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Distribution of the Revenue.
(JAN 13, 1829.
ed for the General Government should be divided among the advantages of a system which restores to them, in a the States, can it be an infringement of the rights of such way to produce the greatest possible good, the funds deStates, or of the people of the United States ? Suppose rived from their commerce and their industry. Such, I ten millions of dollars in the Treasury, drawn from the confidently hope, will be the happy results of this measure States in anticipation of a war which does not take place, if adopted. I am deeply impressed with the importance and which money is not wanted for the purposes of the of the subject, which I have endeavored, I fear unsuccessGeneral Government, can it be doubted that Congress, fully, to advocate. I have evinced, at least, a strong soliacting for the general welfare, and exercising the right citude to provide, in time, for a crisis rapidly approaching, they have over the public property, may restore the money. and full of danger. to the States from which it was obtained ? It seems hardly I have conscientiously discharged my duty, and must necessary to attempt a proof of the affirmative.
leave the responsibility of a failure of this, or some better I should prefer the principle of the bill to appropriate, measure, to meet the coming evil, to others, who are much after the first day of January of the next year, half of the more competent to provide for the case than I can pretend ten millions appropriated to the Sinking Fund to the to be, and who have much more at stake than I can ever fund for distribution, as this would still admit of the re- hope to have. duction of the public debt as fast as the interest of the Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, would say a few words in country requires that it should be reduced, and it would reply to what had been said by the gentleman from New bring into immediate operation funds of immense impor- Jersey, in relation to the Financial Committee of last sesa tance to the States.
sion. They were appointed to perform a certain duty; Ten millions of dollars was fixed as the amount of our "hey did perform that duty, and submitted their proceedSinking Fund, when our debt amounted to more than one ings to the Senate. (Mr. Smith then read a long extract hundred and twenty-three millions of dollars. It is now from the report made at the last session.] He was of but a little more than a third of that sum. In 1802, our opinion, with the gentleman from Missouri, that, when registered debt amounted to eighty millions seven hundred the public debt was extinguished, it was better, instead of and twelve thousand six hundred and thirty-seven dollars; continuing to raise a revenue, to leave in the pockets of the Sinking Fund was then fixed at seven millions three the citizens the surplus which the gentleman proposed to hundred thousand dollars; and in 1803, when we had divide among the States. It was better to reduce the duadded fifteen millions to our debt, by the purchase of ties on imports, the result of which would be cheaper. Louisiana, the Sinking Fund was fixed at eight millions of Was it not better that citizens should be relieved from a dollars. In 1817, it was raised to ten millons of dollars. part of their burdens, to decrease the expenses of every It has heretofore been deemed proper to keep up certain family in the United States, than to raise a revenue not ratio between the debt and the fund for its redemption. wanted by the country? He thought it was. As a considerable portion of the ten millions of dollars, In relation to distributing the surplus revenue, the efannually, goes to creditors in Europe, its payment is at fect of it would be, that every State would repeal its own tended with some inconvenience, as it increases the rate laws, levying taxes for its own support, and look to the Genof exchange against this country. It was necessary to in- eral Government, for support. Thus the several States cur this inconvenience when our debt was large, but not so would be subservient to the General Government, giving now, when it is nearly extinguished.
that Government a power most dangerous. The situation of the State which I have the honor, in Congress, in the next place, had no right to raise part, to represent, makes me the more solicitous to obtain a revenue for the purpose of distributing it; the funds, that may enable her speedily to commence and gentleman from New Jersey could not find, in all the complete a canal to connect the waters of the Delaware powers delegated to Congress, any authorizing it to raise and the Raritan, and other highly important improve- a revenue, except for jis support, and for the extinguishments in the State, now suspended for want of funds. ment of the public debt. Under the name of revenue, Yet if, from the great impatience to see the public debt ex the Government had already given large bounties, for tinguished, the Senate shall be unwilling to postpone the he would call them bounties, to the woollen manufactuday when that can, by any possible means, take place, I rers; the revenue was wanted for the protection of the shall cheerfully agree so to modify the bill, as to divide woollen manufacturers. When a duty was imposed upon among the States such funds, in each year, as, on the first cotton, it was said that the manufacturers would, in a few of June, shall be found in the Treasury, unappropriated, years, supply all the demand of the country, and be enaincluding such portions of the Sinking Fund as the Com- bled to export. It was true it varied in different years, missioners shall not be able to apply to the redemption of but the amount annually exported was upwards of a milthe debt. This will answer, finally, the great objects in lion of dollars. It was expected, in 1816, that this would view ; will be free, it is presumed, from all constitutional | be the case; it was expected that the domestic would objections; and, indeed, from objections of any charac. drive all the foreign manufactures out of the country, and ter, except from those who hope and expect, in a general it turned out to be true at first, but, afterwards, it was scramble for our surplus funds, to gain for their States found that the importations were finally greater, notwithmore than their just shares. It will prevent a train of standing the first diminution ; it would be the same with evils, that must, if not soon arrested, sap the foundations woollens, else there was no necessity for the gentleman's of our Government. It will, in the highest degree, pro- bill, for there would be no revenue to distribute. mote the general welfare, by extending the productive The gentleman from New Jersey had alluded to the power of our funds to every section of the country. It labor about to be imposed upon the Secretary of the will ensure strict justice to the States that have not the in- Treasury, in consequence of Government's retaining fluence to obtain favors, as well as to those that have ; and funds and stock in so many works of internal improveit will powerfully add to the strength and permanency of ment. But there was no necessity for holding so much the Union. The distribution of ten millions of dollars a stock, or raising the revenue at all. The“ Cross Cut,” year to the public creditors has constantly secured to the or Delaware and Chesapeake canal, would soon be finishGeneral Government the support of the moneyed aristo- ed, and opened; the Louisville canal would be opened in cracy of the country. That support is about to fail, and, as the course of the year; the probability was, that the is hoped, forever. The distribution, annually, of half that stock would be worth par immediately, and, perhaps, sum to the States, will ensure to the Government a just sup- would be above par. Then, let the Government sell port, not of the moneyed aristocracy, but of the people at their stock, and be rid of this trouble. They can invest large of all the States, who will feel and duly appreciate the same money in other works of the kind, and, in this
Jan. 13, 1829.]
Distribution of the Revenue.
manner, a million and a half of dollars would make all the money which has been first drawn from our own the internal improvements in the country.
pockets. Supposing the constitutional question to be Mr. HAYNE said, that the proposition of the gentle settled, if the Government has the right to give this moman from New Jersey had gained favor from the public, ney, so it has the right to withhold it; thus keeping the and some countenance even in this House, from a misun- States forever in a state of subserviency, putting them, derstanding which had gone abroad, as to its true charac- he presumed, on their good behavior. ter. The public supposed the gentleman from New Jer The second section of the act is still more objectionasey had contrived a plan to settle this distracting ques- ble than the first. What is it? Why the object is to aption of internal improvements; not only that he had set- ply, in the same objectionable way, the fund set apart for tled the constitutional question, but that the whole sub- the payment of the public debt-to postpone indefinitely ject was hereafter to be set at rest. But what do you the payment of the national debt. Sir, I will read it. find, upon looking at the bill? It does not even propose " Sec, 2. And be it further enacted, That, of the annual sum of ten to settle that question. It has no more to do with it than millions of dollars appropriated to the Sinking Fund, by the second it has with the military or naval establishment. It simply and seventeen, entitled. An act to provide for the redemption of
section of the act of the 3d of March, one thousand eight hundred provides, that all the unappropriated money remaining the public debt, tive millions be appropriated to the fund to be diin the Treasury on the first of June, every year, shall nually, after the year one thousand eicht hundred and twenty nine; be distributed among the several States, and ihat five mil- and that so much of the residue of the said annual sum of ten millions lions of dollars of the Sinking Fund shall be applied in the applied to the redemption of the public debt, shall be appropriated to same way. But are there to be no more calls for money for the fund, to be divided among the states as aforesaid." internal improvements? Are there to be no more claims As he read the section-and surely there could be no presented upon this floor? Are there to be no more mistake about it-five millions were, at all events, to be anOhio and Chesapeake Canals? No more Louisville and nually subtracted from the Sinking Fund; and if any surPortland Canals? No more improvements to be specially plus remained in the Treasury, that was likewise to be diprovided for! No, sir, there will not be a cent of revenue to verted from the payment of the debt, to which it is now distribute, except the five millions taken from the Sinking by law applicable. The public debt may get five millions; Fund. And this is the sum and substance of the bill. it cannot get more, and may get nothing. This brought It does not even touch the question which it is supposed up, at once, the question, whether our national debt ever to setile. It depends upon entirely different principles, ought to be paid ? Whether a national debt was indeed a and has different objects from those discussed by the national blessing—a question which had divided the statesgentleman from New Jersey. That gentleman had, men of Europe from the beginning of time, but on which he indeed, given a faithful picture of the state of things under had hoped we were more united
Several years ago, the present system-of the scrambles, quarrels, and heart-Congress had solemnly set apart ten millions annually as burnings; but his bill does not set them at rest, nor even a Sinking Fund, and had sacredly pledged this ten millions attempt to do so. He repeated, that, if the bill passed to to the people of the United States, to pay the national morrow, it would never stop the application of one dollar debt. He believed that the act was one of the wisest in for internal improvements.
the statute book. He believed that the debt could not be The gentleman seemed to think there would be some paid off too soon. Congress could not tell how long the advantage in raising the revenue, even if it was not want-country was to be in a state of peace and prosperity ; the reed, for the mere purpose of distributing it; but could venue might fail, or a war, or other unforeseen circumstanany thing be more shocking to the common sense of man ces might arise, to thwart their expectations. kind, than the idea of levying taxes for the sake of re The gentleman from New Jersey had offered two stateturning the money so raised back again to the pockets of ments, one showing that, by the regular operation of the the people from whom it was exacted? Was it the ob- Sinking Fund, the debt would be extinguished in the year ject of the gentleman to support an army of tax gather- 1833 ; the other showing that, by his plan of delaying the ers, who should subsist by raising money that was not payment of a certain portion, for the purpose of distributwanted? Or was it the object of the gentleman to have ing it, the debt would not be extinguished until the year the eyes of all the States fixed upon the Federal Govern- | 1838. The proposition was, then, to prolong the period ment, and have them live under the apprehension that for the payment of the national debt for five years. The in that Government rested the power to furnish them gentleman had asserted that there would be a difficulty in with money for State purposes? Or was it the object to paying this debt, because a portion of it was not redeemhave the States fed by the General Government, for the able. From his statement, it appeared that the whole of it purpose of keeping them in subserviency to it? Some was redeemable by 1833, except two sums, which, inconone of these objects must be proposed. The project siderable (less than $7,000,000), was to run for a few could not be sustained for a moment, merely on the years longer; but could there be any difficulty in redeemground that the General Government was going to the ing, even by purchase, at the market price, seven millions trouble and expense of collecting this money, in order to of dollars, by the year 1833, if the country continued in have the pleasure of returning it to the several States. a state of prosperity ? He contended that they could reThen, again, let it be specially noted that it was not to deem the whole of it (for it bore only 44 or 5 per cent. inbe returned in the ratio of consumption (by which it terest) by purchase, at any time, after the manner proposwas raised), but in the ratio of direct taxation. The ed by the gentleman from Missouri. The stock could be gentleman had advocated the passage of his bill, on the obtained at par, or a little above it; and he took it for ground that it would be easier for the Federal Govern- granted that, by the passage of a timely act, the whole ment to raise this revenue and return it, than it would be of the four and a half and five per cents. would be obfor each State to raise sufficient for its own purposes ; tained. The gentleman from New Jersey had argued that but, when the constitution was formed, was it ever it was wrong to purchase stock which bore a less interest imagined that the States would require the aid of the than money was worth in the market; but Mr. H. was of Federal Government to levy taxes for domestic purposes, opinion that the debt should be purchased up and extinwithin their individual boundaries?
guished as fast as it could be done conveniently. He consiSupposing the bill to have passed, what was to be the dered money, idle in the Treasury, not only as bearing no effect? The Government has the money, and we, in the interest at all, but as actually fifty per cent. below par in States, are to be put in the situation of mendicants, value, for it vould lie there to be squandered, and be always scrainbling, as it has been described, for a portion of our subject to the general scramble of the “ States," which own money. We are to have doled out to us, as a favor, had been described by the gentleman.
Distribution of the Revenue.
(Jan. 13, 1829.
He took another view of this part of the subject, which lost upon their children. History was said to be philosohe deemed satisfactory. It had been said that the Bank phy teaching by example; he hoped this moral and subwould not sell this stock, which it held, for the purpose lime teacher would not lavish her lessons in vain upon the of having it redeemed. But, suppose the Bank' would | American Senate. not sell this stock, we have only to change our measures Mr. B. joined in the wish expressed by the Senator a little to arrive at the same result. If the Bank would not from South Carolina (Mr. Hayne), that the debt of the sell the stock in its possession, the aim proposed would be United States might be paid off under the ensuing adminarrived at by paying off the $7,000,000 which the United istration. He coucurred with that Senator in the measure States had subscribed to the Bank, and which was redeem- of the new fame which such a consummation would confer able. By this operation, which was in our power, the upon General Jackson. Sinking Fund would do its office, even without the pur Observing some Senators to smile, Mr. B. spoke up chase of any stock.
with animation and vehemence, repeating what he had But he believed there would be no difficulty whatever, said, and even going so far as to say that the new Presiand that the whole of the national debt could be extinguish- dent would have as hard, or harder work in baffling the ed in 1833, and before the close of the next administration. enemies to the payment of the debt, than he had in vanHe believed that it would be paid, because he believed quishing the British at New Orleans: for there he had that the great and good man who was about to wield the his enemy in front, and saw what he was at, but here destinies of this country, would not desire to earn a greater he would have his opponents on his flank and rear, honor than to have it inscribed on his tombstone that he covered up in masks and disguises, laboring to achad extinguished the national debt.
complish what would not be avowed. No one would now In conclusion, he moved to strike out the second section stand up and say, "a public debt was a public blessing ;" of the bill, for the purpose of bringing up the isolated but many would practise upon the maxim, and en deavor question, whether the Senate was prepared to touch the to perpetuate ours, by withholding the means of paying fund pledged to the payment of the public debt.
it; by abolishing duties beforehand, and preventing the Mr. BENTON rose, not to make a speech, but to read acquisition of revenue, or by squandering it upon all some extracts from a debate in the British House of Com sorts of objects. mons, about a hundred years ago, on a proposition of the Mr. BENTON then read the following extracts from same kind as that which now occupied the deliberations the debates to which he alluded: of the Senate. England then had a small debt, not much larger than the debt of the United States was at present; cred deposite for extinguishing the duties and abolishing
Sir William Pulteney.—“The Sinking Fund, that sashe had a sinking fund also, under the operation of which the taxes which lie so heavy on the trade, and on the her debt was annually melting away; and she enjoyed a season of peace—the long peace under the timid administra- people of this nation, ought never to be touched: no tion of Sir Robert Walpole, in which the debt might have consideration whatever ought to prevail with us to convert been paid off. The circumstances of the two countries,
that fund to any use, but that for which it was originalwith respect to their debt, were as alike as possible ; that ly designed. It has, of late, too often been robbed—I beg is to say, the condition of England one hundred years ago, bed—but I must say, that, upon several occasions, there
pardon, sir, robbing is a harsh word, I will not say roband that of the United States now. In these circunstances, have been considerable sunis snipped away from it.” Sir Robert Walpole made a motion to divert £500,000 from the English sinking fund, as the Senator from New Jersey
Sir John Barnard.-" The creditors of the public are [Mr. Dickerson, who Mr. B. was sorry to name in compa- perhaps, at present unwilling to be paid off
, because they ny with Sir Robert Walpole,] now proposes to divert five have a greater interest for their money from the public millions annually from our sinking fund. The motion of than they can have any where else. But, let their inclinathe English minister was supported by all the common tions be what they please, it is certainly the interest of the place arguments in mitigation and in favor of the public nation to have them all paid off'; the sooner it is done, the debt, as, that a debt increased the wealth of a country, happier it will be for the nation, and therefore, no part of and gave stability to the Government; that the then debt what is appropriated to their payment ought to be convertof England was inconsiderable, and might be paid at any ed to any other use. Their unwillingness to receive paytime ; that the public creditors were in no hurry to receive, ment is so far from being an argument against paying them, and that the money, for the present, could be used more that, on the contrary, it shows that they have a better barbeneficially for other purposes. The opposition mem- gain from the public than they can, in the same way, have bers, however, from whose speeches I propose to read ex
from any other person.” tracts, were opposed to all these doctrines. These mem Sir William Wyndham.-" The Sinking Fund is a fund bers were the Iron Barons of the day, such as Lord Chat I have always had the greatest veneration for; I look on it ham, afterwards contrasted with the Silken Barons of a as a sacred fund, appropriated to the relieving the nation later period. They had the best of the argument, and from that load of debts and taxes it now groans uuder. their prophecies, unhappily for their country, have be- *
I have, indeed, been always afraid come its history. But the minister had the best of it at that some enterprising minister might be tempted to seize voting, and his motion prevailed. He succeeded in violat- upon it, or some part of it, in time of war; but I little ing the sinking fund-in diverting one half of its amount dreamt of seeing any attempts made upon it in a time of from its proper object, to objects of transient interest and the most profound tranquillity. It is to me a melancholy subordinate importance. The consequences were such consideration to think of the present vast load of the as had been foretold by the Iron Barons.
national debt-a debt of no less than forty-five millions The season of peace passed away; the long and timid and upwards, and that all contracted since the Revoluadministration of Walpole itself passed away ; the debt was tion (1688). This must be a melancholy consideration to unpaid ; successive wars came on; and the debt, which every gentleman that has any concern for his country's was then made so light of by the minister, rapidly grew happiness ; but if the motion now made to us shall be agreed up to a frightful amount ; soon overwhelmed the country to, how dismal will this consideration be rendered, when with taxes, and banished all idea of ever seeing it paid. we reflect upon the little appearance there will then be The example, Mr. B. hoped, would not be lost upon of this debts ever being paid. Is the public expense the United States, the child of England. The experience never to be lessened? Are the people of England always of the mother, he humbly trusted, would not be lost upon to pay the same heavy and grievous taxes ? Surely, sir, the daughter, as the experience of parents too often if there is ever a time to be looked for of easing the peo
Jan. 14, 1829.)
Claim of Maison Rouge et al.-Distribution of the Revenue.
ple of this nation, the present is the time for doing it. could only be settled by a judicial tribunal. He had been
To this the motion now made is required by the Legislature of Louisiana to press this directly contrary : for, the not paying off an old debt is matter upon the consideration of the Senate. the same as contracting a new one, and subjects the nation It had been before Congress for more than five and to the same expense with respect to the payment of the twenty years, and the richest country in Louisiana, which interest."
was covered with these titles, had remained all that time Mr. Taylor, member for Petersfield, observed, “ That unsettled. The holders dared not sell the lands, under there are some people in the nation, who, the more they these circumstances, and they asked Congress to give owe, the greater advantage they make, and the richer them an opportunity to settle the doubtful question of the they grow—such are the bankers; that by the motion titles, that they might sell the lands, and the country no made to the House, one might imagine that some gentle- | longer remain unsettled. It seemed, from his remarks, men took the case of the nation to be the same ; but, for as if the mind of the gentleman from South Carolina was his part, he could not think so, and, therefore, differed made up, by some previous consideration of the question ; from the motion.”
but he could assure the gentleman that all guards had [Here the debate closed for this day.)
been placed in the provisions of the bill, to have the pub
lic rights preserved, as well as the rights of those inteWEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 1829.
rested, settled. He hoped the gentleman would not ask
for a long postponement; he was willing to indulge bim CLAIM OF MAISON ROUGE ET AL.
in any delay for the purpose of acquiring information, alThe Senate took up, as in Committee of the Whole, though he was perfectly satisfied he could explain every the bill to “provide for the legal adjudication and settle thing to the gentleman's satisfaction. ment of the claims to land therein mentioned;" and after Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, said, he was not ceran explanation of the object of the bill by Mr. BERRIEN, tain whether the gentleman from Louisiana opposed a Mr. SMITH, of S. C., moved that it be postponed, and postponement of the bill or not. He should not, as the made the order of the day for Wednesday next.
gentleman had not asked them, give his reasons for wishMr. S. observed, that the subjects comprised in the ing a postponement. His reasons, however, were very bill had previously been under the consideration of Con- cogent, and he did not know that a shorter time than Wedgress, and he thought he had some recollection of them. nesday next would enable him to examine, as fully as he The claims of Bastrop, of Winter, and of Maison Rouge, wished to do, the various papers connected with the subwere, he believed, embraced in the bill; and some of these ject. He did not know what he should say when his inclaims had more than once been here, and been rejected. vestigations had terminated; but he had a distinct recollecA bill on the Maison Rouge claim had passed the other tion of some facts, in relation to these claims, and he House, but had been rejected in the Senate ; and there wished time to be allowed him to acquaint himself with was a mass of testimony, which went to show that the all of them. The gentleman from Louisiana entertained claimant had no right whatever to the land claimed by doubts whether he, Mr. S., was not already opposed to him. Mr. S. wished the bill to be postponed for a few the claims provided for in the bill. Mr. S. would remove days, in order that he might have an opportunity of ex those doubts, and assure the gentleman that he had been amining the documents. If the gentleman who introduced opposed to them, and wished for an investigation, to asthis bill would name any particular day to which it should certain whether his opinions would or would not remain be postponed, he would be satisfied ; but, if he did not, he unchanged. himself would move that the bill be postponed to this day The question was then taken, and the bill was postponed week. There was, said Mr. S., a vast deal of written evi- to, and made the order of the day for, Wednesday next. dence somewhere; the subject was one of importance, embracing near three millions of acres of land in Louisia
DISTRIBUTION OF THE REVENUE. na; and he thought it would require more deliberation The Senate then resumed the consideration of the bill than one moment, to enable the Senate to pass such a to divide a portion of the revenues of the United States bill with a correct understanding of its ultimate conse among the several States—the question being on striking quences.
out the second section of the bill. Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, had no objection to the Mr. DICKERSON again rose. He said that this bill postponement of the bill, that the gentleman might ac seemed to meet with strenuous opposition from all quarquire information, but he hoped the gentleman from ters; from the Senator from Maryland, who argued that, South Carolina would make the time of postponement as if it passed, the several States would cease to tax their cishort as possible, as it was an important subject to his tizens, and depend alone upon the treasures of the Geneconstituents, and the session was very short. He could ral Government for their support. For his part, [Mr. D.] state all the facts necessary, and if the written documents he had no fears of that kind ; his opinion was, that, if Conto which the gentleman alluded could be found, still the gress legislated on this subject, we ought to presume that bill was necessary. The holders of the lands had appeal- there wouid be common sense enough in the States to ened to the Senate for a settlement of their title; the Senate able them to take care of their own internal concerns, and had decided that their body was incompetent to act upon that these might be safely confided to the wisdom of their the petition ; they now wished to appeal to a judicial tribu- respective Legislatures: that they would not only still find nal for a settlement, and this bill would enable them to it necessary to keep up their taxes, for the support of their take it to some competent court. The remarks of the Governments, but also to raise funds for the purposes of gentleman from South Carolina showed that he was pre- education and internal improvements, in addition to all possessed ; that he had made up his mind upon the subject; they might receive from the General Government, although and that no evidence which could be offered would alter the sums to be raised for such uses would be lessened by that opinion. He [Mr. J.] knew all the circumstances to the operations of this bill. Thus far, he thought he had which the gentleman had alluded. The title to the lands removed the objections of the gentleman from Maryland. never was attacked on the ground that the titles were not The gentleman from Missouri seemed to give his assent legal; there was no question with regard to the genuineness to the proposition contained in the first section of the bill; of that, but the difficulty was, that the parties made a con and admitted, that, with some modification, it might be tract with the King of Spain to settle the country upon made useful to the country; but strenuously objected to certain terms, and the only question was, whether that the second section, because opposed to the slightest incontract had been performed; and it was a question which fringement on the Sinking Fund, and unwilling to consent
Distribution of the Revenue.
[Jan. 14, 1829.
that the extinguishment of the public debt should be post We have been told, said Mr. D., by the Senator from
sumption of the country, and not in numerical proporAlthough the bill did not seem to meet with very stre tion. Mr. D. adınitted that, if it were practicable to make nuous objections from the Senator from Maryland, yet it the distribution exactly in proportion to the consumption, met with unmingled and unmeasured reprobation from the it would be the most equitable mode of so doing; but Senator from South Carolina. He considered the propo- how was that system of perfection to be reached ? No sition as unconstitutional, monstrous, and shocking; and, rule was perfect; there was no possibility of ascertaining, as if the terms used by him were not sufficiently expres- with any degree of certainty, the consumption of each sive, he repeated them. Mr. D. could not conceive of any particular State ; the consumption of the country was very feature in his bill being so repulsive as to warrant the ap- nearly in the ratio of the numbers, and the distribution by plication of such forcible epithets in opposition to it. It numbers was as near as we could possibly arrive at a rule was true, that the bill proposed to apply five millions, an- of strict justice. It was true that the burthen of taxation nually, for the distribution among the States; but this was fell more heavily upon some States than others; but upon predicated on the idea that we should have no means of those who are most anxious for this system, and who will applying the whole of the ten millions to the payment of get but little from the General Government without the the public debt. He had made this calculation, that, if it passage of this bill, the burthen fell the heaviest. The should so happen that the ten millions annually set aside gentleman from South Carolina said, that he would defor the public debt could not be applied to it, that it would plore the time when the States should come as mendicants be in the power of Congress to distribute a part of it to the doors of the General Government. Mr. D. would among the States. As to the second section of the bill, deplore that event as earnestly as the gentleman from he was not particularly partial to it, and had no strong ob- South Carolina ; but, under the operations of the bill, injection to its being stricken out. His anxiety on the sub- tended to prevent this very evil, they will not be receivject arose, in a great measure, from the situation of the ing alms, but that which is justly due to them. When they State which he had the honor to represent, where improve- come here to ask for their own money, they will not come ments of great national importance were suspended for as mendicants. The gentleman contended that the bill want of funds.
was perfectly inadequate to accomplish the objects for Gentlemen seemed to entertain a horror at the idea of which it was framed ; that it did not touch upon the subthe slightest invasion of the Sinking Fund. He had no ject of internal improvements, and was, therefore, insuch lofty impressions as to its importance, merely as a competent to remove the evils now so loudly complained Sinking Fund. He viewed it no otherwise than as a mere of. Well, sir (said he], the bill does not, 'tis true, mention resolution to pay off ten millions of dollars, annually, of the subject of internal improvements; it does not mention the public debt. With the exception that it tended to keep the subject of education ; nor is it necessary that either of up the price of the Government stocks, it had produced no them should be laid down in express terms in the bill; practical results ; the amount of stock bought up by it had but, by the proposed distribution, the States will have the been a mere nothing; and the public debt could be paid as funds in their own hands, to apply to such objects, and quickly without it as with it. As to its sacred character, thus relieve the General Government, in a great measure, ii had been violated over and over. Taxes pledged to the from future applications. Suppose, however, both these Fund had been repealed. The public lands were pledged objects were embraced in the bill, would it meet with to this Fund, which we are called upon to give away, and the sanction of the gentleman from South Carolina ? He which we have been giving away, ever since the pledge presumed not. The gentleman would tell us that we had was made.
no right to dictate to the States, and instruct them in the In 1820, we wanted three millions of dollars; those manner in which they should dispose of this fund. Mr. D. who held our stocks would have been glad if so much had had no doubt but that the States, when they received the remained unredeemed ; but this would have been consi- money, would dispose of it in a proper manner. The dered an invasion of this sacred fund. We, therefore, gentleman also says, that the adoption of the measure borrowed the three millions of dollars, and added so much proposed will have no effect to prevent the general scramto the public debt. The next year we wanted five millions ble for the money of the General Government, of which more: and instead of paying but five millions on the debt, he entertained such serious apprehensions. But, Mr. D. and keeping five millions for the exigencies of the Govern- was of opinion that it would have a very powerful tenment, we borrowed the five millions; added so much to dency to prevent a mischievous application of the public the debt, and charged it to the Sinking Fund; and thus funds. It was true, indeed, that certain great objects, of preserved inviolate its sacred character.
national importance, connected with commerce, and de