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was in possession of said tract proposed to be entered, or cultivating the adjacent tract. Mr. CLAY observed that the proposition of the Senator from Illinois [Mr. Rob Nso N] was to reduce the price of all lands which have been in the market twenty years, down to fifty cents per acre, making a reduction of ten per cent. every year for a period of five years. The proposition of the Senator from Mississippi [Mr. WALKER ] was to confine the proposed reduction to what he considered actual settlers. He must repeat, that he had the most insuperable objections to any alteration of the existing prices of the public lands. According to the proposition of the Senator from Mississippi, the person making the entry must file an affidavit of his intention to settle and cultivate the land. Now, who could know what any man's intention was; or how could it be proved, should he violate his contract, that it was not his intention, at the time of making the affidavit, to fulfil it? Could he not say that such was his intention, and that he changed his mind? It was true that the patent would not issue for three years, yet that would not prevent the person making the entry from getting it, even if he did not settle and cultivate the land. He believed that the effect of the introduction of the principle of graduation would be this: it would throw the question of reduction before the new States, which would continually agitate them with hopes of further reduction. The question of reduction would be brought into the elections, and candidates would build their hopes on it. If they looked to the land sales, they would find there was no reason for reduction, as they had increased to such an extent that they would this year amount to twenty-four millions. There was no earthly motive for the reduction, as respected the sales and the consequent settlement of the public lands. The new States were increasing at a ratio of 87% per cent. in a term of 13 years, while the old States were increasing only two and a half per cent. Indeed, some new States were increasing at the rate of 18 per cent. per annum, and Mississippi was increasing at a still greater ratio. Thessettlement of the public lands was sufficiently rapid for all safe and salutary purposes, and for the well-being of the new States themselves. Any plan of the reduction of prices would only tend to increase speculation, and the interests of the new States, as well as the old, were actually opposed to it. Mr. WHITE said if the gentleman would modify his motion, so as to require the person declaring his intention to settle to be the head of a family, to make an actual settlement on the land, and to continue to reside upon and cultivate it for three years, with a provision that it shall be forfeited to the Government if he removed or transferred the land within that period, he would vote for it; otherwise he must be compelled to vote against both the amendment of the Senator from Illinois and that of the Senator from Mississippi. Mr. WALKER replied that, if the Senator from Tenmessee would confine his restriction on the settler to one year, he would agree to it. It would be a hard condition on the settler to compel him to reside three years on the land before getting his title. He wished the amendment to apply not merely to the actual settlement, but to the actual settlement and cultivation. He thought that a cultivator who resided on a small tract, and wished to increase his cultivation by entering the adjoining tract, should be permitted to do so. Mr. ROBINSON could not give his assent to the amendment of the Senator from Mississippi, because it would produce injurious effects, and was not at all necessary, because his amendment went on the principle that the lands that had been in the market for twenty years were not worth more than one dollar per acre. He did not know how it was in the other States, but he knew that in Illinois it was better for a man to give $125
for fresh lands, than to have these refuse lands given him for nothing. The reduction was so gradual and so small that he was surprised that any objections had been made to it. There was no inducement for any human being to enter these lands for any purpose whatever, except actual settlement and cultivation. His plan would offer no inducements whatever to speculation, and he hoped that this moderate reduction, so long asked for by the new States, would be made. Mr. PORTER said that the amendment was only intended to secure the rights of the poorer class of persons who might make settlements on the public lands, and he would therefore vote for it. The question was here taken on Mr. Walken's amendment, and it was lost. The question then recurring on Mr. Robinson's amendment, Mr. EWING, of Ohio, suggested to him that he would obtain more favor for it by adding the words “ twelve and a half” after the word “ dollar;” which Mr. R. agreed to, and modified his amendment accordingly. Mr. WHITE moved to amend the amendment by providing that the person making the entry should be the head of a family, and continue to reside on the land for three years before receiving his patent, and that in case he removes from or transfers the land, it shall revert to the United States; prefixing to it the first part of Mr. WAlken's amendment. After some remarks from Mr. WALKFR, Mr. PORTER observed that he did not want to enter into a discussion with the Senator from Mississippi as to the relative merits of Mississippi and Louisiana. He only rose to notice some remarks of the gentleman, which deserved the most serious consideration. The policy of the Government had been to remove the Indians from the new States, and to throw them on the frontiers; and had he known as much when this policy was first put into operation, he would have protested against it with all his might. The Indians had been taken from the places where nature intended them to be, and cast upon the borders of his State, from whence, in time, they might prove a source of the most serious annoyance and danger. They were now in such numbers upon the frontiers, that it only required some master spirit among them—some Tecumseh—to stir up a war which would carry blood and desolation from the Mississippi to the banks of the Sabine. Mr. LINN returned thanks to his honorable friend from Louisiana for coming to his aid, and for the opinions expressed on this occasion. Yes, sir, a genius of the commanding character of Tecumseh, possessing a mind to concur, and a hand to execute, could form combinations among the discordant elements that would set that whole border in a blaze. They are our hereditary enemies, and we may expect such combinations. From the moment the foot of the first white man touched the soil of this continent, a system of injustice and aggression commenced towards the Indians, which has been persevered in and perfected, until they find themselves on the confines of the great western plains, far from their homes and the graves of their fathers. Their hatred, therefore, is natural. But the laws governing population can no more be stayed than the tides of the ocean. Cain slew Abel, and the farmer will ever possess power over the hunter or herdsman. The Indians are therefore a doomed race; treat them with all the kindness and humanity in your power, and to this melancholy complexion it must come at last. To relieve the old States from the evils of their presence, they have been placed along the western line of frontier. Against the danger to us of their existence there, you will surely not refuse us protection, ample protection. But should Congress, in a moment of delusion, refuse, we will be comAPRIL 27, 1836.]
pelled, reluctantly compelled, to resort to the first law of our nature, necessity, for protection. Should the hour of trial come, we will be forced either to kill off your Indians, or by reversing the kind and humane policy of the Government which has ever exerted its influence to prevent collisions between the different tribes, excite them to kill each other off. It will be for Congress to say whether either horn of the dilemma should be presented us. He said he found himself wandering from the object which induced him to obtrude himself on the notice of the Senate. He rose merely to state, that for months previous to the celebrated Black Hawk having crossed the Mississippi to commence the war which afterwards raged, he had despatched emissaries to every tribe from the Mississippi to the Sabine, with a view to form combinations, and holding out inducements to the different tribes, to make a simultaneous attack on the whole line of frontier. He said, from the information which had been imparted to him, and which came from a source every way to be relied on, he felt himself perfectly justified in asserting that if Black Hawk had gained a decisive battle, such an assault would have been made, the consequences of which would have been such as to harrow up every feeling of the soul. That such combinations will take place, no reasonable thinking man will permit himself to doubt. If, when the Indians resided in the very heart of many of the States, surrounded by a white population, they broke through all restraints and commenced war, what may we not expect from them in their present position? Why, sir, we may expect, whenever it suits their thirst for plunder or revenge, to have our exposed borders attacked, our women and children to pass under the tomahawk and scalping-knife, and our property destroyed. They can burn, plunder, and destroy; and if met at length by an overpowering force, they can fly to the boundless plains behind them, where they can sustain themselves on the countless herds of buffalo that roam over these plains, until such period as they may think proper to renew the attack. Nothing, at some future day, will prevent this state of things, but the presence of a force sufficiently great to overawe the disaffected, and restrain the unruly. The presence of such force is due to them from humanity, and to us from justice. He said that, previous to his arrival here, this subject had excited his attention; and among the first measures proposed by him was, a depot of arms, a military road from the Mississippi to Fort Gibson, and an increase of the military forces of the United States. On the latter subject, (on a call made by him,) the Secretary at War had sent to the Senate an elaborate and interesting report, recommending an increase of the army, on which the Military Committee reported a bill. When that bill comes up for consideration, he would, perhaps, take part in the discussion, and give his opinions more at large. On taking the question, Mr. White's amendment was lost: Yeas 20, nays 21, as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Benton, Buchanan, Crittenden, Hendricks, King of Alabama, Knight, Linn, McKean, Mangum, Moore, Nicholas, Porter, Prentiss, Preston, Ruggles, Shepley, Swift, Walker, Webster, White-–20. Nays—Messrs. Black, Brown, Calhoun, Clay, Davis, Fwing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Grundy, Hill, Hubbard, Kent, Morris, Naudain, Niles, Rives, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Tallmadge, Tomlinson—21. The question was then taken on Mr. Rob INson’s amendment, and it was rejected; as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Benton, Black, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Grundy, Hendricks, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Porter, Robinson, Walker, Webster—-16.
Clayton, Crittenden, Goldsborough, Hill, Hubbard, Kent, King of Georgia, Knight, Leigh, McKean, Mangum, Naudain, Niles, Preston, Prentiss, Rives, Robbins, Shepley, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, White--27. The bill was then reported to the Senate; and the amendments made in committee being concurred in, Mr. BROWN here moved to strike out that part of the bill which gives the ten per cent. fund to the new States. Mr. MANGUM did not like the provision in relation to Missouri and the other new States. He thought it gave them more than they were justly entitled to. But he had made up his mind to vote for it on the principle of a compromise. But if taken out of this bill, he would not vote for it in a separate bill. On taking the question, Mr. Brown's motion was rejected by the following vote: YEAs––Messrs. Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Hill, Hubbard, King of Georgia, McKean, Mangum, Niles, Ruggles, Shepley-–11. NAys—Messrs. Benton, Black, Calhoun, Clay, Clayton, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Grundy, Hendricks, King of Alabama, Knight, Leigh, Linn, Moore, Morris, Naudain, Nicholas, Porter, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Swift, Tomlinson, Walker, Webster, White-–22. Mr. BENTON would now make the motion for which he had given notice some days ago, namely, to strike the name of Missouri from the enumeration of States to which the grants of land were to be made. He repeated what he had often said, that it was an injury and an insult to those States to have their grants imbodied in this bill. He had brought forward the bill for the grant of Missouri before this land distribution bill had been thought of it had been amended by the addition of the names of Louisiana and Mississippi, had been considered and agreed to by the Senate, ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, and actually engrossed and read the third time, when it was laid upon the table to be diverted from its passage, and to be incorporated in the provisions of this distribution bill. This distribution bill had been vetoed by the Presi dent, and the grants to the new States, including the additional quantities to Alabama, Indiana, and Illinois, had all shared of the fate of the bad company in which they were found. They fell under the veto, not for any fault in themselves, but because they were connected with a measure in which the President found insuperable objections. Thus these six States had lost their grants for four years. Now, they are in all probability to share the same fate again. They are again put into that bill; that bill is more objectionable than it was before. Judging from the President’s public messages, it was unquestionable that he would again affix his veto upon the bill if it went to him; and thus the States might be again defeated of their grants. It might be thought by the opposition members that they could break down the President by unese vetoes. They might think that they would rouse the new States against him on account of the loss of these grants; but this was a mistake--one of those numerous mistakes into which the opposition were constantly falling, and which resulted from their underrating the intelligence and virtue of the people. Every man in the new States knows the state of this proceeding. They understand the subject too well to be the dupe of these crooked tactics: They know that Ohio has had a million of acres of land for internal improvement; that Alabama, Indiana, and Illinois, have had three or four hundred thousand each; that Missouri, Louisiana, and Mississippi, have had nothing. SENATE.]
They know that Ohio received hers in a bill by itself, a bill resting on its own merits; and they know that they ought to have theirs in the same way. They know that bills have been brought in for that purpose, and that the friends of the distribution bill have caught them up and put them into the distribution bill, where they have been once vetoed, and where they must be vetoed again. All this they know, and must feel indignant at the insult to their understanding and the injury to their interest which this conduct involves. The calculation upon destroying the popularity of the President by these tactics is all in vain. The people know who to blame. They know where to point their indignant resentment. They know that the wrong to them lies not in the veto which rejects their grants with the land bill, but in the original act of stopping their grants, and putting them into the land bill, and putting them there to be vetoed! The authors of the land bill are the opponents of the President; they want to overthrow him, and for this purpose, among others, they mix up all these grants to the new States in this distribution bill, that he may veto all together, and thus a great storm be raised against him. But it will not do. The people are neither ignorant nor corrupt. They can neither be divided nor seduced. They know that every Senator who votes for putting these grants into the distribution bill, and then votes for the distribution bill, is in effect voting for putting the grants where they are to be defeated. With those who vote to put them and their vote against the bill, it is different. They may have a laudable object in view; the object of getting a vote for the grants in one shape, after which they will have a right to expect the same Senators to vote for them in another shape. Mr. B. then made his motion, that the name of Missouri be stricken out of the bill, &c. Mr. LINN said it was far srom his intention to vote for this bill, nor did he believe it could become a law, aster
what was known of the deliberate opinions of the Exec. utive, as expressed in his veto on this, or a measure of
a similar kind. Still he had no wish to see this five hundred thousand acres of land for Missouri left out of the bill. He would not only vote to retain this, but also vote for the five hundred thousand acres in his colleague's bill. His friends appeared to be amused at the extravagance of his demands and wishes; but, before he was done with the subject, he would convince them that the whole amount was not too much for Missouri, and that it was intimately connected with grave and serious considerations. By granting a million of acres, it could be employed in constructing a line of railroad from the point where the Cumberland road will terminate on the Mississippi, to the western boundary of the State, connecting it with the road marked out by authority of the United States, to the Mexican frontier. On it could surely and swiftly be transported arms and munitions of war, and, when necessary, any number of men, to repel sudden incursion or avenge outrage. He implored the Senate to look at the great western frontier from the Falls of St. Anthony to the Gulf of Mexico, and the examination he was sure would produce feelings of sympathy for the situation of the people of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The existence of numerous tribes of Indians, claiming to be independent within sovereign States, had shaken the Union to its centre, and at one time appeared to threaten a dissolution of the confederacy. To get rid of this embarrassing subject, and to save the Indians from destruction, their removal to the west bank of the Mississippi was determined on by the general Covernment; and, following out this line of policy, tribe after tribe has been located, until the aggregate amount had become alarming to contemplate. These Indians were placed there for the benefit of the old States exclusively. Have we not, then, the right to demand from the justice of Con
[APRIL 27, 1836. gress all the means necessary for our defence and protection? and for that defence and protection nothing was more important than a good road on which to transport arms and munitions of war. War, he said, was at all times terrible, but a war with Indians doubly so. The tide of emigration to Missouri was flowing on in a wide stream, bearing on its bosom much that was valuable, of industry, virtue, and capital. During the last summer, in looking at the interests of a people so suddenly overspreading the land, his attention was arrested by their extraordinary wants in mail accommodations. For the purpose of obtaining all the information necessary to enable him to act efficiently here, he addressed a short circular letter to his constituents, in which will be found the following language: “That we have not our just proportion of mail facilities, any one will be convinced by an examination of the subject. This State contributes to the revenue of the Post Office Department several thousand dollars more than Illinois, and nearly as much as Indiana; and yet we are far behind them in this respect. If there must be a disproportion, it ought to be in favor of this State, in consequence of its military position, its northern and western frontiers being darkened by hordes of Indians, indigenous and imported. We have acquiesced in the policy pursued by the general Government, in throwing clouds of savages along our borders; but it should be recollected that peace and tranquillity with them is not always to be expected, as a contest with Great Britaim, or with our neighbors on the other side of the prairies, would soon have the effect of organizing and putting in motion the elements of hereditary hatred now sleeping in the bosom of thousands who roam along our frontiers. The recent conflict with Black Hawk's band should admonish that foreign influence is not always necessary to light up the flame of war between us.” Recent events in Florida prove the truth of the last position, and since those lines were written, our neighbors over the prairies have brought down upon the Americans in Texas all the power of the great wandering tribe of the Camanches. We have seen within the last few months the beautiful Territory of Florida laid waste by the unexpected hostility of the Seminoles, and who to this moment are unpunished and unsubdued. Such, sir, are the scenes to be enacted from time to time on our borders. Mr. BEN to N’s motion to strike out Missouri was then rejected: Yeas 6, nays 34, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, King of Georgia, Morris, Niles, Robinson, Ruggles—6. Nays—Messrs. Black, Brown, Buchanan, Calhoun, Clay, Clayton, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks, Hill, Hubbard, Kent, King of Alabama, Knight, Leigh, Linn, McKean, Mangum, Moore, Naudain, Nicholas, Porter, Prentiss, Rives, Hobbins, Shepley, Swift, Tomlinson, Walker, Webster, White—34. Mr. BENTON rose to present the amendments of which he had given notice. He said that some members might be supporting the bill under the belief that they were voting to divide the nett proceeds of the public lands, when in fact the division went to the gross proceeds. Under the bill, as it stands, nothing will be deducted from the gross proceeds but the five per centum to the new States, and the one half per centum to the registers and receivers. All the other expenses of the land system; all the heavy items for salaries and expenses in the General Land Office, in the offices of all the surveyors general, in the salaries to all the registers and receivers, in surveying the lands, in the purchase of the lands from the lndians, in the annuities to them on account of lands bought, in the expense of treaties for purchasing lands, and in the expense incurred in
Arail 27, 1836.]
removing Indians from lands purchased; all these enormous expenses would still remain undeducted, and would fall upon the custom-house revenue. Mr. B. referred to documents to show that these items would amount to many millions, perhaps to ten millions this year, and must be deducted by law out of the gross proceeds of the lands, or they would fall on the custom-house revenue, as they were now payable out of the Treasury, and the accounting officers would not notice them in ascertaining the nett proceeds. He said these items must amount to ten millions this year. Two treaties alone required seven millions and a quarter; and was this to be thrown upon the custom-house revenue, or were the treaties to be rejected in order to swell the tempting mass for distribution? The idea of nett proceeds would require all costs and all expenses about the lands to be deducted; this bill, as it stands, will not touch their cost at all, nor an item of their expenses, except the insignificant per centum to the States and to the registers and receivers. Mr. B. addressed the gentlemen who were opposed to the high tariff, and asked them if they wished to revive that measure? If they did so, vote for this bill, and their object would soon be accomplished. Abstract the land sales from the Treasury, throw all the expenses of the Government upon the custom-house, and there would soon be a deficit in the Treasury which must be filled by loans or taxes. Revival of the tariff would then be inevitable, and would be the regular sequence of the plan upon which the friends of the high tariff had acted in the compromise, and were now acting on the distribution bill. “Brother Lazarus is not dead, but sleepeth.” The high tariff is not abandoned, but postponed. It was postponed because the issue of the presidential election in 1832 showed that the people were against it. It was then postponed to save it. It was openly stated by its author [Mr. CLAy] that he had taken it out of the hands of the Philistines! that he had laid it away on the shelf to rest! Now, it is regular and natural in him, by diverting the proceeds of the land sales from the Treasury, to create the necessity for supplying the vacuum from another source. The high tariff is that source, and its revival will be inevitable upon the passage of this bill. Considering this an important era in our financial history, and that the future revival of the tariff might be traced back to its true date and right cause, Mr. B. then submitted his list of items to be deducted from the gross proceeds of the sales of the lands, in the shape of the following amendments: To come in after the words “nett proceeds”— “which nett proceeds shall be ascertained to be the balance which remains, after deducting from the gross proceeds all expenses for the year on account of public lands, to wit: 1. Appropriations for the General Land Office. 2. Appropriations for the surveyor general's offices. 3. Appropriations for surveying public lands. 4. Appropriations for salaries and commissions to registers and receivers. 5. Appropriations for annuities to Indians on account of the purchase of lands. 6. Appropriations for holding treaties for the purchase of lands. 7. Appropriations for amounts paid within the year for the extinction of Indian titles. 8. Appropriations for removing Indians from the lands purchased from them. 9. Appropriations for the five per centum allowed by compact to the States in which the lands lie.” Mr. EWING, of Ohio, could hardly conceive how the Senator from Missouri’s experience could have led him to the conclusion that nothing but the commission of
five per cent. would be deducted. The item for the removal of the Indians was not properly chargeable to the public lands, for the reason offered by that Senator himself, that some of the lands cost more than they were worth, and they were removed more from political than financial considerations. It was a matter of indifference to him (Mr. E.) whether the first-named items were in the bill or not; but he thought the latter not a proper charge upon the public lands, and ought not to be put into the bill. He believed, however, those other items would be deducted by the officers of the Government. Mr. CLAY had been alternately in majorities and minorities, and his experience had taught him the propriety of submitting when in the latter; and he would suggest to his friends in the minority on this bill, whether they had not better acquiesce in its passage. He believed the minds of the Senators were all made up, and no changes would probably be made. The position assumed by the opponents of the bill resolved itself into the question whether the waste lands, to which he had before adverted, should bear the whole burden. The object of removing the Indians was sounded on the great policy of locating them at one point. He thought no part of the other amendments were necessary to be inserted in the bill, as the plain import of it was to deduct all necessary expenses of Government. Mr. WHITE contended that the removal of the Indians was a political regulation founded on humanity, and was a burden in which all the States were alike interested, and should therefore be a common charge upon them, as it was for their common benefit, and was not properly chargeable to this fund. He adverted also to the facts in the case of North Carolina, and made some comments thereon. This burden, he said, was put on Georgia, not only in defiance of her consent, but against her solemn protest, and the Government was bound to be at the expense of the removal. The United States never had the power to cede away any of the soil ceded to her; and so it was in regard to Alabama. After a few remarks from Mr. W. EBSTER, Mr. W RIGHT replied that this bill swept the whole public land into one bill. Suppose, said he, in one year we pay more for the purchase of lands than all the money received, would you call the amount received surplus? The argument of the Senator from Tennessee [Mr. White] applied solely to Georgia and Alabama. He asked him to look at those States besides Georgia and Alabama, and answer the suggestions he had propounded. Whatever might be the facts in relation to North Carolina, the argument was not applicable to the other States. In his State they considered the Indian title a mere possessory, and were every year extinguishing it. They had there pursued for many years the policy of paying them the nett proceeds, after deducting all expenses of removal; and would it, he asked, be contended that it was not a proper charge in the case of Georgia? We were paying millions upon millions to extinguish the lndian title, and he contended it was not for the common benefit of all the States, but for the particular benefit of the States from which they were removed. He asked if Massachusetts considered it as for her particular benefit that the Indians were removed. He thought it his duty to take these lands, and pu them into the market, and apply them as a remuneration for all this money paid out. He had heard none of the positions assumed by him controverted. The question now was, whether the simple expenses of these lands themselves should be deducted from the gross amount. The friends of the bill did not contend that, in a settlement with the Treasury, these charges were not to be deducted; but the officers, they said, would deduct them. Then, why not insert them in the bill? They denied the position that the amount paid for the purSENATE.]
chase of Florida and Louisiana should go into the debit side of the account, because we had bought the jurisdiction which they said induced the purchase, and was an equivalent for the sum paid; and the Senator from Ohio said the expenses of the removal of the Indians should not be allowed in the account, because of certain political considerations. Mr. W. went into an argument of some length to sustain the positions denied by the friends of the bill; and in reference to the nett proceeds, he desired this body to give a construction in relation to Louisiana and Florida. Mr. PORTER, in reply to Mr. Wright, said that the value of the soil was certainly no part of the object the United States had in view when Louisiana was purchased; that the objects were the sovereignty over the soil, and the outlet for the valley of the Mississippi to the ocean. Mr. LINN said he thought his friend from Louisiana mistaken, and that he could make it apparent. France, in pursuing her great plan of uniting the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the Gulf of Mexico, had erected, at an enormous expense, a chain of military forts, around which she planted colonies under a system of land laws peculiar to herself. On transferring the sovereignty to Spain, all grants made to her subjects were to stand confirmed by the mere act of transfer. These grants were never questioned by Spain. Spain, on coming into possession of this noble province, pursued a liberal and paternal policy in relation to the granting of lands to her subjects. What, sir, he said, has been the course pursued by this Government in the acquisition of this country? Did we consider those grants confirmed by the mere act of cession? No, sir. How did we treat the ancient, simple-minded, honest inhabitants, who had lived for generations amid a wilderness, and had preserved the lights of religion in that wilderness? Was our course a liberal one? No, sir; differing from us in laws, manners, and customs, we vexed them with lawyers and unknown laws, in an unknown language, and interposcq every obstacle that ingenuity could invent to prevent the final settlement of their claims to that soil which had been conquered by their valor and improved by their labor. A generation has passed off, and your tables are now loaded with petitions for justice at your hands. He said that this fighting off, inch by inch, step by step, and acre by acre, these old claims, he thought was some evidence that this Government attached value to the soil which they had acquired by money. Mr. W. ElBSTER said that there were some considerations that applied with great force against this amendment. One was, that it proposed to make up an account of the lands purchased within the year as an offset against the lands sold within the year. Now, if the same lands were both purchased and sold within the year, there might be some propriety in so making up the account. There might be Indian treaties within this year for the purchase of lands costing seven millions of dol. lars, which would not probably be sold for ten years to come. It certainly, then, could not be just to charge this purchase against the proceeds of the sales of the year. In every light in which he viewed this amendment, he thought it ought to be rejected. Mr. BENTON, in reply to the remarks from Mr. WEBster and Mr. White, reiterated the allegation that every item that he had enumerated was strictly and truly a charge upon the public lands, and quot e speech of Gen. Hayne, of South Carolina, to the same effect, when he was a member of the Senate. Some of these items were now admitted to be correct charges, but the main ones were still disputed, and it was evident that a twofold object would be gained if they could be kept out. The first object would be to swell the amount for distribution; the second would be to lay the soundation
for reviving the tariff, both objects dear to the hearts of the authors of this bill, but such as could not be openly avowed at this time. Mr. B. said the whole scheme of the bill was a deception and a fallacy. It professed to divide surplus money, and yet took the money which was now wanting for the public defences; it professed to divide the nett proceeds of the public lands, and yet took the gross proceeds; it professed to take nothing but the money which came from the lands, and yet took all that it could find in the Treasury by scraping back for three years. This was the real character of the bill; a deception, a fallacy, a delusion throughout, and masked with professions at war with its object. All this would be apparent in time. For the present, it could not be overlooked that the whole structure of the bill is changed; it is no longer a bill to divide the proceeds of the lands in future and for five years to come, but it is to reach back into the Treasury, to travel back through the years 1835, 1834, and 1833, and to gather up all the proceeds of the land sales for these three past years, and commence dividing this mass on the 1st day of July, and divide one fourth on that day, one fourth on the 1st of October, one fourth the 1st of January, and one fourth the 1st of April, 1837. To these divisions are to be added the amounts received from lands this year and next year. It is expected to begin the division upon twenty-eight millions in July, and finish thirty-eight millions by the 1st of January next. Now, what is the object and effect of all this? Is it the object to take all the money for distribution, and leave nothing for defending the country? Is it the object to break all the deposite banks? Is it the object to distress the country, by making the deposite banks call in all their loans in six months? Is it their object to ruin the currency by enabling whig States to draw their distributive shares in specie, compelling the banks to stop payment, and then calling for the Bank of the United States, as the only remedy for the evil? Whether this is the object, it will be the effect; and to do all tilis, it is necessary to reach back three years to find money in the Treasury which is not there, and thus make a larger sum for distribution than the deposite banks can pay.
The revenues of the year 1833 were received by the Bank of the United States, and have been expended in the public service. No part of those revenues were ever transferred to the deposite banks; they all remained in the Bank of the United States until expended; yet this bill, in its mass of deceptions and sallacies, assumes that the deposite banks received all the revenue for the year 1833; has separated the land revenue from the custom-house revenue; has saved that land revenue to the present day; and now has it in a separate pile by itself, to be divided out! These are the assumptions of the bill, while the realities are that part of this land revenue never was received at all by the deposite banks. What they actually received for 1833 has been paid out, and what they have got is the revenue of the country. The land receipts are in the mass of the revenue; and in prosessing to divide the proceeds of the lands, the revenue itself is taken; and it is taken for three years back, in order to raise an immense sum for instant division; such a sum as is expected to tempt the cupidity of distributees beyond resistance, to ruin the President if he vetoes the bill, and to ruin the deposite banks and the currency if he does not. Mr. B. said it was a bill to revive the tariff, to re-establish the Bank of the United States, and to crush President Jackson, and all who opposed it, by mere dint of money. He asked for the yeas and nays, item by item, on his amendment.
Mr. EWING said he had no objections to the amendments, except to those which proposed to deduct the Indian annuities, and the sums paid for the extinguishment of Indian titles.