Imagens das páginas

H. OF R.]

Washington and Frederick Turnpike.

[Jan. 14, 1829

broken or lives lost, (but this might perhaps be accounted the present bill. The road it proposed to complete formed for from the fact that they were all Western men.) only a part of the great road which it was conteinplated

From a letter which had been received from the Post- to run from this city through Harrisburg, to the western master General, the House would perceive that the repair part of the State of New York. He contended that, even of this portion of the road would produce a saving of six- if there were no such thing as the Cumberland Road, Conteen hours in the transportation of the Western mail : for, gress, as the local Legislature of the District, would have owing to the delay at present occasioned, the mail, which a right to aid this road with a view to draw the trade and would otherwise go through to Hagerstown in one day, produce of the neighboring country into the District. This had now to be mailed on the day previous, and to be sent was done by the Legislature of every State, and no one on as far as Rockville that night. On all these grounds, thought of complaining of it. Maryland had expended it was highly important that this portion of the road should vast sums in making roads, with a view to the benefit, not be turnpiked like the residue. It was not only to facili- of the immediate neighborhoods through which they pass, tate the conveyance of produce and the transportation of but of the city of Baltimore. So had New-York and Virthe mail, but would be a great convenience to all ofiicers ginia, for the benefit of their respective capitals. of Government and others, whose official duty required Mr. WEEMS briefly explained, in reply to Mr. BASthem to hold intercourse with the Western States. But, SETT. Money advanced on subscriptions of stock was if this object was to be accomplished at all, a less subscrip- never considered as a donation. tion than for four thousand five hundred shares would be Mr. McDUFFIE wished to know what proportion of unavailing; the shares were at twenty dollars a piece, and the stock in this company was held by the United States, the work was estimated to cost one hundred thousand dol- and what control Congress was to retain over those who lars. Mr. W. concluded by expressing his hope that a bill expended the money. so reasonable in its character would receive the general Mr. WASHINGTON replied, and explained. The support of the House.

company had already expended thirty thousand dollars on Mr. WICKLIFFE said he had some experience on the the end of the road next to Fredericktown, and sixiy thousubject now before the House, having had the misfortune sand dollars on that part between Washington and Rockmore than once to travel over this road. Here Mr. W feel- ville. The United States would, therefore, hold about one ingly narrated some of the adventures of his journey, ap: half of the stock, and would control it proportionably. pealing for confirmation to gentlemen on his right hand Mr. STORRS called for the reading of a former report and on his left. He insisted on the inconvenience, delay, of the Committee of Roads and Canals, and it was read at danger, and expense, attending travelling on this part of the Clerk's table accordingly. the road, and argued to show that, in less than twenty Mr. STEWART now stated that the stock of the comyears, Government would receive back the whole amount pany on that part of the road between Washington, Georgeit was now called upon to subscribe. Would the House town, and Rockville, had, for some time past, yielded an inrefuse the object of this bill, when they had already expended terest of six per cent. When the road should be finished, the Dearly as large an amount in the mere survey and location travel would be greatly increased, and the stock would beof a line for the extension of the Cumberland Road from come much more valuable, so as to yield, perhaps eight, Cumberland to this city ?

ten, or even iwelve per cent. So bad was the state of the Mr. WEEMS made a few remarks to show that the road at present, that produce coming from the West for bill did not involve the constitutional question of Internal the Washington market, was, from necessity, turned aside Improvements, being merely an arrangement to save time to Baltimore ; and travellers, whose business called them and expense in the transportation of the mail. The House to this city, were often compelled to go round by the way would not surely refuse to act in a case where the very of Baltimore, thus travelling eighty miles instead of necks of the members were in danger. The bill did not forty. ask the House to make a donation of a single dollar of Mr. GILMER said that the debate had developed two money.

facts: the one was, that the Cumberland road had been Mr. BASSETT could not believe gentlemen serious. turned aside from its original and proper course, by a presIf the bill did not give a dollar, why was it urged? It sure of local interest and of personal influence. This proposed to give five thousand dollars a mile for this road. “piece of history” was all important in its bearings, and Was Government to pay at this rate for all the roads of was one pertinent example which went to show what must the country? Mr. B. considered it unjust in principle, and ever be the course of things so long as Congress went on never could consent to it.'

attempting internal improvements piecemeal, without any - Mr. MERCER protested against any attempt to injure, fixed and general plan. Another very important piece of by anticipation, a bill which was soon to come before the history was, that this road stock now yielded six per cent. House for extending the Cumberland road from Cumber- and was likely to yield twelve. If this were ihe fact, land to this city. The gentleman from Kentucky had could it be possible that the road needed any aid from greatly misstated the expense of its survey and location, Government? A stock that yielded six per cent. was a which did not amount to much more than a twentieth part good stock, and there could be no difficulty in finding capiof what he had supposed. That road and this were not talists willing to invest their money in it. If the House to be considered as rival enterprises. On this subject he were going to adopt the principle that every road must be had a piece of history which might be unknown to some aided by Government, if, thereby, the transportation of the members of the House. At the time the Cumberland road mail would be accelerated, there were plenty of such roads bad first been proposed, it was the opinion of Mr. Jeffer- between this city and New Orleans ; or, if they were going son that it ought to commence at this city, and strike the to mend every road which endangered the necks of the Ohio river below Marietta. It would then have reached a members, they ought to pay equal regard to the necks of point on that river where the land transportation would Southern members as of Western. In Georgia, there were meet a line of uninterrupted navigation. This had been a number of roads which the citizens never could turnpike, the expectation of Virginia, and would have gone into effect owing to the lightness of their produce, in proportion to its but for the opposing weight of the Connecticut Reserve, bulk. Was the Government to do it for them? He trusted and the influence of a leading member then in Congress a bill would not be urged against the feelings and scruples from the State of Pennsylvania. The influence from these of many gentlemen, merely to aid a company whose stock quarters occasioned the road to take its present direction. yielded six per cent. Of the contemplated road to Cumberland, more than forty Mr. STEWART replied, that it was very certain the miles was already complete. Mr. M. was not opposed to stock did yield six per cent., and it was equally certain

Jas. 15, 1829 ]

Rerolutionary Survivors.

(H. OF R.

that it had been long in the market and would not sell. Mr. STEWART disclaimed all intention of reflecting But the gentleman from Georgia must recollect, that that on the conduct of Maryland. He passed some very high which yielded six per cent. was on the road between encomiums on the enterprise and liberality of the citizens Washington and Rockville. The remaining portion pass- of Baltimore, and then further insisted on the value and imed through a very poor country, which could yield it no portance of the road, and the advantages that would result aid, and the State of Maryland would not aid it, because from its completion. it went to turn aside the produce from Baltimore to Wash Mr. MARVIN said that he had at first been apprehenington. If this gap was filled up, the United States would sive lest the House, being taken by surprise, might have have an uninterrupted line of turnpike road all the way rejected a bill so important. The subject, however, had from Washington city to Zanesville, in Ohio.

been fully discussed at the last session, and he trusted, by Mr. WICKLIFFE briefly replied to the remarks of Mr. this time, it was fully understood and appreciated. He Mercer, and disclaimed all intention of giving, in antici- thought consistency alone was sufficient to require the appation, a left-handed blow to that gentleman's bill for ex- propriation now proposed. The House had for years past tending the Cumberland Road. After once more advert- been appropriating money by the thousands for the Cum ing to his adventures in the stages, in the description of berland road. A proposition was now pending, which which he compared the company of members in the mail would certainly pass, to carry that road farther to the West, sta ge to a load of live hogs in a country wagon, uttering and it would ultimately reach the Mississippi. Now, if the a squealing sound as the stage rolled into the gullies, he House were so situated that it could make but one more begged to be excused from a discussion of the constitution-grant in aid of that road, would they apply their aid to the al question, as the House had already settled, by repeated western end of it? Certainly not. They would complete precedents, its views of the propriety of subscribing to its eastern termination, and bring it down to tide water. stock companies.

Now, this object had, in a great measure, been already efMr. MERCER rejoined, and denied that the profits fected by the company soliciting this aid, and it was forarising on a small portion of the road near the metropolis tunate that so much had been done by private enterprise were to be taken as a measure of the average value of the without involving any questions of a constitutional kind. stock of the whole road. He adverted to the importance A small appropriation more would be sufficient to comof a good turnpike road for military purposes, and compli- plete this great object, and bring down the road to the seat mented the wisdom of the Legislature of Pennsylvania in of Government, and to the tide water of the Atlantic. He its liberal expenditures on works of this nature.

hoped the bill would prevail. Mr SERGEANT was in favor of the bill. He argued Mr. STORRS said he had voted for a subscription simito show the necessity of aid from the Government, and for lar to this in behalf of the Delaware and Chesapeake Cathe security derived from the large sums already expended nal, ard, also, of the Dismal Swamp Canal. He had done by the company. He went into a history of the experience so on one principle-ihat a statement of the concerns of the of Pennsylvania on this subject, and stated, as its results, company should be laid before the Government, and a fair that the best mode in which a government could promote prospect be shown of accomplishing the object intended. objects of internal improvement, was by becoming partners In the present instance he wanted to know what was the in schemes of individual enterprise. He expressed his dis amount of the capital stock, how much of the stock subbelief that turnpikes presented a profitable mode for the scribed had been paid in, and how much still remained uninvestment of capital, and referred to the average produce subscribed. When he had these facts he should be better of the turnpikes in Great Britain, in support of that opin- prepared to act. ion. Roads, in the neighborhood of great cities, did not

Mr. WASHINGTON now further explained the charalways yield the best. Those in the vicinity of London and ter of the company, and quoted several sections of the bill of Philadelphia had, in general, been losing concerns. In before the House reply to Mr. MERCER, he denied the fact that the Cumber Mr. WICKLIFFE demanded that the question should land road had been turned aside from its proper direction, be taken by yeas and nays, and they were ordered by the or that that had happened by the influence of a gentleman | House. from Pennsylvania. A contest of local interests was al Mr. McDUFFIE said that he was fully aware of the ways to be expected, but was not attended with any very importance of this road, as a national object, going to faciinjurious consequences. Turnpike roads were not usually litate the transportation of the great Western mail. No constructed merely from the hope of the profits of the one would, therefore, suspect him of wishing to throw any stock, but chietly with the view to further other interests difficulty in its way; but he could not consent 10 act upon of a local kind. The public had a great interest in the the subject without fuller information. If compelled to act road now under discussion, as affording facilities to the now, he must oppose the bill. mail, to commerce, to travelling, and to the transportation Mr. WASHINGTON thereupon moved to postpone the of the munitions of war. It was not to be expected that further consideration of the bill until Monday next; which individuals would go beyond a certain extent in invest. motion prevailed, and the bill was postponed accordingly. ments which yielded but a small profit. In no country on earth had individual enterprise gone such lengths as in this.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, 1829. When they had done much, it was proper that the Govern

REVOLUTIONARY SURVIVORS. ment should interpose and do the rest.

Mr. BARNEY defended the conduct of his State in re The bill for the relief of sundry Revolutionary and other lation to this road. In renewing the charters of her banks, officers and soldiers, was taken up for consideration in she had required, as a condition, their contribution to this Committee of the Whole. undertaking, and it was from that source that the large ex Mr. P. P. BARBOUR opposed the passage of the bill, penditures, now making at the other end of the road, were on account of the objectionable nature of the principle derived. It was not to be expected that Baltimore should involved in it. He argued against the selection of indibe strenuous in aiding a road which went to turn the coun- viduals by name, in the legislation of Congress, while try produce to another city. But the State had acted in statutory laws were in existence, which provided for penthis case with enlarged views, and had fully done all that sions of all descriptions, and the principles of which were its duty required. For himself, he did not believe that so general that all were embraced within the benefits they Baltimore would be materially injured, and as one of the extended. Representatives of the nation, he was disposed to grant Mr. MITCHELL, of Tennessee, said he would ask the every facility to the internal trade of the country.

indulgence of the Committee for a few moments, while

H. OF R.)

Revolutionary Survivors.

(Jan. 15, 1829.

he would make a brief reply to the arguments of his wor deration ; and grant relief by name, as right and justice may thy friend from Virginia, (Mr. P. P. BARBOUR) who had require, without regard to strict rule. Most of the cases contended that we ought not to pursue this course of legis-contained in the bill are of persons who have been knocklating for individual cases; that, by such a course, much ing at your door for relief for four or five years past. And injustice would be done to others equally meritorious, and, are they to be turned away remediless, because there is no therefore, Congress ought to pass a law of general opera- beaten track for them to march upon this House to detion, containing principles applicable to all cases not pro- mand their rights? I will tell the gentleman from Vire vided for by the existing law having relation to pensions. ginia that time would grow grey with years of antiquity, No gentleman (said Mr. MITCHELL] better understands the before the human mind could become so chaste, and legis. almost insurmonntable difficulties that would present them- | lation so full, complete, and pure, as, by general provi. selves in digesting any system which could provide for sions, to cover all particular and individual cases. I will every class of cases for which provisions ought to be made, readily agree with the gentleman from Virginia, that the than the honorable gentleman from Virginia. It would provisions of the law ought to be made as comprehensive almost be a sufficient answer to the gentleman's argu as practicable, extending its provisions to the greatest posment, to advert for a moment to the continued practice sible number of cases which ought at all to be provided for. of the House, in appointing Committees on Military Pen- But how difficult must be the task of any one who would sions, and such a Committee is of almost immemorial attempt to fix rules for the government of numerous cases, usage. For what purpose was such a Committee consti- which, in their character, are purely equitable, and not catuted? Was it merely to register the edicts of the pension pable of being brought within the strict letter of any law. agent at the Department? or was it not rather a kind of It may, with propriety, be said, that it is impossible to lay dernier judicial iribunal, to which all might appeal whose down rules and principles for the government and reclaims had been rejected at the Department of War, in lief of every case which may be presented. Give your laws consequence of not being brought within the letter of the the most general and particular provisions within the scope law, or for some mere technical defect in the derange- of human invention, yet there will be cases presented ment of their cases, and the testimony to support them ? where relief ought to be granted, without the provisions Without this means of redress, great injustice would be of your laws. Such cases must still be submitted to the done to many meritorious applicants for revolutionary sound discretion of your Committee. The necessity pensions, invalid pensions, and of widows for half pay would arise for the complained of legislation in particular pensions. The bill contains the names of about one hun- cases, after everything had been done which could, by gedred and twelve persons, some of whom have had their neral laws. cases examined and rejected at the Department of War, Mr. M. said that the Committee, at the head of which some for one cause, and some for another. The Depart. he had been placed, had, at an early period in the session, ment has interpreted the laws in relation to pensions, and matured a bill making general provision for every class of established a system of immutable rules in pursuance of cases not heretofore provided for by the existing laws ; to such interpretation, for the government of its action in all the consideration of which he intended to call the attention cases; and being governed by the letter of the law, it was of the House, as soon as his health and strength would justhought, and correctly too, that no discretion could be ex- tify. But that bill, may not pass, from some cause over ercised by the Department. Therefore, it will be seen which we have no control. He would ask the honorable that numerous cases occur where the claimant brings his gentleman from Virginia if it would be righi, in anticipacase within the spirit, but not the strict letter of the law, tion of the passage of that bill, or any oiher, to postpone or the rules governing the Department. Such, of conse those who are specially provided for in the bill now under quence, must be excluded from all the benefits of the consideration, and who have for years been humbly begpension system, and wholly irrelievable without this mode ging for relief at your door ; some of whom have passed of legislating. Others are contained in this bill, who have froin time to eternity ; the last days of whose wretched shown satisfactorily that they fought for the liberties we existence were marked by want and misery, while we have now enjoy ; that they “ bore the burthen and the heat of been tardily deliberating upon their cães.

The gentlethe day," to give us the privilege of deliberating in this man says, that many others, who ought to be provided for, hall; that they are now poor, old, in want and misery; but, have not had an opportunity of receiving a like benefit in the presentation of their claims, some small defect is dis- and that many of his constituents have been informed by covered, (probably in an immaterial point) and the claim is him, that, by the existing laws, they could not be placed rejected, although substantially brought within the spirit of upon the pension list. If, from the views of the gentleman, the pension laws. Hence the necessity of applying to any of his constituents have been prevented from presentthis House for relief. Your Committee is not charged ing their petitions to Congress for relief, and of receiving with the examination of a claim in strict accordance with its kind consideration, we certainly are not to blame for it. the existing laws, nor is it bound to conform to rules such I have no objection that the laws in relation to pensions as govern the Department in the execution of your laws; should be made as perfect as possible. But I protest but to make laws and rules according to the equity and against the rejection of this bill, to make way for the majustice of each individual case, (where none exist) by the turing a general system of more merit than any other hereaid and permission of this house. To all these cases, in tofore produced. The argument of the gentleman, when their several varieties, the Committee has bestowed the applied to this bill, is far more specious than sound. In most attentive examination, and passed none but such as fact, sir, it is no argument, as applicable to this bill, but a would receive relief at the hands of a Chancellor, such as sound and valuable argument when addressed to the shorthis worthy friend from Virginia would be, if he were sitting ness of the provisions of the existing laws upon the subin a Court of Equity, in judgment on the several classes ject of pensions. I ask the Committee to do justice to and cases contained in this bill Where the laws now in those whose fate is united with the destiny of this bill, by force fall short in affording relief, there properly the duties its prompt passage, that it may go to the Senate, and there of your Committee begin--not dependent upon precedent, receive the consideration of its Committee, in time to beor rules of previous legislation, but upon justice and right. come a law this session, so that we may not be pervious to I am sure no one will join me more cordially than the gen- the charge of negligence; and then we will turn our attentleman from Virginia, in protesting against legislative pre- tion to the improvement of the general provisions of the cedent.

pension system. Your Commitiee on Military Pensions must act with Mr. BATES, of Massachusetts, said he agreed with the Bound discretion upon each case submitted to its consi- gentleman from Virginia [Mr. P. P. BARBOUR) in his main


Jan. 15, 1829 ]

Cumberland Rond.-Southern Exploring Expedition.

[H. OF R.

position. There could be no dispute about it. All laws, SOUTHERN EXPLORING EXPEDITION. as far as possible, should be general-not special. But, The Committee then, on motion of Mr. BARTLETT, from necessity, there must be special legislation, or there took up the bill making provision for the exploring expediwill be special injustice. Let me put a case to the gentle- tion in the Southern hemisphere. The blank in the approman for his consideration. The general law requires that priating clause having been filled with the sum of fifty the party applying for a pension shall make his declaration, thousand dollars, Mr. BASSETT moved that the Comdisclosing the facts in his case, and shall verify them by his mittee rise. oath. Now, suppose he is deranged. He has performed Mr. BUCHANAN now entered the House, and wished the services required, and is in need of the relief proposed ; to offer an amendment to the Cumberland road bill. but he has been smitten by an act of Providence, and de The CHAIRMAN said thai, as that bill had been laid prived, for years, of the bounty which the law designed aside, it would not be regular to receive the amendment. pre-eminently for him, and because, too, he could not com Mr. BUCHANAN insisted that, so long as the Commitply, by reason of his misfortune, for which he is blaineless, tee remained in session, it was his right to offer an amendwith the forms of it. Shall he not have a pension? ment to any of the bills it had had under consideration. Again : The law requires that there shall have been nine The CHAIRMAN replied that the case was new to months' service, &c. Now, suppose, under an enlistment him, and he deemed such a course irregular, but should refor twelve months, the soldier had served but eight, and ceive the amendment, if the Committee unanimously aswas then captured and confined by the enemy for years in sented to it a prison ship, shall he not have a pension because he Mr. BASSETT now withdrew his motion for the rising served but eight months? It is no answer to say, make a of the committee, and no objections being made, Mr. BUgeneral law for such cases; because new cases will spring CHANAN offered his amendment, which went to strike up, bearing the same relation to the new law which those out the whole of the bill, after the enacting clause, with the provided for by the new bears to the old law. If it was exception of one hundred thousand dollars, to put the road not intended to make provision for special cases, it has in repair ; and to provide, in substance, that the several been well inquired by our Chairman, why was the Com- parts of the road passing through different States should be mittee appointed? and why has it proceeded, under the ceded to those States on certain conditions. Mr. B., after sanction and by authority of the House, to act ? From the a few general observations on the great importance of the nature of things, acis of special legislation must be passed, constirutional question involved in the bill, expressed his or extreme injustice will be done : or a law, general in iis desire, that, owing to the feeble state of his health, the terms, must be passed for every individual case, which will farther consideration of this bill might be postponed till be, in effect, nothing more than the act of special legislation Monday next; which being agreed to, the Committee rose, which is objected to.

and reported the other bills to the House. Mr. EVERETT was in favor of the bill, and questioned Mr. P. P. BARBOUR now farther explained, and inthe justice of the abstract principle advanced by the gentle sisted upon the grounds of his objection to the Pension man from Virginia (Mr. BARBOUR.] It was impossible to

Bill. attain that perfection in legislation which he [Mr. B ] de Mr. BARNEY, Mr. S. WOOD of New York, and Mr. sired;

and it was his ( Mr. E ?s) opinion that bounty should | MITCHELL, spoke in reply, insisting upon the urgency be distributed by the House, rather than the Executive of the case, as many of the persons intended to be providHe contended that the discretion of granting relief, in cases ed for were of extreme age, and fast dropping into the which were rejected on account of some technical niceties, tomb. should be vested in the House rather than in the pension The question was then taken, and the bill ordered to its deparıment. The bill contained names of persons whose third reading. claims he himself knew were before the House for three The bill for the exploring expedition was briefly opposed years and upwards, and they were indubitably due. Mr. by Mr. WICKLIFFE, who demanded the yeas and nays E. continued to argue, al much length, in favor of the bill. upon ordering it to its third reading. They were taken

Several names were proposed 10 be added to the bill, but accordingly, and stood as follows: were rejected, as they were not recommended by the Com YEAS. - Messrs. Addams, John Anderson, Samuel Anmittee which reported the bill.

derson, Archer, Bailey, Noyes Barber, Barker, Barlow, The bill having been gone through, was laid aside, and Barney, Barringer, Barilett, Isaac C. Bates, Edward Bates, the Committee, on motion of Mr. MERCER, proceeded to Beecher, Blake, Buck, Bunner, Butman, Cambreleng, consider the bill for the preservation and repair of the Carter, Condict, Crowninshield, Culpeper, John Daven

port, John Davis, De Graff, Dickinson, Findlay, Fort, CUMBERLAND ROAD.

Forward, Garnsey, Green, Hobbie, Hodges, Holmes, Hunt, Mr. MERCER moved to fill the blank in the hill with | Ingersoll, Johnson, Lawrence, Leffler, Little, Locke, Lyon, the surn of one hundred thousand dollars, which was final kell, Martindale, Marvin, Maynard, McIntire, Mcly agreed to--ayes 83, noes 76.

Kean, McLean, Mercer, Merwin, Miller, Miner, MuhlenMr. M. briefly explained the facts of the case. That berg, Newton, Orr, Pierce, Pierson, Plant, Ramsey, James part of the road which lies east of the Ohio is one hundred F. Randolph, Reed, Richardson, Ripley, Russell, Sergeant, and thirty miles in length. On seventy-one miles of this Sinnickson, Sloane, Smith, Sprague, Sprigg, Stevenson, road, the bill proposes to erect toll-gates, at not less than Stewart, Storrs, Stower, Strong, Swann, Swift, Sutherten miles apart. After the gates and toll houses have been land, Taliaferro, Taylor, Tracy, Ebenezer Tucker, Vance, erected, the residue of the money is to be expended in re- Verplanck, Vinton, Washington, Whipple, Whirtlesey, pairs upon the road. Mr. M. assured the Comınittee that, James Wilson, Ephraim K. Wilson, Silas Wood, John when this measure should have gone into effect, they would Woods, Woodcock, Wolfe-97. never again be called upon to appropriate money for this NAYS.-Messrs. Alexander, Alston, Armstrong, Baldroad, as the tolls would be sufficient to keep it in repair. win, Philip P. Barbour, Bariley, Bassett, Blair, Brown, If not, it must remain a charge upon the Government, and Claiborne, Conner, Coulter, Thomas Davenport, Desha, the two millions iwo hundred and forty thousand dollars Duncan, Earll

, Floyd, of Georgia, Fry, Garrow, Gilmer, which had already been expended on this great national Hallock, Harvey, Haynes, Healy, Hoffman, Isacks, Jenwork would be lost, and the road fall into a state of totalnings, Keese, Kremer, Lecompte, Lea, Letcher, Long, dilapidation.

Lumpkin, Magee, Marable, Martin, Maxwell, McCoy, McThe amendment having been agreed to, the bill was Duffie, McHatton, John Mitchell, Thomas R. Mitchell, laid aside.

James C. Mitchell, Nuckolls, Polk, Rives, Roane, Shep

H. OF R.]

Amendment of the Rules.

[Jan. 16, 1829.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

perd, Stanbery, Sterigere, Taber, Thompson, Trezvant, for office, against whom he may vote. I will not allow Starling 'Tucker, Turner, Wickliffe, Wilde, John J. Wood, myself, for a moment, to suppose, that a representative of Silas Wright, Yancey-59.

forty thousand freemen, or one who is fit to represent forSo the bill was ordered to its third reading.

ty thousand freemen, does not possess independence and
moral firmness enough to avow for and against whom he

votes; and the man who is elevated to the dignified station

of presiding over the deliberations of the House of RepreAMENDMENT OF THE RULES.

sentatives of the United States, who would permit his inThe following resolution, offered yesterday by Mr. dignation or revenge to be exerted against a member, beWICKLIFFE, having lain on the table one day, under cause he preferred another for the station, is unworthy the rule, came up for consideration :

the confidence or respect due to the office he fills, or the “ Resolved, That the following be added to the Stand claims of gentlemen. The member who would, from the ing Rules of this House :

dread of such indignation, sacrifice his independence, is “ All elections by the House of Representatives shall be destitute of that manly feeling and moral courage which by viva voce, by a call of the names of the members, al- ought to characterize, and I trust ever will characterize, phabetically, from the roll.”

the members of this House. I will, therefore, disiniss this Mr. WICKLIFFE said the nature of the proposition objection, as one which cannot prevail, or find an advocate which he had submitted, and which was now under con

on this floor. sideration, required of him to state to the House the rea Allow me to present to your view a member (if such sons which had influenced him to ask a change of practice an one should ever find a seat in this House), who, influin Congress of such long existence as that of voting by bal- enced by a desire to be considered the friend of all candilot. A natural preference for those rules of proceeding, dates, or a dread of incurring the displeasure of any (exin the exercise of our civil as well as our natural rights, cept his constituents), would prepare his ballots (one or to which we have been accustomed from our infancy, was more), exhibit them to his neighbors, and then, by a spenot without its influence upon him in the present instance. cies of legerdemain, slip into the ballot box his vote in He had grown up in a State whose fundamental law pre- favor of a man for whom he would not have the indepenscribed to the citizen the right and compelled the Repre- dence openly to declare. Would you envy the indepensentative 10 vote viva voce in all elections. This, of itself, dence and firmness of such a member? or would you not would not have been a sufficient reason for his proposing rather pity his meanness and servility? I believe the rule a change in the Rules of this House. He was influenced which I propose will violate no princple which belongs to by higher considerations : by conviction of its propriety a Representative Government. It will have a tendency to and importance, both in reference to the rights of the con secure and preserve the great one of representative restituent and the obligations of the Representative. In some sponsibility, upon the preservation of which depends the States, or communities, it may be sound policy to guaranty pure and correct administration of this Government, if not the citizen in the exercise of his original right of suffrage, its durability. I mean, sir, a direct accountability of the the privilege of voting by ballot. The citizen exercises public agent to those who clothed him with authority. I his own original right, he is responsible to no one for the can, therefore, but fatter mysef the resolution will be acvote he may give. He may be dependent upon the man ceptable 10 a majority of this House. or men against whom his best judgment dictates his vote. Mr. MERCER said that, although he did not believe He may be unwilling to encounter, if he be able to with that he had ever given a vote by ballot which he had not stand, the hostility which bis vote might excite in the exposed at the time, especially to the party against whom breasts of those upon whom he is dependent. Not so with it was given, yet he could not onsent to the adoption of the Representative: he exercises a delegated trust, for which the rule now proposed. Its necessary effect would be to he is responsible to those who have clothed him with the lead to very great inconvenience, and great and useless power of voting. In voting, by the members of this House, sacrifice of time. The election of a Speaker, for instance, in the choice of its officers and agents, the influence of even in the present mode, had in some cases occupied two public opinion is as important, and it should be as respect and even three days, as many as twenty-one ballots havfully obeyed, by the Representative, as upon the expedi- ing sometimes been taken. It was manifest that, if the yeas ency of any act of Legislation Instance the election of a and nays must be called for each vote taken, the election, Speaker, to preside over the deliberations of this House, instead of occupying two or three days! was likely to be with the power to appoint its committees, &c., charged protracted to iwo or three weeks, to which extent it had, with the disbursement of two or three hundred thousand indeed, in one case, gone, when Mr. Jefferson was electdollars of public money, in the payment of the members, ed in 1801. He had been a member of a public society, and other expenses incident to our legislation, with no re in which, although the people of the State over which sponsibility to the Government but his high character. A it presided held all their elections viva voce, it was nevervote in his election may be of much more importance to theless the practice always to elect by ballot. The rule the community, to the dignity and character of our Go. had been adopted from experience, with a view to save vernment, than in the passage of a law or resolution. The time ; but, in this House, it was proposed to reverse the constitution under which we legislate has secured to the rule, although it had been observed, without interruption, people, upon the request of one-fifth of their Representa - from the first organization of the Government--the effect tives, the important right of having the votes of their Re- of which would be to consume a large portion of every presentatives spread upon the Journal, on any question, session; and to what purpose? What benefit could possihowever unimportant in its effect or consequences. Yet bly accrue? The ostensible plea was, that, by this nieans, (said Mr. W.), we, by the rules or practice of our House, the Representative would be held responsible to his constichoose to shield ourselves from responsibility, for the votes tuents for the manner in which he voted; but was it possiwe give, in the elections of important public officers and ble that this House contained a single member who wished agents, by hiding from our constituents within the lids of to shrink from responsibility on such a subject? Could the ballot box.

there be a gentleman on that floor who would not feel a What are the objections to the proposed change? I pride in meeting that responsibility ? Did the gentleman have heard, in conversation, but one. There may be suspect his fellow-members of so great a want of candor ? others: more, I have no doubt, will be urged. It is alleged Mr. M. said that, inasmuch as no inconvenience had been that, by a viva voce vote, the member will give offence, or experienced from the operation of the present rule, but may incur the displeasure of the Speaker, or the candidate great and obvious inconvenience would result from the

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »