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H. OF R. )
Navigation and Impost Law.
[APRIL 30, 1830.
be put in the bands of any one man living. The gentle | aud all the arts and efforts of England cannot divert her man tells us that the whole manufacturing interest is in the from her own independent course. France, sir, minde bands of an aristocracy, who oppress and grind to dust her own concerns. She is not eternally dabbling in the the democracy of the nation. This shows clearly and affairs of other nations. She understands ber own true plainly that be knows nothing about either the aristocracy interests, and pursues them without troubling her neigbor democracy of the country. I say that the great agri- bors. But up the Baltic we can have free trade. Peancultural interest north of Mason and Dixon's line, and a sylvania can send corn to Dantzie! That is flattering! solid proportion south of it, are in favor of the protecting What a noble thought! But we can have the trade of Por policy—the tariff. If the gentleman wants to find friends tugal. That the gentleman seems to suppose would be and advocates to that policy, let him go into every bamlet every thing to us. It would be a grand affair! So, for and house in Ohio, Penusylvania, New York, New Eng- these fancied benefits we are to invest the President with land, and he will find a vast majority in its favor. Talk the most extraordinary powers. The great interests of of the aristocracy of the country! It is the real democracy this country to be regulated by the caprice or policy of of the United States, who are the friends and advocates of any nation in the world, and the President compelled to the protecting system. Not British agents-Liverpool execute it. The market of Portugall what does the genmerchants. Talk of aristocracy! The farmers, the agri- tleman really mean! If there is any hidden object, let the culturists, are the men who support the tariff. They are gentlemen lift up the veil- let him draw back the curthe men. Why! They well know that the manufacturer tain—tell us, at once, his object. I would not trust the gives a market for their productions, which do foreign pa- power he proposes, to any man. If the measure should tion allows. They consider the manufacturers as their pass, I have the fullest confidence that the present Chief agents, at home, in their own country. The farming in Magistrate would exercise his power and discretion as fairterest knows this. If our farmers did not know that their ly add soundly as any man living. The interests of his interests, their salvation, did not almost depend on the ma-country would never be sacrificed for the benefit of any nufacturing system, they would be willing to give it up. other. This is a subject that belongs to Congress ; to the Sir, the gentleman openly avows that his object in bring. representatives of the people. Here let it be retained. ing this bill forward is not for discussion or action this Never give it up. I hope the day will never arrive, when session, and perhaps not the next. What, then, in the we will place such power in the hands of ady Executive. name of heaven, is his intended object ! Sir, I think I But (said Mr. M.] the gentleman declares that the bill know. Jodeed, for some time, I have been aware that it proposes reciprocity-only reciprocity. Let England put has been in contemplation. The object manifestly is, her duties at thirty per cent. and we will do the same. to have the measure hang over our protecting policy in The scheme looks well. How will it work! The disparity terrorem, like a portentous cloud. It is for the purpose of will be as great now exists. Thirty per cent on the scattering doubts, and fears, and apprehensions among flour of Obio, Pennsylvania. Now see, sir. Thirty per our manufacturing iuterests, and to invite foreign nations cent.-reciprocal on the face. What will be the expense to press down upon us with all their power, and over- of sending a barrel of Hour from Louisville, in Kentucky, whelm our system of national independence. The ged. by New Orleans, to Liverpool i Why, sir, it would dost tleman seems to want that foreign pations should believe more to send a barrel of Hour, worth five dollars in the that this Government is trembling and shivering in its New York market, to Liverpool, thap it would cost to course-wishes to see them interfering in the domestic bring one thousand-five thousand dollars' worth of foregulations of this country. Sir, I cannot, will not, con- reign manufactures into this country. Equalize duties in sent to see such a measure, brought forward under such this way, and a vast proportion of the agricultural interests auspicer, held up to terrify and alarm our own country, of this country is rnined at a single blow. How much does and give hopes and expectations to another. The gen- it cost England to send her broadcloths and gimlets to
te does not expect that the bill will make the New Yorki How much to send our heavy productions to smallest impression on England. Good nation! What? England ? Every mau of common sense well know. The Make no impression on Englandi I supposed the gentle difference may be five hundred per cent against us. Thir man considered England a perfect model for our imita- ty per cent. on lace-thirty per cent. on Hour! Reciprotion; that free trade was ber motto, and that she really city with a vengeance! The farming interest of the United meant what she had published to the world ! that she was States will not be deluded by such a show of reciprocity. ready to throw lier doors wide open to the commerce of The gentleman tells us about a tremendous explosion, all nations: What! England opposed to free trader if the friends of the tariff policy persist. This means, in Monstrous ! And even the gentleman from New York ad- plaiu English, rebellion. Are we to be driven from our mits it! Surprising! He tells us that the measure is in- path of duty-from the true interests of the country-by tended to help the laboring classes of England—the de-threats of a tremendous explosion Is a minority on the mocrats of England. This is a new idea. The democrats floor of this House to tell a majority, you shall submit to of England! He says they are crying for bread, and she our will, or the most dreadful consequences will follow! wants to feed them. His feelings are all engaged for the For one, I say, plump and plain, I will not be driven from democrats of England. Sir, I am for sustaining the de- my course by such language. What will be the condition mocrats of the United States. So people will differ. On of this country, when a minority overawes a majority by whom do these democrats of England depend? Why, I threats and menaces! We have recently heard of the tysuppose of course, on the democratic manufacturers of ranny of a majority—a strange kind of a tyranny tu be eure. that country. All democrats, then! Our manufacturers, But we are called on to submit to the tyranny of a mino in this country, are represented as aristocrats, nabobs, rity. When a minority can, on any question, by threat monopolists—in England, it seems, they are all demo- and menace, overawe the majority, this country must be ! crats. Sir, these English democrats bave but little affec- reduced to the most extraordinary condition. It iš worse tion for their brother democrats this side of the water. than no Government at all. We come here as the repreThey are hostile to our prosperity. They tremble at the sentatives of the people of all parts of the Union, for the sight of a rising manufactory in the United States. They, purpose of mingling our common counsels, and deciding like the gentleman from New York, would like to see the on the course best caleulated to promote the great interests domestic industry of this country palsied, prostrated. of the nation-our common country. The sound discreThe gentleman says the bill will have no operation on tion of every member ought to be exercised. We must France. Why, sir, we all well know that. France minds finally decide. As the representatives of the people of this her own business. She has adopted the protecting policy;! Union, we are called upon to act. How are we to decide
be on any great question, whether it relates to the established I was not without hope that the gentleman from Massachue policy of the country, or to any new measure presented for setts might change his opinions, again become an advocate by deliberation and action ? Is a majority to shrink back, give of free trade—at all events, give the friends of this mea
way, surrender, when a minority demands a right to ruleisure a fair opportunity to defend its merits. Submit to the tyranny of a minority ! a strange despot Mr. WAYNE agaio rose, but said be bad no desire to
under a Government, when its fuudamental rule is that a go into the merits of the bill at this time, if it should take la majority should govern. What would such a Government such a direction as would bring it up regularly for discusWill be worth? A minority rule? This is the essence of aristo- sion hereafter.
cracy. In plain truth, sir, if Representatives cannot come Mr. GORHAM said, the gentleman from New York here, and exercise their own independent opinions, without must think bim very sincere, if, after the extravagant but being awed and menaced into submission by those who altogether unmerited compliments of the gentleman, be
may happen to differ, the Government is not worth pre- still persisted in his opposition to this bill, as a measure of 1p serving. Its republican character is gone-it is not worth the most extraordinary character ever proposed in this
a fig. I always respect the minority. I am in it often. We House. Sir, [said Mr. G.) this bill contains provisions which are all, often, in a minority. When we are, shall we cry in their operation will derange our whole revenue system,
out tyranny, oppression, abuse the Government, curse it, and change all our commercial relations at home and et and let it go If so, we can tear it in pieces in an bour, abroad, introducing at the same time an endless series of #any day. If such is the wish of any portion of this country, frauds and perjuries. It transfers, too, to the President
they may be indulged for all me. What is a Goveroneat, almost the whole control over the commerce and revenue a republican Government worth, where a majority is ruled of the country. If practicable, which I doubt, it will inby a minority! I should like to be informed. If this is not troduce a principle into comercial policy, inischievous in
aristocracy, I do not understand the term. The most per- the highest degree. This discussion [said Mr. G.] had befect tyraany is when the fewest rule-! may be mistaken. arisen so suddenly, and the hour was so dearly expired
I thought I had some republican principles—I may have when the debate must terminate for to-day, that he should been mistaken. Whatever may be my errors of opinion, be able hardly more than to mention a few of the most I feel anxious to sustain the interests of my own country- striking objections to the principles and provisions of the I want to see Liverpool the other side of the Atlantic. Mr. bill. But, [said Mr. G.] before I do this, I think it proM. concluded by again moving to lay the bill ou the table. per to say a word or two touching the proceedings of the
Mr. WAYNĚ, of Georgia, a member of the Committee Committee on Commerce upon this bill." Atour last meet
on Commerce, said the gentleman ought to give an oppor. ing upon public matters, three or four weeks ago, and pd tunity for reply to his misapprehensions.
not more than fifteen or twenty minutes before we were to Mr. MALLARY said, he had done no more than reply separate to take our seats in the House, the honorable to the gentleman from New York, but be again withdrew chairman of our committeu (Mr. CAMBRELENG) handed me his motion to lay the bill on the table.
the draught of this bill, (though I thiuk with a different title) Mr. BATES, of Massachidsetts, hoped the geotleman asking if I agreed that such a bill should be reported. from Georgia, wben be had finished the remarks which be After looking through it, I replied, that it was a sort of desired to make on the subject, would allow the friends of consolidated repeal of the tariff laws, that it was introducthe protectiog system an opportunity of discussing the sub- ing principles altogether new into our revenue system, and ject and defending their views.
our commercial relations at home and abroad. &c. &c.; Mr. WAYNE. That is what the friends of the bill de- and it would be in vain to report such a bill to the House, sire. Let it take its ordinary course, and it can then be which had rejected much less objectionable propositions. fully discussed. He hoped, therefore, the opposition to it The rest of the committee having looked into the bill, the in this stage would be withdrawn, and the bill be com-chairmau called for our opinions, and, by a vote of four to mitted. He yielded the floor to
three, the committee being full, it was ordered to be reMr. GORHAM, of Massachusetts, who was decidedly ported to the House. I bad reason to be surprised that opposed to the bill, but he wished it not to be laid on the a measure which was to work & complete revolution in our table, as that would preclude discussiou ; and he thought commerce and revevue, should be thus bastily adopted. an opportuuity should be afforded for exposing the impo- But, sir, I will basted to state a few of the many objections licy of the measure.
to this extraordinary scheme. In the first place, it reduces Mr. WAYNE then rose to proceed with his remarks on at once all duties to thirty per cent. ad valorem, and to the the bill; but
extent of that reduction is a repeal of the tariff laws, not, The SPEAKER interrupted him, by stating that the indeed, as it may suit the interest aud convenience of our Clerk had informed him that the bill had received its own Goveroment, or our own citizens, but when the will second reading by its title, which fact the chair had over-for interest of any foreigo nation may require it. The looked; and the question being now simply on the commit- mere reduction of duties I do not regard as the worst asment, it precluded a discussion of the merits of the bill. pects of this part of the bill. Sir, it is, that foreigo na
Mr. WAYNE bowed to the decision of the Chair ; and, tions are to judge for us, and not we for ourselves ; that all after some under conversation between other members, specific duties are, with regard to some nations, to be charg
Mr. GORHAM, for the purpose of opening the bill to ed io ad valorem duties and reduced, while, with regard to discussion, moved its indefinite postponement.
others, they are to remain specific, and at their old rate ; Mr. CAMBRELENG regretted that he had not on this and that the duties on articles of the same kind, from difoccasion, the powerful aid of the gentleman from Massa- ferent countries
, are not only of different rates, but differebusetts
. He remembered, nine years ago, when that ently estimated. And then, too, what numberless frauds gentleman was a captain among the advocates of free trade. will be practised in fixing this thirty per cent. ad valorem, The House was electrified by that gentlemap for near three by appraisements without end, not only in our own ports, hours; and without intending any disparagement to a dis- but in those of the nations which may come into this strange tinguished gentleman wbo now occupies another body, he and novel scheme of reciprocity? must say, that he heard on that day what he thought then, Time does not permit me now to say any thing upon and still thought
, the most able, eloquent, and convincing the extraordinary principle of transferring to the Execuargument he ever listened to, in favor of the broad princi- tive Department, as this bill would substantially do, almost ples of free trade. He hoped that the gentleman from the whole control over our foreign and domestic commerMassachusetts would vary his motion so as to postpone the cial relations. Nor can I now enumerate
half the mischiefs question till the first Monday in January next, wheu bel of a different character, which would result from the adop
H. OF R.)
Land Claims in Florida.
(APRIL 30, 1830.
tion of this most pernicious project. A single instance [Here the hour expired, and the debate was arrested will serve to illustrate its effects in a hundred other cases; for the day.] and I will ask the attention of the House to only one brunch On motion of Mr. BUCHANAN, of commerce--the sugar trade. The sugar of Louisiana Ordered, That the article of impeachment against James is now protected by a duty of three cents per pound upon H. Peck, judge of the district court of the United States, the imported article, which is more than a duty of fifty for the district of Missouri, be committed to the Commitper cent. ad valorem. The prosperity of that State de tee of the Who House on the state of the Uniori. pends, in a great measure, upon sugar planting. Now,
LAND CLAIMS IN FLORIDA. we bring sugar from Cuba and other of the West India islands, from South America, particularly from Brazil, and The House proceeded to the consideration of the bill from the East Indies, places wholly independent of each entitled “ An act for the final settlement of land claime other. Should this bill pass into a law, some one of these in Florida :” and the question recurred on the passage of countries, Brazil, probably, (and I believe Brazil alone,) the said bill; when would accept our offer of reciprocating duties; and what A motion was made by Mr. WICKLIFFE, that the said would be the consequence? The sugar of Brazil, which bill be recommitted to the Committee on the Public Lands, costs but four or five cents per pouud would come here with instructions to amend the same, so as to exclude from charged only with a duty of thirty per cent. ad valorem, the provisions of the bill all such claims as bave been conequal to a duty varying from a cent to a cent and a half
, firmed by the register and receiver, upon the evidence less than half the present duty. There can be no doubt, of the confirmation of the governors of Florida, after the then, that is a very short time the importer of that article 24th of Javuary, 1818 ; and, after a long debate, in whieh would drive the Louisiana planter from his own market. Messrs. WHITE and WILDE zealously opposed the moThe ruidous effects to that State are obvious; her pros- tion, and Mr. WICKLIFFE supported it, the motion was perity is destroyed at a blow. Nor is this all: Brazil will negatived by a large majority; and then the bill was passprobably agree to this scheme, but Cuba and Porto Rico, ed, and sent to the Senate for concurrence. being dependencies of Spain, could not. The places in [The
following are the remarks of Mr. WHITE:] the East Indies from which we bring sugar, from the pecu Mr. WHITE, of Florida, said, be was too sensible of the liarity of their political condition, could not, or would not, value of the time of the House, at this late period of the adopt it. And thus the high duty of three cents on sugar session, to ask its attention longer that was absolutely from those places is virtually a prohibition of trading necessary to reply to some of the most prominent objecwith them; and our trade at present with Cuba, as every tions that had, in the various stages of its progress, been one kuows, and particularly in sugar, is one of the most offered against the passage of the bill now under consiflourishing and important branches of our commerce. deration. I did bope (said Mr. W.) that, after the discus
Frauds, too, of a different character from those I have siop in Committee of the whole, and the decisive indies: mentioned, would be resorted to. England and France tion given of the sense of the House at that time, this
would not, indeed, cappot, reciprocate this rule. But bill would not have been embarrassed by a motion to rethey would be very desirous that we should adopt it with commit, which, if successful, puts an end to all prospect other nations ; because they could, through those nations, of its becoming a law at this session of Congress. "derive every advantage from it, without yielding us any If I can be able to command the attention of the House equivalent in return. There is little doubt that Ham for a short time, I trust I shall satisfy them that this bill búrg, Bremen, and all the Hanseatic towns, Sweden and proposes no new priuciple in legislation; and that the ap Denmark, and, perhaps, Holland-some, if not all of these, prehension of any bad consequences resulting from the would agree with us. The course of things would then first section, in its present shape, is entirely fallacious. The be, that British and French goods would be shipped to object of Congress in organizing special tribunals for the those places; and either there, or at home, so marked adjudication of these claims, is to free ourselves from the and packed, that they might be imported into the United trouble or necessity of going into an examination of the States as Dutch, Swedish, or Danish goods, at the reduced voluminous documents and evidence exhibited by the duty. And thus France and England, holding firmly to claimants, and the various intricate questions of Spanish their restrictive system towards us, would enjoy, through usage and law that must arise in the decision of these other pations, all the advantages of a total relaxation of our questions. Such a body as this, organized to consult and system towards them.
legislate upon the various and complicated affairs of s But sir, (said Mr. G.) I must close. Many other evils great empire, has neither the time nor the means of going might be pointed out, and will be readily perceived by any into a minute or satisfactory investigation of such ques
. one at all acquainted with commerce; and, indeed, there tions. It has higher duties to perform; and in consemust be maby more than perhaps the most experienced quence of the utter impracticability, as well as im policy, of merchant can foresee. The measure, if adopted, is a an attempt to decide upon every small land claim, derived radical change in our revenue system, and all our commer- from a foreigo Government, in the territories acquired by cial relations, and cannot but be followed by the most treaty, it has been the established to organizes pernicious consequences. The bill is strangely entitled a board of commissioners, to sit in the country where the "bill to amend the navigation laws of the United States," grants were made, where the archives are deposited, and yet makes no reference to any one of those laws, and con- where the land lies. These officers hold their commistains not one word about either ships, vessels, or naviga- sions, and receive their compensation, from the Goverstiou. It should be entitled “ a bill to encourage frauds ment, one of the parties directly interested in the decision and perjuries, disturb the revenue, and embarrass and re- of every claim presented. If there is any leading op either strict the commerce of the United States.". Mr. G. con- side, it is always on that from which the power is derived cluded by saying that he had been surprised into this de- With the most honest intentions, and a constant effort to set bate, and be threw out these few remarks, the suggestions without prejudice, there is a constant attraction between of the moment, to show the impolicy and ruinous tendency all federal officers and the Government and its interests. of the measure.
Federal judges pronounce, with great indifference, State Mr. WAYNE said he had two things to complain of, one laws to be unconstitutional, and State judges pronousee of them in common with the gentleman from Massachu- the acts of Congress to be unconstitutional; when neither, setts. First, he had been surprised into the debate, and unless in an extraordinary case, pronounced the laws of then he had been surprised out of it. He would now pro the Government, from which they hold their commissions
, ceed to submit a few considerations on the bill.
unconstitutional or void. To make an application of this
APRIL 30, 1830.)
Land Claims in Florida.
[H OF R.
principle, I ask any gentleman to read this report, and titulo de propriedad," or "royal title,” it was only peces instead of striking from this bill ope-bali of the cases Eary to summon witnesses to appear before the Governor, confirmed, I do not hesitate to say that he would be more and to prove a settlement upon the land, and a continuinclined to say that the number of confirmations ought to Ance a certain length of time. This proof entitled the ocbe doubled. I do not say that injustice has been done ; but cupant to a grant in the name of the King. It was a favor I will say, that, if any bas been, it is to the claimants. I say to the crown, and not to the subject, to settle and strength. that the rigor with which these claims have been examin- en their distant provinces and colonies. In the interpreed, will operate more unjustly to them than the United tation of this treaty, we should remember their policy, and States. I believe that this is the first instance in the bistory not ours, which holds up the land at a price so bigh, that of our legislation since the Louisiana treaty in 1803, in it is difficult for a poor man tu purchase even the smallest which an attempt bas ever been made to reverse the de- legal division of the surveys. Looking to this policy, can cisions of our commissiopers, and, strike out half of the any man doubt what Spain would have done 1' I cannot claims confirmed by them. Numerous instances can be doubt but that she would have confirmed every one of found at every session of Congress, for twenty years, in those one hundred and thirty-five cases rejected. If ady which the rigor of the commissioners has been mitigated man was not satisfied with his land, he bad only to petition by the clemency of Congress, in giving to every equitable the Governor, and, transfer of the location was granted, claim the most liberal and favorable interpretation. as a matter of course.
If this motion succeeds, we shall reverse the order of The motion now made to recommit this bill with inthings, and introduce a new system, as impolitic and unstructions, is placed by the honorable mover on two grounds: wise in the Goverument, as it will be oppressive upon a the one of which is founded upon the idea that there are people transferred to us, with a guaranty, on our part, to grants made subsequent to the time at which Spain was do what Spain would bave done. I have had occasion to interdicted from making them by the treaty. If gentlelook into the history of all that has been done by this Go- men will take the trouble to look into this report, they vernment on this subject, and I do not hesitate to declare will find that every claim dated after that period has been that the principle in this bill has been sanctioned at every rejected. The commissioners have not in any instance, successive session of Congress for twenty years. What confirmed a single claim posterior to the 24th of January, is the object of this motion! To recommit the bill, with 1818. They bave, in about thirty cases, considered the instructions to strike from it every claim which the Go- royal title given by the Governor subsequent to that day, vernor of East Florida had confirmed subsequently to the and before the delivery of the province to the United 24th of January, 1818, the time limited in the treaty, prior States, as evidence of the performance of the condition, to which all grants should have emanated, to be recognised I beg the attention of the House to the fact, that these and confirmed by this Government
confirmations are made upon concessions, the largest part By the eighth article of our treaty with Spain, the Unit- of which eventuated from the legitimate authorities of ed States agreed to confirm and 'ratify all grants (" to- Spain twenty years before the treaty was ever thought of, das las concessiones”) and concessions made by the Span- A concession is a grant, upon condition of settlement. One ish authorities prior to the 24th January, 1818, to the same of the concessions is given as early as the year 1794. extent that they would bave been valid, if the territories In 1819, the concessionary or claimant came before the had remained under the dominion of His Catholic Majes- Governor, who was a judicial as well as executive offity. This article contemplated the recognition of complete cer, and offered his testimony: The witnesses were ex. grants, and the completion of imperfect ones, as Spain amined, the proof recorded, and deposited among the pub would have completed them. The quo modo of doing this lic archives on the protocol called "delligencias." The was left to the justice of this Government, under å full royal title, as it is called, begins with a recitation, " Par conviction that the United States would be just, if not libe guanto," &c.; or " whereas." It recites that a concession ral, to their newly acquired citizens. The act of 1828 issued on such a day upon condition, and that certain witconferred the power of doing this upon the register and nesses were called and sworn, who proved the performreceiver, who were to act as ex officio commissioners to ance. These archives are before the commissioners. The carry this article into effect. These officers sat in the pro- testimony is recorded, the witnesses known to the comvioce in which the land lies, having before them the ar- missioners, or, if dead, or removed to Cuba, their charac; ebives of the Spanish Government. They have presented ters are known from their neighbors. The commission this report, from which it appears that they bave confirmed ers say we receive this evidence of the performance of the seventy-one small claims, and rejected one hundred and condition. It would be a nugatory and useless act to call thirty-five. The proposition now is, to recommit this bill, the witnesses over again, when their testimony is recorded, to strike from it thirty cases. Sir, if this motion succeeds, and recited in the royal title given by the Governor. Inthese people will have occasion to regret the day that they stead of looking to every act of a Spanish tribunal as a were ever transferred to the United States. The act scheme to defraud the United States, I would rather put which, according to our ideas, made them free, will, this more liberal and cbaritable construction upon it, and according to their conceptions, make them beggars. I consider the act as an evidence of what Spain would bave fear some of them will not love liberty so much, as to be done if the territories had remained upder the dominion of entirely contented with your disfranchisement of their pro- His Catholio Majesty. I do not believe that the Governors perty. I say their property, because, if Spain bad retain of East or West Florida were informed of the provied the territories, she would have completed every impero siods of the treaty until it was published here after its final fect title ia East Florida, whenever a petition had been ratification in 1821. Until that period they were acting presented to the Governor.
under & sense of their responsibility to their royal master, It was a part of the policy of France, England, and and their acts ought to be received in the same manner as Spain, to grant lands gratuitously to all the inhabitants if there had been no limitation in the treaty. So long as who would receive
them. The most informal and incom- the Governor bad a right to exercise jurisdiction, he had plete of these titles were the most honest, and best enti- the unquestionable power to examine witnesses, record tled to our confirmation, when the policy of that Govern testimony, either with a view to its perpetuity, or to be ment is considered. The lowest order of these titles, a used in foreign courts. This would seem to be a power "permit of settlement,” was declared by the commission so naturally inherent in every tribunal
, that it hardly peeds ers of West Florida the most honest, as well as the most a reference for its support to that well known and unicertain title. To complete it, and obtain a title in the versally acknowledged principle, in all civilized nations, to name of the King, called sometimes "title in form," or receive with respect the acts of all tribunals of other na
H. OF R.)
Navigation and Impost Law.-- Judge Peck.
[May 1, 1830.
tions, and to presume that they acted within the sphere of such a reference can be made. All the apprehensions their jurisdiction and duty. It is nothing more than a prid. from this quarter may be quieted by the examination of ciple of comity and courtesy—one which our courts of the cases referred to the courts for decision. The limitsadmiralty are in the practice of acting upon, and which tion in the treaty, it is well known, was introduced ex has been repeatedly recognised by the Supreme Court of pressly with a view to exclude the grants to the Duke of the United States. The King of Spain, and bis officers, Alagon, De Vargas, and Count Punon Rostro, and Do have as much right to disregard the acts of our tribunals, other. It was so declared at the time of making the treaty, as we have those of Spain, on the principles of national law; by those who negotiated it. The idea of excluding any and if these claims are denied on such grounds as are now other was indignantly repelled by the Spanish minister
, urged, they will have more reason to question the justice and never insisted on by our Goveroment.' The President of our decisions, than we have ever yet had to condemn of the United States (Mr. Monroe) informed Congress, in theirs. I am peither the defender por the apologist of an executive message, that such was the object of that the Spanish authorities. The special court appointed by provision. Although such was the view of those who de this Ġovermdent, having the archives before them, bave gotiated the treaty, that clause has been so rigidly enforced, received this evidence, and confirmed these claims, pot on as to exclude from confirmation every claim derived from the authority to grant subsequent to the limitation in the the Spanish Government wben they possessed the sotetreaty, but upon a concession made ten or twenty years reignty of the provinces, between the 24th of January, before. The performance of the condition only bas been 1818, and July, 1821, when the provinees were delivered. proved in due form after the time. The bonorable gen- All these claims were intended to be, and ought to be, tleman should recollect that the authorities of Spain were confirmed; but by the use of general words, to get rid of not interdicted by the treaty from the exercise of any ju the large ones, these, too, bave been rejected. Not con risdiction, or the execution of any of their functions, until tent with this advantage, thus secured against a population the delivery of the country to the United States. The pro- that Spain was about to transfer, and about whose rights vision is, that all grants made posterior to that date shall the King and bis ministers were somewhat indifferent, renbe void. In this report, all grants of that description are dered more so from a conviction that the inhabitants of the declared/void. The class proposed to be stricken out were ceded territories desired the change, we are now about to made prior, but witnesses were sword, and proved a settle- strike out one-half of what has found favor under the rigid ment according to the terms of the concession subsequent construction of the commissioners, because a Spanish ly. The commissioners of West Florida, in every case of governor had the witnesses sworn and the testimony rethis kind, confirmed the claim. In the abstracts of the corded. I cannot persuade myself that this House is preconfirmations of that board, in the Executive Documents pared to sanction a principle so upjust and odious. of 1824–5, which I now bold in my band, it will be seen The wbole amount of land in these thirty small claims that where concessions and royal titles were both made, does not exceed fourteen thousand acres, which is not the one prior and the other subsequent to the 24th of Janu- worth the expenses of this House during the time of this ary, 1818, we confirmed the title upon the concession. debate. If these claims are stricken out, what is proposed This was done by the commissioners of East Florida, and to be done? Is a new board to be organized, after a delay by the register and receiver in their report of 1828—all of pine years in the adjustment of these titles! If a new of which have been approved and confirmed by acts of Con board is to be created, iheir expenses will be greater than gress. The principle here is precisely the same, and it is the value of the land. The public surveys will be stopped, for this House to say whether they were bound to summon the private property cannot be separated from the publie
, witnesses to prove that which had been already proved the population of the territory will be retarded, and the before a Spanish tribunal, the evidence of which was be- most mischievous consequences result from the delay. fore them.' It would bave been an act of supererogation, Those wbo are here from the new States well know the useless consumption of time.
difficulties and embarrassments arising fronı unsettled titles The next ground of objection is, that we shall establish to the country itself; and those who have never seen it, cat a dangerous precedent for the courts, which will be inju- form but a very imperfect coneeptico of the misery of pur rious to the public interests; and this is seriously urged kuing, for ten years, an uncertain title in the tribunals of a upon Congress as a reason why this bill should be recom-country, the language and forms of wbich the petitioner mitted. Šir, it is the first time I ever knew that a legisla- cannot comprehend. The cry of fraud at this period of the tive act was to be received as a precedent for the admissi- session, the depunciation of all that is of Spanish origin, is bility of evidence in courts of justice.. Congress may enough to overturri the most beneficial measures ; but I declare that every man may make affidavit to the genuine- trust that this House, from the confidence reposed in its dess of his own grant. Will that justify a court in allowing owo tribunal, from the long delay and injustice already a man to be a witness in his own case! The distinction done to these claimants, and from å regard for the territory between a legislative body and a judicial tribunal, the one itself, will not recommit this bill, and produce confusion in governed by considerations of policy, and the other by the country, and certain ruin among its inhabitants. fixed laws, seems not to have occurred to the gentle.
Who ever heard of the decisions of our committees on the evidence offered to them being quoted
SATURDAY, MAY 1. before judges as a precedent for their decisions? What The House resumed the consideration of the bill to Congress, in its legislative discretion, chooses to do, has amend the navigation laws of the United States, reported never yet been, and never will be, a precedent for the by Mr. CAMBŘELENG, from the Committee on Comcourts. The courts might as well attempt to pass ap ap- merce, yesterday. propriation act, as to say they will confirm claims because
The question recurred on the motion made by Mr. GORCongress, confirmed them. I need not pursue this part of HAM, that the further consideration of the said bill be the subject further, because the question can never be postponed indefinitely. made in tbe courts. All the cases wbicb are or can be pre Mr. WAYNE, of Georgia, rose and addressed the House sented to them are now printed by order of this House, until the expiration of the hour, in support of the policy and now upon my table, to which access can be bad by proposed by the bill. He had not concluded when the every member.
There is not among that number a single hour expired. case in which a royal title is given after 24th of January, 1818; and if the courts were to look to legislative acts
JUDGE PECK. as precedents for them, the case will never occur in wbich Mr. BUCHANAN moved to postpove the orders of the