Imagens das páginas

H. OF R.)

Maysville Roud Bill.

[APRIL 28, 1830.

[ocr errors]


the The gentleman, ait, is too late to the hit objections. The

examined this report. Independent of its national inte think, sir, is resolutely determined to vote against the bill rest, it directly and immediately concerns his own constitu- and it is quite in vain, so far as he is concerned, to show ents. The survey is not a mere local one; such was not that his reasons for doing so are wholly insufficient. its object. It did not begin at Maysville, or stop at Lex The gentlemen from Georgia [Mr. FOSTER] repeats the ington. These are intermediate points on the great route. assertion he made yesterday, that this road is not national

. It began at Maysville, and continued on through the gen. It is very easy, sir, to make that declaration, but not to tleman's ow district to Florence, in Alabama. Is there easy to prove it. I think I have upon a former occasion any section of the United States more important than already demonstrated that it is strictly and essentially da: this? If there is, I should like to know where it is. I am tirpal—but if I should again establish it beyond the possivery sorry, sir, to see so much alarm aud excitement wbed-bility of a doubt, I shall not, I fear, thereby secure the ever a road bill is called

up in these days. Such was not vote of my worthy friend, any more than that of the genthe case formerly. Sir, I am much gratified in the recol- tleman from Tennessee. He has, it seems, constitutional lection that my friend from Tennessee was not always as doubts. Would it not, sir, be more prudent in that genmuch agitated as be appears to be at present at works of tleman to reserve his constitutional arguments for a much internal improvement. 'I remember with great pleasure greater occasion that may soon present itself, in which he the time and place when I had the honor of standing by will have a louder call for them i It may happen, sir, be the side of that hoporable gentleman when he voted for fore very many days, that application will be made for six hundred thousand dollars for a great canal in the State some millions of dollars to remove certain Indian tribes of Alabama.

from bis owo State to some distant regions beyond the Now, sir, since that period, many, very many projects, Miesissippi : and some few gentlemen may possibly take! involving the same principle, have been, in various forms into their heads to fancy that such a proceeding is not al and shapes, submitted to our consideration, against which together aceording to the strict letter of the constituthe gentleman had a fair opportunity of manifesting his tion. I refer to this subject in no spirit of unkiodness, but hostility to this monstrous and alarming doctrine of inter- to draw the attention of the honorable gentleman to a sub nal improvement. Did he do it? No. He sat silent and ject of great magnitude, upon which I shall bear bim, no contented, thereby ratifying and confirming his former doubt, maintain the argument upon the other side of the course. I regret, sir, when he comes to the borders of question, with great ability. Sir, who has heard a sug the poor aud needy West, then he takes fire, then be be- gestion within the present day, that it was unconstitutioncomes indigoant; then, and not till then, be throws the al for the Government to subscribe for stock i whole weight of his intellect and his influence into the scale of opposition, although this is our first application doctrine is settled, is fixed to the contrary by the repeated for aid.

action of both Houses of Congress, sanctioned by every [Here Mr. POLK explained.]

Executive. Certainly, sir, the gentleman must know, the Mr. LETCHER resumed. There was no call for any most enlightened statesmen, and some of the most rigid explanation. I had no intention of reproaching the gen- constructionists of the day, upite in opinion upon this point

, tleman for the capal vote. My only object was to show that the General Government has the undoubted constituthe similarity of that measure with the one now under con. tional right to take stock in a private company, engaged sideration, and to revert to the pleasing recollection that a design of public utility. It is a question of expedieney the gentleman had once voted for six hundred thousand merely, and presents no other difficulty. dollars for improvements in the State of Alabama. The But the road begins in Kentucky, avd ends in Kentucky, gentleman says it was in land. Suppose it was. How says the gentleman from Tennessee; and how can it pasai does that alter the case ! You take my land instead of my bly be national ! Why, sir, every work of this kind must money. Now, I cannot for my life, and never could, per- begin somewhere. Where it begins, or when it begins, ceive any distinction in principle between an appropriation does not determine its character, I should think. The in money and an appropriation in land. Where is the differ- reason a beginning is made at Maysville, lias been several ence! It is all common stock, and belongs to the peo- times stated. The work has been commenced by indivi ple. However, that is immaterial . The question before duals by virtue of an act of incorporation ; which could

not the House is not on that gentleman's consistency; that is extend beyond the limits of the State. It is not, however, an affair between himself and his constituents.

to stop in Lexington-far from it: it will progress further A word or two more for the information of the House most certainly. Other companies will no doubt be form ia reference to the report of the engineers, who acted ed to extend it from Maysville to Zanesville, in Ohio, o under the

express authority of the Government. It was the one side, and from Lexington, by the way of Harrodsmade by Trimble and Long, of whose reputation for skill burg, Lebanon, and Nashville, to Florence, on the other. and integrity I need say nothing. They are both well A bill for that purpose is indeed already reported, and will known to the nation. They made it out with great care be called up by my colleague over the way [Mr. Kinond] and attention; and it consists of nearly forty pages, and the moment an opportunity offers. Avd," sir, if the bonbears every mark of the most scientific examination. In orable gentlemen will only exercise a little patience, he s Addition to this, the incorporated company also employed will very soon see this great road meandering its way, Mr. Williams, the late superintendent of the Cumberland through his section of the country. Then, I hope, one of road, a gentleman of high character for integrity and ca- his objections of its being too short will in some degree be pacity in his profession. No man stands better. He, too, removed. made an able report upon the undertaking, which is now But I would seriously inquire, rir, does it depend upon before me.

The gentleman complains that he has seen do the length of a road or canal, whether it is natiopal or accurate map of this work. Here is one almost as long local : What is the rule of decision ! How is the estias this little road itself; (holding up the map] look at it; mate to be made? I should like to hear how gentlemen scrutinize it; a better one was never seen. What more would reason upon this part of the subject. i humbly can be required? We have three reports: one exe- conceive the length of a ruad, whether it be short or long, cuted by our own special order long ago, and yet informa- has nothing whatever to do with the fact of nationality. tion is still demanded. But I know very well, sir, that if we must look to the accommodation it affords, ita utility, I apower all the gentleman's calls, and all his objections, its links of connexion, the various interests it unites, both we shall not get his vote. He will continue to call and agricultural and commercial, to ascertain its character. I call again, and if he is driven from one point, he will take know of no other method. The one proposed bas every refuge under another, and another. The gentleman, 1 requisite to recommend it. It combines essentially the in

APRIL 28, 1830.]

Maysville Road Bill.

(H. OF R.

terests of the agriculturist and the merchant-it conuects the safety and the speed of the mail, and that you will itself immediately and directly with the Ohio river, which save money by it to a large amount. Where, theú, is the most unquestionably is a national river, which in fact is to ground of doubt or difficulty about it? Wbat do you the West what the Atlantic is to the East. You contribut. now pay for the transportation of the mail ? Have gentle

ed largely to the Dismal Swamp canal, and to the Delaware men looked into this matter? It costs you no less than i and Chesapeake canal-how far do they run? But short eighly dollars and forty-five cents per mile along this very

distances. How long is the Louisville and Portland canal! route. Is not this outrageous! And will you continue to About two miles. When, sir, aid is asked to improve har. pay this extravagant price, rather than aid in making this bors, to build fortifications, to make light-bouses, and to dig a good road ? Surely you will not. A due regard to econocanals to unite with the Atlantic waters, we hear po sug- my forbids it, independent of every other consideration. gestion that these are not national worke. But the moment Let this work be completed, and it will not cost you much a road is mentioned, the scene is changed, the case is alter more than one-third of the sum you now pay. Your own ed--then constitutional scruples come up, and the cry is interest, sir, ought to influence you to make the road out raised at once that there is nothing national in it. and out, even without the co-operation of our State and

Sir, we wish to be distinctly understood; we do not now, individual resources. and never have complained of the great advantages you Kentucky has fully proved her sincerity and fidelity in Inve va the seaboard, or of the appropriations you have this matter. She has first taken stock herself

, and that made for their improvement. We are proud to know you to the full extent of her power, before she invited you to possess and enjoy them to such an unlimited extent. participate. Sir, it is well koown we are poor; we make Though you have facilities that are wholly denied to us, no secret of the fact, nor do we view it as a crime. It is we are far from begrudging them. Yet, sir, we do think, our misfortune ; and how could it be otherwise ! We have and must say, that justice should be done to us in some no market for our commodities, and the State is embar. small degree, when we present a case so eutirely and un- rassed in ber finances. Aud how did she become so? I exceptionably correct as the present. We do not ask you need not explain the reason to this House. Gentlemen to give us money. We do not beg. Not at nll. Genile. all know it originated in defending the cause of our commen cannot rid themselves of the distressing idea that the mon country. money is to be given.' No one, sir, expects or desires the It is true, sir, as a gentleman near me says, that much Government to do any such thing, but only to aid a good of the public money during the war was expended there. work and a valuable enterprise, by a moderate, cautious, Yes, sir, but it turned out to be ruinous to us. Its effect and well guarded subscription. To patronize a road, was to raise every thing to an exorbitant price. We were, which connects an important internal city with the Obio for a time, the subjects of a perfect mavía for speculation. river, which is the Atlantic of the West, which passes While it lasted, money was expended freely, and the counthrough a growing flourishing country, of unparalleled fer-try was excited to an unnatural degree, but afterwards tility, a region, in many respects, of all others the most de- there was a proportionate exhaustion; just as a patient, lightful and interesting, but one which is unfortunately de- strongly operated on by opium, afterwards suffers a col prived of navigable streams, upon which we cau couvey lapse of all his powers. We have not entirely recovered our abundant products to market. The result is, sir, from from this state of debility. This is the reason why we the extreme difficulty and delay arising from the badness ! are upuble to accomplish this work by our own means. of the road, our farmer is often cut out of the market al. But if it were entirely convenient, if our resources were together, and consequently his produce is left to rot on bis ample, we ought not to do it without your assistance. own hands. Under these circumstances, let me ask, sir, The road is highly important to us, it is equally so to you, what incentive is given to industry? No man will con- and will effect a saving in the public expense. Now, I tinue to work, if he has to sit down and see the products of put it to every man of a generous heart to say whether he his labor thus perish on his hands for the want of a mar- will refuse to do an act which is right in itself

, which is ket. It cappot be expected, sir. He will not raise more just, which is necessary, which, while it injures nobody, thag he can consume. Does the farmer need uo protec- makes multitudes happy. tion and no encouragement? Is his interest to be wholly You have a bountiful table, rich and abundantly spread overlooked and neglected! Sir, he is the first inan in the by the hand of a beneficent Providence. All the world coinmunity who ought to be patronized by all well regu- bebolds, admires, and wonders at your prosperity. The lated Governments, and the very last man who should be Kentuckiaps lent their aid in preserving these blessings neglected. He is the main stay and prop of the country. from violence and spoil. We do not wish to be understood When he is prosperous and contented, every interest in as boasting—we only did our duty. We pay at this day society is so in a corresponding degree. Sir, I would in more than a million a year to swell your treasures—and quire, of what use is legislation ? What bave we to do, now we come here, and ask you to spare from this wide unless we lend every assistance to the encouragement of and magnificent table but a crumb, and that to be again honest industry, and, by a prudent application of our re- returned to you. Will you, can you refuse us ? sources, endeavor to improve the condition of our country? But the honorable gentleman from Tennessee [Mr.

I am not myself, sir, disposed to see every scheme, bow. POLK] tells us that the national debt must first be paid. ever visionary and extravagant, supported and maiutained. The gentleman seems to superintend that department of

by the wasteful appropriation of the public money. A the Government, and to have the public debt in his own ! sound discretion must be exercised in determining upon especial keeping ; and if you give-no, if you subscribe

the merits of each project that may be presented for our for stock to the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand consideration. If it be fair, laudable in its object, easy to dollars, the consequence will be awful-yes, sir, trebe accomplished, moderate in its demands, and of great mendous, indeed. Why, sir, how long does the honorable public utility, wby, sir, it ought to receive the helping gentleman suppose that this sum will delay the payment hand of the Government. Such, I think, sir, is the one of the public debt? But a day or two, even if the money now offered to the House ; and, when completed, it is not were strictly a donation. Are you asked to part with any for our exclusive iise. Gentlemen seem yet to labor under money! Not a single dollar. You are asked to advance the erroneous impression that this is a road for our fifty thousand dollars a year for three years, on good seepecial accommodation, and they will not argue the ques-curity, in a desigo patronized by the State, and in which tion upon other grounds. Sir, we tell you, and we prove many private citizens have embarked their fortunes to a the fact beyond all doubt, that it will be a mutual advan- large amount. In return you will receive a valuable tage both to you and to tas, that you will greatly increase stock, together with the gratitude and blessings of your

H. OF R.1

The Tarif-Maysville Road Bill.

[APRIL 29, 1830

fellow-citizens. If all these considerations and induce. I know we can offer you no other to which you would subments have no impression upon the House, I know not scribe. No, sir, if this fails, we are bopeless. myself what will.

Sir, the gentleman from Tennessee is very kind, indeed. 'Sir, I took the liberty of reading to the House a docu- He advises the friends of internal improvement to consider ment which went to show the great number of persons well wbat they are about, lest they bring their own system who travel this road, even in its present miserable condi- into disrepute, by pushing it too far. We are greatly tion. It pleased the honorable otleman to make some obliged to the gentleman for bis counsel. But I, for one, severe and humorous criticisms upon it. He observed that would much sooner take the advice of a friend to the systhe paper did not tell us how many of the travellers were tem, rather than from one who is its avowed enemy. He going to meeting, and how many were going to mill. tells the friends of the New Orleans road, for their espeVery true, sir. Neither did it inform us how many were cial comfort, that it is now " sleeping in death.". Sir, it driven in a different direction to avoid this infamous road; / was somewhat cruel to raise the dead, particularly after nor did it point out what the wagons carried. I did not the funeral oration bad been pronounced by that honorable read the paper as an official document; but I bave letters gentleman. I trust he will not raise a ghost to alarm the in my possession from gentlemen of the first respectability, House. It seems, sir, according to the positions assumed, which can be examined by any gentleman, to show that it the whole system of internal improvement is endangered. is fully entitled to credit.

We cannot pass a great bill, because it is too greate The company hired, as I stated before, a man of repu- cannot pass a smali one, because it is too small: so it aptation for honesty, for one month, to ascertain as accurate- pears we can pass no bill at all

, and the whole scheme ly as possible the number of persons, wagons, borses, &c. must come to an end. Now, sir, I am no believer in that that travelled this road, and the quantity is enormous, notion. It is the people's system ; and although it may be and, to one wholly unacquainted with that region of coun- checked for a time, yet it cannot be put down. The try, almost incredible, but nevertheless true. What do people will bave it in spite of all opposition. I believe no the Government engineers tell you by their official state- man lives, or ever will live, who can bring it to an end. I ment! Permit me, sir, to read a short extract from the believe, further, that the object dow proposed is as just, as report.

fair, as expedient, as national, as any which has been or (Here Mr. L. read an extract from the report of the can be proposed to us. No sound objection has been engineers.)

offered against it from any quarter., This corresponds with and confirms the statement I have Sir, I am very sorry to have felt myself called upon exhibited. We do not ask the House to act blindly or pre to say as much as I have, although I have said as little as cipitately, but to act upon thentic information. We de possible. The subject is one of the deepest interest. It sire you to believe nothing that is not established by the is looked to with intense anxiety. I have now, sir, only most satisfactory proof. We feel ourselves prepared ep- to entreat that the question may be taken, and let the tirely to satisfy any gentleman who is not unreasonable in glorious news go home to the West, that this House has his requisitions, upon any and every point connected with extended its kind patronage to a work so useful and 80 our application, so far as facts can accomplish that eod. much desired.

But this road lies within Kentucky, and therefore cannot Whereupon Mr. MALLARY called for the previous be patioval, says the gentleman from Tennessee. Sir, was question, and the bill was ordered to be engrossed for a not the caual to wbich that gentleman voted six hundred third reading. thousand dollars, entirely within the limits of the State of

THE TARIFF LAWS. Alabama ! May not the same be said of the canal in Illinois, io Delaware, and Indiana, to all of which the General The House then again resolved itself into the Commit Government has been exceedingly liberal Now I should tee of the Whole House on the state of the Union, Mr. be happy to bear any gentleman undertake to establish the Polk in the chair, on the bill to amend “ An act in alteracorrectness of the proposition, that a cadal, exclusively tion of the several acts imposing duties on importo,"-confined within the borders of a State, however short it the amendment offered by Mr. McDUEFIE being under may be, is always national; but a road of the first importo consideration. ance, of ten times its length, upon which the great mail Mr. McDUFFIE rose at half after two o'clock in conis daily conveyed, under similar circumstances, is never 80. tinuation of his argument against the constitutionality and I have said, sir, and I repeat it, the proposed road, taken policy of the protecting system,” and addressed the with its various connexions, each dependent upon the committee two hours, without having concluded; when he other, makes it not only national, but an object of the first gave way for a motion for the committee to rise. moment.

You must consider the whole design together; you must be regulated, in coming to a decision, by the principles of

THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 1830. common sense, as you would in a case of law. You must

THE MAYSVILLE ROAD. look at the entire case, and all its circumstances, before The engrossed bill to authorize a subscription of stock you come to a conclusion. You must not separate the cir- to the Maysville and Lexington Turnpike road was read cumstances, or break the links. So it is with this road: the third time, and the question stated on its passage. you must not take apart its links, but take the whole as Mr. HALL said he hoped he should be excused for de one uninterrupted chain of communication. I make no laying the passage of the bill for a few moments oply. He argument, sir, about its being a military road: I would not had no idea that be should be able to prevent its passage care a single cent whether it was or was not. The case is altogether ; but, as he took no part in the debate yestermade out fully, independent of that argument. The truth day, he wished to make a remark or two, not that he had is, Kentucky will never require you to make a good road any peculiar hostility to this particular object, for he could to get to your battle ground; but I maintain, and shall ever assure bis friends from Kentucky that he would as 8000 maintain, that it is connected, by means of a water com- vote for an appropriation for this object, as any other of munication, with the whole lower country, with the Atlantic the kind, even in his own district. But he rose to make Ocean, with the Ohio canal, and so with the lakes, and all some developments wbicb be thought calculated to throw the northern part of the Union, and therefore is national. mueh light on the system of internal improvement gene If it be pot, is there any scheme of the kind in the West rally, of which this road is a part, and which involves the that can be so! Where is one more, or even as much so? principles of the whole subject. Let it be pointed out. Sir, if you refuse to aid us in this, l' The developments which I am about to make,(said Mir

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

| H.) consist of emanations from the most respectable sources, But as this addition of wealth has not diffused itself, and

from the Legislatures of two of the most wealthy and pow. cannot diffuse itself equally among all the citizeus, as erful States in the Union, New York and Pennsylvania. two-thirds or three-fourths of the whole population derive It is unnecessary for me to say, that, in presenting what I little, if any, pecuniary advantage from the canals, it would do from these sources, it is not from any want of respect. be unjust and oppressive that works, which are thus parMy object is to show what New York and Pennsylvania tial in their benefits, should be general in their exactions." have done, and the results at which they have arrived in It will be seen by what has here been presented, that the the prosecution of works of internal improvemeot, as a object of the report was to present to the people of New beacon and a warning to other States less powerful in the York, in the shape of an account of debit and credit bemeans necessary to the successful prosecution of these tween them and the canals, or capal interests, a view of works. I besitate not to say that no other States in the what they cost and yielded. And it is further stated Union can push their plans of internal improvements to the “ The interests of the State, in reference to the amount of extent which these States have, without the most ruinous tolls which ought to be collected on the canals, will be consequences. The great State of New York, with means clearly indicated by exhibiting an account of debit and and appliances, physical and adventitious, which no other credit between the Erie and Champlain canals and the State in the Union has, or perhaps ever can have, will State, from their commencement up to the beginning of find some difficulty in extricating herself from the situa- the present year.” Here follows, after some further retion in which ber splendid works have placed her. But marks, a set of calculations, showing, according to the with her resources, if she continues to exercise the wis- views taken in the record, that the "whole amount of debt dom in the management of her system which she bas here- chargeable to the canals on the first day of January, 1830,

tofore done, by applying her general revenue means as a was twelve million two hundred and thirty-seven thousand i sinking fund to ber debt, and suspends the further extend three hundred and ninety-nine dollars and seventy cents." ision of her system, she will in some few years wipe off The report saya further : “But regarded in the most

this debt, which, if I am rightly informed, has been con- favorable light in which any reasonable calculation can aiderably reduced by this policy.

place them, the canals have yet done nothing towards the The report of the canal board, in answer to a resolu- extinguishment of their debts; and, indeed, that they tion of the Senate of New York, of the 25th of February, bave not paid the annual interest of that debt, together 1830, presents, among other remarks, the following; “The with the moneys expended upon them for superintendadvantages to the people of this State, to be derived from ence and repairs. That portion of debt which has been the construction of the navigable communications between extinguished, owes its extinguishment entirely to the the great western and northern lakes and the Atlantic auxiliary funds, the duties on salt, on sales at auction, Ocean, were doubtless based upon the anticipated reve- and sales of lands, &c. nue which these works would produce. It was therefore In the Pennsylvania Senate, on a bill making further ppparent, at the commencement of these works, that the appropriations for roads and canals, a member, Mr. Seltzer, lucal advantages, in the enhancement of the value of the said, “That the gentleman from the city bad given us en property, contiguous to them, would be participated by eloquent speech;

but had sung the old song-A song which the landed proprietors and others inhabiting the canal he had sung many times before. There were some noter, section of the State; and that the great State communi- however, that were discordant; there were some assertior & ty must look, as an indemnity for its expenditures, to the which were not founded on facts. He has told us that revenue to be derived from these works." Again: "A there were sufficient funds to pay the interest on our put

law was passed at the commencement of these canals, im- lic debt until February, 1831. Now, sir, I deny it; I, sir, y posing a direct local tax upon twenty-five miles on each am bold to deny it; it cannot be shown to be true. We

side of these works. This law was based upon the evi. shall fall short of paying the interest this year more than dent principle, that the property in the vicinity of the ca- three hundred thousand dollars ! Now, sir, this old song is dal was eohanced in value to the amount of the differ- Dearly worn out. It has been sung from year to yearence between the land and water transportation. Owing, give us more money to extend a little further, and the however, to the loss and inconvenience which would re- canal will be profitable. When the money has been receissult from the assessment, collection, and payment of the ed, and the extension made, they come here, and the co' g tax, it was never imposed; and those who have been al- is sung over again, give us a little more, and it will be most exclusively benefited by these works, having been profitable. The State has already expended more than thus exempted from all direct taxatiou, it would seem to twelve millions of dollars, and not one mile of canal has be an obvious principle of justice that the whole State been completed, and the gentleman from the city wants to should never be subject to taxatiou on account of the ca- borrow money to enter into new contracts, and then bor. pals. It cannot be imagined that the people of this row more to pay the interest. Such a course, every one State ever contemplated that works, which are principal. knows, would bring an individual to ruin; and who could ly beneficial in a local and individual puint of view, should doubl but that it will bring ruin on the commonwealth !! impose a tax upon the whole community; and it would I have said, that, in presenting these emanations from doubtless be doing great injustice to that portion of our these two great States, it was certainly from no feeling of citizens, who inhabit the canal sections, to imagine that disrespect, but rather from any other feeling. I bave done they ever supposed that those in other parts of the State it, sir, to notify the State which I have the honor in part would be subjected to taxation to make or maintain the to represent, as well as others, to take warping by the ex. canals, or to extinguish the debt." The report goes on ample and experience of those who have gone before to say" The State, in its political capacity, may be re- them, in undertakings which, whatever these States may garded as a corporation; and the same brond principles do, it would be difficult for others to accomplish. I bave of justice, in referenco to its wealth, will have perfect quoted these documents,and particularly the report, to show applicability. In a corporation consisting of many indi- what. utter delusion prevails upon the subject of internal viduals, an application of the funds of the whole for the improvement, not only in the States, but as it is carried benefit of a part, would be a transgression of the princi- on, or pretended to be, by the General Government; and ples of equity, unless the funds were invested in such a more particularly to show the fallacy of the idea of the manner as to return to the body corporate the principal nationality or generality of works and objects, whose and interest." Again : " But the making of the canale principal attribute is that of locality of place. Sir, we bas added to the wealth of the State, by enhancing the have heard ju this debate a great deal about national obvalue of the property in the canal sections. This is true. jects; but what does the documentary evidence presented

H. OF R.]

Maysville Road Biu.

[APRIL 29, 1830

by the Legislature of New York teach us That the very self, after having prosecuted with so much energy, and work which, by way of excellence, if there is one in the with a success that, from the very nature of her physical Union, the Erie and Champlain canal, is entitled pre-emi- position and adventitious advantages, no other State can nently to be called a national work, is yet shown by the re-use; if she, under all these favorable circumstances, has port of the canal board to be one of local character and in- yet shown that this stupendous work is not only local, but, terest. Sir, there is not a greater source of error and mis- compared in its cost and profit, is as yet a losing business; chief than the improper or equivocal use of language. It has I ask, what would be the result with any other single been said by one of the most able aud talented meu ever pro- State, or, still worse, with the wbole United States, cut ap duced by that country so prolific in great men, that man into roads and canals, at such rates! Could the people kind in general are not sufficiently aware that words with bear the taxation ? Ought they to do it? I do hope that the out meaning, or of equivocal meaning, are the everlasting eu- people in every State, whose legislature has plunged into gines of fraud and injustice.” The words national, Ameri- ibis system, will cause to be made out an account of debit can system, internal improvement, general welfare, &on

, and credit, showing precisely what they pay for the artiare striking instances. As they are frequently used, they cle, and what it yields. Had not the constitution become are words of equivocal meaning, and have been used as ed- obsolete, except with a few old fashioned politicians, I gines productive of immeasurable, I fear of irremediable in- would say something upon the constitutional question, bejury to the people of this country. These words confined cause some of those who believe with me on this subject, to their proper use, have a distinct and appropriate meaning by appearing to waive the question, may subject os ubof their own; for words are the names of things, sir. Words justly to the imputation of having abandoned the ground. are things, you know, and misused or abused, they may be Sir, I have not; I never shall abandon my priuciples on this made very wicked and mischievous things. But the word ne- subject; and the more I reflect on them, the more firmly tional—the pational good-the general welfare l Sir, what must I adhere to them. But I hesitate pot to say, that, acis national ! Wby, it would not be difficult, by a little logi- cording to the practical construction of the constitution, cal legerdemain, to prove that any thing, however local or or rather the practice of the General Government for some circumscribed in its character, is national. The general years past, if the people really believe that they are living welfare is made up of the particular welfare-the whole is under a Government of strictly limited powers, whatever made up of its parts. What is good for the whole is good in its formation it was intended to be, I have only to say for the parts, and, e converse, what is good for the parts is that I think them mistaken. That the Government was good for the whole. The nation is made up of individuals: intended by the people of the States, when they adopted what is good for the nation is good for the individuals; the constitution, to be one of limited and specified powers, what is good for the individuals must be good for the I think any one may satisfy himself, who will consult the dation; therefore, every individual advantage must be a contemporaneous history of the times. And I wish my national advantage. But it is of advantage to my old constituents could now hear me. I desire that what I say neighbor, that his potatoe patch or cornfield should be culti- mny go out to them. vated, or that he should have a ditch cut, or a cowpen T'he friends of internal improvement by the General Gomade; his individual advantage is part of the national ad- verpment, claim the power principally from four sources: vantage ; and then these objects become national objects, from the war power; the power to establish post roads and ought to have an appropriation from the national trea- and post offices; the power to appropriate money; and the Bury. I repeat that I have do peculiar hostility to the power to regulate commerce. From these sources, they Maysville ruad, and have no doubt it is quite as well en- claim the right of the General Government to make roads titled to an appropriation as many other works called ba- aud canals, improve barbors and rivers,' and many other tional. But the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. LETCHER] works within the jurisdictional limits of a State. The error tells us that this road is a national road, because it is in into which those who derive the power over internal im connexion with the national river Ohio. But how came provements, from the war power, is their improperly Obio, par exeellence, to be a national river! How are we blending the legislative and executive functions of the to distinguish which is and which is not a national water- Government in relation to war. These departments are to course? As we have heard something about length ayd be kept separate and distinct, in this as well as in other breadth, &c. how are we to ascertain where, or when na- instances. Each bas its appropriate part to perform. The tionality begins. Sir, I should like to know from the great Legislature declares war, the Executive carries it into exe father of waters in the West, down to the meaneat rill or cution. It is bis duty, being by the constitution the cornmud puddle in North Carolina, where I used to catch craw- mander-in-chief, the head of the military establishment fish when I was a child, how we are to tell a national Military roads, ditches, culverts, the thrown up breastwatercourse from one that is not. And, suppose, according works, the occasional taking or using private property for to the gentleman, Ohio being a national river, this road be- public purposes, are means necessary to the execution of comes a national road, because in connexion with it; does the war power; they are parts of the war executed by the not the gentleman perceive (and I say this in the same military. These are things left to the discretion of the good natured way in which he made the same remark) military commanders, ex necessitate rei flagrante bello, and that, by the same rule, every other road, or path, that is could not be provided for by the legislative department of connected with it, must therefore be pational, and that even the Government; it results from the very nature of war. & sturgeon living in it must be a national sturgeon. The But as soon as the military is withdrawn, the General Gosame remark was made in regard to the Cumberland road, Ternment has no control over these things; they belong tbat eternal road-eternal as to money.

where they did before. These operations really constiBut I am extremely obliged to the Legislature of New tute a part of the war; and to think of carrying into efYork for the light which it has caused to be thrown upon fect the executive functions of the Government in relation this subject of the nationality of locality, which sounds to war in time of peace, would involve the contradiction something like a contradiction in terms. But, sir, I say of baving war in time of peace. But we all know that that if there is any one work of internal improvement in this discretion of military commanders is to be exercised the United States, entitled to be called, by way of emi- upon their responsibility to the country; and that they are nence, a national work, it is that truly great work, the liable for any improper use or abuse of it. Erie and Champlain canal. And what does the exposition The post office power the power to establish post roads which has been made, show? That even in the estimate and post offices, is so hackneyed a subject, that but little is of the canal board this is a matter of local interest. And, required from me now. Without going into any pbilolosir, fif the great State of New York, an empire within ber-Igical disquisition on the word establish, I will rely on its

« AnteriorContinuar »