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H. OF R.)
(Jan. 9, 1832. pose he had overlooked some of the observations which had been said that this measure had arisen from circumhad fallen from him, if he omitted to ask something rela-stances which had occurred within these five weeks. Had tive to it. He came here no great friend or advocate of not all which then happened been determined on publicly the institution. He had not presented the memorial. It nine months ago? And were they, the president and dihad not been sent to him. He had no bias in its favor, but rectors of the bank, so weak, so untrustworthy, that they was prepared to go for the measure in that shape which had so long neglected to avail themselves of this, if they would best comport with and promote the interests of the had wished to do so? Besides, if we looked further, we country. He was anxious that the memorial before them might see it would have been a forlorn hope. It required should be referred to the Committee of Ways and Means. all their united power to come within shaking distance of Why not? The gentleman from New York (Mr. CAMBRE- the power Andrew Jackson holds; and, to suppose that, LENG] had said they ought to hear a report on both sides, being divided, they could stand against that power, would and therefore wished it to go to a select committee. He be a species of dotage seldom equalled in that House or did not, he wanted no divided councils. He wanted it to out of it. He would ask the gentleman, distinctly, whebe sent to them who had before investigated and discuss-ther he meant to say that the president and directors of ed this subject, and given their opinion to the House upon the bank had been influenced to come forward at this it. The gentleman from New York might then offer his time by the convention at Baltimore. amendment; and the other gentleman from Maryland Mr. WAYNE replied that the member from Pennsylsubmit his scheme. But let them not propose what would vania must establish some affinity between biniself and
a hindrance to the progress of the measure altogether. su gentlemen as he had described, before he could perLet there be a bill and report on the subject. What was mit the member to put to him any questions in their beit but a petition? The report of a committee would not half. settle the question. Let the report be received. They Mr. SUTHERLAND now repeated his question. might then have sufficient opportunity to trim and lop as Mr. WAYNE said, it behooved the member from Pennthey pleased. Some who are opposed to the measure sylvania (Mr. SUTHERLAND) to think, before he put queswould have it sleep awhile; yes, they would have it sleep tions to any one, whether he might not be refused an anthe sleep of death. They wished to have a select com- swer, or get an embarrassing reply. [Here the SPEAKER mittee, that they might report against it. If they wanted a interposed; and Mr. Wayne remonstrated against the inreport in its favor, why not send it to the Committee of terposition, saying he knew what his position was, in and Ways and Means? No, they wanted a committee to re- out of this House--who had a right to put a question to port against it. But if they did so, would it not be an in. him, and what answers to make to those who had not.) sult to the Chair to ask it to appoint such a committee? But he would answer the member from Pennsylvania by Parliamentary usage required the appointment of persons saying he would not to an inconsiderate question, or to favorable to a measure; and how then was it possible to one ingeniously contrived to involve him in personal illget a report against it, unless there were some pretended will with gentlemen whom he respected, though differing friends of the bank who carried a double face? Why, with some of them whom he knew in politics, make an then, should honorable gentlemen wish for a select com- answer; and this was all the member was entitled to, as mittee, since the gentleman from Georgia avowed so plainly Mr. W. had said nothing of the member's constituents, his political views? He might have gone a step further, and which would justify the effort he had made to be the said plainly that he wanted a committee who would report champion of a part of them. If, however, the member against the bill. The gentleman from Virginia seems to desired to learn if he [Mr. W.) had said this memorial think the President has acted improperly in giving his opi- had been presented to the House to further the views of nion on this subject to that House. So far, in his opinion, the Baltimore convention in a certain event, he admitted was the Chief Magistrate from deserving censure for this, he that he had; and that, notwithstanding the member's prothought we ought to admire his manliness, in year after year fessions to the contrary, he was playing a part very well urging the subject on which he holds such opinions on the calculated to aid the design. attention of that House; and he thought it became that Mr. SUTHERLAND said he was satisfied. He underHouse now to meet it in a like manly way. It had been stood the gentleman to have no wish to come into collision, said this was a political question; and yet, though he came except of a political kind, with gentlemen connected with from a State, from a city, known to be attached to the the bank. But if any body had made this a political ques. bank, and deeply interested in its welfare, he had not tion, it was the gentleman himself. But admitting it to been even asked, on his election there, how he should be so, could the gentleman or the House think it was the vote on this subject. None knew how he should vote up- very best mode of proceeding to meet the question there? on it. There was one point on which he felt bound to Mr. S. said he represented a State which would probably put a question to the honorable gentleman from Georgia, give Andrew Jackson its whole vote. Did the gentleman (Mr. Waynx:] did that honorable gentleman mean to as- who avowed that he was entirely led away by political sert that the president and directors of the United States considerations, wish it to be said to the Legislature of PennBank, residing in Philadelphia, men of as lofty character, sylvania, that they had made this a question of politics of as strict honor and respectability, as any set of men in merely, when they passed a resolution in favor of rechar: the country, in that House or out of it--did he mean to tering the bank? And was the gentleman willing to stand say that these men were influenced to bring this measure or fall accordingly? If the gentleman wished to support forward by the movements of a political party which as- the present administration, he must be strong--a Şampsembled at Baltimore? Before that gentleman answered, son, with his curls upon his head, before he could change he would tell him that there were persons as zealous for the views of Pennsylvania on that question. He said it Andrew Jackson there, as the gentleman from Georgia was a dreadful, a horrid, a suicidal policy, to attempt to himself. They had presented a memorial at this time, draw such a line in that House. What would be said in because they perceived that the department had reported Pennsylvania, should the gentleman succeed in getting in favor of the institution; and even the President had low- this memorial laid upon the table, or strangled in a comered histone on the subject. It was no political movement mittee? Was that the way the gentleman wished to back which now brought this measure forward. Their only his friends? He could tell the gentleman that he must motive had been, that this was the accepted time, when find out some better mode, or they would stand in great the Department of the Treasury had come out in their fa- need, even in that State. vor. It would have been weakness in them to have asso Mr. s. said he knew how Pennsylvania stood. He ciated themselves with the political party alluded to. It knew how strongly she was attached to that institution,
Jas. 9, 1832.)
Bank of the United States.
(H. of R.
and he felt very sure that the ardent friends of the admi- since, by construction, the constitution has been refined nistration would do nothing to bring it, or rather to bring away, and, in fact, solemnly taken leave of by Nathaniel the United States, into hostile collision with the State of Macon, as an old friend whom he had long cherished, and Pennsylvania. That State was steady, persevering, not hoped to have stood by while he lived, but which he had given to change, and most hearty in her approbation of seen deliberately murdered before his eyes--I say, sir, if: the bank. And he warned the gentleman, as a zealous this should be ridiculous, may I not ask the gentlemen friend of the administration, not to throw lets and hin- whether they will not look into the operations of the indrances in the way of this memorial. Let them meet the stitution, investigate the management by its officers, &c.; prayer of the memorialists in an open, manly manner. and, if upon such investigation it is found to have been Let them not kill it with kindness. If the gentleman per- improperly managed, corruptly managed, and Aagrant sisted in his motion, to use the language of the gentleman malpractices discovered and clearly proved, would they from Virginia, (Mr. ARCHER,) “he, even he, should vote then, with the full knowledge of its onerous operations on against it.” He called upon gentleman to come up-to the people of the nation, (a part of whom they represent,) come up to the line. Let Andrew Jackson, the great would they, under all these circumstances, vote for the champion of independence, have the honor of putting his bank and a renewal of its charter, simply because they had veto upon the bill, or else of giving it his approbation. Gen- previously determined to do so, “right or wrong." Upon tlemen would wrong both the administration and the bank, a memorable occasion, sir, Commodore Stephen Decatur if, after three years asking for it, they refused the Presi- committed himself, “right or wrong,” and that was for his dent such an opportunity. There was no certainty that country--thus far will I go, and no further. Were I calleither the gentleman or himself would occupy seats on ed on now to vote upon this question, as at present advised, that foor hereafter. With himself, in case of a certain I should vote against it; but this is not the time to make up event, it was very uncertain. He wished to embrace the a decided opinion: let us hear the discussions, and for one, chance now; and as to the President, if he was denied the should I be convinced, first, of its constitutionality, next, opportunity he had so long sought, he might soon be ga. of its expediency and necessity, I will vote for it. But, thered to his fathers, and lose it forever. They were all above all, let us not permit our predilections for men, or passing, by a rapid course, to another country; and if ac- our party feelings, to exercise any influence over us upon tion on the bank charter was, with the Chief Magistrate, this absorbing and important question; and, in voting this so darling an object, let him enjoy the opportunity of memorial to a select committee, I shall be wholly govern. acting upon it. Then, if any gentleman wished to write ed by the course which was given to this subject in its the President's history, what would shine more brightly in incipiency. In looking into the old journals, it will be its pages, than that, after having been anxious for three seen, sir, that so much of the Executive message as relat. years to have this great constitutional question settled, he ed to the national currency, was referred to a select had at last had the honor of vetoing, or of setting his hand committee," at the head of which was Mr. Calhoun, who, to, (as the case might be,) so important a bill? Above all, from that committee, reported the bill to charter a United he wished the country relieved from its suspense. It had States' Bank; and to follow up what I think the proper orbeen truly said that the rise or full of stocks depended der of the business, I shall vote for its reference to a select every year on the President's message. Something should committee. be done on the subject--it was the wish of the President, Mr. ELLSWORTH, of Connecticut, said he did not the wish of the bank, and it was the wish of the country. rise to enter into a discussion of the subject; it was exIn justice to one and all of them, they could not refuse to hausted, and more than exhausted; he rose to put to the act, to act now, and to act definitively, on this matter. gentleman (Mr. WAYNE) who had taken the lead in op
Mr. CARSON said the course the discussion had taken position to the petition, a question. The gentleman restinduced him to make a few remarks more upon the sub- ed his objections on two grounds—that the petition was ject. He regretted to see a disposition on the part of gen- political in its bearings, and therefore ought not now to tlemen to connect this important subject with party poli- be considered; and that the consideration of rechartering tics; and also regretted the decided stand some gentlemen the bank is premature. As to the first objection, Mr. E. had taken, and the determination expressed by some to would ask, if the petition has merits, will the House revote for the rechartering of the bank,“ right or wrong.” fuse their consideration, because it may bear upon any This is one of those classes of subjects which demands, by possible political event? Is this a correct and honorable its great and general importance, the serious, uncommit- ground?' Will this Congress declare to the world such a ted, and dispassionate deliberations of the National Legis- reason for omitting its duty? As to the second objection, lature, and should not be permitted to resolve itself into a Mr. E. said, gentlemen who had spoken had proved the party question. I heard, with deep regret, sir, the gen- importance of an early consideration of the subject; it Leman from Maryland (Mr. JENIFER) express a deter- was a great and national question; there was no time to mination to vote for the bank, “benefit whom it might, spare: the stockholders and the country had too deep an or injure whom it might;” and the gentleman from Penn- interest to think of future action. But Mr. E. said he had sylvania (Mr. SUT ERLAND) had expressed a similar deter- risen chiefly to ask a question of the gentleman from mination, yet told us, at the same time, that heretofore he Georgia; and that question is, if the Chief Magistrate of was uncommitted, for that, during his whole electioneering the nation had not, in every message sent to Congress, canvass, he had not breathed to any person his views upon urged the very course now taken by the petitioners. Has this subject. Now, sir, I can very easily account for this, not the urgency of this consideration commanded a confor it is not unfrequent that candidates conceal their opi- spicuous place in every message of the President? Shall nions upon important subjects pending an election. We it now be said, since this admonitory voice has been heard, have had instances of it here, as you know, Mr. Speaker. and the stockholders of the bank have come forward to
But, sir, permit me to ask those gentlemen who are give us the opportunity of the very consideration urged determined to vote for this bank, right or wrong, whether, upon us from such a high source, that it is political and upon a deliberate hearing of the discussion which is likely premature, and must be put under the table? When did to grow out of this subject, they should be convinced of such new light break in upon certain gentlemen! the unconstitutionality of the measure, they will, in viola Mr. E. said he hoped the gentleman from Georgia tion of their conscientious convictions to the contrary, vote would answer these questions, if they were not quite irrefor the measure, right or wrong:
levant. But, sir, if it should be considered idle and ridiculous Mr. WAYNE rose in explanation. He must have been to speak now of constitutional limitations upon our actions, I misunderstood, for he had not used a word that went to
H. OF R.)
Bank of the United States.
[Jan. 9, 1832.
argue that, the memorial was premature. He had said consistently with the great duties they owe to the revenue that the reason assigned in the memorial for its presenta- and subjects of finance, send for the books, papers, and tion was not exactly the fact. They intended to avail servants of the bank, and examine upon oath all who themselves of a particular state of public affairs, to coerce have been entrusted with its concerns? Are they ready the House into granting them the charter. He had not, and willing not only to send for these books, papers, and he repeated, said that it was premature; on the contrary, / witnesses, but will they, like the committee of this House, he thought it was not so, and was prepared to meet the of whom a citizen (Mr. John C. Spencer) of the State question.
from which I come was chairman, travel over the counMr. DAVIS, of South Carolina, said that, having failed try, and resort to the various branches of this prolific into accomplish his object, which was to arrest debate on a stitution, to search out and expose its abuses, extortions, question of reference, he should withdraw his proposition and corruptions? If they will make these examinations, to commit the memorial to a Committee of the Whole on we may send the subject to that committee; but if either the state of the Union.
they will or can not, then to refer the subjec: to them, is Mr. HOFFMAN, of New York, said, though I have not only to conceal, hide, and cover all the abuses, extorin this part of the House been able to hear all or eventions, and corruptions of which the bank may have been a majority of the arguments on this subject, yet, as the guilty. question has now been stated in a debatable form, and Now, sir, although it might be proper to refer this as the House, by refusing to adjourn, have decided to subject to that committee when it came here on the Execlose the debate, I must inflict a short speech upon the cutive suggestion, it appears to me highly improper to do House.
so now, when the bank approaches our door and deBy the history of this question, it appears that when mands a new charter. What, ask a new charter, and the Executive Government for the first time sent to the yet evade a scrutiny into past conduct! Ask power and House its recommendation of a bank, it was referred to patronage for the future, but shun an account for their a Committee of the whole, and made the order for a past use or abuse! Sir, whether we grant or refuse a particular day. In this way, I understand, the bank char-charter, I hope it may be done, not on faith, not on conter originated. From that period, in all the legislation jecture, not on belief, not on hearsay or suspicion-on the subject, whether the application came here at the but upon truth, ascertained by a minute, diligent, careinstance of the bank, or an Executive suggestion, the ful examination, made in the most patient and searching question has been uniformly referred to a select com- manner. if any individual member of this House were mittee.
the proprietor of the stock of this bank, or bad his forWhen, a few years since, the President of the United tune invested in it, I ask, would he, without first examin. States, in his message, in a manner most proper, (for ing the books, papers, and agent of the institution, whatever gentlemen may think of his opinion on the sub- place the whole out of his hands into that of the direcject, all ought to admit that the time and manner of giv- tors, to keep and manage for twenty or thirty years? ing it was entirely proper)—when the President expressed Surely he would not. He would know the truth before his views on the subject, as a question of public policy, he would proceed. If the United States do not own the it was, and I think properly, referred to the Committee capital stock of the bank, yet our citizens are interested of Ways and Means. The question was exclusively one in the honesty and fairness of the bank and the soundof public policy, and, viewing it in this light, I joined in ness of its currency, to a great amount; and shall we the decision to send it to that committee, expressing proceed to consider and decide on granting or refusing an opinion that an investigation of the conduct of the pre- the recharter, without first obtaining a knowledge of sent bank should not be made, except on her application. the facts which every individual would require to guide
But affairs are changed. So far as the question bas his private judgment in his own affairs? I hope ihat we arisen on Executive suggestion, it has been sent to the shall have an inquiry, minute, careful, and juclicious, be. Committee of Ways and Means. The bank is now here: fore we legislate on this subject. Let us not proceed on a corporation with greater powers than was ever exercised rumor or hearsay, on the unsworn or even sworn testiby any other corporation under heaven, not excepting mony of interested witnesses--let us know and act on the Bank of England; a bank with a banking capital facts, and not on conjectures. of more than thirty millions of dollars, and a banking If I supposed the Committee of Ways and Means could power of triple that amount, asks a recharter, and that and would go into this inquiry and investigation, I would you should invest her with those enormous powers, rather the subject should go to it as a standing commitWhat, then, are we bound to do? This House is bound tee than to a select committee. If the chairman of that to inquire not only into the constitutional right to grant committee [Mr. McDuffie) will tell me that that comthe charter, but also whether these enormous powers mittee have time and leisure to go into this examination, have been used for oppression, extortion, corruption-- and that there is in the committee sufficient diversity of or in a just and proper manner to promote all the advan- opinion to induce them to pursue it with diligence, i tageous ends for which it was instituted. Into all these shall feel no objection to the reference of the subject to things, the history of the past, as the best evidence to that committee. But when I recollect the multifarious enable us to judge of the future, we are bound to insti- and laborious duties of that committee, the especial duty tute a most searching and scrutinizing inquiry. We at this time of proposing a reduction of the revenues, should probe all these and every hidden matter to the and other important labors, when it has been repeatedly bottom. In such a matter we cannot legislate on faith. stated here in debate that the Committee of Ways and We must have the books and papers, and the witnesses Means are entirely too favorable to the bank, and no one of truth speaking on oath. When the bank comes here, of its members will avow his hostility to it, I am constrain. challenges a recharter, says she has conducted with pro ed to believe that a reference of the petition to that com. priety, and in a matter useful to all, shall we believe her mittee will be to deny that investigation into the affairs of word, take the unsworn declarations of the interested, the bank which is necessary to show its true character and when policy and duty require that we should rely only on conduct. I am therefore opposed to sending the subject the sworn testimony of honest and disinterested men? to that committee. I hope the vices of that bank may not
Now, I appeal to the members of this House, do they be concealed that a select committee may be appointed believe that the Committee of Ways and Means feel dis- of members, willing, able, and disposed to examine and posed to make this examination; and, if they were dis- fairly lay before the House the honest truth, that we may posed to do it, have they the time, will they, can they, 'legislate on that truth, and not on fiction and fancy.
Jax. 10, 1832.)
(H. of R.
These are my reasons for a select committee, and 1 floor, rose, and addressed the House in support of his prohope it may be granted.
position. He wished, he observed, to impress upon their Mr. LEWIS CONDICT, of New Jersey, got the floor. consideration the necessity of attending to the just claims He remarked that this debate had already swelled to a of a large portion of our fellow-citizens for indemnity considerable volume upon a question of mere reference, for sacrifices which they had incurred by the destruction which, strictly speaking, was not a debatable question. of their property during the last war. He would wish To bring back the practice of the House to parliamentary the House to view the resolution in that light, and not as usage, and to put an end to a debate already too far es- a mere resolution of inquiry alone. It might, perhaps, tended, he moved for the previous question.
be supposed that, in the course he had proposed to be In this motion he was sustained by a majority of the pursued, and, indeed, it had been intimated, he had acted House, (96 to 84,) and the previous question being put, too generally, as it would open the way to too great a in this form: “Shall the main question be now put" it number of claims; but he considered the step warranted was decided in the affirmative.
by precedents on the journals of the House. It was well The main question was then put (Mr. Davis having known that an act of Congress had been passed relative withdrawn his motion to refer the memorial to a Commit- to the sufferers on the Niagara frontier, and others, in tee of the Whole on the state of the Union) upon the different parts of the country. The subject had been reference of the memorial to the Committee of Ways and brought under the notice of that House--it bad met with Means, and decided in the affirmative, by yeas and nays, as a full discussion, and an act for the partial relief of many follows:
of them had been founded on the claims advanced. It was YEAS.--Messrs. Adams, Chilton Allan, Allison, Arm- true these claimants, he meant those to whom he had strong, Arnold, Ashley, Babcock, Banks, Noyes Barber, alluded as having claims as yet unsatisfied, might have John S. Barbour, Barringer, Barstow, Isaac C, Bates, gone, as they still, if they chose, might go, to the trouble Bell, Briggs, Bucher, Burd, Burges, Cahoon, Choate, of coming there, and repeating an often told story of their Collier, Lewis Condict, Silas Condit, Eleutheros Cooke, distress. Petitions might have been signed by a number Bates Cooke, Cooper, Corwin, Coulter, Craig, Crane, of those who were entitled to relief, and referred from Crawford, Creighton, John Davis, Dearborn, Denny, the table of the House to the appropriate committees; Dickson, Doddridge, Drayton, Duncan, Ellsworth, Geo. but where, he would ask, was the necessity of doing this, Evans, Joshua Evans, Edward Everett, Horace Everett, of bringing forward claims individually and singly, when Gilmore, Grennell, Heister, Hughes, Hunt, Huntington, the object which they had in view, the satisfaction of their Ingersoll, Irvin, Isacks, Jenifer, Richard M. Johnson, just claims, could be accomplished with more facility by a Kendall, Kennon, Henry King, Letcher, Lyon, Marshall, comprehensive measure, which should include all of the Maxwell, Robert McCoy, McDuffie, McKennan, Mercer, same class? Besides, might not the representative of the Milligan, Muhlenberg, Newton, Pearce, Pendleton, people bring forward the subject on that floor, in obedi. Pitcher, Potts, Randolph, John Reed, Root, Russel, Wm. ence to the wishes of those whom he represented? He B. Shepard, Slade, Southard, Speight, Stanberry, Stew- repeated that there was a precedent for the course he had art, Sutherland, Taylor, Philemon Thomas, Tompkins, pursued, and yet that course had been considered to have Tracy, Vance, Verplanck, Vinton, Washington, Wat. been an erroneous one on his part. One of the gentle. mough, Wilkin, Elisha Whittlesey, Frederick Whittle- men who had opposed the adoption of his resolution, (Mr. sey, Edward D. White, Wickliffe, Wilde, Young.–100. WHITTLESEY, of Ohio,] had expressed a hope that it would
NAYS.--Messrs. Adair, Alexander, Anderson, Angel, undergo a full discussion in the House. He [Mr. C. ) supAppleton, Archer, Barnwell, James Bates, Beardsley, posed the call for discussing it to be parliamentary, or it Bergen, James Blair, Jolin Blair, Boon, Bouck, Bouldin, would not have proceeded from that experienced memJohn Brodhead, John C. Brodhead, Cambreleng, Carr, ber; but, he would ask, what information did gentleman Carson, Chandler, Chinn, Claiborne, Clay, Coke, Conner, possess on the subject, which, being elicited by discussion, Daniel, Davenport, Warren R. Davis, Dayan, Dewart, would cause the House to decide against the inquiry that Doubleday, Felder, Findlay, Fitzgerald, Ford, Foster, was asked? He certainly did not entertain a thought of Gaither, Griffin, Thomas H. Hall, William Hall, Ham- taking the House by surprise, in submitting the resolumons, Harper, Hawes, Hawkins, Hoffman, Hogan, Hol. tion; he proposed only the reference of the subject to a land, Horn, Howard, Hubbard, Jarvis, Jewett, Cave committee, in order that the facts might be examined and Johnson, Charles C. Johnston, Kavanagh, Adam King, reported upon to the House for its action. That was noLamar, Lansing, Leavitt, Lecompte, Lewis, Mann, Mar- thing very extraordinary. He apprehended that a condis, Mason, McCarty, William McCoy, McIntire, Thomas currence in the resolution did not commit any member as R. Mitchell, Newnan, Nuckolls, Patton, Pierson, Plum- to the measure itself, should it come into the House in the mer, Polk, Edward C. Reed, Rencher, Roane, Aug. H. shape of a bill. Again, he would ask, for whose benefit Shepperd, Soule, Standifer, Stephens, Francis Thomas, was the measure intended? It was for the benefit of a reWiley Thompson, John Thomson, Ward, Wardwell, spectable and worthy class of our citizens, inhabiting the Wayne, Weeks, Wheeler.-90.
Northwest border of the Union, who had merited, but Mr. Jarie, of Pennsylvania, was present, but was ex. had not received, the attention of Congress, and who had cused from voting:
not been participants in the indemnity granted by the So the memorial was referred to the Committee of former laws to the sufferers from the enemy's devastations. Ways and Means.
It was a matter of a private nature, if he might so express
himself. The claimants were thereby their representaTUESDAY, JANUARY 10.
He was not then going to enter into a history of LOST PROPERTY.
their claims, but the foundation of the claims was well
known. The Niagara frontier had been ravaged by the After disposing of a large number of other resolutions, enemy, and Congress had from time to time passed acts the House resumed the consideration of the resolution for the relief of the sufferers. The persons who now moved by Cooke, of New York, on the 6th instant, provid- claimed, had received either no relief, or but a partial one, ing for the more effectually carrying into effect the act of from the appropriations made for the purpose. This the 9th
of April, 1816, authorizing the payment for pro- class of claimants, too, he must observe, included some of perty lost, captured, or destroyed, whilst in the military the most deserving and meritorious of the cases. A parservice during the late war.
tial relief would not, he trusted, be pleaded to bar them Mr. COOKE, of New York, who had possession of the now from an effectual one. They appealed in confidence
H. OF R.)
[Jan. 10, 1832.
to the guardians of the public treasury, and were not to that each State lost its supernumerary fraction. This be precluded because their claims were of long stand- early exposition of the constitution had been afterwards ing. Time quieted no just demand; and that Govern- regarded as settled, and had been acted on ever since. ment to which they owed allegiance, and to whose The constitution imposed but two limitations on this laws they paid a willing submission, for which, in return, matter: the one was, that no State should have more rethey were entitled to protection and justice, would no presentatives than one for every 30,000 inhabitants; and, doubt accord to them that justice. It was no matter on the other hand, that every State should be entitled to whether they lived on the margin, or in the centre of the one representative. The effect was that the greatest country; as citizens, they were equally under the protect number of representatives at this time could be no more ing care of the Government. He knew not, he observed, than 397; the smallest, 24. The committee had rewhether it might not be common, in the ordinary mode commended a number which they considered a just me. of legislative proceedings, to object to a measure at the dium between these two extremes. It would give a House threshold, with a view to defeat it; but he repeated of such dimensions, that, on the one hand, the people that if those among his constituents who were interested would not be deprived of an adequate representation, in the result of the resolution had individually presented and, on the other, the numbers of members would not be petitions, the House would not have refused to listen to such as to render the House multitudinous, unwieldy, and their complaints.
inconvenient. In 1790, the number fixed on as entitled With respect to the remark of the necessity of seriously to a representative had been 30,000; in 1800, 33,000; discussing the resolution, he would ask if there was any in 1810, 35,000; and in 1820, 40,000. The bill now re. thing, then, in the claims, to lead away the committee to ported proposed 48,000. This was a greater augmenan acknowledgment of their justice. If so, it would tation than had taken place in forty years. Looking to form, with him, an additional reason for investigating the unavoidable inequality of the operation of any ratio them. Mr. C. proceeded in his argument in behalf of the they could propose, the committee had also considered claimants, and went on to describe the condition of the the effect of various ratios in leaving the unrepresented country on the Niagara frontier, which, he said, was from fractions in the different States; and, after maturely consilake to lake, in the interior, from the commencement of dering and comparing the difficulties, they had come to the war to December, 1813, committed to the Aames. the conclusion that 48,000 distributed the fractions as
Mr. C. had not concluded when the hour expired. equally among the States as any other number which
Further debate was cut off by a motion of Mr. POLK, could be fixed upon. The aggregate amount of all the chairman of the committee on the subject of the apportion- fractions left by this arrangement would be 547,483. The ment of representatives, to take up
committee had had no criteria from which to judge to what THE APPORTIONMENT BILL.
number of members the House would be most likely to
assent. There existed a variety of opinions, whose ad. The House went into Committee of the Whole on the vocates were in favor of a House more or less numerous. state of the Union, Mr. HOFFMAN, of New York, in the If resort should be had to experience, many were of opichair, and took up the bill regulating the apportionment nion that the number of the existing House was quite of representatives according to the fifth census. large enough, and might very conveniently be continued.
The bill was read: [it proposed that one representative He had, himself, at first, agreed in this opinion; but he had be allowed to every 48,000 inhabitants, after the deduc- subsequently been induced to coincide with a majority of tion of Indians not taxed, and two-fifths of the slave the committee in the opinion that there ought to be some population; and then went on to declare the number of re- proportion observed between the increase and widepresentatives in each State, on this rule of apportionment.] spread population of the country, and its representation
In introducing the bill, Mr. POLK observed that the in that House. committee had felt a great difficulty, and even impossibi Were all our citizens engaged in similar pursuits, so as lity, of recommending any ratio of representation which to be identified in their interests, a smaller representation should obtain the unanimous assent of the House. The might be proper; but what was their actual condition in representation of the people of the United States in that this respect? To be sure, the greater part of them were House depended, according to the constitution, not on agriculturists; but a very large class were also engaged the total population of the Union, but on the respective in manufacturing pursuits, and others in trade and comnumbers of inhabitants in the several States, excluding mercial enterprise. They inhabited a wide-spread counall Indians not taxed, and, also, two-fifths of the slaves, try, varying in its soil, climate, agricultural productions. and including all other persons. No ratio could be adopted Each part of the country, and every class of this extendwhich would be perfectly equal in its results upon all the ed community, was entitled to representation on that floor, States: whatever number might be fixed on as entitling Ten years ago, two hundred and thirteen members had to a representative on that floor, there must be fractions not been thought too many; it was proposed now to inleft in most of the States, larger in some and smaller increase that number by the addition of twenty-four more others. This inequality, however it might be regretted, members. Would that give a number too large to rehad its cause in the constitution itself. It had been so present all the people of the United States? In many sensibly felt when the ratio of representation was esta- districts there were, at present, ten, twelve, fifteen, and blished by the first Congress, that they had attempted to even twenty counties wholly unrepresented. One repre. remedy it by allowing to such of the States as had very sentative could not be considered as too much for 48,000 large residuary fractions an additional representative. freemen. If, indeed, the population of the entire counThe then President of the United States, General Wash-try were as dense as in some particular portions of the ington, after mature consideration, and after detaining the Union, a larger number of constituents to one represen. bili in bis hands until the last day allowed for bis decision tative might answer; but in many portions the population upon it, sent it back to Congress with his veto, and the was comparatively sparse. The committee, Mr. P. obreasons of it, which were two, viz. that no common di- served, were not so absurd as to imagine, or he to assert, visor would give to the States the number of representa- that they had hit upon so precise and perfect a medium tives allowed them by the bill; and that the proposed number as that neither more nor fewer could possibly number of representatives was greater than one for every effect the objects sought; such was not their view, but 30,000; and that, therefore, the bill was unconstitutional. he believed they had provided for such a ratio as should The House bad acquiesced in this construction, and re. bring the wishes, wants, and will of the people fairly on ported accordingly a new bill, the effect of which was that floor. Ours, he observed, was a popular Govern.