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May 25, 1836.]
Louisville and Portland Canal.
mortification, at the result of the vote which has now been taken. That vote, if it stands, must be decisive of the success of the measure. No doubt, sir, it is altogether vain to pass this bill, unless it contain such provisions as will induce the stock. holders in the corporation to part with their interests. In the first place, sir, why do we hear so much reproach and denunciation against the members of this corporation? , Have they not hazarded their property in an undertaking of great importance and utility to the country?, Has not Congress itself encouraged their enterprise, by taking a part of the stock on account of the Government? Are we not ourselves shareholders in this company? Their tolls, it is said, are large. That is true; but then, not only did they run all the risks usually attending such enterprises, but, even with their large tolls, all their receipts, up to this hour, by no means gives an increase on their capital equal to the or. dinary interest of money in that part of the country. There appears to me very great injustice in speaking of their tolls as “fines” and “penalties,” and unjust opositions; or of their charter as an odious monopoly. Who called it so, or who so thought of it, when it was granted to them? Who, but they, were willing to undertake the work, to advance the money, and to run the risks and chances of failure? Who then blamed, reProached, or denounced the enterprising individuals who hazarded their money in a project to make a canal round the falls of the Ohio? Who then spoke of their tolls as impositions, fines, and penalties? Nobody, sir. Then, all was encouragement and cheering onward. The cry was then, Go on, run the hazard, try the experiment; let our vessels and boats have a passage round this obstruction; make an effort to overcome this great obstacle. If you sail, the loss, indeed, will be yours; but, if you succeed, all the world will agree that you ought to be fairly and fully remunerated for the risk and expenditure of capital. Sir, we are bound in all justice and fairness to respect the legal rights of these corporators. For one, I not only respect their legal rights, but I honor their enterprise, I commend their perseverance, and I think they deserve well of the community. But...nevertheless, sir, I am for making this navigation free. If there were no canal, I should be for making one, or for other modes of removing the obstructions in the river. As there is a canal, now the subject of private ownership and private property, I am for buying it out, and opening it, toll free, to all who navigate the river. In my opinion, this work is of importance enough to demand the attention of Government. To be sure, it is but a canal, and a canal round the falls of a river; but that river is the Ohio. It is one of those vast streams which form a part of the great water communication of the West. It is one of those running seas which bear on their bosom the riches of western commerce. It is a river; but, to the uses of man, to the purposes of trade, to the great objects of communication, it is one of those rivers which has the character of an ocean. Indeed, when one looks at the map, and glances his eye on all these rivers, he sees at once water enough to constitute or to fill an ocean, pouring from different, distant, and numerous sources, and flowing many thousand miles, in various channels, with breadth and depth of water in each sufficient for all the purposes of rapid communication and extensive trade. And if, in any portion of these inland seas, we find obstructions which the hand of man can remove, who can say that such removal is not an object worthy of all the attention of Government? Whoever, Mr. President, would do his duty, and his whole duty, in the councils of this Government, must look upon the country as it is, in its whole length and breadth. He must comprehend it in its vast extent, its
novel character, its sudden development, its amazing progress, confounding all calculation, and almost overwhelming the imagination. Our rivers are not the rivers of the European world. We have not to deal with the Trent, the Thames, and the Severn. With us, at least in this part of our country, navigation from the sea does not stop where the tide stops. Our ports and harbors are not at the mouths of rivers only, or at the head of the tides of the sea. Hundreds of miles—nay, thousands of miles—beyond the point where the tides of the ocean are felt, deep waters spread out, and capacious harbors open themselves, to the reception of a vast and increas. ing navigation. To be sure, sir, this is a work of internal improvement; but it is not, on that account, either the less constitutional, or the less important. Sir, Ihave taken a part in this great struggle for internal improvement from the beginning, and I shall hold out to the end. Whoever may follow, or whoever may fly, 1 shall go straight forward for all those constitutional powers, and for all that liberal policy, which I have heretofore supported. I remember, sir—and, indeed, a very short memory might retain the recollection—when the first appropriations for harbors on the great lakes were carried through this body, not without the utmost difficulty, and against the most determined opposition. I remember when Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Michigan were likely to be condemned to a continuance in the state in which nature and the Indian tribes had left them, with no proof upon their shores of the policy of a civilized state, no harbors for the shelter of a hundred vessels, no light-house even to point out to the inland mariner the dangers of his course. I remember even when the harbor of Buffalo was looked upon as a thing either unimportant in itself, or, if not unimportant, yet shut out from the care and the aid of Congress by a constitutional interdiction of works of internal improvement. But, in this case, as in others, the doctrine of internal improvement has established itself by its own necessity, its own obvious and confessed utility, and the benefits which it has already so widely conferred. So it will be, I have no doubt, in the case before us. We shall wonder, hereafter, who could doubt of the propriety of setting free the navigation of the Ohio, and shall wonder that it was delayed even so long. Mr. President, on the question of constitutional power, I entertain not a particle of doubt. How is it, let me ask, that we appropriate money for harbors, piers, and breakwaters on the seacoast? Where do we find power for this? Certainly nowhere, where we cannot find equal power to pass this bill. The same clause covers such appropriations, inland as well as on the seacoast; or else it covers neither. We have foreign commerce, and we have internal commerce; and the power and the duty, also, of regulating, protecting, aiding, and fostering both, is given in the same words. For one, therefore, sir, I look to the magnitude of the object, and not to its locality. I ask not whether it be east or west of the mountains. There are no Alleganies in my politics. I care not whether it be an improvement on the shore of the sea, or on the shore of one of these mighty rivers, so much like a sea, which flow through our vast interior. It is enough for me to know that the object is a good one, an important one, within the scope of our powers, and called for by the fair claims of our commerce. So that it be in the Union, so that it be within the twenty-four States, or the twenty-six States, it cannot be too remote for me. This feeling, sir, so natural, as I think, to true patriotism, is the dictate also of enlightened self-interest. Were I to look only to the benefits of my own immediate constituents, I should still support this measure. Is not our commerce floating on these western rivers? Are not our manufactures ascending them all, by day and by
SENATE.] [May 25, 1836. night, by the power of steam, incessantly impelling a NAys--Messrs. Black, Calhoun, Crittenden, Davis, thousand engines, and forcing upwards, against their Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks, Kent, King Public Deposites–Fortification Bill.
currents, hundreds of thousands of tons of freight? If these cargoes be lost, if they be injured, if their progress be delayed, if the expense of their transportation be increased, who does not see that all interested in them become sufferers? Who does not see that every producer, every manufacturer, every trader, every laborer, has an interest in these improvements? Surely, sir, this is one of the cases in which the interest of the whole is the interest of each. Every man has his dividend out of this augmented public advantage. But if it were not so, if the effect were more local, if the work were useful to the western States alone, or useful mainly to Kentucky and Indiana alone, still I should think it a case fairly within our power, and important enough to demand our attention. But, Mr. President, I felt the more pain at the result of the last vote of the Senate on account of those western gentlemen, who are so much interested in this measure, and who have uniformly supported appropriations for other parts of the country, which, though just and proper, are,as it seems to me, no more just or proper than this. These friends have stood by us. They have uniformly been found at our side, in the contest about internal improvement. They have upheld that policy, and have gone with us through good report and evil report. And I now tell them that I shall stand by them. I shall be found where they look for me. I have asked their votes, once and again, for objects important to the Atlantic States. They have liberally given those votes. They have acted like enlightened and wise statesmen. I have duly estimated the high justice and liberality of their conduct. And having now an object interesting to them and to their constituents, a just object, and a great object, they have a right to find me at their side, acting with them, acting according to my own principles, and proving my own consistency. And so they shall find me; and so they do find me. On this occasion I am with them; I am one of them. I am as western a man, on this bill, as he among them who is most western. This chair must change its occupant, another voice will address the Senate from this seat, before an object of this nature, so important, so constitutional, so expedient, so highly desirable to a great portion of the country, and so useful to the whole, shall fail, for the want, here, either of a decisive vote in its support, or an earnest recommendation of it to the support of others. After some further remarks from Messrs. WALKER, HENDRICKS, and CRITTENDEN, Mr. EWING of Ohio suggested that it would be better to lay the bill over until the next day, that gentlemen might, in the mean time, consider what shape it would be best to give it, in order to procure its passage. The bill was accordingly postponed.
The bill making appropriations for the purchase of sites, the collection of materials, and the commencement of certain fortifications, was taken up; the question being on Mr. BENTox's motion to strike out $75,000 for fortifications at Salem, Massachusetts, and insert “for fortifications at Salem, Massachusetts, $75,000 annually for two years.”
Mr. WEBSTER addressed the Senate in opposition to the system of making appropriations in advance; after which, the question was taken, and the amendment was rejected by the following vote:
YsAs—Messrs. Benton, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hill, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Nicholas, Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wright—17.
of Georgia, Leigh, McKean, Mangum, Moore, Nandain, Porter, Prentiss, Robbins, Swift, Tomlinson, Webster, White.—21. On motion of Mr. BENTON, The bill was further amended by increasing the appropriations for fortifications at Federal Point, North Carolina, from $12,000 to $18,000; and for fortifications at Fort St. Philip, from $77,000 to $100,000. Mr. BENTON then submitted amendments making the appropriations for two years, instead of one, for New Bedford, Massachusetts, New London, Connecticut, Soller's flats, and Fort Barrancas; the questions on which were severally put, and rejected. The bill was then reported to the Scnate, and the questions on concurring in the amendments made in Committee of the Whole, were taken as follows. The first question was on concurring in the amendment making the appropriation for fortifications at Pe: nobscot bay, $75,000 annually for two years, instead of $101,000, as in the bill. This amendment was rejected: Yeas 20, nays 21, as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hill, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Morris, Nicholas, Preston, Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wright--20. Nays--Messrs. Black, Calhoun, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks, Kent, King of Georgia, Leigh, McKean, Mangum, Moore, Nausiain, Porter, Prentiss, Robbins, Swift, Tomlinson, Webster, White. --21. The question was next taken on making the appropriations for fortifications at Kennebec, $100,000 annually for two years, instead of $100,000 as in the bill, and also rejected by the following vote: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hill, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Morris, Nicholas, Rives, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wright—19. Nays--Messrs. Black, Calhoun, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, Hendricks, Kent, King of Georgia, Leigh, McKean, Mangum, Moore, Naudain, Porter, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Swift, Tomlinson, Webster, White--22. The amendments for fortifications at Portland, $75,000 per annum for two years, instead of $100,000, and for portsmouth, $150,000 per annum for two years, instead of $200,000, were also rejected. The remainder of the amendments made in committee were then concurred in. Mr. PRESTON then moved to strike out the appropriations for fortifications at Kennebec. He had made this motion, he said, when there was not a full Senate, and it was rejected. He wished, now that the Senate was full, to try the principle, whether appropriations should be made where there were no plans or estimates. After some remarks from Messrs. PRESTON and CRITTENDEN, this motion was rejected: Yeas 11, nays 29, as follows: YEAs–Messrs. Calhoun, Crittenden, Ewing of Ohio, King of Georgia, Leigh, Mangum, Moore, Naudain, Preston, Swift, White-–11. NArs—Messrs. Benton, Black, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Goldsborough, Grundy, Hendricks, Hill, Hubbard, Kent, King of Alabama, Linn, McKean, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Porter, Rives, Robbins, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Walker, Webster--29. The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading.
Mar 26, 1836.]
On motion of Mr. CALHOUN, the Senate took up the bill to regulate the deposites of the public moneys; when Mr. C. was permitted, by general consent, to modify the bill by adding new sections, the purport of which is, that the unexpended balance remaining in the Treasury, on the 31st of December of each year, except — dollars, shall be deposited with the several States of the Union, each in proportion to its population; that the Secretary of the Treasury shall notify the Executive of each State that the sum allotted to his State will be paid on the warrant of the Chief Magistrate of said State, or deposited in the State Treasury, at his option; the sum thus deposited with the States to be retained without interest until wanted by the General Government, and that month's notice shall be given before it is withdrawn; that where a State is not authorized by its existing laws to receive the deposite, the sum allotted to it shall be transferred to it on the warrant of its Executive, or deposited in its Treasury, as soon as it shall have passed a law authorizing such transfer or deposite: this act to continue in force till the 30th of June, 1842.
The question then recurred on Mr. Wnight's amendment, providing for the investment of the surplus in the Treasury in some safe public stocks, &c.; and it being late in the evening,
On motion of Mr. W RIGHT, the bill was laid on the table, with an understanding to take it up to-morrow.
The bill to extend the charters of certain banks in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes, being the next special order, Mr. BENTON moved to postpone its consideration for the purpose of taking up the defence bill: Yeas 14, nays 19. The bill was then read with the amendments as proposed by the committee. The bill was then reported with the amendments. The amendments were agreed to. Mr. KING of Alabama moved that the bill, as amended, be printed, and that the bill be postponed and made the special order for Friday; which was agreed to.
ADMISSION OF ARKANSAS.
The Senate proceeded to consider a bill in addition to an act providing for the admission of Arkansas into the Union.
The bill was amended by filling the blank, on the motion of Mr. BUCHANAN, with the words “first day of July.”
Mr. EWING, of Ohio, without committing himself on the subject, expressed himself generally in favor of the bill.
After a few words from Mr. PORTER and Mr. WALKER,
The bill was reported as amended, the amendments were concurred in, and the bill was then ordered to be engrossed, and read a third time.
The Senate then adjourned.
Thurtsnay, MAY 26. FLORII)A BANKS.
Mr. WEBSTER offered the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:
Resolved, That the Secretary of State communicate to the Senate, so soon as they may be obtained, copies of all acts of the Territorial Legislature of Florida, granting or creating banking charters, or any institutions with banking powers and privileges, within the last three years.
On introducing this resolution,
Mr. WEBSTER reminded the Senate that, on the motion of a Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. HubBARD] a few days ago, a resolution was adopted, instructing the Committee on Finance to inquire whether it was necessary for Congress to disaffirm any of the acts of the Legislature of Florida, on the subject of the incorporation of banks. The whole of the laws of the Territorial Legislatures ought to be returned to Congress every year, and which, perhaps, are sent, but never laid before Congress. It appeared to be very important, at a moment when the rage for the incorporation of banks is so alarmingly prevalent, that these Territorial Legislatures should be restrained in their action on such questions, as the process of disaffirming is sometimes attended with much inconvenience. Something of this kind had taken place in Louisiana, from which that State might yet be visited with inconvenience. He concluded with expressing his hope that, before the termination of this session, the Committee on the Judiciary would present to the Senate some provision, ordaining that all legislative incorporations of banking companies in the Territories shall receive the sanction of Congress before they shall be in force.
The bill making appropriations for the purchase of sites, the collection of materials, and the commencement of certain fortifications, was read the third time.
Mr. KING, of Georgia, said, that having voted for this bill throughout, he wished to say a few words explanatory of the vote he was about to give on its final passage. His motives for voting against it were not from any hostility to its general objects, or to the sortifications which were in it; on the contrary, he was disposed to believe, from the quantity of evidence that had been adduced in the course of this debate, that the fortifications now in the bill should be ultimately added to the defences of the country. With him, however, the question was more as to time, than as to the propriety of the measure. If the report of the Secretary of War, sent in on the 7th of April, was to be relied on, not a single dollar should be appropriated for new works, until a re-examination was had of the whole subject, in order to adapt the system to the present condition of the country. Now his opinion (Mr. K. said) was this: that if this appropriation should be made at the present scssion of Congress, it would have no effect, but to confine several millions of dollars from the control of the Government, which cannot be expended in the objects for which it was appropriated. If the Secretary should examine these new works before commencing them, with that care and deliberation with which he should proceed, with regard to the works intended for the perinancut defences of the country, they would not be commenced before the next session of Congress, and, therefore, there was no necessity for hurrying the appropriations at this time.
Mr. K. said that he did not wish to be understood as committing himself in favor of the plan originally presented by the Military Committee. He never could agree to vote for any plan which changed the whole system so long practised by the Government, and perhaps looked to a change of our institutions. The report of the Secretary of War was, to his mind, a conclusive argument against the present bill, if he had no other objections to urge against it. Mr. K. highly complimented the report of the Secretary, saying that it showed a great mind, as well as a practical talent, well calculated to give to science a practical effect. Taking into consideration that they then were nearly at the end of the session of Congress, and that if they passed the bill it would be departing from the principles of the report, he conceived himself but in the performance of a duty SENATE.]
[May 26, 1836.
in asking for a postponement till the next session of Congress. Mr. CALHOUN observed that this system of fortifications was likely to be run down by extravagant appropriations. It added something like two millions to the usual appropriation bill, and, considering the present prices, at least a million beyond what the appropriations ought to be. As the bill now stood, he felt himself compelled to vote against it. Mr. BENTON remarked that the reasons given by the Senator from Georgia, why he should vote against this bill, were very proper so far as they were his reasons; but when the Secretary of War was quoted as being opposed to it, he thought it proper to set gentlemen right. Just so often as the Secretary was quoted in opposition to this system of fortifications, so often would he quote his own language. He would read a few extracts from the Secretary's report, in order to show what his opinions really were. Mr. B. then read the following: “It cannot be doubted but that fortifications at the following places, enumerated in this bill, will be necessary: At Penobscot bay, for the protection of Bangor, &c.; at Kennebec river, at Portland, at Portsmouth, at Salem, at New Bedford, at New London, upon Staten island, at Soller's flats, a redoubt on Federal point, for the Barrancas, for Fort St. Philip. “These proposed works all command the approach to places sufficiently important to justify their construction under any circumstances that will probably exist. 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.” Now, he did not know (Mr. B. said) that it was in the power of language to be more explicit in favor of any object than that of the Secretary of War was of the bill on the table. He must object (Mr. B. said) to any arguments founded on detached expressions in this report, when that same report contained explicit declarations in favor of the bill. It had been urged by some gentlemen that the season was so far advanced, that it was not worth while to make appropriations this year. How did this happen? It was because there had been a continued struggle to keep off appropriations for the defences of the country; because the Senate had, by yeas and nays, given the distribution bill a preference over such necessary objects; because there had been a continued contest between the defences of the country and the scheme of dividing money; and in that contest the defences of the country had gone to the wall. Gentlemen said that it was now too late in the season to apply these appropriations this year. Well, then, if it was too late, whose fault was it? When this plan of distribution was commenced, it was supported on the ground that it was impossible to use the surplus in the Treasury for the service of the country. Every gentleman in favor of the plan took this position; and yet, when the officers of Government had sent in report after report, showing that this money can be profitably employed for the defences of the country, their judgment was disputed, and disputed, too, on points in which they must necessarily be entitled to cre. dit and respect. Here they were, (said Mr. B.,) while two States and one Territory were reeking with blood and resounding with cries, engaged in dividing surpluses, and dividing them, too, by creating them. Sir, (said
Mr. B.,) if this plan goes on, it will put an end to the institutions of the country; it was engaged in contending against the very objects for which this Government was formed—the defence of the country. While they had but a skeleton of an army, whose companies of only fifty men each were reduced to thirty-odd, and while the officers in Florida were continually calling for men to fill up their ranks, the bill for that object could not be touched; it must be set aside to make room for the banks of the District of Columbia. Yes, sir, (said Mr. B.,) the convenience of the banks of the District of Columbia must take precedence over the cries of the bleeding frontiers. He could not but regret that at the last month of the session there should be a further effort to put off appropriations for the defences of the country; that, after having spent the first two months in crimination and recrimination for the loss of the fortification bill of the last year, they should now, at the end of six months of the session, have to struggle hard to get a bill for the same object passed. He wished to call the attention of the Senate and the country to the consequences of this odious principle of distribution. It was going to reduce us to a condition more helpless than we were under the old confederation; for it would reduce us to a dependence not only on the voluntary contributions of the States, but to the leavings of the States after they had cut and carved all they wanted for themselves. Mr. KING, of Georgia, said he had not voted for the distribution bill, and therefore the remarks of the Senator on that subject could not be made applicable to him. [Mr. BENTox said they were not intended for Mr. K.) Mr. K. said neither could the remarks of the Senator, denouncing those who had delayed the bill in its progress, unless he referred to a vote for an adjournment on Saturday evening. He had voted to adjourn very late on Saturday evening, when he believed some of the friends of the bill wished to push it to a third reading. But he had done so only from the lateness of the hour, and thinness of the Senate. That he was justified in that course, had been since proved by the revocation, in a fuller Senate, of every vote taken on that evening. Mr. K. denied that he condemned the report of the Secretary of War, by voting against this bill under present circumstances. He intended ultimately, in the main, to conform to it. It was an able document. In it we saw the developments of a great mind, well stored with science, and, what was equally important, a practical talent to give that science a judicious and useful application. He again referred to the report, and insisted that the season at which this bill would be passed, is at all, and the attention required of the War Department to another part of our frontier, would reconcile his views with those of the Secretary. The Secretary sent his report the 8th of April; and, as the bill was then before the Senate, he thought most likely it would be speedily acted on. From the business before the House, it could not be finally acted on before July; and he did not think any advantage could be derived from the appropriation, if the examination and surveys should be made before the money was expended. At any rate, the advantage would be too small to justify an appropriation so far in advance, and a departure from the valuable principle of having surveys and estimates before appropriations were made for any work of this description. Mr. K. said it was true that the Secretary, in one part of his report, had recommended the appropriation under the circumstances stated, and had stated that the Department would have the examination and surveys made before any money should be spent. If we would take the whole report together, however, we could plainly see that the Secretary was yielding something to his friends. He was reporting against the recommendations May 26, 1836.]
of the engineer department, against the bill reported by the Military Committee of the Senate, and against the known wishes of many friends whose opinions he re. spected. This, he thought, would account for any trifling difference between the Secretary and himself. The Secretary, he said, had been compelled to throw himself against, some of the most extravagant schemes for increasing our military preparations that had ever threatened the country. The whole of them, if adopted, would require at least one hundred millions to begin with. Qne bureau, recommended near thirty millions for providing munitions of war alone. The fortifications proposed by another bureau, and recommended by the Military Committee, would cost near forty millions more; and he had noticed that, in debate in the other House, twenty-two millions were spoken of to arm the militia. The standing army was to be expensively increased; and as to depots, armories, and arsenals, they were almost without number, as their cost was beyond computation. . It would require some Hutton to give us the sum total. Sir, (said he,) to consider the past policy of the Govyernment, and look at the documents on your table, and the yiews given us from various quarters, one would think he had been dreaming. The wise policy of allowing our citizens to prosper in the enjoyment of the fruits of their labor was to be changed. Every thing seemed to look to vast military establishments. Now, (said Mr. K.,) what I wish understood is, that I protest against all these schemes of heavy expenditures for permanent establishments. They would not only absorb the surplus, but heap new burdens upon us, and curse posterity with tariffs and taxes. We had been reminded of the system of fortifications recommended by Washington, and asked why they could not increase now, in proportion to our wealth and population. This was strange argument. Should we increase the nurses of the infant as he apProached the years of maturity? should we quadruple them, after he had become entirely capable of taking are of himself? We were able now to meet on equai terms any Power on the face of the earth; and all the Powers of Christendom united could not send a suffi. cient force across the Atlantic to gain a dangerous footing upon our soil. And yet, in this period of strength, wo had all at once become alarmed for our safety, and wished to wall the enemy out. Except for our large commercial cities, we wanted no walls but the wooden walls that floated under the command of our gallant navy. we wanted no ramparts behind which to defend our country, except a rampart of bayonets pointed by the steady arms of freemen. Our main arm of defence was the free and sturdy yeomen, who, whenever any daring inwader should set foot upon our soil, would always be ready to drop any petty or party disputes, and rally around the standard of their common country. He said he must confess that, as a democrat, governed by the principles of the old school of democracy, he felt great jealousy and apprehension of the multiplication of these fortifications. If we went on with them as threat. ened, he feared they might, at no distant day, become the grave-yard of freedom, and the burying-ground of the constitution, instead of the citadels of liberty. Other gentlemen had made predictions, and he would venture one: that was, if these military projects went on as they seemed to have begun; if our coast of three thousand miles were to be frowning with fortifications, and clouded with cannon; if our hitherto peaceful country were to become a great military camp; if every state in the Union were to be hereafter bristling with baybnets, and covered with arsenals, armories, and depots, he predicted we might, in the course of a few years, take the parchment upon which our constitution was written, and cover a drum-head with that, for all the use we should have for it as an instrument to define the
principles upon which our Government is to be administered. Every thing would shortly be settled by the sword, the truncheon, and the bayonet. A corporal and his guard would soon be more respected than the Chief Justice and his associates. And, like another great nation which had lately revolutionized in the name of liberty, but, in its sacred name, with a peace establishment of four hundred and ten thousand men, perpetrates every species of tyranny; the prison would, with us also, become the purifier of the press, whilst the bayonet settled our civil disputes. He, therefore, gave notice that he should vote against all these vast projects for changing our system into an expensive military Government, as fast as they might be brought forward. And as to the forts in question, why push them on us without estimates? Was Maine in danger? He hoped she could sustain herself another season against the Brunswickers. John Bull seemed good natured at present, and had even kindly interfered to settle a dispute for us with a belligerant neighbor. But we were told we were refusing appropriations whilst the Indians were cutting the throats of the people. Indeed! And were fortifications in the East intended to protect us against Indians in the West? No appropriations for the West had been delayed a moment, when asked for; and the danger in the South and West was another reason why we should direct our whole attention there for the present, and not be dividing the attention of the War Department with the seacoast, where there was no danger pressing.
Mr. BENTON replied that his allusions to the Indian disturbances in the South had no relation to the fortification bills, but to the bill for filling up the ranks of the army, which had been reported by the Military Committee months ago, and which was also recommended by the Secretary of War; whose fate was so peculiar, that he could not make a report without its being praised on all hands, though the objects he recommended were strenuously opposed. Now the Secretary recommended the filling up the ranks of the army, and a bill in pursuance of that recommendation had been reported by the committee; yet it had been made to yield to this distribution bill. When he referred to the sufferings of the southern frontiers, from Indian hostilities, he did it in connexion with this continually staving off the bill for filling up the ranks of the army, though that army had been reduced under a compact that it was to be filled up whenever the defence of the country rendered it necessary that they should do so; though the skeleton companies of that army of fifty men each did not even contain that number; and though the general commanding in Florida had called upon them in the most earnest manner to fill up their ranks. They could not (said Mr. B.) get that bill considered, though in the midst of summer, and near the close of the session; and though he had attempted to bring it forward by a side movement as an amendment to the volunteer bill, he was still unsuccessful. Sir, (said Mr. B.,) the States are engaged in defending themselves, because neglected by the General Government. The States of Alabama and Georgia are taking care of themselves in the same manner as if the General Government was expunged; and expunged it would be, if this scheme of distribution went on. The State of Missouri would have to take care of herself, to raise her. own men, and expend her own money, to protect herself against the 50,000 Indians placed on her borders by the General Government, bountifully supplied with mo: ney, with arms, and with horses, and amply prepared for offensive operations, when this wretched scheme of distribution'came to be surrendered, he supposed that the states would be reimbursed for what they should be compelled to expend for self-defence; but he much feared that, until then, they would have to take care of themselves.