« AnteriorContinuar »
H. of R.]
Claim of James Monroe.
[Jan. 7, 1831.
fight their battles against a world in arms. The operation is not interest due as well as principal? But the gentleof their edicts and decrees had brought within their grasp man from North Carolina informs us that the United States millions of property belonging to the United States, and are to be viewed as a moral person, always presumed to incarcerated thousands of our citizens. As many who be ready to pay what he owes whenever called on—a prewere not imprisoned, were anxiously waiting the fate of sumption not warranted by facts and that consequently their property, then under seizure, there was not in no interest is to be allowed on claims against the United France at that time any consular power established, to re- States. As this moral person is sometimes guilty of imlease from their confinement our citizens; to claim and moral acts, I cannot subscribe to the gentleman's doctrine: effect a release of their property: to assert, and by argu- he will not say that interest has never been allowed on ment enforce the rights of the United States, required no claims against the United States-look into our statutes, ordinary talents, no common share of zeal and persever- and you can find more than fifty cases in which it has been ance, and was consequently the cause of extra expense. allowed. If there ever has been any rule on the subject, Three secretaries were employed by him for a great length it has been to suffer each case to depend upon its pecuof time, houses were rented for their accommodation, and liar circumstances and merits. But why waste time on heavy expenses were incurred on their account. Was this question? Interest was allowed on so much of the this necessary? There is not a man who hears me, who claim of Mr. Monroe as was sanctioned by Congress in will say it was not. For whose benefit? For the people 1826; and our legislation at that time relieves me of some of the United States-for American citizens. Can it be labor in the further investigation of this claim. In 1826, expected that Mr. Monroe, or any other man, situated as Congress allowed interest on so much of Mr. Monroe's he was, could exhibit vouchers for all the expenses which claim as was at that time favorably considered, from 1810 he was compelled to incur on our account, under such an to 1826; their decision is to be at this time respected, or extraordinary state of things?
not--if not, then the whole question is now before us; but Sir, I am not surprised that he has a claim for an ad-if, on the other hand, what we have done should influence ditional allowance for contingent expenses, but am sur- and direct us in what we are to do, having allowed inteprised that it should be no larger than the one presented. rest from 1810 to 1826, it appears to me we cannot resist The gentleman from North Carolina asks for vouchers. the allowance of interest from the time the claim accrued The very nature of the service forbids the production of to 1810. If for one period it be correct, it is equally so them. In many of the common and ordinary transactions for the other. I dismiss, then, this part of the claim. That of life, they are not expected. Are they produced in set- Mr. Monroe was entitled to an outfit on his mission to tling the concerns between ships-husband or owner, and France, and that it was not paid until some years after it the master, as to many expenses and disbursements be- was due, all will acknowledge: that if, in consequence of tween the principal, his factor or agent? No: the gentle its not being paid, he was compelled to hire money in man knows they are neither produced nor expected. amount equal to that for which he paid interest, to me it
(Here Mr. WILLIAMS rose, and said, what he meant is evident that he should be allowed this interest; and it by vouchers, was a detailed statement.)
would be no more than indemnity to pay him interest on In reply to that, Mr. Chairman, I could say to the gen- the sum he paid for interest. tleman from North Carolina, that it would be just as dif His contingent expenses during his mission to England ficult to produce, and just as unreasonable to expect, this constituting another item of claim, he takes Mr. King's detailed statement, as the vouchers which have been called allowance as a standard for his own; and when it is confor. Sir, these contingent expenses are paid to no min-sidered, as the committee have observed, that Mr. Monroe ister, under any ordinary state of affairs, in consequence of was in England when Europe was at war, when the dethe production of vouchers.
crees and edicts of the belligerents were the causes of the Mr. Chairman, there are some things probable in them- seizures and sequestration of our property to vast amounts, selves, and do not require a very great share of proof di- and Mr. King's mission was during a period of peace, the rect, to command our belief; and there are others in standard assumed cannot afford more than a fair allowthemselves so improbable, we cannot well believe them, ance. It is not necessary to repeat what has been said of when fortified by proofs the most positive. That Mr. Mon interest, so far as it may be connected with this part of the roe's expenses should have been, during his first mission to claim. Nor will I detain the committee but a moment in France, while at Paris, greater, by the amount stated, than considering that part of the claim which under the first ministers on ordinary occasions, is not only highly proba- mission to France accrued after audience of leave, and ble, but is proved positively by the statements of Mr. during his detention in Europe--to leave Europe after he Skipworth, Mr. Gelsoni, and all the other testimony in the had received notice of his recall, was impossible. The case. I could, if it were necessary, take another ground: French coast being blockaded, he had no opportunity of If Mr. Monroe did not know that the allowance claimed doing it-to have continued in France, might have inwas not only equitable, but legal, would he, is there a creased in his own country the prejudices against him; man living who has any knowledge of the character of and to have left Europe, and embarked for the United James Monroe, who can for one minute believe that he States, if an opportunity bad offered, as his successor was would, in his old age, in private life, having filled so many not accredited, and no communications, but through him, offices, having discharged the duties of them with so much could at that time be received, might have been injudiponor to himself and credit to the country, thus persevere cious. This expense accruing under circumstances which in a claim that was not absolutely just? He has the feel- he could not control, the Government in good faith were ings of a man, and knows full weil the ordeal every one bound to pay, and interest on so much as has not been has to pass through, who applies to Congress for the set-paid, according to principles assumed in the allowance of tlement of an account; and, when he came before us, no interest on the other items already noticed. Reserving doubt knew that he would necessarily be subjected to the to myself the right of making a few remarks on that part scoffs and sneers of many whose province it would be to of Mr. Monroe's claim connected with the purchase and pass upon his claim; perhaps anticipated what has been sale of the house in Paris, the liberation of Thomas Paine, said by the gentleman from Kentucky, that he was calling and money expended on his account, the loans negoon Congress to pay him for feasting his friends in Paris. ated, I submit the residue of the claim as reported by
With this knowledge of consequences, would this claim the select committee as proper to be by us accepted, alhave been the second time before us, if it were not in all lowed, and paid, and what will be short of an indemnity respects just and equitable? I am satisfied it would not. for the services rendered, and moneys in good faith exWell, sir, if money be due, and it has been withheld, pended on account of the United States.
1. Difference between sum claimed by Mr.
in fact, the jealousy of the citizens of his native country. Monroe for contingent expenses of first
For whose benefit was this influence exercised? For his mission to France, and that allowed by
country. Shall, then, Mr. Monroe bear this loss? Mr. Congress in 1826,
$2,019 15 Chairman, he was not without a precedent. The pur2. Difference between sum claimed by him
chase of the house at the Hague was a case in point. for contingent expenses of the mission to
What his Government had done for another minister England, and that allowed by Congress in
abroad, acting in good faith, he had a right to suppose 1826,
1,562 32 would be done in regard to this transaction. But he was 3. Interest on the sum allowed in 1826, for
suddenly and unexpectedly recalled; he had no time to contingent expenses of the first mission to
offer the purchase to his own Government, or sell the France, to wit, the sum of $1,495 85, from
estate on favorable terms to any one in Paris. The whole the 15th December, 1796, being the mean
of this loss has fallen on Mr. Monroe, and was partly ocperiod between the beginning and termina
casioned by the acts of our Government, the result of an tion of the mission, to December, 1810,
unwarrantable jealousy, founded upon nothing in fact but when the interest then allowed commenced, 1,252 77 his great influence at the time with the French nation, 4. Interest on the additional sum now pro
never exercised but for his country's good, I do not beposed to be allowed, to wit, the sum of
lieve the people of this country are ready to say that he $2,019 15, from the same period to March,
shall bear this loss. The next consideration for the com1829,
3,902 03 mittee is the claim for moneys disbursed for the liberation 5. Interest on the sum allowed in 1826, for
and aid of Thomas Paine. Mr. Monroe was in France, contingent expenses of mission to England,
the representative of the sovereignty of this country: to wit, the sum of $437 68, from the 1st of
Paine was in prison, had been repeatedly threatened with September, 1806, being the mean period
the guillotine; had once escaped it, according to his own between the beginning and termination of
statement, by a providential act; his health destroyed, and the mission, after the return from Spain,
his privations and sufferings so severe, that his life was in to December, 1810,
111 60 imminent danger. What was his language and appeal to 6. Interest on the additional sum now pro
Mr. Monroe? I am an American--I am a citizen of the posed to be allowed, to wit, the sum of
United States; I conjure you by the love you bear to that $1,562 32, from same period to March,1829, 2,109 13 country, whose citizen I am, and to establish whose liber7. Interest on the sum allowed in 1826, for
ties we both for years have labored--help, extend to me detention in France, in 1797, after audience
your aid, or I die! Sir, if Thomas Paine had been before of leave, to wit, the sum of $2,750, from
unknown to Mr. Monroe, this thrilling and spirit-stirring April, 1797, to December, 1810, when the
language could be neither resisted nor disregarded. The interest allowed in 1826 commenced, 2,241 25 magic words, “I am a Roman citizen,” in the worst days 8. Interest on sum allowed in 1826, for de
of Rome, preserved the rights of the individualinviolable, murrage paid to J. Hicks, to wit, the
and arrested the arm of him who was prepared to inflict sum of $350, from March 7, 1803, when
the stripes. Mr. Monroe has been allowed what he paid it was paid, to December, 1810, when in
in effecting the liberation of Madame Lafayette, why should terest heretofore allowed commenced,
162 84 he not be paid his expenses incurred in the liberation of 9. Interest on outfit of second mission to
Thomas Paine! Let not the consideration of this ques. France, from January, 1803, to May, 1810, 3,915 00 tion be mingled with the feelings of the day. Whether 10. Interest on the foregoing sum, from May,
Mr. Paine was, during our revolutionary struggle, the 1810, to March, 1829,
4,423 95 hireling writer, as has been alleged, or whether his writ11. Interest on the sum allowed in 1826, for
ings on religious subjects have not been the cause of much extraordinary expenses of detention in Eng
harm to the world, is not now the question for us to conland, to wit, the sum of $10,500, from the
sider; was not, at the time, this appeal a subject of conside15th September, 1806, being the mean pe.
ration for Mr. Monroe? Ought Mr. Monroe, as our riod between the commencement and ter
minister abroad, to have done less? and shall he not be mination of that mission, to December,
countenanced by this Government, and paid for what by 1810, when interest heretofore allowed
him was done?' Sir, it would have been an everlasting commenced,
2,677 50 stain upon this country, if Thomas Paine, an American,
bad been suffered to die in prison, in that city where the $24,377 04 representative of this nation was, without an effort to re
lieve him. Such was the estimation in which Thomas
Paine was held by Mr. Jefferson, if the rumors of the day Before we come to a conclusion on the question of in- are to be credited, that long after his liberation he redemnity for the loss sustained in the purchase and sale of ceived his aid and support. the house in Paris, let us ask, for whose good did Mr. The last subject reserved for consideration is, the Monroe act in this transaction for himself, or for his claim of Mr. Monroe, on account of loans negotiated ducountry? Did he act in good faith? and had he a reason- ring the late war, obtained by extraordinary exertions on able expectation the house would be taken by his Govern- his part, and by his personal responsibility. In reference ment for the residence of future ministers of the United to them, nothing is claimed by him but what, by the uniStates? Sir, in relation to this transaction, he did not act form practice of the Government, has been given to others; unadvisedly; he availed himself of the opinions of the most and, if obtained by extraordinary exertions, and this is distinguished and enlightened Americans then at Paris; conceded, why should he not be paid? Is he not as much among others, the two gentlemen whose statements are in entitled to compensation as your disbursing officers, who the documents of the case. From all the lights he could obtained nothing upon their mere responsibility, and derive, he found the purchase necessary, not only to in- nothing by any extra exertion? Compare the claim with crease his influence with those in power, but to establish the comissions received by Commodore Chauncey, the upon a firm basis the favors and esteem conciliated, by commander on your lakes, when the war raged among means of which he could act, and did act, more efficient- the ship carpenters at Sackett's Harbor and Kingston, for ly for the American interest than any one could or did the supremacy of Lake Ontario, when little was achieved anticipate; so much so, as to excite not only the envy, but, I by either party on the water. Millions were disbursed,
H. OF R.]
Claim of James Monroe.
[Jan. 7, 1831.
and passed through the hands of that officer, on all of two weeks dangerously ill, and unable either to know which he had his commissions.
or to attend to business. The department was conducted Take another case, when, if commissions were not al. during this time by Major Macpherson, Mr. Graham, and lowed, they ought to have been. Such was the state of myself, under the directions of the President, who was our finances, after the Constitution returned from the cap- also confined by severe indisposition. The moment Mr. ture and destruction of the Guerriere, to the harbor of Monroe was restored to his senses, and had strength to Boston, the navy agent, with all the available funds the dictate his instructions, we were summoned to his sick Government could place in his hands, was unable to send room, and were engaged daily in transcribing the commuher on another cruise. To do this, he pledged the whole nications which he had to make to all sections of the of his private property, and became personally responsible United States. For many days he was propped up in his for the necessary sum.
What was the result? Another bed by pillows, to write his despatches. naval victory, and fresh laurels to the American arms.
"TENCH RINGGOLD. Part of these loans, effected by Mr. Monroe, were abso “WASHINGTON, February 2, 1829. lutely necessary to sustain your army, and embody the
“Sworn to, before me, on this 2d day of February, military forces at New Orleans, without which, victory
A. D. 1820. would not have perched upon our standard; and he who
“JOSEPH STORY, is now at the head of the nation, would have been upon his farm in Tennessee.
“ One of the Justices of the Sup. ('ourt U.S.” Sir, the gentleman from North Carolina is mistaken in We are told, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Monroe has sought saying no individual could sustain the credit of this nation. all the offices he ever filled, and that he ought to be bound It was done in the two cases referred to, at a time when by his contract. Unfortunately for the gentleman from Government paper was passing at a discount of thirty- North Carolina, in this also he is mistaken, and contrathree per cent. I speak from what I saw, and well recol- dicted by Mr. Monroc's communication to this House, and lcct, at a time when some of our public agents, who had Mr. Jefferson's letter of 13th January, 1803, informing been fattening on the spoils of the Government, had so him of his appointment to his second mission to France, little confidence in its solvency, that when treasury notes I will read but a few lines of that letter. passed through their hands, and it was necessary to en “I am sensible, after the measures you have taken for dorse them, you would find upon them a special endorse- getting into a different line of business, that it will be a ment in these words: “Pay to A B, or order, without great sacrifice on your part, and presents, from the searecourse, in any event, to me as endorser."
son, and other circumstances, serious difficulties. But The services of Mr. Monroe, during a period of the late some men are born for the public. Nature, by fitting war, were greater and more arduous than any man's in them for the service of the human race, on a broad scale, this or any country. The world is unacquainted with has stamped them with the evidences of her destination, them. He was the head and soul of the nation; oppressed and their duty.” and worn down by the weight of these services, he came But Mr. Monroe has sounded all the depthis and shoals near sinking into his grave--superintending and discharg- of honor, (not the gentleman's language, but the idea coning the duties of three departments--State, Treasury, and veyed by him,) and he must consequently be satisfied with War. To effect these outdoor loans, so they may be the compensation received. A new mode to satisfy a called, was not, could not, be required of him. Listen to claim for money. This argument I have, in the comthe testimony of a living witness known to us all, Mr. mencement of my remarks, replied to. Minggold, and who, from his situation, could best speak of In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, as the genıleman from the services of Jaines Monroe:
North Carolina (Mr. WILLIAMS) has referred us to the de“On the 5th of September, 1814, Mr. Monroe ap-claration of one Governor of Virginia, permit me to refer pointed George Graham, Esq., Major Robert II. Macpher- him to the declaration of another Governor of that State, son, and myself, his confidential clerks, and made his own [Mr. Floyn,) made in this House when the Vice President house our office. At this period, Baltimore, Richmond, threw himself upon us, and requested an investigation of Philadelphia, and New York, were menaced by the enemy his conduct--" The respect we entertain for our public with attacks; and large bodies of the militia and regular men, constitutes the reputation of our country; and, witharmy were stationed at each of these cities. Lines of vi- out respect from us, none can be claimed for them abroad dettes, who brought us information every two hours, were at this time, said he, such is the situation of Europe, and stationed on the Baltimore and Richmond roads. A com- the world, as to make it necessary for us to respect our pany of these videttes, under the command of Captain national character, made up and formed by our distinTaylor, of Virginia, were stationed in the western market- guished men.” house, in front of Mr. Monroe's dwelling. He slept for Sir, this is not the time for us to underrate the services three weeks on an uncomfortable couch, and made it my of our distinguished men, or ascribe to them unworthy duty to receive the despatches which were received from motives; and the gentleman from North Carolina may rest the cities which were threatened with attacks. It was assured, that if we only pay them, I say nothing of realso made my duty to wake ip Mr. Monroe whenever a warding them for their services, we shall not expect the vidette arrived at night with despatches; and I was often consequences of certain acts in France of which he has obliged to do so six times during the night. The de-given us such a vivid picture; I should sooner expect them spatches were regularly answered, and videttes sent off from a different course of policy. The people of this before he retired to bed.
country are too well acquainted with the services of From the day Mr. Monroe accepted the office of Secre- James Monroe to suffer him to beg his daily bread from tary of War, to the end of the war, we had no office hours: door to door-the consequences of our withholding the we worked clay und night, Sundays not excepted. Our payment of a just and equitable claim. usual time of shutting up the office, and leaving Mr. Mon What has rendered the last fifty years more illustrious roe, was from 12 to 1 o'clock at night. In January, 1815, than any period of the world, since the commencement of on an occasion of this sort, and after a day of incessant time? it is the age of Chatham, Burke, Fox, Wellington, labor, Mi. Monroe, at 12 o'clock A. M., observed to us, and Napoleon. that it was time to take some rest: in turning round to It is the age of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monpull off his boots, he tumbled on the floor, exhausted roe, Jackson, Adams, and other distinguished men in our with fatigue, and apparently lifeless: Mr. Graham being country. What may not be said in favor of Virginia, with near, luckily canghihim in his arms. He remained for such sons as she has produced? You cannot full by praise
" Whas constitutes a State?
Jax. 10, 1831.]
(H. OF R. the measure of her glory. What would be said of her Draper, Drayton, Dudley, Foster, Gaither, Gordon, Green, without these sons? She would not be conspicuous for any Hall, Hammons, Harvey, Haynes, Hinds, Holland, Hub. one thing; not for her commerce, her navigation, manu- bard, Cave Johnson, Lamar, Lea, Lecompte, Lent, Lew. factures, agriculture, roads, or canals. Sir, death itself is, Loyall, Lumpkin, Martin, McCoy, McIntire, Nuckolls, does not terminate the usefulness of such men as James Patton, Pettis, Polk, Potter, Rencher, Roane, William Monroe; “from their tomb they will hold a torch to cheer B. Shepard, Augustine H. Shepperd, Speight, Standefer, and enlighten the world; their example will animate pos- Taliaferro, Wiley Thompson, Trezvant, Tucker, Verterity; and should faction tear, or invasion approach our planck, Wayne, Weeks, Campbell P. White, Wilde, Wilcountry, their spirits will descend from divinity, and in- liams, Wingate.-73. spire tranquillity and courage.”
NAYS.-Messrs. Armstrong, Arnold, Bailey, Noyes BarLet us beware how we tamper with their reputations, ber, Bates, Bockee, Boon, Borst, Brown, Burges, Butman, or sport with their rights.
Cahoon, Chilton, Clark, Coleman, Condict, Cooper, Coul
ter, Crane, Crawford, Creighton, Crowninshield, Daniel, " Nut biglı raised battlements, or labored mound,
John Davis, Denny, Dickinson, Doddridge, Dorsey, Dun* Thick wall, or moated gate;
can, Dwight, Eager, Earll, Ellsworth, Joshua Evans, “ Nut cities, proud with spires and currets crown'd-
Edward Everett, Horace Everett, Findlay, Finch, Ford, " Nor bays, and broad armed ports,
Gilmore, Gorham, Grennell, Gurley, Halsey, Hawkins, " Where, laughing at the storin, rich navies ride"Noi suars, and spangled courts,
Hemphill, Hodges, Hoffman, Howard, Hughes, Hunt, “ Where low brow'd baseness wafts perfume to pride.
Huntington, Ihrie, Ingersoll, Thomas Irwin, William W. “ No: min-high-minded men,
Irvin, Jennings, Johns, Richard M. Johnson, Kendall, With powers as far above dull brutes endued,
Kennon, Kincaid, Perkins King, Leavitt, Leiper, Letch“ In foresi, brake, or den, “As beasts excel cold rocks, or brambles rude
er, Lyon, Magee, Mallary, Marr, Martindale, Thomas Maxwell
, Lewis, Maxwell, McCreery, Mercer, Miller, « Men, who their duties know, “ But know their rights, anı, knowing, dare maintain,
Mitchell, Monell, Muhlenberg, Norton, Pearce, Pierson, * Prevent the long aimed blow,
Powers, Reed, Richardson, Rose, Russel, Sanford, Scott, "And erush the tyrant, while they rend the chain
Shields, Sill, Sterigere, William L. Storrs, Strong, Suther6. These constitute a S ate."
land, Swann, Swift, Taylor, Test, John Thomson, Tracy, One of these is James Monroe, a citizen of Virginia.' Vance, Varnum, Vinton, Washington, Whittlesey, Edward The committee then rose, and reported progress.
D. White, Wilson, Yancey, Young.–110. Mr. MERCER gave notice that he should, on Monday,
So the House refused to consider the resolution. ask the House to resume the consideration of the subject.
ARMORY ON THE WESTERN WATERS. And then the House adjourned to Monday.
On motion of Mr. DRAYTON, the House went into MONDAY, JANUARY 10.
Committee of the Whole, Mr. Polk in the chair, and took Mr. HALL, from the Committee on Public Expendi- up the following bill: tures, to which had been referred a resolution, offered by States be, and he is hereby, authorized to select the site
" Be it enacted, &c. That the President of the United Mr. Chilton, some days since, relative to the pay of for a National Armory upon the Western waters, and, members of Congress, reported the following joint reso- for that purpose, to cause such surveys to be made as he lution; which was read, and ordered to be printed:
may deem necessary. Resolved, &c. That the rules of each House shall be so amended as to make it the imperative duty of the Secre selection shall have been made, the sum of
“Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That, after such a
dollars tary of the Senate, and Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of be, and hereby is, appropriated for the expenses of the Representatives, to ascertain at the end of every session said survey, and for commencing the érection of the neof Congress, from each Senator, Member, or Delegate from a Territory, the number of days which he may have
Mr. DRAYTON (chairman of the Committee on Milibeen absent from, and not in attendance on the business of the House; and, in settling the accounts of Senators, diate erection of an armory in the western section of the
tary Affairs) said that the bill did not propose the immeMembers, and Delegates, there shall be deducted from the account or amount of pay for each session at the rate country, but authorized the President of the United States of eight dollars per day for every day any member of the made to the proposed selection; yet, when gentlemen
to select a site for such a work. Objections might be House or delegale shall have been absent, except by or- reflected that the armories now existing were all on the der of the House to which he belongs, in consequence of
eastern side of the Alleghany mountains, he was of opinion sickness.
their objections would cease. In all that vast tract of THE TARIFF.
country west of the mountains, there was no manufactory Mr. TREZVANT submitted the following resolution: for the public arms of the United States; and when the
Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means be circumstances attending the last war were taken into coninstructed to report a bill to reduce the existing duties on sideration, gentlemen must see the necessity for passing imported goods, to take effect after the payment of the the present bill. In case of another war, it would be public debt, so as to raise a revenue adequate to the sup- found absolutely necessary to have an establishment of the port of the Government under an economical administra- kind proposed in that quarter of the Union, &c. tion of its affairs.
Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, said he felt much obliged Mr. CONDICT demanded the question of considera- to the chairman of the Military Committee, and to the tion; and
committee itself, for reporting the bill now under consi. Mr. TREZVANT called for the yeas and nays on the deration. The first proposition for the establishment of question.
an armory on the Western waters, was made several years They were ordered by the House, and, being taken, ago. The Executive Government of the country had ne. stood as follows:
ver been opposed to the measure, and its utility was YEAS.- Messrs. Alexander, Allen, Alston, Anderson, agreed on all bands. But the works had never been A ngel, Archer, Barnwell, Baylor, Bell, James Blair, Jolin commenced, because the members of the House could Blair, Bouldin, Brodhead, Cambreleng, Campbell, Carson, not agree upon a suitable site. Each gentleman had a Chandler, Claiborne, Clay, Coke, Conner, Crocheron, preference for his own district; and a want of unanimity Crockett, Warren R. Davis, Deberry, Desha, De Witt, as to the best site had alone prevented the action of the
H. OF R.]
Armory on the Western Waters.
[Dec. 10, 1831.
House on the subject. He had been constant in his at the country; touching at every point, though minutely tempts to have the measure carried into execution, and examining none-and, in the end, returning with less he was free to confess his belief that his district was the accurate knowledge than that with which they set out: most central, and in that district was to be found the best for seldom, indeed, is either the President or Congress position for the contemplated work. He saw no prospect, the wiser for all their geographical fummery. I think, however, of Congress ever determining upon a suitable sir, that enough has already been appropriated and exsite, and, therefore, he was willing to trust to the Execu- pended in making surveys, to satisfy us that surveying is tive the selection of a site--not doubting that, after a becoming a tracle, better calculated to advance the indicareful survey, the distinguished individual at the head of vidual interests of those engaged in it than the prosperity the Government would fix upon a suitable one. He was of the nation. The impolicy of multiplied appropriations of opinion the House would never make the selection, for improvements in the West must obviously appear from the work was absolutely necessary--and he was willing to another circumstance. It is, that we have it from the take the best course he could to ensure the erection of an highest authority that the payment of the public debt will be armory in the Western country.
greatly endangered, should money be disbursed for such Mr. McCoy thought that whatever propriety there was improvements as lose their national character from the in the measure proposed, there was no necessity to make mere circumstance that they begin and end in a State. an appropriation for a survey: Some years since, an But, said Mr. C., I will now advert to the dangers to be appropriation had been made for surveys to enable the apprehended from the passage of this bill. What does Executive to fix upon a site. After much time spent in it propose, but to increase the power and patronage of making surveys of the most prominent points of the West- the Executive, in a degree, and to an extent, which must ern country, Pittsburg had been fixed on as the most surely be alarming to all, when duly considered? That desirable site, and the operations at the proposed armory power is too great, and that patronage too extensive alwere to be effected by steam. After all the information ready. At the nod of the Executive, is it not true that that had been acquired by the commissioners who made the exile from office and station takes up the line of march? the surveys referred to, (and they had examined every Not, truly, with his musket on his shoulder, to fight the practicable site,) he was of opinion that another survey battles of his country; but with his load of poverty, and was not necessary, and hence there was no need of another perhaps unmerited disgrace, he returns to his family, alappropriation for the purpose.
ready worn down with indigence and sorrow. Mr. CHILTON said, that such was the regard which Is it not true that, at his bidding, the sail unfurls to the he cherished for the opinions and wishes of his honorable ocean's breeze, and agents froin abroad, like humble friend and colleague, (Mr. Johnson, ] that it was always menials, are ordered home; while others, froin better to him a source of unfeigned regret to feel himself bound fortune, and as greater favorites, are richly provided for, to stand in opposition to either. But as he and that gen- and sent abroad? Yes, sir, and what now? The President tleman represented distinct districts, each of which had must have the sum of $75,000 placed in his hands, with hitherto been urging their bumble claims to a participa- authority to survey the vast valley of the Mississippi tion in the bounty of the Government—and that, too, in where he pleases, when he pleases, and as he pleases; immediate reference to the object contemplated by the with engineers enough spread over the country, even to bill under consideration, he hoped he should be pardoned gallop a man into the Presidency, if such aid were necesby the House for submitting a few remarks. That it is sary: and, after all, to cap the climax, he is to select the expedient, said Mr. C., to locate an armory west of the site upon his own responsibility, and all alone. This, too, Alleghany mountains, will not, I presume, be denied by with the questions of low funds on the one hand, and naany member upon this floor; nor can any one more sin- tionality on the other, staring him in the face. Surely cerely or ardently desire it than myself. I have always ad- the reflecting mind must perceive, at a glance, as well vocated the proposition, when brought before this House, the delicate situation in which the President would be as I conceived, in a proper shape. I should do the same placed, as the mischiefs which might follow so rapid an now, if that were the case. But the abstract question of increase of his authority. We should beware of power, expediency is not the only question presented by this bill; in the hands of the present Executive, as well as in the it embraces other provisions, for which I cannot vote, hands of all other Executives. They, like ourselves, are until I lose sight of the interests of my immediate consti- but men, and the wavering balance is as apt to shake in tuents; inasmuch as, in my judgment, they are pregnant their hands as in ours. I am willing, sir, that each secwith mischief and danger. Before I pass on, however, tion of the Western country present to Congress its own to speak more particularly of the defects of the bill, and peculiar claims to this location, and then to trust the decithe dangers to be apprehended from it in the event of its cision to the wisdom of this body; for I am by no means passage, I will make a single remark, to show the import- prepared to admit that the Executive, notwithstanding the ance of establishing an armory on the Western waters. exalted station which he occupies, can outweigh the If, said Mr. C., the Western frontier were invaded, so re- whole legislative councils of the country, either in intelmotely is our population situated from either the armory ligence, integrity, or disinterestedness; though I do not at Harper's ferry, or that at Springfield, that before our deny to him the possession of each. In conclusion, howforces could be supplied with arms for its defence, the ever, permit me, sir, to say, that I have another private desolating hand of war would, in all human probability, reason, which will operate upon me with considerable cause our brightest prospects to wither in its grasp; while, power, when I come to give my vote upon this bill. Let on the other hand, speedily supplied with the implements it be remembered that Kentucky, the state from which I of war from a manufactory within our own borders, we come, and which I have the honor in part to represent, should be able to meet and repel the invader at his onset. feels a deep interest in this question. She has strong
But I have said, and I repeat it, though I trust with claims, and such as I hope soon to see adjusted; but respectful deference for the opinions of gentlemen who whenever I am told that the present Executive is to sit as may differ with me in opinion, that the bill is defective- sole arbiter in the adjustment, I am involuntarily reminded that the principles which it contains are dangerous--and that she is now groaning under the weight of a never that, unless it be amended, it should be rejected. It is to be forgotten veto. impolitic, inasfar as it appropriates the sum of $75,000 At the request of Mr. DRAYTON, certain documents from the treasury, for the purpose of enabling the Execu-having relation to the subject, were here read. tive to make new surveys, or rather to have it done by a Mr. D. then moved to fill the blank in the bill with set of engineers who are to be pensioned galloppers over seventy-five thousand dollars; which was agreed to.