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JAN. 21, 1837.]
Public Lands—William B. Lloyd.
Dana, Ewing of illinois, Fulton, Grundy, Hendricks, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Rives, Robinson, Sevier, Tallmadge, Tipton, Walker, White, Wright—24.
NAys--Messrs. Brown, Calhoun, Clay, Clayton, Ewing of Ohio, Knight, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Ruggles, Strange, Swift—12.
Mr. EWING moved to take up the bill designating and limiting the funds receivable by the United States; which motion, after a brief discussion, was decided in the negative.
T1H E PUBLIC LANDS.
On motion of Mr. WALKER, the previous orders were postponed, and the Senate proceeded to the further consideration of the bill prohibiting the sales of the public lands except to actual settlers, and in limited quantities. The question being on a motion of Mr. Clay to reconsider Mr. Mon R1s's amendment, requiring that land which had been ten years in the market should be sold at 75 cents; less than ten, and more than five years, at $1; and all other lands at $1.25 per acre-Mr. CLAY said he had two reasons for moving this reconsideration. One was the avowed embarrassment under which it had placed several gentlemen. The other related to himself, being under a mistake as to the import of the amendment. . The motion to reconsider was carried in the affirmative: Ayes 19, noes 14. Mr..Monius's amendment being now before the Senate, . Mr. CLAY called for the yeas and nays on the question; which were ordered. Mr. MORRIS, on the suggestion of Mr. BENTON, added to his amendment the proviso, that no person should enter more than a quarter section at a reduced price. The question was then taken on the amendment of Mr. Monius, and decided as follows: . Yeas—Messrs. Benton, Black, Clayton, Ewing of Illinois, Fulton, Grundy, Hendricks, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Rives, Robinson, Sevier, Tipton, Walker, White—18. Nars-Messrs. Brown, Buchanan, Calhoun, Clay, Grittenden, Dana, Ewing of Ohio, Ilubbard, Kent, Siles, Page, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Strange, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Wright——19. So the amendment to the amendment, or substitute, was lost. . Mr. WALKER observed that a very important principle had been stricken from the bill, and moved that it be recommitted to the Committee on the public Lands. Mr. GRUNDY said he did not see why this should be done. The bill, by the failure of the amendment, was o in the same form as when it came from the commit. Mr. WALKER said he foresaw that the bill, in its Present form, would sail; and he thought it of the utmost onportance that some such measure should be carried, for the purpose of reducing the public revenue; and he regarded such a measure as the only one which could be adopted to prevent the accumulation of a dangerous surplus. If . .# of Alabama, opposed the recommitment. h °, graduating principle should not be introduced, he oped his friends would not reject the bill on that account. ... He hoped the Senate would go on with the bill. ..Mr. EWING was in favor of the recommitment. The bill in its present form would not only not stop fleas, but camels would go through it. Mr. E. had thought of a Project which he believed would effect the objects in view. He would endeavor to prepare it by Monday, and hoped for the opportunity of presenting it. y, Wol. XIII,-34
Mr. Moore spoke in favor of recommitting, and expressed the hope that some such measure, would be adopted as was proposed by the original bill, (of Mr. MoRn is.) Mr. BENTON asked Mr. Ewing to point out the places in the bill where a camel could go through. . He intimated that the design was to delay the bill. For himself, he wished to proceed with the bill, and obtain all he could get. Mr. EWING, of Ohio, said it would give him much pleasure to point out those places on Monday. Mr. WAiken's motion having been withdrawn, or suspended, he moved to alter the amount of land cultivated by a settler, by making it one tenth, instead of one eighth, of the whole; which motion prevailed. Mr. CLAY made some inquiries as to the bearing of the bill on such lands as might be used for grazing, and not for cultivation. Mr. WALRER replied that a provision in the bill which authorized an entry of the land, after a residence of three years, was designed to supply this apparent deficiency. Mr. WALKER moved to amend the bill by requiring one year's residence instead of three. Mr. GRUNDY objected to this motion. It would serve to defeat one of the great objects of the bill; for if one year only should be required, it would become a business to procure portions of the public land successively, by means of one year's residence on each. He was, however, willing to vote for two years. Mr. TIPTON declared himself opposed to the form of this bill, and in favor of the original one by Mr. MoRRIs. If the graduating principle which had been lost should not be embraced, several States would derive no benefit from the bill. If be could not get that principle, he should go to defeat the bill. Messrs. MOORE and SEVIER also declared their determination to do so; the latter urging, at some length, the passage of a proper bill on this subject. After some further remarks by Messrs. WALKER, NILES, BLACK, and MORRIS, the action on the bill was suspended by consent, and several bills from the House were read twice and referred. The Senate then adjourned.
SATURDAY, JANUAny 21. WILLIAM B. LLOYD.
After reading the journal,
Mr. MORRIS rose and said that he begged the indulgence of the Senate to make a short statement respecting an article which had appeared in one of the city papers this morning. It might be considered by gentlemen as partaking more of a private than a public nature, and one with which he ought not to trouble the Senate; and could he consider the paragraph as intended, or even bearing on its face a mere private individual allusion to himself, he would not thus publicly notice it; but it went further; it was a comment, in severe terms, to say the least, on his conduct as a Senator, and that, too, by a citizen of his own State; and, as such, it required of him an explanation. The charge is (said Mr. M.) that he had neglected the just rights of one of his felsow-citizens, and refused, as his representative, to present his memorial to the Senate, and thus had treated him with disrespect. It is due, then, (said Mr. M.,) to the citizens of the State, it is due to myself, that this publication should not pass without notice. It will be found in the Intelligencer of this morning, in the following words. [Here Mr. M. read the communication referred to, J
it is true, sir, (said Mr. M.,) that, on yesterday morning, after the time for the presentation of petitions and Sex Are...)
memorials had elapsed, and the Chair had called for re. ports of standing committees, one of the young gentle. men who attend the Senate came to his seat and handed him a paper, which he found to be a memorial, and which he believed was correctly published in the Intel. ligencer of this morning; and with the memorial he also received a note, of which the following is a copy: “D EAR Sia. As a friend, I ask you to present the accompanying memorial to the Senate. As one of your constituents, I demand it. “Yours, with the highest respect, “ W. M. B., LLOY 1).
“If you do not present it, please return it immediately to the in the Sergeant's room. W. B. L.”
Mr. M. said that, on reading the note, he wrote at the ,
bottom the following words: “SENATE CHAM BER,
'' Sun: Your memorial was handed me after the time in which memorials can be received on this day had elapsed. I return it: an willing to see and converse with you on the subject. What your rights are I am not prepared at this moment to determine. “TH OS. MORRIS.”
He said that after he had endorsed the name on the note, it occurred to him as proper to keep the paper and send back the memorial only. He immediately sought an interview with the person who sent the me. morial, with an intention of handing it back himself; and for this purpose he went to both doors of the Senate chamber, but was unable to meet with him at either. He returned to his seat; and soon after one of the young men came to him and informed him the gentleman was in the antechamber. He then handed the young man the paper, to return it to the author. He said, had time been afforded him for examination of the memorial, he might or might not have presented it, as justice and propriety should seem to require. He acknowledged that it was not only his duty, but a pleasure, when requested so to do, to present memorials or petitions on all or any subjects within the power or control of the Senate, and which were in proper language, not only for the citizens of Ohio, but also from citizens residing in any part of the United States. Whether the memorial in question was or was not of that character, the has'y manner with which he perused it did not enable him to determine, nor did he wish to be understood as expressing any opinion on that point; and while he considered the note of the gentleman as containing same biting sarcasms, of which he did not complain, it also contained a kin of left-handed compliment for the humble part which he took in the transaction to which the memorial referred. what transpired then is well known, and need not be repeated. As to the part he took, and the observations he made, they had been correctly, or at least substantially, reported in the National Intelligencer. The inpression made on his mind at the time the proceedings respecting the memorialist took place, he probably could not, nor did he wish to make an attempt to describe.
He said he was hastily led to make, the remarks lie did, because he thought the proceedings of the Souate, with regard to the individuals who created the disturbance in the gallery, were wrong; but whether right or wrong, not himself, but aftertime, must determine; for himself, he said he had as yet seen no cause to change his opinions as expressed at the time; and he would further state that, while the proceedings in the Senate were going on, after the person was arrested, he was entirely ignoratt who be was, or of what State he was a citizen. Near the close, and but a minute or two before the Senate adjourned, he was informed by some gentle.
- - ----—s men that the person was from Ohio; he inquired his name, and was told it was Lloyd; he then had a recol. lection of having seen him some days before, and had understood from Mr. Lloyd that his business in the city was to endeavor to obtain the passage of an act of Con. gress making an appropriation to improve the harbor at Cleveland, by the erection of a sea wall. He said his efforts, be they what they may, were not made in de. fence of a friend, or in opposition to an enemy; he should have made the same efforts had he known the individual to have been both a personal and political opponent; he merely intended to discharge his duty as a Senator, in sustaining what he believed to be the rights of an American citizen. Sir, (said Mr. M.,) I think I under. stand this publication; it is intended to go to the State in which I live, and l have troubled the Senate with this
such, could readily be excused; he said it was but hu.
man nature to do and say things in excited moments which we would gladly alter or amend on future r flec. tion; he said he had no idea that the language used was intended as any personal disrespect to himself, when he read the note, he thought it would be better to see and converse with the person as to the propriety of the course to be pursued; but he denied that he had, in this case, been either negligent or unmindful of his duty; at least, he had the approval of his own judgment, and should under like circumstances pursue a like course. It was very strange, indeed, that Mr. Lloyd should com: plain, when his instruction was to return him the memo. rial immediately, if it was not presented; and it is still more strange when, in his publication, he says that he might procure the presentation of it through other members of the body who were his friends; and the very reason he assigns for not applying to some one of them, is a reason why he ought so to have applied. There is no doubt he can obtain the presentation of his memorial through some member of the S. nate, if he yet desires it, or the ever did desire it. Should he fail to make a further re. quest, the citizens of our own State will be able to draw correct conclusions. Mr. BENTON said Mr. M. was correct in regard to every thing on which he had offered an explanation, That Senator had said it was not his fault that the arter was tsade, and that the person arrested was brough'." the bar of the senate. Mr. B. now wished to show that it was not his own fault that the memorial was no! Pro sented, referred, and considered. He had been awa” that a consultation was going on, and that some mo" ment was intended; and, without the least reference." the terms of the memorial which he supposed would” presented, he resolved that, so far as he was concerned, it should have its full force. He had therefore dro" up a motion, which he intended to make whenevo". memorial should be presented, that the memorial slou" be sent to the Judiciary Committee, with power to * for witnesses, and to report to the Senate the propes course of proceeding; and that the expenses shouldo paid from the contingent fund of the Senate. This " he had shown to various senators; and his friend: o been kind enough to say that it should be done lio gentleman would do him the favor to present the ". rial, he would vote for its reference. He hoped le: would thus be an occasion of giving to the publo." st authentic form, the details of the outrage. He asked for the presentation of the memorial. [tiere the subject ended.)
Mr. CLAY presented the petition of sundry inhabitants of Wirtsborough, Sullivan county, New York, and, as it was not long, he asked that it might be read.
The document was accordingly read, and proved to be a kind of remonstrance, on the subject of Roman Catholic emigrants to the country, brought in under the auspices of Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, &c. . It insisted on the impropriety and inexpediency of allowing so many persons to enter the country whose practice and tenets were avowedly and directly hostile to our republican institutions, and especially prayed Congress to institute commissions, in various parts of the country, to procure information and report on the subject.
Mr. CLAY said some of the objects prayed for this Government had no power to grant, however alarming to these good and religious people the evils complained of and the progress of papacy might be. But there was one object which Mr. C. thought might be a proper subject of inquiry, being within the power of Congress; and that was a change in our laws of naturalization. He therefore moved that the memorial be reo to the Judiciary Committee; and it was so referred.
THE Tire ASURY CIRCULAR.
Mr. WALKER, from the Committee on the Public Lands, to whom the motion of Mr. Bestox for an inquiry into the conduct of the deposite banks, &c. was referred, moved that the above committee be discharged from the further consideration of said motion, and that it be referred to the Committee on Finance. Mr. BENTON said he thought it a grand joke that thr-e or four days after a bill had been brought in by the Committee on the Public Lands, on the subject with which his motion was connected, after the occasion for which that motion was presented had entirely gone by, the gentleman should now propose to have the examination proposed by the motion, and by another committee. He thought the Land Committee ought to have acted on the motion, or turned over the whole subject to another committee, Mr. WALKER said that, inasmuch as the Committee on the Public Lands had been arraigned before the Senate by the mover of that resolution, [“motion,”] he hoped he would be pardoned for giving the reasons for discharging the Committee on the Public Lands. That resolution was not transmitted to the committee till some time after the committee had commenced considering the subject of the Treasury order; or, at least, it had not come simultaneously with the Treasury order to the committee. It was, moreover, the opinion of the com. mittee, that if they proceeded to act on the matter of the resolution, [Mr. Bewtos's, there could be no ac. tion by Congress this session, on the subject of the Treasury order; and it was the desire of every member of the committee that such action should be had. It would have consumed the time of the committee for months, and it would even have been necessary to carry the required examination into the recess of Congress. Mr. W. said that, although he had assented to the ref. erence of the subject of the Treasury order to the Committee on the Public Lands, he had done so with the utmost reluctance. Mr. BENTON said the subject of the Treasury order was referred to the Land Committee late on the evening of the 11th inst., and his resolution was sent to that com. mittee as early as it could be on the morning of the 12th. That resolution had also been laid on the table at the very commencement of the proceedings on the Treasury order, so that every one might see it, but if there was not then...time to carry that resolution into effect, why, at this late day, was it proposed to refer it to
Foreign Emigrants—Treasury Circular, &c.
another committee, and to a committee, too, of which Mr. B. was a member? How would this thing tell in the newspapers, that the gentleman who moved to make these inquiries should proceed to make them himself? Mr. KING, of Alabama, said this resolution passed without attracting his attention, or else he would have opposed its passage. If it was intended to impede the action of the committee, it would have done so effectually. And if there was a real intention of obtaining the information called for, it could not be obtained during the session. He could see no practical good to result from its reference now to the Finance Committee. He therefore called for a division of the question, and that the motion for a simple discharge should first be tried. The gentleman might then make such disposition as he thought proper of his resolution. Mr. E WING said the subject of the resolution proper. ly and exclusively belonged to the Finance Committee. He also had known nothing of the resolution since it was first laid on the table till this morning. He thought it better to divide the question, and leave the resolution in the hands of the mover. The question was then taken on discharging the committee, and carried in the affirmative. Mr. BENTON said he would here state to the whole Senate that he desired his resolution to be referred to the committee of which he was a member. It was accordingly referred to the Finance Committee.
PUBLIC LAN IDS.
The Senate then proceeded to the special order of the day, which was the land bill, as amended by the Committee on the Public Lands. The question being on so amending the bill as to re. quire a residence by the settler of but one year to get a title to his land, it was negatived: Yeas 12, nays 23. Mr. GRUNDY then proposed to substitute a residence of two years. The motion was supported by Messrs. WALKER, KING of Alabama, LINN, and Tipton, and opposed by Mr. EWING, as being wholly inefficient to the object proposed. Mr. E. stated that he had a dif. ferent proposition to offer, which, as he supposed, would secure the object of confining the sale of public lands to actual settlers, and which he sent to the table to be printed. The printing was ordered; but the question being, in the mean while, taken on the amendment proposed by Mr. GRU Nny, it was carried: Yeas 27, nays 11. Mr. BENTON gave notice of an amendment he should hereafter offer; which was ordered to be printed. Mr. WALKER, from the Land Committee, proposed sundry minor amendments, not touching the general principle of the bill. The whole of the various amendments were directed to be imbodied, and printed all together, in their order; when the further consideration of the bill was made the order of the day for Monday next. After transacting some other business, The Serate adjourned.
Mosnay, JANUAny 23. r’Ulbill C LANDS. After going through the usual morning business, The Senate proceeded to the special order of the day, which was the bill to confine the sale of the public land to actual settlers only. Mr. WALKER, chairman of the Committee on the Public Lands, who has charge of the bill, expressed his approbation of an amendment offered on Saturday by Mr. Ewing, and which provides that land entered, and forfeited, by non-residence, under the bill, might be entered by others who shall prove the fact of such non-residence by the first occupant, and proposed to modify it by a provision that, when two or more persons should so SENATE.]
Marine Corps—Public Lands.
[JAN. 24, 1837.
claim the forfeited land, who inhabit the same quarter section, the preference shall be given to the first occupant; and that none of the others should get “floats,” (i.e. pre-emption rights, to be located on any land not entered elsewhere.) In consequence of some objections to the term “float,” as unknown to the law and undefined, he agreed to waive the latter clause entirely, as being, in substance, provided for in other parts of the bill. The residue of his amendment to the amendment proposed by Mr. Ew ING was then agreed to. Mr. W. also proposed several other verbal amendments; which were agreed to. Mr. TIPTON then moved an amendment, introducing the principle of graduation, and providing that land remaining unsold for ten years should be sold for one dollar an acre; and if remaining for hsteen years, at seventyfive cents the acre, with a proviso that not more than 160 acres be sold to any one man; on which he asked the yeas and nays, and they were ordered by the Senate. Mr. EWTNG, thinking this a fit opportunity to go into the general principles of the bill, and the subject of the public lands generally, addressed the Senate in a speech which, with his consent, was interrupted by a motion for adjournment. The motion, having been suspended for some previous motions for the printing of documents, prevailed. The Senate them adjourned.
TU Esm Ay, JANu Any 24. MARINE CORPS.
Mr. PRESTON offered the following resolution; which was, by consent, adopted:
Resolved, That the Committee on Naval Affairs be instructed to inquire into the construction of the act of the 30th June, 1834, regulating the pay of the marine corps, by the Fourh, Auditor, and into the propriety of any further legislation thereon.
Mr. PRESTON, when offering this resolution, remarked that he understood the design of the above-named act was to put the pay of the marine corps on the same footing with that of the infantry of the army, The construction of the Fourth Auditor had made it lower, contrary, he thought, to the design of Congress.
Mr. BUCHANAN (Mr. Paeston having referred to him) said he had already given notice that le wished to introduce a bill to remedy the construction of the Fourth Auditor, and he was prevented from introducing it only by information that the Naval Committee of the other House had reported a bill on the subject. He was, however, gratified that Mr. P. had turned his attention to the subject.
The Senate then took up the bill to prohibit the sales of the public lands, except to actual settlers, and in limited quantities.
The question pending was on Mr. Tipton's amendment, offered yesterday, to the first section of the bill, “that all lands that have been in the market ten years, and remain unsold, shall be sold for seventy-five cents an acre; and all that have five years, shall be disposed of at one dollar; provided that not more than one hundred and sixty acres be sold to one purchaser.
Mr. E.W.ING concluded his remarks, as given entire in succeeding pages.
Mr. E. addressed the Senate as follows:
Mr. President: As it is my purpose to examine this subject with some care and exactness, and, as far as in my power, show it to the Senate in its true colors and proportions, I find it necessary, in the outset, to spend a few moments.” Clearing it of some of the rubbish with which it is overlaid and Surrounded.
The bill now under consideration is the successor, not exactly legitimate, of one introduced by my colleague at the commencement of the session, for limiting the sales of the public land to actual settlers. That plain, unpretending .proposition was what it professed to be, and nothing else; the title declared the object of the bill, and though I thought the measure impracticable, I could not but feel the justness of the motion, and the straight-forward means proposed to effect the object. That bill was referred to the Committee on Public Lands, and we have here, reported back, in its name and in its place, what is now before us; and the title is all that is left, either of the letter or spirit of the original bill. But, even this small relic of what the bill once was, if I divine aright, is des. tined to be obliterated and destroyed. The title is not descriptive of the contents of the bill, nor is it sufficiently magniloquent. When the bill arrives at such stage that it will be in order, we shall have a motion to amend it, and, if the motion prevail, it will become “A bill to arrest monopolies of the public lands,” &c. &c. &c.; the title is long and high sounding, and is to be found at large in the journal of last year, and I will not now detain the Senate by reading it. I will, however, endeavor to show, before I sit down, what name it really merits; for I intend to discuss its provisions, not its title.
This debate has been freely interlarded with high denunciation against a class of our fellow-citizens called “speculators"—men who purchase public land either for subsequent sale, or that it may lie by, as an investment of money to raise in value, and become a resource in after life, or an outfit for their children. And I have observed, also, what is not a little remarkable, that those who denounce these “speculators” the most loudly and the most frequently, on this floor and elsewhere, are those who understand them best, and who are themselves the most deeply engaged in the vocation which they thus condemn. This is generally, perhaps universally, the case. This disinterestedness of gentlemen who condemn, thus openly their own calling, and devise laws, | intended, as they say, to check and put it down, reminds me of an incident in modern history worthy to be re| membered. When Lord Chancellor Bacon was convicted before |
Parliament for receiving presents from suitors, which bore a very strong resemblance to bribes, and was removed from office, he was the foremost in proposing and concocting measures which should thereafter effectually keep off such temptation and sin in future, and most certainly protect the purity of the bench. It reminds me, also, of a late occasion on which the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Rives] near me was so decply impressed with the aristocracy of the Senate—himself certainly not the least aristocratic of its members—that he felt constrained to turn “States' evidence,” or, perhaps, rather, “people's evidence,” against the whole body, himself, of course, inclusive, though I believe he did not suggest any remedy for the enormity which he exposed. Now, this is all right; and it is honorable; and it is unquestionably sincere. I take no exceptions to it, but merely notice it among the passing incidents of the times. Now, sir, I will say a few words as to this class of individuals who are so much the theme of discussion and of attack; and, that my opinion may have the more weight, I can assure the Senate that I am neither an aristocrat nor a speculator in public lands. I do not know that I have been accused here of the one or the other, but I have heard gentlemen on the other side of the House talk loudly and harshly of speculators, and those who savor speculations, while, at the same time, they made strong gestures towards the benches here. As it referred to no one in particular, I could only appropriate to myself my just distributive share of the reproach which, lessened by division, would be but small. JAN. 24, 1837.]
Yet that modicum, insignificant as it may be, I am prepared to dispose of. I therefore say, once for all, that I am wholly free from the offence of having ever purchased public land or any thing else from the General Government. And I have no sympathy, save that of general good-will to all mankind, with any who I know have so purchased. I never entered an acre of public land in my life, and do not know that I ever shall; nor do I know that any friend, or even acquaintance of mine, is engaged in these purchases. My neighbors, it is true, in whose welfare I take great interest, do sometimes raise a little spare money and go to the West and purchase a quarter or a half section of land, to settle a son who is about to arrive at the years of manhood, for which they pay the cash into the Treasury of the United States; and until gentlemen satisfy me, more fully than they have yet done, of the impropriety of the thing, I shall esteem them none the less for it, nor shall I the less assiduously advocate their interests and their rights. But, in declaring my utter exemption from all participation, direct or indirect, in that kind of investment which is here condemned in such unmeasured terms, I do not at all admit the truth or justice of the judgment which condemns it. It is a use of money that is supposed to be unpopular, and it is no new artifice to exclaim against it, as if it were a crime, until, by force of voice and repetition, it may come to be esteemed so; and what is more to the purpose, those who are most deeply engaged in it, by being loud and vociferous in its condemnation, throw off all suspicion from themselves, and stand the pure advocates of the people’s rights, and the very antagonist principle of all speculation and monopoły. But, sir, I see no objection to this mode of investing money when you have it to spare, and can make no better use of it. If it be fairly done, it is a sair, and just, and honest mode of acquiring property. The United States, by a public law, and a public proclamation, of. sers its land for sale at a stipulated price; an individual, who is desirous of possessing the land, goes and purchases, and pays his money. Now, why, I ask, does any one here apply to this act, or the man who does it, opprobrious epithets? Why accuse him? Why denounce him? If he had bought fifty hogsheads of sugar, or a hundred bales of cotton, he would be just as criminal, and deserve just the same opprobrium and reproach from the members of our National Legislature. Gentlemen are mistaken; these purchases and speculations, in which they and their friends are so deeply engaged, are not criminal, nor even improper in themselves. They are liable, indeed, and especially liable, to be contaminated, by fraud or force, or combinations among purchasers, and collusion with public officers; but from these they and all honorable men, as a matter of course, are free. They therefore pronounce a harsh and unjust judgment on their own acts, and I am prepared to defend them against themselves before the Senate and the nation. [Mr. Walken here rose to explain. If the gentleman’s allusion was to any thing he had said, so far from criminating purchasers of this description, he had, in the report accompanying this bill, expressed many of the same sentiments just uttered by the Senator from Ohio. He had denounced, and ever should denounce, in the strongest terms, those speculators who attended public sales after having taken down the numbers of lots im. proved by actual settlers, and bid them off over their head, thus depriving them of their homes and the fruit of all their toil.] Mr. Ew ING. I referred to the Senator from Mississippi who has just taken his seat, and also to others who, in both branches of Congress, habitually use the same course of remark. But I accept the explanation with pleasure, and regret that absence stom the Senate pre
vented my hearing the Senator’s principal speech on this subject, and that a pressure of business since my return has not allowed me time to read his report accompanying this bill. My remarks, so far as the Senator from Mississippi is concerned, applied to several short speeches of his on incidental questions touching the bill, which have arisen within a few days past. But I cannot concur with him in the distinction which he draws between those who purchase occupied and unoccupied lands of the United States. When all are offered in open market fairly for sale; when all who desire to bid are invited by law to become bidders, I cannot recognise the right of any individual to press forward upon a choice piece of the public land, before the sale, against law. Nor can I admit that, by so doing, he makes the lawful purchaser amenable to censure, any where, for purchasing according to law. The proposition is monstrous in itself, and it must be a diseased state of public morals that can hold it for a moment either reasonable or just. My guide on this subject is the law—those who purchase according to its letter and its spirit, and who neither break through nor evade its provisions, no matter how much or how little they may buy, and no matter who may have intruded upon the land before the purchase, I hold them in that matter blameless; and, as far as my information goes, in nearly all the cases in which occupied land is purchased the squatter is paid many times over the value of his improvements; and often permitted to remain and enjoy them. The sales of land in large quantities to large capitalists, as a matter of public policy, is liable to some objections, though it produces good as well as evil consequences. The evil is sufficiently obvious, and being a very happy subject for popular declamation, it has been reiterated, I know not how often, already in this debate. That which occurs to me as substantial, and which we can obviate by legislation, without producing other and worse mischief, are, the entries, by an individual or company, of many small tracts, as of forty or eighty acres, in commanding points, all over the country, or what is called dotting, thereby compelling purchasers of the neighboring tracts to pay enormous prices for such choice spots; but it will be seen that this bill, so far from remedying that evil, makes it infinitely worse. No man can now enter more than two forty-acre tracts, and one of those subject to certain conditions—proximity to his farm; but if this bill becomes a law in its present shape, he may enter no less than thirty-two of those small tracts, and he may select them any where on the public lands between the northern extremity of Wisconsin and the southern cape of Florida. The entries of large tracts by great capitalists, with a view to enhance their value by great and important improvements, such as railroads, canals, harbors, cities, have produced, and are producing, the most important advantages to the districts of country in which they are situated. Look at the southern shores of Lake Erie, and the whole coast of Lake Michigan, and see the towns and cities which are rising up on their borders, under the fostering care of capital and intelligence, and you will see at once the full strength of this position. The scatterred resources of a thousand individuals, who should have purchased each his quarter section of land in the neighborhood, could not have produced such mighty results in half a century as have been brought about in a few years by the investment of accumulated capital. It has facilitated migration by the establishment of lines of steamboats between the cities on the eastern shore of the lake and those remote western points which a few years ago were a wilderness. It has opened harbors, drained swamps, built wharves, and erected warehouses, transferring the business and bustle and comfort and intelligence of an old and cultivated community into the very