Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Jan. 14, 1829.]

Distribution of the Revenue.

[SENATE.

fence of the country, would be confided to the General should have any effect beyond this, it could only be to Government; but then there would be a restraint imposed levy taxes upon the great body of the consumers of the upon Congress, which will never permit the public money country, in order to pay them back again, with this adto be appropriated for the benefit of one State in prefer- ditional injustice, that what is to be levied on some people, ence to another. Each Member of Congress will be and on certain sections of the country, would be paid to watched over by his constituents, and it will be his in- other persons, and different sections. Such was the end terest, as well as that of the State he represents, to keep to be attained by this bill. The system of high duties up the fund for distribution as high as possible. Mr. D. was to be kept up forever, when it was known to bear further observed, that the bill provided for the distri most unequally on the different parts of the Union. The bution of no specific sum among the States ; it merely pro States were to be bribed to perpetuate this injustice. Mr. posed, if the money was in the Treasury, and could not be H., in conclusion, said he would not even anticipate, much applied to the extinguishment of the public debt, that it less dwell upon, the consequences of perverting the powers should be distributed; and concluded by saying, that as he of the Federal Government to the purpose of levying taxes was not very anxious that the second section should be re- for the States ; of raising vast sunis of money by the most tained, he had no objection to its being expunged.

unequal of all modes of taxation, in order to distribute the Mr. HAYNE said, as the gentleman from New Jersey same among the States in a ratio wholly different from was not strenuous about the adoption of the second section that in which it was paid. He would content himself at of the bill, he should not again go into an argument against present with merely calling for the yeas and nays on his it. But the gentleman was under a strange misapprehen- motion. sion as to the provisions of his own bill. He said yester

[The yeas and pays were ordered accordingly.] day, and he repeated to-day, that the bill only provided Mr. DICKERSON was quite pleased that the yeas and that there should be distributed among the States the nays should be taken on the question, and he thought, funds that could not be applied to the payment of the debt, from appearances, the decision would be by an unanimous and remaining in the Treasury unappropriated. Now, vote. Gentlemen, it seemed to him, had misapprehended said Mr. H., it will be seen that the first section expressly the second section of the bill. It was true, that it provided provides that there shall be unconditionally taken from the for an application of a portion of the Sinking Fund; but Sinking Fund the sum of five millions of dollars, annually, he had stated yesterday, that he had no great partiality for to be divided among the States, and that only five mil. this section, and was perfectly willing that it should be lions (if so much remain in the Treasury) shall be applied stricken out. All that Mr. D. wished to retain of the to the Sinking Fund. He did consider the Sinking Fund second section was, a provision to place into the fund for as of a sacred character. It was set apart and appropri- distribution, all the public money that could not be apated to the discharge of the public debt. He was rejoiced plied to the payment of the public debt ; because, the that the gentleman from New Jersey had brought up this money thus going into the Sinking Fund, could not be subject so early, because it would be a means of attracting considered as unappropriated, and must, therefore, remain the public attention to it, and public opinion would be locked up in the vaults of the Treasury. The gentleman known. It was well known that there was a party in from South Carolina said, that every object of Internal this country who was opposed to having the public debt re- Improvement, for which the funds of the General Governdeemed, and who were contriving all the means in their ment had been appropriated, was a great national concern. power to perpetuate it. He believed that it was a darling [Here Mr. Hayne said, “so called.”] Then, said Mr. D., object with some people to have the debt forever unpaid. called a great national concern. Now, he did not consider He hoped that, by a decisive vote of the Senate, they the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the Delaware and Chesawould strike oui the second section of this bill, and thus peake Canal, the Louisville Canal, and Dismal Swamp solemnly settle the point, not to touch the Sinking Fund. Canal, to be objects of great national concern ; these The gentleman from New Jersey had accused him of using were rather the peculiar concerns of the States which hard terms. He certainly intended no disrepect to the were alone interested. But breakwaters, and works of Senator from New-Jersey. He had called the bill what that nature, connected with commerce and navigation, he believed it to be. Could it be supposed, either here or Mr. D. considered as objects of great national concern, and any where else, that the idea of imposing taxes, merely properly belonged to the exclusive prerogative of the with a view to give the money back again to the people General Government. Mr. D. was confident, that Con(and the bill proposed to do nothing more), could be tole- gress could draw the distinction between objects of great rated? The gentleman had now admitted that this would national importance, and objects belonging exclusively to be the only effect. He [Mr. DICKERSON) perhaps did not the States; that Internal Improvements within the States intend to make such a declaration, but he had, in debate should be left to the care of the States; while breakwaters, that morning, substantially admitted that such was the improvements of harbors, &c., would appropriately come fact. The gentleman had distinctly admitted that, even under the consideration of Congress. Mr. D. again obif this bill should pass, Congress would still go on, as served, that the appropriating a fund for distribution to usual, making special appropriations for what he is pleased the States, would lead to economy in the expenditures of to call

great national improvements.” Had Congress the Government; in these, every member of Congress (Mr. H. would ask) ever appropriated money for works would look to the interests of his constituents, and would admitted to be of a different character? Had they ever find it his interest, as well as duty, to aid in keeping up voted money for improvements confessedly of a local char- the fund for distribution, as high as the general good peracter? Had not every work, from the greatest to the mitted. least, been called a great national work? And so will it Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, was opposed to the ever be. It appears, therefore, that, after the passage of second section of the bill, or any proposition to divert any this bill, everything is to go on just as before. The portion of the sum now appropriated to the payment of distracting question of Internal Improvements is to remain the public debt, to any other object. The second section unsettled. We are still to witness the disgraceful scram proposes to take five millions of the ten annually set apart ble which the gentleman has so forcibly described ; and for the payment of the interest and capital of the national *then, if any fund should be left undisposed of, it is to be debt, to be distributed among the States. The present distributed among the States. Mr. H. believed the prac. debt is fitiy-one millions, and the interest about two miltical effect of the bill would be to postpone indefinitely lions and a half; so that about half of the remaining five the payment of the national debt, by taking from the millions will be absorbed in the interest ; which will leave Sinking Fund five millions of dollars a-year. If it a sum of two and a half millions, (increasing as the capi

SENATE.]

Distribution of the Revenue.

[Jan. 14, 1829.

tal is paid) to extinguish the debt, which will require fif- lances are, every two years, carried to the surplus fund ; teen or sixteen years. He was opposed to violating the and, although Congress have the power to appropriate infund of ten millions, or to the postponement of the pay- definitely, and in anticipation of the revenue, yet there ment of the debt. Certainly, for two years, while we had are certainly limits, on which Congress should exercise a a large debt at six per cent. greatly above the market va. sound discretion. The power rightfully to appropriate lue of money, there was no motive, either of policy or of for an unlimited time, and to commence at a distant pefinance, to justify the postponement of the payment. riod, may well be questioned ; for, although a future Con

Mr. J. said, that, by the steady application of the ten gress may repeal, yet the power to repeal is very differmillions, with the surplus revenue, we shall totally extin-ent, and may be much more difficult, than to enact a guish the debt in 1833, certainly in '34 ; without some un new law. He said, he doubted the propriety of adopting foreseen event. This was a most desirable object, and to a prospective measure at this time, as much as the expewhich all parties looked with interest. He wished to be diency of it. explicit on this point, from what had been alluded to in Mr. J. said, he wished to make one remark upon the debate. He did not think there was any party in this subject of Internal Improvements. There were very false country disposed to prolong the debt. He knew of no opinions in the public mind in relation to this subject, public man, or any public writer, who advocated such a which the debate here is well calculated to confirm. It policy; on the contrary, he believed it the most popular has been heretofore often said, that it was a system, that topic of the day. There may be, perhaps, some of the it was of vast extent, and would require hundreds of milstockholders, large capitalists, who prefer a safe invest- lions to execute. This does not come from the friends of ment in the public stocks; but they are neither numerous National Improvement, but is urged by those who would nor influential, and have certainly used no means to direct create a prejudice in the public mind. He did not believe public opinion on this subject; and while the Bank of the any such system was contemplated, by any eminent men, United States, and all the local Banks, discount at six, or by any party. There were men, and, he believed, a there can be no great interest in an investment at four and majority of both Houses of Congress, as well as of the a half per centum, sufficient to create a party, in any States, and of the people, who honestly believed Congress sense of the word. Mr. J. said, in regard to this propo- had power to appropriate money for those objects ; that sition, he would make the same reply he made to the gen- they were of great public utility, and as essential to the tleman from Missouri-it is premature. For two years we connection of ihe Union, and to the internal trade of the have had full employment for all our means; and he had country, as other works were to the foreign commerce. no doubt we should be able to apply our surplus, in 1831, They believed it of the highest concern to the well-being to the public debt; but it is time enough to provide for of the Government to facilitate the intercourse between that.

the great geographical divisions, to which the powers and Mr. J. said, when the public debt is paid, Congress the means of the States were entirely inadequate. These will be called to the consideration of several highly inte- embraced only a few great works; and they would, in resting questions. The ordinary expenses of this Govern most cases, be executed by private companies, requiring ment will be reduced to less than nine millions. The ques- small additional aid from the Government. The canals tion will then occur, how much, and on what articles, the along the coast are nearly completed. A canal and a railduties may be repealed; and whether, after all the reduc- way, to connect the Atlantic with the Ohio, is already tions that can be made, there will not still be a consider commenced, and which will not require very great aid from able surplus revenue. To enable Congress to decide these Congress. The extension of the Cumberland Road through questions, we want the experience of the effect and ope- the Northwestern States is in progress, requiring small ration of this tariff upon the industry and the revenues of annual appropriations. To complete the system,' as it is the country. One gentleman contends, we may take off called, of roads, will require a road from the capitol to ten millions—but still there would be a surplus : while an- the Lakes, and from the capitol to New Orleans; and a other contends that we can make very little deduction road through the capitals of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, from the revenue, and that we shall be obliged to draw and Mississippi ; the annual appropriations to which will this immense sum from the people. These are grave con not be large. Some subscriptions, from time to time, to siderations, which require time, reflection, and experi- the stock of some few canals, of a national character, will ence. If we cannot liberate ourselves from a portion of complete all that is at present contemplated. The whole the taxes, we must provide for a distribution of the fund system, carried to its greatest extent, will not require two among the States; there is no alternative. With regard millions a year, and that perhaps, for no great length of to distributing the surplus of one or two years, after the time. The distribution of the surplus revenue among the payment of the public debt, rather than reduce the duties States, if that should be resorted to, will effect every at once to the lowest point, if that was practicable, he did thing else which is desirable. It is not the intention of the not mean now to commit himself. It was a subject upon friends of this measure to enter into any scramble for the which, whatever opinion he might entertain, he ought to public money, but to ask from Congress, from time to time, consult his constituents. The internal improvement of moderate and suitable appropriations to these objects. the several States, as well as the education of the people, Mr. J. said, it was our first duty to pay the public debt, with were very great and interesting objects. Many of the such small and judicious applications to other objects, as States had engaged already extensively in it, and contract we had been in the habit of making ; then to reduce the ed large debts. They might find a temporary application duties, so as to relieve the people from all unnecessary of this fund the most convenient mode of carrying their burthens, so far as is consistent with the great interests of plans into effect. The State which he represented had the country. There will still remain, in all probability, a also objecis, of great public utility, in contemplation, for considerable surplus, after providing for the National which it was difficult to provide the means. They may works, for distribution among the States. think it advisable, for one or two years, to avail themselves Mr. J. said, he had heard, in the course of the debate, of this distribution; and he was bound to consult them. to his great surprise, that the honor of paying off the debt

Mr. J. said, he objected to acting on great questions, would be ascribed to the administration under which it to take effect at so distant a period as five years, which was to be completed. We have, said he, for twelve years, will more properly belong to those who come after us, and through two administrations, labored in this work, the and who will have better information. It seemed to him merit of which is greatly magnified. We have paid one to violate the spirit of the Government. We make annual hundred and forty millions, and now the honor of the appropriations for the expenses of Government ; the ba- achievement is to go to swell the tide of popularity of the

Jan. 14, 1829.

Distribution of the Revenue.

(SENATE.

man who shall happen to be President when the last dollar by a few more blows, instead of staying his hand, and let shall be paid. Where, said Mr. J., is the man who drew the monster go, to recover his strength, and come at him your Sinking Fund act? Where are those who devised the again, he would redouble his blows, and finish him while plans and levied the money? And where are those who he could. We can pay our debt in four years. Let us do have faithfully applied it? Sir, said he, this honor, what it, and astonish the world with the spectacle of a great ever it may be, belongs to all those who, at any time, have nation without a national debt! Such a spectacle would bad a part in it. Mr. J. said, there was a tendency here, make us more formidable to Europe than the exhibition as well as among the People, to ascribe all the merit of of an hundred thousand men under arms, and an hundred our legislation, and all the wisdom of our measures, to the ships of the line at sea. As to a party in the United States Executive, and to concentrate all the honor and glory of in favor of continuing the public debt, Mr. B. could not the country upon what is called the administration; the say there was a political party which could be so characeffect of which is to degrade the Legislative branch of the terized ; but he knew there were many in favor of itGovernment.

large interests in favor of it; and he had himself heard Mr. J. said, before he concluded he would make a re a gentleman say, that he could not conceive of a greater mark in reply to what fell from the gentleman from Mis- calamity than the payment of the debt. Lord Castlereagh souri, relative to violating the British Sinking Fund. He said the same thing in the British House of Commons seemed to consider that the present enormous amount of just before his death. the British debt as attributable to diversions of the Sink Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, said, the gentleman ing Fund. Mr. J. said, the British debt was to be ascribed from Missouri yesterday occupied, for a considerable to her long and expensive wars. Since the period to time, the attention of the Senate, on the danger of touchwhich he alluded (1732), England had been engaged ing the Sinking Fund, which he attempted to illustrate by nearly half the time in war ; during which, her expenses the example of England, where, he said, the debt had ingreatly exceeded her income. This excess constitutes creased, in one century, from foriy millions to nine hunher debt, and the Sinking Fund is inoperative-if the dred millions pounds sterling, by violating the Sinking money is applied, it only extinguishes an old debt, while Fund. He read, at some length, from speeches in the they are creating a new one, or pays off an old loan by British Parliament, and seemed to attach much importance contracting another. During the Revolutionary war, she to that which he now considers unworthy of my notice. increased her debi, in seven years, one hundred and thirty By the explanation which had just been given, he said he millions ; at the beginning of this century her debt had should find himself in an awkward dilemma, which must increased to four hundred and fifty millions of pounds preclude him from noticing what might fall from him in sterling, and now it is double that sum, after applying all debate. He deems it unworthy of me, said Mr. J., to reher vast revenues What could both of her Sinking ply to any errors of opinion, or of argument, because they Funds, amounting to seven millions a year, do with such are errors; and he could not answer what was sound in a debt, so rapidly created? It is only in time of peace, principle, or correct in inference, because they were unwhen the expenses are reduced below the revenue, that answerable. funds can be applied effectually to the discharge of the He thought he did not misunderstand the scope of the debt. We have diminished our debt, because we had a argument which the gentleman had used yesterday. He surplus of revenue. But, during a war, no nation ex was discussing a bill to take five millions from the Sinking pects to raise, by taxes, an amount equal to its expenses. Fund. He read from the Parliamentary debates, on the The intervals of peace have been too short, and the accu same subject, to show the danger of touching the funds mulation of debt too great and too rapid, to free them provided for the payment of the public debt. He said from this load of debt. The true moral of which is, to the debt in England had increased, since the time of Sir teach us to avoid war, as the true cause of her debts. Robert Walpole, from less than fifty millions to the enor

Mr. BENTON rose, to do what, he said, he had never mous and almost incalculable sum of nine hundred millions done before—to quit the debate and engage in an episode, pounds sterling; and he added emphatically,“ in conseof which the subject was of no more importance than the quence of not attending to the warning voice of her statesanswer to the question whether he himself had a modi- men." He said, this immense debt, and the evils brought cum, more or less, of political information on a particular upon the country, arose from the misapplication of the point. The Senator from Louisiana had undertaken to Sinking Fund, The end of the gentleman's argument correct him, somewhat at length, on a point of history. seemed to be, to warn us of the danger, by the example Gentlemen who undertook to correct others, should take he cites. Mr. J. said, while he agreed with the genueinan care that they themselves were right in the correction, in the inexpediency of diverting any portion of our funds and also in stating the error impuled to the other. 01 to any other purpose, he believed the true moral which both these rules the Senator from Louisiana had been un this country shall learn from the example of the British mindful. He had erred in attempting to repeat what he debt was, to avoid her policy, which led to long expensive (Mr. B.) had said of the origin of the British National wars; to cultivate peace, friendship, and commerce, Debi. That debt had its origin in the Revolution of 1688, abroad ; industry at home ; and a wise and proper econoas we had learnt, when apprentices to the law, in Black- my in the Government. Mr. J. said, he had not objected

He (Mr. B.) had not treated the violation of the to the debate on this subject; on the contrary, he was Sinking Fund, by Sir Robert Walpole, as the sole cause glad to see the propositions discussed, and sent among the of the frightful amount of the British debt ; he treated it people, and for that reason he had taken part in it;

but as the cause why the debt was not paid, under the long, he objected to the decision upon any of them now, beand peaceful, and timid administration of that minister. fore they can be understood by the people, and before there Subsequent wars ran it up to what it is—the war for the is any necessity for the action of the Government; and Dutch Barrier, for the Protestant succession, for the ba- he therefore said; the passage of these bills was premalance of Europe, the wars of the American and the French Revolutions. Mr. B. had quoted a piece of history, Mr. KANE did not rise to discuss the bill. His only obto have the benefit of its warning example against the dan-ject was to give the Senator from New Jersey an opporger of delay in paying a public debt. Our debt was now tunity to modify the bill, so as to render it more acceptable small, and we could pay it in four years ; instead of slack to the Senate. The course proposed by the Senator from ening payments, he would accelerate thein. He would South Carolina (Mr. Hayne), if his motion prevailed, he consider himself as engaged with a monster, a giant-and, thought, would not do justice to the Senator from New getting the upper hand of him, and able to destroy him Jersey. He was of opinion that the plan proposed in the

stone.

ture.

SENATE.]

Distribution of the Revenue.

[Jan. 14, 1829.

second section of the bill, for disposing of the revenue of demption of the debt; they were those who had loaned the United States, was injudicious; and he should object money to the country, and who found in the Government to such a disposition being made of the revenue, until the a regular and solvent debtor ; they were those wealthy period arrived when no other disposition could be made citizens, who were disposed to loan money to the Governof it; yet he was disposed to give the Senator from New ment, and such as must have connection with all GovernJersey every opportunity to free his bill from those objec- ments. But they belonged to no party," politically tions which had been made against it; and, for that pur- speaking, although there might be many of them. pose, he would move to lay it on the table.

Mr. BERRIEN rose and said, the second section of this The question being taken on the motion of Mr. K., it bill has for its object to prolong the blessing of the nawas negatived, by a large majority.

tional debt; to delay the return to the public creditors of Mr. DICKERSON expressed his willingness to have that mass of capital, which is now vested in the Governconsented to lay the bill on the table, if it had been ment securities, and which, when returned, must find emdesired by the Senate. They had thought proper, how- ployment somewhere—either in manufactures, which are ever, to negative the motion, and he was content.

said to be already overcharged ; in commerce, which we Mr. WEBSTER said, he voted against laying the bill know is enfettered by restrictions; or in agriculture, on the table ; but his only object was, that he might have which is languishing under your repeated exactions. This an opportunity to vote on the bill, especially after what project is to be permitted, with the assent of the mover, had passed in debate during the morning. The gentle to go quietly to rest ; and I will not disturb its repose, nor man from South Carolina had said there was a party in the prolong the memory of its brief and fleeting existence. country disposed to violate the Sinking Fund. He consi It was most natural, however, that such a proposition dered the Sinking Fund as sacred as the other gentleman should have excited the discussion which it has produced ; did ; but he knew of no pariy, or combination of indivi- and, individually, I rejoice that it has taken place. It is duals, for any such epd or purpose. He had never heard understood now, that the progress of the Government, in of any such party, nor could he think that any such exist- the payment of the public debt, is not to be arrested ; ed. He must be allowed to say, that, neither the remarks that the funds specifically set apart (and, I trust, all of the gentleman from New Jersey, nor the elaborate dis- the other resources of the Government which can be rencussions of other gentlemen, had at all shaken his faith in dered applicable to it), is to be faithfully applied to its the utility of the Sinking Fund. Too much, however, redemption; and I cannot avoid the expression of my grahad been frequently attributed to the Sinking Fund. His tification, ai hearing these declarations from all the variown opinion had always been entirely in concurrence with ous quarters from which they have proceeded. I wish it that expressed by the gentleman from South Carolina, accorded with the views of the Senator from New Jersey that the Sinking Fund should be held sacred as an appro not to press the consideration of the remainder of his bill; priation, and that it should not be violated. He had voted but since it is not so, I have a brief remark to make, and against laying the bill on the table, for he was desirous of before I sit down will submit a motion, which may, perrecording his vote in favor of striking out the second sec- haps, relieve him from further embarrassment. tion. Upon any other part of the bill, he had not, at pre As the bill now stands, in connection with those other sent, any thing to say.

acts of legislation, of which it is a very natural sequel, it Mr. HAYNE said, that the gentleman from Massachu- is simply a proposition that a tax which has been levied setts seemed to take exception to the term “party,on the people of the Union, shall be employed to render which he bad used. He knew not what meaning that gen- the people of the States subsidiaries of the Federal Gotlenian might attach to the term. He certainly did not vernment; to employ the unwieldy machinery of that Gointend, in using it, to convey the idea that the persons al vernment in the collection of a revenue for the use of the luded to, belonged exclusively to any of the political par. States. I will not stop to consider what appears to me to ties of the country; but he did intend to express his be be a most extraordinary doctrine-that the framers of the lief that there were a number of persons in the United constitution, in creating a Government, for external deStates--men of wealth, intelligence, and influence, 100— fence, and the regulation of commerce, would have dewho were wholly opposed to the extinction of the national signed also to make that Government the lax-gatherers debt. If it was necessary to designate those whom he and bailiffs of the States, in the collection of a revenue meant, he would say, that he meant all those who had an for their domestic purposes. The objections to such a interest, direct or indirect, in preserving the system of doctrine are multiplied; but I am content with the view high duties—who share, in any way, in the profits derived which has been taken of this part of the subject by the from those duties—the men who received, under that sys- Senator from South Carolina. tem, more than they paid. These were those to whom A passing remark will serve to show why I cannot ache had referred as a “party;" for, wherever they may be cept, for my constituents, the boon which this bill is supfound, they are united common views, and a bond of posed to tender to those who, like them, do not believe common interest. Mr. H. said he was glad to hear that the that this Government do possess the power to appropriate gentleman from Massachusetts concurred in the necessity its resources to the purposes of Internal Improvement, in of speedily extinguishing the national debt. He hoped the participation which it offers to them of that, in which that it might be found to be the general opinion in the part they are not now permitted to share. Here is the propoof the country even where that gentleman resides.

sition. Take this bill, and you will get a share of the pubMr. WEBSTER said, the explanation of the gentleman lic treasure, which is now denied to you, and you can apfrom South Carolina was perfectly satisfactory. He did propriate it at your pleasure ; and this offer comes from not suppose, because there were persons in favor of de- that Senator, who was one of the most zealous advocates laying the payment of the public debt, that they were to be of that measure, under the operation of which, our treaconsidered “a party," politically speaking; the gentle- sures are now wrested from us, for the benefit of others. man had explained, that he meani, by the use of the I confess, sir, I am reminded of a quotation, which is not term, that there were gentlemen in favor of duties upon the less strong, because of its triteness Yet, in general, imports, and also in favor of the necessity of those duties. I do not fear a gifi. I can give sometimes, I hope, in the Now, he [Mr. W.] supposed the gentleman from South spirit which becomes me, and, therefore, I can take, withCarolina, in using the word “party,” intended to apply it to out an apprehension that what is offered to me is tenderthose who were interested in the public debt, and, for him- ed in a contrary spirit. A moment's reflection, however, self, he had no doubt that there were individuals who were might have suggested to the Senator from New Jersey, interested in keeping up the stock, and in delaying the re that this project would leave the constitutional difficulty

Jan. 14, 1829.]

Distribution of the Revenue.

[SENATE.

where it found it. Our objection extends to the raising pockets of the people, which cannot be applied to any of money, for purposes not warranted by the constitution, legitimate object ? as well as to the appropriation of it for such purposes.

Those who believe that this Government possesses the Repeal those laws which we deem unconstitutional-con- power to employ the public treasure, in vast or in little fine yourselves within your chartered limits, by restricting schemes of what is called Internal Improvement, may esto the purposes of revenue the taxes which you impose, cape this dilemma, since they can furnish an object of and you will have no surplus treasure to distribute. legitimate expenditure, if that be legitimate which is suf

It is not my purpose to consider that principle of the ficiently large to absorb all the possible resources of this bill which proposes to distribute, according to the ratio of Government. But the Senator from New Jersey believes, direct taxation, the proceeds of a tax levied on consump- with me, that the Federal Government possesses no powtion, the effect of which, so far as we of the South are er to apply the public treasure to these objects. He concerned, would be to give us back a part of that, all of asserts that the tax which he has so zealously contributed which we will enjoy, if you will let us alone. This is felt to impose will annually produce a surplus of revenue, in that quarter now, and I hope it is beginning to be un not applicable to any of the purposes of the Government, dorstood here that it is felt. Nor will I urge the Senate which he considers legitimate, and for him, therefore, -certainly not to the Senator from New Jersey—that, there is no escape. It is the purpose of this bill to create veiled as it may be, this is nothing more than a proposi- an object, to which this surplus may be applied, to make tion to perpetuate the present high protecting duties, by it lawful to give the money of this Government to the creating a new interest, which, combined with that of the States, without any specified object, but to be expended manufacturers, shall indefinitely postpone their repeal. at their discretion, that we should continue to tax the But there is one aspect of this bill, to which I desire to people for the protection of a favored class, and the call his attention. The fact, which lies at the foundation States have the distribution of what we don't want. It is of the scheme, is this that we shall have an annual sur the consummation, sir, of the great American System, plus of revenue, which will not be applicable to the pur- and ought to be discussed in connection with it. It seems poses of this Government which creates it, and which, agreed, that that disastrous measure must slumber during therefore, he would give to the States. It assumes that the present session, notwithstanding the remonstrances the present tariff will increase, and not diminish the re of the South against its exactions; and this will, I trust, venue, as some had predicted. Sir, this may be so, and repose with it. for the reason given by the Chairman of the Committee I move that the further consideration of this bill be inon Finance-because the capacity of the home manufac definitely postponed, and on this question I ask the yeas turers will not keep pace with the growing exigencies of and nays. the country, from the increase of its population, and from [They were ordered accordingly.] other causes, and consequently the deficit must be sup Mr. FOOT had hoped that he should have an opporplied from abroad, notwithstanding the present high rate tunity of voting upon the bill, and he still hoped that he of duties. Yet, it is difficult to reconcile this reasoning might record his vote on the question upon the second with other assertions which are uttered by those who pro- section. He wished the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. fess to be conversant with the subject. For example, it BERRIEN) had delayed his motion until after the decision is said that manufactures even now are languishing; that upon the second section: for the same object might be they are already overcharged ; that there is a mass of ca- attained afterwards. pital in the country which cannot find profitable employ Mr. McLANE did not rise to enter into any argument ment. But if it be true that the exigencies of the country on the general principles of the bill; but to express his exceed its manufacturing capacity, then manufactures hopes, that the motion of the gentleman from Georgia cannot be overcharged; and, if this be so, it is curious that would prevail. He was opposed as well to the first as to this unemployed capital does not find its way to the man the second section of the bill; both being in his opinion ufactory. This, however, is not to my present purpose. equally objectionable. Those gentlemen who were de

What I desire the Senator from New Jersey to consider sirous of recording their votes in opposition to the second is, whether he has not at length found a most conclusive section, could show their disapprobation of diverting any objection in principle, in constitutional principle, to the portion of the Sinking Fund from its legitimate object, by whole system of which he has been so zealous an advo- voting for an indefinite postponement of the whole bill. cale. He has himself furnished the fact from which that Mr. M’L.'s opposition to the bill was on principle; the obprinciple may be deduced. It is this: the present tariff jections which applied to one section applied radically will produce an income beyond what is required. That in- to all the others. He could conceive of no circumstances, come will not be wanted for the army, for the navy, for the under which he would consent to make the General Gocivil list, for the payment of the national debt afier 1833, vernment the collector of taxes for the States. It would for any of the expenses, ordinary or extraordinary, of the be a measure unconstitutional, and one subversive of the Federal Government. There will be an annual surplus, very foundations of the Union. Mr. M'L., after various not applicable to any of the legitimate purposes of this arguments against the policy of diverting any portion of Government, and, therefore, it is to be given to the States. the Sinking Fund from the purpose for which it was desThis fact must be admitted, or the substratum of the tined, expressed his belief that it was the interest of the scheme is taken away. So long as the income of this Go- people, that the capital now vested in the public debt vernment is wanted for its own purposes, it must be so should be unlocked and thrown into new channels. The applied, and cannot be diverted to any other purpose. employment of the capital thus confined, under the ausThe Senator from New Jersey must, therefore, not only pices of individual industry, sagacity, and foresight, would admit, but is moreover bound to contend, that the present | lead to the best results; it would hasten that era, when tariff will produce an income of which there will be an all the questions which have agitated the country for so annual surplus, not applicable to any of the legitimate many years, would be harmoniously settled, and forever purposes of this Government; which, therefore, must re- put at rest. main unappropriated in the Treasury, or be applied to Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, said, the remarks of some illegitimate purpose. Does he require any more the gentleman from Delaware were perfectly correct, with conclusive evidence, that this Government possesses no a single explanation. It is clear, that nothing can be power to lay a tax beyond the purposes of revenue for drawn under the first section of this bill; all the money the mere protection of manufactures, ehan this: that it re- in the Treasury is appropriated, with the exception of the salts, by his own confession, in taking money from the two millions, of which the gentleman speaks, but that is

VOL. V, -6

« AnteriorContinuar »