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Feb. 2, 1837.]
After some remarks from Messrs. MORRIS, BAY. ARD, WALKER, EWING of Ohio, and EWING of Illinois, the amendment of Mr. Monnis was rejected: Yeas 21, nays 25, as follows: Yeas—Messrs. Bayard, Calhoun, Clay, Clayton, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Ohio, Kent, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Knight, Morris, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Ruggles, Southard, Tomlinson, Wall, Web. ster, White--21. Nars—Messrs. Benton, Black, Brown, Cuthbert, Dana, Ewing of Illinois, Fulton, Grundy, Ilendricks, Hubbard, Linn, Lyon, Moore, Nicholas, Niles, Norvell, Page, Rives, Robinson, Sevier, Strange, Swift, Tallmadge, Walker, Wright--25. Mr. NORVELL moved to amend the bill by providing that the restriction which confines the benefits of this act to citizens of the United States shall apply only to the pre-emption system. Mr. N. observed that the section, as it now stands, was the adoption of a policy never before known in the United States in the sales of the public lands. After some words from Mr. LINN in favor of the amendment, Mr. NORVELL said that if he had thought that the motion would prevail, he would have moved to strike out the ninth section altogether, as it ought not to be in the bill at all. Mr. WEBSTER asked if it was the intention of the Senate, in a bill giving so great a bounty as this bill, to extend it to every man in England, France, and Ireland? Would they extend the privilege of entering lands for Their children to fathers in foreign countries, when the friends of the bill, with so much reluctance, consented that it should be extended to those in the old states? Mr. W. moved to amend the ninth section, so as to restrict the privileges of pre-emption and settlement for children, to citizens of the United States; which was agreed to. . The question was then taken on Mr. Nonver.l's moon to strike out the ninth section; which was rejected: Weas 9, nays 22, as follows: Yxas–Messrs. Benton, Brown, Hendricks, Linn, Iy. on, Norvell, Robinson, Sevier, Walker—9. Nays—Messrs. Bayard, Black, Calhoun, Clayton, Crittenden, Dana, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of 9hio, Fulton, Grundy, Hubbard, Kent, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Page, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, Robbins, Ruggles, Southard, Swist, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Webster, White, Wright–32. Mr. RUGGLES moved to strike the 8th section from the bill. [This is the section permitting fathers in the old States, or mothers, in case the fathers are dead, to °nter a section of land for the benefit of minor children.] Mr. HUBBARD called for the yeas and nays on the Question, which were ordered; and after some remarks from Mr. RUGGLEs, the motion was rejected: Yeas 12, nays 26, as follows: Yeas—Messrs. Benton, Black, Fulton, King of Alabama, Linn, Moore, Morris, Niles, Page, Ruggles, Sevier, Wright—12. Nars–Messrs. Bayard, Brown, Clayton, Crittenden, Dana, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Grundy, HenJricks, Hubbard, King of Georgia, Nicholas, Norvell, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Walker, Wall, Webster, White—26. Mr. MOORE moved to amend the bill by reducing the Price of all lands that have been in the market ten years to one dollar per acre; and all lands that have been in the market fifteen years to seventy-five cents per acre. Mr. MORRIS here moved that the Senate adjourn; which was carried: Yeas 20, nays 19; and The Senate adjourned.
Thunsnar, FEBRUARY 2.
Mr. NICHOLAS presented the credentials of the Hon. Alexanden MoutoN, Senator elect from the state of Louisiana, vice Mr. Ponten, resigned.
Mr. . MOUTON then appeared, was qualified, and took his seat.
COPY-RIGHTS TO FOREIGNERS. Mr. CLAY said that he begged leave to present to the Senate a memoir or address from certain living authors of Great Britain. Among the subscribers to it would be recognised some of the most distinguished names in the literary world—names (said he) with which we have been long familiar, and whose admirable productions have often instructed and delighted us all. They represent that, owing to the want of legal protection in the United States, they are deprived of the benefit here of their literary property; that their works are published without any compensation being made to them for their copy-rights; that they are frequently altered and mutilated, so as to affect injuriously their reputations; and that an arrangement which they, or some of them, had made with booksellers in the United States, to secure a fair and just remuneration for their labors, had been defeated by the practice of other American booksellers. They therefore request the passage of a law, by which their right of property may be protected. I am quite sure, Mr. President, (continued Mr. Clay,) that I need not say one word to commend this address to the attentive and friendly consideration of the Senate, and every member of it. Of all classes of our fellowbeings, there is none that has a better right than that of authors and inventors, to the kindness, the sympathy, and the protection of the Government. And surely nothing can be more reasonable than that they should be allowed to enjoy, without interruption, for a limited time, the property created by their own genius. Unfortunately, but too often dependent upon that alone, if they are deprived of it, they are bereft of the means of subsistence. The signers of this address may, with more confidence, indulge the hope of the passage of the law which they solicit, from the consideration that, according to the liberality of the British practice, the security of copy-right is not restricted to British subjects, but is equally enjoyed by foreigners. And I understand that there are instances of American authors who have availed themselves of it. Mr. President, when we reflect what important parts of the great republic of letters the United States and Great Britain are, and consider their common origin, common language, and similarity of institutions, and of babits of reading, there seems to me to be every motive for reciprocating between the two countries the security of copy-rights. Indeed, I do not see any ground of just objection, either in the constitution or in sound policy, to the passage of a law tendering to all foreign nations reciprocal security for literary property. Mr. C., in conclusion, moved that the memorial be printed, and referred to the Committee on the Library. Mr. PRESTON said he had no doubt of the general propriety of the direction proposed to be given to the memorial; all subjects of this kind were properly brought before the Library Committee. But the subject was one of some difficulty; there was a large and meritorious class of authors in this country, who had a direct interest in securing to the authors of Great Britain the copy-right to their works, because copies of these works were sold without the expense of a copyright, and thus came in free and injurious competition with the works of American authors. But, then, publishers had an opposite interest, to seize upon foreign works without price, and republish them. The consequence was, that the labor of foreign authors was converted to SENATE.]
[Feb. 2, 1837.
the use of publishers here, who often sent into the market a most despicable article in point of execution, entirely unworthy of the state of the arts in this country. Publishers, therefore, had arrayed themselves against the object of this memorial; and the subject, therefore, resolved itself into a complicated question of free trade and protection of the mechanical arts, with which is numbered the art of printing. On this subject Mr. P. was not now prepared to decide. They had two authors to our one, and were, therefore, more interested in the protection of mental labor; while we published three or four books to their one, and were, therefore, more interested in protecting publishers. Mr. P. was understood to suggest that the subject ought to go to the Judiciary Committee. Mr. GRUNDY remarked that the Judiciary Commit. tee had already as much before them as they could properly perform, and it was therefore impossible for them to give this subject that attention which was due to its intrinsic merits. He therefore moved that the memorial be referred to a select committee of five, expressing the desire that he might be excused from serving on such committee. Mr. CALII OUN said he was aware that the interest of booksellers in the United States was adverse to the object of this memorial; but he did not suppose that it was of a character or nature such as required its rejection. The works for which copy-rights would be secured in this country constituted but a small portion of the entire literature of Great Britain or this country; and of the works of the distinguished names on this memorial, the copy-right of a great portion had expired, which was, therefore, subject to free publication; and perhaps it would not be thought proper to revive the right in this country. By several living foreign authors, an attempt had been made to secure their property in this country, by designating the booksellers in the United States by whom alone their works were to be published. The attempt, however, proved impracticable, for other booksellers also published their works without license, so as entirely to deprive them of the bend fi s of such property in this country. Mr. C. thought the proper committee was that on the Judiciary, though he would not object to a select committee. Mr. BUCHANAN said when this question came to be considered it would be a vexed and difficult question. He would not discuss it now, but he saw an interest involved far beyond that of publishers, to whose interest he would pay a smaller regard; and that was the interest of the reading people of the United States. Cheap editions of foreign works were now published and sent all over the country so as to be within the reach of every individual; and the effect of granting copy-rights asked for by this memorial would be, that the authors who were anxious to have their works appear in a more expensive form would prevent the issuing of these cheap editions; so that the amount of republications of British works in this country, he thought, would be at once reduced to one half. But to live in fame was as great a stimulus to authors as pecuniary gain; and the question ought to be considered, whether they would not lose as much of same by the measure asked for, as they would gain in money. It was especially well worthy of the committee to go beyond publishers, and ascertain what would be the effect on the acquisition of knowledge in this vast country. Mr. Gnu Noy's motion to refer the memorial to a special committee was then carried; and the Chair appointed Messrs. Sooy, Parston, Buchanan, Websten, and Ewise of Ohio, to compose the committee.
PUBLIC LANDS. The President having announced the special order of
the day, being the bill limiting the sales of the public lands, and having stated the question to be on the fol. lowing sections, moved by Mr. Moon E, as amendments to the bill: “-?nd be it further enacled, That all lands which have been offered for sale twenty or more years, and remain unsold, shall hereafter be sold at fifty cents per acre, all lands which have been offered fifteen or more years, and less than twenty years, shall be hereafter sold at seventyfive cents per acre; and all lands which have been offered ten or more years, and less than fifteen years, shall hereafter be sold at one dollar per acre: Provided, That not more than one hundred and sixty acres shall be sold to any one purchaser, nor to any other than actual settlers, at such reduced prices. “..And be it further enacted, That any person who shall make the necessary proof, as required by the fourth section of this bill, that he has occupied or cultivated any portion of the public lands subject to entry at pri. yate sale, such person shall have the pre-emptive right in the purchase of one quarter section, to include the land so occupied or cultivated, at one dollar per acre.” Mr. MOORE addressed the Senate as follows: Mr. President: When I had the honor to present to the Senate last evening the amendments now under its consideration, I said great injustice had been done that class of our fellow-citizens who first emigrate and take possession of the public domain, by that severe denunciation that had been so liberally dealt out against them from several quarters upon this floor. Having been an early emigrant myself to the section of country in which I reside, and having some knowledge of the character of the many privations which those with whom I have been associated had to encounter, and which are common with all early emigrants to a new country, it was natural that my sympathies and sensibilities should be excited. But, sir, I am well aware these missiles and censure were not thrown particularly at Alabama; and as they have been met and replied to by others, I shall endeavor only to give a brief explanation of the operation of former pre-emption laws, as relates to the State of Alabama. Sir, the only pre-emption law in that long catalogue brought to view by the Senator from Missouri [Mr. BeNiro N] in which any portion of the citizens of this State have had any interest, is the law of May, 1830, which was limited in its operation to one year only; and the act of June, 1834, which re-enacted the provisions of the law of 1830, and continued its operation for two years. These laws have had an application in one or two counties only in the whole State of Alabama; and, in truth, it may be said that the citizens in but one county have been benefited to any considerable extent. These citizens, although not in affluence, are as honest, as worthy, and respectable, as the population in any other quarter. And what, let me ask, is the character of the boon presented by the pre-emption laws to which I have referred? The only advantage has been the protection it gave the poor man from a competition with the more wealthy land speculator in the purchase of his little home, one quarter section, which had been made valuable only by means of his own labor bestowed upon it. Sir, it is due to my constituents that I should state one fact, which is much to their credit and honor, which is this: I have never heard of any attempt to perfect titles under these pre-emption laws by a resort to “corruption, perjury, subornation of perjury, or other improper means,” about which we have heard so much as having occurred in other quarters. There is another fact which I take great pleasure in bringing to the view of the Senate. This very county of
FER. 2, 1837. I Public Lands. [SENATE. Public Lands.
Jackson, which has enjoyed greater benefit from the pre-emption laws than any other, has also furnished a greater number of soldiers for the defence of the State than any other county; she has now (unless they have recently returned) about sour hundred of her brave and patriotic citizens, breasting the perils of the Indian war in Florida, and, what I fear is more appalling to them than the dangers of war, the unhealthy climate which is the scene of their operations. These are volunteers, not draughted men. As soon as the call for men was made known, more volunteered than were required; and, in this county, I have heard it said that, “if any draught should ever be resorted to, it would be a draught to see who should stay at home.” But it has been intimated by the honorable Senator from Georgia [Mr. KING] that this class of our fellow-citizens have, by their disorderly and criminal deportment, provoked the Indian wars in which the Government has been and yet is involved. Mr. President, as regards the Black Hawk war, I know nothing, and therefore I say nothing; but, sir, as relates to the Indian war in the South, I think I hazard nothing in saying this can be traced to a different origin; this has originated from the manner in which your Indian treaties have been made, and the bad faith, yes, sir, the bad faith, in which their requirements have been executed. One circumstance which has contributed greatly in exciting that ill-blood which finally resulted in open depredations on the part of the Indians, has been the countenance given to the most gross and flagrant frauds practised upon them by unprincipled land speculators, in the pretended purchase of their reservations. And, sir, I think I may assume the responsibility of saying that some of the constituents of the Senator from Georgia participated largely in these speculations. Well, sir, the war having been brought about by the means to which I have referred, who, except that very class of our fellowcitizens, so much abused, to whom the opprobrious epithet of “squatters” has been applied, first shouldered their muskets to do the fighting? The silk-and-purple gentry, unless they can be so fortunate as to obtain the command of a regiment or battalion, find it more convenient to enjoy their ease upon their cotton farm. If they contribute any thing, it is by way of substitute; their person is too sacred to be exposed to the cruel hardships of a campaign; they therefore do all their fighting by substitute. Yes, sir, although this “traduced class” do not, as has been charged, originate the war, they are truly active and principal agents in bringing it to a close. But it has been alleged by the honorable Senator “that they pay no taxes to the Government,” &c. Now, sir, I demand to know if this be so? I desire to know of the Senator from Georgia [Mr. KING] whether the tax imposed by the tariff does not operate upon this class of our fellow-citizens as well as any other? By what means are they exempted from its influence? Sir, does not the poor man pay a tax for the hat upon his head, the coat (although it may be a coarse one) upon his back, and she shoes upon his feet? Is he not required to pay a tax for the plough and weeding hoe, the axe, and other farming utensils with which he cultivates his little cornfield? The sugar with which he sweetens his coffee, and the salt that is put in his bread? Yes, sir, he pays a tax almost for every thing he and his family either cat or wear; and this is not all, for he is taxed for the very last nail that is driven in his coffin, or the coffin onade for any branch of his family. And yet we are to be told that “they pay no tax!” I am willing to admit that they may not pay as much in amount as the man, who wears a beaver hat, a broadcloth cloak, a ruf. fle shirt, and silk stockings, and who uses his wines and other luxuries; yet I will venture the assertion that Wol. XIII,-43
the tax paid by the poor man, who may have a large family to support, falls as heavy and is as oppressive upon him as the tax paid by any other class of the community. Well, now, a few words as regards the amendment submitted for the consideration of the Senate. Its operation is confined to lands that have been in market for ten, fisteen, and twenty years, and which the Government has not been able to sell at the minimum price, and which, I hesitate not to say, will never be sold unless the price be reduced. This provision will enure mainly to the benefit of that class for whom it is more imperiously our duty to legislate; those in indigent circumstances, who have heretofore been driven out of the public land market, by the wealthy, the capitalist, and land speculator; for, sir, it cannot be disguised that these have heretosore possessed themselves of all the most valuable, rich, and fertile lands, to the entire exclusion of those who have been unable to compete with them. And now, when they have picked and culled it over and over again, until nothing remains but the refuse lands, which they will not purchase, but which a poor man is both willing and able to purchase at its fair value, you refuse, and unreasonably insist that this is worth as much as you sell the cotton and sugar land and best Mississippi low grounds for. This policy is as inconsistent as it is adverse to the interest of the new States. What, let me ask, would be the course of an intelligent individual, under similar circumstances, who, having obtained a large quantity of public lands, and having sold out the best at the highest price it would command, would hold up the refuse with the view of obtaining the same price for this? What has been the practice of every State in the Union which has sold its public lands? Have they dot reduced the price according to its quality? And what would be the course of any other individual who might put in market any other commodity? Suppose he be a tobacco planter, or a flour merchant: would either of these, having made sale of all the prime, think of holding up the ground leaf tobacco, or the old and sour flour, with any reasonable hope of ever obtaining the same price for this? Or would be not reduce the price of this article to its fair market value? This, it seems to me, would be the dictate of prudence and common sense. But, sir, we claim, and with great propriety, too, a reduction, upon the ground and principle upon which you have reduced the tariff, in order to reduce the amount of surplus revenue, and to bring down the rate of taxation to the actual, economical wants of the Government. The public domain is the article in which the people of the new States deal mostly; and while you have extended a scale of reduction to every other article of consumption, this has been left, alone, untouched, at its original high price—a price fixed when the Government had a large public debt unliquidated, for the payment of which the public domain was pledged. This pledge is now redeemed, and the citizens of the new States have the right to demand a reduction in the price of the public domain in a ratio corresponding with that applied by the tariff to other articles. But there are other and higher considerations which should influence gentlemen in the support of this measure. The citizens of the new States, although they pay their equal proportion of the tax collected, have no interest in the large appropriations of thousands and millions that are made annually out of the public treasure for harbors, fortifications, breakwaters, forts, &c., on the seaboard. This amendment also proposes to place the means in the hands of thousands of our fellow-citizens to become freeholders, and thus increase their pride and independence, their attachment to the soil and to the Government, and at the same time remove that odious relation that exists between landlord and tenant.
[Feb. 2, 1837.
But some gentlemen have argued in opposition to this measure, as if it were confined in its operation alone to the citizens of the new States, and as if the citizens of no other State had any interest in the matter whatever. But gentlemen should recollect that the population of the new States is composed of the good people from every other State in this Union, and that emigrants from every quarter are to participate in the wholesome provisions proposed to be incorporated in this bill. Sir, I was surprised to hear the honorable Senator from Delaware [Mr. Bar Ann] repudiate these enactments because they hold out extravagant inducement to emigration from the old to the new States. And I would submit it to the honorahle Senator whether this is not a very contracted view of the subject; and whether it is not our duty to legislate here upon the broad principle of promoting the interest and prosperity of all; and whether he does justice to his constituents in withholding his support to the project on account of the extravagant advantages it tenders them for emigration. And ought not the State he so ably represented be willing to part with that portion of her population who, seeing the avenue opened wide for the improvement of their fortunes in the West and Southwes', feel desirous of availing themselves of it? And ought he not rather to be inclined to lend his aid in giving them encouragement than to impede their progress? What, suppose some rich landlord lose a tenant, and some of the manufactories some of their hands, who labor for a mere pittance for support, when, by emigration to the new States, they become independent freeholders and landlords themselves. Sir, I will repeat what I intimated on a former occasion, that the people of the new States have a right to appeal to the justice of the majority oa this floor and in the other branch of the National Legislature, who are now dominant, and hold the power, for their aid in support of this measure. They have done much for the administration, and particularly has Alabama done every thing, and more than could have been expected; she has sacrificed her feelings and her principles; her citizens have sacrificed their attachment for an individual pure and spotless, whose deportment either in the private walks of life or the public councils of his country no honorable man will dare assail or impeach. Yet they have sacrificed their attachment for him, their neighbor, their friend, to gratify General Jackson. And I think I have the right now, in behalf of my constituents, to make the appeal to the friends of the administration for aid in favor of a measure more intimately connected with their interest than any other provision of this bill. Now, sir, one word more as to the other amendment proposed as an additional section to the bill. Mr. President, the provisions embraced by this are so obviously just and proper, that I cannot anticipate opposition from any quarter. In this there is no principle the propriety of which will be considered doubtful by gentlemen coming from either the old or new States. It will be seen that this amendment proposes to secure to an individual the pre-emptive right in the purchase of one quarter, section, that he has improved and cultivated, at one dollar per acre, of the land subject to be entered at private sale at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. This will be of little or no service to other new States, which will enjoy a more important advantage from that section in the bill which secures to occupants the right of pre-emption in the purchase of the best lands in the country. . But, as regards Alabama, these golden days have passed; the good lands have long since been sold. I have known many worthy and respectable citi.
zens who had made improvements upon the public
lands, who were able to give from five to ten, fifteen, and twenty dollars per acre; yet were unable to secur:
their homes—were turned out and driven off by the cap. italist and land speculator, under the auction system, be. ing unprotected at that time by any pre-emption law. This amendment would be viewed as a modest proposition, compared with other features in the bill, and I hope it will receive the favorable consideration of the Senate. [Mr. KING, of Georgia, in a subsequent stage in the debate, having submitted two amendments to the bill, viz: one requiring “that the applicant for a pre-emption shall make oath before the register and receiver that he has not received the benefit of any pre-emption law heretofore passed by the Congress of the United States;” and the other providing “that no pre-emption shall be granted to lands from which the Indians had not been removed at the commencement of such occupancy”—] Mr. Moon E said he had already declared that the interest which the State of Alabama would have in this law, compared with that which other new States and Territories would enjoy, was very inconsiderable. Yet he had given the bill his hearty support, from principle. He was willing to do justice to other citizens, the early emigrants, in whatever quarter they may be located. But now the honorable Senator from Georgia [Mr. Kiss] proposes so to modify the bill as to destroy even that small interest which the State from which he came might claim to have, and to exclude his constituents from any participation in its wholesome provisions whatever. Mr. M. solemnly protested against the adoption of any such amendment; he hoped the Senate would not gratify the Senator from Georgia in effecting such manifest injustice to the citiz, ns of his State. That Senator had again renewed his unwarranted denunciations against that meritorious class of our fellowcitizens, whom he again reproaches by calling them “professional squatters;” and by this amendment proposes to break up and destroy what he is pleased to call “ their profession and livelihood.” And, sir, he is desirous also to put an end to the improper treatment and cruelty with which “the poor Indians” have been made to suffer, and are liable to be treated, by these early emigrants, many of whom he has intimated “have left Georgia because they were no better than they ought to be.” Mr. M. said he would not vouch for the correct deportment of the people of Georgia in any manner; but, for the consolation of the Senator from Georgia, he would inform him that the salubrious climate of Alabama had a most happy influence upon those who emigrated from that quarter; as soon as they crossed the line and be: came acclimated, they then cease to be “professional squatters,” and become honest and respectable citizens, and were worthy the protection this bill proposes to give them. But if the Senator succeeds in his proposed amendment, his (Mr. M's) constituents, few as they were, who have obtained any pre-emption under any former law, are now to be excluded from any benefit or pro: tection given by the pre-emption clause in this bill, and left entirely at the tender mercies of the land speculator. Now, sir, where is the propriety of this? where the propriety cf. excluding a poor man from a pre-emption under this law, merely because he has been compelled to make sale of his land heretofore paid for, in order to improve his condition and provide more effectually for the permanent prosperity of his family? Sir, the gentleman can with much more propriety change the character of his amendment, by mediying it in such nanner as to exclude and render the land speculator incompetent, instead of the pre-emptioner, to purchase in any future sale; and with such a modification Mr. M. would vote for it. Again; another portion of his constituents were to be Feb. 2, 1837.]
made step-children of and excluded from the provisions of this law, because they have made their settlements before the Indians are removed from the territory they have sold. , And the gentleman had stated correctly when he said his amendments would only apply to that portion of country recently acquired srom the Cherokees, situated in the State of Alabama. And he would inform that Senator that, small as “this slip” of country was, the General Assembly had organized three new counties out of it, which were settled by honest and respectable citizens, in every manner worthy the favorable consideration of Congress. The treaty had been ratified long since; many had gone there since the purchase and since the ratification; and yet the Indians are not removed, and no one can tell precisely when they will be entirely removed. The people, nevertheless, are subject to all the restraints, responsibilities, payment of taxes, &c., in the same manner that others are in any other part of the State, and were entitled to equal participation in the important provisions of this bill. But Mr. M. said he had felt the peculiar force of that argument of the Senator from Georgia resulting from his tender sympathies and compassion for the poor Indians, which inspired his bosom with such a strong and laudable desire to put a stop to those cruelties heretofore practised upon them. Mr. M. thought, looking to the history of the times, and reviewing the legislative action of the State of Georgia, (prompted, doubtless, by none other than the most tender and humane considerations for the poor Indians, for whom the Senator would make us believe he also feels much sympathy,) that such arguments came with very bad grace from that quarter. That Georgia should feel more than other States for the welfare of the Indians, and that her delegation should be disposed to withhold from honest occupants pre-emption rights in the purchase of the public lands, lest encouragement should be given to improper treatment to the poor Indians, was among the very last arguments he had supposed the Senator from Georgia would have resorted to in support of his proposition. When Mr. MooRe concluded, The question was taken on the adoption of the amendment by yeas and nays, and it was rejected: Yeas 16, nays 23. The question then recurred on the adoption of the second clause of the proposed amendment; which was, “that any person who has resided on and purchased land at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, during the year 1836, and who shall be in possession of such land at the passage of this act, shall be allowed to enter one quarter section until 1838, provided he shall have proved his right before July next, before the register and receiver of the proper land office.” The amendment was negatived by a vote of 27 to 15. ... Mr. WHITE said he was not satisfied with the bill in its present shape, nor did he know that any amendment could be offered to it which would reconcile him to its provisions. He had voted with the friends of the bill as far as he could, in order that it might be so amended as to meet with the approval of a majority of the Senate. Mr. W. proceeded to examine and comment on the provisions of the bill. He went on to say the bill was partial in its character, for it gave a preference to one portion of society over another in the purchase of the public lands. He argued that the bill in its present shape went to change the whole land system of the country, and excluded from becoming purchasers the great mass of society, in order to induce more emigration to the West. According to this bill, Persons might obtain land, and that, too, without intending to become occupiers of it. Now, he thought it was not sound policy to do this; nor could
any good reason be given why it should be done. If the bill was to remain in its present form, he could not consent to give his vote for it. Yet he must confess that he should regret, after the subject had been so lon under consideration, if nothing were done that .# prove beneficial to the new States, while at the same time no injustice should be perpetrated against the old. With regard to the large amount of revenue which had been derived from the sales of the public lands during the past year, he would tell gentlemen how it happened to be so much greater than at any former time. Why, a short time before the Indian title had been extinguished, a large portion of the finest lands were brought into the market; and the consequence was, that almost every man who wished to procure some of them, and yet not having the means, obtained accommodation at the banks, and then purchased. Afterwards, they sold to great advantage, and repaid what they borrowed. And this had been the course pursued in regard to the public lands, which some gentlemen might call “speculating.” Now, the moment the money deposited with the States should be withdrawn, an end would be put to this state of things. In fact, even at this time, the best lands in the South and Southwest were gone; and yet Congress was about to legislate to prevent speculation and preserve the public lands! After some further remarks, Mr. W. observed, let justice be done to the new States; but let no radical change be made in the laws, unless gentlemen were quite sure that that change was made upon a principle which the people of the whole Union would approve of. If that course were not pursued, the result might be that two parties would be gotten up, of the old States on one side, and the new on the other, and then no man could foretell what would happen to the liberties and prosperty of the confederacy. If the amendment he proposed to offer should be adopted, our land system would be preserved, while, at the same time, it would prevent, as much as any scheme could, the frauds known to be committed, as regarded the public lands. Mr. W. concluded his remarks by offering the following, as a substitute for the amendment reported by the Committee on the Public Lands: Strike out all after the enacting clause, and insert the following: “That every settler or occupant of the public lands prior to the passage of this act, who was in possession on the first day of December last, and cultivated any part thereof in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-six, shall be entitled to all the benefits and privileges provided by an act entitled ‘Act to grant pre-emption rights to settlers on the public lands,’ approved May twenty-ninth, eighteen hundred and thirty; and the said act is hereby revived, and shall continue in force one year: Provided, That, where more than one person may have settled upon and cultivated any one quarter section of land, each one of them shall have an equal share or interest in the same quarter section, but shall have no claim to any other land: And provided, always, That the provisions of this act shall not extend to any person who made his settlement or occupancy before the extinguishment of the Indian title to the land on which he settled, or to which he claims a right of occupancy. “Src. 2. And be it further enacted, That in cases where individuals were entitled to the benefits of the pre-emption act of June, eighteen, hundred and thirty; four, and were deprived of said rights by the location of Indian reservations having been placed on their improvements, after such settlements, were made, the persons having been so entitled shall be allowed to enter one quarter section of any of the public lands (not reserved from sale) in the State in which such persons resided: Prorided, That such persons sholl produce satisfactory proof before the proper land officers, and make their