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a vast share of political influence; and that this influence, here and elsewhere, has been, and is likely to be, applied to purposes which that gentleman does not approve. Upon this occasion, he ought to remember that the claim presented for his consideration is one totally disconnected with political or sectional considerations-—the simple, naked, and (as I had hoped all would regard it) indisputable, irresistible claim of the sufferers by an unprecedented calamity, who claim no other service at his hands but such as is due to the circumstances to which this calamity has reduced them. He ought to remember that, if so large a proportion of the revenue is, and must continue to be, collected and deposited in the city of New York, it is of great importance to the interests of the Government to prevent the occurrence of general embarrassment and distress; one consequence of which will be, to endanger the security of the present deposites, and greatly to enhance the risk of bad debts, in respect to the bonds which remain unpaid. He ought to remember that, upon the prosperity of New York, the accruing resources of the Government are immediately dependent; and that, whatever the Government may now do for the temporary accommodation of the merchants of that city will be more than repaid to the national Treasury by the future results of their persevering and successful enterprise. The gentleman also owes it to himself, to his constituents, and to the country, not to forget that all sectional interests are merged in the welfare of the great commercial metropolis of the Union. He should not forget that such are the indissoluble relations of New York to all parts of the country, that they must share in its prosperity and misfortunes. He should not forget that, directly or indirectly, the planters, manufacturers, and traders of Kentucky have always something at stake in New York; and that he fails to consult their interests, and must be presumed to oppose their wishes, when, in a time of the greatest need, he refuses to extend the helping hand of the Government for the relief of those with whom, by all the ties of mutual dependence, his constituents and the people of the whole country are thus intimately connected. I am sure, sir, that I do not give to this consideration an undue importance. I am sure that neither the gentleman from Kentucky, nor any other gentleman who will allow himself to exercise a practical judgment upon this view of the subject, will disagree to the conclusion that the business of New York is, in effect, the business of the whole country; and that a sudden interruption and extensive derangement of the business of that city will prove a check to the prosperity of the whole country. The gentleman from Rhode Island [Mr. PEARck] has tasked his ingenuity to produce popular objections to the object of this bill, and has perhaps been more successful than the gentleman from Kentucky in exciting the prejudices of some members against it. He has proved, I think, that the title of the bill is not sufficiently definite, but has erred in supposing that the object which he consideres to be implied in the title is, or ought to be, recognised in our legislation. The provisions of the bill are designed to extend the indulgence of the Government to those who are its debtors in the city of New York, and exclusively to such as are its debtors. It proposes to afford them the same indulgence which other creditors, under similar circumstances—which other creditors in New York, at this moment——have extended to their debtors. If it were proposed, if it were expedient, to attempt to relieve all sufferers by the fire, without reference to the peculiar relation which some of them sustain to the Government, the gentleman would do right to vindicate the claims of such as are not now provided for; and, if the bill were designed to be merely an act of charity, he might properly argue that the merchants of New York are the last who should receive, as he
must well know they are the last who would accept, the bounty of the Government. But when the gentleman perceives that the single object of the bill (which I agree ought to be expressed in its title) is to make an equitable provision for the debtors of the Government, as such, he can hardly consider it a justifiable mode of defeating this object, to attempt to asperse, not their character, but their occupation, and to inveigh, not at all against the equity of their claims, in reference to the grounds upon which alone the claims are urged, but in a strain—I will not say of vulgar abuse——but of unmerited censure, against the necessary incidents of the rank in society to which the circumstances of these debtors have entitled them. I have no doubt that the recent fire has furnished many cases of such as are not debtors of the Government, whose claims to sympathy and relief are quite as strong as the gentleman represents them; and I hope and believe that those claims will be cheerfully . nised by all to whom they can be properly addressed. It may be fortunate for such sufferers that the Government is not one of the creditors to whom they must now appeal for indulgence, but that they have only to resort to their neighbors, the merchants, for the ready acquiescence of the facilities they need. Yes, sir, to the abused and denounced merchants, upon whom the tradesmen and mechanics, so warmly and deservedly eulogized by the gentleman, are immediately dependent for credit and employment, and in whose stability (to which the proposed relief may prove essential) the only hopes of these tradesmen and mechanics are directly and deeply involved. Let me advise the gentleman, then, to consider whether he can do a greater injury to the very class of whose interests he aspires to be regarded as the especial advocate, than by acting himself, and endeavoring to persuade the committee to act, upon the supposition that their interests can be otherwise than injuriously affected by whatever is calculated to excite distrust, and to produce ill will, and to direct the force of the most illiberal prejudice against their only patrons and their best friends. Let him consider, further, whether, at this critical moment, when the working classes of New York have their all at stake upon the ability of the merchants to recover from the disaster which threatens to overwhelm them, he will not prove himself the true friend of the working classes, by advocating, upon this occasion, in reference to their proper object, the claims of the merchants.
The gentleman from Rhode Island makes it another cause of complaint against the bill, that it not only provides for the relief of those who are almost exclusively merchants, but that some of them, also, do not happen to be American citizens. My answer to this objection is, very briefly, that they are, nevertheless, debtors of the Government, and, as such, entitled to share, without discrimination, in whatever policy the Government may see fit to adopt towards its debtors. It is the honorable characteristic of our commercial system, that it offers every facility for the introduction of foreign capital; that it invites to our ports the ships and the iners chants of all nations, (who do not refuse to reciprocate the privilege,) and that, in the distribution of burdens and benefits, it makes no distinction whatever between citizens and foreigners. New York has been built up by the aid of foreign capital and enterprise; the revenue which has been there collected has been always contributed, in a considerable measure, by foreigners or their agents; and since, as the gentleman represents, the recent calamity has fallen so heavily upon the French and other foreign houses established in the city, the statement of that fict affords a sufficient reason for extending to them whatever benefit they may gain, as debtors of the Government, from the general operation of the bill.
The gentleman from Rhode Island has made an elaborate investigation of precedents, and has shown, very conclusively, that they do not exhibit a uniform practice of the Government; but that, deciding every case upon its own merits, and with more or less consideration, Congress has sometimes granted and sometimes refused applications somewhat similar to this. From the number of such precedents, and from the fact that previous decisions have been thus contradictory, I can readily infer that there is an inherent defect in the existing laws, which, as I believe, and have stated, can only be remedied by the introduction of the warehousing system, under which such cases could not occur; but, as the precedents do not establish a general rule, and as the present case is marked by circumstances in many respects unprecedented, I do not see anything that should deter us from the exercise of an independent judgment in deciding it. The gentleman from Rhode Island grounds another objection upon the fact that the relief afforded by this bill is so inconsiderable that it cannot be desirable. It is indeed fortunate for the merchants and for the Gov. ernment that the fire did not occur a few years sooner, when almost all imported goods were subject to duty, and in many instances a very heavy duty, and when of course the average amount of bonds remaining unpaid must have vastly exceeded the sum which is now payable. If the amount of duties upon goods destroyed by the fire, instead of being, as it is, less than a million of dollars, had not been less than five millions, and if the amount of duties upon other goods, payable at the moment, instead of being between three and four millions, had not been less than fifteen or twenty millions, I agree that the magnitude of the claims of the public debtors would have been such that the Government must have yielded to the necessity, the uncontrollable necessity, of the most liberal and extraordinary measure of relief. Still, the duty of the Government is not to be strictly measured by the magnitude of the claims; and, if it were, I can deduce no other conclusion from the gentleman's prem. ises than that, under the existing circumstances of this case, we ought to do far more than the bill proposes— a conclusion, to say the least, manifestly incompatible with the gentleman's avowed determination to do nothing. The relief afforded by the bill, I am free to admit, does not correspond to the exigency of the case. I hope that still more may be done; especially that another bill for the remission of duties upon goods burned may be reported and passed, and that the Secretary of the Treas. ury may give such a direction to the public funds already collected and constantly accruing at New York, as to make them available for the greater accommodation of the mercantile community, from whom these funds have been derived. An enlightened policy seems to me to justify and require such an administration of the finances at she present moment; and its results, I am well persuaded, must be extensively and permanently beneficial. I say, then, let all this be done, and let this bill be passed., in the first instance, as a measure of simple justice and manifest expediency, and as an earnest of the disposition of Congress to sanction the other measures which should succeed it. Let this bill, at least, be judged and decided "Pon its own merits; and, if there remains no other objection to it than that it does not afford sufficient relief, let that objection be removed, as has been just suggested, by further legislation, and by the arrangements of the Treasury Department. The gentleman from Rhode Island does not exaggerate the influence and importance of the city of New York. That city sustains a relation to the Government and the country which gives her a right at all times to claim from both the most favorable consideration. At
the present moment her call upon the Government, specially warranted by the circumstances of her situation, is enforced by numerous and simultaneous demonstrations of the approbation of the country. It is not the call of New York alone. Philadelphia has seconded the call with a spirit worthy of the name she bears. Baltimore has instructed her representatives to sustain her honor by supporting any practicable measures of relief. Boston, speaking for Massachusetts, has invoked the members from that State to a like generous co-operation. The memorial of New Orleans is the spontaneous and emphatic utterance of the voice of the West. It is not the call of New York alone; but every where, along the coast and throughout the interior, wherever there has been an expression of public sympathy, it is coupled with an earnest appeal to Congress. , Let us answer the appeal by an act that shall be worthy of the constituted guardians of the national interests and the national honor. When Mr. P. had concluded, on motion of Mr. GRAVES, the committee rose, and the Speaker having resumed the chair, Mr. CAMBRELENG moved that the said bill be made the special order for to-morrow at 1 o'clock; which was agreed to. The House then adjourned.
WEDNEs DAr, Fr. B nu Amr 17. REMOVAL OF CREER INDIANS. Mr. GLASCOCK asked the consent of the House to submit the following resolution, which was read for information: Resolved, That the Committee on Indian Affairs be instructed to inquire into the expediency of adopting measures for the immediate removal of the Creek Indians to the allotted territory in treaty of the 24th of March, 1832. Mr. GLASCOCK said, in offering the resolution, he was influenced from circumstances and events which had recently transpired between a portion of the citizens of Georgia and the Creek Indians; and, although there had been a partial adjustment of the difficulties between the commanding officer in that quarter (General McDugald) and some of the principal chiefs, yet he felt assured there were many turbulent and disaffected In: dians of the nation who could not be controlled, and would continue to commit their depredations on our citizens, and keep them in a continued state of alarm and excite. ment. Mr. G. said he had just been apprized, too, that the Executive of the State had found it necssary to organize a battalion of volunteers, for the immediate defence and protection of our citizens in that quarter, the great expense of which might well be conceived; but it is due to that section of the State that it should be done, and he was gratified to find such a measure had been promptly accepted. But, Mr. G. said, he felt satisfied permanent peace and security would never be given to our frontier citizens, until there was a final removal of the whole nation to their allotted territory under the treaty of 1824, and it was with this view he offered the resolution suggesting the inquiry, and felt assured that some measure might be adopted by the present Congress to give satisfaction to our justly excited and exasperated fellow-citi. zens, and enable them again to pursue, in peace and tran. quillity, their usual avocations; he therefore hoped the House would vote for the adoption of the resolution, that some immediate action might be had on the subject. The SPFAKER reminded the gentleman that the resolution was not before the House, and that the consent of the House to its reception must be first obtained before it could be debated. objection being made, Mr. GLAscock moved a
suspension of the rule, in order to enable him to submit his proposition; which was negatived.
SUSPENSION OF THE RULES.
Mr. R. M. JOHNSON moved to suspend the rules, for the purpose of considering the bill providing for the payment of the volunteers and military corps in the service of the United States; which was negatived. Mr. JOHNSON subsequently moved to suspend the rules in order to enable him to submit a motion, making the foregoing bill the special order for one hour to-morrow morning, after the reception of reports from committees. Mr. ASHLEY moved to amend the motion, so as to include the bill authorizing the President of the United States to accept the service of volunteers; which was negatived. The motion to suspend the rules was agreed to: Ayes 112, noes 38. Mr. JOHNSON then submitted the motion indicated; which was carried. Mr. MANN, of New York, moved to suspend the rules until one o clock, for the purpose of receiving petitions, excepting petitions for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia; which was negatived.
CAPTAIN NATHAN HALE.
Mr. JUDSON, from the select committee on that subject, moved to take up the joint resolution in relation to the monument proposed to be erected to the memory of Captain Nathan Hale, for the purpose of reading it a second time by its title, and committing it; which was agreed to.
The resolution was then read a second time; when Mr. JUDSON moved that it be committed to a Committee of the Whole on the state of Union.
Mr. VINTON moved to commit the resolution to a Committee of the Whole House. He deprecated the practice of sending ordinary matters to the Committee on the state of the Union. He was not opposed to the present resolution, but had made the motion to refer it to a Committee of the Whole House, in order, if possible, to arrest the improper practice to which he had referred.
Mr. JUDSON adverted to the patriotic character of the resolution, and urged the propriety of the motion which he had submitted. He regretted that the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. WINton] should have selected this resolution as the occasion upon which to oppose what that gentleman considered an improper practice which had obtained in reference to the mode of proceeding upon measures before the House.
Mr. EVANS coincided in the remarks of the gentleman from Ohio. In the present instance, he contended that it was incompetent for the gentleman from Connecticut [Mr. Junson] to submit this motion, under the authority of the select committee raised on the subject referred to. That committee had reported. Their functions had therefore ceased.
The hour devoted to morning business having expired, the Chair announced the special order, being the bill for the relief of the
SUFFERERS BY FIRE IN NEW YORK.
On motion of Mr. CAMBRELENG, the House then resolved itself into a Committee on the Whole on the state of the Union, and took up the said bill.
The question pending was the motion of Mr. HARDIN to strike out the first proviso in the first section, which is in the following words:
“Provided, That those who are within the provisions of this section, but who may have paid their bonds subsequent to the late fire, shall also be entitled to the benefit of this section, and that the said bonds shall be renew
ed from the day when the same were paid, and said payments refunded.” Mr. GRAVES, who was entitled to the floor, addressed the Chair to the following effect: From the latitude allowed those who have preceded me in this debate, I hope it will not be considered out of order in me to speak to the merits of the whole bill. I have entertained the opinion, since the first introduction of this bill, that we could not, in accordance with sound policy and correct principles of legislation, grant the relief proposed by it to the unfortunate victims of this most unprecedented calamity; much less extend the operations of the bill, as proposed in the second section, to all such merchants as are not included in the first, and who, though they had suffered no loss by the late fire, were indebted to the Government for duties at the port of New York, by bonds that fell due prior thereto. Laboring under the influence of that almost universal sympathy which was pervading the community for the objects of this affliction, I have felt a strong and sincere desire, if I could consistently with my convictions of duty, to give my support to this bill; yet, although I have given a most patient and impartial hearing to all that has been said in support of it, my opinions remain unchanged. The honorable member from Massachusetts, [Mr. PhILLIPs, who last addressed the committee, in a very elaborate, able, and truly eloquent speech, has occupied all the grounds, in my humble conception, that can be urged in support of this measure, and that, too, in a manner most peculiarly felicitous. The first section of the bill provides: “That the collector of the port of New York be, and he is hereby, authorized, as he may deem best calculated to secure the interests of the United States, to cause to be extended (with the assent of the sureties thereon) to all persons who have suffered loss of property by the late conflagration at that place, the time of payment of all bonds heretofore given by them for duties, to periods not exceeding three, four, and five years, in equal instalments, from and after the day of payment specified in the bonds; or to allow the said bonds to be cancelled, upon giving to the said collector new bonds, with one or more sureties, to the satisfaction of the said collector, for the sums of the former bonds, respectively, payable in equal instalments, in three, four, and five years, from and after the day of payment specified in the bonds to be taken up or cancelled, as aforesaid; and the said collector is hereby authorized and directed to give up or cancel all such bonds upon the receipt of others described in this act; which last-mentioned bonds shall be proceeded with in all respects like other bonds which are taken by collectors for duties due to the United States: Provided, That those who are designed to be relieved by this section, and who may have paid their bonds subsequent to the late fire, shall also be entitled to the benefit of this section, and that the said bonds shall be renewed from the day when the same were paid.” The second section provides “that the collector of the port of New York is hereby authorized and directed to extend the payment, in the manner prescribed in the first section of this act, of all other bonds given for duties at the port of New York prior to the late fire, and not provided for in the first section aforesaid, for six, nine, and twelve months, from and after the day of payment specified in the bonds: Provided, however, That nothing contained in this act shall extend to bonds which had fallen due before the seventeenth of December last.” I, Mr. Chairman, gave my undivided and most special attention to each and every position taken by that honorable gentleman in the progress of his argument, and propose, as briefly as the nature of the case will admit, to review such of them as bear upon the real merits of this question. Before, however, I proceed to a con
sideration of the arguments of that gentleman, allow me to remark that we have been required to act upon this subject rather in the dark; that we have had no official information as to the extent of the relief asked. We have to rely on the verbal information of the friends of this measure, who, I suppose, have it from those who are asking relief, and who, it is to be presumed, would feel no interest in magnifying the amount upon which they ask indulgence without interest, and who, because of their interest, would be held in all legal tribunals as incompetent witnesses. Taking, then, the account of the friends of the bill as correct, the first section of it embraces bonds for about $700,000, and the second section about $3,000,000. Predicating my calculation upon this information, I find interest on those bonds, at the rate of six per cent. per annum, renewable annually from the time they respectively fall due up to the period to which it is proposed to extend the credits, amounts to something upwards of $318,740; an amount greater than is required to pay the two hundred and forty three members of this House for one hundred and sixty days, and sufficiently large, especially when taken into consideration in connexion with the importance of the principle involved, to induce this House to examine well into the subject, and weigh well the probable effect and consequence of such a precedent upon the future legislation of this House. We, Mr. Chairman, I am fully apprized, are most delicately and peculiarly situated in reference to this as well as all other claims that come before us; we occupy the attitudes both of party and judge; and, whilst we should be careful not to let self-interest bias us on the one side, we should not be less careful to see that we are not driven into error on the other hand from too great an apprehension of doing injustice to the applicants. But, sir, let us now proceed to consider, in detail, the arguments of the friends of this measure. The honorable member from Massachusetts, as has been remarked, having covered all the grounds taken in support of this bill, I will confine myself particularly to his remarks. The first ground taken by him is, that the Government has such an amount of surplus revenue now in its Treasury, that it would have no use for the money if the bonds were collected, and that it would be suffered to lie in the deposite banks without interest. Is it true, Mr. Chairman, that this Government has no use for money at this time? Is it true that the different States in this Union have already done for themselves all that can be done, in the way of promoting the interest and happiness of their citizens, and that they are now reclining at their ease in consequence of having nothing to do calculated to advance the public good? I humbly conceive not. Look abroad in the land, and what do we see? ... Within the last year or two, the public spirit of our fellow-citizens seems to have received a new impulse in almost every quarter of this vast republic. A new era seems to be bursting on us. The people are aroused to their own best interest. We see the different States, situated on the different extremes of this vast Union, contemplating and moving in the work of connecting themselves, with each other by inland communication that literally conquers space. We see the Legislatures of the different States providing for works of internal improvement upon a scale that is truly worthy of a free people. They are not contracting loans of thousands and tens of thousands for the accomplishment of this, that, or the other, little local improvement, but of tens of millions, for objects embracing the improvement of the whole extent of their territory. Never, in the history of this Government, was there such a spirit of enterprise abroad. Never was there a time when there was such a demand for money on the part of the different states, for their respective im
provements, as the present; and are we to be told we have no use for the money in the public Treasury? I readily agree that it is better that these importing merchants, who are engaged actively in enterprising commerce that adds to the wealth of the nation, should hold this money, which belongs in common to them and the rest of their fellow-citizens, without interest, than that the deposite banks, in whose vaults it is to be placed, should be allowed to fatten and grow rich on the interest paid them by the people, for the most gra. cious privilege of using their own money. But I am not willing to stake the fate of this bill on this issue. It is not the true issue. I, for one, sir, intend to legis. late upon this and every other subject calculated to af. fect our finances, with just as strict an eye to economy as though I knew this Congress intended to obey the voice of the people in their demand for an equai dis. tribution of the surplus revenue among the States. I am not yet prepared to anticipate a failure of this most important measure. Government is a moral person, possessing, in reser. ence to its property, all the natural, moral, and legal rights of a private individual; every citizen constitutes a component part thereof, and his right in everything that belongs to the Government, whether it be in the public lands or bonds upon importers, or in whatever the right of property can exist, though small in point of size, yet bears the same proportion to the entire thing which one bears to the number of citizens in this Government, and is just as perfect and unquestionable as though the right to the entire thing was vested in him; and the same policy which is observed in the fiscal concerns of a wise, prudent, humane, and just private individual, should control and regulate the financial ope: rations of every Government, where the interest and happiness of the great mass of the people are the paramount considerations. Hence, we should adopt the same process of analysis, the same rules of investigation, in arriving at the relative rights of the Government, and such of its citizens as are embraced by the provisions of this bill, as though it were a matter between two individuals. His second ground is, that it is the interest of the Government, acting as a prudent creditor, to extend the proposed credit, in order the better to secure the collection of her debts. The Government holds the bonds of its citizens for duties; and when they fall due it has a right to expect payment, without some sufficient cause against it. The merchant, in the present instance, says to his Government, you hold my bond, due on such a day, for such an amount, for duties; from an unexpected misfortune, I am in some degree crippled in my commercial operations, and it will be your interest to indulge me for four years after my bonds become due, without interest, in order that your debt may be the better secured. Ought not the Government to act as any other prudent creditor, and say to its debtor, you must give me some evidence, in addition to your own suggest tion, that it is my interest thus to act? Would not any prudent private creditor require other proof than the statement of his debtor, before he would thus prolong for four years the time of the payment of his debt, and that, too, without interest? Being, then, altogether without proof that it is its interest to extend this credit, I think the Government on this account alone ought not to do it. I will conclude my remarks upon this branch of the subject by asking whether it is supposed, by any friend of this bill, that one of those importers would agree to extend a credit of four years, without interest, for the price of a quantity of goods purchased of him in New York by a merchant from Louisville or Cincinnati, and lost by the purchaser in descending the river, or by fire
INDEX TO THE DEBATES IN THE SENATE.
Abolition of slavery; (see Slavery.)
Colonization Society; a petition from citizens of Ken-