washington: the city wanted us to make its

given had been expended, the road should be surrender

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

yet agreed as to the condition on which it should be surrendered. The clause he moved to strike out, therefore,

Mr. ELLSWORTH objected to that part which went to make the bill a special order. Mr. VINTON said he must concur in the objection,

was not only wholly inoperative but entirely improper, believing that, if the motion prevailed, it would be the

and the fourth section was in violation of the faith of this
Government to the States north of the Ohio. -
Mr. W. COST JOHNSON regretted, at so late an
hour, to throw himself upon the forbearance of the House.
He had been told that the States concerned in this road
did not feel themselves bound to carry into effect the
laws which they themselves had passed. This might or
might not be true with regard to other States, but for
the State of Maryland, which he had the honor, in part,
to represent on that floor, he would say that, when she
passed her law of 1832, she meant to hold herself bound
by it. She had frequently refused to pass any law of the
kind. So late as 1831 she repeated that refusal, on the
ground that the General Government, by its compact
with the Northwestern States, was bound to keep up this
road as a free highway and without toll. But, finding
that the Government was very anxious to surrender the
road, she had at length yielded her assent, stipulating,
however, that the road should be put into a state of good
repair. As an honorable and high-minded State, she held
herself bound by that agreement, as she did by every
other compact into which she had entered. It was now
therefore fit and proper that Congress should grant such
an appropriation as would at once put the road into such
a state as that it might be relinquished to the States through
which it passed. It had been said, in a tone of complaint,
that the States had not yet erected any gates upon the
road; and it had been insinuated that, when surrendered,
they would not keep it in repair; but what authority had
the States to set up gates upon the road until they
knew whether Congress would assent to their acts? Con-
gress had now given that assent; let the road be put in
repair, and the States would take care of it. They had
the authority of able engineers to say that it would require
$600,000 to accomplish this object, and he felt very sure
that the State of Maryland, for one, would never accept the
road until its repair was complete. Let those gentlemen
who are so anxious to have the question settled, vote for
the bill as it came from the Senate, and they should never
hear of it again on that floor. -
The question was now put on the amendment moved
by Mr. An Axis; and, being decided in the negative, the
amendment was rejected.
The question then recurring on the amendment pro-
posed by Mr. Polk, the yeas and nays were demanded.
Mr. BEARDSLEY moved that the House adjourn;
which was negatived.
Mr. MERCER referred to a report of the Secretary of
War, dated in April, 1834, giving the items of expendi-
ture which went to make up the $602,000.
Mr. DICKERSON, of New Jersey, moved an amend-
ment, containing a proviso that no more than $300,000
be expended until the States should assent to the act of
Congress agreeing to surrender the road, and to receive
$652,000 as a compliance in full with their stipulation for
the repairs of the road.
Before the question was taken, the House, on motion
of Mr. CRAMER, adjourned.

Tuesday, Jux E 17. PUBLIC LANDS. Mr. CLAY, from the Committee on Public Lands, reported the following resolution, viz: “Resolved, Than the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union be discharged from the further consideration of the bill to reduce and graduate the price of the public lands; and that said bill be made the special order of the day for Friday the 20th instant.”

means of bringing up the whole subject of the public
domain. The present bill, he supposed, being intended
as a substitute for that heretofore originated in the Senate
in relation to the public lands, was, in fact, a new pro-
ject submitted for their consideration, and presented at
a time when it must be apparent to every one that the
lateness of the session, with the pressure of other busi-
ness, would prevent its having that due attention paid to
it to which the subject was entitled.
Mr. CLAY said he had not intended to have made any
observations on the subject, desiring rather to leave it
with the House to decide, without debate, whether they
should take up the bill this session or not. He must,
however, remark, the honorable member from Ohio [Mr.
VINtox] was mistaken in supposing that the project
“was a new one;” because it was a proposition which
had been made and renewed at every session for the last
ten or twelve years. The present bill was not intended
as a substitute for the bill alluded to by the gentleman
from Ohio. It embraced, and was intended to affect
{. refuse lands which had, for twenty years past, been
unsaleable at the minimum price fixed thereon by Gov-
|ernment. The object of the bill was to graduate and re-
|duce the price to the real value of those lands, so as that
they might become available for so much as they were
worth to the Government. It did not, then, follow that
the whole policy of the Government, (as had been inti-
mated,) in respect to the public domain, would necessa-
rily be brought up. He hoped the resolution would be
adopted.
Mr. ELLSWORTH rose to express his belief that
there was no subject more deeply interesting than the
disposition of the public domain. He knew that it was
one deeply interesting to his own constituents; and,
knowing this, he regretted that there was not time now
|left, before the day it was fixed upon by Congress for
adjournment, for taking up the subject, so that it could
be discussed as such a subject ought to be, gravely and
fully. But, in reply to the observations of the honorable
member from Alabama, [Mr. CLAy, “that the bill would
only affect refuse or poor lands,” he would take leave to
say that, if the bill referred to was passed, the public
lands would be soon all termed “poor;” and thus the
bill would, in a very important manner, be found to affect,
and soon, all the public domain. For these reasons he
hoped the resolution would not be adopted.
Mr. H. EVERETT, being desirous that the whole re-
maining time of the House should not be wasted in dis-
cussing the class of business which should be taken up,
moved to lay the resolution on the table.
Mr. McKINLEY called for the yeas and nays on this
motion; which were ordered.
Mr. PATTON moved a call of the House.
The House refused to order a call; after which the
question was taken on the motion of Mr. II. Even Ert, to
lay the resolution on the table, and decided in the affirm.
ative: Yeas 82, nays 80.
SPANISH WEST INDIA TRADE.
Mr. PINCRNEY asked the consent of the House to
offer a motion to discharge the Committee of the Whole
from the consideration of the bill reported by the Com-
mittee on Commerce, relating to the trade of the United
States with the Spanish West Indies, that it might be
made the order of the day for Thursday next.
Objections having been made
Mr. PINCKNEY moved a suspension of the rule to
enable him to offer it.
Mr. CAMBRELENG remarked that the obje, t pro-

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

H. of R.] Post Office Contracts—Cumberland Road. [JUNE 17, 1834.

posed to be attained by the honorable member would be retarded instead of advanced by the motion. Mr McKIM said he was against the project of laying on the large extra duty on Spanish vessels, as proposed by the bill, as he helieved it would not be the interest of the country to impose it. Mr. JOHN Q. ADAMS considered that the motion was out of order, being a proposition to impose a tax which must be first discussed in a Committee of the Whole. He hoped, therefore, the honorable member would withdraw it. Mr. PINCKNEY was not disposed, he said, to press the motion against the sense of the House, and would withdraw it. The resolution was withdrawn accordingly. POST OFFICE CONTRACTS. Mr. JONES, of Georgia, asked the unanimous consent of the House to offer a resolution for regulating and restricting contracts for carrying the mail, and abolishing extra allowance for any such service, unless when performed by authority of some act or joint resolution of Congress. Objection having been made— Mr. JONES moved a suspension of the rule, and said, if the motion prevailed, his object at present was simply to have the resolution laid on the table, and printed, to be taken up hereafter. Mr. CONNOR, chairman of the Committee on the Post Oslice, rose to inform the honorable member that as there was a bill reported from the committee pending in the Senate, which covered the whole ground taken by his resolution, and that, inasmuch as many of the mattors referred to were already provided for by existing laws, the passage of such a resolution was unnecessary. Mr. JONES repeated he did not want any discussion, but simply to have the resolution printed. The House, however, refused to suspend the rule, to enable the resolution of Mr. Jox Es to be presented.

CUMBERLAND ROAD BILL.

The House then proceeded to the unfinished business of yesterday; being the bill for the continuation and repair of the Cumberland road. Mr. GILMER moved to reconsider the vote by which the motion of Mr. Polk, to reduce the appropriation for repairing the road, from $652,000 to $300,000 was yesterday rejected. Mr. STEWART said the friends of the bill would vote in favor of the amendment, if the restriction in the next section should be stricken out. If the supporters of the amendment would intimate their willingness to accede to that proposition, no objection would be made to the amend112 ct; t. Mr. HAWES hoped no such intimation would be given. He was opposed to the whole system. Unless an end was put to the log-rolling which prevailed in this House, in relation to internal improvements, it would be necessary to increase the tariff to keep the treasury from bankruptcy. The immense amount of appropriations which had already passed the House, were sufficient, he believed, to exhaust the treasury. Mr. BHOWN said he voted yesterday against the proposition of the honorable gentleman [Mr. Polk] from Tennessee, and, upon reflection, he now thought the vote was wrong. It had been his intention to move for a re. consideration this morning, but it gave him pleasure to find he had been anticipated by the honorable gentleman [Mr. GILM En] from Georgia. He was not unfriendly to such an appropriation as would finish the road, when lic considered the compact made by the Government; but he doubted very much whether the treasury would be able to bear so large an appropriation of the public money

"he observations of the honorable member from Kentucky [Mr. Hawes] would not be entirely lost upon the House. He hoped honorable gentlemen would look about them and see where all these immense appropriations will ultimately lead us. He admitted, to a certain extent, the obligation of the Government to complete this road, and he would willingly, at the proper time, vote for such sum as would finish and put it in a condition to be surrendered to the several States through which it passes—and thus rid the nation forever from these continual, and, what seemed to him, extravagant and never-ending expenditures of the public money. Unless he was much mistaken, the friends of the bill admitted that no more than $300,000 could be expended upon the road during the present year, and he therefore, upon reflection, deemed it most prudent to limit the present appropriation to that sum. He should vote for the reconsideration of the motion to amend, and, should it prevail, he would then record his vote in favor of the sum proposed by the honorable gentleman from Tennessee. Mr. EWING opposed the reconsideration at length. Mr. HARDIN went at length into an explanation of the obligation resting upon the United States to make this road. Mr. H. expressed his alarm at the amount of the appropriations for various works of internal improvement contained in the bill already reported, which he estimated to be twenty millions. With regard to this road, he thought the $2,500,000 which had been expended upon it, solely to enable Baltimore to compete with Philadelphia, was quite enough. If a road to the West was necessary, why not make a road by White Sulphur springs and the Kenawha, which was a hundred miles nearer? If the friends of the bill were not satisfied with the $300,000 proposed by the amendment, he hoped they would not obtain more by the vote of the Ilouse. Mr. THOMAS of Maryland, said he was desirous to confine himself to the subject before the House; and yet he could not think it amiss if he should briefly touch on some of the topics which had been treated of by the gentleman who had just resumed his seat. If he (Mr. T.) did go somewhat out of his way, he should do so, much on the same principle as the Methodist preacher, who, addressing some backsliders of his flock, exclaimed “Oh, my beloved brethren, if you will wander to the devil, I must wander to the devil after you.” What was the question before the House? It was the reconsideration of the vote of yesterday, by which they had refused to reduce the sum in the bill. They were now called on to reverse their judgment, and to consent to this reduction. But, before doing this, what inquiries were to be made? Should they not inquire if this less sum would be sufticient for the end they were aiming at? And to what source should they go for information? Should they take the bold, incollerent statements of gentlemen on that floor, based on no certain grounds, made without data; or, should they go to the estimates prepared by the War Department—estimates made out by skilful and scientific men, employed for the purpose? The question was, would they complete these works, or would they sacrifice all the public money that had been already expended, by letting them go to decay? What was the objection to the estimates laid before the House? If there were any mistake in them let gentlemen point it out, and let it be rectified. The gentleman from Kentucky had said he would not believe the statements in the report, if an angel from heaven should come down and declare them true. He (Mr. T.) required no such evidence. It was sufficient for him that these statements were made out by honorable and high-minded men, and men who were competent to make them out. That report told that it was necessary to bring the requisite materials in some cases fourteen miles. In answer to this, the gentleman from Kentucky had spoken of the quantity of materials at hand on

for this single purpose, during the present year. He hoped

the Alleghany. It was true there was abundance of rock and other materials, but these were the very materials which the Department had expressly stated were unfit for the construction of this road. Was it then Just, was it candid, to talk of plenty of materials being at hand, and charging it as incorrect that the report stated otherwise? The truth was, the gentleman from Kentucky was opposed to the bill altogether. He (Mr. T.) would here caution the friends of the bill against being led astray by the false lights of gentlemen to vote for the reconsideration of the bill. Even when so amended, these gentlemen would vote against the bill. The gentleman from Tennessee who proposed the amendment, the gentleman from Georgia who moved the reconsideration, and the gentleman from Kentucky who last addressed the House, they would all vote against the bill. Mr. T. then went into a consideration of the arguments of Mr. HARDIN as to the two per cent. fund. It was not fair to take, in the basis of his estimate, the fund which accrued from these lands, at the price fixed by the Government. It was due to the Western States, under their compact with the Government, to make a good and permanent road. Had this been done? The statements of the War Department showed that it had not. Gentlemen had spoken of the immense sums expended on this road for the benefit of the Western States. But it should be remembered that the Western States had exempted the public domains from taxes five years after they became private property. Why did the honorable gentleman object to this road in particular? The party to which that gentleman belonged, were ready to carry roads through any and every part of the United States. He (Mr. T.) was one who was opposed to a system of internal improvement to be carried on by the Federal Government; and he advocated this work, not as a part of such a system, but because Government was bound to do it, in fulfilment of its compact with these States. If

4526 Juxe 17, 1834.] Cumberland Road. [H. of R:

ted the measure, as one of great moment, and one in which the faith of the Government was implicated. He hoped the House would refuse to reconsider. Mr. T. desired the Clerk to read the two amendments of Mr. SUTHERLAN n and Dick Enso N. The friends of the bill (said Mr. T.) were perfectly willing to adopt these amendments; and they were anxious that every guard to the faithful expenditure of the money should be secured. He did hope and trust, then, that the bill would be no longer delayed, but that the House would act upon it at once, Mr. BURGES expressed his regret that the members from the West should be divided on a question of this kind, and still more that they should so frequently reflect on the Eastern States in respect to the amount of public money expended there in works of fortifications, in the support of the navy, and upon other objects, in which the whole Union had an equal and common interest. This, however, should not influence his vote upon the present occasion. As to the Cumberland road, it was as strictly a national work as the navy or the fortifications. What could be more national than a great highway crossing the whole Union, and uniting the Eastern and the Western States? One gentleman had objected to it as merely intended to bring Baltimore into competition with Philadelphia and New York for the trade of the West. Was this an objection to be urged by a western man? The more competitors there were for western products and western business, the better for the West. Mr. B. dwelt on the advantages of the road in a political point of view, as tending to diminish local jealousies, increase intercourse, and cherish a feeling of common interest in the Union. Much of the waste of money that had occurred was owing to the imperfect knowledge of road making at the time this work was commenced;

they had kept the lands at $2.50 cents per acre, the price but whatever waste might have occurred in other Depart

fixed when the compact was made, the proceeds of the two per cent. fund would have exceeded all that had been laid out on this road. But, if the arguments of the gentleman from Kentucky were correct, why not go up to the source, and deny the appropriation for this road altogether? Why select this branch for an object of proscription? Of what use would be the other branches of this road, if this quagmire were not filled up? They would be entirely useless. A few words as to the history of this branch of the road. After Mr. Jefferson’s administration had selected Cumberland as the point where this road should commence, the people of Maryland undertook to construct a road from Baltimore to Cumberland, to enable the people of the West with facility to reach the seaboard. They did this under an impression that the compact between the United States and the Western States was to be fully complied with. As the United States had engaged to make a road, Maryland naturally supposed it was to be made permament. In other words, that some plan would be devised by which it should be kept in repair. Such was the iberal construction given to that contract heretofore by the United States; and hence the large appropriations which have been made from time to time, for repairs on that road, from the national treasury. Maryland therefore felt, and her representatives here feel, that that State has a claim for this appropriation, on principles not connected with the American system. If the Cumberland road should be abandoned, then the investments of the people of Maryland in the road from Baltimore to Cumberland must become very unprofitable. His immediate constituents (Mr. T. said) had, indeed, but little interest, as individuals, in this road; but, as a portion of the citizens of Maryland, they were anxious that justice should be done to that State. Believing the repairs of this road to

ments, the country might rest assured that in that of war, to which this road belonged, the public money would

always be expended with care and prudence. As to what was called log-rolling, it was nothing more than a mutual regard to mutual interests, and, if applied to laudable objects, was fair and proper. Mr. B. illustrated the policy of completing this road by the example of a man engaged in boring for water, who was persuaded to go further and further, though alarmed at the expense, and was at length fully remunerated by finding a valuable spring. Mr. CAMBRELENG, though willing to give a large sum if the Government could be sure of getting rid of this road, feared that object could not easily be effected. He went into a number of statistical statements, in relation to the receipts and expenditures of the Treasury. He said the balance in the treasury of available funds on

the 1st of January, 1834, was - - $8,000,000 Estimated receipts for the year, - - 18,500,000 $26,500,000 Appropriations of 1833, chargeable on 1834, - $5,200,000 Estimate of expenditures for 1834, including five millions for public debt and interest, - - - 23,500,000 28,700,000 Less probable amount appropriated, but not expended in 1834, same as last year, - 5,200,000 23,500,000 $3,000,000

be constitutional, and called sor by compact, he advoca

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

To meet all the appropriations which were annually made over, and above the Treasury estimates last year, these o appropriations amounted to three millions and a half. The resources of the year were less on the 1st Januray, 1834, than on the 1st January, 1833, by fourteen millions less in available revenue bonds, and two millions in reduction of duties, which took effect on the 1st of January last. From these facts, Mr. C. felt himself justified in warning the House to hold its hand, lest they should make the treasury bankrupt, and have gentlemen coming to the House next session with a grave story, laying the whole blame on the President and his Secretary. He exhorted the House to a system of substantial retrenchment, and insisted that this was the time to adopt and enforce it. He deprecated the course which had too often been pursued of making appropriations as matters of political and party emulation. He was willing to appropriate for this Cumberland road, but insisted on the necessity of laying down some rule to restrict the expenditures of Government. He thought it would be well to establish a limit in respect to other subjects of expenditure, as had been done in respect to the navy. Let Congress name a defi. nite sum that should be applied to fortifications, another for roads and canals, &c. This was the only mode to check extravagant applications of public money, and guard the treasury from bankruptcy. Mr. CHILTON would vote for the bill if reduced as had been proposed, otherwise he must vote against it. The pledge of never asking for more, if the sum now asked were given, might impose upon new members of the House, but it had been too often repeated to have any effect upon old ones. The appropriations had been constantly increasing, and Heaven only could tell when they were to cease. The road had cost millions, and was this day a quagmire. Now it was a plain sum in the rule of three, and might be stated thus: If the road, after fifteen years' appropriations, constantly increasing, was now a quagmire, what would it be, at the same rate, in fifteen years more? The gentleman from Rhode Island had lamented much over the disunion of the western members. Now, Mr. C. dared not say that that gentleman did not know every thing, because, if he should, the gentleman would turn round and castigate him, as he was in the habit of doing other members of the House; but he could tell the gentleman that, as for that part of the road west of the Ohio, he would never find men more united than were the western members. But he must not expect that members from Kentucky, a State which had poured out its blood and treasure in defence of the General Government, but in which the very first dollar had not yet been expended from the treasury on any work of public improvement, should stand quietly by and see vast sums lavished improperly, because the road upon which they were to be expended ran towards the West. Here Mr. EWING interposed, and said that as to the castigation administered by the gentleman from Rhode Island, the gentleman had his thanks for it. He, for one, had never objected to the money expended on fortifications, and he thought the castigation well deserved. If Kentucky had received no money, she had at least received land from the common fund of the Union. As to money, Indiana was equally unfortunate. Mr. CHILTON resumed, disclaiming any bad feelings towards other States. If the gentleman from Indiana was fond of receiving the lash, the gentleman from Rhode Island had his permission to lay it on. But when the gentleman from Rhode Island had been applying it to the western members generally, for not agreeing among themselves, Mr. C. could not help thinking about a certain little State to the eastward, whose two repretentatives on that floor did not present the most impressive exam

|ple of perfect unison. After some reflections on the comparative reliance to be placed on the estimates of practical and of merely theoretic men, Mr. C. said he should risk a vote against the bill, unless the proposed reduction should be made. Though this was a western meas: sure, and he a western man, he could not consent that all the money for the West should be expended in one spot; and, if the high-pressures ystem was still to be kept up, the country would have to resort to direct taxation, and that of the most pinching and grinding sort. The tariff would never supply the sums that would be needed. It could be shown that this one road had cost the nation ten per cent. on the whole amount received from the public lands. To such a scale of expenditure he would never give his consent. | Mr. DUNCAN expressed great surprise at the course pursued in the debate by several gentlemen from Kentucky; it was the last place in the world he should have looked for opposition to the national road. The sum proposed to be stricken from the bill was for repairing the road east of Ohio, in which Kentucky had as much interest as any other Western State; and he could not see what motive could induce a citizen from the West to desire the destruction of the only road connecting the great valley with the Atlantic, which they could claim as their own, and use independently. The gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. Hanni N] had used many arguments with the view of bringing this road into disrepute; but, from some expressions, it appears very clear to my mind, if the Maysville branch of it had not been vetoed, the gentleman would be as firm a supporter of the road now as ever. Here Mr. D. commented at some length on the speech of Mr. HAnn IN, in which, he said, there were many errors of calculation, both as to the amount of land owned by the Government in the new States, and the donations, grants, and favors, which they had received. He denied that the new States had ever received any favor from the Government that had not been paid for in the surrender of their right to tax the public land. In lllinois this tax would amount to about $480,000 per annum, which was more than all the lands ever granted to that State were worth. One of these errors was in charging the new States with the sixteenth section, set apart and granted to the citizens of each township for the purposes of education. This had been set down by the gentleman as a tax of ten per cent. upon the whole public domain, in favor of the new States. Nothing, he thought, could be more fallacious. They were not given to the States or to any one else. The sixteenth section had been set apart in each townsbip besore the sales; and the people were told, if you will purchase land of the United States at $1.25 per acre, you shall have an interest in the sixteenth section, for the education of your children; so that this was no more of a donation to the States or people than the proprietor of a town makes of the streets and squares he lays off as an inducement for men to purchase and improve his lots. Much had been said, by those opposed to this road, of its great cost, and of the Government having already expended sums far beyond the obligation imposed by the compact. As to the cost, it was nothing, he said, when compared with the benefits of the road. As to the compact, it was a fair and legitimate argument in favor of going on with the road; as it would be worse than folly to say the Government was to begin and then abandon such a work, under a technical construction of an ordinance. But he did not rely upon the compact as the only obligation on the Government to make this or any other road. It was a high, a vital object, to connect this almost unbounded country by roads and public highways, and especially was it the duty of Government to overcome great natural obstructions—such as separates the West from the Eastern sections of this country. Such improvements would make us a united, prosperous, and happy people;

« 上一頁繼續 »