Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][merged small]

MARCA 24, 1830.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. of R.


works, demanded of it by the strongest principles of du- the shackles of high, disproportionate, and prohibitory ty, interest, and equality, an opportunity is offered to us, duties, we will see the agricultural interest springing forin common with others, of getting a return of something ward to meet it with redoubled animation and vigor, and like the interest upon our taxes. And if no adequate re- these improvements will be the highways of their commuturn is made in this way, in what other way can it be nications. made? There is no other. This, sir, is the only method If any one branch of industry or enterprise can have by which any approach to equality and fairness in the dis. more at stake in these improvements than another, it is bursement of the revenue can be gained in practice. The the great farming interest of the interior. That is closeprinciple of equal distribution is in its nature general. ly connected with, yet primary to all others. Who would An exact application of it cannot always be made; but it toil through the summer's sun for more than a subsistence, has found in the system of internal improvement the best without the means, either by land or water, of carrying means of attaining the end, and under the prudent opera- his surplus to a market? Or who would tug the heavy protions of that system it will be a powerful auxiliary in work- duce of his land, through the mud and mire and rains of wining out the salvation of this country.

ter, to a distant market, without the prospect of bringing I do not mean to say that every thing done upon the tide something back that should more than repay the cost and water is wrong: very far from it. I might confidently ap- drudgery of taking it there? Let but the truth be told peal to the recollection of those with whom I have acted the deplorable condition of this neglected part of the comfor the last seven years, to bear me out in saying that 1 inunity be known, and I envy no man the heart that canhave generally voted for such appropriations. I would not feel for it, nor the hand that will not relieve it. not now stop them if I could; I say to gentlemen go on; We have heard urged against this, as all other measures of finish your fortifications and other national works with rea- the kind, the effects of expending the public resources in sonable despatch, and, as heretofore, I will go with you. the improvement of the country. These effects are fancifulBut while you are making all safe and convenient without, ly, and I think falsely, described as pernicious to morality, I beg of you to turn your eyes within, examine the region and dangerous to liberty. What, sir! is it immoral or unof the interior, and extend to it the benefits of your equal just to lay out a portion of the money paid by the people

Allow even to the West a share of the surplus mil- in accomplishing something that shall be permanently us lions, for an annual surplus, with proper economy, there ful to themselves and the nation? Is it wrong to encourage will be, which might likely be increased by some diminu- industry by removing the impediments that lie in its way tion safely made from objects which have received more to the comfortable enjoyment of life, and the education of than equal munificence.

rising generations? No, sir; morality is not to suffer in The gentleman from Virginia says, he would take care this cause, unless, indeed, the virtue of this people is only that there should be no surplus revenue. That when the to be preserved in a state of wretchedness and ignorance. national debt shall be paid, which we are alike desirous of And how is liberty to be in danger from this system? Phihastening, and which this bill cannot delay, he would re- losophers may admire liberty for its own sake; but that duce the revenue to the annual expenditure. But could liberty which the mass of mankind understand, the free inwe do it? Would it not baffle the skill and experience of stitutions which they love, and would die to defend, must, even that gentleman, great as they are, to draught a revenue with its other blessings, afford the security of equal laws, law that they should exactly meet the annual expenditure? and the full participations of equal benefits. On reflection he must admit that it would, for it is impos- Again: It is said that any improvement at one place will sible to foresee either the amount of imposts or appropri- produce dissatisfaction at others, because that or someations, and graduate the one with the other. They both thing else is not done there. I tell you, sir, the dissatisdepend on too many contingencies. And to avoid the faction will be much deeper, and more universal, if they danger of suffering your revenue to fall below the de- are not done somewhere. It is no objection to this, or mands upon it, you must necessarily make it go above. In any other course of profitable legislation, that every thing reducing and equalizing the tariff, I would go a great way cannot be done at once; nor is it any excuse for not doing with that gentleman; but I would stop considerably short all we can, and doing it as fast as we can. These, with of the point to which his theory would lead him, and the whole class of forced objections to which they bewhich I must think he has pushed faster and further than long, should rather stimulate to exertion and uniformity practical convenience and real safety will warrant. If the in our progress to ultimate success. public debt were now paid, the books balanced, and closed, Let me say, in conclusion, that this is no new experiand sealed with seven seals, I would not if I could to-day ment. It commenced a few years after the adoption of reduce the duties to the point of current expenditure. And the constitution, and has been gaining ground ever since. why? To do that suddenly, to do it otherwise than by the But its principles, as now maintained by a great majority gradual indications of time and experience, perhaps to do of the nation, were not firmly settled till the eighteenth it at all, would convulse this nation through all its essential Congress. Then (without going farther from home the interests. I would not reduce the revenue to that point, Representatives of Kentucky and Tennessee were found because extraordinary occurrences in the world, and the acting together with equal unanimity in both Houses of exigencies of the Government, may often render it a mat- Congress, in support of this great measure. And whatter of the first necessity to have a surplus at command. ever Kentucky may have expected from it, a little help at And I would not do it for another, and to my mind a bet- the Louisville canal is all the immediate advantage she has ter reason. I would have a surplus to expend in the gra- yet achieved. As for Tennessee, these dispensing showers dual improvement of the country. For that improvement have all passed her by. The first dew has not yet reI would tax its commerce, because that tax is in a great freshed her fields. But our time has now come, and it bemeasure voluntary; because it will relieve the property hooves us to be consistent with ourselves, true to our own of the citizens of the State from a direct and indiscrimi- principles, and alive to the prosperity of our country; nate levy of contribution for these purposes; and, above and not ours only, but every other where the hand of im. all, because it is the very interest which, acting in unison provement should be laid. That country and this cause with the great farming interest of the community, is to deserve higher efforts than I can exert; yet, whatever on reap the benefits of these works. It ought to bear the my part can be supplied by devotion and perseverance, charge of making them, and it can do it without feeling shall be continued, regardless of intervening obstacles, as the pressure. If we can look forward to the time when long as there is hope of success. commerce shall again raise its languid head, freed from (Here the debate closed for this day.)

VOL. VI.--84

H. of R.]

Pay of Members.

[March 25, 1830.


in accomplishing it, in this or any other mode. But he The House resumed the consideration of the resolution would suggest to the gentleman whether his object would offered by Mr. SWIFT on the 18th instant--the question not be more certainly attained by accepting a modification being on the amendment offered by Mr. DRAYTON. that he would mention. The gentleman from South Caro

The said resolution, at the instance of Mr. WICKLIFFE, lina has given it as his opinion that the business of Conand by consent of Mr. SWIFT, was modified so as to read gress may be done in four months, take one session with as follows:

another. Mr. W. said, he thought if members would faithResolved, That the Secretary of War be requested to fully discharge the trust reposed in them, that it might be cause the necessary survey to be made on or at the outlet done in three months. We have heard much said of orof Lake Champlain, near the Canada line, in order to as- ganizing a business party in this House, and gentlemen certain the expediency of erecting a fortification for the have patriotically tendered their services as privates; but defence of that frontier of the United States, and report there appears to exist a great reluctance against officering a plan and estimate at the next session of Congress.


He said he was one who was disposed to put Mr. DRAYTON withdrew his amendment, and the re- the party under complete organization. And he would solution as modified was agreed to.

propose that forty-five members enter into a solemn sti

pulation that they will sustain a call for the yeas and nays PAY OF MEMBERS.

whenever a motion shall be made to adjourn before four The following resolution, laid on the table some days o'clock. He would have this corps persevere in keeping since by Mr. McDUFFIE, was taken up:

the House in session; and if one should prove treacherous Resolved, That the Committee on Retrenchment be and desert, he would have him tried and shot. Notinstructed to report a bill providing that whenever the withstanding what we have heard said about a business first session of Congress shall continue for a longer period party, it was no longer than last Saturday that a motion than one hundred and twenty days, the pay of the mem- was made to adjourn at about two o'clock, and, on a mobers shall be reduced to two dollars per day from and after tion to call the yeas and nays, only thirteen were found the termination of the said one hundred and twenty days; to sustain the call, when it was known to gentlemen that and that whenever the second session of Congress shall there was public business of great importance to be acted continue for a longer period than ninety days, the pay of on, and it was also known that there are claimants here, the members shall be reduced to two dollars per day from who will be inevitably ruined unless bills for their relief and after the termination of said ninety days.

pass. We have been in session one hundred and nine Mr. McDUFFIE said that the resolution spoke its own days, during which time the House has met only seventyimportance, and superseded the necessity of any argu- nine days. We have enacted thirty-four laws, where the ments in its support. He would, however, say one or two bills originated in the House, and five where they origiwords on the subject. The adoption of the resolution, nated in the Senate; sixty-one bills are before the Senate while it would not impair the legislative efficiency of the that have passed the House, and fifty-four are before the House, would save at least one month of the time now House that have passed the Senate. The whole number consumed by Congress at every long session. He had of bills reported to the House is three hundred and sevenmade an estimate of the saving which this would produce, ty-nine, and the number of resolutions adopted is four hunand had ascertained that it would save the sum of seventy- dred and eighty; and this mass of business is to be left unfive thousand dollars each year of its operation; and at the acted on, or so hastened through, that very few members same time the public business would be well done. He had will know what provisions the bills contain. The correct made another estimate-that if Congress sat five months, the mode of legislating is to commence the session with a deaverage pay of the members would be seven dollars a day; termination to attend to business--to prolong the daily sesthis was an adequate compensation; but, if the members sion of the House, and not adjourn from Friday to Monchose to attend assiduously to the public business, and day. The excuse offered by gentlemen for adjourning complete it within the time prescribed, they would still has been that they have business at the departments. Mr. receive eight dollars. The effect of this resolution, he w. said he came from a section of the country where some was confident, would be to increase attention to the dis- claims remained unsettled, and that he found he could charge of public business, without diminishing the pay generally transact the business confided to him better by while here. It was universally agreed (said Mr. McD.] writing than by a personal attendance. The business of that the “compensation law” contained at least one wise the departments was interrupted by the calling of the principle--that of a salary compensation instead of a per members, and the officers, he did not believe, had any dediem one.

The only objection urged against it, and the sire to see them. It was very rare that an answer could cause of its unpopularity, was, that it was enacted by be given at once, and it was generally transmitted through those who were to receive its benefit. He, however, dif- the post office. He said he considered the excuse for adfered from the general opinion on the advantage of the journing over as groundless, and that the time was spent salary principle. He thought it would operate as too in amusement. The proposition of the gentleman from powerful a stimulus on members to get through the public South Carolina will punish the industrious with the negli. business, and that it would be done too hastily. His propo- gent and inattentive. He was one who believed, with the sition combined both principles, and the advantages of #ourishing condition of the treasury, tbat eight dollars a both without their defects. In every view of the subject, day was not too much for a member to receive for his sertherefore, he conceived it would be one of the most effect. vices, if his time was faithfully bestowed on the business ive measures of economy ever proposed by Congress, in of the House. He knew there were members who de. regard to itself.

voted day and night to mature business, and to attend to it Mr. DWIGHT concurred most cordially in the princi- in its progress through the House. He was unwilling that ple and expediency of the proposition. The business of these should be curtailed in their daily allowance because Congress could be as well done by the first of April as others were remiss in their duties. The modification he the first of June; and when once the limit was fixed for would suggest to the gentleman is this: that no member the earlier day, there would be no difficulty in completing who is not in attendance on the House when it is called to all the business which it was proper to perform. He hoped order in the morning, or who shall not be absent during the resolution would pass.

the calling of the yeas and nays, without rendering a satisMr. WHITTLESEY said, the object of the gentleman factory excuse for his absence, shall be entitled to per diem from South Carolina was to hasten the business before the pay for that day. Gentlemen need not apprehend that House, and that he would most cheerfully unite with him there is any thing humiliating in rendering an excuse to

MARCH 25, 1830. ]

Pay of Members.

[H. of R.

the Speaker, if they are detained from the House by busi- we are surrounded, that have goaded on the people to a ness that could not be dispensed with; much less is there state of desperation. This Government, from having been any thing objectionable to the most delicate sensibility in confined to our external relations chiefly, and a few intermaking such excuse, if the detention arises from sickness nal regulations, has undertaken to regulate the whole laHe would go further: he would have a list of the absentees bor and industry of the country, and thereby drawn with. published in the papers that published the laws, so that in its vortex a sum of legislative powers properly belong the constituents of any member might know how he spenting to State jurisdiction. his time here. If the people were apprised of our neg- The great evil of this Government, as of every other, lect of duty, they would correct the evil. The object of and of which the people are convinced more and more having the House composed of two hundred and thirteen every day, having experienced it in a greater degree, promembers, is to unite the intelligence of that number on bably, than any nation under the sun, is the immense mass every proposition that is acted on; but whoever will take of legislation with which they are afflicted. Besides four the pains to examine the list of yeas and nays, will find and twenty State Governments, acting directly upon them that in most cases, unless it be on a political or on some once a year, they have an annual Federal Legislature, great national question, we rarely have more than a with all its ramifications and corruptions, preying upon bare majority for doing business. He would throw the them with a cormorant's appetite, to a degree beyond huresponsibility on every member, and ensure his constant man endurance. While I admit in theory it is perhaps attendance. He said he was willing to unite in any mea- the most beautiful in the world, when confined within its sure that would despatch the business; but he feared the proper limits, in practice, I am not sure, without reform, present resolution would not accomplish that object--that it will prove the most tyrannical and oppressive that the we should waste the time of the session until we came to ingenuity of man could have devised. What does it matthe allowance of two dollars a day, and then that we ter, whether the people are taxed in a republic or a desshould leave the business undone; and for that reason he potism? It is all the same to them: and it seems that inexpressed a hope that the modification suggested would justice, violence, and rapine can be as well exercised in be accepted by the mover of the resolution.

the one as the other. Nay, more securely, because it Mr. TUCKER said, it had been his object to fix the day works by stealth under a false denomination. Now, sir, of adjournment. He was gratified with the resolution of as } have no well grounded hope of an amendment in their fered by his colleague. The gentleman from Ohio said he condition—as I perceive the same legislative course which believed the business of the House could be done in three has been pursued for several years past, is likely to be conmonths. Why, then, did not the gentleman vote for the tinued--the same system of taxation and unequal distribuproposition, and introduce his own plan afterwards? tion of the funds of the nation to be kept up as hereto

Mr. GOODENOW made some remarks, which he con- fore, I must look out for the best protection for them that cluded by moving the previous question-yeas, 42. So I can, against what I conceive to be their own worst enethe bill was not seconded.

my--too much legislation. And this, I think, will be found Mr. ALEXANDER said, that, from his experience here, in the reduction of the pay of the members. I know it to and after much reflection upon the subject, his mind had be a delicate subject, which touches the nervous sensibilibeen brought to the conclusion that some such principle ty of every one. But if we are in earnest in the professions as the one proposed in the resolution was necessary to be that were given to the people at the coming day of a readopted by Congress to enable us to do justice to the in- form in the abuses and extravagance of the administration terests of the nation with which we are charged. When of affairs, and which they have so much right to expect at (said Mr. A.) I first had the honor of a seat here, I was of our hands, let us go into the good work, and show a devoan opinion that the compensation allowed was but a rea- tion worthy the cause in which we are engaged. After sonable pay, considering the extravagance at that day, the example set us by the Executive head of this nation, and the depreciation of money: But the case is now dif- who has gone forward with a firmness and decision that ferent; the value of money has appreciated, and every bespeak his character, holding this language on his elevathing become proportionably cheaper; and I believe the tion, that “the recent demonstration of public sentiment only corrective against the abuse of the time of Congress inscribes on the list of Executive duties, in characters too and mischievous legislation of which the people have so legible to be overlooked, the task of reform;" relying upmuch right to complain, will be found in the remedy pro- on our co-operation, we should be unfaithful to the trust posed, which carries along its own limitation as to the pe- reposed in us, were we to halt and hesitate in so eventful riod of our sessions. What (said Mr. A.) has been the a crisis. What has been done in this respect after the lafact of late years in regard to the history of our proceed- borious and faithful investigation of the Committee on Reings, and of which there seems to be no prospect of a dis- trenchment the last session, and the parting voice of the continuance? Why, the first three or four months of the able chairman who committed to his successors the charge, first session of Congress, sufficient for all the necessary with the hope that it might be prosecuted to a successful purposes of legislation, have been usually consumed in idle issue for the benefit of the people? Nothing but the disand unprofitable debate, connected with one's own per- continuance of the draughtsman of this House, while the sonal aggrandizement, or in projecting schemes for party other measures rest silently on your table, or sleep the sleep or political purposes, little calculated to promote the pub- of death within the bosom of the committee itself. This is lic interest. We find, during the late war, when the in- one of the measures they recommended to our attention. terest of the country was concerned in conducting it to a I take it, sir, there are two principles connected with successful conclusion, amidst the most violent opposition, this subject, which must always enter into the character Congress rarely ever sat the first session beyond what is of every legislative body. The one of interest, the other now the usual period of the termination of our labors. of honor. 'If it were possible wholly to attain the latter, We are necessarily led to inquire into the causes, and see it would, no doubt, be the best and safest for the country. if there exists a necessity for it or no. I can perceive but But as it is considered with us that the “ laborer is wor. two, and two only, neither of which, in my judgment, will thy of his hire,” and it is not expected that any person longer justify a continuance of the practice.

can serve here without a reasonable compensation, the The attention of Congress having been withdrawn from great object, it seems to me, should be to produce the the theatre of war, it was thrown upon the domestic con- happy combination of the two, in such manner, that while cerns and relations of the country, with many of which it the one offers a sufficient inducement for talents and virhad nothing to do; and hence have sprung up all the unhap. tue, the other destroys the temptation. This, I think, will py differences, local divisions, and calamities, with which be accomplished by the proposition now before us.

H. of R.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

(MARCA 25, 1830.

Moderate salaries are consistent with the spirit and prin- fident of my own opinion upon constitutional questions, ciples of our institutions; and in proportion as the value to trouble the House with the reasons upon which they of our own pay is enhanced, does it regulate every thing are founded. Yet, as I am the representative of an intel. else connected with the operations of Government. I con- ligent and most excellent community, and as I have to act fess that I have no faith in any improvement being made under the obligations of an oath " to support the constiin other respects, until we direct our attention here. I do tution of the United States”--that charter under the not say that it will be proper to follow up this example in guaranties of which we can alone act here--it is incumregard to all the other officers of Government, as propos- bent upon me to look into that charter, and well examine ed by a resolution now on your table, because these, in the powers which it extends to us, and to act in accordsome respects, depend upon entirely distinct principles. ance with my own views, however crude; for, sir, on all If they are faithful and vigilant in their respective places, questions in which conscience is involved, the decision it is but right that they should receive a just and adequate must be made by that tribunal, from which there is no compensation for their services.

appeal; and however great our respect and deference for But the nation expects, and has a right to demand, some the opinions of others, in cases of this kind, we are thrown thing at our hands, in relation to those great and import- back upon ourselves, and must alone depend upon our ant expenditures which have been so wastefully and extra- own views of right or wrong. vagantly lavished away; and there seems no likelihood, at But, whatever my views may be of the constitutional present, of any change for the better in this respect. powers of Congress, or however adverse to bills of this

As the hope is a vain one which I entertain of any thing kind, I feel that it would be wholly useless to urge them like a recurrence to the original principles of the Govern- liere; and if I should not be suspected of an attempt at ment, the only safety and security for the people, that I rhetorical flourish, I would say, that you might as well can sec, will be in the economical administration of affairs attempt to dissolve those marble columns which support in every department thereof. And I rather think this will the canopy of this hall, by blowing upon them the breath at last be found the only distinction between a republi- of your nostrils, as to convince, by force of argument or can and monarchical form of Governinent. Whether even powers of eloquence, those who have made up their opi. this shall be accomplished, we have yet to learn. From nions, or who, from the force of circumstances, will not the disposition that has been manifested, the progress of be convinced. measures before this House, and the characier of some Yes, it would be worse than idle; for all the experience that have passed from before us, we are met with despair which I have had upon this floor but strengthens me in even here; in what, then, I ask, have the times differed the conviction, that if ever constitutional arguments are from those that have gone by? and how can we stand jus. argued with effect, it will be in other halls---not this. But tified before the people, who were led to expect import- do not infer any thing like a spirit of disunion in me, from ant and radical changes? I say nothing of the head of this this remark-far from it. I look upon that as the last readministration, from whom we have the assurance that, as sort, resulting from insufferable oppression, which a mifar as depends upon him, he will not be behind us in the nority inay be forced or driven to, when it would cease great work of reform. The defect is here, and he can do to be patriotism to submit. But, should that ever arrive, but little without our aid. It is, I conscientiously believe, (which may God of his infinite mercy avert!) may we not sir, in the pay of the members, offering an inducement to justly fear that the world may then bid a long farewell to continue here longer than is necessary for the transaction all republics, and to the rights of man? of the real business of the nation, doing, as they always But, whilst I disclaim any thing like a disposition to dis-, must, mischief, when good is unattainable. I am, there- union in the remark, it may be proper here to say that it fore, for striking at the root of the evil, and making a seat partakes something of the nullifying doctrines, which, become here what it ought to be, rather the post of honor while they are more pacific in their nature, will be found than of profit. I, therefore, shall give my cordial support to be, in my opinion, as effectual in their results.

Upon to the proposition now before the House, with a hope that a more proper occasion, I may give my views fully upon it may be referred and acted upon.

this subject of “nullification," as it has been denominated Mr. COULTER then rose, but the SPEAKER having in the other branch of this Legislature. But, as I am announced that the hour had elapsed, the discussion was somewhat the creature of impulses, I shall be governed, arrested.

in this particular, by subsequent feeling and reflection. BUFFALO AND NEW ORLEANS ROAD).

My design is to speak of the expediency, or rather in

expediency, of this measure; not that I can add any thing On the motion of Mr. HEMPHILL, the House resolved to the powerful argument of the justly distinguished genitself into a Committee of the Whole House on the state tleman from Virginia, (Mr. P. P. Bankovn) for the of the Union, Mr. Harnes in the chair, and resumed the grounds which he took were so fully and ably occupied, consideration of the bill “to construct a national road that he has left little to be said by others. I shall, how. from Buffalo, by Washington city, to New Orleans." ever, take the same side of the question; not that I shall

Mr. CARSON said, the supporters of this bill urged be able to shed a new ray of light upon the subject, but the importance of its passage upon four general consider for the reason that the bird of more humble flight may ations, to wit: Commercial, Political, Military, and the sometimes see what the eagle overlooks. Transportation of the Mail.

The supporters of this bill do not claim the power unThe constitutional powers of Congress to act upon this der which they act, as expressly delegated by the constiand similar subjects, have been assumed and maintained tution, but as an incidental power; or, in other words, as by the supporters of the bill. Upon all subjects of this a mean necessary to carry into effect some of the expresskind, [said Mr. C.] involving constitutional questions, ed powers. which have been discussed since I occupied a seat in this Admitting this position to be correct, and which I do House, I have studiously avoided entering into the de- to a certain but limited extent, the question thien naturally hates upon them. I have done so, for the very plain rea- arises, does the exigency of the country demand at our son that my vocation is that of a farmer; and well know- hands the exercise of those incidental powers, or the use ing that it required professional science and deep re of those means, to effect any of the objects contemplated search to elucidate and give satisfaction upon those criti- by those powers expressly delegated? And if so, another cal points upon which men of eminence, patriotism, and question will also arise: Will this road meet those exidistinction differ. Under these circumstances, I may well gencies, and effect the object? To both of these propobe permitted to be, if not without hope, at least too dif- sitions, I angwer in the negative most positively. There

« AnteriorContinuar »