Imagens das páginas


Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.

(Feb. 24, 1829.

their notions, and finally, to vote against them. It was ternal Improvement, and stating that he should, to-morperfectly natural, parliamentary, and just, for the gentle- row, move for the printing of ten thousand copies. man from Virginia, holding the opinions he did, to call Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, remarked upon this docufor the same bounty: for he [Mr. TAZEWELL) considered ment with considerable severity. He said it was a docuit bounty, for his constituents, that was given to other ment entirely deceptive in its nature. It was a document people.

which, if he had it in his hands in the Western country, He thought the importance of the measure proposed would inflame the passions of every man who would listen by the gentleman from Virginia such as entitled it to se to him. He also remarked upon the use the gentleman parate consideration, and therefore should vote against in- from Missouri proposed to make of it. It was to inflame cluding it in this bill. He should act upon this bill as if the passions of one State against the people of another. it had come up in the regular order. The Corporation would a stump speaker in the Western country state the had applied to the Government for its assistance ; their me reason of this inequality of which the gentleman commorial had been received, referred to a committee of the plained that they had no occasion for forts? Had Ohio Senate, and a bill introduced; and the proposition was, to applied for any appropriation for the improvement of her suspend this bill, until another public work, in another harbors on the Lake, which had been refused ? No. Had part of the country, could be included in it. The work Illinois been refused land for her canals? No. And when was to be considered of equal public importance, but the State of Missouri asked for a road to Mexico, had it there was no connection between them in the nature of not been granted? Unquestionably it had. He disliked things. There was a general resemblance, but the facts this thing ; he disliked anything calculated to inflame the upon which an opinion was to be exercised, might be very passions of one part of the community against another. He different. The inclusion of another subject, which had instanced the case of Louisiana,which required somne protecnot been introduced into either branch of the Legislature, tion, inquiring if that would be charged to the Westem did not appear to him a sufficient reason for postponing country: it certainly would not ; it would be charged to this bill. It was of high importance that, if passed at all, Louisiana, whereas the whole Western country would be it should pass at the present session ; it was now near the interested. The State of North Carolina had an ironcommencement of the working season, and if it was not bound coast; but they had petitioned for a work which passed now, the work would be delayed another year. In he should vote for, if it cost ten millions of dollars. He his judgement, the Government would be able, in a few concluded his remarks (of which this is a very imperfect years, to dispose of their property in that work, and he sketch) by saying, that he never felt so much incensed hoped, without much sacrifice, and apply the proceeds to by any declaration in the Senate. some other work. He hoped they would keep the two Mr. BENTON made a very brief reply; when measures separate, and dispose of this bill now, upon its Mr SMITH, of South Carolina, moved to lay the whole own merits.

subject on the table. Mr. TAZEWELL rose to a point of order. He inqui Upon this question, Mr. NOBLE called for the yeas red whether, if he offered an amendment with a blank in and nays, which were as follows: Yeas 14, nays 27. it, the blank could be filled hereafter ?

So the motion to lay upon the table was lost, and the Being answered in the affirmative, he withdrew his mo- question recurred again upon ordering the bill to be ention to re-commit, and offered the following amendment: grossed for a third reading ; and upon this question the

“Sec. 3. Be it enacted, &c. That the Secretary of the yeas and nays were ordered. Treasury be authorized to subscribe for shares in

Mr. MARKS said, he wished it to be understood that the capital stock of the Dismal Swamp Canal Company: not one foot of this canal was within the territory of and

Pennsylvania. That State had voted a um of money for “ Sec. 4th, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury the completion of the canal. As a State, she was interto vote for officers of the Corporation."

ested in the work ; but it was ungenerous to throw out in

sinuations that these works were all for the benefit of Mr. BENTON called for the yeas and nays on agreeing Pennsylvania. to the amendment; which were ordered.

Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, said, the remarks of the genMr. WEBSTER said, he could not vote for this amend- tleman from Pennsylvania showed that these works were ment, and he would state his reasons in a few words. One considered for the good of the whole Union. of these measures had been brought regularly before the Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, made a few remarks to Senate, and the other had not ; of one they knew some show that it would be extremely unfair to take the report thing, and of the other nothing. The present proposi in question into the Western country, to show that the tion was, in fact, introducing a new bill, which, by a Western country had not been benefited, inasmuch as standing rule of the Senate, must lie one day; on that the appropriations had been for national objects, and for ground he was opposed to it, and on no other. If the the benefit of the whole Vnion. measure proposed as an amendment had been delayed Mr. BENTON replied, endeavoring to establish that through inadvertence, or any other reason, it should have there was no deception in the document, but that twelve his vote.

States had received less than two hundred thousand dolMr. TAZEWELL said, his motives seemed to be mis- | lars. It would not deceive the Western country, but it understood ; and he called the Senate to witness that he would open the eyes of the people, and show them that should vote for the amendment, and should then vote they had played the part of the ass in the fable, in relation against the passage of the bill, even if the amendment to this system of Internal Improvement. He then advertshould be adopted.

ed to the Public Lands, as the payment for the CumberThe and nays were then taken on the amendment, land road, and other objects. and were as follows: Yeas 18, nays 23.

Mr. WEBSTER did not think anything was more to So the amendment was lost, and the question again re- be deprecated than these local comparisons. The gentlecurred upon the engrossment of the bill.

man had said he meant to open the eyes of the people of Upon this question,

the West. If he intended to show that the money had Mr. BENTON spoke at some length, going into a his- been improperly or unfairly applied, it would be to some tory of the rise and progress of the system of Internal purpose to open the eyes of the people. But, granting Improveinents, and, in the course of his remarks, advert- that it had been so, did that alter the power of Congress ing to, and quoting from, a document showing the amount to appropriate money? By no means.

This was a sysexpended by the Federal Government upon works of In- tem that must be taken distributively, or not at all. He


FEB. 25, 26, 1829.]

Revolutionary Pensioners.---Officers of the Revolution, g-c.



then briefly adverted to the argument that the works NAYS— Messrs. Barnard, Barton, Bell, Burnet, Chamwere not for the benefit of individual States, but for the bers, Chase, Holmes, Knight, Marks, Robbins, Ruggles, whole, and gave it his support. He did not wish false im- Sanford, Seymour, Silsbee, Webster, Willey, Woodpressions and false alarms to go abroad. The country bury.--17 was to be considered as if there were no State lines—as if So the bill was virtually rejected. the legislation was for a unit. If the sea-board had advan

OFFICERS OF THE REVOLUTION, &c. tages, the sea-board was maintained and defended by the sea-board. It was a matter of common advantage, and it

The bill for the relief of sundry Revolutionary and other should be borne as a common burthen. Any improve officers and soldiers, and for other purposes, was then ments in the West should receive his support, so long as

taken up, and the amendments of the committee were it was within reasonable bounds. The question now was, considered. Sundry alterations and amendments were concerning the continuation of this canal, which was also proposed by the Senate. commenced under the auspices of this Government.

Mr. MARKS, in explanation of the bill, said he supposadverted to the Cumberland road, and to the Ohio river, ed it was unnecessary to go into a detailed statement in as objects interesting, not only to the Western country, relation to all the cases contained. The sum which but to the whole country. He hoped the present mea

would be required, he had ascertained, would be about sure would be allowed to take iis proper course, upon its fifteen thousand six hundred dollars ; but a great number own merits.

of the persons named, probably two-thirds of them, might Mr. BENTON explained the course he had taken, and be placed upon the pension roll without the necessity of should take, upon the bill.

a separate bill.

There were some names upon the list of After an explanatory remark by Mr. KANE,

individuals who did not belong to the regular army of the The question was taken, and the bill was ordered to be United States. The reason why they were placed there engrossed for a third reading, by the following vote :

was, that several States had troops, called the troops of YEAS-Messrs. Barnard, Barton, Benton, Bouligny, the State, which were at times called into the general serBurnet, Chambers, Chase, Dudley, Eaton, Hendricks, vice, some of whom served three or four years. None of Holmes, Johnson, of Kentucky, Johnston, of Louisiana, these State troops, however, had been admitted, unless Kane, McKinley, McLane, Marks, Noble, Ridgely, Rob- they had served at least nine months under the orders of bins, Rowan, Ruggles, Seymour, Silsbee, Smith, of Ma- the Continental officers. There was one question upon ryland, Thomas, Webster, Willey.-28.

which the Committee were divided. It would be seen NAYS—Messrs. Bell, Berrien, Branch, Chandler, Foot, that the pensions all commenced on the first of January, Hayne, Iredell, Knight, Prince, Sanford, Smith, of South 1828. The Committee, not being able to agree, had conCarolina, Tazewell, White, Williams, Woodbury.-15.

cluded to leave it for the decision of the Senate.

Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, said, that he considerWEDNESDAY, FEB. 25, 1829.

ed the admission of the cases mentioned by the gentleThere was nothing of sufficient interest before the man from Pennsylvania as an innovation upon the reguSenate this day to occasion debate,

lar pension system of the United States. The law of 1818 admitted none upon the rolls who were not in the

Continental service at the end of the war. It had been THURSDAY, FEB. 26, 1829.

an established principle to admit none who were not reREVOLUTIONARY PENSIONERS.

gular Continental soldiers. He could not see why, at this The bill from the House of Representatives, “to amend late day, when the laws provided for all who were in an act, entitled · An act to provide for certain persons need of assistance, they should be called upon to legisengaged in the land and naval service of the United States, late for particular and individual cases every year. during the Revolutionary war,' and the several acts made Mr. MARKS replied, that the Committee had been in amendment thereof, and for other purposes,” was read very particular as to the kind of service ; and, whenever the first time; and the yeas and nays were called for on it had been in the militia service, they had stricken the ordering it to a second reading.

name off. He introduced a letter from the head of the Mr. CHANDLER stated his reasons for the vote he Pension Bureau, in the War Department, stating what should give on this question. The session was near its individuals came in for pensions, and under what rules. close; the bill was of an important nature, and required There were but few in ihe bill of the State troops, but due consideration; there was not suficient time to give the Committee were satisfied that they had rendered veit that attention which its importance deinanded.

ry important services to the United States; and, although Mr. MARKS thought that a proper courtesy to the they had not heretofore been admitted, yet their claim other House required the Senate to have the bill read a was such as could not, in equity, be resisted. He was second time and referred. It was true, there was already not certain about the number, but he believed not more much business before the Committee on Pensions ; never

than eight or ten. theless, if the bill was referred to them, they would Mr. FOOT explained, that, of all the cases he examingive it a careful examination, though he was fearful it ed, there were not more then five or six admitted of these could not be acted upon during the present session. State troops, and the Committee required that they

Mr. NOBLE was of opinion that there would be no should prove service of nine months. The House of Rewant of courtesy to the other House in laying the bill on presentatives had admitted such, and passed the bill, and the table, if there was not sufficient time for the Senate the Senate had acted upon the same rule. They struck to act upon it. If such was the fact, it might as well be off all the names where the evidence was not satisfactory, laid upon the table at once, and he therefore made that and admitted none where the services were not under

the orders of the United States. molion.

Mr. HOLMES called for the yeas and nays on this mo Mr. HAYNE inquired the amount which would probation ; they were ordered accordingly, and stood as follows: bly be called for annually by this bill.

YEAS-Messrs. Benton, Berrien, Bouligny, Branch, Mr. MARKS replied, that, since the adoption of the Chandler, Dickerson, Dudley, Eaton, Foot, Hayne, Hen- several names by the Senate, it would probably amount dricks, Iredell, Johnson, of Kentucky, Johnston, of Lou- to 15,800 dollars. isiana, Kane, King, McKinley, McLane, Noble, Prince, Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, said, there was no inRidgely, Rowan, Smith, of Maryland, Smith, of South stance upon record of any such cases being admitted. He Carolina, White, Williams.-26.

had applied frequently for the admission of names upon


Instructions to Panama Ministers.

[Feb. 27, 28, 1829

the pension roll, where the most unquestionable evidence No reason was given why this child should have a penof important services was produced, and the answer inva sion, and he could only conclude that all the children of riably had been, that it was an established rule to admit all the soldiers of the last war were to have pensions for none who were not upon the Continental list, and proof five years. By another section, a pension was granted to that effect must be produced. They must also take to the widow of a soldier. It was not stated why ; and, the oath that they were in want of assistance, and accom- therefore, all the widows of soldiers, will have an equal pany their application by a schedule of their property. claim, and all receive pensions. Still, by another section, They had made several laws since this one was enacted, a pension was granted to the legal representatives of a but they had never repealed this one. Now, the Senate soldier deceased. Were all representatives and descenwere told, that important services had been performed, dants of deceased soldiers to have pensions ? There was that individuals deserve reward, and that the Committee nothing said about it; here was a law stating certain indifelt sympathy for those who suffered in the service, and viduals by name who were to have pensions, and for no they were violating their own law, by placing names up- apparent reasons, except that they were the children, on the roll which had no right there. He commiserated widows, and representatives of soldiers. There was one the sufferings of the whole army of the United States. case stated of a man who had performed certain services,

[Mr. S. here read an extract from the law of 1818, and who was 'a lunatic, and his representatives were to showing that, to entitle individuals to the benefit of that have a pension for his use. There he knew something act, they must have been “ on the Continental Establish- about it; the case was stated. ment.”]

He begged gentlemen would not understand that this Now they were legislating for a few who had approach- sum was to pay all the claims under this law. This ed the Committee, and excited their sympathies. He 15,000 dollars was not to pay all these demands. Gentlecould not see why Congress should ask leave to violate men knew very well what was done to-day was precedent their own law. If they were disposed to remunerate all to-morrow, and principle the next day; and, hereafter, who had done service—and there were thousands-let whenever an individual wanted a pension, he had only to them make a general law, and not continue legislating for declare that he had performed services, to put his finger all who choose to come forward with their claims. He on some name on this bill, call his situation similar, and he could vote against the bill on these grounds.

could not be refused, and the amount would swell, until Mr. FOOT said he supposed he had sufficiently ex- neither fifteen thousand nor fitteen millions of dollars would plained the grounds on which the cases in question has satisfy the demands. been admitted. As respected feeling in the matter, he Mr. BENTON here called for an adjournment; which did not legislate upon the dictation of his feelings at all. was carried. This bill only provided for such as were most unquestionably intended to be provided for by the original pension

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1829. law, but who, owing to the rules practised upon, and some defect upon their testimony, had not heretofore been which gave rise to debate of any public interest.

Considerable business was transacted this day, but none admitted. It was for the Senate to decide whether they would pass the bill or not. After some discussion between Messrs. HENDRICKS

SATURDAY, FEB. 28, 1829. and PRINCE, relative to the admission of another name, INSTRUCTIONS TO PANAMA MINISTERS. Mr. KING moved to lay the bill upon the table; which was negatived. Mr. HAYNE then moved to adjourn, which

The following resolution, offered last evening by Mr. was negatived—ayes 13, noes 22.

WEBSTER, was taken up for consideration : Mr. HAYNE then said he had moved an adjournment

Resolved, That the President of the United States be in order that he might look into the bill; but as the Se requested to communicate to the Senaté, confidentially, nate had refused him the opportunity, he must state and in its Executive character, copies of the instructions some of the reasons which induced him to oppose the given to the Ministers of the United States to the Congress bill. It appeared to him one of the most extraordinary of Panama ; and of the communications of the other Gobills which had ever been before Congress. They were vernments represented at that Congress, to the Governasked to grant pensions to an hundred individuals men

ment of the United States; or so much thereof as may be tioned by name. Was it usual to put names upon the communicated without detriment to the public interest.pension roll without any reference to the grounds upon [The words first italicised were inserted during the dewhich they were admitted, or others rejected ? The baie, and those last in italics, or words to that effect, were Senate knew nothing about these individuals. He be- of course stricken out.] lieved this very bill had been before the Senate at the Mr. TAZEWELL said he should like to hear some last session, and he did not know but the session before ; | reason why, at this late period of the session, this subject, and he well remembered that the Chairman of the Com- formerly productive of so much excitement and discussion, mittee on Pensions last year stated that the principles of was again brought forward. this bill were new and unknown to the Pension Law. Mr. WEBSTER said it was for the very reason indicaWhat had been the practice of the Senate ? If there ted in the remark of the Senator from Virginia, that he was any new principle, he wished to have it placed be- had offered the resolution. The subject of the Panama fore them; he wished some report upon it, and he wished mission, while it lasted, was highly interesting. It would to have it placed upon record, why A, B, C, down to 2, be very interesting to know the results of ihat mission, and to the end of the chapter, were placed upon the roll, so far as it had any results. His object was simply, as when, as the Chairman of the Committee said, it was not stated in the resolution, to make public all the proceedaccording to the rule. True, the Committee said they ings of the Executive on this matter, if they could be had examined the cases, and thought such and such per- published without prejudice to the public interest. It sons ought to have pensions, and that such and such was a transaction that had passed by, and become a part should be exempted from the general operation of the of the diplomatic history of the country. He had nothing rule. Now, he wished to form his own opinion upon that in view except information, and there would be no exsubject.

pense except that of the publication. Upon an examination of the bill, it appeared, by one Mr. TAZEWELL replied, that it was of little consesection, that a pension was to be given to the child of an quence what the object was; the course pursued was incorindividual who was a soldier in the last war for tive years. Here was a President who had only three days to



FEB. 28, 1829.]

Instructions to Panama Ministers.


serve, and the Senate were required to make a call upon not be prudently published; and it may also happen that him for important public documents, relating to the foreign the suppression of these parts may present an imperfect intercourse of the country, and which had never been pub- or a garbled view of the subject, one calculated to make lished. He thought it better to wait a few days, and then a false impression on the public mind. In matters of make the call upon the then Executive. These instruc- opinion, man, with the best intentions and entirely free tions might contain matter which it was improper to have from party feelings, may be led into errors. The go before the public: they related to the policy of the President may think on this subject very differently from country, which it would not, perhaps, be prudent to ex the Senate. He may deem communications unimportant pose to the eyes of other nations. He objected to the call which the Senate may suppose to be very material, or he being made at this time, because, if important secrets may believe that matters cannot be safely disclosed, which should be bronght to light, the responsibility of the course we may consider altogether harmless, and, perhaps, in. would not light upon the present Executive, and might dispensable to the clear understanding of the whole subembarrass the next. He objected to the manner in ject. What is the result of our own experience in the very which the resolution was expressed. It was left to the case before us? When the Panama mission was first judgment of the President to say how much of the in- brought before the Senate, the President communicated structions should be made public, after all the responsi- certain documents and information, which, he considered bility had been removed from him, and he could publish all that was necessary to give a full view of the character just as much or just as little as he pleased. He thought and objects of the mission. Now, it so happened, that it more proper for the next administration to make the that portion of the Senate with which it was his pride to selection, when they would bear the responsibility of their have acted on that occasion, did believe that very material own acts. He considered it incorrect, and dangerous. information was withheld-information which was drawn

Mr. WEBSTER said, he saw no good reason why the out by the calls subsequently made on the Executive, and motion should not be made now, as well as three days which, in his opinion, entirely changed the aspect of the hence. The Senator from Virginia seemed to go upon affair. The truth is, that the Panama mission, as presented the ground that the same discretion would not be exer to the Senate by the first message of the President, was cised by the present Executive, as would be exercised, a measure of a very different character from that which three days hence, by the next. This he did not believe: was, at a later period, presented to this House, and which for the Executive was as much bound to answer the call differed still more from the same measure when it got of the Senate for information at the present time as at into the House of Representatives. And who could tell any other, and to exercise its discretion. The object was, what may be its character as disclosed by the communicaas he had stated, simply that the Executive might have tions which may now be made in answer to this call

. The an opportunity to publish these instructions, as a vindica-object of every gentleman ought to be to disclose the tion of its own conduct, in a 'measure upon which its whole truth. He, therefore, protested against any call policy had not only been doubted, but its motives had on the Executive which should fall short of a full disclobeen very much censured, and very much assailed. The sure of every fact, and a communication of every docu. injunction of secrecy having been removed from the pro- ment connected with the subject. When these should be ceedings of the Senate, the views of the Senators who communicated, the Senate would be able to form an opposed it, and the messages of the Executive upon the opinion whether the whole could be made public without subject, had long since been made public. Now, he injury to the public service, and, if not, whether the pubwished the instructions given to the ministers should be lication of any part could take place without conveying revealed, and then the whole facts would be placed be an erroneous impression of the facts. He had no objecfore the people, for them to judge.

He could see no tion to the publication of every thing connected with the objection to this. The resolution, as a means of getting Panama mission, feeling, as he did, the perfect assurance the information, was a common course, it was proposed in that the more the subject was discussed and examined, the common manner, and it seemed to be but an act of the more clearly it would appear that it was a wild, common justice that the administration should be allowed visionary, or dangerous project. But it was obvious that the opportunity of setting themselves right in the estima- the resolution now before the Senate, restricted as it is, tion of the public. He called for the yeas and nays upon puts every thing in the power of the President, and leaves the adoption of the resolution.

it to his discretion to bring the subject before the world Mr. HAYNE objected to the resolution on account of in any way he may think proper. To this, from the exits terms, and also because it properly belonged to the perience of the Senate on this subject, he for one was Executive business of the Senate, and ought to be sub not willing to give his assent. For the purpose, theremitted to the Senate when acting in its Executive capa-fore, of enabling the Senator from Massachusetts to bring city. The resolution did not call for all the information this motion before the Senate when acting in its Execuconnected with the subject, but only for so much as, in tive character, thereby to enable us to receive all the the opinion of the President, might be communicated with documents connected with the subject, in order that we out injury to the public service. It was true that this was may exercise our own discretion in making the whole or a discretion necessary to be exerted by the President in any part of it public, he would now move to lay the reall cases where a public call was made for documents solution on the table. connected with the diplomatic relations of the country, This motion was withdrawn at the request of Mr. but this only demonstrates the necessity of making the WEBSTER. He said it was unnecessary to repeat the call under circumstances which will entitle the Senate to object he had in view in introducing this resolution; he receive all the information connected with the subject, had already stated his motives, and he had not anticipated thus enabling us to determine, according to our discretion, the least objection to its passage. While the subject of whether the whole may not be made public without detri- the Panama mission was before Congress, great alarm had ment to the interests of the country. He would not be been spread through the country in relation to it. Great satisfied, in this case, with being told that it was not to be fears were either felt or feigned, both in and out of Conpresumed, that in making this communication to Congress, gress, that the objects of the Executive were not correct, the President would not exercise his discretion discreetly, that the measure was unconstitutional, and the ministers prudently, and honestly. It was sufficient that, as the appointed might compromit the honor of the country. resolution now stood, the public might be presented with He wished to ascertain how far those fears were justified ; an imperfect and partial view of the subject. It may be he cared not in what form the information was obtained: that a portion of the instructions and communications can this was a common and a convenient one. Gentlemen

VOL. V.-9


Instructions to Panama Ministers.

[Feb. 28, 1829.




who had expressed their views and apprehensions, would the Panama mission ? He presumed that the Senator not, surely, now that their fears had gone forth to the from Massachusetts knew no more than he as to the charworld under the sanction of their own names, now that acter of all these documents. How, then, will he venture the measure had produced all the effects it could pro- to open the bureau of the Secretary of State, and give duce upon the public, prevent those who thought dif- publicity to its whole contents? In doing this {said Mr. ferently from giving their views. While their fears in T.] we should set an example which would be productive relation to these instructions had been published, gentle- of infinite mischief hereafter. We were here arrayed in men could not in justice keep the facts, the real instruc- majority and minority. The administration supported by tions, locked up. He cared not for the time when the this minority was about to go out. The minority calls for call was made; he hoped it would be made as soon as fuel to keep alive the flame which party differences have might be, and if gentlemen objected to the manner of excited. I care not (said Mr. T.] how long the controverthe call, he was willing to meet all their views, if it was sy is continued, nor how long the acrimonious feeling possible ; he was willing the instructions should be re which it produced, and which he had hoped was subsiquired confidentially, and that the whole should be re- ded, shall prevail. But he opposed the resolution on acquired: he, therefore, moved a modification of the reso count of the injury which it would produce in our foreign lution, by inserting a confidentially," and striking out the

The Senator from Massachusetts must see that last clause.

no good end can be attained by looking into the character Mr. HAYNE said he preferred proceeding in the usual of the Congress of Panama. He might as well propose to

It was altogether an Executive matter, and should obtain the views of the President as to the character of be made and received in their Executive character. some other bodies, at other times. The President had

Mr. WEBSTER was willing to, and did, modify the found no difficulty in tearing away the veil from some secret resolution still farther, by the insertion of the words " in its transactions, and he presumed that, when it should suit his Executive character."

purposes, he would find as little difficulty in bringing to the Mr. HAYNE said he would still prefer the ordinary public view, without the aid of the Senate, as much of the

He renewed his motion to lay the resolution on Panama project as he might see fit to publish. the table, but withdrew it at the request of Mr. Benton. Mr. WEBSTER said, that nothing was farther from

Mr. BENTON said he could conceive of no difficulty his expectation, than that a resolution calling for informawhich would arise from the form of the call. The docu- tion, a motion so constitutional, so conformable to the ments would be marked confidential, and would be opened practice of both Houses, and often so necessary, should in secret session.

have met with opposition, or produced debate. He wished Mr. TAZEWELL rose and remarked, that the original for no contention; he courted 'no controversy. He had defect of the resolution could not be removed. He cared no desire to create new, or to revive old topics of dispute. not in what form, or when it was moved; he would op- It had not occurred to him that any such consequences pose it. The reason for the call was avowed to be to give would naturally follow from this resolution; and it would the Executive an opportunity to publish its views on a not escape observation, that, after the modification of it matter which has been discussed and was at an end. If the had taken place, he had been asked to withdraw the call President wishes to make his views public, let him do it. for the yeas and nays, upon the supposition, doubtless, If he wishes to publish the documents, let him do it. It that no opposition was intended. But the affair, it seems, would be necessary for us to pass this resolution, if we had taken another turn. But, whatever course the diswish to force from him documents which would inculpate cussion should take, he should not imitate the example of him, and which he chose to keep back ; but it is unneces- wandering into extraneous and irrelevant matter. Still sary for us to pass a resolution for the purpose of enabling less should he attack individuals, or allude to occurrences him to publish documents which he might wish to publish. no way connected with this subject, for the purpose of The object is, to ease the President by the interposition making personal observations, or inflicting pain. He inof this body. The President having but two or three tended, on this and other occasions, to discharge his pubdays of office, will feel but little responsibility for the ef- lic duties with decorum towards all public men, and with fect of the publication ; but shall we assist him to do it, abstinence from asperity and personal vituperation and who have six years of responsibility? But, if all this be reproach. As to the resolution itself, common justice done, what is to be the result? Are you to take up this required its adoption. The resolution, as originally frabusiness again, and follow it through all the mutations of med, requested that the instructions to our ministers at the Executive will ? Are the “ fears, felt or feigned,” by Panama should be communicated to us, so far as the pubthose who opposed the Panama mission, to be pronounced | lic service would properly allow them to be made public. unfounded, because they are not justified by the instruc- This was the usual course. It was customary in re, and tions given after those “fears, felt or feigned,” were ex in relation to all negotiations, either pending or closed. pressed? Are those instructions to be given to the pub- How long was it since a member from Maine had made a lic now, to expound what occurred six months before the similar call for the correspondence of our commissioners instructions were written? I cannot speak intelligibly to under the treaty of Ghent? This call had been made for the gentleman from Massachusetts. He was not in this the purpose of publishing that correspondence, although it body at the time alluded to. But my brethren, said Mr. related to a question of great importance still pending ; T., on my right and left, saw the monstrous project as it nevertheless, it was readily acceded to, or, according to was first brought before us.

usage, it was limited by reference to the discretion of the Here, when the doors were closed, the President pre- President. sented the project in one light, and subsequently modi With the same limitation, he had now moved this refied it, and laid it before the House of Representatives solution ; and it had been immediately objected to. To in another light. In an elaborate argument before the remove all objection, he had them so modified it as to reHouse of Representatives, he attempted to avoid the quire the information to be communicated confidentially, objections which the project had met with in this body. so that the Senate itself might judge what part could be The instructions, framed with a full knowledge of properly published. But although this seemed, for the all the objections urged against the original project, moment, satisfactory to every body, yet now it is opposed are now proposed to be published, for the purpose of with the same earnestness as before. He had been asked enlightening the public as to the real views of the Ex- by the member from Virginia, if he had seen the inecutive. But will you get all the instructions ? Shall we, structions ? He was willing to answer, and he answered, with our eyes closed, ask for all the documents affecting that he had not. He had been asked again, as if that

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