Imagens das páginas

APRIL 28, 1836.)

Land Bill.



two ensuing years, cannot, it is believed, be deemed lands, or so to reduce the customs, as to avoid a surplus. more than a reasonable and adequate provision. If any | Nothing can be more unjustifiable, or a greater abuse of thing can add to the fitness and propriety of applying legislation, than to draw more money from the people the present surplus to the permanent defences of the than is wanted for public purposes, whether by taxation country, it is the consideration that this fund is not a or the sale of the public property. The accumulation surplus revenue, as seems to be supposed. Twenty of revenue last year was an extraordinary result from nine millions, out of the thirty-two in the Treasury, speculations in the public lands, which cannot continué. have been received for the sale of the public lands the still there is reason to apprehend that the money relast three years, and twenty millions during the past ceived from this source, whilst the imposts are at their year and the first quarter of the present year. This I present amount, will, for several years, occasion some fund has not accrued as a revenue, but from the sale of excess in the revenue. And as the tariff act of 1833 the public property-the sale of the national domain, the prevents any essential change in the customs for several most valuable inheritance that any nation ever possessed, years, it appears to be necessary that there should be and which is rapidly wasting away. Is there not a some further legislation calculated to regulate and limit peculiar fitness and propriety that this fund should be the sales of the public lands. There are other than reinvested in permanent works for the common benefit financial reasons in favor of such a measure. The naand security of the whole country?

tional domain ought to be preserved for actual settlers Mr. President, the most important view of this subject for generations to come. What is not wanted for actual still remains. This must be regarded as a bill for the settlement should be held by the Government, espesequestration of the public lands, and the division of cially when we have no occasion for the revenue derived them, in whole or in part, among the States, and of from the sale of it. As long as it is held by the Goy. course withdrawing this branch of revenue from the ernment, the same advantages of emigration and settle

nt of the Union. Looking at this measure in ment on the uncultivated lands, as are now enjoyed, will this light, it is one of the highest importance, not so extend to future generations. These advantages are of much in a financial point of view, as from its political) great importance to the whole country, being a sure re. bearings and influence. What may be the effects of a source for the disappointed, the unfortunate in the old measure, resting on principles so new and dangerous, States, and all who have not the means to acquire an inno one can foresee; but that its operation might be to terest in the soil in the older settlements in the Union. change our political system, is perfectly clear to my In the unsettled lands, the vast extent of the public do. mind. This measure has been attempted to be support main, every individual who is so disposed, however limed on two grounds, neither of which, it is believed, can ited his means, can acquire an interest in the soil and be sustained:

become a freeholder. But if these lands are suffered to ist. That it is constitutional, just, and expedient to I go into the hands of speculators and capitalists, at the divide the public lands among the States on general rate they have the last year, the actual settlers will bave principles, and without any reference to the present state to purchase of individuals instead of the United States, of the Treasury; and

and may be compelled to pay ten dollars per acre for 2d. That it is proper, as a temporary measure to re lands they can now get at one and a quarter. The capilieve the country from the evils of a redundant Treasu talists of the country should not be suffered to monopory, by disposing of a surplus which is not wanted for the lize the national domain, and thus interpose themselves uses of the federal Government.

between the Government and the actual settler. A law, In relation to the last ground, it is sufficient to say, properly guarded, confining the sales of the public that it is not true in point of fact. There is no such sur lands to actual settlers, appears to be demanded by the plus as this argument presupposes; and no surplus at highest considerations. With a view merely to regulate all, which is not wanted for constitutional, legitimate, the revenue, the law might provide the maxim and highly useful objects, pertaining to the Government yond which sales should not be made in one year. As of the Union. I have already examined this question, the matter now stands, no calculation can be inade on and endeavored to show that the surplus at the end of this branch of revenue, as the receipts within a few the present year would not exceed twenty millions, and years have varied from one million to fifteen millions, would, in all probability, fall short of that sum; which, and the first quarter of the present year they have been upon the most moderate scale of providing for the more at the rate of twenty millions. complete defence of the country, would be wanted for Mr. President, I will now proceed to make some rethat object, and no doubt considerably more.

marks on the main question presented by this bill, which But, if there was a surplus, a distribution of it anong is, the constitutionality, justice, and expediency of dividthe States would not be the proper remedy. It would | ing the public lands among the States. This measure is be unwarrantable to attempt to remove a temporary evil too important, and rests on a principle too novel and danby a measure resting on a new and dangerous principle. ! gerous, to be sustained by any temporary reasons, or any If there is an excess of revenue, which has, and is to | other conditions, than that it is constitutional, right, just, continue to accumulate in our Treasury, the rightful and safe, and proper, to divide the public domain or the pro. proper remedy is to remove the cause, to reduce the ceeds of it among the States, and take away this branch revenue. Stop the money from flowing into your Treas. of revenue from the federal Government. ury, and it will then distribute itself among the people, Before considering the objections to this measure, let which is the only just and constitutional distribution. me ask what are its advantages? It is claimed, in the

This will be the only just distribution, because it will first place, that by taking the money now in the deposite distribute the money not wanted for the purposes of this banks, and dividing it among the States, it will be put in Government among the people, and in the exact pro circulation, and thus relieve the present pressure on the portions which they contribute towards the taxes.

money market. This advantage would be temporary, It is true the present surplus bas mainly accrued from and of little importance, if true; but the effect of the the sales of the public lands; but it is within the power, distribution would be directly the opposite. The banks, and it is the solemn duty of Congress, so to shape their | if called on to pay the money, would pave to pr legislation as to prevent the accumulation of more debtors, which would increase the distress; whilst the money in the Treasury than is required for the consti- money, when distributed, would be withdrawn from use tutional purposes of this Government. And it is our ! for several months, as the Legislatures of the States duty so to regulate and restrict the sale of the public would have to be convened before any disposition could

VOL. XII.-84

im be.

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

be made of it. But this matter, being entirely tempora- without the consent of the company. They are allowry, is of little moment.

ed to fix their own rate of tolls, whilst their advantages The main benefit calculated upon, from the measure, enable them to destroy all competition by stage lines, or is to increase the resources of the States. As the bill other means of conveyance. Like all other monopolies, was first introduced, it directed the application of the their advantages, whatever they may be, are enjoyed money either to internal improvements or education. As exclusively by the company. They are little or no benit now is, it may be applied to any purpose whatever, efit to the public, whilst they are a serious injury to the and will be entirely subject to the disposal of the State agricultural class, by throwing out of employment the Legislatures. They can apply it to their ordinary ex- great number of horses now used in stages, and other penses, if so disposed. It is to be presumed, however, modes of conveyance, and destroying the market which that in general it will be applied to works of internal was thus created for the products of farms. improvements, and this may be regarded as the object It may be laid down as a general truth, that neither of the bill. It is to provide for carrying on internal im- railroads nor canals are of general utility and advantage provements by the funds of this Government, through to the country, except where they tend to raise the the agency of the States. It is attempting to do indi.price of the products of agriculture or increase the derectly what it is now admitted we cannot do directly. mand for labor. And these results are only produced What will be the effect of the sudden application of by such canals or railroads as open a market, by supplynearly fifty millions of dollars to objects of this descrip-ing cheaper and better facilities of conveyance to portion? Will it not give an undue and dangerous impulse tions of country which were deprived of one. In all to the spirit of internal improvement and does not that other cases, railroads and canals are of no general utilispirit now require rather to be checked than stimulated ty, and add nothing to the common prosperity. Their into greater activity? What will be the effect on the advantages are confined to a very small class, whilst business of the country, of withdrawing so large a capi. their disadvantages affect a very numerous class. The tal from other pursuits, to be invested in railroads and fallacy of these, and all other expedients for advancing canals? And this must be the result, as the funds of the prosperity of the country, by any other means than the Government are loaned out to individuals, who are by increasing and giving greater scope to its industry, employing them in the various departments of useful must soon become manifest. Is it right and just to tax business; and they must be collected in, when the banks the people for objects of this kind? or to apply the are required to pay over the money. It is an error to funds of the whole people to purposes which can be suppose that those funds are in the deposite banks. beneficial only to a few, and those the wealthy classes? They are in the hands of individuals, and, should this But it is alleged, as another advantage of this measure, bill pass, must be withdrawn from the debtors of the that it will settle the long agitated question of internal banks, and of course withdrawn from those branches of improvement as relates to this Government, will quiet business in which they are now employed. Would not the public mind, and strengthen the Union. I cannot the great interests of the country suffer, by withdraw-| concur in this opinion. Is it to be supposed that this ing so large a capital from them, and investing it in canals question is to be settled by agitating it in a new and and railroads?

more dangerous form? What is this but the old quesWould not this sudden impulse to internal improve. tion of internal improvement in a new and disguised ment be likely to involve the states in extravagant and form, and therefore the more dangerous? ruinous projects? A considerable portion of the works The Senator from Kentucky (Mr. CLAY] says the of this kind are of little or no value. The principal | West will not long submit to have all the public money canal in my own State, continued by another in the expended on the seaboard. Sir, this is a slander on the State of Massachusetts, both of which have cost nearly West. Will the people of the western States wish to one million of dollars, is of no value. Many in other see the constitution violated, or any dangerous princiStates are of a similar character. It would seem that I ples introduced into the Government, to secure what the moneys expended by the Government of the Union they may conceive to be an equal participation in the on canals and roads should admonish us against wasting advantages of the expenditures of the public money? I the resources of the country on unimportant objects of I do not believe it; the gentleman does great injustice this kind. Congress has appropriated nearly ten mil | to that patriotic portion of the Union. I, as a citizen of lions of dollars to roads and canals; about six millions on the East, and a representative of an eastern State, will the Cumberland road; one million on the Delaware and defend the West against this unworthy imputation. NeiChesapeake canal; one million on the Chesapeake ther can I admit the justice of this complaint; the West and Ohio canal; half a million on the Dismal Swamp have their share of the public advantages. The discanal; and some others. What return has ever been bursements in relation to the public lands, and the nureceived for these vast expenditures? and what is the merous grants which have been made of them for the value of these expenditures! and what is the value of purposes of education and internal improvements, are the stock of these canals! A bill is now pending for at least equivalent to all the benefits enjoyed by the peothe assumption of the Dutch loan, due by the cities in ple in the Atlantic States from the disbursements of the this District, making about two millions more on ac Government. It is a mistake to suppose that the public count of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal.

money expended at any place is essentially beneficial to How will the States apply these funds? Some of the contiguous population. The supplies and property them are constructing works in bebalf of the State, and purchased may come from a distant part of the Union. will probably apply them in that way; but most of the But whilst the advantages of this measure, either to States will invest the money in subscriptions to stock in the States or the Union, are of a doubtful character, the corporations, and thus increase the power and influence objections to it are of the most serious kind. The first of these dangerous monopolies.

difficulty is the very great doubt as to the power of ConRailroads are at this time the most popular kind of in gress to make such a disposition of the proceeds of the ternal improvements, and when constructed by corpora. public lands. With the exception of Louisiana and Flotions, with the chartered privileges which have been rida, these lands were ceded by several of the States to conferred on them in the eastern States, are the most the United States, and the rights and powers of this Gov. dangerous monopolies wbich have ever been permitted ernment over them were derived from those cessions, to exist in a free country. They are merely private which have been confirmed by the constitution. We ways, and no person can use them, or pass over them, I must then look not only to the terms and conditions of

APRIL 28, 1836.)

Land Bill.


the grants, but to the circumstances and purposes for shall be considered as a common fund for the use and which they were made. The United States were carry- / benefit of such of the United States as have become, or ing on a war, and had become deeply involved in debt; shall become, members of the confederation or federal they had the civil and military expenses of a Govern alliance of the said States, Virginia inclusive, according ment to meet, whilst they were destitute of revenue, and to their respective proportions in the general charge and had no power to raise one dollar, either by direct or in- expenditure, and shall be faithfully and bona fide disdirect taxation. Their only reliance under the confed. posed of for that purpose, and for no other use or pureration was upon requisitions on the States. Some of pose whatsoever." the States possessed extensive tracts of waste lands, The act of cession of Massachusetts provides that the whilst others possessed none; and the latter contended | lands were to be “ceded or relinquished to the United that these lands ought to be ceded to the confederation, States, to be disposed of for the coinmon benefit of the for the security of the public creditors, and as a common same, agreeably to the resolve of Congress of October fund for the benefit of the Union.

10, 1780.” Connecticut “released and ceded her right Maryland and Rhode Island had refused to join in the of jurisdiction and soil to the country one hundred and confederation on the ground of this complaint. The twenty miles west of the western boundary of Pennsyl. Congress had repeatedly urged the States to cede their vania, to the United States in Congress, for the common lands to the confederacy, and in October, 1780, adopted use and benefit of said States, Connecticut included.” a resolution of which the following is an extract:

The cession of Georgia provides that the lands conResolved, That the unappropriated lands that may veyed shall be considered as a common fund for the use be ceded or relinquished to the United States by any and benefit of the United States, Georgia included, and particular State, pursuant to the recommendation of shall be faithfully disposed of for that purpose, and for Congress of the 6th of September last, shall be disposed no other use or purpose whatsoever.” of for the common benefit of the United States, and be Whether, therefore, we regard the situation of the settled and formed into distinct republican States, which States at the time, and the object of the cessions, as apshall become members of the federal Union, and have parent from the circumstances under which they were the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and indepen-made, or the language of the acts of cession, it appears dence, as the other States:

perfectly clear that those lands, so far as the right of " That the said lands shall be granted or settled at property was concerned, were vested in the United such times, and under such regulations, as shall here. States, or such of them as had joined the confederacy, after be agreed on by the United States in Congress as and were to constitute a common fund, for the benefit sembled, or any nine or more of them.”

of such States, in their federative capacity, and not in The grants of the several States were made in pursu. their separate capacity, as independent sovereignties. ance of this resolution of Congress, and all refer to it; 1 The States were to share in this fund, in proportion to and this resolution shows what was the intention and ob- the general charge of expenditure, as apportioned by ject of Congress. It proves that the Congress had two Congress among the States. So far as the expenses of objects in view in obtaining the cessions from the States: the confederacy could be defrayed from the proceeds of one to promote the settlement of the territory and the these lands, the requisitions upon the States were to that formation of States to be admitted into the Union; the extent diminished, and in the same proportion as the other, the disposal of the lands for the common benefit States were assessed. But the rule of apportionment of the United States; not for the common benefit of the adopted in this billis entirely different from that prescribseveral States, or the States in their separate and sove- ed in the grant of Virginia. The bill assumes as a rule reign capacity, but for the benefit of the wbole in their | the federal population, which is a principle of political confederate capacity.

power, compounded of free and slave population. The In pursuance of the aforesaid resolution of Congress, rule adopted by Virginia was that of the general charge the State of New York passed an act authorizing the and expenditure as established by the articles of confed. cession of its lands. The following extract from the pre- eration, which provided “ That all charges of war, and amble explains the object:

all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common “Whereas nothing under Divine Providence can more defence or general welfare, and allowed by the United effectually contribute to the tranquillity and safety of States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of the United States of America than a federal alliance on a common Treasury, which shall be supplied by the sevsuch liberal principles as will give satisfaction to its re eral States, in proportion to the value of all land within spective members; and whereas the articles of confeue- | each State, granted to or surveyed for any person, as ration and perpetual union, recommended by the hon such land, and the buildings and improvements thereon, orable Congress of the United States of America, have shall be estimated according to such modes as the United not proved acceptable to all the States, it having been States in Congress assembled shall from time to time diconceived that a portion of the waste and uncultivated rect and appoint." If there was any authority for a diviterritory within the limits or claims of certain States sion of the proceeds of the lands among the States, this ought to be appropriated as a common fund for the ex bill has departed from the rule laid down in the cession penses of the war; and the people of the State of New of Virginia, and assumed a principle then wholly unYork being, on all occasions, disposed to manifest their known. The language of the Virginia grant is very regard for !heir sister States, and their earnest desire to strong and guarded; and it not only provides that the promote the general interest and security, and more es-lands shall be a common fund for the United States, but pecially to accelerate the federal alliance, by removing, adds that they shall be faithfully and bona fide disposed as far as it depends upon them, the beforementioned im- of for that purpose, and for no other use or purpose pediment to its final accomplishment." .

whatsoever." They were not to be disposed of for the Here it is expressly stated that the object of the ces- benefit of the several States, but for that of the United sion was to appropriate the lands as a common fund for States, or the confederacy, which, under the confederathe expenses of the war, which is wholly incompatible / tion, was regarded as the general Government, with heavy with the idea that they were to be a common fund to be charges upon it, and then carrying on a war. Accorddivided among the States, or for the benefit of the ing to the express terms of the Virginia and Georgia States, in their several capacities.

grants, this fund could be applied to no other purThe act of cession of Virginia provides that all the pose whatsoever than the benefit of the confederacy. lands within the territory so ceded to the United States The intention of the grants was to provide a fund for the SENATE.]

Land Bill.

[APRIL 28, 1836.

confederacy, not for the States, which, possessing the The power of taxation excited more alarm and occapower of taxation, could provide for themselves.

sioned a more determined resistance than any other in It has been contended that the clause “ Virginia inclu- the constitution; it was the point against which that dissive," proves that the fund was held in trust for the tinguished champion of popular rights, Patrick Henry, States; but there is no just foundation for this argument, directed his powerful eloquence. as that clause was evidently inserted only from abundant This bill will withdraw one entire branch of the pubcaution, to secure to the granting States their share in lic revenue, and of course throw all the expenses of this the benefits of the fund, when applied to the purposes Government on to the other. It is true it is limited to of the confederacy, and which would diminish the re five years, but the principle leads to this result; and, quisitions to be made upon the States. These cessions when once adopted, it will be acted on from time to were confirmed by the constitution, with their conditions. | time. The great champion of this measure admits that

The Senator from Tennessee (Mr. White] has refer this will probably be the case, and says it is the greatest red to the opinions of the President as to the power of recommendation of the bill. Congress, expressed in his annual message in 1830, re Why shall this Government tax the people to raise garding a division of the surplus revenue among the money to distribute among the States? Will ibe people Stales. But the President then suggests doubts as to or the States be benefited by this operation? And what the power of Congress; and in his veto message he says: will be its influence on our institutions and the relations “ The constitution of the United States did not delegate between the States and the Union? Would not such a to Congress the power to abrogate these compacts. On principle reverse the order of things, and change the the contrary, by declaring that nothing in it shall be so very system of the Government? The States possess the construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, primary taxing power; they have conferred on this Govor of any particular State, it virtually provides that these ernment a special, limited power of taxation, for certain compacts, and the rights they secure, shall remain uno specific purposes, enumerated in the constitution. But touched by the legislative power, which shall only "make if Congress shall raise taxes not only for the purposes all needful rules and regulations" for carrying them into of this Government, but also for those of the States, it effect. All beyond this would seem to be an assump- will engross the entire taxing power reserved to the tion of undelegated power.

States. These ancient compacts are invaluable monuments of What would be the inevitable effect of such a principle an age of virtue, patriotism, and disinterestedness. upon the States? Would it not be a fatal blow to their They exhibit the price that great States, which had won independence? Would it not have a more direct ten. liberty, were willing to pay for that union, without which, dency towards consolidation than any other, or all other they plainly saw, it could not be preserved.

measures ever yet adopted? Would it not accustom the Considering these lands as vested in the United States, States to depend on this Government for their revenues, and appropriated to the uses and purposes of the Union, and even for their ordinary expenditures? And is it by the original grants, and which were confirmed in the supposed that one community can be dependant on formation of the present system of government, will it another for its expenditures, without gradually losing its not be inconsistent with the grants to divide the fund independence and sinking into degradation?' It is imarising from the sale of them among the States!

possible. Would not the influence of this measure be The federal Government possesses two means of rais the most pernicious and corrupting in the Legislatures ing a revenue, both of which were derived from the of the States, and even on public sentiment among the States. The first is the public lands or domain; the se- people? This scheme of distribution is already pressed cond, the power of levying and collecting taxes, both into the service of electioneering, and has been so used direct and indirect. The power of levying taxes, like during the late election in the State I have the honor, in all other powers of this Government, is specific and part, to represent. The people have thus far resisted limited; it is in its very terms confined to the purposes its seductive influence, and maintained their integrity: of the Union: to paying the debts and providing for the how long they may be able to do it, remains to be known. common defence and general welfare of the United The suggestions of the President, in his vetu message, States. And if the language of that particular grant was in regard to the effect of this distribution scheme on the not so limited, it could receive no greater extension, as interests, the political rights, and the independence of that would be incompatible with the theory and struc the States, are deserving the most profound considerature of the Government. The Government of the Union tion. I will call the attention of the Senate to some parts was established for certain specific purposes and objects, of this message. defined in the grant of its powers; and the power to levy " It appears to me that a more direct road to consoliand collect taxes must be co-extensive with those pur- dation cannot be devised. Money is power, and in that poses, and can extend no further. To maintain that Government which pays all the public officers of the Congress can raise a revenue for purposes beyond the States will all political power be substantially concensphere of its action, is a most preposterous and alarming trated. The State Governments, if Governments they proposition. If you step one inch beyond that boundary, might be called, would lose all their independence and there is no limit to the taxing power; and it might be so dignity. The economy which now distinguishes them, exercised as to annihilate the States.

would be converted into a profusion limited only by the Considering the taxing power as confined to purposes extent of the supply. distinctly federal, it cannot be exercised, even for those “Being the dependants of the general Government, purposes, except in connexion with the other source of and looking to its Treasury as the source of all their revenue--that derived from the public lands. They were emoluments, the State officers, under whatever names both conferred by the States on the Union, and for the they might pass, and by whatever forms their duties same purposes; and the taxing power cannot be right might be prescribed, would, in effect, be the mere stifully resorted to, except to supply the deficiency there pendiaries and instruments of the central power. may be in the revenue derived from the sales of the pub-1 “I am quite sure the intelligent people of our several lic lands.

States will be satisfied, on a little reflection, that it is To dispose of the revenue accruing from the sales of neither wise nor safe to release the members of their lothe public lands upon objects not federal, not within cal Legislatures from the responsibility of levying the the action of this Government, and then supply the del taxes necessary to support their State Governments, and ficiency by taxes, would be a most palpable abuse of the I vest it in Congress, over most of whose members they taxing power.

APRIL 28, 1836.]

Land Bill.


have no control. They will not think it expedient that CLAY] remarked that this was peculiarly a beneficent Congress shall be the tax-gatherer and paymaster of measure to the whole Union. A beneficent measure their State Governments, and thus amalgamate all their truly; which, disguise it as you may, is nothing more nor officers into one mass of common interest and common less than an artful scheme of raising money from the peofeeling. It is too obvious that such a course would sub-ple by indirect taxation, to return to them again--no, vert our well-balanced system of government, and ulti not to return it to the people from whose pockets it has mately deprive us of all the blessings now derived from been taken, but to give it to their public agents. A our happy Union.

beneficent measure, which bears upon its very face a "It is difficult to perceive what advantages would ac concealed fraud; for whilst it purports to be an act of crue to the old States or the new, from the system of grace and bounty, it is, in fact and truth, only an atdistribution which this bill proposes, if it was otherwise tempt to buy up the people with their own money. unobjectionable. It requires no argument to prove that When Mr. Nileshad concluded, if three millions of dollars a year, or any other sum, shall Mr. BENTON observed that, in reading over the bill be taken out of the Treasury by this bill for distribution, that morning, as engrossed, he found that the amend. it must be replaced by the same sum collected from the menty made yesterday to the second section, defining people through some other means. The old States will what the nett proceeds of the sales of the public lands receive annually a sum of money from the Treasury, but were, did not apply to the third section, where the same they will pay in a large sum, together with the examendments were equally necessary. He, therefore, penses of collection and distribution. It is only their moved to recommit the bill, for the purpose of having proportion of seven-eighths of the proceeds of the sales it amended in that particular. At the same time that he which they are to receive, but they must pay their due made this motion, he would inform the Senate that proportion of the whole. Disguise it as we may, the there were four gentlemen, including himself, desirous bill proposes to them a dead loss in the ratio of eight to of being beard in opposition to the bill; the manner in seven, in addition to expenses and other incidental losses. which it had been carried through yesterday having This assertion is not the less true, because it may not at prevented them from addressing the Senate on it. if first be palpable. Their receipts will be in large sums, the Senate refused the motion, these gentlemen were but their payments in small ones. The Governments of determined to speak to-day; and he, for one, would the States will receive seven dollars, for which the peo

seven donars, for which the peo- | speak, if the sun rose and set on their session. He did ple of the States will pay eight. But a little considera not mean to let this bill go off without making his sentition will satisfy the people that the effect is the same as ments with regard to it known to the American peoif seven hundred dollars were given them from the Trea ple. If the recommitment were ordered, the bill would sury, for which they were at the same time to pay eight be reported to-morrow, and gentlemen would have an hundred."

opportunity of then being heard on it; otherwise, they In what situation will this distributing scheme place must speak to-day. the two Houses of Congress! Will not its pernicious in- Mr. EWING hoped the motion to recommit would fluence be felt in our entire legislation? Ought those not prevail, as the proposed amendment was altogether who are intrusted with the high and responsible duties | unnecessary. The designation in the second section of of making laws for the whole Union, and guarding and the current items of expenses to be deducted from the protecting the rights and interest of the whole country, sales of the year would be sufficient information to the to be placed in such a situation, that the local interests Department as to what Congress meant by the nett proof their respective States are brought into direct conflict ceeds of the sales of the public lands; and by it they with those of the Union? If the principle of distribution would know the principles on which they were to make is once established, and the States are taught to look to up the accounts." this Government for their revenue, will not the members . Mr. MORRIS had discovered, on reading the bill, the of Congress be instructed to oppose all important mea. same objections to it that had been mentioned by the sures calculated to diminish the general fund which Senator from Missouri; but, being altogether opposed they wish to distribute among the States? The interests to the bill in principle, he did not think it necessary to of their immediate constituents must have a controlling | refer to them. He had very little concern with the deinfluence on the minds of members, and the most zeal- tails of the bill, and thought that those gentlemen who, ous efforts to increase the fund for distribution would be like him, were opposed to it in principle, need not care regarded as the surest way to acquire local popularity for them. He should, however, be pleased if the moEvery important measure for the defence of the country, tion of the Senator from Missouri prevailed, in order or any other important object, would have to encounter that those gentlemen who intended to address the Senthis corrupting influence. This is really an agrarian ate might have an opportunity of examining it, as it was law, as it virtually provides for a division of the public now very different from the printed bill as it came from lands, not among the people, but among the States, | the committee. It was with great reluctance that he where the scramble for a further distribution or division ever intruded on the time of the Senate, but he was so of it will be renewed. And will not this occasion all the situated that he was compelled to address them on this evils and contentions which attended that species of legis- occasion; indeed, he could not refrain from doing so, lation in ancient Rome! And so far as it might accus- without violating what he considered to be an imperious tom the people of the States to look up to this central sense of duty. How long it would take him to express his Government for money, would it not in some degree sentiments on this subject, he could not say-probably bave the same pernicious influence as the laws of that not long; and he hoped the Senate would indulge him ancient republic, which distributed corn among the peo as well as other gentlemen by a postponement. There ple from the public granaries, and thus paralyzed their had been no hurrying of this bill until the last evening, industry, destroyed their independence, corrupted their and he did not see any necessity for passing it that eve. morals, and worked a change in the political institutionsning. If the objections of the Senator from Missouri of the country? The inglorious author of those laws has had any weight, the bill ought to be recommitted; and transmitted his name to remote posterity, only to be des he would suggest to its friends whether it would not be pised for weakness and political profligacy.

better to make it so plain that nothing should be left to Mr. President, I must apologize for having detained | inference in the Departments, the Senate so long, and will close with one more obser. The question was here taken on Mr. Bentor's movation. The honorable Senator fron Kentucky {Mr. tion, and it was rejected.

« AnteriorContinuar »