Imagens das páginas

H. OF R.]

The Post Office Establishment.

(Dec. 17, 1830.

pointed to take into consideration all measures and pro- am not actuated by any local considerations. If I know positions relative thereto, which shall be referred to them, myself, I am actuated by a solicitude to secure the and to report thereon by bill or otherwise.

safety and promote the prosperity of this republic. WithOn offering the above resolution,

out further remarks, I submit the resolution, with the Mr. RICHARDSON said, that, in explanation of his ob- hope that it may be adopted. ject in submitting the resolution proposing the appoint Mr. ARCHER moved that the resolution lie on the table. ment of a select committee on education, he begged On this motion, Mr. RICHARDSON called for the yeas leave to offer a few remarks. At the last session of Con- and nays: they were ordered by the House, and, being gress, said Mr. R., I proposed the establishment of a taken, stood as follows: standing committee on education. That proposition was YEAS.--Messrs. Alexander, Allen, Alston, Angel, Arnot sustained. The object of the proposition, I think, was cher, Barbour, Barnwell, Barringer, Bell, James Blair, misapprehended. All that passed at the last session gave Bockee, Boon, Borst, Brown, Buchanan, Cambreleng, cause of regret that there was no appropriate committee Campbell, Claiborne, Clay, Coke, Conner, Cowles, Craig, to whom to refer the numerous applications touching that Crockett, Crocheron, Daniel, Davenport, W. R. Davis, subject. In the form of memorials, resolutions, and motions, Deshia, De Witt, Draper, Drayton, Dudley, Earll, Ford, there were at the last session not less than thirty applica- Foster, Gaither, Gordon, Green, Gurley, Hall, Halsey, tions to this House for acts of legislation for purposes of Haynes, Hinds, Hoffman, Howard, Irwin, Irvin, Jarvis, education. These applications were from various parts Cave Johnson, Perkins King, Adam King, Lamar, Lea, of the Union, and few only were finally acted on. From Lecompte, Lent, Lewis, Loyall, Lumpkin, Lyon, Magee, Arkansas there was a call for legislation for the benefit of Marr, Thomas Maxwell, Lewis Maxwell, McCoy, McDufcommon schools. From Alabama, for the benefit of Belle- fie, McIntire, Monell, Norton, Nuckolls, Patton, Pettis, ville Academy, of Green Academy, of La Grange College, Polk, Potter, Powers, Rencher, Roane, Rose, Russel, and the University of Alabama. From Michigan, for the Shepperd, Shields, Speight, Sprigg, Standefer, Sterigere, benefit of the University of Michigan. From Louisiana, Stephens, W. Thompson, Tucker, Verplanck, Wayne, for the benefit of Jefferson College, in that State. From C. P. White, Wickliffe, Williams, Yancey.--94. Rhode Island, for the benefit of Brown University, in that NAYS.--Messrs. Anderson, Armstrong, Arnold, Bailey, State. From Kentucky, for the benefit of the Asylum of Bartley, Bates, Baylor, Brodhead, Butman, Cahoon, ChanDeaf and Dumb, the Hardin Academy, and Transylvania dier, Chilton, Coleman, Condict, Cooper, Coulter, Crane, University, in that State. From Ohio, for the benefit of Crawford, Creighton, Crowninshield, Denny, Dickinson, common schools, the education of deaf and dumb, a fe- Doddridge, Duncan, Dwight, Eager, Ellsworth, George male academy, and of Kenyon and Ripley Colleges, in Evans, Joshua Evans, Horace Everett, Findlay, Finch, that State. From Pennsylvania, for the benefit of Jeffer- Forward, Fry, Gilmore, Grennell, Hawkins, Hemp bill, son and Washington, Madison and Allegbany Colleges, Hodges, Holland, Hubbard, Hughes, Hunt, Huntington, and the Western University, in that State. From Missis- Ihrie, Ingersoll, Richard M. Johnson, Kendall, Kennon, sippi, for the Franklin Acidemy. From New York, for Kincaid, Leavitt, Letcher, Mallary, Martindale, McCreery, the benefit of the Institution of Deaf and Dumb, and of the Miller, Mitchell, Muhlenberg, Pearce, Pierson, Ramsey, Academy of Arts and Design, in that State. From the Randolph, Reed, Richardson, Sanford, Scott, Sill, Smith, District of Columbia, for the benefit of free schools in A. Spencer, Henry R. Storrs, William L. Storrs, Strong, Alexandria and in the city of Washington, and of the Sutherland, Swann, Swift, Taylor, J. Thomson, Tracy, Columbian College, in this District. Other applications Vance, Varnum, Vinton, Washington, Weeks, Whittlesey, from other quarters were made in relation to the same Edward D. White, Wilson.-86. subject. They all evince great solicitude in relation to So the resolution was ordered to lie on the table. this momentous concern. These applications were re The SPEAKER laid before the House the following ferred to various committees charged with other interests message from the President of the United States: of importance. A number of them were referred to the Oommittee on the Public Lands. I have, said Mr. R., in

To the Senate and the ability and fidelity of that committee the most perfect

House of Representatives of the United States: confidence. But the labors of that committee are ardu. GENTLEMEN: From information received at the Depart ous. It could never have been intended that that com- ment of State, it is ascertained that, owing to unforeseen mittee should have charge of the great subject of educa- circumstances, several of the marshals have been unable tion. The applications mentioned would be sufficient of to complete the enumeration of the inhabitants of the themselves to occupy the whole attention of an able com- United States, within the time prescribed by the act of the mittee. For the want of an appropriate committee, there 230 March, 1830, viz. by the first day of the present month. is much reason to apprehend that they never will have As the completion of the fifth census, as respects sevedue consideration. And, sir, said Mr. R., may not the ral of the States of the Union, will have been defeated, unapplicants connected with seminaries of learning of high less Congress, to whom the case is submitted, should, by an order and of strong claims in various parts of this Union act of the present session, allow further time for making reasonably expect that their applications shall receive the the returns in question, the expediency is suggested of aldue attention of an appropriate committee? And you have, lowing such an act to pass at as early a day as possible. sir, committees on agriculture, manufactures, Indian af

ANDREW JACKSON. fairs, and various subjects, not because the constitution Washingtox, December 15, 1830. has made them objects of special care, but because they The message was read, referred to a select committee, are objects of general interest to the country. The edu- and ordered to be printed. cation of the youth of this republic is an object of vital importance; and why ought not to have the fostering

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17. care of this Government? Indeed, already soine millions of dollars in public lands and in money bave been ap- ciary, to which was recommitted the bill of the last ses

Mr. ELLSWORTH, from the Committee on the Judipropriated for the support of common schools and other sion to amend and consolidate the acts respecting copyseminaries of learning. Is it not time to consider whe; rights, made a report thereon, (for which see Appendix.) ther these benefits have been dispensed with an equal hand, and whether they subserve the purpose of their

THE POST OFFICE ESTABLISHMENT. appropriation. Sir, Massachusetts has made no call upon The House resumed the consideration of the bill to esCongress for aid in support of her seminaries. I trust I tablish certain post routes and to discontinue others; and

Dec. 17, 1830.]

The Post Office Establishment.

[H. of R.

The opera

all the amendments made to the bill in Committee of the the community, or, at least, not so urgently required, that Whole were agreed to.

they must be maintained at the expense of the departThe question being about to be put on the engrossment ment, and at a sacrifice of its credit. of the bill,

Mr. JOHNSON, of Ky., observed, in reply, that, in deMr. WICKLIFFE moved to insert in the bill the follow- ciding upon the propriety of passing this or any other ing proviso, to come in at the end of the first section, viz. similar bill, he put to himself the simple inquiry, whether

Provided, The said post routes be put in operation as the interests of his constituents, and of his country, resoon as the funds of the department will, in the opinion of quired the additional channels of intelligence which the the Postmaster General, justify the increased expense of bill provided. He had not stopped to inquire, nor did he the same.

know that it was his duty to inquire, from the worthy gen[It is proper to state here, that the Committee of the tleman at the head of the Post Office Department, wheWhole yesterday struck out a section of the bill which ther he was or was not willing that so many additional proposed to appropriate $86,000, to be paid out of the post routes should be enacted by law. Neither did he Treasury of the United States, in aid of the funds of the hold himself under any imperious obligation to ascertain Post Office Departinent.]

whether the funds of the department would or would not In support of bis amendment, Mr. WICKLIFFE went enable that officer to execute the will of Congress. He into a brief explanation of the reasons which had induced was convinced that the rapidly extending settlements, and him to offer it. He did not profess to have any certain still more rapidly multiplying population of the country, knowledge of the amount of money that might be requir- required the continuance of the rule, which had hitherto ed to carry into effect the numerous post routes contained prevailed, of passing a bill of the kind every two years. in the present bill. It might, very possibly, amount to He could not see the necessity of suspending an operation $200,000 annually. It would be recollected, by those so salutary to the public, whether its completion might or members who had been in Congress two or three years might not require money from the treasury. He would ago, that a bill passed Congress in 1828, designating various not stand to inquire whether these routes would cost post routes, in addition to those previously existing, the $80,000, as had been estimated by the Postmaster General, whole expense of which fell upon the revenue of the depart- or $200,000 as seemed to be imagined by his worthy colment for the year 1829. Prior to the passage of that bill, I league, (Mr. WICKLIFFE.] He felt well assured that there the Post Office Department had been in a course of the was no portion of our country that would not rather see most successful operation. It sustained itself by the amount that amount, or even a greater, expended in this form, of its receipts. But, when the additional burdens impos- than in almost any other which could be mentioned. If ed by the passage of that bill were thrown on the depart- there was any one operation of this Government, which, ment, it was found that no corresponding increase of re- more than any other, came home to the people, which ceipts took place; and the difference was so great as to made itself felt in every portion of the country, and occasion a deficiency of $25,000 the very first year, and brought a sense of its benefits to every man's door, it surely an excess of the expenses above the receipts of the de- was the action of the Post Office Department. partment had continued ever since. According to the re- tion of a bill like this went to multiply the channels of interport of the Postmaster General, the excess within the last course and knowledge through the country. It diffused year amounted to $83,000; yet the House was told by the information of every kind, whether commercial, agriculhead of the department, that, if left to itself, the Post tural, mechanical, or social, public or private. Its benefits Office would be enabled, in a short time, to meet all its were widely diffused and inmediately felt. No restricexpenses, without requiring any aid from the treasury, tion, like that proposed by his friend and colleague in the inasmuch as the amount of receipts was fast gaining upon present amendment, had ever before been inserted in a bill that of the expenditures. He need no remind gentlemen of this kind. Where any thing resembling it had been that loud complaints had lately arisen, both in triat House appended, the bill was annual, and, not like this, biennial. and elsewhere; and committees of investigation were said The House had, in some cases, passed a bill for new post to have been gotten up, for the purpose of inquiring into routes every year. But it had now got back to the old the past management and present condition of the Post practice of enacting them biennially. Mr. J. said that he Office Department. If such were the fact, those commit- was sorry to differ in opinion from his worthy colleague, tees would find, as the result of their examination, that as but he really could not concur in the present amendment, much economy, and as prompt a responsibility, existed whatever might be the amount required to carry the bill throughout every part of this Department of Government, into effect; he could not bring himself to withhold so great as at any former period. Yet, with the knowledge of an accommodation from the citizens, for the sake of these clamors immediately before their view, gentlemen what it might cost. The House was not called on to were in favor of laying an additional burden, to the tune make any appropriation. The appropriating clause had of $200,000 a year on the expenses of the Post Office. been stricken from the bill; and, whatever might be the He asked where the money was to come from. By this fears of some gentlemen, he would venture to predict, bill, said Mr. W., you order the Postmaster General 10 that, before the period of the next September and Octocarry the mail on a great number of new routes. He has ber contracts, the department would find itself in circumno discretion as to the obedience of this order. He is at stances to meet the expenses which would be incurred by once obliged to enter into the contracts

, whether the de- the provisions of the bill, without applying to the treapartment has or has not funds to comply with them. How sury, He would further predict, that, if a statement was he to meet the demand? He expressly tells you should hereafier be made to this House, that this bill had that he has not the funds, and you yesterday refused, very caused an expense of fifty or a hundred thousand dollars, properly, in my judgment, to make any appropriation for which the department would not meet, there would be a the purpose. Under these circumstances, I am induced unanimous vote in both Houses to give whatever amount to offer the proposed amendment, with a view to relieve might be found necessary. No blame could, at all events, a meritorious officer from such a dilemma, by allowing fill upon the Postmaster General. Will the people blame him the exercise of some discret on in the case. I have him? No, sir. Can clamor reach him? No, sir; all the no doubt that some of the routes designated by this bill, clamor against the Post Ofice Departinent, raised for especially some of those upon the frontier, are required by mere party purposes, when the facts of the case come to the state of the country; to these, no doubt, the Postmaster be investigated, prove like the idle wind which passes by General will first turn his attention; but there are others this magnificent capitol. Whether that clamor existed in which I cannot think are called for by the exigencies of the House or out of it, for himself he had but one simple

gress alone.

H. or R.]
The Post Office Establishment.

[Dec. 17, 1830. rule: he brought every consideration down to the simple will have been removed. He hoped the House would test of his duty: He never listened, for one moinent, to consider maturely before they entrusted this branch of the clamors which had been raised against his worthy the Government with a discretionary power to demand friend the Postmaster General, any more than if the si-appropriations from the treasury; and, if it is further to lence of clespotism reigned around him; nor would the have the discretion of applying the appropriations when people regard it more than he, or be so unjust as to blame obtained, its concerns could not fail to fall into great disthe head of a department for what was the act of Con- order: a looser system of administration would be adopted;

Mr. J. said that a large portion of the post the tax would lose its equitable character, and soon routes in this bill he knew to be indispensably necessary cease to be popular. He had urged these considerations to the comfort and accommodation of great districts of the because the honorable chairman of the committee had country. Why, then, limit the bill? He differed totally avowed it as his plan to call for appropriations where the from his very worthy colleague in this matter; and, how- funds of the department should fall short. ever accountable he held himself to his constituents, he As to the interest of the country in this multitude of . was not afraid to avow, either in that House or elsewhere, new routes—(he did not know how many were proposed that, so long as they had a collar to appropriate out of by the bill--a gentleman near him said seven hundred)—he all the millions they had contributed for the welfare of our could only say that heretofore the Post Office committee common country, he should not be afraid to appropriate in the House had always moved in concert with the head it for an object so essential to their comfort and happiness. of the department; and it was reasonable and fit that they This he conceived to be the right way to treat the people. should do so. It was not to be expected that that comThey put millions into the treasury, and they would never mittee could possess the same extent and minute accuracy complain that a part of their own treasure was taken out of knowledge which belonged to the department--no to promote their own best good.

committce during its term of service here could obtain Mr. WICKLIFFE rejoined. He was well acquainted such a mass of geographical information. The present with the boldness and independence of his colleague in bill, however, had, it seemed, been got up without any voting for any appropriation of money which he consider- consultation with the department. Here were seven huncd to be demanded by the public good. He only regretted dred new post routes proposed at once. that, if he considered an appropriation in this case neces (Mr. VANCE here interposed to explain. He feared sary and proper, he had not retained the clause for that he had unintentionally misled the gentleman--the bill purpose as it originally stood in the bill, but had himself contained not seven, but about three hundred routes. ] moved to have it stricken out: for Mr. W. felt fully con Be it so, said Mr. Bell, the objection is the same in vinced that if the bill were passed in its present forin, the principle, if there are but one hundred. No committee department would have at once to come to the treasury. can judge of their utility with the same degree of safety To this he for one was utterly opposed. He considered as the Post Office Department can. Yet the honorable that the duty he owed to himself, and to his constituents, chairman declares that he did not consider it his duty to required him to keep the expenses of the Post Office Deconsult the Postmaster General in each of these three partment within the amount of its receipts. With that hundred routes. Any committee, charged with a duty view he was desirous to repose in the officer at its head of this kind, is, from the nature of the case, liable to such a discretion as might relieve him from the necessity great impositions. He did not mean to say that honorable of applying to the treasury, however abundant its contents members of this House would wilfully and intentionally might be, (though he did not believe they would be so deceive or impose upon any committee; but they might, very abundant either.) He should not urge any thing in effect, produce a very false impression by their reprefurther in support of its amendments, but would content sentations, which, however sincere, were chiefly based on himself with requesting that the vote upon it might be a narrow circle of topographical information. Each memtaken by yeas and nays.

ber looked mainly at his own immediate neighborhood, The yeas and nays were ordered by the House. without consulting the general interest of his region of

Mr. JOHNSON rose to correct a misapprehension of the Union, and without an accurate knowledge, perhaps, his colleague, as to what he had said. He had never as of the routes already existing. He meant not the slightest serted that any appropriation from the treasury would be imputation on the patience, diligence, or fidelity of the requireel to carry this bill into effect, but had only ex- committee, or on the motives or conduct of any member pressed his willingness to make such an appropriation of the House; but it was obvious, that, from the necessity should it be requireil.

of the case, most of these routes could receive from a Mr. BELL, of Tennessee, said, he hoped the House committee but a comparatively slight investigation. would not act on a subject of this kind without due deli There was another point he considered important: supberation. By the acknowledgment of the honorable and posing that the Post Office Department had hitherto suisvery generous chairman of the Post Office committee, tained itself out of its revenues, the House could not be [ Mr. Johnson,) the policy heretofore invariably pursued sure that, in departing from previous policy, they would in relation to the Post Office is now to be changeil As a be sustained by public opinion. The vote of yesterday to tax, the contributors to this branch of the Government strike out the appropriation at first introduced into the have had that characteristic which renders any tax the bill, seemed to indicate that this House had not yet made most popular, viz.. its being paid by those who personally up its mind to enter upon a new course of policy in relaenjoy the beneficial consequences. The departinent, said tion to this department. The consequence of too great Mi. B., b:s heretofore been managed wiiii very great a multiplication of mail routes was, that the departinent care, and has been very popular; the most so, perhaps, had to narrow down its contracts where the mail was most of any of the branches of the Government; great harmony wanted. The whole country received a slight accommoalso has generally prevailed between Congress and the dation, which was not graduated by the comparative wants head of that repartment. One great reason of the popu- of its different parts, and many of the routes became larity, as well as the general prosperity it has enjoyed, is scarce worth sustaining. to be found in the fact, that it has been thus fir sustained No one could think more highly of the usefulness of a by its own resources; the revenile from postage has paid wide-spread dissemination of intelligence than he did; but the expenses of transporting the mail. But if the exten- might not greater facilities be granted in routes alreally sion and multiplication of mil routes is to be pursued existing, in preference to the opening of new routes? without regard to the receipts of the department, one of Would it not conduce more to a general diffusion of knowthe most salutary checks in the administration of its affairs/ledge, if the same facilities of circulating information

Dec. 17, 1830.]

The Post Office Establishment.

[II. OF R.

which are now confined to members of Congress should be here to express their wants and wishes? If a committee extended to members of the State Legislatures in the several of this House are incapable of deciding on a post route, States? It had often struck him, said Mr. B., that if they without first obtaining the approbation of the Post Office were the real and sincere friends to a general diffu- Department, (except so far as mere courtesy is concerned,) sion of intelligence, which might be inferred from their then that clause of the constitution which gives to Conzeal for multiplying mail routes, would they not more ef- gress the power to establish post offices and post roads, fectually promote that object by some such arrangement had better have been so worded as to confide that power as he had alluded to? The members of the State Legisla- to the Executive branch of the Government. Mr. J. said tures were more spread among the people, and lived more he was truly very unfortunate in being thus exposed to among them, and were consequently the best acquainted the buffets of his friends, for he had been opposed by with their wants and wishes; an arrangement of this cha- none but those who were his friends, both personal and racter would overbalance a thousand of these small routes, political. He had expressed his opinion—it was a candid while it added less to the expenditure of the department. one-and he was sorry he could not withdraw it, or recall Mr. B. concluded by saying that he had esteemed it his any thing he had said: nor could he consider the force of duty to submit these views on the general subject, and his argument lessened by what he had heard. One word expressing his hope that the House would act with great to the worthy gentleman before him, (Mr. Beli,] (than coolness and caution in so important a department of le- whom he knew none more worthy, or for whom he felt a gislation.

truer respect;) that gentleman was wrong in supposing Mr. BUCHANAN, of Pennsylvania, disclaimed any in- him to have said that any money would in this case certention of entering into a discussion of the general subject, tainly have to be appropriated. It would be a delicate but would offer one or two words in explanation of the thing to make such a declaration beforehand; but he had reasons which would induce him to vote against the declared that if, when the time arrived, an appropriation amendment. Waiving the question whether this bill ought should prove necessary, he was prepared to vote for it. to pass or not, he objected to the amendment of the gen- He again declared, that, rather than deprive the country tleman from Kentucky, (Mr. Wickliffe,] because it of such a benefit, he would give the money necessary to vested the Postmaster General with an absolute discretion obtain it. His very worthy friend from Pennsylvania (Mr. in the application of the funds of his department, and en- BUCHANAN) had expressed a wish that the Post Office abled him to decide without appeal among three hundred committee had ascertained the precise amount requisite to conflicting claims for the new mail routes proposed in the carry the bill into effect; that gentleman was so much and bill. This confided to a single officer a weight of respon-so constantly engaged in other labors of a very different sibility which pertained to Congress alone. Mr. B. said kind-[Mr. B. is chairman of the Judiciary committee)he entertained both respect and friendship for the distin- that he had overlooked the fact that the department had guished officer at the head of the General Post Office; ascertained the amount referred to, and had reported it to and as his friend, he felt unwilling to impose upon him so the House at $82,000. This was the amount originally onerous a burden. Exercise this discretion how he might, inserted in the bill, and which the House had yesterday he was sure to give great offence. Each applicant for resolved to strike out. This amount was not asked by the favor would esteem his own route best entitled to prefer- department: the department asked for no appropriation; ence, and there would be three or four hundred of these but this was the answer given by the department to the applicants struggling with each other for a boon which, inquiry of the Post Office committee, as to the amount perhaps, could be extended to but three or four individuals; required to establish all the new routes in the present bill. the rest were sure to feel offended. What, asked Mr. B., is For himself, Mr. J. said, he would rather let the bill sleep the duty of Congress in this matter? To put only such on the table, than adopt the amendment proposed by his routes into the law as the resources of the department colleague. That amendment appended, and the bill would will enable it to meet; and between the various claims for amount to nothing; nay, it would be worse than nothing, such admission, Congress should itself decide, and not for it would confer a legislative discretion on the head of devolve its own responsibility on the head of any indivi- the Post Office Department. His worthy friend (Mr. dual. In both these views of the subject, he felt opposed Bell) had said that it appeared the policy of the Governto the amendment. He should rather appropriate at once ment, in relation to the Post Office, was about to be the sums that might be thought necessary, than entrust changed. He said not. It would not be changed at all, such a responsibility as was proposed by the gentleman until an appropriation should actually have been made. from Kentucky to the head of any department.

On the contrary, should this bill be laid asleep, then the Mr. JOHNSON again addressed the House. He con- policy of the Government would indeed be changed. sidered himself very unfortunate in no: having been un- Then this House would, in effect, say to the people of the derstood--he knew with certainty that his friends would United States, “while your own President, the man of not wilfully misunderstand him--he must, therefore, attri- your choice, the man whom you elected at the polls, fills bute the mistake to some defect on his own part. He the chair, you are to enjoy less privileges than you ever had not said, as seemed to be supposed, that the Post had before; you are to be indulged with less mail accomOffice committee had acted in total independence of the modation, in proportion, than under any former adminisPost Office Department, in judging of the necessity of tration." Sir, said Mr. J., I am not willing to say this to the various routes proposed to them; but that they had the people. I do not, indeed, connect my support of this acted without holding themselves obliged to consult the bill with this or with that particular administration; but I department, whether routes should be adopted that cannot consent that we should now, for the first time, bewould require appropriations from the treasury. On gin to withhold privileges from the people. I again resome of the routes in this bill, the committee had obtain- peat, that I consider myself unfortunate in being opposed · ed the details from the department. Whenever they by my friends, and by such friends. I am, declare, had rejected a route asked for, the rejection was record- almost in doubt whether I must not be wrong, seeing I ed, together with the reasons for it. But, supposing the differ from them; still, however, I do not so far doubt committee had acted in entire independence of the de- as to change my opinion: and if this amendment shall be partment, who, he asked, could be better qualified to adopted, I shall immediately move to lay the bill upon give the committee all the information it needed to en. the table. lighten its judgment than the members of this House? Mr. HOFFMAN, of New York, expressed his regret Men who come from the country where the route must that the gentleman at the head of the Post Office commitmust run Men who reside with the people, and are sent tee found it necessary to avow that he felt indifferent

Vol. VII.--24

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


whether this bill would or would not charge the Govern- increased expenditure proposed in this bill? Surely not. ment beyond the income of the Post Office Department. Had it not been echoed and re-echoed, as well by the I had thought that it was an acknowledged settled princi- President and the head of the department as by all the papers ple in reference to the management of that department, of a certain description, from one end of the Union to that its revenues should not be excceded by its expendi- the other, that the Post Office was in a high state of prosture. The idea, either of making the Post Office a source perity? Yet, what did the House now see and hear? of revenue, or of suffering it to be a burden on the trea- Gentlemen, professedly the friends of the administration, sury, he understood to be alike abandoned. He had been hesitating to pass the ordinary biennial post office bill, lest under the impression that the committee, when they re- it should compelthe department to make a draught upon the ported this bill, believed that the revenues of the depart. treasury! Such a fear must be idle indeed. Surely this ment would be sufficient to meet the expense of all these House was raising a clamor against the department, which

In this, it appeared, he was mistaken. Mr. H. would meet with no credit out of that House. The House said he should not vote for the amendment of the gentle had been informed by the head of the department, in his man from Kentucky, (Mr. WICKLIFFE,} although he felt public official communication, that a saving had been efvery sensibly the force of the argument of the gentleman fected, in making contracts this year, of seventy-two from Pennsylvania, (Mr. BUCHANAN.) He concurred with thousand dollars. Yet gentlemen had branded that branch that gentleman in the opinion that it is the House, and not of Government by the unfounded supposition that its exthe Postmaster General, who should fix upon the routes penses had run beyond its income to the amount of eightyto be carried into effect; but it was perhaps too late to two thousand dollars. Could this be true while a saving hope for this now. It would require a revision of the had been effected to nearly that whole amount? The thing whole bill, and, to be properly done, would also demand a was incredible. One gentleman had even supposed that knowledge of the relative expense of cach route. But not less than two hundred thousand dollars would be need. if the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Jonnson) was right ed to carry into effect this bill. Yet the head of the dein his belief, that it would probably call for no appropria-partment asked no more than eighty-six thousand dollars tion to carry the bill into effect, then the objection of the as sufficient to cover all these routes. The last bill of this gentleman from Pennsylvania of course fell to the ground. kind burdened the department only to the amount of If all could be accomplished, then there would no diffi- twenty thousand dollars. One was passed in 1826 esculty occur from having to select from among them. Mr. tablishing various new routes, and another bill in the folH. said he preferred the insertion of the amendment to lowing year. The latter, it is true, was passed against the danger of embarrassing the revenue by calls for ap- the opinion of the Postmaster General, who desired that propriations hereafter. For, although the gentleman the routes in the previous bill should be suffered first to go from Kentucky thinks that an appropriation will be readi- into operation before any others should be added; but the ly voted, if called for, to make up any deficiency caused House thought otherwise, and passed the bill. But, as he by the passage of this bill, yet the Committee of the had observed already, the whole expense incurred by Whole, and the House, with a knowledge of the incre:sing these bills had been long since defrayed, and the departdeficit of the department, had voted to strike out the ap- ment had since been officially declared to be in a fourishpropriation from this bill. If the committee abandoned ing condition. The gentleman from Kentucky had alluded their proposition now, what reason was there to suppose to certain proceedings in the Senate. · Such'allusions, he that the House would willingly assent to it hereafter thought, were not in order. Under all the circumstances, Mr. H. said he thought it [The CHAIR interposed, and observed that Mr. WICKwould be better to pass the bill with the amendment than LIFFE had made no allusion that he heard to the proceedwithout it.

ings of the Senate. Ilad he done so, it would undoubtedly Mr. WHITTLESEY, of Ohio, expressed his regret that have been out of order, and the Chair would have interthe gentlemen from Kentucky and Tennessee (Messrs. posed to stop any remarks of that kind. WICKLIFFE and Bell] had not looked into the documents Mr. WHITTLESEY said he thought the gentleman submitted to Congress at the opening of the session, be had alluder to committees of inquiry. Mr. WICKLIFFE fore they had taken the ground they had now done, in offered to explain, but Mr. WHITTLESEY proceeded.] offering and in supporting the amendment. liac they He admitted that the routes ordered by the bill of 1827 done this, they would have found abundant evidence to did not go into effect till January, 1829. One quarter show that a bill like that now under discussion might be was due in April, and the present Postmaster General was suffered to pass, without the least apprehension of a defi- not concerned in the resu!i untii July, 1829. At that time ciency of funds to carry it into effect. Had the language the department had, by its own showing, upwards of of those documents been referred to, the whole of the two hundred thousand dollars at its disposal. On the present

discussion might have been avoided, and the bill whole, Mr. W. concluded it to be utterly impossible that been by this time engrossed for its third reading. The with this surplus then, and its very rigid and economic:1 documents would show, that when General Jackson came mode of conducting business since, the Post Office Deinto office, the Post Office Department had the sum of partment should not be in circumstances to meet the pretwo hundred and thirty thousand dollars at its disposal. In visions of the present bill. Did he wish to injure the his first communication to Congress, he informed that body credit of that department, he could not employ language that great improvements bad taken place in the adminis- better calculated to effect that object, than that now held tration of this as well as other branches of the Govern- by the gentlemen who advocated the amendment: what ment, and that large savings had been cflected in its funds, was inore likely to excite an alarm in the minds of the which had been formerly squandered away, owing to the people, than that the afluirs of the department had not been irregularity of the public accounts. He told Congress, properly conducted? If gentlemen, afier all that had that at that time the Post Office Department was in a highly been said of the flourishing state of the Post Office, wouki prosperous condition. Now, there has not a single new nevertheless admit that it was unable to add these routes post route been authorized since 1827. In that year, it without calling on the treasury, the conclusion was ineviwas true, the expenses of the department had been in- table that there must exist very great iniprovidence in its creased to a certain extent, but the expense liad long since management. been defrayel. Under these circumstances, could the Mr. STORRS, of New York, said that he had ccme to gentleman who introduce the amendment, or the gentle a different conclusion from luis friend frem Ohio, [Mr. man who has supported it, entertain a reasonable scubt WutterSEY,) and thought it best, on the whole, to vote of the ability of the Post Office Department to sustain the for the amendment of the gentleman from kentucky.

« AnteriorContinuar »