« AnteriorContinuar »
MARCH 25, 1830.)
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
(H. of R.
way between the North and Western frontier and the sea- I ask, where is the difference between granting a sum of board. It is a road that will be of immense importance money to be expended under the direction of this Governto this place and to the Government. It will be a welding ment to clear out the mouth of a river or creek, or the link to solder together this Union. There is not a mem- granting a sum of money to make a road? The one is to ber in my hearing, that does not know that each State in let the boat pass, and the other to let the wagon pass. the Union bas a seat of Government within the central | And, further, where the difference between the United limits of the State, and has erected public buildings for States making a steamboat channel to carry the United the convenience of the legislative bodies and public offi- States' mail through, or the United States making a road cers. I take it for granted that other States have done as to carry the mail over? I, for the soul of me, can see none. Pennsylvania has. Harrisburg is the capital, or seat of Go- It is four hundred miles from this to Albany; we are as vernment, and that State has, out of the State funds, ex- near Buffalo at this place, (Washington city,) as when we pended very large sums to make roads and avenues to and arrive at Albany. Now, will any gentleman tell me that from that place-a turnpike road by the southern route, it is of no importance to save four hundred miles in the as it is called, to Pittsburg; one by the north route to the transportation of the mail from this place to Buffalo? same place; one to Lancaster, one to Reading, a bridge at My people want this road; they want to come here with Harrisburg, and one at Clark's ferry. Not less than five their produce; there is no direct road to this place in a hundred thousand dollars of money has been expended northern direction; all the roads in my State lead to the to make roads, bridges, &c. to lead to and from the seat seaboard. The influence of Philadelphia has caused all of Government of my State, so that every individual who our public roads to point that way: Last year the Legisbad business to transact at the seat of Government miglit lature of Pennsylvania nearly unanimously refused to perhave a good, safe, and convenient way to travel over. mit the patriotic Baltimoreans to make a railroad up into Now, are we not sent here to legislate for the whole com- that State. It is said this is to be a direct road. I can tell the munity, and particularly for this ten miles square, the Dis- gentlemen from Virginia and North Carolina, that if the tiet? Will this great, growing, and prosperous Union be Government will give me the one thousand five hundred behind the States? This Government, with a treasury dollars per mile that this bill proposes, I will make a road overflowing, will it refuse to make roads and avenues to for two hundred miles from this place towards Buffalo for lead to and from this capital? I hope not. I do not know, that sum, which they would travel forty miles out of their nor do I believe there has been one dollar expended by way, were they going in that direction, to get upon, if they this Government, to make a road from the interior to did not think their consciences were to be effected by reach this place, the capital of this Union. Then, if the travelling on an unconstitutional road. My constituents different states make good roads and avenues to lead from want this road. They say they have a right to ask for it. different parts of the State to the capital, on the same There is noney enough to make it. The people along principle I contend that we are called on to aid in making this road have paid more money long since into the treasimilar provision to reach this capital, from the interior of sury than would make it. They have sent me here to speak this great and very rapidly growing nation. I hold it as for them, and express their wishes and desires; I do it an imperative duty for us to do so. Make the road from most willingly, and honestly, believing 1 ask nothing but this to Buffalo, (that is, the part I will speak of,) it will what is just and right. run through some of the most rich and fertile valleys in I expect a disinterested magnanimity from many of the the United States. You will see, in ten years or less from members from New York. It is true this road will run this time, from fifty to a hundred wagons a day, in the through but a corner of that State: it does not Icad down months of November, December, and January, in the the canal to the city of New York; yet I hope to hear the streets of this city, loaded with iron, flour, beef, pork, members from that State say, much has been done for the whiskey, and a great variety of other articles. "Would eastern end of the State, we will not now withhold from that be of no advantage to this place? Have we not our the western end this small pittance they ask. I hope none nary yard here, our marine barracks, with a great variety of my colleagues will be found voting against this bill; of other public works? And no doubt more will be built. the western part cannot, with any propriety, in my opiWould it not be of vast importance that every thing from nion, vote against it; they have had many favors extended the interior should be got upon the best terms to supply to them out of the public treasury, and they expect many those public works? And where will you get such sup- more.
The eastern part I know will not, from the examplies but from the interior? Yes, make this road as con- ple set by the chairman of the Committee on Internal Imtemplated by the bill, and you will see wagons and teams provements, who reported this bill. Ile lias acted a highly from the district I have the honor in part to represent, in honorable part in this project, and he merits the appliuse the streets of this city, one of which would load up and of the American nation, haul off ten of your wagons, horses, and loads, that we I now appeal to another class of men, and I hope to sce now see in the streets, at one load. It is said we have no them act the part of honorable, liberal men--I mean the right to legislate beyond this District on the subject of commercial part; they have had upwards of thirty millior.s roads. Now, suppose Maryland and Virginia were each of dollars given for light-houses, sea-wulls, harbors, piers, to pass a law to make a wall around the District, (as it is wharves, fortifications, &c. to protect commerce. 'The contended we cannot go beyond it,) what would we then State of North Carolina alone has gotupwards of two hun. do? Would the fine spun arguments of the gentlemen dred and eighty thousand dollars for light-houses, and I befrom North Carolina and Virginia keep us here, or not let lieve one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the Dismal us come to this capital to legislate for the whole United Swamp canal; yet gentlemen say she has got nothing. Now, States Of what use would this House, and all the public can gentlemen ask me, or any other member residing off the works erected here, be to the United States, if we could not seaboard, to vote away millions annually for the breakget to them? What would be said of Congress, after spend- water, light-houses, &c. for their direct and consequential ing from six to ten millions at this place in erecting public advantage, and not give to the people in the interior what works, if we could not get to them for want of a road. they have a right so justly to ask for, that they may have We have been doing indirectly that which it is con- some of the direct and con:
onsequential advantages from an tended we cannot do directly. Congress has appropriated expenditure of a part of the public money amongst them? near four millions of dollar's to internal improvements, If the deepening of channels, opening the mouths of creeks, such as canals, roads, &c., and as much of the public lands rivers, harbors, and inlets, and the erection of liglit-houses as would make four millions of dollars more for reads and land fortifications, &c. is necessary to the convenience and canals.
interest of commerce on the seaboard, and a direct advan
H. of R.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[MARCR 25, 1830.
tage to the neighborhood where the money is expended, tribes? Will he contend that to build a ship is to regulate let me ask those scaboard gentlemen, if we, who reside in foreign commerce? If not, how can be contend that to the interior, have not a right to ask their aid in the passage make a road is to regulate commerce among the States? of this bill? I think none will deny that we have that. Sir, when it shall be proved that canoes, ships, and roads
Methinks I hear every gentleman recording his vote in are commercial regulations, otherwise commercial laws, favor of it. If they do not, they say to us, you may get then I will give up this point. to the seat of Government by some of the old Indian paths, Sir, if there is any question respecting the power of or down some stream in a canal, or on the back of a pack. Congress, that has been decided against the claim of powhorse or mule. No, no, I cannot for one moment harbor er, in a way that ought to be satisfactory, final, and consuch an opinion; but, as highi-minded, honorable men, to clusive, it is this. We have the authority of Jefferson, whom the interior has always granted every thing they Madison, and Monroe, that Congress do not possess jurishave asked for, I hope to see one and all of you come out diction to make roads. Mr. Madison and Mr. Monroe manfully and vote for the bill, and not shelter yourselves expressed their opinions in the most solemn manner, when behind the constitution; for there is no other excuse left rejecting bills passed by both Houses of Congress, asfor you, in my opinion.
suming this power.
The last act of Mr. Madison's ad. I am too feeble to say more; I hope some gentleman ministration was to return, rejected, a bill assuming this more capable than I am will do justice to this subject. power. But we have not only the authority of these great
Mr. SMYTH said, I have had no concern whatever in names. This House has repeatedly, on great debate, deforming the bill now before the comunittee. I am to vote cided that Congress bave not the power; and there is not upon it; and I will do my duty to my constituents, the an act in the whole statute book that assumes it. In commonwealth, and the constitution. I will very briefly March, 1818, after a protracted discussion, this House dediscuss, first, the power claimed by this Government to cided that Congress had not power to construct post make roads, and assume jurisdiction over them; second, roads and military roads, by eighty-four votes against the power to appropriate money for the purpose of mak- eighty-two; and that Congress had not power to construct ing roads, without assuming jurisdiction over them; third, roads between the States, by ninety-five votes against sethe power to aid internal improvements, by subscribing for venty-one. And when Mr. Monroe had negatived the bill the stock of companies incorporated to make them; fourth, establishing toll gates on the Cumberland road, and rethe power to appropriate money in fulfilment of a com- turned it with his objections, on reconsideration, a majoripact; fifth, the power conferred on the President by the ty of the House voted against it; a satisfactory proof that bill; sixth, the general expediency of this appropriation; it had been passed without due consideration. seventh, the particular utility of the road proposed to be Sir, as this power is claimed by implication, and as in made.
forty years not one act has been passed that asserts it, this The gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Isacks] contends long nonuser should be taken as evidence that it is not conthat the power to establish post roads, conferred on Contained in the grant; and we should now consider it as setgress by the constitution, is a power to make them. 1 tled, that Congress have not power to enter into a State, contend that “establish,” wherever used in the consti- assume jurisdiction, and construct roads. tution, signifies, to give legal existence, or legal effect. I will now consider the claim of power to appropriate The people “ordain and establish the constitution;” one money to the making of roads, without assuming jurisdicof their objects is declared to be “ to establish justice;" tion. I have not found it in the constitution. But more Congress shall have power “ to establish a uniform rule than fifty acts of Congress, passed during the last twentyof naturalization;" " the ratification of the convention of cight years, make such appropriations. The ground on nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this which we, who opposed the construction which authorizes constitution.” “Congress shall make no law respecting such appropriations, stood, is nearly beaten from under us. an establishment of religion.” In all these cases, it is ob- The States and the people may construe their constituvious that to establish means to give legal effect, to give tion; and the construction thereof, by them, must be conlegal existence, to set up by law. Congress have power clusive. The long use of a power by Congress, by the ap" to establish post offices and post roads." Whatever probation of the State Legislatures and the people, may sancbe the meaning of establish, as it relates to post offices, tion the construction of the constitution by which it is assummust be its meaning as relates to post roads. The same ed. I would like to see the opinion of the State Legislaword, used in different sentences, may have different mean- tures taken, to ascertain if threefourths of them admit that ings; but the same word, only once used in the same this power is in Congress. The people, by re-electing those sentence, cannot have different meanings. Does power who have assumed it, seem to have given it their sanction. to establish post offices signify power to build, to put up
I will next consider the power of Congress to aid brick and mortar? No, it signifies power to give legal internal improvements, by subscribing for the stock of existence to offices.
So, power to establish post roads, companies incorporated to make them. I have always is power to designate, by law, the roads on which the mail been of opinion since I had a seat here, that Congress shall be carried; and this construction has been acted on possessed this power as a fiscal operation, which might by Congress during forty years.
be necessary if the treasury was füll. It is well known The gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Isacks] contends to my colleague, the late chairman of the Committee that Congress have power to regulate commerce “among on Internal Improvements, (Mr. MERCER) that such has the several States;" and, therefore, may make roads for been my opinion. If we have a surplus revenue, it carrying on that commerce.
would be inexpedient to have it lying in the treasury, or Sir, the power to regulate commerce, signifies power in bonds, mmproductive. It must be a question of expeto pass laws controlling commerce. Laws are regulations. diency, whether money should be thus invested; and I Regulations are laws. “No preference shall be given by hold that it will be always inexpedient, when we have a any regulation of commerce, or revenue, to the ports of debt to pay, and that debt is payable. The object of such one State over those of another.” The power given to an operation should be a profitable investment of. our Congress to regulate commerce among the States, is a money. The promotion of internal improvements would power to control it, and to prevent the State Legislatures be an incident. This power, duly exercised, would give from burdening it by duties, taxes, or licenses, and so on; to the Government command of the accumulated surplus by which one State 'might oppress the inhabitants of an- of its revenue, on any emergency; and it would be very other. Will the gentleman from Tennessee contend that convenient to have fifty millions of productive stock to clisto make a cance is to regulate commerce with the Indian pose of at the commencement of a war.
This power MARCH 25, 1830.]
Buffalo and New Orleans Road.
[H. of R.
has been exercised, and we do possess stock to a considera- they are the only duties which are not imposed for their ble amount.
benefit. Repeal those duties, and you exempt the manuI am next to consider the power of Congress to appro- facturers from all burdens. Let me caution Southern priate money in fulfilment of a compact. In 1802, the gentlemen against repealing these seven and a half millions United States entered into a compact with the State of of duties. Such a measure would render the reduction of Ohio, on admitting that State into the Union, that five per the imposts which oppress their people hopeless. Let the cent. of the nett proceeds of land in that State, sold by whole of the imposts be gradually reduced, so as not sudCongress, should be applied to the making of roads from denly to affect any interest. The manufactories being the navigable waters of the Atlantic to and through the brought into existence by protection, it ought not to be said State, under the authority of Congress, with the con- suddenly withdrawn. sent of the States through which the road should pass; My colleague would not follow the example of France and, in consideration thereof, the State engaged to exempt and England, in making internal improvements. The from taxes, for the term of five years from the sale there people of those countries are depressed, and many of them of, the land to be sold by Congress. In pursuance of this panpers. Sir, it was not the canal of Languedoc that decompact, the Cumberland road was made. And here again pressed the people of France in the reign of Louis XIV. we have the authority of Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Madison, and that great work cost five hundred and forty thousand Mr. Monroe, who severally approved the appropriations pounds, and was finished in fifteen years. It was the perfor this purpose.
petual wars of Louis XIV, which, in his latter days, were Now, sir, you have the like compact with the States of disastrous. It was that despicable bigotry which drove Alabama and Mississippi. That with the State of Alaba- five hundred thousand protestants from their country, and ma provides that five per cent. of the nett proceeds of scattered their wealth and arts over all christendom. It lands within the territory, “shall be reserved for making was not the expense of making canals and roads that depublic roads, canals, and improving the navigation of pressed the people of England. Canals in England are rivers, of which three-fifths shall be applied to those ob- but of recent date; they are made by companies; occasionjects, within the said State, under the direction of the le. ally the Government gives a small grant. "It is the public gislature thereof; and two-fifths to the making of a road debt of England that depresses the people. At the end of or roads leading to the said State, under the direction of the year 1701 it was six millions; in 1714 it was fifty Congress.” And, in consideration thereof, the State of millions; in 1775 it was one hundred and thirty-five milAlabama has engaged not to tax the lands sold by Congress lions; in 1784 it was two hundred and sixty-six millions; it for five years; that the lands of non-residents shall be tax- is now perhaps a thousand millions. Thus, we see that it ed no higher than that of residents; and that no tax shall was the wars of the American and French revolutions that be imposed on the lands of the United States. Here, then, have involved England in a debt which can never be paid; we have a valuable consideration for the money which we and this depresses her people. Her hierarchy adds griev, shall appropriate to make this road, leading to Alabama ously to the burden.' The revenues of the Episcopal and Mississippi. We owe a clebe; we have an unquestiona. Church in England amount to about forty millions of dolble right to appropriate money to pay it. This appropria- lars, paid to eighteen thousand priests; while eight thou, tion, in pursuance of our compact, is as fully authorized sand other priests receive about two million two hundred as the appropriation of fifteen millions for the purchase of and twenty thousand dollars. It is not the expense of in. Louisiana, made in fulfilment of a treaty. *
ternal improvement that has reduced seven thousand of I will next consider the powers granted to the President the people of Dublin to live on three half-pence each day. by the bill. He is authorized to appoint commissioners, In Ireland, seventeen hundred episcopal priests receive who are to lay out the road; he is then to take the necessa- five million seven hundred and seventy-two thousand dolry measures for the construction of the road; contracts are lars, extorted from agriculture, while two thousand seven to be entered into, and releases obtained from the proprie- bundred and thirty-eight other priests receive one million tors of lands. No jurisdiction is assumed; no power is and sixty-one thousand dollars. There is no danger that given to take and condemn the lands. In adopting mea- internal improvements will depress the people. sures for the construction of this road, the President must I will say something of the general expediency of this pursue the authority given by this bill, or have recourse to appropriation. If there is a surplus of revenue to expend the existing laws.
in a beneficent way, it should be distributed as generally I will now notice some of the objections made by my and as equally as circumstances will admit.
This approeloquent colleague, (Mr. P. P. Bausova) who opposed priation will be extensively beneficial; seven great States the bill. He would dissuade Congress from making this will share in its benefits. This road will extend through appropriation, because there are seven and a half millions the interior of the country, where nothing has been dis. of imposts which might be repealed without touching the pensed for internal improvements, and little for any other of duties which protect domestic manufactures.
the expenses of the Government. Set one point of a pair of of those duties which he would thus repeal, protect agri-compasses at my residence, describe a circle of the diameculture; many of them are paid by manufacturers, and ter of five hundred miles, within that extent, not a cent
bas been disbursed by this Government for any work or • Exirac! from a speech delivered by Mr. Smyth in the House of improvement; not a salary is paid within my knowledge,
Representatives, in February, 1823. “I will justify the appropriation made for the construction of the mail contractors, postmasters, jurors, and for taking the
and no compensation, except to members of Congress, all perilful regulations respecting the territory and other property be census. Your expenditures for the army, navy, fortifica
Now I apprehend no regulation can be tions, and collection of revenue, are on the scaboard, in more inedful than one which preserves to the United States, a title the cities, or on the frontier. The interior suffers by a Union on an equal footing, in all respects, with the original States, perpetual drain of its money, none of which is restored by knowledgment of the independence of a colony? Be that as it may, svenue above the amount of the necessary expenses of the would not rest in the State the domain? Would it not operate like as the Government. The prevailing policy is to have a reOhin, by this compact, surrendered her right to tax, during five years, the land which the United States might sell, and thus gave an equiva- Government. I did not sanction this policy; but, as it is adoptbenefit the two per cent, which the United States engaged to disburse ed, as the system
is fixed upon us, let a small part of the surI specting the public lands, is a granted power. Congress may pass plus be expended, according to our compact with the Souththe neeessary laws to execute that power, and consequently may pars western States, in the district of my colleague, and of mine. appropriation laws for executing this needful regulation,' this com. piet wilb Ohio. Thus the appropriations for making the Cumberlaud
I am to say something of the particular utility of the road road appear to have been constitutional."
proposed to be made. My colleague (Mr. BARBOUR] supVOL. VI.--86
H. of R.)
[MARCH 26, 1830. posed it of no commercial utility. Commerce, he says, For the continuance of the road from Detroit to Chicagoes from West to East. He lias never been in the south- go, with eight thousand dollars. west quarter of Virginia, and knows nothing of the direc- For the continuance of the road from Pensacola to St. tion of the commerce of that part of the country. The Augustine, with five thousand dollars. commerce of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia does Mr. HEMPHILL moved to amend that clause of the not go to the East. The merchants obtain their merchan- bill containing the appropriation of thirty thousand dollars dise from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. The for defraying the expenses of examinations and surveys, caravans of wagons which carry on merchandising between and of arrearages for the years 1826, 1827, and 1828, by Knoxville and Baltimore, now pursue the proposed route increasing the sum to thirty-five thousand dollars. three hundred and fifty miles; and, when the road is made, Mr. WICKLIFFE desired that the arrearages should they may pass through this place, or continue through he made the subject of a separate appropriation, and not Winchester, as at present. li is true, that, eastward of blended with that for defraying the expenses of the surthe Blue ridge, in Virginia, commerce goes to the East; veys. He inquired of the chairman of the comunitter, therefore the middle route, on the east side of the Blue who reported the bill, what was the amount of arrearages. ridge, would be useless for commercial purposes, except Mr. McDUFFIE replied, they amounted to five thouthat some hogsheads of tobacco, within thirty or forty sand one hundred and forty dollars. miles of James river or Roanoke, might be carried along At the suggestion of Mr. INGERSOLL, the proposed road, if made on that route, to those rivers. Mr. HEMPHILL withdrew his amendment; and then The commerce of the interior and western ports of North Mr. WICKLIFFE moved to amend that part of the bill Carolina passes eastward to her own towns, or to Nor-stating the objects of the appropriation, so that they would folk and Petersburg. The most eastern route through be contined to surveys already commenced and not comthe capitals of the Southern States will only facilitate go- pleted, and to works of a national character. Ile was vernmental and commercial correspondence. On the west-opposed to instituting any new surveys. ern route, the cotton of Alabama and the south of Tennes- Mr. CLAY and Mr. MERCER opposed the amendment. see may be brought to, and manufactured in, the towns Mr. M. urged the necessity of continuing the surveys, of the great valley as far as Winchester, and will pass which she said) were donc at so trifling an expense, since four hundred miles along the proposed road. The engi- the topographical engineers who made them must of neers have given this route a decided preference; they show necessity be employer by Government, even if the surit to be the best and the cheapest; it will require less ex- veys were discontinued. pense in causeways and bridges: and the expense of making Mr. LEA suggested to Mr. WICKLIFFE to enlarge the road from this place to New Orleans, should it be Mac- the object of his amendment, so as to embrace “such suradamized, would cost, according to their estimate, more veys as are recommended by either House of Congress.” than a million of dollars less than making it on the middle Mr. WICKLIFFE saisl, he would prefer that the genroute, advocated by the gentleman from North Carolina, |tleman should offer the subject of his suggestion as an (Mr. Carson.]
amendment. He wished to test the sense of the commit. The engineers do not seem to have observed the fact, tee on the proposition he offered. that James river is navigable where the western route Subsequently he accepted the amendment as a modifipasses that stream. There will terminate the trip of wa- cation of his proposition. gons bringing from the Southwest produce for the Rich- The amendment was negatived: yeas, 50--rays, 66. mond market. To the other recommendations of the On motion of Mr. VERPLANCK, an appropriation was western route, I will add, that the accommodations for inserted of five thousand four hundred and fifty dollars travellers, along the great valley, from Knoxvillc to Win- for office rent, &c. chester, about four hundred and fifty miles, are, in my On motion of Mr. McDOFFIE, this bill was then laid opinion, not equalled, in goodness and cheapness, on any aside, and the bill.“ making appropriations for improving road, of the same length, in the world. Sir, the road harbors,” &c. was taken up. through the southwest of Virginia is an exceedling import- The blanks containing appropriations for the improves ant highway: It was forinerly the usual road to Kentucky; ment of certain harbors therein mentioned, being filled, but the making of the Cumberland road, and the Kenhawa The committee then rose, and reported the two bills. road, has lessened its importance. It is still necessary to the inhabitants of the south of Kentucky, as the gentleman
FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 1830., before me [Mr. LETCHER) well knows. They send along it to market vast numbers of live stock, to the northern
PENSIONERS OF THE UNITED STATES. parts of Virginia, to Maryland, and even to Pennsylvania. Mr. BATES, from the Committee on Pensions, report
The gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. C.) asks if ed the following joint resolution: this road can ever compete with the Mississippi. Sir, the Resolved by the Senate, &c. That the heads of the de. Mississippi does not run ncar us; and if our branches of partments who may be severally charged with the admin. that river were navigable, New Orleans never can com- istration of the pension laws of the United States of Amepete with Baltimore in supplying us with merchandise. rica, be, and they are hereby, respectively directed and
On motion of Mr. SHEPARD, the committee then rose, (required, as soon as may be after the opening of cach ses. and reported progress.
sion of Congress, to present to the Senate and House of INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS.
Representatives a several list of such persons, whether
revolutionary, invalid, or otherwise, as shall have made On motion of Mr. McDUFFIE, the House again resolv- application for a pension or an increase of pension, and as ed itself into a Committee of the Whole on the state of in their opinion respectively ouglīt to be placed upon the the Union, Mr. LETCHER in the chair, and took up the pension roll, or otherwise provided for, and for doing consideration of the bill “making appropriations for tä- which they have no sufficient power or authority, withi aminations and surveys; and, also, for certain works of the names and residences of such persons, the capacity internal improvements.” The blanks in that part of the in which they served, the degree of relief proposed, and bill containing the appropriation for the continuance of a brief statement of the grounds thereof, to the end that the road from Detroit to Fort Gratiot, was filled with Congress may consider the same. seven thousand dollars.
The resolution was twice read; and For the continuance of the road from Detroit to Saga- Mr. TUCKER moved to amend it, by adding to it the naw bay, with seven thousand dollars.
MARCH 27, 29, 1830.]
Pay of Members.
(H. of R.
“ And also the names of the several pensioners, and
Monday, March 29, 1830. their residence, who continue to receive their pensions;
The House again resumed the consideration of the resoand likewise the whole amount of applicants for pen- lution offered by Mr. McDUFFIE on the 18th instant, sions, under the law of 1818, giving pensions to revolu- relative to a reduction of the compensation of members, tionary soldiers.”
in case they remain in session after a certain period in each Mr. TUCKER'S amendment was agreed to: yeas, 77-- session, as specified therein.
Mr. COULTER concluded his remarks commenced on Mr. CHILTON was opposed both to the amendment Saturday, against the adoption of the resolution. and the resolution. He argued that the power and the [They were to the following effect:] patronage of the Executive Department of the Goverment Mr. Č. said, I would not of my free choice say any thing were sufficient already, without vesting in it what the re. concerning the proposition now before the House. I am solution proposed: for, if it passed, not five or ten, but induced to do so solely by the accidental circumstance of fifty additional officers woukl be necessary to examine the my belonging to the Committee on Retrenchment, whose cases, and prepare the information called for. Instead of especial duty, it seems to be considered, is to aid and abet this general reference of all the cases of application for
every gentleman in cutting down and breaking up every pensions to the War Department, or a Board of Commis. part of the machinery of this Government which does soners, withi discretionary power to dispose of them, he not meet with his approbation. As I cannot, in this inpreferred that every case should come at once before Con- stance, labor in the vocation which has been assigned to gress to judge of its specific merits. The plan he thought me, it is perhaps due to myself, and only respectful to the wrong, because, after imposing this labor on the officer, House, to state my reasons. if, however, this resolution the cases woukl still bave to come to Congress; so that the had been offered, as some have been, and I suppose will only effect would be to give usciess employment to a large be again, by gentlemen who love to amuse their constitunumber of additional clerks. Mr. C. went on to remark sents, I should not have touched it. It might have come on another subject. He was aware (he said] that the upon the stage, made its bow, and exit
, and went off, like transaction of the legislative business required commit. its predecessors and associates, in a flourish. But it comes tees; but he thought it a dangerous practice to give to upon us urged and sustained by a gentleman of high pocommittees unlimited confidence, and making it an apolo; litical consideration, who is likely to win for it much favor, gy for members of this House to neglect investigation here and in the nation. It is meet, therefore, that it should themselves. He meant no reflection on the motives of be considered with the gravity and respect due to the any one; but the practice was bad. The consequence gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. McDuffie.) was, that the House passed measures without knowing any gret that those who now give this proposition their pathing of their merits, trusting entirely to the reports of tronage, had not brought it forward at an earlier period committees. No chairman of a committee, he presumed, of the session, especially as a most appropriate occasion would venture to report a pension bill solely on the ab- was then afforded them for presenting it to the House. stract which should be furnished by the Secretary of War, It will be recollected that one bill, concerning the comand therefore it would be as well for the subject to stand pensation of members of Congress, passed this House as it does, and let the committee report the cases on their about the last of December. In that bill the proposition own examination.
now under consideration was once contained. But a maMr. BATES was indifferent to the fate of the resolution jority of the Committee on Retrenchment of this year since the amendment was added to it, because it would livested the bill of what they considered an unjust and require the reporting of a large volume every year of use- ocious feature. Yet, when it was undergoing the action less matter. The resolution had been offered to the House of the House, it was competent for the gentleman from by the committee, because a great deal of time was now South Carolina, or the chairman of the Retrenchment lost in investigating individual cases, which have been pre- Committee, (Mr. WICKLIFFE) to have offered an amendsented to the War Department, and, after examination ment, embracing this their favorite proposition. Business there, rejected, as not coming with the provisions of the had not then thickened upon the House, and time, which, existing laws. The committee thought that, as these cases it is now said was then wasted, might have been employ. necessarily passed under the investigation of the head of ed in considering what we are now discussing. If it had the department, he could prepare with ease and accuracy then been acted upon, it might, by operating on our avaa summary view of the nature andi merits of each case, rice, liave produced some of the good with which the for the information of the committee. Nothing was to be gentleman from South Carolina feeds his fancy. Now it referred to his discretion; he was merely to report facts; it is too late for this Congress, at all cvents. But at that imposed on him no additional responsibility, and would time we heard nothing of this proposition. No, not even give him but little additional trouble. Mr. B. therefore, from the Magnus Apollo of retrenchment. A proposition thought it a wise provision, calculated to save time, and in relation to the daily pay of members, which the gentlefacilitate the business, so as to grant relief in cases which man from Kentucky (Mr. Chilton) did then offer as an were entitled to it, and ascertain at once those which were amendment, received so little countenance or encourageimproper.
ment, that the House refused to order the yeas and nays The resolution was then ordered to a third reading upon its rejection. I think the House did wisely and
well. It is certainly a delicate affair for this or any other
legislative body to agitate the question of its own comSATURDAY, MARCH 27, 1830.
pensation. The necessity of the case constitutes it an exPAY OF MEMBERS.
ception from the general rule, wbich forbids public func
tionaries to be the judges of their own salaries. It has The House again resumed the consideration of the re- been judged safer, in all free countries, to vest this power solution offered by Mr. McDUFFIE on the 18th instant, in the legislature, though interested, than in any other dereducing the compensation of members of Congress to partment. But the delicacy of their position ought to two dollars a day for every day the House may sit after make them cautious in their movements. If they attempt the expiration of one hundred and twenty days of the long to increase their allowance, it will be ascribed'to love of session, and of ninety days of the short session.
gain. If they attempt to reduce it, ten to one if they either Mr. COULTER addressed the House in opposition to get or deserve credit for patriotism or sincerity. They the resolution, till the hour for considering resolutions will most probably be charged with the grovelling design elapsed.
of purchasing popularity, by relinquishing a modicum oi