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—-a--——--→-- Mr. WALKER said he had participated in no portion of the debate on this bill, and had designed giving a silent vote in its favor; but that the observations of his friend, the Senator from Georgia, [Mr. KING, J rendered it necessary that he should explain the grounds upon which his vote was given. Mr. W. said he was not in favor of a large standing army in time of peace, or of fortifying the whole line of seaboard. He was for such an army only as was indispensably necessary to occupy important posts on the coast or frontier, or in exposed situations in the country: an army very little exceeding our present number would be sufficient. He was only for fortifying important positions, upon the principles recommended in the admirable report of the Secretary of War, and sanctioned by the President. He would not, as other Senators had done, commence by eulogizing that report, and conclude by opposing its important recommendations. Gentlemen had said that this bill would subvert the liberties of the country—that armies and military array would cover the whole Union. Mr. W. had seen none of those formidable armies, none of those bristling bayonets, that seemed to alarm so many Senators. The neigh of the war horse, or the sound of the cannon, had not reached his ear, as one of the consequences of this measure. The defence of the country was a constitutional injunction: it was one of the main objects for which the constitution was formed: it is due to the States—it is due to the people. And when was this defence to be made * When war had commenced? No, (said Mr. W.) It was the maxim of Washington, in peace to prepare for war. And how prepare, unless by fortifying those important points on the coast, by which, if undefended, an enemy’s fleet might sail into our harbors, and burn our cities, and destroy our people? Mr. W. could not perceive how we were destroying the country by defending it. And now we are asked to substitute distribution for defence; to abandon the defence of the country, in order to distribute money, and that money the proceeds of the sales of the lands of the West. This fatal distribution bill was to surrender the coast undefended into the hands of a foreign enemy, and to deliver up the new States as the colonies of the old members of the confederacy. This distribution of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands originated in a report of a tariff committee of the House in 1829; and the same committee which first proposed this distribution distinctly stated that it was necessary to give the old States a direct interest in the income of the public lands, in order to prevent any further concessions to the new States, or reduction of price. [Here Mr. W. read an extract, proving this statement, from this report.] Here was the effect of this distribution scheme, distinctly conceded by its authors to be a project to render it the interest of every old State to oppress and ruin the new States; and it is for this scheme we are asked to abandon the defence of the country. Sir, (said Mr. W.,) this distribution scheme is, in another way, an enemy to the defence of the country. Reduce the price of the public lands in favor of actual settlers, and enable the poor but honest laborer to obtain at a low price a farm, and a home of his own to defend and protect, and you strengthen his arm and nerve his heart in the hour of gloom and danger. Increase the number of farmers and cultivators of the soil, and you increase the truest and surest defenders of the country. But these men are to be sacrificed by this distribution bill. Yes, (said Mr. W.,) the bill which refuses to reduce the price of your public lands is as hostile to the interest of the poor but industrious laborer of the old as of the new States. Open the lands of the West to purchase at a low price to poor settlers, and the laboring man of the North may defy the power of his wealthy
employers. He may say, Pay me better wages, or I will go and become a farmer in the West. This distribution bill, then, is a bill to bring down the wages of the working-men of the North, and to place the poor in the power of the wealthy. This (said Mr. W.) was one of the effects of this distribution scheme, which would be made known to the working-men of the North—a scheme to prevent their ever being enabled to become farmers and freeholders; to give them a home which would be indeed their own, instead of diminishing their wages, by forcing them to remain dependent for their daily bread upon such miserable pittance for their labor as their wealthy employers might choose to give them; a scheme to retard the settlement of the new States, and to pauperize the laboring men of the old States, for the benefit of wealthy capitalists and powerful chartered monopolies; a scheme to plunder the new States for the benefit of the old States, and to oppress the poor man in every quarter of the Union. Gentlemen say the militia is the best defence of the country. Be it so; but are they the friends of the militia, the friends of the people, who would expose them to defend every important point without fortifications, and without cannon? who would make freemen the sole breastwork against which hostile artillery is to be directed, and cause streams of American blood to flow, solely because important points and harbors had no fortifications? Sir, (said Mr. W.,) I consider the lives of American freemen as above all price; and to save and protect them I would, if necessary, pour out the last dollar in the Treasury. Sir, (said Mr. W.,) it is because I am opposed to large standing armies, that I am for this bill. Leave the coast undefended, and you invite foreign aggression; you increase the chances of war, and thus increase the probable necessity for standing armies. Mr. W. said he had been instructed by the Legislature of Mississippi to endeavor to obtain a military depot at the flourishing and beautiful town of Columbus, upon the Tombigbee. Mr. W. said he had laid these instructions before the Military Committee, which has reported a bill embracing the contemplated object; which bill will become a law, if we do not abandon defence for distribution. Mr. W. said he had also carried through the Senate a resolution requiring a survey of the coast of the State of Missis: sippi, and the islands in its vicinage, to ascertain if there were any proper judicious sites for fortifications. If such sites were found in that quarter, (Mr. W. said, ) he would ask for forts to be erected there also, for the defence of Mississippi and her people, and commerce upon the Gulf. But he would vote for no unnecessary fortifications in any section of the Union. Whilst millions, in times that are past, have been expended for other States, Congress has, in fact, done little or nothing for Mississippi; and (Mr. W. said) he should, upon all proper occasions, press her claims upon the consideration of the Senate, with a deep conviction that she would yet receive justice at the hands of the General Government, by a reduction, in favor of actual settlets, of the price of the public lands, - - Mr. KING, of Georgia, said the remarks of his friend from Mississippi compelled him to say a word further to reconcile his views with the general principles of the report. If he had any pride as a politician, (and he had not much,) it was the pride of consistency. That he might be perfectly understood, he would read a few words further from the report, which he had not read before. Mr. K. then read from the 21st page: “But before any expenditure is incurred for new works, I think an examination should be made in every case, in order to apply these principles to the proposed plan of operations, and thus reduce the expense of construction, where this can properly be done, and, also,
May 26, 1836.]
the expense of garrisons required to defend works disproportioned to the objects sought to be attained.” This was the wise language of the Secretary, approved by the President, and in which he entirely concurred. He believed, however, that the season would be so far spent before this bill could pass, that this examination could not properly be made and acted on before the next session. We, therefore, had no inducement to tie up additional millions in the deposite banks so long before needed, and also depart from the principle of having surveys and estimates, when there was no emergency that justified such haste in the appropriation. His friend was for “reasonable defences.” So was he. In the abstract, they agreed exactly. He feared only they would differ when they came to settle what was reasonable. The Senator had very candidly acknowledged that one of his reasons for voting for this bill at this session was, because he looked on it as “antagonistical” to the distribution bill. He would make a further appeal to the candor of his friend, and ask him if he were not sensible that this was the only reason he had for voting for the bill? [Mr. Walken said no, he had other reasons.] He had no doubt the Senator imagined he had, or he would not say so. Mr. K. could not think that many of his democratic friends would ever have thought of the enormous appropriations at the present session, and this among them, but for that fatal surplus. “The surplus!” “the surplus!” ay, that was at the bottom of all our troubles. It was the root of all the evils that, he feared, might grow out of the proceedings of the present session. He acknowledged its possession gave us much embarrassment, and surrounded us with perils; but he hoped we would live through them. He cared nothing for the surplus. Would to God that fifty millions of the public treasure could be thrown into the crater of Vesuvius, or sunk in the ocean, unless we could devise some means to get rid of it, that would not fix a permanent and growing curse upon the country. He cared but little for land bills, distribution bills, or graduation bills, which had been referred to: and as to the surplus, gentlemen might do just what they pleased with it, so they did not plant it in prodigality, that it might grow up and branch off into future expenditures that would ultimately overshadow and impoverish the land. A useless expenditure, he said, was not only the loss of the amount thus expended, but was the fruitful seed of other and greater expenditures. It grew up and branched off like a polypus. Having once taken leave of the rules of necessary expenditure, we were soon governed by no rule at all. Waste begat corruption, and corruption begat more waste; and thus, by a reciprocating influence, useless expenditure became both effect and cause, and ultimately led to that system which he was anxious to avoid; that was, the expenditure of money as an end, instead of a means. If no safe distribution could be made then, he implored gentlemen, after making necessary expenditures, to let the surplus alone. But it was said the banks would break, and we should lose the money unless we got rid of it. Well, let them break. He should shed no tears over their misfortunes, not mourn over the losses of the Government. Better that a thousand charters of private corpo. rations should be forfeited, and millions lost to the Government, than our constitutional charter should be forfeited, and our liberties lost. Better submit to the acknowledged evils of the surplus, than encounter greater evils by its improper expenditure. He only wished that we should adhere to the system under which we had grown and prospered beyond any example the history of the world had ever surnished. The great secret of this prosperity was the economical system heretofore pursued, of having the citizen lightly taxed, to
enjoy the fruits of his own labor, by which we had become a nation of producers. He wished to continue this system, and not, like other nations, by a large Government patronage, sustain one third of the nation in splendid idleness and glittering vice, devouring the bread earned by the honest industry of the remainder. Mr. Clt ITTFNDEN said when he remembered how formidably the Senator from Missouri announced that he and his friends constituted the majority of the Senate, and that some responsibility would thereafter devolve on them, he considered his rebuke as intended for his friends, and not for those opposed to the administration. Mr. C. said it was but in accordance with parliamentary proceedings to interpose dilatory motions, to defeat any measure before the Senate for its action. He preferred, himself, however, to meet this bill directly, and wished it were in his power to take upon himself the whole responsibility of defeating it; and would then consider he had done some service. If the Senator, in saying there was no surplus, meant to say the capacity to squander, indicated by these appropriations, transcended the capacity to accumulate, then he admitted there was no surplus. In regard to Penobscot, they were told that the appropriation was not equal to, but would require treble the amount to complete it; and so it was said of other fortifications, and all under the term of national defence; and were they, he asked, at the tap of the political drum, to fall into this unbounded system of extravagance and wastefulness, and deprive the people, to whom this money belonged, from a general participation in its advantages? But a plan was proposed to invest it in a train and chain of fortifications, from Maine to Florida. He agreed with the Senator from Georgia, that it was better to bury it in the ocean, than to squander it in this way, and entail upon us the train of evils that would follow. A standing army would follow this system, as certainly as the shadow followed the substance. . In time of war, it was said not to be patriotic to stop for estimates, and it seemed that peace was not time to wait for them; so that they were to be made belligerants from beginning to end; and peace itself, it seemed, was made for war. When they had constructed all these fortifications, a tax would have to be raised to garrison them, for which six thousand men would be necessary, who would require a perpetual tax of two millions of dollars to support them. They were, in fact, sowing these fortifications like dragons' teeth, over the land, from which hosts of myrmidons would spring up, to eat out the substance of the citizens. Last year, in the prospect of a war, two millions was all that was necessary; and now, in time of peace, that sum bore but a small proportion to the amount proposed to be expended for defence. He admitted there wore some points on the seacoast, where forts, &c. were necessary, and he would go for them; but he was opposed to this system of fortification as a means of general defence. It was, among other reasons, too costly for a general sys: tem. It was admitted by the Senator from Mississippi that the militia was the main arm of our defence; but he was for placing them behind these fortifications, which Mr. C. thought would tend to destroy their spirit of valor and patriotism; and when they became too good to stand out in the danger, let them stay home, said he, and sustain a mercenary army to fight for them, under cover of these fortifications. But what, he asked, did our militia do at Bunker's Hill, and what did they do at New Orleans? The very argument in favor of protecting our citizens behind walls, required but one step further to create a standing army. It was the honor, the right, and the privilege of the citizens to defend their country; and he would as soon see them surrender their right of suffrage *** Yield to this. if this bill passed, they would appropriate not less than six millions of dollars, and there would be a beating up SENATE.]
for labor along the whole line of fortifications. Penobscot would beat up against Kennebec, and Kennebec against Penobscot, and the Government would be beating up against itself from Penobscot to New Orleans. By adding to expenditures in one part of the country, it was taking the amount expended from another part; and he asked what right they had to take the labor of laboring men from one portion of the country to another. If this bill was antagonistical to the land bill, it followed that, as that bill had passed the Senate, this must be defeated, especially as this was a scheme to prevent it from going into effect. He went against this bill for the reasons he had given, and would prefer leaving it in the banks, rather than appropriate the money in this way. While gentlemen looked upon the paltry distribution of the surplus at Kennebec, Portsmouth, &c., to use a figure of speech of the Senator from Connecticut, [Mr. Niles,) they wanted to stick their forks into the fleshpots of Egypt alone. It seemed the people could not be trusted with an equal distribution of the surplus among them, on account of their susceptibility to corruption; while the Senate alone claimed the priority of calling on the aid of engineers and a host of officers to superintend its expenditure. He should hardly suppose the Secretary of the Treasury could get his natural rest in watching these various projects for disposing of the surplus, which were sometimes overcharged, and sometimes undercharged. The Senator from Missouri had sneeringly and contemptuously said, that while here engaged in the work of dividing the surplus, they had refused to take measures for the defence of the frontier against the Indians. He would like to know how the distribution bill had intersered with appropriations for that object. [Mr. BENto N said he would tell the gentleman. It had interfered in this way. They had reported a bill, under the recommendation of the Secretary of War, to fill up the skeletons of our regiments, and they could not get that bill considered.] Mr. C. continued. The general commanding there had in command ten men for one opposing him; and if he had not succeeded in his expedition, it had not been for want of men. Ile intended to cast no reproach on the soldiers; but he thought perhaps fewer would have done better; and, accordingly, he did not know that any of them were accusable for that negligence. [Mr. BENto N said the gentleman never read the report of the general commanding in Florida, or he would have known it.] Mr. C. continued. They had not refused any appropriations for that object, but had hurried them through without estimates. He had a deep settled conviction that this system of fortifications was pregnant with mischievous consequences that ought to alarm the country. It was an extravagance and waste of the people's money, from which they would reap a poisonous harvest; and the time would come when we should have no surplus, and when we should be called on to raise by taxation some two or three millions of dollars per annum for the support of a standing army. Mr. WALKER said he would detain the Senate but a few moments in reply to some of the strictures of the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. CRITTENDEN] upon his remarks. That Senator said that to support the system of fortifications would destroy the martial spirit of the people, by placing them in forts where there was no peril in the conflict, no hazard of life, and none of that glory and excitement arising from their exposure to danger in the open field in defence of their country. Mr. W. said that, if exposing to danger the lives of our people upon a naked and defenceless coast was the best means of infusing into our citizens a martial spirit, it was one of those means that had escaped the sagacity of all writers
upon the art of war, and was against the experience of all the nations of the world. The musket and rifle were one means of defence, artillery a second, and forts a third; and upon the principle that should induce us to abandon the third, we should also abandon the second, in order to increase the loss upon our side, and augment the glory and danger of the combat, and thus infuse into our people a more martial spirit. But (said Mr. W.) will this danger and glory call back from the grave our slaughtered citizens? Will they check the widow's sigh, or dry the orphan’s tear? Will they give back your cities from pillage and conflagration? Will they return to their homes and country that patriotic militia who were wantonly sacrificed, mowed down by thousands, because the Government had refused to erect the necessary fortifications to repel invasion? To me (said Mr. W.) there would be no glory in such a spectacle. Our true glory consists in saving an effusion of American blood; in sparing the lives of our citizens; in conquering with as little loss upon our side as possible. If any other man than the patriot Jackson had commanded at New Orleans, that city, and the whole commerce of the West, would have been sacrificed for the want of the necessary fortifications. The object is to defend the country with as little loss of life as practicable; and hence it was behind cot: ton-bale ramparts that the riflemen of the West obtained at New Orleans that great and glorious, because to us a bloodless, victory. And when the victory was gained, and many an ardent officer applied to their great commander for liberty to pursue and capture the army of the enemy, “No,” said the veteran patriot, “my object is accomplished—the defence of New Orleans; and i would now rather pave with gold the way of the enemy beyond our limits, than sacrifice, in search of glory only, the life of one of my soldiery.” Whilst some gentlemen (said Mr. W.) denounce the bill, because they say it will destroy the martial spirit, others oppose it because it will make us too belligerant. Indeed, the same Senators have used these irreconcilable and contradictory arguments. How the bill could at the same time destroy our martial spirit, and yet render us too belligerant, Mr. W. could not understand. Mr. W. said he had heard not one sound practical argument against this bill; it was all vague and general
denunciation. Those opposed to the bill, eulogized the report of the Secretary of War, and conceded the propriety of defending important points; and (said Mr. W.) is not every point, the fortifying of which is proposed by this bill, an important point—a point within the express recommendation of the Secretary of War? These hon: orable Senators, then, upon their own principles, should support this bill. It is a bill to defend important points, and those only; and if we do not intend to abandon the whole system of fortifications, and leave the entire coast naked and defenceless, and open to the hostile navies of the world, to burn our cities, and destroy the lives and property of our people, we must support this bill. The opposition to this bill, with specific appropriations, is a singular commentary upon the course of those Senators who excused themselves for opposing the three million sortification bill, because its appropriations were not specific. We have just escaped (said Mr. W.) the horrors of a foreign war, with our coast and harbors entirely defenceless; and as Omniscience only can determine when the danger may recur, preparation against foreign aggression is the best means of avoiding it, and a solemn duty which we owe to the States and people of this Union. “Millions for defence, not a cent for tribute,” is a principle, when properly applied, that should never cease to influence every American statesman, and which, he hoped, would operate upon the present occasion. Mr. RIVES said he agreed with several of the gentle
men who had spoken against this bill, and particularly May 26, 1836.]
with his friend from Georgia, [Mr. King,) in the principles advanced by them in regard to a general system of fortifications; but he differed from them as to the application of those principles to the measure under consideration. He believed that the idea of defending a seacoast of more than three thousand miles in extent, by fortifications, was wholly visionary and impracticable; and that the attempt to do so would involve the country in endless expense, and saddle the nation with burdens, in one form or another, which they would never be content to bear. But, while this was so, there were particular positions which, from their peculiar importance, as commercial towns, or as naval stations and depots, all admitted, stood in need of special defences, and ought to be fortified. The question upon the present occasion, then, is not whether a general system of sortifications along our extended line of seacoast is judicious and proper; but whether the particular points provided for in this bill ought to be fortified. He understood his friend from Georgia distinctly to admit that the places proposed to be fortified by the present bill, are such as ought to be provided with adequate defences; but his objection to the measure was one of time—that these places were exposed to no immediate danger, and that we should proceed with more deliberation. But surely, sir, (said Mr. R.,) a period of peace is the only time in which we can suitably prepare for the exigencies of war. We ought not to wait until war has actually burst upon us, before we put ourselves in a posture to ineet it. We have now an overflowing Treasury, and every day brings forth some project for the distribu. tion or absorption of our surplus. The dangers, too, which we have recently escaped, (for all admit if war had unhappily been the issue of our late difficulties with a foreign Power, we should have found ourselves in a very unprepared condition for it, both as to our land and naval defences,) admonish us impressively to repair, with as little delay as possible, the error of our past improvidence. - - - - If then, the fortifications provided for by this bill ought ever to be made, no time can be more appropriate or more convenient for the commencement of the work than the present. As to the propriety of these fortifications, they are justified cven by the principles of the honorable Senator from Kentucky, [Mr. Chitten. pool for, strongly opposed as he is to a general system of fortifications, he yet admitted that places rendered important by their commerce, or as stations or building yards for our navy, ought to be fortified. Now, sir, bring this bill to the test of these principles. Is not Portsmouth the seat of one of our most important naval depots at the North? Is not New York a place of sufficient commercial importance to merit the care of the Government in providing for the defence of the immense interests, private and public, collected there? Would not the honorable gentleman also, in the liberal patriotism with which I know he is animated, comprehend Baltimore, standing among the first commercial towns of the Atlantic; New Orleans, the emporium of the West; and Pensacola, our great naval station on the Gulf of Mexico, within the scope of that degree of commercial and naval importance which entitles them to the protection of fortifications? I mention these places (said Mr. R.) as a specimen of those provided for in the bill. The others, if not sustained in their claims by precisely the same considerations, have yet in their favor special military reasons, which have secured to them the full sanction of the Secretary of War in that able and judicious report which has been appealed to on all sides as the standard of a sound and rational policy on this subject. Gentlemen have indulged in general denunciations against a system of fortifications. In the zeal of their
opposition, they have pictured our whole, coast as frowning with ramparts and blackened with cannon. They have told us of the mischiefs and dangerous inpolicy of extravagant appropriations for such objects. In all this (said Mr. R.) I heartily concur. But is this bill such a measure? It does not provide for a general system of fortifications upon our seaboard. It selects a dozen points only, of peculiar importance, or peculiar exposure, and proposes to furnish them with suitable defences. It has not been alleged by any gentleman, in the progress of the debate, that the appropriations made by the bill for these fortifications are beyond their probable and necessary cost. What ground is there, then, for the imputation of extravagance? Gentlemen seem to have forgotten the important changes which this bill has undergone since its presentation to the Senate. Of the nineteen fortifications originally embraced in the bill, seven have been stricken out. From the aggregate. of its original appropriations, more than a million of dollars have been subducted; leaving the measure, in its present shape, conformed to those maxims of neces: sary and practical defence, and of wise and economical expenditure, which, I trust, will ever be observed in the operations of this Government. - Mr. R. declared his utter opposition to those visionary and extravagant schemes of fortifications which had been concocted by the engineer bureau. He had great respect for the patriotism as well as the talent of that corps; but they had been deluded by their professional enthusiasm, and an exclusive devotion to a favorite science. When they gravely talked of “shutting out war, and all its more serious evils, from our territory,” by a chain of fortresses of more than three thousand miles in extent, and thus rendering our coast impervious to an enemy, he must look upon their plans as the offspring of theoretic enthusiasm, however patriotic, rather than the result of safe calculation and of sound practical judgment. Happily for the country, the enthusiasm of professional science had found a check in the vigorous common sense and the cool and sagacious intellect which preside over the War I)epartment. The Secretary, in his admirable report of the 7th of April last, had established the landmarks of a sound and ra. tional policy on this subject. That report, he trusted, would be the chart by which our legislation would be governed. It was a recurrence to the principles of Washington and Jefferson; and eminently seasonable at the present moment for arresting schemes of plausible though unprofitable expenditure, which, by an invariable law of nature, spring up in the hotbed of a redun: dant Treasury. It was a monument of the wisdom and patriotism of the Secretary, and entitled him to the thanks of the country. Mr. R. said his friend from Georgia, [Mr. KING, conscious of the weight of this high authority, had sought to bring it to his aid by reading a passage of the report, in which the Secretary speaks of the propriety of previous surveys to determine the plan and the extent of the proposed fortifications, in every case, before the commencement of the work. But the Senate will remark that the survey is spoken of there as a condition precedent to the expenditure, not to the appropriation, of the money. On the contrary, the Secretary expressly recommends that the appropriations be made now for all the fortifications embraced in this bill, as a season will be thereby saved in the prosecution of the work; but adds that, “before any expenditure be incurred, an examination should be made” by a board of officers, in order to adapt the plan of the work to the principles laid down in his report. Now, sir, (said Mr. R.,) this is precisely what I think ought to be done. He attach; ed, he said, great importance to these surveys, and to precise and definite plans founded on them. They
[May 26, 1836.
served as checks on wasteful or injudicious expenditure, and to fix responsibility. He relied on the declaration of the Secretary, that they would in every case be made; and we had by this very bill, in pursuance of the recommendation of the Secretary, appropriated thirty thousand dollars for the expense of a special board of engineers, to enable him to have these surveys satisfactorily executed. He relied, moreover, that the plans of the engineers would, in every case, be subjected to the careful revision of the Secretary; that they would be brought to the arbitrament of a stern, practical common sense, proportioning the magnitude of the works to such probable contingencies of sudden attack or surprise as they might be exposed to in the event of war, but without any reference to the extremely improbable hypothesis of a regular and protracted siege, which had already caused several sortifications (of which there was a striking example in his own State) to be projected on a scale of vastly disproportionate magnitude and expense. It was with this understanding of the measure, that he would cheerfully give his vote for the bill under consideration. He believed it, in its present shape, entirely consistent with the maxims of a wise economy, appropriate to the abundant means now afforded by the national Treasury, demanded by a provident and patriotic regard to the public safety, and especially due, in some of its provisions, to a portion of the country (alluding to the ports of Maine and New Hampshire) which is pe. culiarly exposed by its position, and has been heretofore destitute of protection. At the same time, he hoped he would not be considered by any one as relaxing in his determined adherence to those principles of democratic policy alluded to by his friend from Georgia, which inculcate frugality and simplicity in the administration of the Government, and a paramount reliance on the body of its citizens for the defence of the country—principles, on the rational observance of which, he firmly believed, with that gentleman, the success of our institutions vitally depended. Mr. WEBSTER observed that no charge could be more unjust than that which ascribed to the Senate any delay in the sortification bills. He must say that, whatever had been recommended for the defences of the country, had received the utmost degree of the attention of the Senate. With respect to this bill, the question was not one of strict principle, but of expe‘liency. Every man must see that the project of fortifications might be carried out to an unreasonable extent; but this bill could not be considered in that light. They caine to its consideration, not as it was when first presented to them, but as the Senate had now made it; and the question was, was it liable to the strong objections that had been urged against it by the Senator from Kentucky and the Senator from Georgia. He was inclined to think that the great objections expressed to day had been imbibed against it in its general form. What were the provisions of the bill, as it now stood? It was said that it created no fortifications at points not heretofore fortified. This was not a true state of the case. It proposed some new works, it was true; but in more than one half of the instances, it proposed to fortify points at which fortifications had heretofore existed. . Before considering this bill further, he wished to notice the grounds on which the policy of fortifications rested. For what purpose should sortifications be made? To keep an invading army out of the country? Certainly not. He looked for no other defences against an invading army than those contemplated by the Senators from Georgia and Kentucky—the armed freemen of the country, and the navy of the United States. He did not look upon fortifications as defences against an inva: oling army or navy. If these, then, were not the objects of fortifications, for what purpose should they be construct
ed? The object was to secure such fortified places against a sudden attack, even by a small force; for the greatest army and navy in the world could not give the assurance that a single ship would not enter into a harbor and destroy all the property there. He knew no other object for which fortifications should be constructed. Take, for instance, Penobscot. The object was to defend that place, not against an invading army or navy, but against any sudden attack that might be made on it. He was willing to give $100,000 for that object; and would do the same for Kennebec, which had a dense population, and contained a vast amount of prope; ty iiable to sudden destruction by a small force. So also with respect to other places provided for in the bill. He did not therefore think the bill deserved the character given to it by his friends from Georgia and Kentucky, as a bill intended to defend the country against the aggressions of an invading enemy. He viewed it as providing defences for commercial places which could not be defended by the militia, however well organized, because of their situation on the scaboard, against the sudden attacks of a naval or military force. One word more in reply to the gentleman who had spoken with such propriety against the increase of the standing army for the purpose of manning these fortifica: tions. He thought that it by no means followed that the commencement of this system of sortifications drew after it an increase of the army to man them; because if the fortifications be there, and their armaments there also, they might be defended by the militia. It was but a question of expediency, aster all, that they then had to consider. They had fortified New York, Boston, Charleston, and other commercial cities; and the question was, whether it was not proper, in the present financial condition of the country, to extend the system still farther. He agreed that there was no immediate necessity for making the appropriations, at this time; but, as it was to be done some time or other, the situation of the Treasury well justified its being done now. The question was then taken on the final passage of the bill, and it was passed by the following vote: YEAs–Messrs. Benton, Black, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Goldsborough, Grundy, Hendricks, Ilill, Hubbard, Kent, King of Alabama, Linn, Morris, Naudain, Nicholas, Niles, Porter, Prentis", Rives, Robbins, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Walker, Webster, Wright-31. Nars–Messrs. Calhoun, Crittenden, Ewing of Ohio, King of Georgia, Leigh, Mangum, Moore, Preston, White 9.
The amendment of the House to the joint resolution authorizing the President of the United States to cause to be issued rations from the public stores to those destitute sufferers who have been driven from their homes by the hostilitics of the Creek Indians, was taken up, and considered.
Mr. KING, of Alabama, moved that Ahe Senate concur in the amendment.
Mr. EWING, of Ohio, moved to amend the amendment by adding the words, “provided that those homes were not on the unceded Indian lands.” Mr. E. said he had understood, from what had been said in the other House, that there were many of the refugees who had been intruders on Indian lands, and had been partly instrumental in creating the present disturbances.
Mr. KING, of Alabama, said that there were no such class of persons in that country. He would not, how: ever, object to the amendment, believing that it would not apply to any of those to be relieved by the resolution.
This amendment was lost without a division; and