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Dec. 16, 1836.] [[I. of R.
Property lost in Military Service—Colonel Anthony W. White.
might be developed in a report, pregnant with useful facts, and leading to important consequences in our legislation. I shall say nothing more, believing, as I do, that if the suggestions made are not sufficient to satisfy this House of the propriety of raising a committee, and vesting it with unrestricted powers to examine the departments, all else will fail to have the desired effect. Mr. LANE rose and moved an adjournment, but gave way to Mr. BRIGGS, who, on leave, submitted a resolution, giving the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads power to send for persons and papers, in investigating into the causes of the burning of the Post Office building. Mr. B. explained that the resolution was offered to supply a defect in the one adopted on the same subject that morning. The resolution was concurred in mem. dis.; and then The House adjourned.
Fiil DAY, DEcEM B on 16. PROPERTY LOST IN MILITARY SERVICE.
Mr. E. WHITTLESEY, by consent, submitted a motion that the House proceed to the consideration of bills on the private calendar. Mr. W. said he did not wish to multiply words, but that the calendar was very long, and he was anxious to send the bills to the other House as fast as possible. The motion was agreed to, and the House, on motion of Mr. W., resolved itself into Committee of the Whole, (Mr. HAYNEs in the chair, ) on the bills on the private calendar; and, on motion of Mr. W., the bill to provide for the payment for horses and other property lost or destroyed in the military service of the United States was referred to the same committee. And the committee having taken up the said bill, Mr. HARDIN moved to amend the first section of the same by striking out the words “4th May, 1822,” and inserting the words “8 h June, 1812,” (extending its provisions to that period;) which amendment was agreed to. Mr. HOLSEY further moved to amend the bill by extending its provisions to property impressed “in any State or Territory, in the existing war in Florida, or the late war with the Creek Indians.” After some debate, in which Messrs. E. WHITTLESEY, HOLSEY, HARDIN, and WHITE, participated, the amendment was rejected. And, no further amendment having been offered, the bill was laid aside, but was subsequently taken up again, the amendments concurred in, and the bill ordered to be engrossed for a third reading. Several other bills were then taken up in committee; among the rest, a bill for the relief of the representatives of
COLONEL ANTHONY W. WHITE.
A long debate took place on this bill, principally on a motion of Mr. H. All EN to strike out the provision allowing interest from July 4, 1780, to the present time, on a claim for advances alleged to have been made to troops during the revolutionary war.
Mr. SMITH said it could not be otherwise than highly disagreeable to the mind of any gentleman upon this floor to feel himself under the necessity of opposing any claim that has its origin in, or that has grown out of, services rendered to the country during the revolutionary struggle for its independence. A claim of that denomination commends itself at once to our patriotic feelings; and we all are predisposed, and should be predisposed, to regard it with favor. But, Mr. Chairman, in the payment of public money to satisfy the demands of pri
vate individuals upon the Government, it is absolutely indispensable that some general principle be adopted and adhered to, and that all claimants be treated in the same manner. It would be great injustice not to do this, and wou'd, moreover, leave our legislation very much at loose ends; Sir, there must be something strikingly peculiar in the character of that claim which can be regarded by Government or by Congress as elevated above that high merit of being just and equitable in itself. And, sir, there must be something no less singularly striking and peculiar in the character of that claim which shall be understandingly paid by the Government, or allowed by Congress, without its being just and equitable in itself. For one, sir, I am disposed to have the Government pay promptly every claim that shall come up to the character of being just or equitable in itself, and I am unwilling to have any paid that fall below this standard; and all that are paid, I would have paid upon one and the same principle, and by one and the same general rule, be that as it may, unless a positive agreement between the claimant and the Government shall constitute any particular claim an exception from the generality of private claims. That different degrees of hardship and misfortune, as well as of benefits and advantages, to individual claimants, will enter into the constitution of their different claims, is to be expected from the very nature of human affairs. But that the Government should undertake to deal out justice more nicely or equally among claimants, by an attempt to pursue their claims through all the incidental shades of merit that may be thought to distinguish some that are allowed from others that are also allowed, and to favor some over others, appears to my mind entirely-impolitic, and impracticable to be accomplished, and would be more productive of inequality and complaint than of equality and satisfaction, in the distribution of the Government's allowances. Sir, I am constrained to oppose such a system, and to know but one rule of payment; and that is, to pay all demands alike that are found to be just against the Government, and to reject all alike that are not found to be of this character. In relation to the principal or substantive part of the claim now pending before the committee, I have nothing to say. I have not myself had an opportunity of investigating its merits in this particular; but it seems to be conceded on all sides as just in itself; at least, from no quarter have I heard it objected to upon this floor. But, sir, it is to the allowance of interest for some forty or fifty years back that I do make a question, and am constrained to oppose my vote; and I ask the committee to look well to the effect of such allowance upon both the past, present, and suture operations of this Government. Are gentlemen prepared to adopt a principle so momentous in its extent, retrospective and prospective, which has never yet been adopted by Congress, unless in some very few cases where it was unobserved, probably; and a principle which has been repeatedly, and I may say uniformly, repudiated by Congress, in the adjustment of claims? Where will it lead us, or where will it end? If, because this claim is just, interest is to be allowed upon that claim from its origin, then, to be just and consistent in our practice, interest should be allowed on,every other claim found to be just; for justice can know no medium at which to stop in this particular. And, sir, it is not only all present claims, but all future claims, which shall be adjudged just against the Government, that should and must be so settled with interest; and this claim will be an undeniable precedent and authority for it. Nor shall we be permitted to stop here, if we would be consistent, and alike just to all. But all claims that have at any time heretofore been recognised and paid by the Government, without the allowance of interest upon them, will
be as fairly and equitably entitled respectively to this same
allowance of interest by the Government, as if the principal had never been paid, or as if they were yet to be adjusted. Are gentlemen prepared to go this extent, or to involve the Government in these burdensome but inevitable consequences of the rule proposed to be adopted by this bill? Sir, consider the enormous claims still pending, denominated the French claims prior to 1800, and some of which, to say the least, are as just, perhaps, as even the claim now pending, or are alleged to be so; and are gentlemen prepared to carry out this principle of allowing interest in reference to those claims, and will they do it? Why should a different rule apply to one just claim, and not be conceded to another? If a rule of adjustment be adopted and applied to a present claim, admitted to be just, why not say it shall apply to all future and all past claims also, admitted also to be just 2 Because a claim has been once settled by the Government, if the settlement did not embrace all that the claimant, upon fair principle, such as the Government is now about to be made to recognise, was entitled to, the
Government surely cannot refuse to go back and do the
injured party that justice now. How many thousand claims will thus be revived, and upon the basis about to be established in this bill? Will gentlemen but reflect upon the strong equitable character of claims heretofore adjusted by Government, but denied the allowance of interest? When a revenue or custom-house officer, or any officer of the Treasury Department, under a misconstruction of a provision of law, has exacted of a merchant an excess of duty upon articles imported by him, and absolutely brought into the Treasury money that such merchant was not bound to pay, Congress has invariably repaid the amount wrongfully exacted, but never a cent of interest upon it. When the property of a citizen has been seized and sold by the Government for the supposed violation of some law, perhaps of a revenue law, and, upon adjudication by the proper tribunals, the seizure and sale have been disallowed and demonstrated to have been wrongful, the property of such citizen, or the proceeds of it, have been invariably restored, upon a claim therefor, but not with interest, even though years may have been exhausted in the proceedings. Could more equitable cases be conceived for the application of the rule of interest than were such cases? But, sir, it has not been adopted, because
the whole proceeding and delay incident thereto have in
all cases been viewed as a misfortune, and not a wrong, and for which the Government ought not and cannot, upon principles of sound policy, be considered as the responsible party. The Government, in such cases, loses the property for which it was contending and was supposed to be entitled to, while the other party recovers it, but with a loss of the use of it while in dispute. In case of a claim in the nature of a debt, long delays are often incident to an allowance. This is a misfortune for which the Government is not, and ought not to be, considered as particularly responsible. It is unavoidable, from the nature of government. The claimant himself is a constituent part of the same Government, and shares, in common with his fellow-citizens under it, of the ada. tages and disadvantages flowing from it. If the rule of the Government is to pay the demands justly made upon it, as soon as they are respectively established and pass. ed through the requisite forms instituted for the security of the Treasury of the Government, it is aii that can be rightly demanded of it; and the delay incident to their adjustment is a misfortune that each claimant must bear for himself, and constitutes no found tion for an additional claim against the Government. repeat, has been and must continue to be, I established and only politic rule to be observed by Congress. Any other wili lead to confusion tialiti
injustico. Any other rule would b partialities, and ernment itself, e unjust to the Goy.
This, sir, 1 think, the
Mr. Chairman, the claim now before us is an old claim, and its advocates allege that it is of the same denomination with those that were provided for by the funding system, of the revolutionary debts, adopted under Pres. ident Washington's administration, upon which interest was allowed. If this be so, sir, it goes to establish the justice of the debt, but not the justice of the claim now set up for interest upon it. For the question arises at once, if provision was made by Government for the ad. justment of this claim at that early period, why was not it adjusted, and the benefit of interest secured to it! The honorable gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Chais) has attempted an explanation of this delay; and if his explanation be taken, it constitutes, to my mind, the most conclusive argument against instead of in favor of this claim for interest; for it demonstrates, so far from involving the Government in sault, the whole fault to have been with the claimant. That gentleman says the claimant probably omitted to avail himself of the funding act, by which his debt might have been adjust. ed and interest secured upon it, if well founded, from a conviction that the promises or securities of the Gov. ernment under the act would never be redeemed and paid. He despaired of ever being paid. Sir, are we then to pay interest for the delay of forty years in the settlement of this claim, because the claimant underra. ted the worth of the Government's promises, or misco. ceived the capacity of the Government to pay? With this explanation of the case, the claim for interest most certainly ceases to have any merit whatever, and should not be allowed. It is said, in another quarter, that this case forms an exception to the generality of cases, because the Gov. ernment agreed to pay interest on this denomination of claims, by the terms of the funding act. But the terms of that act embraced only such claimants as saw proper to or could avail themseives of it; and beyond this the act neither offered nor agreed, on the part of the Gov. ernment, to pay interest this claimant did not also himself of that agreement; and the very fact that he do not is calculated to impress the mind with the convic' tion that something peculiar attached to the claim them, and which does not now appear, to debar it from allow. ance under the funding act. At all events, Mr. Chai", man, there is no evidence of any laches on the part of the Government respecting this claim, to entitle it to pe. culiar favor. . There is no proof of an unwillingnes." omission on the part of the Government to pay it, after it has once been established by a compliance with tle requisite formalities of legislation. And I do mainta" that the same rule should be applied to it as has been applied to all other claims; which is, to pay it when established satisfactorily, and to pay nothing more on account of any delays that have been incident to its establishmo". This has been the uniform rule of Governmentinall” cases, with perhaps an exception or two that cannot have weight; and it is the only rule that will be just or politic in practice. All hardships arising under this rule must be regarded as misfortunes, and not as wrongs; so * Government will always be just towards individual; when its necessary requirements are complied with by them. I am constrained to vote in support of the motion of the gentleman from Vermont, [Mr. Allen,) and trus! it will prevail. It involves a great principle, that should not be lost sight of or relaxed, under any circumstano that fall short of a positive agreement on the part of the Government to relax it, entered into at the origin of the claim that seeks to evade it. The committee then rose and reported the bill to House. The same bill coming up subsequently, on 1 question of engrossment— Mr. As LEN, of Vermont, moved to postpone to so ther consideration until to-morrow ; which motion wo loss.
The question then recurred on ordering the bill to be engrossed for a third reading; at which stage of the business, Mr. MANN, of New York, asked leave to submit a motion that when the House adjourn, it adjourn to meet on Monday next. Objection having been made, the House, on motion of Mr. M., suspended the rule, to enable him to submit the same. And the motion to adjourn over was agreed to. Mr. HANNEGAN, by consent, offered the following resolution: Resolved, That a select committee be appointed to examine into the condition of the steamboat navigation of the country generally, the causes of the frequent disasters in that way, and the propriety of a general law for the regulation of such navigation. The resolution was adopted. And then, on motion of Mr. ALLEN, The IIouse adjourned.
Mon DAY, DEcEMBER 19. PROTECTIVE DUTIES.
The SPFAKER announced that the unfinished business of the morning hour was the petition presented on Monday last, by the gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. ADAMs, from eleven hundred citizens of Boston, praying for a reduction of the duty on foreign coal, and the further consideration of which had been postponed to this day. [There were two motions pending: first, the motion of Mr. ADAMs to commit the petition to the Committee on Manufactures; and, secondly, the motion of Mr. PATToN to commit the same to the Committee of Ways and Means.]
Mr. ADAMS said he hoped the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. PATTo N] would withdraw his motion for commitment, since that part of the President's message which referred to the protective duties had already been committed to the Committee on Manufactures. He (Mr. A.) presumed, of course, that all these petitions for the repeal of duty on coal, which was one of the protected articles, would go to that committee. When this petition was last before the House, he had asked for the yeas and nays on the question of reference, and the House had decided they should be taken. He did not, however, wish to consume the time of the House in that way, and he would be glad if his friend from Virginia would withdraw his motion, and permit the petition to go to the Committee on Manufactures.
Mr. PATTON said he was not present at the time the reference to which the gentleman from Massachusetts alluded had been made, and he could not, therefore, know what views were entertained by the House in giving that direction to the particular portion of the President’s message which related to protective duties. If he (Mr. P.) were satisfied that it was the intention of the majority of the members of that House to dispose of the matter as had been indicated by the gentleman from Massachusetts, he (Mr. P.) would make no further question; but he apprehended such was not the intention of the House. There was so intimate a connexion between the subject of the protective system and that of the revenue system of the country, that there did not appear to him any absolute ground of preference for sending the subject to the one committee, and not to the other, except in so far as gentlemen were favorable to the tariff system, or inimical to it. It appeared to him that no one item of our tariff system could be touched, which was not to be supposed, directly or indirectly, to operate favorably or unfavorably upon the manufacturing interests. So, also, there was not one subject of manufacturing interest which was not supposed to act favorably or unfavorably on the question of revenue.
For himself, he considered that all that portion of the President's message which related to the reduction of duties was to be viewed in connexion with the existing state of our revenue. The object he had in view was, that the House might know, in touching the tariff system, how the revenue of the country would be affected. He considered the authority of the Government to interfere with the subject of imposts as extending only to the authority to raise revenue for the support of the Government; and, entertaining these views, he could not consent that the petition should go to the Committee on Manufactures. Mr. CAMBRELENG expressed a hope that, after the debate which had taken place the other day, the time of the House would not now be consumed in discussing a similar question. By the result of that debate, this subject had been brought under the consideration of both committees; of the Committee of Ways and Means as a question of revenue, and of the Committee on Manufactures as a question of protective duty. It struck him, however, that, in the present instance, the House should not depart from its custom of referring these petitions to the Committee of Ways and Means. Mr. C. was understood to allude to certain memorials on this subject, which had been referred to the Committee of Ways and Means, one of which was now before it. By a standing rule of the House, (proceeded Mr. C.,) it had been made the duty of the Committee of Ways and Means to report on these subjects of the revenue; and at every session of Congress petitions and memorials of a similar character had been referred. He did not wish to intrench on the duties of the Committee on Manufactures, but he hoped that, as a matter having natural reference to the revenue of the country, the memorial would be referred to the Committee of Ways and Means. Mr. ADAMS said that he should not have uttered one word further on this subject, if the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means [Mr. CAMD RELENG) had not intimated that the usual course had been for the House to refer these memorials to the Committee of Ways and Means. It had been the usual course of the House to refer them to the Committee on Manufactures quite as much as to the Committee of Ways and Means; and, at the very last session of Congress, petitions and memorials, and a proposition or resolution offered by the gentleman’s colleague, a member of the Committee on Manufactures, had been referred to that very committee; therefore, so far as precedent went, the House had referred the subject to the Committee on Manufactures as well as to the Committee of Ways and Means. The petition now before the House was one which he (Mr. A.) had had the honor to present, not from his immediate constituents, but from his neighbors of the very next district. They had called upon him to present it, and he had done so. It was a petition for the reduction of the duty on foreign coal. He hoped the House would refer it, according to the principle which the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means had himself laid down for its reference; that was to say, precedent. At the same time, it appeared very immaterial to him, after the reference which had been made of so much of the President's message as relates to the protective system, whether the petitions were referred to one committee or the other. Both committees, he presumed, would have the power to take up these petitions, to consider whether or not they had been referred to them under a eneral reference. But the very essence and quintescence of the question for the reduction of duty upon coal was a question of protective duties. Set aside the
mere fact that the duty upon coal was made for the pro
tection of the domestic industry of the country, and there would be no question at all to decide upon, There was
not an article in all nature upon which there was a more unanimous opinion that the duty ought to be repealed, setting aside the question of duty. It was, therefore, essentially a question of protection, and not of duty. Mr. McKEON said that the city he came from was deeply interested in this question. At this very moment, while we were debating the question of protection, the poor throughout this nation were suffering from this policy of protection. He was anxious the repeal should be made this session, and, to whatever committee it
might be sent, that we should have a report and a deciThe city of New York had for
sion of this House. years petitioned on this subject, and yet nothing has been done to relieve them from this oppressive tax. The subject had been referred to the Committee of Ways and Means; it likewise had been in the charge of the committee; but, yet, sir, nothing has been done. What I desire is, that some action should be had; that this matter shall not be tossed about from year to year, from committee to committee, without any result. The people, the suffering people, demand a decision. I am willing that it should be committed to the Ways and Means; it properly belongs to that body. If the position assumed by the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts be correct, he will drag within the extended circle of his jurisdiction every matter in the tariff. The proposition on the reduction of the duty on bread stuffs, introduced by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, should be sent to the Committee on Manufactures. This was not a question of protection, but of revenue. It was a question of taxation; whether exclusive legislation for the benefit of the few, at the sacrifice of the rights and comforts of the many, shall be continued; and, in that point of view, he wished the subject to be sent to the Committee of Ways and Means. We have millions overflowing our Treasury, and it became that committee, not the committee on protecting manufactures, to inquire how one could be reduced. The poor of the country were on the one side, and those to be protected on the other; and, for one, he wished to relieve the consumers from this tax. Mr. HARPER was understood to say that he did not agree with the gentleman from New York, that this was altogether a question of revenue. Mr. H. alluded to the immense amounts of money which had been invested in this branch of domesic industry, (the coal mining,) under the belief that the protection which had been promised would be faithfully carried out. If the country was laboring under any evil from the want of an ade. quate supply of this necessary article, it was not because there was not an abundance of it in the country, provided the necessary time were given. Up to the year 1834, a sufficient number of purchasers could not be found to take up the supply which had been furnished. A single company alone, in Pennsylvania, had had great quantities lying over for want of purchasers.
From tho' time to the present, the demand had great.
ly increased; but, even during the last year, a great number of vessels had been employed in carrying coal to find a market. And if this market were thrown open to foreign competition, all these persons would be thrown out of occupation. To what committee, then, could the petition be so appropriately referred as to the Commit. tee on Manufactures? From the Committee of Ways and Means (said Mr. H.) we can look for nothing but an adverse report. He hoped the subject would go, where it properly belonged, to the Committee on Maju. factures. They would take into consideration theimmense sums invested, as well as the labor of the vast number of hands employed in the trade. He saw no reason why this branch of domestic industry should alone be singled out, and he hoped that each branch would be
made to bear its proportion of any reduction which might be considered requisite.
Mr. GIDEON LEE said it appeared to him immaterial to which committee the petition was referred; be. cause the committee of Ways and Means had certain duties to perform, and those duties involved this very question. To the Committee on Manufactures had been specially referred that portion of the President's message which related to protective duties, and in that portion of the message this article of fuel had been specially men. tioned. But, as an apology to the Committee on Manufactures for the vote he was about to give, he would say that, at the last session of Congress, he had offered a resolution for the repeal of duties on foreign coal. He had moved its reference to the Committee of Ways and Means, but it was referred to the Committee on Manufactures, which committee did him the courtesy to dis. cuss that resolution; and, if he remembered right, there were seven against a repeal of the duty; there was one qualified vote, and one vote for a repeal. In reference to his constituents, who consumed one and a half mil. lions of dollars worth of this necessary article, no less necessary than bread, he would say this was a most important subject. He voted for the reference to the Committee of Ways and Means, because he expected from them a more rational, humane, and just report.
Mr. treed said that the object to be attained by the reference of these petitions was, to refer them to that committee, whichever it might be, who would furnish the House with more minute information than the mem: bers were supposed to possess. He took it for granted that they were all in favor of repealing the duty on for: eign coal, wholly or in part, if it could be done without injuring any of the great interests of the country; The question presents itself: was the House prepared to i. peal it? In what way would it affect the interest of the country? And this question he considered the Commit” tee of ways and Means were not prepared to examine. We were bound to refer all subjects to a committee that had charge of the particular interest to which they refer. red. He presumed there was no gentleman in that House who would pass a law which would destroy our coal mines. -
He was desirous to have all the information who, could be procured; and to whom should they look for it! The Committee of Ways and Means were prepared to show that the revenue of the country was abundant, without the duty on soreign coal. But was the Hous.” prepared to repeal it? It was necessary, before they advanced a step towards that measure, that they should . certain what would be its effect on the great interest." the producer; and, to accomplish that object, the petition ought to be referred to the Committee on Manufacture; or some committee that would examine the subject ful.
ly, in all its bearings. - "... Cha MBERS, of Pennsylvania, said that if the
rules of the House, defining the duties and powers of
the committees, were to govern them, then he should say it was the duty of the House to determine this ques. tion by them. That which he termed the appropriat” duty of the Committee of Ways and Means was to o sider the ways and means. of raising revenue. It ha not been pretended that this question was to be considered at all with any reference to the raising of revenuo The revenue was more than abundant. Those who P. sented themselves to the consideration of this Ho: asked for a reduction of duty. They asked not for the raising of revenue, but for its diminution. How, then, did the case present itself to the House? The go". tleman from Massachusetts had asked a reference ‘. the petition to the Committee on Manufactures; but had been objected to that reference, that it should . from the committee having charge of the subject to " 6.m.ee of ways and Means. He (Mr. c.) would of that the committee on Manufactures was the approps" Dec. 19, 1836.]
ate committee; for the only question for the consideration of the committee was one of protection—of manufacturing interest; for coal was a manufacturing interest. The value of coal in the mine was but a secondary considera. tion; the value and the labor employed in digging and transporting it to market were the great objects of consideration. It was, therefore, a part of our manufacturing interest, and the question was to be considered in reference to that. The duty now existing was not a duty for revenue, but of protection; and he trusted that the House, if it regarded its own rules, if it regarded the very interest represented in that memorial, would send it to the Committee on Manufactures, as the appropriate committee. Mr. DAVIS said that it was he who had moved the postponement of the consideration of the memorial to the present day; and the object which he had in doing so had not, he regretted to say, been yet obtained. He was anxious that the States and Territories might be called for petitions and resolutions; the new States, west of the mountains, had not yet been called for resolutions; and although he did not wish to procrastinate the action of the House on this memorial, yet he must move a further postponement. The new States, although in a minority, were yet entitled to rights in that House; and if they were put off until the end of the session, by the discussion of mere questions of reference, which were of no kind of importance now, because the subject had been already referred, they would not have an opportunity to bring any subject before the House. He hoped that the old States would act in a more liberal manner, and would give the new States a chance to be heard. He moved to postpone the further consideration of the subject until Monday next. And the question on the motion to postpone was taken, and decided in the negative: Yeas 72, nays 89. So the motion to postpone was rejected. The question then recurring on the motion to refer, Mr. CAMBRELENG addressed the House in reply to the remarks of Mr. Reed, and proceeded to contend that the memorial was one which properly came under the jurisdiction of the Committee of Ways and Means. , Mr. C. alluded to the great amount of information which was at present in the possession of that committee; an amount, he said, which would astonish the House when laid before it. The importation of coal had trebled within three years, and the increase in its consumption had been immense. He held in his hand a petition, signed by 8,000 persons in the city of New York, asking for a reduction of the duty on coal; and it was because that duty was not wanted for revenue that its reduction was asked. He hoped that the petition of these poor shivering people, who were suffering from the inclemency of the season, would be taken care of by the member from Massachusetts, [Mr. ADAMs.] Mr. DENNY said that the gentleman from New York, [Mr. CAM haelong,) with a view to give such a direction to the memorial as he desired, wished the House to believe that the Committee of Ways and Means were in possession of information such as was not in the knowledge of any other members of the House. Now, although that gentleman might be in possession of information rel*tive to the importation and consumption of coal in the city of New York, there was other information, $9 ually important, in possession of the Committee on Manufactures, which was not in the possession of the Committee of Ways and Means. He believed that these memorials were not the spontaneous call for a repeal by our citizens, but that they were set on foot by the emis*ries of foreign monopolists, the owners of the Nova . coal **, &c., which were owned in great part #o: York. He wished to have all the inion that could be procured. He did not wish this
House to be troubled with memorials, got up by foreign nations. He did not say that these memorials now before the House had such an origin; but he knew that such agents had been instrumental in bringing this subject before Congress some years past. In all that the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means had said, he was influenced by his constituents; and it was his (Mr. D's) wish that the memorial should be referred to the committee which had heretofore taken charge of questions of protection. That committee was the Committee on Manufactures. Mr. INGERSOLL said that there seemed to be peculiar circumstances connected with the proposed reduction of the duty on coal, which it was proper to bring before the consideration of the House, and which, he believed, had not as yet been brought before it. He believed that the Committee on Manufactures was the proper committee. The evil which was complained of, and which it was alleged ought to lead to the reduction of duty on foreign coal, was a temporary evil. It was not generally known, and yet it was true, that there had heretofore been a redundancy of coal from the mines of Pennsylvania; and that, in consequence of that redundancy, the article had sold particularly low. This was the first time that there had been a deficiency, and this it was that had occasioned the high price in market. . The House \hen was legislating on an emergency, which might contribute to erroneous legislation, if all the circumstances were not taken into account. This was one consideration which should operate in the settlement of this question of reference. the coal capitalists were sufferers, and not gainers, by the present state of things. They had sold their coal; and now, when it was at high prices, they (that was to say, the manufacturer or developer of the coal) must suffer. They had supplied the communi; ty with coal at the former prices, whilst those, who had received them in Boston, New York, or elsewhere, had put their own prices on the article. This would show that the whole subject required particular investigation, and that it would not be proper to decide upon it without referring it to a committee who would look to it in all its aspects as a question of general reduction. On another day it had been remarked by a gentleman from South Carolina [Mr. Pickens] that the compromise which had been made here a few years ago was to be honorably preserved; and he (Mr. I.) believed that no one desired to interfere with it. How could a proper knowledge be acquired of the redundancy or deficiency of revenue? How was the fact to be ascertained? In the first place, by the Committee of Ways and Means, who had the subject referred to them; and let the general subject of reduction be considered and reported on by them. But when you come to particular articles, when you come to ascertain whether the article of sugar in Louisiana will bear a reduction without sacrificing the interests of that State, where should such a subject be referred? Where can the particular information, which is requisite to proper legislation, be procured, except from those who are conversant with the particular article under consideration? Mr. I. applied this argument to the articles of iron, salt, bread stuffs, &c. In conclusion, Mr. I. said that the committee which possessed the best information was the committee most competent to take charge of the memorial. With this view, he was in favor of reference to the Committee on Manufactures. Mr. Boon said that if this was a subject of protection, he would vote with the gentleman from Massachusetts; but this was the first time he had ever heard that coal was an article of manufacture. He had always thought that it was given by the bounty of the God of nature, as the water that flows from the Alleghany to the Mississippi; and if this monopoly was to be kept up,