« AnteriorContinuar »
United States, the choicest and most commanding spots, and take them at $1 25 per acre. There was actually set up somewhere in Louisiana a manufactory of affida. vits, in which the whole proof, with the justice's certifi. cate, and every thing else necessary for the commence. ment of the title, were forged, leaving a blank for the name of the occupant and the tract of land. There is now pending a case of a French settler by the name of Baubien, who, about the year 1804, got permission to put up his hut under the guns of the United States fort at Chicago. When the pre-emption law was passed, as the United States had not sold this fort, he claimed it as a pre-emption. He was several times refused, but at last his claim was admitted by the register and receiver, and he got his certificate; his application for a patent is now pending. I understand that the land he claims on this state of his case is worth more than a million of dollars. . That in order to obtain an influence, and a power by which it should be secured, he has disposed of parts of it, on very cheap terms, to men of high political standing, wherever he could find them. A valuable part of it, I am told, is now owned by members of Congress, and God knows to what point this interest and influence may at last extend; far enough, I presume, to secure the emanation of a patent. It is a subject worthy the inquiry of a committee of Congress. These pre-emption laws have not only produced violence and bloodshed among those who strove as rivals for a choice spot; they have not only produced fraud, and perjury, and corruption, but they have taught your citizens to despise your laws, to resist by violence their due operation, and form great and extensive combinations to oppose them. It is well known by those who have attended the sales of public lands in the Northwest, that violence and intimidation are used at those sales, and in the presence of the officers of the United States, to put down competition. Men who are occupants, or pretend to be so, or who buy the privilege of coming in as an occupant, (and I am told that any ore may buy that privilege of the association for five or ten dollars,) gather together in a group by the stand at the place of sale, and when a tract which they have selected is proclaimed, some one who has a good strong voice cries out, “preemption;” and then, wo to the man who ventures to bid for it. It is, as a matter of course, struck off at $1 25 per acre. Associations are now forming over the whole Northwestern country, the object of which appears to be, either to bind the law to the purpose of the combination, or to put down law by numbers and organization, if not by force. 1 hold in my hand the constitution and by-laws of one of these societies, which was forwarded me by a prominent member, accompanied by a letter, in which he seems to claim my approbation of its object. I hope it may be read. [The Secretary here read the paper alluded to, of which the following are two of the principal articles: “Attr. 11th. Resolved, That before the land is offered for sale, each district shall select a bidder to stand and bid off all claims in the claimant's name, and that, if necessary, each settler will constantly attend the sale, prepared to aid each other to the full extent of our abil. ity in obtaining every claimant's land at Government price.” “Art. 13th. Resolved, That we will each use our enoleayors to advance the rapid settlement of the country, by inviting our friends and acquaintances to join us, un: der the full assurance that we shall obtain our rights, and that it is now perfectly as safe to go on improving the public lands as though we already had our titles from Government."] . This requires no comment; it is a Government established in a Government-imperium in imperio, it does not Profess to be subordinate to the laws of the Union,
but in opposition to them, and its object is to embarrass their operations and destroy their sorce. I had hoped, at the last session, that we had got clear of this pre-emption system, with all its mischiefs, and all its demoralization; but a desperate effort is now made to revive it, and, if once more revived, it is fastened upon us, and forever. When Mr. Ew ING had taken his seat, Mr. TIP TON said that, as the subject of the gradua tion of the public lands had been frequently discussed, he should not trouble the Senate with any remarks in support of the amendment, but would content himself by requesting that the vote be taken by yeas and nays. The yeas and nays having been ordered, and the question being about to be taken, Mr. CLAY said he should be glad to hear some reason advanced in behalf of a proposition which went to reduce the price of all the public lands, after having been in the market at the low price of $125, down to $1, and then to 75 cents. What was the complaint which had been so strenuously urged in behalf of the present bill? It was, that the public domain was selling too fast, and at prices so low that persons who did not want the land to settle upon were buying it up, in vast quantities, for purposes of speculation. What would present itself as the natural remedy for such a state of things? Surely it would be either to take the land out of the market, or to increase its price; for the Senate were told, by the advocates of the bill, that the land thus bought up was worth, at once, from $5 to $30 an acre. In the name of Heaven, then, why reduce the price? Had any reason been given for it? Were our new States settling too slowly On that question, he would call the attention of the Senate to a table he had had occasion to compile some years ago, exhibiting the ratio of settlement in the different States. The table was based on authentic returns, and it showed that, at that time, the lands in the State of Illinois were settling at the rate of 184 per cent. per annum; so that her population, proceeding at that rate, would double itself in a little more than five years. At the same time, the State of Delaware was increasing its population at the rate of one half of one per cent. having the cheering prospect of doubling her population in a period of two litundred years. Illinois was populating more rapidly, at that time, than others of the new States; yet the table would show that the others approached to nearly the same ratio; and he thought it would be safe to say that Missouri, Arkansas, and Michi: gan, were settling at a rate quite equal to it. what earthly motive, then, could there be to reduce the price of the lands? was it to bring in more settlers?... No, for these States were scttling too fast already. There was great truth in what had been said on that subject by his friend from Ohio, [Mr. Ewing,] who had remarked that, when vast numbers of people were suddenly collected from disserent quarters, and thrown into close neighborhood, having no previous connexion with each other, no common sympathies, no similarity of education, nothing homogeneous, to form a natural bond of union, the natural and necessary result must be struggles in legislation, and a loose, unsettled state of society, for a long period. It must surely be admitted by every reflecting man, that the public lands were selling quite fast enough. Yet, here was a proposition made, and from that side of the House which complained that the public domain was selling too fast, and who wanted this bill to pass in order to check the sales of it, whose effect would be to accelerate those sales at a rate that none could estimate; for, even at the present rate of $125, twenty-five millions of acres had been sold within the last year; and now, should the price be reduced still lower, what must the effect be, but still further to enhance the temptation to monopoly?
[JAN. 24, 1837.
Mr. C. said that he had not risen to speak to the general merits of the bill, but merely to inquire on what reasons the amendment was founded. Mr. DANA said: Mr. President, I do not arise to attack or defend the speculators on the public domain, whether they be private individuals or belong to some of the Departments. I leave the gladiatorial part of this warfare to those who have weapons for it, and have inclination and skill to use them; nor do I intend to go at length into the merits of this bill, but only express my views on the objects of it, a d on some of its provisions. Its objects are threefold: first, to check the inordinate thirst of speculation, which has so generally prevailed through the country, and which first arose from the extravagant issues of the United States Bank, (furnishing ready means,) and afterwards practised in preying upon the public domain. The second object of the bill is to preserve the public lands; and the third, to reduce the revenue to the legitimate wants of the Government. By the provisions of this bill, its first and second objects will be accomplished, and the revenue will be greatly diminished. But, sir, the sales of the public lands of late have been very great, and the revenue arising from them equally so; and to stop them all at once would be neither judicious nor just. Many of the new States have vast tracts of uncultivated lands, with a sparse population. They, doubtless, are anxious to see their territory settled and cultivated. The support of their Governments, as well as their strength and defence, depend upon it. We cannot, therefore, expect that they will be willing to put a sudden and total check to the settlement of their country; nor ought we to wish it. They are willing to stop all speculations upon the public domain, and to reduce the revenue, but require that small tracts of land may still be granted to actual settlers on easy terms. Then, sir, the new States will continue to settle gradually, and with a good population, from their own increase, or from the surplus population of the older States. I know, sir, that many are averse to having their sons and daughters go into the new world. They seem to think them lost to society and to their friends; but nothing is further from the truth. They may be as useful and happy in the new as in the old States. Population is rapidly marching from the East to the West, and power is sollowing in its train; these are facts which cannot be disguised or prevented. The great valley has heretofore, undoubtedly, been the seat of empire, and is destined to become so again. The Atlantic States will constitute but a small part of this Union; and New England will be but a speck upon our nation's map. What, then, shall be done? Shall we war against nature? Or pursue a wiser course—grant our lands, on reasonable terms, to actual settlers, who will enter upon and cultivate them, and not debar the surplus population of the old States from crossing the Alleghany, and seeking in the vast regions of the West a more fertile soil and a warmer sun?” They will carry with them the enterprise, the activity, and perse. verance, as well as the intelligence, the patriotism, and sound morality, of their fathers. And what have the East to fear from such a result? And better, far better, would it be for the West to have such a population, than to have their country flooded with the scum of the European population. Yes, sir, let the surplus population of the Fast flow to the West, and the sons of the Puritans and of Penn settle and inhabit that goody land, and rear up a virtuous, enterprising, and intelligent race, to whom our liberties and the destiny of our republic may safely bo, committed. In this way, sir, the objects of this biji will be accomplished, wild speculation checked, the public domain secured, the revenue reduced, and the actual *tolers and cultivators of the soil, the nerve and o country, its *pport in peace and its defence l • **ccommodated with settling lands only, and
upon reasonable terms. But suppose, sir, aster this reduction of the revenue, there should still be a surplus in the Treasury, what further is to be done? My answer is ready. Modify the tariff; reduce the duties. But, sir, we are told of the compromise. Dare you touch the compromise? I have nothing to do with the compromise. I have no faith in it. It is not an article in my creed. I do not subscribe to the doctrine, that one Legislature can, by their acts, bind subsequent Legislatures. If so, the one of 1834 could not only bind its successors for five or ten years, but for all time; and if they could bind them in regard to the tariff, they might upon every other subject—a doctrine too absurd to be spoken of. But, sir, if the modification of the tariff in 1834 was a judicious one for that time, and so continues to this, I would make but few alterations in it, unless it should become necessary, in order to reduce the revenue to the wants of the Government; because sudden and extreme legislation is always injurious, and often dangerous. In the consideration of this subject, I would pay no regard to the motives or intentions which induced the compromise; whether they were for good or for evil; whether the object then was to save the nation from ruin, or individuals from a dilemma into which their rash and headlong course had plunged them; but take up the subject, as we now find it, and reduce the duties on such and so many articles as we shall think best, in order to bring down the revenue to our wants. Prudence would seem to dictate that we should always be able to meet unexpected and unavoidable occurrences, like the Indian war which has drawn millions from our Treasury. These and similar wants we shall always be subject to. And here, Mr. President, I would remind this honorable body, that while we are legislating upon this strange, this unique subject, viz: the disposition of a surplus revenue, a subject which before never cccupied the attention of any other Legislature, from the days of Adam to the present, we should not forget that the Northeastern boundary line of this nation has not been settled. While, sir, our Treasury is overflowing, without a national debt, at peace with the whole world, and our foreign relations established on the most firm and favorable basis, our territory has been invaded, our citizens despoiled of their rights, dragged from their homes, immured in foreign jails. Nor is this all: a large part of the territory of one of the States of this Union has been severed from the rest, and that constitutional protection which she has asked has been withheld. A foreign Power has not only taken possession of it, but is making a thoroughfare from one of her provinces to ano her. Provincial charters for a railroad have been granted, and these have been confirmed by their King—and no doubt, sir, before one year passes, (unless force is interposed,) we shall see it made; and thus a permanent possession will be had by that Power of an extensive and valuable portion of Maine, covered with forests of pines towering, as it were, to heaven, and not equalled by any in the Union; millions of which are annually swept off by the subjects of his Britannic Majesty. Thus, sir, we see our Union dismembered— one of her States stripped of its sovereignty, despoiled of its possessions and wealth, and the dearest rights and privileges of its citizens trampled under foot. Is not this aggression, insult, cause of war? Shall it be tamely submitted to? Shall Maine, sir, be tauntingly reminded of her wrongs by those who were the cause of them, and whose duty it was long since to have redressed them? Sir, the Governor of that State has, in his annual message, called the attention of the Legislature to that subject, in a tone and with a spirit which cannot be mistaken, and soon there will be a legislative response: and then, sir, you may hear again from that border State, whose dearest interests have been too long neglected by this Government. This subject is directly connected JAN. 24, 1837.]
with the revenue; and reference should be had to it in regulating the same; and all our surplus may yet be required to preserve the integrity of the Union. The time has been when millions were ready for defence and protection; and I trust that it has not passed, but that these wrongs will soon be redressed. Mr. TIPTON said that it had not been his purpose to trouble the Senate with a single word on the subject of the amendment he had offered, nor should he now have done so but for the call which had been made upon him by the Senator from Kentucky to state the reasons on which the amendment was grounded. He should present these reasons as briefly as he was able, and, having done so, should trouble the Senate no further. No man (said Mr. T.) knows better than the Senator from Kentucky that, when the population first began to cross over the Ohio from his own State into what was then the Northwestern Territory, they had to encounter privations and difficulties in every form. They entered into a wilderness which had neither roads nor paths, but lay entirely in a state of nature. For this land they had to pay two dollars an acre. Those who settled the country had to construct roads and bridges and other improvements, which greatly increased the value of the land, and which they accomplished by their own labor, unaided by the General Government, except so far as the two per cent. fund might go toward the construction of highways, and also with the exception of certain sections of land given to the new States for the promotion of education. The first settlers in what is now the State of Ohio purchased all the land in that State which was worth two dollars, and that which was of poorer quality remained, much of it, unsold. The amendment which is now offered does not propose to reduce the price of all the public lands, but it provides that such as has remained in market for ten years without a purchaser shall be subject to entry at one dollar the acre, and such as has remained unsold for fifteen years at seventy-five cents. Should this amendment prevail, it will enable the old settlers of the country to add to their farms tracts of inferior land for purposes of timber or stone, which will not sell at the present price of one dollar and twenty-five cents. The people of the West have frequently urged the justice and expediency of a law of this kind; and so manifestly proper has it been admitted on all hands to be, that a bill for the purpose has once or twice passed the Senate, but has been lost in the other House for want of time. I now again introduce the principle, and ask its adoption, as a meas. use both of justice and of sound policy. Frequent complaints have been urged respecting trespassers on the Poblic lands, who plunder them of timber and stone. lf the lands could be obtained at a reduced price, the temptation to such trespasses would be diminished. we do not ask, I certainly do not, that the fresh lands should be reduced in Price; nor have I heard such an idea so much as once advanced by any body within the last two years. The amendment refers only to that which has been in market for a course of years, and will not sell. The Senator from Ohio, [Mr. Ewing,) in speaking of the purchasers of the public land, defended them against what he considered unmerited and slanderous imputations. His remarks on that subject, however just, do not affect me; I neither am myself a speculator, no do I denounce those who are. I consider the public land as fair an object of purchase and sale as any thing else. I consider it perfectly fair and honorable for any man who has capital to purchase those lands at Government price, and to sell them out for as much as he can get. But the Senator, while defending this class of persons bore very hardly on those who make an improvement o the land with a view to pre-emptive rights, and, in his statements on that subject, he certainly went for beyond
| respectable body of men.
any thing that I have ever known in the Western country. I have myself lived in the midst of the public lands for thirty years, and I am persuaded the Senator has been misinformed. I accuse him of no intention to do injustice, for he did not pretend to speak from his own knowledge. He made a strong argument, as he always does, but it was based upon supposed facts, which do not actually exist. While I was for a short time absent from the Senate chamber, he introduced, as I have since been informed, certain articles of mutual compact among the settlers on the public lands, which it seems he received from a citizen of Indiana. Now, if, as I hope, he intends to publish those articles as an appendix to his speech, it is all I desire on that point. Let those articles be read by any unprejudiced persons, and they will be able to judge for themselves whether persons bidding against the members of this association at the public land sales are, as he represented, to be knocked down or shot down. There is nothing like it in the agreement, nor in fact. I have myself a personal acquaintance with Solon Robinson, the individual whose name is signed to a circular read by the Senator, and who is also the secretary of the association referred to, and I believe him to be an upright, honest, and honorable man. I also know many of the settlers in Lake county, and I know them to be an orderly, peaceable, and They have gone into that country with a view to better their condition; and who will blame them for it? They engage to employ at the public sales all the means in their power to obtain their rights, by which I understand them of course to mean all lawful means. By your law of 1830 you gave, on certain conditions, to every settler a pre-emption right to a quarter section of land; and you thus held out an inducement to individuals to enter on your domain, with a prospect of getting a permanent home. They went there, believing that the same opportunity would be extended to them. They are in possession of the land. They have by their labor enhanced its value, and they are ready to pay for it the price you ask. Can you expect that these people shall stand still, and let speculators come and turn their wives and children out of doors? It is most unreasonable; but as to the guns and dirks that the gentleman apprehends so much, they never have been used, nor will they be. Congress has nothing to fear on that score. They ask that you shall allow them a pre-emptive right, and thus do no more than what is just. The land, it is true, is settling fast; and why should it not? And why should not the United States Treasury get the money for it, and then distribute that money among the States? I see in this no such great evil; but, on the other hand, it will be a great public evil to check the sales of the public lands. The Senator from Ohio laments that, in some of the older States of the Union, especially in some parts of Virginia, the population is actually decreasing. The fact is new to me. I certainly never heard such a complaint before. But if it is the interest of the young peo. ple of Virginia to go out into the vast West, and there to seek for fortune and for fame, why should you try to prevent them from doing that very thing which you yourselves have done? Many of the Senators whom I see around me are those who, in their youth, left the older States, and went out to seek their fortunes in the new ; and shall these gentlemen seek to cut off others from the same advantages? Surely not. , Their constituents, I am persuaded, do not require such a thing at their hands. It would, indeed, be a strange phenomenon in political economy, that, when the country has become rich and strong by this very process, her statesmen should turn round and say, we have too much public land in mar. ket; we must take measures to stop the sale of it. I am willing to modify the tariff in such a manner as to re
[JAN. 24, 1837.
duce, in some degree, the amount of revenue from that source, but I am not willing to cripple the sales of lands in the West, or to take them out of market. Having thus briefly given the reasons in behalf of the amendment I have offered, I will conclude by expressing my hope that Senators will do what I conceive to be their duty in the case. Mr. CLAY would add one or two words on this amendment. . The proposition is to reduce the price of land which has remained for ten and fifteen years unsold to $1 and to 75 cents. Now, we hold the public lands as trustees for the entire people of the United States; we are bound, therefore, to administer the trust for the benefit of the whole people, and not for a part only. Has the gentleman shown that the price of these lands is now too high? Is it pretended by any body? Does any one doubt that the Government will get the price now asked at some day? What is the progress of things which brings these lands into market? The Indian title to a certain tract of country is extinguished by treaty; inmediately, the people in the vicinity are urgent with Congress to have the lands immediately surveyed. Well, the lands are surveyed; forthwith they besiege the President to issue his proclamation, and set them up for sale; the President complies, and a fresh body of land is thus added to the stock already in market. And what has been the result of this eternal pressure on the Government for more land? Why, that we have now one hundred and twenty millions of acres at present in the market unsold? The inference of the honorable Senator, that because land has remained ten years in market unsold it is therefore not worth the price asked by Government, is most unfair. The true reason why any remains unsold is, that the supply is so immensely beyond the demand. The demand may average from eight to ten millions of acres; and you have one hundred and sixty millions in the market, and still have one hundred and twenty millions left on hand. Wait, then; there is no such urgent haste; wait a little, but do not adopt so wild a plan as to reduce your price in order to force a sale. Take the experience of Ohio as an example; her total amount of public land is reduced to about two millions and a half of acres, and the whole has been disposed of at the Government price. And so, as population goes on increasing, will it be in other States. There is no urgency in the execution of our trust; the whole may not be sold during this generation, and perhaps the next; and what then? If, in the faithful administration of our trust, it should be ages and ages before the whole is sold, is that a reason for reducing the price? Some years ago, indeed, when our sales were two or three millions of acres in a year, there might have been more force in the argument for a reduction; but when the sales have risen from five to twenty-five millions in a year, will you reduce your price that you may still further augment the sales, and tempt speculation more and more? It seems to me that in such a plan there is neither wisdom nor foresight. On the general subject of the bill I hope to be heard, but now I limit what I have to say to the amendment be. fore the Senate. As to the hardships of those who crossed the Ohio, and went into the Northwest Terri. tory, does the Senator forget all the favors which have been conferred on that part of the country by Govern. ment? Has he forgotten the construction, at vast expense, of the onost magnificent road in existence, now extending itself to the banks of the Mississippi, and be. yond it! He talks of the exemption from taxation, why, does he not know that almost every part of that system has been. Piece by piece, undermined, till there’is ai. most nothing of it left? What has been done with the section grood in each township for the use of public schools? It is but the other śay that we aii...".
township, to exchange it for good land wherever they could find any. What was done at the last session? Did we not pass a bill giving them an exemption for five years? The whole system is almost utterly destroyed. And when the Senator speaks of the hardships endured by the first settlers north of the Ohio, he forgets to compare their condition with those on the south of it. Was it not they who conquered Ohio by their valor and their blood, rescuing it out of the hands of a savage foe? And what have we in Kentucky got from the General Government? No magnificent roads made through our terri. tory at the public expense; no reservations for the education of our poor; no princely donations of land and money for the construction of our canals; no, sir, nothing of the kind. Does the gentleman suppose we are incapable of seeling and of comparing? Yet what do we hear but one eternal demand for more! more! at the sacrifice of a compact made for the general benefit of the whole confederacy? I hope this amendment will not prevail. I hope that while our lands are already sold at a price the gentlemen themselves say is too low, we shall not, at their request, reduce the price still lower. The yeas and nays were then taken on the amendment proposed by Mr. Tipton, when it was rejected by the following vote: YEAs—Messrs. Benton, Black, Dana, Ewing of Illinois, Fulton, Hendricks, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Rives, Robinson, Sevier, Strange, Tipton, Walker, White—18. NAys—Messrs. Bayard, Brown, Calhoun, Clay, Crittenden, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Hubbard, Kent, King of Georgia, Knight, Niles, Page, Prentiss, Robbins, Ruggles, Swift, Tallmadge—19. Mr. BENTON then offered the following amendment: That it shall and may be lawful for any head of a family, young man over the age of eighteen years, or widow, not having received a donation of land from the United States, and being or wishing to become an actual settler on any parcel of public land which shall have remained five years unsold after having been offered at private sale at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, and not exceeding in quantity the amount of one quarter section, to demand and receive, from the proper register and receiver, a written permission to settle on the same, upon payment, to be made to the proper receiver, of the sum of seventy-five cents per acre; and if such person, so applying for and receiving such permission, shall forthwith settle on the said land, and he or she, or his or her heirs or legal representatives, shall cultivate the same for five successive years, and shall be a citizen or citizens of the United States at the end of that time, then, on proper proof being made, before the register and receiver, of such settlement, cultivation, and citizenship, a patent shall issue for the said land to the person who received such permission, or his or her heirs or legal representatives. And the faith of the United States is hereby pledged to all persons who may settle on the public iands, according to the provisions of this section, that no dispensation shall, at any time, be granted to any individual srom complying with the substantial conditions herein prescribed. And if due proof of settlement, cultivation, and citizenship, as herein required, be not made within one year next after the expiration of said five years, the said land shall again be subject to entry at private sale, as land belonging to the United States: And if two or more persons, entitled under this act to the privileges of actual settlers, shall apply for the same parcel of land, then the register and receiver shall immediately decide the right of preference between them, according to priority of settlement and other equitable circumstances; and where these are equal the decision shall be made by lot.
Jax. 25, 26, 1837.]
The question was taken on its adoption by yeas and nays, as follows: Yeas—Messrs. Benton, Black, Dana, Ewing of Illinois, Fulton, Hendricks, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Rives, Robinson, Sevier, Strange, Tipton, Walker, White—18. Nars—Messrs. Bayard, Brown, Calhoun, Clay, Clayton, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Hubbard, Kent, King of Georgia, Knight, Niles, Page, Prentiss, Robbins, Ruggles, Swist, Tallmadge, Wright—20. So the amendment was lost. Mr. SEVIER offered an amendment, which granted the actual settler a pre-emption right, on his showing that he had occupied a quarter section six months immediately previous to a land sale. This was agreed to. Mr. MORRIS now observed that the bill, since its first being reported by the committee, had undergone so many modifications, and the pre-emptive feature in it had been so much changed for the worse, that, by way of testing the opinion of the Senate whether that principle should be retained, he would move to strike out the entire section (the 4th) on that subject. The motion was supported by Mr. CLAY, and opposed by Messrs. LINN, SEWIFR, and BENTON, and with great vehemence by Mr. WALKER, who observed that if the two features of graduation and pre-emption were stricken out of the bill, he should abandon it at once; when Mr. MORRIS expressed a wish to address the Senate in behalf of his motion, and moved, thereupon, an adjournment; which prevailed, And the Senate adjourned.
WEDNesnay, JANUAR r 25.
The Senate proceeded to the consideration of the bill for the relief of the executrix of Richard W. Meade.
The subject of the bill having been debated at great length by Messrs. CLAY, HUBBARD, WALKER, CALHOUN, WRIGHT, and BUCHANAN,
Mr. CALHOUN moved to lay the bill on the table, for further examination. Negatived: Yeas 19, nays 22.
After further debate, on motion of Mr. HUBBARD, the bill was amended so as to limit the amount to be allowed by the commissioners named by the bill to the proportion allowed to other claimants, from the $5,000,000, under the treaty with Spain.
Also, the Secretary of the Treasury was substituted on the commission for the Secretary of State, who, Mr. H. *lated, had already given a favorable judgment on the claim: Yeas 25.
The bill was then ordered to be engrossed for a third reading.
The Senate resumed the consideration of the special order, which was the bill to restrict the sale of the public lands to actual settlers.
The question being on the motion of Mr. Monnis to strike from the bill the 4th section, which refers to the *bject of pre-emption rights to be conferred on the set. tlers who shall fulfil certain conditions-
Mr. MORRIS declined making, at this time, his speech in support of the motion, and suggested to Mr. Walken the expediency of postponing the further consideration of the bill to to-morrow.
Mr. WALKER wished, first, to offer an amendment, which had been agreed on in the Land Committee, with a view to exclude all lots or tracts of land reserved by orđer of the United States Government for town lots or other purposes.
Mr. EWTNG suggested that such an amendment would not cover the case of the fort at Chicago, to
which he had referred in his general speech on the bill, because that lot had not been reserved by any law, but, as he understood, had been erected on a certain site by direction of the Executive. The amendment, to effect that object, ought to except from pre-emption all lands in the occupation of the United States Government for public purposes. Mr. ROBINSON proposed that the amendment should exclude all lands “inhibited from sale by an order made pursuant to law.” He then adverted to the Chicago case, and, while expressing his disapprobation of the claim there urged for a pre-emption right, reminded the Senate that a court of his own State had decided in favor of the claim. He then repelled, with much warmth, the charge thrown out by Mr. Ewing, that officers high in the Government, and members of Congress, were reported to be interested in that claim. He was, himself, wholly free from all connexion whatever with that af. fair. He had particularly inquired, and he knew of no officers of his own State, or members of Congress, who were concerned in it. He demanded that the charge should be made more definite, called strenuously for the names of individuals charged, and pledged himself to visit them, if proved guilty of improper conduct, with the heaviest punishment the law could inflict. He passed very high encomiums on the character of Mr. Whitlock, of whom he said that “the Almighty had never made an honester man, nor could he, should he try it over again.” Mr. EWTNG explained, disclaiming the most distant suspicion of the Senator himself, and declaring that he had not charged, nor did he now charge, any individual whatever, but had spoken of what was public rumor on the spot; and declared it as his opinion that the subject was of sufficient importance to deserve the institution of a formal inquiry. No name had been mentioned to him but that of Baubien, the original claimant; nor would he have willingly received the names of individuals, had they been offered to be communicated. He spoke in general terms alone. Mr. ROBINSON rejoined, and reiterated with increased warmth his call for a more specific charge. He then proceeded to reply to the reflections which had been cast during the obate of yesterday on the character of those who went upon the public lands and improved them, and then demanded pre-emption rights. What were they? Thieves? Pirates? Robbers? Where did they come from? From the States where the public lands lay? No; but from all parts of the Union. He should be proud, could he compare characters with many of the settlers thus denounced. He eulogized their patriotism, bravery, and integrity, and complained of the reiteration of the terms “trespassers” and “squatters,” which had been repeatedly applied to them. He hoped the Government would entertain and act on better views; but (added Mr. R.) if you do not, we will learn you—yes, we will learn you a lesson—that the free people of these United States are not going to be deprived of their rights. He then upbraided the Government with a mercenary spirit in its conduct toward these hardy and industrious men, very inconsistent with its high claim of being the only free Government on earth, the refuge of the oppressed, &c., and cried, shame, shame upon it. Mr. TIPTON moved an adjournment, but waived the motion at the request of Mr. BEN to N; when the Senate went into Executive business. Aster which, and some explanatory remarks having been made on the land question by Mr. WALKER-The Senate adjourned.
Thu Rs DAY, JANUAny 26. PUBLIC LANDS. The bill to prohibit the sales of the public lands, ex