Imagens das páginas

H. OF R.)

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

(APRIL 1, 1830.


ocal character; when she bas pressed upon this Govern: Virginia, [Mr. BARBOUR] who opened the debate in oppoment the necessity of appropriating money for internal sition to the bill, I was forcibly struck with the contrast improvements of national importance, there will be no which they presented to the sound doctrines of the old room to conclude that her people are influenced by sec- Virginia school. The Wasbingtops, the Jeffersons, and tional considerations. No, her support to these measures the Madisons—the fathers of the republic. While their has a pobler origin; deeply impressed with the import- lessons of political wisdom took deep and permanent root ance of this Union to their safety and happiness, and be in Pennsylvania, and in most of the States of this Union, lieving that its preservation depends mainly upon its facili- they have been fated to be despised and rejected by the ties for internal commerce. they will always be found in modern politicians of the ancient dominion. As early as favor of any means by which objects 80 desirable can be 1790, President Washington, in fulfilling the constitutional best accomplished. Yet I claim for them do virtue that is injunction to recommend to Congress such measures as not common to their fellow-citizens of other States ; for I be should judge necessary and expedient, says, " that must believe that the account which some of the gentle the safety and interest of the people require that they men have given of the means by which certain people should promote such manufactures as tend to render them bave been brought to advocate the bill before us, is drawn independent of others for essential, particularly military from the imagination. True, you find in every com- supplies," and " of giving effectual encouragement as munity a few who are lost to all sense of public virtue, and well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from wbose sordid passions prepare them for corrupt practices. abroad, as to the exertions of skill and genius in producBut that any considerable portion of the people, whose ing them at home; and of facilitating the intercourse bedistricts, as bas been said, have no sooper presented to tween distant parts of our country." Mr. Jefferson, in an them the golden bait, than they abandon fixed principles, unpublished letter to a near relative of my friend and coland adopt new doctrines, and that these feelings are com- league, (Mr. LEIPER) dated in January, 1809, says that he municated to their representatives on this floor, who are had lately inculeated the evcouragement of manufacmoved and governed by them, is what I am not williog to tures, to the extent of our own consumption at least, on credit. Such suggestions, made in this body, with no all articles of which we raise the raw material;" that “its better foundation for them than exists, lead to the most enemies say that the iron wbich we make must not be injurious consequences. If opinions on constitutional wrought here into ploughs, axes, hoes, &c, in order that questions are to be bought; if men have become so flexi- the ship owner may have the profit of carrying it to Eu. ble as to be swayed only by motives which address them- rope, and bringing it back in a manufactured form; as if, selves to their private interests, what security is there for after manufacturing our own raw materials for our own the continuance of our republican institutions ? Our whole use, there should not be a surplus produce sufficient to political edifice rests upon the virtue and intelligence of employ a due proportion of navigation in carrying it to the people ; and, if it be once admitted that all questions market, and exchanging it for those articles of which we of constitutional power may be settled by an appeal to have not the raw material.” In 1816, the same gentle the base and sordid passions of our nature, we shall find, man, in substance, repeats the same opinions. Sir, I like the foolish man, that we have built our house in the hope to be pardoned for noticing a subject in this debate sand, and that in gome party tempest it will fall to pieces. which does not legitimately belong to it; but the example But these pictures of supposed changes of opinion have was shown by several of the gentlemen who bave spoken been drawn from the fancy. The great mass of the peo- on the other side. In truth, the enemies of the protecting ple, whose interests were to be affected by internal im- system in this House bave, on several occasions, however provements, could not have been informed of any con unwarranted by the subject in discussion, indulged themstitutional impediments; and, if they searched to satisfy selves in no measured language in denouncing the existing themselves, they did not find any. In no condition of tariff. There seems to be a morbid sensibility in the minds life are men prone to trouble themselves about matters of members from the South, on this question, which, at which do not immediately affect them, particularly such least in my hearing, has hitherto prevented a dispassionate as require labor to understand. But a spirit of enterprise examination of it. Fortunately for its friends, experience begets a disposition to inquire, and that generally results bas proved tbat a wiser act was never passed. Our latest in the expression of opinions which many mistake for new advices from abroad have informed us that in every part doctrines in opposition to those which were supposed to of Europe active measures are in operation for the protecprevail. This is the most rational solution for the con- tion of their domestic industry. Had we dove nothing, tinued increase of the friends of internal improvement, therefore to countervail foreign commercial regulations, without imputing to any portion of our people dereliction our condition would have been worse than colonial vasof principle. To show that the conferring of benefits salage. Gentlemen, in depicting the effects of the tariff cannot, in the least, influence members op this floor, when policy, have been misled by imaginary evils, for the sake opposed to constitutional scruples or views of expedien- of maintaining favorite theories: we know enough of hucy, we have the declarations of several gentlemen from man nature to be convinced that the pride of opinion, like Virginia, who have taken part in this debate in opposition the pride of authorship, is often the ruling passion, and that, to the bill. They have said that, if the road were to pass rather than abandon dogmas which men bave cherished and through their farms, they would oppose it; nay, one of maintained from youth to age, they would see the fairest por them bas gone so far as to say, while he complained of the tions of our land visited with decay, ruin, and desolation. To unequal distribution of the public revenues which the what extravagant lengths have their metaphysical refinesystem of internal improvement gave rise to, that the rights ments upon constitutional power arrived I They say that of his State were violated by an appropriation of money we are not autborized to provide for the safety of our to a company which that State had incorporated for mak- navy and mercantile marine, in entering our harbors, by ing the Dismal Swamp canal. Can we want stronger evi- the erection of light-houses, beacons, piers, &c., por to dence of a disinterested spirit which would reject the build safe and commodious barbors for them; that we have pnterpal hand of the Government, which was extended po power to promote educatiov, literature, and science, only to confer among its people its benefits and its boun- by ihe appropriation of public money : that we cannot ties? If so, there are kindred feelings, I am told, further apply the public funds to relieve individual calamity ; that south, and that at this session we shall have full proof of we cannot protect our domestic manufactures by im post it. But it is unnecessary to add more to contradict asser- duties; and, finally, that we have no authority to expend tions unsupported by evidence.

any part of the national treasure in making roads and caAfter listening to the arguments of the gentleman from Inals, por even a right to aid, by appropriations, compa

APRIL 1, 1830.)

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. of R.

pies incorporated by a State ! Of what value would our The gentleman from Virginia [Mr. BARBOUR] says that Government be to us, stripped of these powers ? I am free the bill under consideration contains a new principle, not to declare that it would not answer the great purposes for known before in this House, and that we are about to take which it was instituted, that it would be unworthy the af- "a new latitude and departure." He considered the Cumfections of the American people, and that the sooner it was berland road as affording no precedent, because it was the dissolved, tbe better,

result of an agreement between the States of wbich the Permit me, now, to turn the attention of the committee Northwestern Territory was composed and this Governto a better commentary upon the power of this Govern. ment, by which two per cent. arising from the sales of the ment to construct roads for pational purposes, than all the public lands was to be employed in making roads leading refined arguments we bave beard from the other side. It to and through those States. Yet it will be recollected bas not been, I believe, before noticed since the session it that the gentleman distinctly admitted a position taken by was introduced into Congress

. It must be taken, consider- my friend and colleague, (Mr. HEMPHiLL] that the coning the source from which it emanated, as conclusive on sent of the States was not to be regarded, as they could the constitutional question. In February, 1796, Mr. Madi- vot confer any power on Congress, except in the cases son introduced a resolution in the House of Representa- mentioned in the constitution, and that every other comtives for the appointment of a committee to repoit a bill pact between them was a nullity. With this admission, I authorizing the President of the United States to cause to cannot understand how he can attach any importance to be examined, and, where necessary, to be surveyed, the the agreement respecting the Cumberland road By his general route most proper for the transportation of the owo showing, it is evident that this Government did not mail between Maine and Georgia, with an estimate of the derive its right from that source. How, then, does this expense of making said road. On the third of May of the bill differ from the bill authorizing the construction of the same year, Mr. Madison presented the following bill, which Cumberland road and how does it differ from Mr. Madiafterwards passed the House without a division : son's bill? But the gentleman, while he professes to be

" Be it enacted, de. That the President of the United fully aware of the value of good roads and canals, contends States be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause to be ex- not only that the power to make them does not belong to amined, and, where necessary, to be surveyed, the routes this Government, but that it ought not to belong to it-tbat most proper for the transportation of the mail between the they bad better be left to the enterprize of individuals or following places, to wit: Portland, in Maine, Boston, New to the States. The gentleman will find but few to go with York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, City of Wasb- him on that broad ground, even in his own State. `It will ington, Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Raleigh, be recollected that when the attention of Congress was Louisville, and Savannah, in Georgia; and that be cause a called to this subject by Mr. Moproe and others, while report of such examination and survey to be laid before they admitted that the right already existed to appropriate Congress, together with an estimate of the expense neces- money in aid of incorporated companies, denied that it sary for rendering said routes the established routes for extended further; but as it was deemed of essential imthe transportation of the mail.”

portance to the welfare of the people that roads and caThe second section appropriates five thousand dollars for Dals should be constructed under the authority of this Godefraying the expenses of the examinations and surveys. vernment, they strongly recommended an amendment of the

It will be seen, sir, that this bill not only provides for constitution, so that it should be expressly granted. surveying the route of a road from one extreme of the It was apparent that great national works, extending then Union to the other, passing through all its principal to remote parts of this Union, could not be executed cities and towns, but it requires an estimate of the expense by companies or by States, even if their resources were to be made for rendering the routes mentioned the estab- adequate to them; that rival interests existed every lished roytes for the transportation of the mail. It contem- where, each State exerting itself to divert commerce to plates, in elear language, the construction or making of its own commercial emporium, or to some other point least post roads under the authority of Congress. Let me vow advantageous to its neighbor State. And even in case of ask wbether the warmest advocate for internal improve the union of two or more States for this purpose, the com-. ment ever insisted on a greater latitude of constructive mon good of the whole Union would be the least object of power of the constitution than is contained in the priociple their thoughts; nay, routes might be chosen positively of this bill. It oot oply goes the full length of all that we now injurious to the whole. It might happen, too, that discontend for, but it'sustains every position which has been tant streams and States could be united by roads and cadisputed ju this House heretofore. It authorizes surveys vals, by which, from peculiar localities, the greater part of and the making of roads, and it assumes jurisdiction each State througb which they were designed to pass, without the consent of the States. When we consider would not feel interested, rather looking upon injury than that this extensive project was introduced but a short time benefit as the result, while to the nation at large the comafter the adoption of the constitution, and by a man wbo nexion would be of the highest importance. For these was ebiefly instruinental in its creation, who labored to and other reasons which might be mentioned, no opinion defend it with as much zeal and ability as any who lived, appeared to be better founded than Mr. Monroe's, that that it was adopted by a budy, without a division, who pro- the power to make roads and canals, with jurisdiction over bably better understood the extent of the powers intended them, should reside in the Government. But the gentleto be granted than any which bas succeeded it, will it be man froin Virginia has come to a different conclusion, and believed that it contained an assumption of powers not seems alarmed at the consequences of encroaching upon granted, and that it violated the rights of the States ? It State rights, and the accumulation of power in the Genehas been reserved for politicians of the preseut day to ral Government. To me, [said Mr. I.) this feverish exmake this discovery-men, whose ingenuity and eloquence citement about State rights and Executive patronage seems we may admire, but wbose vice and subtle distinctions, altogether chimerical. Look into the papers published, mystifications, and abstractions, cannot be easily under- and to the speeches made in certain conventions before stood by those who pretend to nothivg more thau plain the adoption of the constitution, and you will find the common sepge. For us, who desire nothing more than same evil forebodings, and the same alarning appreher that the resources of our country shall be developed and sions. And yet we have gone on prosperously in peace, brought into full activity, we are content to follow the path and successfully in war, for more than forty years, with which the statesmen of the revolution bave sketched,"con- out one of those being impaired. How, indeed, could it vinced that, by steadily pursuing it, we sball best attaio the be otherwise, when every member of this Government, objects of the social compact.

except such as compose the judiciary returns at short

H. OF R.)

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

(APRIL 1, 1830.

[ocr errors]

intervals to his respective State! The members of Con- thousand dollars to the pnblic debt, the Secretary of the gress, in which reside all the high powers of sovereignty, Treasury estimates that there will be a balance in the bring with them here-State attachments and State pride; treasury on the first day of Jaruary, 1831, of four milthey act under a sense of high responsibility to their con- lion four hundred and ninety-four thousand five bundred stituents and to their State ; they remain bere but for a few and forty-five dollars. is, therefore, apparent that two months, return, and mix with their fellow citizens; with millions of dollars may, with perfect safety, be applied them every motive conspires to urge them to resist , not to annually to internal improvements

, leaving enough from suffer, an invasion of State rights

. Usage and public all the sources of revenue, and the operation of the sinking opinion have limited the term of the Executive to eight fund, to extinguish the debt in five years. My constituents years, at the expiration of which be returns to bis State: have no immediate interest in the road mentioned in the Your judges are scattered over the Union, citizens of their bill; from the nearest part of my district it is at least one respective States. All of them, presidents, legislators, bundred and eighty miles

. But I advocate it because and judges, have their families, friends, endearments

, and it is part of a great system which I consider this Governattachments in their respective States—their homes—ment under the most solemn obligations bound to persevere where they find their earthly resting-places

. Gentlemen in. The road, from this city to New Orleans, is not a new talk of our National and State Governments, as if the for- project; it was earnestly brought into view by Mr. Cal. mer were a distinct people, to whom certain powers were houn in 1818, in support of a bill wbich be introduced into conceded, but, not content with their enjoyment, are con- Congrese

, to set spart

, and pledge as a fund for internal stantly aiming to enlarge them at the expense of the rights improvement, the bonus and United States' share of the of the latter. But view them as the same people, a por dividends of the National Bank. In a report which the tion of whom at stated periods exercise certain delegated same gentleman made while Secretary of War, it is poticed trusts which a common feeling of interest urges them as one of the prominent national objects, and it has never to restrict rather than enlarge, and the suggestion will since been lost sight of by the Committees on Internal Im-. cease to have any force. Equally illusory are the fears of provements of this House. By cherishing a spirit of con. Executive patronage, which the gentleman from Virginia cession, and merging all minor considerations in the great BO strongly deprecated. It is common to speak of ibis; one of making a beginning upon the principle contained in but I ask for proof of its baving been exerted under any the bill, its friends cannot fail to effect its passage. When administration, and, if exerted, with what effect ? Do your we reflect upon the amazing extent of our country, the di. officers of the army and navy interfere in elections or versity of interests and occupations of its inhabitants, and have you seen the judges of your courts canvassing for examine the barriers which its geographical features prevotes to subserve the purposes of the Executive, The sent to direct and easy intercourse, we must come to the most powerful motives that could animate the human heart, conclusion that it is impossible to bind the different parts existed to sustain the administrations of the elder and togetber in avy other manner than by good roads and younger Adams; but with what effect? What did patron canals extending froin the ceutre to the extremities of the age do in these cases ? Sir, it is a mere phantom, which bas Union. By these menus we shall be able to preserve the no terrors for a free and vigilant people. Take one of sympathies of our nature, which distupce is too apt to the eight thousand postmasters that the gentleman from sunder. Virginia has spoken of, and see what influence he is able But we will realize their advantages chiefly during war, to exercise in any city or town. It will be found, in most when the Government is compelled to rely for most of its instances, that the person so situated can effect less, at revenue upon a system of internal taxation, its ordinary any election, than if he had not an office. There is a fiscal resources being in a great measure cut off

. The watchful jealousy among the people, wbich repels any effect of this system is to drain the interior of the country uudue or even active exertions of men in official stations of its currency, and to direct it to the seaboard, or to to control or sway the elections. We bave pothing to places where troops are collected for the defende of ex; fear from them. As to the unequal distribution of the posed situations on the frontiers. It will be recollected revenue, which, it is said, the system of internal improve that no part of the interior of the United States. was, ment gives rise to, I answer, that the same may be said of during the late war, exempted from this evil; it operated every other branch of public expenditure : fortifications peculiarly bard in the western part of Pennsylvania ; speare erected on our coasts aud frontiers most exposed to cie in fact disappeared, and a miserable paper currency attacks; light-hvuses, breakwaters, &c.

, on the sea coast. was substituted for it, flooding the country, and, with its These, and many other works, do not immediately benefit natural tendency for depreciation, ruining thousands of the interior ;\but in these and all other erections and im- the best part of our population--the farmers, the hopest provements, regard is bad to the general welfare. What. yeomapry of the country, wbo, io such a state of things, ever gives life and vigor to the whole system, must be are always the greatest sufferers. It is the part of prubeneficial to its parts ; in like manner, the healthful action dence to guard, as far as practicable, against a recurrence of the heart communicates its tone to the extremities. We of so much suffering and calamity. We cannot, it is true, have been told, too, that, by the reduction of duties upou prevent the drain of our currency, that is the inevitable tea and coffee, and certain luxuries of life which do not effect of direct taxation ; but we can, in a great degree, interfere with our domestic industry, as is proposed by a mitigate its effects, by giving to our people cheap and easy bill on our table, the revenue will be so much reduced as

means of transporting their produce and stock io market; to leave no surplus beyond the ordinary demands of the to that market where troops may be assembled, and Government. But it should be considered that the bills where there is the greatest public expenditure. If you alluded to are prospective in their operation; and even if deny them these means, you expose thens to incalculable it were otherwise, I do not apprehend any very grent dimi- injuries, it will be impossible to satisfy the tax gatherer; nution from the proposed measures. The great increase judgments and executions will speedily follow; but all are of population must create a proportionate demand. In nearly in the same situation ; and where are the purchasers aid of this, there is a law of political economy which is to be found! The earnings of years of bonest industry universally true, that the capacity to buy, from the com- will be swept off in a moment, for a sum sometimes insufparative cheapness of the commodity, increases its con- ficient to pay the cost of collection-always vastly disprosumption; in other words, the reduction of a duty will, in portioned to the value of the property, either to enrich & corresponding ratio, increase the demand. After pay- the cupping speculator, or to add to the already overing all the ordinary expenses of Government for the cur- grown wealth of some nabob, or to increase the public rent year and applying eleven million five hundred | lands and stock to remain unproductive, until better times

APRIL 1, 1830.]

Buffalo and New Orleans Road.

[H. of R.

[ocr errors]

shall enable them to sell for sums equal to their claims. As objection to conferring jurisdiction on the State courts to Government expressly instituted to promote the happiness punish transgressors Congress gave them power to en: and welfare of all its citizens, should provide in a time of tertain suits, to collect the internal revenue, and to enforce peace, when its resources are abundant, against such ruin- penalties under a clause in the constitution, declaring it the ous consequences. In this way it will best secure the supreme law of the land, and that the judges of the State lasting attachment of the people.

courts should be bound thereby. This power, I admit, The gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Coke) in speaking was by some of the States disputed; but surely it would of the probable expense of the proposed road, said that be going too far to say that evils were likely to arise from the Cumberland road cost the Government fifteen thou- the exercise of it. And if there should be a disposition in sand dollars per mile. He has fallen into an error. The any State to refuse the jurisdiction, offenders would have whole distance of the road is one hundred and thirty-five no right to complain if they were sent to the United miles ; its aggregate cost one million seven hundred and States' courts for trial. Seldom, indeed, would there be two thousand three hundred and ninety-five dollars, which occasion for such a proceeding ; but if a case should arise, is equal to twelve thousand six hundred and ten dollars a demanding it, is it likely the criminal would talk of its mile. At a proper time, I will, I trust be able to show hardship? And, if not, who would be quixotic enough to to the House that no sum of money of equal amount complain for him? The jurisdiction of the United States has ever been expended with greater advantage to the over their roads, whether they should exert it by direct country. But it is proper to say that at the time this appropriations to keep them in repair, or by the erection road was commenced, this Government had no experience of toll-gates, cannot be a cause of the least apprehension in the business; few possessed the requisite skill for it; to the States, no more than they now feel from the punishthen, and for many years afterwards, provisions were dear, ment of a mail robber. It is impossible that injury can and the vages of labor dear one hundred per cent. be- arise from it. yond its present amount. What added greatly to the cost The gentlemen from Virginia who have spoken on the of this road, is the number of bridges, some of which other side of the question, have indulged themselves in a are built in a style of superior and expensive workman- warmth of feeling and an asperity of remark not warrantship, exhibiting monuments of architectural skill not sured, in my, judgment, by the occasion. If the purposes of passed in any part of the Voion. The continuation of the bill should be answered, or if the system, of which it is the Cumberland road from Wheeling to Zanesville, which part, should be pursued, the design is of the most laudable is made upon the McAdam plan, and is said to be the best character, and entitled to no common praise ; the end, the road in the United States, cost, I am informed, about six development of national resources, the promotion of social thousand dollars a mile. But the expenditure upon works intercourse, the diffusion of substantial benefits in a word, of this nature is of secondary consequence. If a bar. the prosperity of the confederacy. Yet it has been received hor is found necessary for the safety and convenience of as if some signal calamity was about to be inflicted, carryour shippiog, if a fortification is wanting for our defence, ing in its train famine and pestilence and desolation. Are the expense of constructing them would not be regarded. they afraid that the march of the system will realize all There is a paramount duty which the Government owes to we hope and all we predict for it; and that their occupaits citizens, compared to which, gold and silver should tion will be gone !" "If, sir, I mistake not the "signs of the weigh but as dust in the balance. They claim from it pro- times," a great revolution is going on in public opinion, in tection at any price; and they ask the same measure of the South, on this question; and the day is not very remote, justice, I will not call it liberality, in making such improve when Virginia will concede to this Government all tbat ments as the situation of the country admits of and re- the most sanguine friends of internal improvement could quires, which State and individual enterprise is unequal desire. One of her distinguished statesmen, pow a memto, and which are strictly of a national character.

ber of this House, has for years devoted his time and The perseverance in this system of internal improve- talents to the cause. Every day furnishes new evidence ments, it has been said, will give rise to a claim of juria- that his patriotic fellow-citizens are yielding the prejudices diction by the United States over the roads they make, that would lock up the bounties which a beneficent Proviwhich will end in the erection of toll-gates, and the enforc- dence bas so profusely scattered over our land. He merits ing of penalties not by State authority. Claiming, as I the lasting gratitude of his countrymen, the richest reward do, for this Government, the right to make roads and ca- of a public benefactor. nals without the consent of the States, it must follow that, The productions of our country, which soil and climate after they are constructed, it has a complete right to pre- have already made so various, are becoming daily more serve them by such means as it chooses to select. If I am diversified, insuring, at no distant day, a bome supply of right in assuming, for I have already said that I do not most of the luxuries as well as the necessaries of life. An mean to argue it, that the constitution has given to Con- important advantage which this view of our condition and gress the principal power, the incident must follow; nor is prospects gives rise to, is, that the different parts of our it at all probable that any injurious consequences are likely Union will be made dependent on each other

ao invariable to arise from the exercise of it. The authority to estab- effect of mutual wants. Nothing, therefore, demands from lish post offices and post roads impliedly confers the right us higher regard or more deliberate consideration, than to protect the transportation of the mail by the imposing the means of uniting our whole people into one great comof penalties. For this purpose, various laws have been mercial family. passed, and punishments have been inflicted, without any But it is unnecessary to dwell longer upon the beneficomplaint from a State, and, as I trust, without injury to cial consequences of an extended system of internal imitNor would any greater evil happen by punishing a provements; they must be familiar to the members of this man in the United States' courts for an injury done to the committee. I have endeavored to avoid noticing the road. Offences of this kind would be of rare occurrence : points which have been urged by others in support of the when it was known that the presence of vigilant gate bill; and baving reason to fear that the committee is alkeepers would probably prevent escape, and that speedy ready fatigued by a long discussion, I will conclude with punishment would inevitably follow, little mischief would thanking them for their attention. be done. There is scarcely an instance of an indictment Mr. MONELL next rose. He said he had waited until in our State courts for injuries done to roads belonging this late period of the debate on the bill, in the hope and to corporations, and the reason that prevents their occur- expectation that some one of his colleagues, more comperence would apply to a road laid out under the authority teat than himself

, would give to the committee the views of the United States. Besides, there could be no valid which he knew a large majority of the delegation of New.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

York, in uvison with himself, entertained upon this ques-, On more occasions than one, have I listened to the argution. No one (said Mr. M.] has felt disposed to do so; and ments of the ablest men of the nation, on this much disas I canuot consent that the vote on this bill should be taken puted, nice question of constitutional law. Although I without the expression of an opinion from the State I have will not discuss the question of abstract right, I may be the honor, in part, to represent, I have, reluctantly, ob- permitted to deny the expediency of its exercise by this truded myself upon the attention of the committee. Government. The exercise of this, and all other cun

As I am the warm friend of internal improvement by the structive rights, claimed by this Government, should be States, and have at all times, and on all occasions, whe- narrowly watched by the representatives of the people. ther in public or private life, supported every measure Our duty to our States and our constituents requires it at which I believed would benefit the citizens of my native our hands ; and yet it appears to me that when we assemble State, it is necessary that I should give the reasons that will bere as the Congress of the United States, we forget influence my vote on the present bill. Sir, the State of bome--we forget State rights, and lose State feeling. Our New York, unaided by the General Government, bas ad- whole thoughts are directed to the mighty power of this vanced far in this system. She has connected her dorth- all absorbing and controlling Government, regardless of the ern and western lakes with the majestic Hudson, and I feelings of our constituents, or interests of the States ; we trust will continue to progress until she extends its bless- exercise not only all the powers given to us by express ings to every portion of her citizens. Although she has grant, but every other which, by implication or construcadvanced far, and elevated ber character to a prominent tion, can be tortured into a right. I beseech gentlemen to station among her sister States, she bas not done half that pause and reflect. If this Government does possess the the wants of her citizens require, or the means she pos- power contended for by its advocates, let it be discreetsesses will authorize. My immediate constituents are now ly exercised, and only on acknowledged great national anxiously looking to their legislature for that justice they objects. believe themselves entitled to an improvement along their Under the power to regulate commerce among the selovely valley, which will place them on the level with veral States, and to lay imposts and duties, this Governother portions of the State. I trust they will not be dis- ment assumed the right to compel the canal boats on the appointed.

New York canals to pay transit duty. In 1824 or 1825, Soon after this nation passed through a second war of orders were issued by the Treasury Department to the independence with honor and renowo, ihe State of New collector at Buffalo, to enforce the collectiou of duties. York, suffering as she bad in that contest in blood and trea- I well remember the feeling created in New York: her citisure, and believing herself entitled to the favorable notice zens, from one end of the State to the other, were prepared of Congress, from the aid and support she bad given to to resist wbat was considered an encroachment upon strengthen the arm of the General Government, applied State rights ; even her legislative balls resounded with the for aid to enable her to prosecute the great works of in- language of resistance, and a perseverance at that time, ternal improvement she bad long conceived, but which on the part of this Government, would have brought that were retarded by the breaking out and continuing of that State in direct collision with the General Goveromentwar. What was she told by this Government? Although Strong protests were entered by the representatives in her good and faithful service was admitted, her losses and Congress, from New York, against the assumed power, privations appreciated, yet it was unconstitutional to aid and great exertions were made by the Governor of the in the construction of roads and canals. She submitted to State to procure a withdrawal of the order. It was counthe decision ; and, nothing daupted, rested upon her own termanded, but the right to enforce the collection of duties resources to accomplish that which her citizens had willed was not surrendered; it was suspended for the time being, should be accomplished. For one, I rejoice that she is to be enforced whenever the will of this Government not indebted to this Government for aid. By your refusal. shall direct. You have established your ports of entry in the resources of the State have been developed; the pat every part of her Statemat Buffalo, Rochester, Sackett's riotism of the people exhibited; the sound hearts and wil- Harbor, and I know not how many other places--upon every ling hands of her citizens enlisted to elevate her character, stream and rivulet-upon tide waters and inland lakes-in and place her upon an eminence that her extensive posses. every city and town that you please to consider commersions and fertile coil intended she should assume.

cial; swarms of officers to execute the laws and collect the What was unconstitutional when New York applied for revenue, are stationed among the people. Under the aid, has, by the change of time and of men, become con- power to regulate commerce, and lay im posts and duties, stitutional now. By the construction given to the con- you claim, and may, at some future day, enforce, the powstitution by modern statesmen, all power is vested in this er to collect duties on every canal made by State authoGovernment. The doctrines contended for in former days rity; and what is to prevent you? The broad and unlimited are exploded, new ones have taken their place; and, under construction of constitutional power claimed, will cover them, this Government is extending its influence over eve every act of oppression, and usurpation of State rigbto; ry part and portion of what was once considered independ, thus gradually, but certainly, will every vestige of State ent State sovereignty: the rights of the States are merged rights and State interests be swallowed up by the conin this grand consolidated Government. I will not enter structive powers of the General Government. Under the into the discussion of the abstract constitutional right of power to lay imposts and duties, to regulate commerce, this Government to make roads and canals in the several and to promote the general welfare, the whole revenue of States without the consent of the States or the people. State canals may be claimed. Now your treasury is full, It has been assumed and exercised so often, that, until and it is not needed; but let var exhaust it, let commerce some express provision to the contrary shall be made in the be impaired. or, what is most probable, your funds squanconstitution, it is worse than useless to question the power. dered in visionary schemes of internal improvement, and The advocates of the right do not claim it by express the particular welfare of the States must surrender to the grant, but by implication and construction of different general welfare of this Government. The States must parts of that instrument. It is claimed under the power stand in the relation to the United States that individuals to provide for the common defence and general welfare ; do to the States-bound to yield a portion of what they under the power to regulate commerce among the several bare for the general welfare. Sources of revenue which States, and with the Indian tribes; the power to they fondly hoped would support their own Governments, establish post offices and post roads. I have always doubt- and enable them to extend the blessings of internal imed whether this Government, under any or all of these pow-provement by their own authority to every portion of their ers, could exercise the right of making roade and canals. citizens, will be diverted from their proper channels, and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »