« AnteriorContinuar »
H. OF R.]
(APRIL 27, 1830.
slaves of Government-that they are now required to la to the crime of assault and battery, with intent to kill, bor, and would only be compelled to do the same in the Here the amendment is first proposed to exclude slaves penitentiary.
from its operation, and this very section illustrates the In answer to this argument, Mr. P. observed that the above principle. When any person, whether bond or suffering of a penitentiary felon depended not only upon free, evinces such a violeut temper, or malignant beart, his moral and physical sensibility, but upon the comforts as to lead them to the commission of desperate and dangerand enjoyments of life to which he had been accustomed, ous offences, public security forbids their running at large; and of which imprisonment had deprived him. Upon they should be withdrawn from society, either by confine these principles, he submitted the question to the House ment or death. Such cases are referred to in this section, with confidence, whether the slaves here would not suffer and also such as attempts to poison, and like cases, which more than the class of criminals coming from the free show a malicious and reprobate mind. In many of the blacks and whites. In truth, [said Mr. Þ.] if the princi- least aggravated of these cases, the public feeling would ples he contended for, that there should be but one rule of revolt at inflicting the punishment of death; and, therepunishment for all those classes, were objectionable, it fore, if the amendment prevails, slaves committing those must be upon the ground that slaves would suffer most; crimes would go uopunished and unrestrained, ready for and hence that the law would operate unequally. the perpetration of other offences, as revenge, malice, or
It is claimed by gentlemen, that while they are opposed passion might prompt them. And does not public security to slavery in the abstract, and justly consider it an evil and individual safety forbid this ? entailed upon them by their ancestors, from which it is As regards the wishes of the people of the District, to difficult, if not impossible, to escape, yet that their slaves which reference bad been made, he could not undertake are surrounded by numerous enjoyments—that they are to speak with certainty. The bill, as originally reported, honest, industrious, contented, loyal, attached to their has long since been published in the newspapers, as well masters, and to each other. This is not only undisputed, as the previous discussion on this very question, and no obbut the facts already stated seem to confirm it so far as jections to the original bill had come to his knowledge, relates to this District. What punishment then could be from this, and also from the fact that frequent expressions more severe upon such slaves, than to incarcerate them in in its favor bad been made to him, [Mr. P.) he was led to a penitentiary, where they would be cut off from all do believe that a majority of the people in this District were mestic enjoyments and social intercourse, confined at in favor of the principles of ihe bill. He regretted that night to a dark and solitary cell, compelled to labor any excitement should grow out of this discussion, and through the day in silence; and this labor and solitude con. dreaded protracted debate at this stage of the session, tinued, with unbroken monotony, for months or years, which he hoped might be avoided, and the question taken. without even being permitted to receive the slightest intel. The bill was of great importance to the District, and there ligence from their homes, their families, or their masters ? were various other bills also, wþich its interests called
Would not this slavery to the Government be less en- loudly upon Congress to pass, and which could not be durable, than that condition of domestic Blavery, which, by done till this was disposed of. Mr. P. said, be would not the principles of humanity and the force of public opinion, further trespass upon the attention of the House, and ochad become so greatly ameliorated, and of which we have cupy that time which he had expressed a hope would not heard such interesting accounts
be done by others. It was proposed [said Mr. P.) in a former debate to ex. Mr. POLK thought that the matter should be viewed as einpt slaves from the punishments proposed by this bill, one of expediency only, as one for the punishment and and extend over them the existing penal laws of Maryland prevention of crime alone. In all the States in the Union, and Virginia, under a mistaken belief, at least so far as re- where slavery existed, instances could be found where the lates to Virginia, that those laws, since the jurisdiction of slave was punished by imprisonment; and that fact spoke Congress way assumed over the District, bad become more to the purpose than a long argument upon the subgreatly ameliorated. It was then intimated to him, [Mr. ject. A slave dreads the punishment of stripes more than P.] by a gentleman from Virginia, that the laws of that we does imprisonment; and that description of punishState, in regard slaves, wbich had been enacted for the ment has, besides, a beneficial effect upon his fellowlast twenty or thirty years, were more severe than they slaves. Mr. P. went on to take a review of the offences had been previously, and which baci been occasioned by designated, and the punishments prescribed, by the bill
, some actual or threatened commotion among that class of and contended that its provisions did not amount, and could people. This had led him [Mr. P.) to examine those laws; not be considered as amounting, in these particulars, to and he must say, that, if the laws of this District, regard- such an efficient restraint as was necessary under the peing slaves, as had been justly remarked, were written in caliar circumstances of such cases. blood, the present laws of Virginia on that subject were Mr. BUCHANAN observed that the citizens of the Disof a still more sanguinary character. By this, he meant trict had had the bill before them for some time, and had no disrespect to that patriotic State, with whose consti- not complained of its provisions. Formerly, cases had tutional laws the General Government had no concern, occurred in which crimes had been committed with a de whether they be wise or unwise; of that each State the sign on the part of the perpetrators to be sent to the best and only judge. But when it is proposed to adopt penitentiary; but such was not the case now. Solitary those laws in this District, they become a fit subject re. confinement and hard labor were punishments sufficiently mark. It will be found by the preseut penal code of Vir- severe, to deter even slaves from the commission of offences ginia, that in most, if not all the offences for which free per- which would subject them to such inflictions. sons are punishable by confinement in the penitentiary, Mr. PEARCE said, he did not rise to protract the de slaves are made punishable with death. Mr. P. named bate, and regretted the necessity which existed, requiring several of those offences, such as borse stealing and other him to trouble the House with any remarks whatever. It larcenies; maliciously setting fire to any bridge, barn, will be recollected (said Mr. P.] that the committee who shop, stable, stack of wheat or coro, feloniously breaking reported this bill, (and a majority of them are from slaveopen any storehouse or warehouse, forgery, counterfeit- holding States,) were opposed to this amendment. The ing, and embezzling property; but he would not detain chairman of the committee [Mr. POWERS) informs us it the House with going over the whole catalogue.
But in did not receive his sanction, and does not come here unframing and executing any system of criminal jurispru- der his auspices. But the Committee of the Whole House denec, (said Mr. P.] the great and leading object should have adopted it, and we must now either adopt or reject be public security. The second section of this bill relates | it. The amendment prefixes the word free to the word
April 27, 1830.)
(H. OF R.
persous, so as to make the bill read all free persons, in-jing laws, if he is not fortunate enough to be able, on trial, stead of all persons, as the same was reported, who shall from among the by-standers, to prove that he is not a slave. be liable to penitentiary punishments. What will be the It is not for me to say that it would be unreasonable or aroperation of the amendment ? Sir, the slaves of the Dis. bitrary in the courts, with this strong prima facia proof trict will be left to the same punishments, after this bill, of his slavery about him, to deny bim time to prove the with the proposed amendment, becomes a law, they are contrary, when his request for time must be unsupported dow liable to. Yes, sir, to the sanguinary codes of Vir- by any thing but his owo declarations; and here let ine reginia and Maryland, not as they now exist, but as they mark, that, as he is prima facia and presumptively a slave, did exist thirty years ago, when the teo miles square were his declarations cannot be received under oath. It apceded by those States to the General Governinent. We pears to me, said Mr. P.] that the tendency of this amendlearn from the annual report of the trustees of the peni- ment will be such as to leave
person, whether tentiary in the District of Columbia, that there are in the bond or free, and wheresoever born, to the punishments county of Washington fourteen capital offences, and in of the existing laws, and to exclude them from the general the county of Alexandria they are still more numerous. operation of the law now under consideration. I solemnly I shall not stop to inquire whether any state of things declare, before God and man, I have no wish to interfere would have called for such a code. It is sufficient for my with the rights and obligations of master and slave; if callpurpose, if we legislate at all, that our acts should be in ed upon to declare iny sentiments upon the abstract quesreference to a general amelioration of the people here, tion of slavery, I should not be uuwilling to make a declaand not a portion of them. Within the last thirty years, ration of my sentiments; but we are bound, in legislating the laws of both Virginia and Maryland have been alter for the District, to look to the effect and consequences of ed, and rendered less severe than they were thirty years our acts; their bearing and operation upon all the people ago; and the consequences of this amendment will be, to of the United States. Dissatisfied as I am with the present leave the slaves of the District of Columbia liable to the laws, I had rather further legislation should be altogether punishments under the laws as they now exist; laws not withheld, and the people of the District left to their fate, now in force in any State in this Union. This I will not than participate in any kind of legislation that will warrant agree to; and my opposition is not only to the manifest an inference that any of the criminal laws of the District injustice to a portion of the people here, but to the free meets my approbation. A few words in reply to gentlepeople who may, and who have a right to, visit this Dis- men who have advocated the amendment, and I will cease trict, whether prompted by curiosity or considerations of from troubling the House with further remarks. They business, which here they have a right to carry ou. What seem to suppose, that, because this District was carved out is the situation of the free black ? and what are his liabili. I of States which, at the time of the cession, were, and pow ties when be visits the city of Washington? The free are, slave-bolding States, it must be always treated as a black of the State of New York, free there, not only be slave-bolding territory ; that we are never to look forward cause he treads the soil of freedom, was born free, and to that period wheo slavery here is to be extinct. Sir, has those characteristics by which man differs from the this District was not made a slaveholding territory by any rest of the animated race, his eyes turned towards heaven, act of the General Government; and the recognition by living in a land where the legal presumptions in favor of that Government of slavery in this District was not from freedom nre as great and as generally acknowledged as any approbation of the system; it was the necessary result are those presumptions in favor of innocence; the moment of that state of things which existed at the time of the he reaches this city, he is nigra facie a slave. Yes, sir, cession. And because slavery did here exist at that time, the complexion wbich“ an African sun might have burnt (the cession having been made for the benefit of all the upon him” is in this land of freedom evidence of his owing States,) have not all the States a common interest in the service to some one, and creates such a presumption against District ? aud, whenever it can be done without interfering bim, as authorizes the magistrates and officers of the city with private rights here and elsewhere, will not the extincto seize and commit him to jail. If he has friends, he need tion of slavery here be an event equally desired by all ! odly lay in jail until he sends home, and by the aid of I am surprised to bear gentlemen coming from the slavethose friends procure such testimony as will be sufficient holding States, say that punishment, by confinement in the to satisfy the authorities here that he is a free man. If he penitentiary, will be to slaves po punishment at all! What is without friends, he must remain in jail forever, or be is the imputation which this declaration renders them liataken out and sold for his expenses, and sent wherever ble to? That slavery bas such evils, and is attended with his purchaser may reside. This is not all
. If he proves such privations, that confinement in the penitentiary so to the satisfaction of those in authority that he is a free far ameliorates its condition as to make it desirable. Soft
man, he is still liable to be sold for jail fees and expenses ened as those evils are in every part of the country, to } incurred during the period of bis confinement. These the eternal honor of gentlemen living in certain portions
are the present operations of the laws of this District of the country be it said, I am unwilling to believe there All that I have supposed might take place, a very few is a gentleman in this House from any one of the slave. years ago did take place, in relation to a free map of West holding States, who is prepared to admit this to be the Chester county, New York, one of the independent elec- case—that to punish slaves, nothing short of corporal tors of that State, and a constituent of my friend over the punishments can be effectual; that the slave must be maimway, (Mr. Cowles.] That county at that time appeared ed, burned in the hand or face, his back must be lacerated to be not insensible to this outrage upon one of its citizens, and torn, “ and torn again before his wounds have cicatric and the attention of Congress was called to the case. The ed,” to be made sensible that he is punished for his crimes. Committee on the District of Columbia were instructed Sir, on this subject I must be permitted to differ from to inquire into it; but I am now under the impression that gentlemen who have addressed the House. In my opinion
the investigation was postponed, under an assurance that, some of the slaves of the District have all the tender and 1 when a criminal code was offered for the District, existing endearing relations that are common to our race. They llevils would be remedied. Sir, another evil will follow have wives, children, fathers, mothers, kindred and
this amendment. The advocates of it will agree that free friends, and a separation would be as heart-rending to blacks should be punished under the proposed law, the them as to us; even a penitentiary would have its horrors. same as whites; but will this be the case ? The free black Another argument in favor of the amendment is this : send is a slave until the contrary is shown. As a slave, then, he the slaves to the penitentiary, and you punish the master, must be tried; as a slave be will be convicted ; and as a not the slave, whose service he is deprived of during the slave he will be punished, consequently, under the exist-I slave's confinement; the same argument might as well be
H. OF R.]
[APRIL 27, 1830. used against all persons, apprentices, and others bound to only legitimate and proper purpose, according to the doeservice as slaves; and, if valid, would exclude from pun- tride received by 'every civilized nation, was the prevenishments one half of our population. But, sir, to my mind, tion of crimes. Punishments address themselves to various the best reply to this objection is this: a greater evil to feelings and principles in mad. Sometimes they were disociety would follow, tban the one complained of to the rected to the dread of death, sometimes to the dread of master, if he should be paid for the services of his slaves shame, sometimes to the love of property, and at others while suffering in the penitentiary for their crimes. He to the love of freedom. In that gradual amelioration of would not have that interest which otherwise he would the penal code which distinguishes the present era of the bave, to superintend the morals of his slaves, watch over world, the penitentiary system had been substituted for their conduct, and direct them to the paths of rectitude. capital punishments; but many of its warmest friends, men What would be his indemnity in one case, would be the of the mildest temper, and most compassionate disposition, community's loss. In all cases of conflicting interests, the after some experience of the plan, had began to entertain lesser must yield to the greater. Partial evils must be strong doubts of its expediency, even as applied to whites
, borpe for general good. We are told that the punishment He might be permitted to state a fact whích be had heard of slaves by this confinement will lead to an increase of had occurred in Virgioia, and which had a strong bearing crimes on their part. In further reply, I can only add, that on this subject. Some very degraded white person the whole penitentiary system is an experiment. had been confined in their penitentiary, the moment the
The community is divided in regard to the expediency period of his imprisonment had expired, and be was libeof penitentiary punishments; and, in making the experi rated by due course of law, immediately and openly com ment, I am pot disposed to make the distinction contend- mitted some one of those minor offences which were puned for between freemen and slaves.
ishable by penitentiary discipline, and this with the avowMr. WICKLIFFE said that he had, by the amendment ed intention of getting back to bis old quarters. Let genwhich he bad heretofore offered, designed to confine the tlemen look for a moment at the situation of a slave; at operation and provisions of this bill to offences committed the small advantages he possessed for either intellectual or by free persons. The House had determined, by its vote to moral culture, and then say whether he was to be put upday, that the slaves of this District, convicted of petty of- on a par, as to the regulations of society, with those whose fences, should be taken from their masters, and confined situation was so widely different. It was in vain to com: in the penitentiary for two years and longer, and thereby plain of such a state of things. Humanity, morality, even deprive the masters of their right to property. He now religion, might lift up their voice, but they could pot rerose to invite the attention of the House, and particularly move the evil. Slavery existed, and it was for a legislathe committee who reported this bill, to the fourteenth sec- tor to look at things as they were. How then were slaves tion, which be read as follows:
to be operated upon? It was proposed to punish them by "That erery other felony, misdemeanor, or offence, confinement at bard labor. Now, as to labor, that was the not provided for by this act, may and shall be punished as daily and almost constant occupation of a slave. It was heretofore, except that, in all cases where whipping is bis lot already, and to threaten him with labor was to hold part or the whole of the punishment, the court shall sub- up almost no threat at all. That motive was as nothing. stitute therefor imprisonment in the county jail for pe- Would gentlemen then appeal to his moral sensibilities i It riod not exceeding six months."
was melancholy, but it was true, that the very condition of He would offer no amendments ; but would inquire of servitude itself bad a powerful and invariable influence in the committee if, by this section, it was intended to con- degrading the moral sensibility of all those who endure it fine in the county jail for six months the slaves in this Dis. On that subject, he might quote the language of the poet: trict, for any trivial misdemeanor which the policy of the “ Jove fixed this certain ; that whatever day laws of every slave-bolding State or community had bere
"Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away." tofore punished summarily with stripes, which he under Servitude, in all countries and ages, has been found to stood to be the laws of this District now in force. Sup exert a powerful effect in bluoting the moral sensibilities pose (said Mr. W.) the slave of the planter in Prince of men, so that they did vot feel the same sense of degra: George's county shall be sent, by bis master, to markets dation under punishment, as others do, wbo never were within the District, and be shall commit a riot or some mis- in bondage. They did know it to be a fact, that in a large demeanor, which by the existing law, is punished with majority of cases the sense of degradation was not suffi. stripes, is it right that the slave should be taken from the cient to put down crime. Now, when the whole object master, and confined six months in the county jail at the of punishment was to prevent crimes, an appeal was to be expense of the owner or the public treasury ?
made to one or two principles only; when no other feeling Mr. P. P. BARBOUR said that the present bill, and was to be consulted but the dread of labor and the dread the amendment which had been proposed. involved some of shame, would the House pursue a system of legislation considerations of a general character, which were more which they bad every possible ground to believe was not important than seemed to be thought by many gentlemen adequate to its endi' As to this colored population, it in that House. God forbid that he should for a moment might reasonably be supposed that those who bad bad most advocate any system for the treatment of slaves, not only to do with them understood best how they were to be man that was severe or oppressive, but wbich was incompati- aged. Let gentlemen go to Virginia, or to Maryland, to ble with the utmost possible degree of lenity which the any slave State in the Union ; was there one whose scheme condition of those unfortunate people would admit
. But of criminal policy towards slaves was based on the idea of legislation, in its very nature, and according to the import their dread of degradation ? He did not know of such a of the term, required that all laws should be adapted to State. Experience, that surest and safest guide, where it the subject on which they were to operate. Those laws could be reached, should ever be consulted and heedfully dealt with men in various situations, and under very dif- regarded; and all experience in this matter spoke but one ferent circumstances from each other; and both wisdom and the same language. Mr. B. said that there was not a and justice required that the law should be adapted to feeling in his heart, that did not revolt at the very idea of any. those who were to be the subjects of it. With every dis- cruelty or oppression toward those unhappy people. But if position to practise the utmost lepity and forbearance, be gentlemen would rely on mere speculation, even speculation could not view it as proper that the slave and the free itself, if based on true philosophy, would teach any man that white map should be both subjected to precisely, the a state of slavery had a natural, necessary, and inevitable tedsame punishment. What was the object of punisbing dency to degrade the subject of it, and to efface those finer at all? It was not the infliction of public vengeance. Its sensibilities to which a dread of shame addressed itself. Such
APRIL 28, 1830.]
Maysville Road Bin.
[H. oF R.
a fear would never prove, with respect to slaves, a motive | he should not urge them, because he was satisfied that & of sufficient strength to restrain them when disposed to decided majority of the House believed it was competent crime. Every aspect of the subject conspired to prove for Congress to make appropriations for internal improvethe expediency of adopting the amendment. After that ments. "He, however, understood this same majority to had been adopted, Mr. B. said he should be prepared to limit
the exercise of this power to objects strictly national. agree to the mildest code, in respect to slaves, which the Mr. F. was not certain that his mind was sufficiently dig. good order and safety of society would admit.
criminatiog to distinguish between national and local objects
- but certainly if there could be a public work projected WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 1830.
which was not national, it was this very road. A national
road from Lexington to the Ohio river ! A road on which no THE MAYSVILLE TURNPIKE.
troops are to travel-no munitions of war to be transported; The House proceeded to the consideration of the bill and which, in a word, is to answer po pational purpose what authorizing the subscription of one hundred and fifty thou- ever. The idea is absurd; and he begged the House not to sand dollars to the stock in the Maysville, Washington, Pa- be misled by the character sought to begiven to this work, ris, and Lexington Turnpike Road Company; when There was another circumstance to which Mr. F. wished
A motion was made by Mr. MALLARÝ, that the fur- to call the attention of the House. The stock of this com, ther consideration of the said bill be postponed until Mon pany in which we are now about to make the Government day next, with the view of taking up the tariff subject; but a partner) is divided into three thousand shares, and Conthe motion was disagreed to.
gress is petitioned (and the bill so provides) to subscribe Mr. FOSTER rose, and said, that, if this were the only for fifteen hundred sbares-just one-half of the stock. bill of the kind to be presented to the consideration of the Now, if we so far yield as to sanction this application, the House, he would rather suffer it to meet its fate at once, work will be commenced; and should there be any diffi. than to delay the time of the House by any remarks of his culty in disposing of the remainder of the stock, the comBut there are now ou our calendar pine or ten bills of the pany will again look to Congress. You will then be same character, and he felt it his duty to warn gentlemen told, that, as you have already invested part of your funds,
against the danger of establishing the precedent-it will you certainly will not see the enterprise fail, and subject } only be the commencement of a system which promises to the nation to loss, when it can be so easily prevented by
have no end. The applications of this kind, which had additional contributions: and thus in a short time compa. been made during this session, showed the tendency of this nies will project works of internal improvement, obtain system of legislation. It has only been within a few years, from their State Legislatures acts of incorporation, and he believed, that Congress had ever authorized subscrip- Congress must supply the means of accomplishing the ob
tions for stock in canal and turnpike companies ; but, bav-ject. But we bave been gravely, told that the proposed + ing done so in a few instances, others bave been encou- subscription will be a profitable investment of our funds, ñ raged to apply. Sir, [said Mr. F.) some of the petitions Now, can any gentleman seriously believe [said Mr. F.]
now on your table would never have been dreamed of, that the proceeds of this road will ever reimburse the trea. bad it not been for the aid you have given to the Chesa- sury the advance it is designed to make? To him the idea peake and Obio canal, and a few others. But these ap- was visionary and extravagant—and he could not consent
plications having been thus countepauced by Congress, thus to put to bazard the funds of the nation. Mr. F. was e other companies think they have the same right to call on no enemy to Kentucky-quite the reverse; he wished suc.
you for assistance. And bave they not? Can you grant cess to any work which would promote the interests and to ope, and not to another? How will you discriminate i prosperity of her citizens—he hoped that this road, which You cannot. The State Legislatures will incorporate com- was considered of so much importance to them, would be papies for objects of internal improvements, whenever ap- completed; and that the association under whose direction plied to; and if you take stock in a company of one State, it was progressing would more than realize the great proyou must do so in that of another; and thus there will be fits which were anticipated. But he repeated bis protest no end to the appropriations necessary to meet the calls against engaging the Government in such speculations-be that will be made upon you.
boped that the House would reject this bill, and thereby The road now under consideration is to extend cely six- proclaim to all our citizens that they need not project ty miles; but we have been already told that this is only works of internal improvement, with the expectation that the middle link of the great chain that is to extend from Congress will furnish the means of executing them. It is Zanesville, in Ohio, to Florence, in Alabama. What then only by this prompt and decided course thut we may hope is to be the direct and almost necessary consequence of to arrest a system, which, if long pursued, will bankrupt passing this bill? It requires no spirit of prophecy to pre- our treasury, and ultimately subject our people to the most dict. In a short time, a company will be formed, and in- grievous and oppressive taxation. corporated by Ohio, to extend the road from Maysville Mr. COLEMAN said that the importance of this subject to Zanesville. Other companies will be incorporated by was deeply felt in the State of Kentucky, and particularly Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, to construct the por- that part of it which he had the honor to represent, tions of the road lying within those States from Lexington This bill was introduced [said Mr. C.] upon the petition to Florence—and then come the applications of all those of a very large and respectable proportion of my consticompanies to take parts of their stock. And can you re- tuents; and the road contemplated to be improved, passes fuse?
through three of the four counties of my district. A numBut again, sir : Authorize this subscription, in a few days ber of our patriotic and enterprising citizens bave enthe bill to aid the Baltimore and Ohio railroad will be tered into an association for the purpose of acquiring presented for our consideration. That is a great work, and diffusing information on the subject of internal im. and we shall doubtless be told it is one of national import- provement in the West; and they have, at their private ance, too. Next comes the Charleston railroad—and upon expense, procured the aid of one of the ablest and most the heels of that the Ogeechee and Atamaha canal, with experienced engineers in the Union, by whose exertions several others. All, he supposed, national works; and all they have been enabled to lay before Congress a full having equal claims (some of them perhaps stronger) with and satisfactory report, and map, exhibiting the benefits those of the road now under discussion. Do not gentle to be derived from this improvement. The Legislature of men see (vaid Mr. F.] that they are embarking in a system the State have given an unqualified approbation of the of legislation to which there is no limit? Mr. F. had also undertaking, and have authorized a subscription of stock, constitutional objections to all bills of this character, but I which, considering the state of the finances there, is gene
H. or R.)
Maysville Road Bill.
(APRIL 28, 1830.
rous and liberal. These circumstances, evidencing the in- one of the States, is, to a certain extent, a national benefit. tense interest of the people and the State, will, I trust, For purposes which the General Government has deem justify me in the few remarks that I may present to the ed national, three great road routes have beco projected. consideration of the House.
One from this city, the seat of the General Government, This is the first application which the State of Kentucky to pass through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, has ever made to Congress for aid in the construction of and so on, until it strikes the Mississippi above the mouth ber internal improvements; and I did hope it would be of the Missouri. Another from Buffalo, through this city, permitted to pass without discussion. This violent effort to to New Orleans; and a third to connect the two former
, prevent the passage of this bill, by urging its unconstitu- branching at Zanesville on the one, and uniting with the tionality and impolicy in debate, was not necessary to show other somewhere in the State of Alabama. This last to the world what are the opinions of southern members mentioned route passes through Chilicothe, on the Scioto, on this subject. From the tenor of the argument, I am crosses tbe Obio at Maysville, passes through Lexington, sure the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Foster) did not ex: through Nashville, on the Cumberland, and through Flopect to change the vote of a single member. Why bas it rence, on the Tennessee. These points are known to this been thought necessary to oppose so vehemently this mea- House to be places of great importavce, and situated on sure, carrying great advantages to the West? Why de- streams admitting of fine navigation. Perhaps, sir, the mand so imperiously a demonstration of its nationality ? Is most important part of this route is that between Maysit because of that peculiar kindness of feeling on the part ville and Lexington. If the main route be national, (and of the South towards the West, boasted of pot long since ? I do not understand that any deny it,) this part, as a part
, Or, is it to encourage a scrupulous investigation of all pro- and with an eye to its extension, must assume the aspect positions which may arise bere, requiring the public trea- of nationality, and every argument in favor of these great sure to accomplish an object which is confined to a State roads is equally applicable to each and every part of them, in point of locality? I trust that gentlemen may be pre- and especially those parts which are immediately conpared, when they may be called upon, to justify the expen- nected with our pavigable streams." diture of millions for Georgia, when they refuse one hun. Recollect that if ever again this country shall be visited dred and fifty thousand dollars, in profitable stock, for the by the awful calamity of war, that war must unfurl its aid of Kentucky.
bappers on the sea coasts, or on the shores of our porthThis is no new project which we have under considera- ern lakes. If on the latter, as was the case in 1812, this tion. The Congress of the United States have long since road will again become an important military road. Your settled the principle of this measure. We have subscribed troops, I mean national troops, sir, your munitions of war, stock in the Dismal Swamp Canal Company ; in the Dela- your provisions for your army and navy, must be transware Capal, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and in the ported along it, at least as far as the Obio river; and thence, Louisville Canal Companies
. But gentlemen say, every by land, to the lakes, if circunstances are favorable ; but if inch of the Maysville road is in the State of Kentucky not, by ascending the Obio a few miles, you may avail How can it be national ? I answer, every inch of the Dela- yourselves of the grand canal through the State of Obio. ware canal, sixteen miles in length, is in the State of New Or, if attack be aimed at New Orleans, and recent occurJersey; and every inch of the Louisville canal is iu one coup- reoces evince that that may be the case, a road from ty-nay, I believe in one city. How can they be national ? the interior of Kentucky to the Ohio river is equally im. Yet Congress bave subscribed for stock in both of them. portant, if the services and supplies of that State are im. I have said that this is the first application for the interest portant to our general defence. of Kentucky. I did so, sir, because the funds applied to The right to erect fortifications, in time of peace, for the the Louisville canal are not so much for the benefit of that common defence, is assumed, and rightly so, by southern State, as for that of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, geptlemen. Are fortifications more efficient means of selfand other States. In truth, sir, it operates against Ken- protection than good roads, over which, with the rapidity of tucky, because it operates against Louisville, our most im- thought, your infantry, your cavalry, your artillery, your portant commercial city.
peasantry, in the form of militia, may be carried, from point Nor does this work, now under discussion, promise ex- to point, as emergency may require ! How many fortresses, clusive advantages to Kentucky.. If accomplished to the strong and costiy, have been yielded up to the enemy, beextent contemplated by this bill, it will greatly conduce to cause the impossibility of sending to their aid in time the interests of Ohio, and all the States situated westward- reinforcements of soldiers, with arins and ammunition, the ly of us. We claim some attention from this Government; best of allfortifications A right view of this subject will we contribute largely to fill the public treasury; we, in show us that the very best means of defence is to make your other respects, perform our part as a member of the con great highways good; so that in the shortest period of time, federacy, and can see no reason why our interests should and at trifling expense to the Government, the whole be overlooked. Not as a gratuity, but as a right, we energies of the country may be concentrated to any one ask it.
point which may be exposed to danger from attack. Not content with the establishment of the principle And, sir, the accepted time to do this, is, when we are beretofore, gentlemen insist upon a re-argument of the at peace with all the world, and when our coffers are question. I do not consider it a difficult task to evince the full. We shall always be more secure in the enjoyment nationality of this measure; but I do regret the necessity of the blessings of peace, when we are in fact, and when of consuming the time of this House in the discussion of a the world knows us to be, prepared at all points for a state question which has been repeatedly settled beretofore.
Am I wrong when I suppose the States of this Union to The road under consideration is a part of the road from be inembers of the same great family; and that to pro- one important commercial situation on the Ohio to another mote the interest of any one in relation to an object still more so, if possible. The road from Maysville to wbich is national, should be desired by all the rest I Louisville, passing through Paris and Lexington, two imtake it, that the Federal Government is one, yet composed portant manufacturing towns; through Frankfort, the seat of various parts ; and that whatever tends to ameliorate of Government, and Shelbyville, is doubtless the most imthe condition of one part without oppressing another, or portant road in the State of Kentucky, and perhaps equal others, ameliorates the general condition of the whole. to any of the same extent in the western country. 'A very From this position, which appears to me to be as evident great portion of the goods, salt, iron, and other articles as any argument can be, which may be adduced to prove consumed in the State of Kentucky, is landed at Maysit, I infer, that a permanent improvement erected in any I ville, or Limestone, as it was called in the early settlement