« AnteriorContinuar »
the Committee on Military Affairs, [Mr. BENTox,]
when this bill was first under discussion, that all these points had been selected as points proper for the construction of permanent fortifications by the first board of engineers which ever examined our Atlantic coast with a view to its permanent defence; that several subsequent examinations, by competent and skilful engineers, had been made for the same purpose; and that all had selected these points as capable of being defended by the erection of forts and batteries, and as of sufficient importance, either as commercial towns, or safe and convenient harbors and roadsteads, to render such defences necessary to the protection of our commerce and the security of the country; and that conjectural plans and estimates of the works required had been repeatedly made at all the points. He now received the assent of that honorable Senator to the correctness of his understanding in these particulars, and was therefore not mistaken in assuming this as one ground for the immediate action of the Senate. But there was another and a stronger ground. A call had been made upon the War Department, upon this subject; and the answer, full, complete, and apparently satisfactory to all, was before us. That Department was in possession of all the information which had been collected as to the necessity and propriety of these works. No one would doubt the competency of the head of that Department to form a safe and correct opinion upon the sufficiency of that information for the discreet action of Congress. What, then, does the Secretary say in reference to the fortifications provided for in this bill? “It cannot be doubted but that fortifications at the following places, enumerated in this bill, will be neces. sary.” - “I think, therefore, that the public interest would be promoted by the passage of the necessary appropriations for them. As soon as these are made, such of the positions as may appear to require it can be examined, and the form and extent of the works adapted to existing circumstances, if any change be desirable. The construction of those not needing examination can commence immediately, and that of the others as soon as the plans are determined upon. By this proceeding, therefore, a season may be saved in the operations.” These are the opinions of the executive officer of the Government especially charged with these works of defence, and fully aware of all the information in the possession of the Government in relation to their necessity and propriety. Does he tell us we want more information before we can act? No, sir. He tells us it cannot be doubted that fortifications at the points mentioned will be necessary. Does he tell us that we want further examinations, surveys, and estimates, before we can hazard an appropriation? No, sir. He tells us that when the appropriations have been made, such of the positions as may appear to require it can be examined, and the form and extent of the works adapted to existing circumstances, “if any change be desirable.” Does he tell us that nothing is to be gained by making the appropriations now? No, sir. He tells us that, by this proceeding, a season may be saved in the operations. So much, Mr. President, (said Mr. W.,) for the objection that we have not information to authorize these appropriations. Another objection is, that we have not engineers to superintend these works; and that, unless the corps of engineers be increased, the appropriations, if made, must remain unexpended. Mr. W. said this was an objection to this class of appropriations which had been frequently advanced upon former occasions, and he had repeatedly attempted to answer it; in which attempt, he was sorry to say, he had been so unsuccessful that the same objection again met him here. He must repeat
his former opinion, that the money of the Government would command engineers of science, skill, and experience; and that gentlemen were entirely mistaken in supposing that the corps of engineers, holding military commissions under the United States, monopolized all the science, experience, or skill, to be found in this widely extended country. But, for the sake of this argument, he would admit the necessity of an increase of the corps of engineers; and what would be the effect upon the duties of the Senate in relation to this bill? An act for the increase of that corps, to the extent recommended by the head of the corps, had long since passed this body, and been sent to the House of Representatives. We, therefore, had discharged our duty in this matter, and he was for continuing to discharge that duty in a matter consistent with our own action. It was not for the Senate to wait the passage of one of its bills through the other branch of Congress, before it would act upon another and more important public measure. Let us (said Mr. w ) follow our own action, be consistent with ourselves, carry out our own measures, and leave the House of Representatives to their proper responsibilities. This objection has no foundation with us, because we have already obviated it by our legislative action, and it does not become us to assume that any other branch of the Government will not discharge the same duty. A further objection to the passage of this bill is, that if the appropriations be made, the money cannot be expended. It is asserted, that the ordinary appropriations for the fortifications already commenced are more noney than it is in the power of the officers of the Government to expend, and that hence additional appropriations for new works cannot be expended. Mr. W. said he did not see that the conclusion followed from the premises. If it were true that money could not be expended at one point upon our extended coast, for the want of laborers, he could not see that it necessarily followed that laborers could not be procured at other points. The evidence upon which this objection rests is a report from the head of the engineer department, stating that some eighty or one hundred thousand dollars appropriated for the construction of a fort at Throg's neck, near the harbor of New York, was not expended during the last year, because laborers were not procured; that invitations to laborers were published and circulated in the city of New York, and in several of the eastern cities, without effect. The report, no doubt, states truly the facts, as far as it goes; but there are other facts required to enable us to form a correct judgment as to the inference authorized from this failure to procure laborers. What prices were offered? Were they equal to the current prices of similar labor in the cities where the invitations were circulated? Was the season of the year that, when laborers are usually disengaged and at liberty to make contracts? Were the character and condition of the work such as the mass of laborers were competent to perform, and would be willing to engage in at ordinary wages? These and other inquiries should be answered before we are authorized to conclude that money would not command labor in the immediate vicinity of our great commercial metropolis. Mr. W. said this objection had been repeatedly urged during the discussions of the present session, and he had himself repeatedly attempted to answer it; he was mortified to see how unfortunately, as the objection continued to be urged with undiminished earnestness and confidence. He must, therefore, again repeat what seemed to him to be a most perfect and complete resutation of the idea that money will not command labor in and about New York, to any extent to which money is offered and paid. All will remember that since we have been here, during our present session, the city of May 19, 1836.]
New York has been visited by a conflagration unequalled in the history of this continent. From five to seven hundred extensive buildings, in the very heart of the city, were laid in ashes in the course of a few hours. He had recently seen several intelligent merchants from that city, some of whom were among the sufferers by the fire. All agreed in assuring him, that by the time he would probably pass the city on his way to his home, after the adjournment of Congress, he would almost want a guide to point out to him where the fire had extended; that new buildings were rising upon the ruins of those destroyed by the fire, with a rapidity wholly incredible; that it almost seemed that an entire city was rising from the earth, as by the power of magic; that the present month would entirely complete a large proportion of the new buildings. This, Mr. President, has been mostly done in the season of winter, and a winter, too, unequalled in severity and duration. And can it be true that at that point the United States cannot command labor by money? Can private enterprise accomplish so much in a few months, and yet the Government not be able to spend a few thousand dollars upon works of defence, because labor cannot be procured for money? Sir, the conclusion is contradicted by facts, is contradicted by experience, is contradicted by the plainest dictates of sense and reason. The Government must not expect to obtain labor, but by paying the current prices for the labor it requires; and at those prices its money will go as far, be as sure to command labor, and to obtain it, as will the money of private citizens. . But, Mr. President, (said Mr. W.,) there is another view of this subject. What is the course of these expenditures? For what are expenses first to be incurred? The points at, which the sortifications are to be erected are fixed in the bill; but you have acquired no title to the necessary grounds, and no jurisdiction from the States over those sites, when you have purchased them. Both of these steps must be taken, before common prudence will warrant the commencement of the proposed erections. In all cases the purchase of the grounds must require an expenditure of money, and the grant of the necessary jurisdiction must require time for the action of the respective State Legislatures. It will not be supPosed that the application will be made for the grant of jurisdiction, until Congress place at the disposition of the Proper executive department the means to make the purchase of a site, in case the jurisdiction be obtained. Mr. W. said, to illustrate his meaning, he would speak of the proposed appropriation for his own state; because he was more fully acquainted with the facts in that case than any other embraced in the bill. He referred to the appropriation of two hundred thousand dollars for the purchase of the site of Fort Tompkins and its dependencies, and for the erection thereon of fortifications to Protect and defend the main entrance into the harbor of New York. This site is so plainly designated by the nature of the ground, and the formation of the harbor, that no Person who ever passed the point can have failed to see and mark it. Indeed, the State, during the late war with Great Britain, and when the national Treasury was destitute of means to prosecute the war, and much more to defend our coast, took this matter into its own hands, possessed itself of this site, and erected upon it three works of defence: Fort Tompkins upon the heights, to defend the other works from approach by land; Fort Richmond upon the water, to defend the Narrows; and Fort Hudson, an extensive water-battery, to act in aid of Fort Richmond, and to reach an enemy in his approach to the Narrows from the outer harbor. These works still belonged to the State, but had not been kept in repair since the war. The consequence was, that they had gone into a state of dilapidation, and he was unable to say what their value might now be to the Government.
He had understood that they cost the State some four hundred thousand dollars. He knew that repeated overtures had been made by the State to this Government to purchase them, with the site, and that the Legislature had repeatedly authorized negotiations for their sale and transfer to the United States. Nothing had hitherto been effected, and he had recently been informed that the Legislature of the State, now in session, had again authorized the sale and transfer. In this case, this must be the first step, and the payment for the site the first item of expenditure. So far, therefore, as that may go, no objection would be interposed that the money, if ap: propriated, could not be expended; nor would it be said that time was required, or information wanted, to accomplish these objects. He did not suppose that any other point was precisely similarly circumstanced; but he did suppose that in ail cases, whether the sites were the property of the states, or of individuals, a title was to be secured to the United States, and paid for out of the respective appropriations; and that the proper jurisdiction, to protect the interests of the Government, was to be obtained from the respective State Legislatures in the mode pointed out by the constitution. Means; therefore, would be required, as well as time, in all cases; and so far as both were concerned, the application to the case of staten Island would be measurably applicable to all the other cases embraced in the bill. what were the next subjects of expenditure? Mr. W. said it seemed to him that the materials for the construction of a fortification would next require the expenditure of money." The stone, brick, lime, sand, timber, iron, and all other materials, must be purchased and brought to the spot. was there any objection to making the contracts and procuring the delivery of these material: during the time required to negotiate for the site, and procure the grant of jurisdiction? He could see none: would not these preparatory steps occupy time enough to allow all further necessary surveys and examinations to be made he was sure no one could doubt the fact. What, then, was the strength of the objection that the money could not be expended, or that more time was required for surveys and examinations? But (Mr. W. said) there was another view of this objection of time, which seemed to him as absurd in prac: tice, as it must be fatal in principle, to these works of public defence. He referred to that class of the oppoments of this bill, who urged the necessity of delay in making these appropriations, and at the same time pressed upon us measures for the gratuitous distribution among the States of the very moneys in the Treasury with which these fortifications were to be constructed. The land bill, which had passed this body but a few days since, was one of these measures, and some gentlemen had been frank enough to put their opposition to this bill upon the ground that it might interfere with the moneys proposed to be distributed under the provisions of that act. Others, and much the largest number of the friends of that measure, had placed their opposition to this bill upon the ground of want of information of surveys, examinations, and estimates; and yet they had not failed to urge, with all the ardor of the former class, the giving away to the States the very means by which alone these most important and confessedly necessary modes of public defence can be erected, when the information they seem to desire shall have been obtained. What is the value of such professions of friendship for the defences of the country? What will be the use of the information sought, when the means of proceeding with the works shall have been given away?. For what valuable purpose shall we learn that the positions named in the bill are well selected, the fortifications wise and necessary, the plans economical, and the appropriations proposed only reasonable for present objects, when
[Mar 19, 1836.
the Treasury shall have been exhausted in bounties to the States, and we have not a dollar at command to be applied to new or additional defences? Mr. W. said he must say that gentlemen who assumed this position subjected themselves most strongly to the suspicion that a division of the public moneys, and not the prosecution of works of defence, was their darling object. To the other class, who openly and frankly opposed the bill upon the ground that it conflicted with the schemes for a distribution of the public moneys, he must award greater fairness. They met what he considered to be the true question, openly and without disguise. He must, however, here bring to the memory of these opponents of the bill now under discussion, some of the arguments used by those who opposed the passage of the land bill through the Senate. It was contended (Mr. W. said) by himself and others, that any system of distribution, such as was proposed by that bill, would tend to impede the necessary public appropriations; to arrest the prosecution of the necessary public defences; and to embarrass the national Government in all its departments, and in every branch of the public service. It was urged that such distribution would necessarily lead the States into measures involving heavy and longcontinued expenditures; that the arguments, estimates, and flattering calculations of the friends of that bill, were eminently calculated to produce anticipations of future dividends which could not be realized; that the members of both Houses of Congress were the representatives of the States, and of the people of the States, and must and ought to be strongly influenced by the wishes and interests of those whom they respectively represented; that when disappointment as to the amounts to be divided should come upon the constituent body-as come that disappointment must—the necessities of the States, growing out of these delusive expectations, would be paramount to the necessities of this Government, with the representative bodies; and that appropriations for the permanent defences of the country, appropriations for the navy, appropriations for the army, and appropriations for all other branches of the public service, would be injuriously restricted, or wholly refused, that the sum to be divided to the States, as surplus revenue, might be increased. Mr. W. said, when he urged these arguments, he did not even dream that he should see their correctness demonstrated before the close of the present session of Congress. He did not then believe that the evil tendencies of these plans for distribution would be so soon and so boldly developed. In this he had been entirely disappointed. Already we had met, in open avowal, the influence he had feared; and, upon this first measure of public defence which had been presented to the Senate since the passage of that dangerous bill, we had heard opposition distinctly avowed upon the ground that the appropriations might conflict with the various plans for a distribution of the moneys in the Treasury. If he had before merely doubted, he should now be most perfectly confirmed in his hostility to these projects, so long as any branch of the public service called for the expenditure of the public moneys on hand. He would now (Mr. W. said) proceed to examine, very briefly, one or two of the objections offered by the honorable Senator from South Carolina [Mr. CALhou N] to the passage of the bill under discussion. The first objection of that honorable Senator which he proposed to notice, was, the want of engineers to superintend the expenditures proposed; and he had anticipated the argument to be drawn from the action of the Senate, in the increase of the engineer corps to about twice its present, strength, by the assumption that this increase would not bring engineers of experience, and would not therefore, *Present, authorize an increase of appropriations.
We are, Mr. President, (said Mr. w.,) if the positions assumed by the opponents of this bill be admitted, in a condition unknown to the history of any people who have ever before existed upon the face of the earth. We have no debt. Our Treasury is full to overflowing. We are defenceless in almost every respect. And yet we cannot be defended, according to the doctrines of some, because our money will not purchase the labor necessary to construct the defences we need. According to others, we cannot be defended, because we have not engineers of skill and experience to direct the expendi. ture of the money, if we appropriate it. An increase of our engineer corps will not aid us in this particular, because such an increase will not bring with it the requisite skill and experience; and, as a necessary consequence from these conclusions, we must not increase the engineer corps, because, without an increase of appropriations for sortifications, we shall have nothing for the engineers to do, who may be added to the corps. Was ever, Mr. President, so helpless a condition of any people before known? Money in the Treasury to an excess, but nobody will work for it; defences of every description imperatively required, but men of skill and science cannot be found to superintend their construction. Therefore, we must give away the money, and wait for the defences of the nation, until the Treasury shall contain other means, until money will command labor, and until engineers can be educated to superintend the public works. The honorable Senator put forth another objection to this bill, which was even less anticipated from that quarter than was the objection which has just been examined. It was, that the bill is in competition with the several propositions for the distribution of the surplus revenue. Remembering the constitutional opinions held and expressed by that Senator but two years since, on the subject of a distribution of the surplus revenue among the States, Mr. W. said it was impossible that he could have expected opposition to this bill from that quarter upon that ground. In the Senator’s speech upon the removal of the deposites, made in the Senate in January, 1834, are found the following remarks: “There is another aspect, (said Mr. C.,) in which this subject may be viewed. We all remember how early the question of the surplus revenue began to agitate the country. At a very early period, a Senator from New Jersey [Mr. Dickenson] presented his scheme for disposing of it, by distributing it among the States. The first message of the President recommended a similar project, which was followed up by a movement on the part of the Legislature of New York, and I believe some of the other States. The public attention was aroused, the scheme scrutinized, its gross unconstitutionality and injustice, and its dangerous tendency of absorbing the power and existence of the States, were clearly perceived and denounced. The denunciation was too deep to be resisted, and the scheme was abandoned.” Such, Mr. W. said, were the opinions of the Senator upon the subject of a distribution of the surplus revenue to the States; and could he have expected from him an objection to the passage of a bill, providing for the defences of the country, for the more rapid prosecution of a system of defences with which he had once been officially and closely connected, because it comes in competition with propositions for a distribution of the surplus moneys, so recently pronounced grossly unconstitutional, unjust, and dangerous to the power and existence of the States? [Here Mr. PREston remarked that his colleague was not in his seat, but detained from it by official duties, and he hoped Mr. W. would consent to suspend his remarks until Mr. C. should be in. Mr. W. replied that he reMay 19, 1836.]
gretted very much the absence of the Senator from South Carolina, as he would greatly have preferred to have replied to him in his presence; but as he had no remarks of a personal character to make, he could not consent to delay the bill by a suspension of his argument.] Mr. W. proceeded: He had nothing to add on the subject of this great change of opinion on the part of the Senator, except that it had surprised and disappointed him, coming from that quarter. Another position of the Senator was not less singular and extraordinary, and called for a reply. It was the assertion that the bill was not intended to expedite the construction of fortifications, but to retain the public money in the banks where it was now deposited; and he went so far as to say, that were the objects of the bill what they purported to be—the erection of sortifications— he would support it. Mr. W. said, in the absence of that Senator, he would take no notice of this unjust and ungenerous imputation upon the motives of the friends of this bill, but would examine the position, supposing it had any foundation in fact. The bill upon its face contains as direct and positive appropriations as any other appropriation bill which has been presented to Congress. If passed, it will devolve upon the proper executive department the immediate duty of obtaining the proper sites and commencing the several works, and of proceeding in their construction with all possible despatch, so far as the means appropriated will go. Has any one suggested, or will any one believe, that any sinister intentions, on the part of those who may vote for the bill, will influence the executive officers in the prompt and faithful discharge of their duties under it? Had the Senator from South Carolina suggested, or could he suggest, any change of the form of the bill, so as to make the appropriations more positive and unconditional, or the duty to expend the money more imperative and urgent? He hazarded nothing in giving a negative answer to these inquiries. Language could not improve the bill in these Particulars; nor had it been intimated that there was either doubt or condition to be found upon its face. He would, then, leave the Senator, and the Senate, to determine how far he was sustained in placing his opposition to a proper and positive law upon the ground of his suspicion that some who support it entertain intentions unfavorable to its execution. He must present this objection of the Senator in another light, and see whether it may not be made quite as applicable to himself, as to those who advocate and support the defence bills. His charge is, that they desire to retain the money in the deposite banks. What disposition does he propose to make of it? for he is the author of a variety of propositions upon the subject. The last, and that one upon which he presumed the Senator intended to rely, was, to deposite the money in the treasuries of the several States, without interest. But when, and upon what terms, is the money to be transferred from the deposite banks to the several State treasuries? When, and as soon as, the Legislature of each State shall have passed a law, pledging the faith of the State for the repayment of the money upon the call of Congress. Nearly all those Legislatures have closed their annual sessions, and all probably will, before this proposition can become a law, if it is to become a law at all. Much the larger number of them do not again convene until November, December, and January. The money, therefore, according to the disposition proposed by the Senator himself, must remain in the depos. ite banks for the whole of the present year, at the least; while, in several of the States, the legislative sessions are biennial only; and, in one State at least, it is said its constitution prohibits the Legislature from contracting a debt for any purpose. Mr. W. said, were he to charge the honorable Senator with a design to continue
the money in the deposite banks, and assert that he had made this dilatory proposition for a different disposition, to accomplish that design, would the Senator consider him courteous or just? Would the Senate consider the imputation of such motives to any member of the body parliamentary, or proper? It was not his purpose to make any such charge. It was not his habit to impute motives to the members of this body, for acts done under their official responsibility; and he did not believe'that such a charge, if made against the honorable Senator, would be founded in fact. He did not believe the Sen. ator, in making the proposition upon which he had commented, had been actuated by any design to retain the money in the deposite banks; but the reverse. Yet he did believe that such a design imputed to that senator would have precisely as much foundation in justice and truth, as the similar charge preferred by him against the friends of the defence bills; and he trusted he had shown that the effect of the Senator's proposition would be to retain the money, in the banks much longer, and much more certainly, than any effect to be apprehend. ed from the passage of these bills. Mr. W. said his intention and desire was to apply the money in the Treasury to a constitutional use. The mo. ney is the avails of “taxes, duties, imposts, and excises,” laid and collected by, or under the authority and direction of Congress, “to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare" of the United States.” The first great constitutional use to which the public moneys were to be applied had been fully performed. The debts had been fully paid. The second, to “provide for the common defence,” it is the object of this bill to prosecute more vigorously and efficiently. For that reason he supported it, and most ear. nestly hoped it would be successful. Yet it was not for him to impute improper or unworthy motives to those who thought the constitution and the public interests would be better served by giving away this money to the States, or what was, in his judgment, precisely equivalent, lending it to the States without interest, and upon a declaration upon their respective statute books that they would repay the principal whenever their re. presentatives in the two Houses of Congress should or. der them to do so. He thought, however, so long as he abstained from the imputation of motives to those who advocated such a disposition of these moneys, he was entitled to an exemption from imputation as to his own motives, in urging a use of the money such as the honor and interests and safety of the country required and demand. ed; and such as the constitution not only authorized, but directed in terms. After Mr. Wmight had concluded, Mr. RUGGLE3 rose, and addressed the Chair as follows: Mr. President: This bill has been slumbering on the table for more than two months, without any disposition being manifested by a majority of the Senate to take it up. The inquiry throughout the country is, where is the fortification bill? What has become of the fortification bill? Why does not the Senate act on the fortification bill? All the seaboard—all that part of it which has not been already provided with works of defence—is alive to this subject. No measure is more imperiously demanded by the exposed condition of the seaboard, and none more loudly called for, in connexion with liberal appropriations for an increase of the navy, by the general sense of the country. --- - - This matter has been delayed and put off till it is now too late to do much else than to prepare for entering upon the contemplated works at on early period # the next year. An 'why it is that this *". bill has been postponed to others of much, less consequence, and suffered--nay, made--(0 lie on the table, while the season for operations has been Possing away, I am un
able to understand. But I hope the Senate will now settle the details of it, and do what, in my humble apprehension, the Senate ought to have done two or three months ago. The Senator from Tennessee who has just taken his seat [Mr. White] appears to understand the Secretary of War as recommending, in his report on this subject, a postponement of all the new fortifications named in this bill, and the completion of those works only which have been heretofore commenced. But, sir, I have not so understood the report. On the contrary, the Secretary expressly recommends the construction of fortifications at several points where none have been commenced. If we are to proceed upon the principle that no new works shall be commenced, confining the appropriations to the completion of those already in a state of forwardness, the State I have the honor to represent will still be left without defences. She has no works commenced, and therefore has none to complete. The views of the Senator from Tennessee go to sustain the motion submitted by the honorable Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. PREston,] when this bill was last before the Senate, and which, as I understand it, now comes forward for consideration. The motion was to amend the bill by striking out the appropriation for the defence of the Kennebec. In making the motion, he announced his intention also of moving to strike out all the appropriations for works of the third class, as classified in the report of the board of engineers made in 1821; and also to strike out the appropriation for steam batteries. These several motions, it seems, are to be met successively. Now, the Kennebec falls within the third class in that report, and would therefore be embraced in the second proposed amendment. But the Senator has thought proper to single out the Kennebec river for the separate action of the Senate; no doubt, supposing it to be a vulnerable point, and more assailable than any other in the bill. He does not choose to attack the whole line of fortifications at once, but to break through it at some chosen point, and then to cut them up in detail. I suppose that would be according to military principles. It is not my intention, sir, to take up the time of the Senate in advocating the system of national defences, for one part of which this bill provides; for I apprehend that at this day few are to be found, who are willing to hazard their reputation as statesmen, by calling in question the wisdom of shielding a maritime frontier, and furnishing a navy with convenient and numerous places of resort and refuge. The example of other nations, and the experience of our own; the concurring opinion of distinguished statesmen, and others eminent for their military science; the established policy of our Government, hitherto sustained by all parties; in fine, history, example, experience, science, and patriotism--all concur in sustaining the system of national defences, which embrace a navy and fortifications. The recent report of the Secretary of War upon this subject, which has received so much commendation, fully sustains the principles of the bill under consideration, differing only in some of its details. Indeed, I do not understand that this system of defence is seriously questioned by the Senator who submitted this motion. There is, however, the honorable Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. CRITTENDEN,) who the other day, in endeavoring to find sufficient surplus revenue to justify its distribution among the States, took occasion to denounce fortifications on the maritime frontier, as wholly unnecessary to the present and prospective condition of our country. He thought we could do without them. He was opposed to the whole scheme. And I infer from his remarks, that he was also opposed to a navy; for he told us that, instead of preventing an enemy from landing on our shores, we ought rather to invite
him to land–-make room for him to disembark, that those who should be left to recross the Atlantic might carry back with them such experience of our hospitality, as would deter them and others from a similar enterprise thereafter. Sir, there is more chivalry than wisdom in such a view of the subject. Fortifications are not so much to prevent an enemy from landing on our coast, as to shut up our harbors, occlude our ports, and lock up the mouths of our rivers, and thus to guard against a sudden attack upon our commercial towns by the fleets of an enemy. The Senator thinks we should find no great difficulty in chastising an enemy that should have the presumption to land on our shores. And, sir, he seems to suppose that it would argue imbecility and cowardice to attempt to keep him away from our harbors by those ugly, frowning battlements, and to protect our cities by fortresses. Perhaps he supposes it the wisest and most galiant course to give an enemy's ships of war free access to our commercial towns, and, after he has battered them down, to invite him to land and measure swords with us! We should unquestionably give him some evidence of our valor, but I do exceedingly doubt whether he would carry away with him any very high opinion of the wisdom of our protective policy. And should he not accommodate us by accepting our invitation--should he not choose to land and give us battle on shore, we might lose the opportunity of proving even our valor. But the Senator from South Carolina does not go quite so far. I do not understand him as opposed to this system of public defences. On the contrary, he claimed for his colleague the distinguished honor of having “fought up” this system of fortifying the maritime frontier, against much opposition and discouragement, at the time he was Secretary of War. And so creditable did he deem the achievement to his wisdom and patriotism, that he erected for him a triumphal arch, and fixed his statue upon it, and seemed resolved that it should not be cast down by impious hands, without an effort to sustain it there. The effort, it must be admitted, was a splendid and gallant one. And I trust the honorable Senator, whose name and fame it was intended to perpetuate, will, by his support of this bill, vindicate his claim to the apotheosis designed for him. Yes, sir, I may be permitted to hope that the combined honors of rhetoric and statuary will call up the distinguished Senator alluded to, to the support of the bill, against the assault made upon it by his eloquent colleague. Since, then, the system of fortifying the maritime frontier is not to be impugned, I ask what is the objection to this bill? One objection is, that it involves too great an expenditure; that it is entering upon a scheme that will call for appropriations to an unlimited amount. At the same time we are told, and from the same quarter whence this objection comes, that our Treasury is full to overflowing; that there is now a surplus in the Treasury of thirty-two or thirty-three millions, with a prospect of some forty-one or forty-two millions by another year; and that it is absolutely impossible to exhaust that surplus, or to sponge it up by this scheme of fortifications. It is asserted that the most liberal, extravagant, profuse appropriations for this purpose “cannot possibly touch the surplus revenue”—not even touch it; that its increase is going on with so much rapidity, that prodigality itself, with its utmost strides, cannot overtake it. And yet, the Senator says that the amount appropriated by this bill is “alarming.” Appropriations, which are necessarily so insignificant in amount that they cannot even touch the surplus in the Treasury, are at the same time to be regarded as “alarming” and “appalling,” and leading on to national bankruptcy. How