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SENATE.]

Duty on Alum Salt.

(FEB. 8, 1831.

which brought it, would have rested upon the same con- the odious tax is not only resisted, but an increase of the stitutional construction, and upon infinitely greater reasons oppression is actually demanded! of justice than a bounty in favor of vessels which bring Mr. B. drew the line of distinction between good and home fish. The greatest exertions might have been ex- bad salt. It was a line easy to be drawn, for it was the pected for the encouragement of this importation. Every line between the works of nature and the works of man. reason which the head could conceive, or the tongue could All salt that was made by boiling, no matter out of what utter, sprung forth in favor of the encouragement; not a water, was impure and imperfect; for the agitation and the single reason that craft and cunning could devise, could heat prevented crystallization, and retained the poisonous be arrayed against it. The whole vocabulary of the ingredients called slack and bittern; all salt made by the “American system” furnished not a word against it: for power of the sun was pure and perfect; all the poisonous that system rests upon the basis of making at hone, and ingredients having settied to the bottom, and the salt itself furnishing to the citizen, the same article, better and cheap-forming into lumps by concretion and crystallization. The er than the imported one! Well, alum salt, which compre- artificial salt, made by boiling, is good for many purposes; hends all crystallized salt, (and all salt made by the sun, for salting stock, preserving hay and fodder, for daily use and none other, is crystallized,) alum salt is not made in in fresh meat and vegetables; and, by help of much smoke the United States, (a little in the Northeast excepted,) not and long drying, will save bacon for family use.

The naa pound of it is made in the West, nor any rival to it, nor tural, sun-made salt was indispensable to pickling beef and substitute for it. By consequence, it could not be made pork, and to curing bacon, butter, and cheese for exporcheaper and better at home! The “American system” tation, or the Southern markets. It was of the tax upon was for it, instead of being against it, unless it is intended this latter kind of salt that he complained so much; a kind to exclude the industry of the

farmer, who raises stock and of salt so indispensable to the provision trade of the West, salts provisions, from the industry to be protected by that and so impossible to be made by the domestic manufactusystem. A bounty might have been expected in favor of rers. To this part of the argument he invited, and invoked, every ship that should bring sun-made salt to New Orleans. and almost defied, the response of his opponents. The Instead of that, what have we seen? Federal legislation fire-made salt would not answer the great purposes of the actually employed to keep this salt away! A hostile and provision trade. It could not be used by the provision repulsive tax of twenty cents imposed upon every eight curers, if presented to them as a gift. Sun-made salt alone cents' worth of this indispensable salt! A requisition upon would answer. It must be had, cost what it may; and a the ship that brings it, to pay twice and a half its value tax upon it was an oppression upon the people, without the into the coffers of the Federal Government before that possibility of producing a domestic supply of the same ship is allowed to land it! Bond and security required, article. "The domestic salt would not answer! All the when the money cannot be paid down! And this security testimony proved this great and cardinal fact. He would to be exacted from strangers who have crossed the wide not recapitulate that testimony; but would refer to the seas to exchange their surplus salt for our surplus provi. circumstance mentioned by the honorable Mr. Lyon, of sions! And, in consequence of these heavy and merciless the House of Representatives, and of which he, Mr. B., exactions, most of the ships bring stones instead of salt-J was also witness--that of alum salt delivered at Maysville, forced to bring stones by the Federal Government, and in November last. This salt bad crossed the Gulf of Mexirealizing the compulsive illustration of the strongest re-co. It had ascended the Mississippi, in a ship, to New proach contained in the sacred pages of the Holy Evan- Orleans; then to Louisville, in a steamboat; iben to Maysgelists! They would bring salt for ballast in preference ville, in a keel towed by a steamer. It had traversed a to stones, if the laws would permit them. Many that thousand miles of gulf, and nineteen hundred miles of river bring salt, throw it overboard, in the mouth of the Missis- navigation, to reach its point of delivery; and that point sippi. When no longer needed for ballast, they throw it in the immediate neighborhood of the great Kenhawa salt into the river, because they are neither able to pay the works! there to be employed in salting Kentucky pork duty in ready money, nor to give the security which the for exportation, or Southern consumption! How overcredit system requires. Is this imagination, or is it reality?whelming and conclusive the bare annunciation of such a It is reality! And no longer ago than the last summer, pregnant fact! And that no circumstance might be lackthe troubled waves of the Mississippi, and the dark shades ing to complete the power of this impressive argument in of midniglit, were the conscious witnesses of this lamenta favor of foreign salt, the company's own steamboat brought ble fact, of this dire operation of taxing salt out of the land it! Thus making themselves public and unanswerable of America! Mr. B. said he had lucard of this sacrifice, witnesses to the total inefficacy of their own salt, and the this new species of immolation, not to propitiate the genius absolute necessity of using the foreign! of the river, but to appease the infernal genius of the salt Mr. B. insisted that the burthen of the salt tax upon the tax, soon after it happened, and had laid it up in his me- West was aggravated by contrast; for in the Northeast mory for verification. That verification was quickly re- there were drawbacks, bounties, and allowances which ceived; for on his passage to this city, in the month of more than indemnified the fishing interest for the proporNovember last, he fell in at Louisville, Kentucky, with the tion of the tax which they paid. They were allowed to surveyor and inspector of the port of New Orleans, Major draw out of the Treasury, at the end of each year, as Spotts, formerly of the army, and lately approved by the much money as had been paid, or supposed to have been Senate both as a military and civil officer, and from him paid, for duties on the salt employed in čuring fish; and received a confirmation of the fact. Two ships, Major under this system of drawbacks and allowances, upwards Spotts was certain, had thrown their salt overboard; others of five millions of dollars had already been drawn. The he suspected of having done so! These ships, thus en- vigilant Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. Ingham,] had discountering the risk of forfeiting their cargoes, and incur-covered large frauds in this business, say to the amount of ring all the penalties of violating the revenue laws, in fifty thousand dollars in a single year; but the laws were addition to the loss of the salt, because they could neither yet in force; and while they continued, the leak from the pay the duties, nor give the security, nor find any body to treasury on this account must still amount to a quarter of receive the salt as a gift, with a tax of twenty cents a a million of dollars per annum. The Western States were bushel upon it! At that very moment the whole interior allowed nothing in the way of drawback of duty on the of the West suffering for salt! And for wliose benefit are beef and pork exported by them. These States, therethese oppressions practised? For the benefit of a few hun- fore, felt the unmitigated weight of the tax, while to their dred monopolizers in the West, and a few thousand fish- friends in the Northeast it was actually a money-making ermen in the Northeast! For their benefit, the repeal of business. This was unequal and unjust in the extreme.

FEB. 8, 1831.]

Duty on Alum Salt.

[SENATE.

cern.

The constitution declared, and, if it did not, the first prin- full of salt; the Western farmers want it; they are debarciple of equity would declare, that taxes should be equal red its use; and that by a Government whose taxes they and uniform throughout the Union. But this equality was pay, whose battles they fight, whose burdens they bear, destroyed when the tax was refunded to one quarter and and whose favors they seldom receive. We have a Comnot refunded to another. It was the same thing as if, in mittee on Agriculture, so styled, at least, whether by way the law imposing it, the levy of the tax should be by sec- of antithesis was not for him (Mr. B.] to say; certain it tions, omitting one section entirely from the operation of was, the name, if not the design, of the committee should the levy. It would be better in this case to levy by sec- have put them at the head of all the measures for the abotions, because it has been proved at the treasury that a lition of the salt taxes, and reduction of the price of refuse certain section draws back more than it pays--more than lands. He felt himself to be doing the business of that it woull have been exemptel from if the levy had not committee, and hoped they would soon be found fellowreached it. This business of refunding the salt tax to a laborers and co-operators together. part of the community, proves the impolicy of levying it Farmers, and all the departments of agriculture, are at all: for if it is refunded to a part, justice requires it the chief sufferers by the salt duty; but they are not the should be refunded to all; and, if it be refunded to all, sole sufferers. Manufactures suffer also; and it was comwhere is the sense in levying it? The people of the North-puted by Sir Thomas Bernard, one of the witnesses exeast, with whom salted fish is a predominant food, have a amined by the committee of the British House of Commons, drawback of the duty allowed thein; the people of the that the manufactures of England were annually injured South and West, with whom salted bacon is a predominant to the amount of the tax derived from salt. Various mafool, have no drawback; and thus the operation of the law nufactures require this article, either in its proper shape, is uncqual as well as oppressive. The remedy for the or as a chemical preparation. The hard soap alone made whole is to abolish the tax, and all the superstructure of in England was computed to require two thousand tons of drawbacks, bounties, and allowances, which rest upon it. mineral alkali per annum; and this alkali is obtained by a

The farmers, continued Mr. B., are the class most in- chemical process, either from salt in its proper state, or terested in the abolition of this tax; they feel it to the from the salt contained in barilla and kelp. To procure quick; and he could not allude to that meritorious class of two thousand tons of alkali must require a much greater citizens without the deepest feelings of sympathy and con- number of tons of salt. The barilla only yields seventeen They were the soul and body of the country. per cent. of alkali, and kelp six per cent.

The decomTheir labors supplied all the clements of subsistence to position of the salt itself is the cheapest mode of procuring man and beast. Their names were to be found upon every the alkali; and this salt is tased two or three times its list of contribution to the public service. They were value in the United States, so that the Federal Govern. found upon the tax list, the muster roll, the jury pannel, ment has actually established a tax upon cleanliness! for, the road list, the bridge list, and every other list which without soap, people cannot be clean; and, without salt, exacted the payment of money or the performance of ser- they cannot have soup. The Committee on Manufactures vice. There was but one list on which their names were fought to pursue this subject. Their learned labors, their not to be found, and that was the list of office! Farmers scientific researches, their practical knowledge, their acand offices seldom get together. Their station in the body cess to the fountain heads of information, their zeal in the politic was, front rank for service, rear rank for reward. cause, would enable them to give in a list of some fifty Surely, a body of men so numerous, and so meritorious, so manufactures in which salt, or its chemical preparations ready to do, and to suffer for the Government, and so of alkali, muriatic acid, osy.muriatic acid, sal ammoniac, backward to ask favors from it, ought at least to be unin- &c. &c. &c. is indispensably necessary. To that commitjured by the Government. Laws should not be made tee is resigned this branch of the subject; and the confiagainst them, if they are not made for them. Fair play, dent belief may be entertained that, at the proper time, at last, should be their portion. The laissez nous faire" thiszealous committee--this committee no less capable than

„“ let us alone”-should be their ready granted prayer. zealous-will come forward with a mathematical demonYet, how stands the account with the Federal Government? stration to prove that the salt tax is an injury to manufacTheir produce loaded with duties in foreign countries-- tures to the full extent of its own amount, say a million of virtually excluded from many of them--by the total failure dollars per annum; and that the prosperity of manufacof Congress to make any attempt to regulate foreign com. tures loudly demands its total and instant repeal. merce according to the power granted in the constitution, Every interest cries aloud; the joint interests of agriand the declared intention of the States in conferring that culture and manufactures clamor together for the repeal power upon Congress! An indispensable ingredient, not of this tax. It is a tax upon the entire economy of nature only in their wealth, but in their living, and only to be and art, upon mar and iipon beast, upon life and upon obtained from abroad, loaded with a duty of three times health, upon comfort and luxury, upon want and superits value, before they can use it at home! The Gulf of Auity, upon food and raiment, upon washing and cleanliMexico is saturated with the purest salt. Two thousand ness! A tax which no economy can avoid, no poverty islanıls abound with it. The Bahamas alone, about five can shun, no privation escape, no cunning elude, no force hudreil in number, of which Turk's Island is the chief, resist, no dexterity avert, no prayers can deprecate, no lying in the very channel to New Orleans, could glut the curses repulse! it is a tax which invades the entire dovalley of the Mississippi at a picaillon a bushel. These minion of human operations, falling with its greatest weight islanders want our provisions; we want their salt; but the upon the weakest and most helpless. It is the tax which Federal Government gets between the parties, and, by a tyranny invented, in the worst ages of the world, to force total neglect of the power to regulate foreign commerce, from the cultivator of the soil, to wring from the clenched and a manifest abuse of the power to lay duties, obstructs fist of penury, to extract from the mouth of hunger, the and prevents the natural and beneficial exchange of com- last unwilling contribution of vassals to lords. The tories modities to which the wants and superfluities of the re- introduced it into England above a hundred years ago. spective parties so powerfully attracts, and so urgently Our necessities compelled us to resort to it, in a small invites them. The same with land. The Federal Govern- degree, at the commencement of our Government. The ment has got all the land. Invested with the whole domain federal administration of 1798 ran it up to its highest by the improvidence of the Southern States, it becomes amount. Jefferson overthrew it. The war of 1815 comthe dog in the manger, and refuses to let the farmers have pelled us to resort to it again. Now we have no war, no for its value what itself cannot use. But, to confine these federal administration, no necessity, and the disciples of rcfcctions to the matter in hand. The Gulf of Mexico is Jefferson are in power, The English whigs have over

Vol. VII.--10

SEXATE.]

James Monroe.

[FEB. 8, 1831.

turned this tory tax in England; cannot whig republicans would proceed, with the blessing of God and the approbaoverturn it here?

tion of the people, until two great objects should be acMr. B. repeated, with energy and emphasis, and wished complished-- till the salt tax was abolished, and the price to fix the attention of the Senate, and of all America, fully of refuse land reduced! on the circumstance, that the British Parliament had to Mr. SMITII, of Md., made a few remarks on the subject. tally repealed the salt duties of Great Britain. The in- He said that he was in favor of repealing the duty on salt, formation collected by the committee of the House of and had already introduced a bill repealing the duties on Commons in 1818, effected the immediate overthrow of that article, among many others; but that he should be these duties. The King's ministers withdrew their oppo- compelled to vote against the bill unless amended, inassition, impossible as it was for the treasury to do without much as it contemplated a repeal of the duty on alum salt the product of the duties, and difficult as it was to find a alone, which was produced nowhere but at Turk’s Island, new article of taxation on which the amount might be while salt imported from all other places, England in parlevied; but they withdrew their opposition, and the bill ticular, would be excluded from its benefits. for the repeal went through both Houses without further Mr. BENTON rose to reply, when he was interrupted debate, and received the approbation of the King the next by the PRESIDENT, who gave it as his opinion that the day. This is wliat was donc upon the prayers of the bill could not, according to the rules of the Senate, be inpeople, in a country where the people are very imperfect- troduced while there was a bill, the one noticed by the

represented in one branch of the Legislature, not gentleman from Maryland, contemplating the same mearepresented at all in the other, and where the chief magis- sure, lying on the table. trate who approves the act is an hereditary ruler; where Mr. BENTON replied, that the bill be sought to introduce the necessity for the tax was urgent; where the domestic was for the repcal of the duty on a particular kind of salt, supply of artificial salt was abundant; where the manu- alum; while that of the gentleman from Maryland was 10 facturers of this salt clamored for protection; but where repeal the duty on salt in general. He, therefore, thought the voice of the people was heard, and every minor inter- the measures were essentially different. est made to yield to that sacred voice. He quoted this The PRESIDENT decided that the object of both bills example, and dwelt upon it: for he held it to be impossible as to the article of salt, was precisely the same; and that that the republican Congress of the United States, with the leave asked by the genileman from Missouri was not out a single restraining motive which operated in Great in order. Britain, could refuse to do for the people of the United Mr. BENTON said he felt so confident of the correctStates, what King, Lords, and Coinmons, had done for ness of the opinion he had formed, and so deeply impressthe subjects of the British Crown.

ed with the importance of the measure, that he must apMr. B. then explained the provisions of his bill. lle peal to the Senate from the decision of the Chair. said it proposed, in the first place, to make the reduction Mr. HOLMES asked for the yeas and nays on this questo ten cents (now provided for by law) take effect on the tion; which were ordered. first day of April ensuing, instead of the last day of Decem Mr. HAYNE observed that the question of order which ber next. The last day of December happened to be the had just arisen was a new and important one. As he, and most unfavorable season that could be found in the whole he believed other Senators, wished an opportunity to exyear. It was the day after the feast.” Hog killing time, amine into the rules of the Senate before voting on the which created the great demand for salt, was just over, question, he hoped the subject would, by general consent, so that the duty was kept up to the very moment that it be laid on the table; which was done. pressed hardest. The true season for the reduction to

JAMES MONROE. take effect was the spring, the month of April, when the rivers of the West were all flooded, and the returning steam The bill for the adjustment and payment of the claims boats, and the citizens who had gone down to New Orleans of James Monroe, was taken up, and read a second time. on trading voyages, could bring up supplies for the en Mr. JIAYNE moved its reference to a select committee, suing fall. The second reduction in the bill was to take on the ground of the peculiar nature of the claim. effect in April, 1832, and the duty to ccase entirely in Mr. NOBLE moved to refer the bill to the Committee April, 1833--requiring about two years to complete the of Claims, but expressed his decided opinion against its entire abolition of the tax. This was a slow process com- ultimate passage. pared to what took place in Mr. Jefferson's time. The Mr. HAYNE replied, that the rules of their proceeding, whole tax was then abolished at two reductions, and both when any measure of a peculiar character came before made in one single year; and, while that great friend of them, directed that a particular commit:ec should be apthe people remained at the head of affairs, no more salt pointed for its consideration. The claims of Mr. Monroe tax was heard of in America. Mr. B. hoped that this were of a peculiar description, and the Committee of would soon be the case again; that two or three years more Claims, with the vast business they had on hand, could not would exhibit this favored land emancipated from the salt have time to investigate them before the close of the prestax, and enable every farmer to give food to his family, ent session. When these claims were on a former occasalt to his stock, and send his provisions to market, with- sion before the Senate, they had been referred to a select out paying a daily and hourly tax to the Federal Govern- committee, of which he was a member; and from this he

knew that their investigation would be attended with conMr. B. would make no apology for detaining the Senate siderable difficulty, and would require the attention of a on this subject. He knew it was felt by many as an intru- select committee, to be confined to themselves alone. In sion. Other operations had gotten into fashion, and suf- advocating the appointment of a select committee, at this fered impatient, interruption, while an hour's attention state of the bill, he expressed no opinion whatever on its was claimed for the people. Still he would make no apo merits. logy. He stood upon his rights, which gave him authori. Mr. BELL was of opinion that it should be referred to ty to discuss the affairs of the people. He took post upon a select committee. the words of the constitution, wbich created the Congress Mr. SMITII, of Md., as he understood from the gentlefor the express purposes of legislation. He knew himself man from South Carolina, [Mr. HAYNE,] that the subject to be backed by those whose backing was worth having; had before been referred to a select committee, was of he felt himself to be cheered by those plaudits which were opinion it was better to follow the same course at present. unbought and unpurchaseable. He should proceed as The question was then put on Mr. NOBLE'S amendlong as he felt that backing and heard that cheering. He ment, when it was negatived; and a ballot being taken,

ment.

FEB. 9, 1831.]

Pay of Navy Officers.-- Post Office Department.

[SENATE.

case.

Was necessaly.

to

Messrs. ILAYNE, SAXFORT, FRELINGHUYSEN, Bell, and chairman, of certain proceedings of the committee, when IREDELL, were appointed a select committee.

he was not present, he did not know that he should have PAY OF NAVY OFFICERS.

mingled at all, at this time, in the debate. Absence from The resolution yesterday submitted by Mr. Baunan: 1), the committee, at any time, might, unexplained, be conof Pennsylvania, concerning the pay of masters command sidered a dereliction of duty, with which he did not feel ant and first lieutenants, was taken up:

himself in the least degree chargeable. It was well known Mr. B. stated that the object of his resolution was

to the chairman, as well as to the other members of the that the Naval Committee should inquire into the necessity committee, that, previous to any knowledge of the meetof increasing the pay of masters commandant and first ing alluded to, he had been notified to meet the CommitLieutenants. The bill of last session on the subject of the tee on Indian Affairs, a standing committee of the Senate, Navy, which had been reported, was of a general descrip- cated to the chairman of the select committee, before the

This fact he had communition, and had not been acted upon. that masters commandant were inadequately paid, consid- meeting had been called. This much he had thought proering the nature of the duties they had to perform, and per to say, in explanation of the reasons of his absence that first lieutenants had no higher pay than junior lieu- from the committee that morning. tenants, who had not the same responsibility, and, in com

It was not bis purpose, said Mr. H., to go into an exparison, but trifling services to perform. kir. B. further amination then of the condition of the General Post of stated, that it was his object to have a medium pay fixed, tice, for that was a duty confided to the committee, which for the former oficers, of seventy-five dollars per montlı, timony as yet before the committee, he, for one, would not

had not yet been performed; that, on the fragments of tesand six dollars for rations, in place of the present pay; form any definite opinion, and he would not prejudge the which varied from a lower to a higher scale; and also to raise the pay of first licutenants in proportion.

The committee bad closed the testimony on no one Ir. HLAYNC suggested to the gentleman the propriety single point. The testimony of Abraham Bradley, the of możlifying his resolution--in its present form, it could be first witness, had not been closed. Mr. H. here spoke of of no effect.

There was no necessity for making inquiry the late Postmaster General, and said, that of him he had on the subject: the bill which had passed the Senate last a most exalted opinion. He believed him to be an honest year, though, from its general nature, it had failed in the man; an upright and efficient officer. Ile remarked that House, had settled the principle that a graduated scale as to the present Postmaster General, he would not, at

Than the officers of the rank mentioned, this time, pass either censure or eulogy; that in doing either none better deserved an increase of pay. No officers had he should feel himself prejudging the case before the evia greater share of duties to perform than the masters com- dence had been heard. The committee had a large field mandant; and it was also true that first lieutenants, though before them; bad taken as yet but little testimony, comof long standing, and placed in such a responsible situation pared with that thought necessary; and that so far there in the commanding of a ship, were no better paid than was no testimony before the committee to criminate the junior lieutenants of yesterday. He would suggest to the Postmaster General. . This remark he thought proper to gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. BANNARD,] so

make, for, from the journal of the committee, frequently change his resolution, as to direct the committee to report referred to, he had been seen voting very broad, and ala billin reference to officers of the above named ranks, and most unlimited inquiries, answers to which might seriously a bill of this abstract description was likely to be forward. implicate the Postmaster General; inquiries of which the ed, when a bill of a more genial nature might not succeed. Senators from Tennessee and New Hampshire had com

Mr. BARNARD acquiesced in the suggestion, and the plained to the Senate. He had, at the instance of the chairresolution was modified to read as follows, and thus adopted: man, voted interrogatories, based on the allegations of per

Resolred, That the Committee on Naval Affairs be in- sons unknown and unnamed to the committee; he had structed to bring in a bill to provide for increasing the pay sanctioned questions which did not appear to him very neand emoluments of masters commandant in the Navy of cessary, because other members of the committee thought the United States; and also of allowing additional compen- them so, and it was proper for him to say that this course sation to lieutenants, when acting as first lieutenants of was not based on any testimony given to the committee, of a ship of the line, frigate, or sloop of war, according to existing maladministration in the department, but was the rate of the vessel.

taken in order to give free and expanded scope to the The remainder of the sitting was spent in Executive examination, that misdemeanor, if it'existed, might be ferbusiness.

reted out, or, that rumor with her hundred tongues might

be hushed into silence. Justice required this to prevent WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9.

erroneous impressions from the course he was pursuing;

and while he thus acted, and should now vote, against the Mr. GRUNDY said that, at the last session of Congress proposition of the Senator from Tennessee, and wish the a report was received from the Postmaster General, and, inquiry to progress, he should feel himself bound, now, in consequence of the absence, at the time of its receipt, and at all times, to do justice. of the gentleman who made the call, it was laid on the table. ile now mored that the report be printed for the the committee thus far exhibited before the Senate; for it

He was somewhat surprised to hear the proceedings of use of the Senate. The motion was agreed to.

had been agreed, that until they should be given in the POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.

form of a report, they should remain exclusively with the The resolution declaring that the select committee ap- committee. But of this he would not complain, for every pointed to examine the present condition of the Post 0 - thing done by him in committee had been done from the fice Department, were not authorized to call before them house top, and nothing for concealment. The chairman, persons removezl from office, for the purpose of ascertain- however, had thought proper to suggest, and somewhat in ing the causes of their removal, was again taken up. the tone of complaint, that a modification of one question,

Mr. GRUNDY concluded his speech in support of the calling on the Postmaster General for the causes of remoresolution. [The remarks made by Mr. G. to-day are in- val, had been made. He says that, in the interrogatory recluded in the report of his speech under the head of Mon-ferred to, the causes of removal in each individual case are day.)

not required, and that the Postmaster General is requestMr. HENDRICKS (another member of the committee ed to classify the causes for brevity's sake. Mr. H. said of inquiry) next rose. He said he would detain the Se- he had voted for this modification, wishing to make a renate with a very few remarks; and, but for a notice by the sport at the present session, and believing that without the

SENATE.]

Post Office Department.

(Feb. 9, 1831.

3

modification it would be impossible for the department to been saved the trouble of noticing this, if it had been answer the call before the 4th of March. How correct stated that the committee had met in the afternoon, after he was in that opinion, the communication from the De- a long session of the Senate, and bad continued in compartment to the committee would show. Mr. HENDRICKS mittee some considerable time after candle-lighting. This here read as follows:

the Senate would no doubt say was a sufficient reason for “ Post OFFICE DEPARTMENT, adjournment. There was no probability of being able to

January 31, 1831. get through with the testimony of Mr. Bradley that night, “Sin: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of and the committee then thought, as they have thought your letters of the 18th and of the 27th instant.

ever since, that night sessions on this business were un“ The preparation of the statement necessary to a reply reasonable, and too laborious, and have had none of them to the interrogatories formerly submitted by the commit- since. tee, was immediately commenced, and has been unremit In conclusion, Mr. H. said, that the whole matter had tingly prosecuted by the department. It has required confirmed him in a belief of the correctness of his vote not only the application of all the disposable force of the originally given, for referring this examination to the department, delaying some of its important current busi. standing committee. That was the committee which ness, but has employed unremittingly several additional ought to have been charged with this duty. With the afclerks: when the work is completed, it will be forth with fairs of that department, the standing committee must submitted to the committee. I am, sir, respectfully, &c. necessarily be more familiar than the select committee

" W. T. BARRY. could possibly be. It was their ordinary business and “Hon. Mr. CLAYTOX, Chairman, &c."

duty to examine into and understand the condition of the Mr. H. said he miglit, however, here state, that he be- General Post Office. To a select committee the whole lieved but one member of the committee thought this a business was entirely new. matter of any great consequence. All the members ex From what had been said, it would readily be seen that cept the one propounding the interrogatory, viewed the the committee were employed in a most laborious examinaquestion as one of comparatively small importance. This tion; and should the Senate pass the resolution of the lie knew to be the opinion of the chairman. Nor could Senator from Tennessce, the committee would be relieved he see the difference for any practical result, between the from much of its burden. He could not, however, vote question modified, and the question as it was originally for the resolution. He entered upon the duties required framed; for, if fifty postmasters were removed for pre- of the committee with great reluctance, but, having procisely the same cause, the statement of that cause once, as ceeded thus far, he was inclined to go through. Let us applicable to the list, would surely be as certain and satis- not, said Mr. II., waste the time of the Senate in debatfactory, as if that cause had been stated fifty times, and the ing the matter now. The Senator from Delaware was the statement appended to each name.

first who moved in this business. He had repeatedly said The narrative of one or two incidents in committee, he that there was good reason for believing in the maladthought somewhat incorrect. Every thing had not been ministration of the department, and said, let us have light. related precisely as recollected by him. On the sugges. He would not undertake, at this time, to say any thing tions contained in a letter to one of the Senators from about the maladministration of the department, but with Virginia, charging the Postmaster General with malcon- the Senator from Delaware he would vote against the duct about some Southern contracts, and referring to resolution before the Senate, and proceed in the business affidavits and witnesses, it was proposed to send for several of the committee. He would not consent to stop at the witnesses to Virginia. This letter had been handed round present point, and publish this discussion to the world, to among the members of the committee, and a meeting become a political text-book, instead of authentic facts called. It was instantly determined in committee to send and testimony. Something had been said in committee for the witnesses; but, on the confident statement of a about large extra allowances to contractors in this neighmember, that the testimony, the very affidavits spoken of borhood. This allegation he wished to inquire into. in the letter, were to be had at the post office, it was Suggestions, too, had been made of similar improprieties thought best to procure the affidavits first; and the cliver- in the State he had the honor to represent. This matter sity of opinion in committee was, not whether the wit- he wished to know all about. He was anxious to know if nesses should be sent for if needed, but whether the do- there were any serious evil in the department; any thing cumentary testimony should first be procured from the seriously to militate against the passage of the posi route department. It was remarked, that the documents ought bill

, now, and last session too, before Congress. The defirst to be procured, and then, if these were not satisfac-partment should, if possible, sustain its own weight. He tory, we would incur the expense of sending for the wit-was far, however, from believing that it ought to be nesses, and this opinion prevailed. The chairman and the looked to as a source of revenue. Intelligence, and the Senator from Tennessee were required by the committee convenience of the people, were its chief objects. He to perform the duty of going to the post office and pro- was anxious that the post route bill should pass, and for curing the affidavits, which duty the Senate had been told one, if that measure were necessary, he would vote an apwas not yet performed; and if there were any delay in propriation to meet the expense. It was his wish that the this, the Senate would see that it laid at the door of the new settlements of his own State should be supplied with Senators from Delaware and Tennessee. The sense and the mail, and in that point of view felt an interest in the the vote of the committee were, that the persons should whole matter which others might not feel. be forthwith sent for, if the papers were not satisfactory: Mr. CLAYTON again took the floor. It is, said he, and after all this, well understood as he supposed, it with unfeigned reluctance that I rise for the purpose of seemed to him somewhat strange that the chairman in this again engaging in a discussion of a resolution of the honorshould feel himself justified in talking about delay. able gentleman from Tennessee. Laboring as I do at this

One other instance in which the facts, as they occurred, time under considerable indisposition, it would be much had been misapprehended. The meeting of the commit- more agreeable to my feelings, if consistent with my sense tee at which the examination of Mr. Bradley was com- of duty, to suffer those who originated this debate to menced, had been named, and his motion to adjourn cited" form their political text-book for the year," as the as a measure of delay. He had been represented as giv- gentleman from Indiana has phrased it, without any ating reasons for that motion; but whatever incidental contempt on my part to mar its beauties or correct its errors; versation might have taken place about that time, he had but the remarks which I had the honor to address to the given no reason for his motion to adjourn. He would have Senate on this subject have been so grossly perverted, and

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