« AnteriorContinuar »
May 11, 1836.)
fications in the bill.] To which Mr. W. replied, that he necessary to carry on that system. Take Penobscot, or then would go for striking out the whole. "The Secre- any other place mentioned in the bill; and, he asked, tary of War, in his report, had said that, " before any was the system of fortification proposed for that point expenses should be incurred for new works, a thorough precisely such as they would adopt at this day? He rere-examination should be made," and that he would garded that amendment, offered this morning, in relaorganize a board for that purpose. And as to all those tion to the board of officers, worth more than the whole places where he was certain that fortifications would be bill. Mr. S. said the time would come when our whole necessary, he had pointed out a re-examination of them, | coast would be defended with steam. Our batteries on to see whether an improvement in the plan might not be the coast would be floating batteries, instead of batte. made, and had recommended the amount necessary to ries on land. Batteries on our inlets and peninsula bays, be expended for those objects. But in no case of new as they were termed, would be worth more than in any fortifications had he recommended an appropriation other location. They needed information on both these without a re-examination. Mr. W. was opposed to the points. The Senator from Maine, in speaking of the principle of making appropriations for a series of years. delay of the defences of the country, had asked where if made from year to year, their expenditure could be was the fortification bill? He (Mr. S.) too asked where better examined; and so careful were the framers of the it was? He meant the ordinary fortification bill. Here constitution on this point, that there was an express pro was a bill on their tables, not originating in the House hibition that appropriations should be made for a longer of Representatives, where the fortification bill usually period than two years. He was opposed to all new ap originated, but which was called a fortification. He unpropriations until they had the benefit of new and im- | derstood the ordinary fortification bill was now on their proved plans.
tables, and he would therefore prefer that this bill After some remarks from Mr. RUGGLES,
should be delayed until it was acted on. He must vote Mr. SOUTHARD said that the position in which the against this whole bill, if compelled to vote now, with bill under consideration was now placed induced him the exception of the provisions for surveys and steam to make a very few remarks, his views on the bill hav.
batteries. He intended to propose that the bill be laid ing been pretty fully given on a former occasion.
on the table: as a million of dollars of the appropriation When this bill was taken up this morning, the Senator had been stricken out, he was not prepared to say what from Missouri (Mr. BENTON] had moved to strike out would be the effect on the remainder. various appropriations, amounting to something more Mr. WHITE thought that it would be very unwise to than a million of dollars, making a reduction of that sum adopt any plan for fortifications wbich there was danger from the amount of appropriations in a bill which they they might have to abandon hereafter. The plan ought were so confidently called on a short time since to sup to be well considered, estimates and surveys furnished, port. He thought that, perhaps, by a little further delay, and all the necessary information obtained from scientific they might possibly find another million stricken out. Šo and practical men, before they commenced expenditures far as it regarded the million having been stricken out, for such important works as were intended to endure he had no objection, and would not have objected to for ages. It would be remarked, that when the report the process being carried on further.
of the Secretary of War was brought in, two plans were There was now a new principle proposed, which was, before Congress: one was, the bill making appropriations that the new works be commenced, and appropriating for entirely new works, then before them; and the other the whole amount, and dividing it into two years, and was the customary fortification bill, making appropriathe ne ppropriation into three years. He (Mr. s.) tions for such fortifications as were already in a state of had at least doubts as to new fortifications being com progress. Upon looking at the report, it plainly apmenced before old ones were completed. He believed peared that the Secretary recommended (all apprehen. it to be the true policy of the country to complete the sions of a war with a foreign power naving
sions of a war with a foreign power having ceased, and old ones first, because they were the primary ones, and there being full time for the necessary preparations and the most important to the country, and, if neglected, examinations for new works) that appropriations for will fall to ruin. He would have no difficulty in voting these should be suspended till such examination were for appropriations to complete them, provided they made; while he advised that they should progress, as were not so large as that they could not be economically rapidly as circumstances would permit, with the works expended. As no appropriations were made last year, already begun. Immediately after, the Secretary reit would perhaps be proper to increase the ordinary ap. 1 commended the creation of a board of officers for the propriations for this year. But there was a certain limit examination, as well of the old works as for surveys and beyond which they could not go, without they were re-examinations for contemplated new ones, to determine gardless of economy. He felt reluctant to commence on the best plans for improving the one and for comany new fortifications, unless they could go on with the mencing and completing the other. The Secretary also old ones; and, according to the reports, they could not said, that if the appropriations were early made, most of command the labor of the country beyond the comple: the new works could be put in operation this season: but tion of the old fortifications, without pressing upon the he went on to add, that, unless the corps of engineers basiness and interests of the country. He was of the were increased, it would be unnecessary to make any apopinion that all that could be expended the present propriations, because the number of officers now in the year, might be expended in completing and arming the corps was barely sufficient to attend to the completion of old fortifications. If it were true that injustice had the old works; and as there would be no officers to subeen done to Maine, or that injustice had been done to perintend the disbursement of the money, it must lie idle. New Jersey, let justice, he said, be done to them here. Mr. W. here made quotations from the report of the after. Mr. S. spoke of a change in the opinions of Secretary of War. His interpretation of this report was, public officers in regard to the system of fortifications, that the Secretary recommended that they should create and of the great number of men necessary to be armed this board of officers for examinations and surveys, and, in occupying them. Every day was adding nerve to in the mean time, appropriate $100,000 for making ex. the arm of our defence in our increase of wealth and periments for the improvement of steam batteries, and population, and there was consequently a great change go on as rapidly as possible with the old works. We in the necessity of carrying out that system to its full would then get the advantage of all the improvements in extent. Then the difficulty was, as to what point they steam machinery that were advancing from day to day, should stop at The Secretary of War did not think it I have the benefit of the information and suggestions of
[Mar 12, 1836.
this board of officers, and, at the same time, have the and the Senate could add to or reduce the amount of country protected to a considerable extent by the com- appropriations contained in them, as they thought propletion of the old works. Why should they, he asked, per. They had before them two propositions; to comdeprive themselves of all these advantages, at a time plete old and to erect new fortifications. (le thought when there was no prospect of hostility from any foreign they ought, as far as possible, to complete the old fortiPower, by unnecessary haste? It did seem to him that fications before new ones were taken up. By pursuing it would be an unwise and improvident expenditure of the course indicated, which was that of waiting for the money to commence any new works that they might action of the other House, it would prevent confusion, find it necessary hereafter to abandon, because not caused by the Senate sending their fortification bill to adapted to the situation of the country, the improve the House of Representatives, and the House of Reprements of the age, and the purposes for which they were sentatives sending theirs to the Senate; while both intended.
branches would be acting on the same subject in dis. Mr. SHEPLEY contended that the opinion of the Sec tinct bills. Mr. C. then moved to lay the bill on the retary of War had been misconstrued. He thought the table. Secretary had declared the reverse of an opinion that Mr. BENTON demanded the yeas and nays. we should not proceed with new fortifications during the | Mr. CLAYTON thought the Senator from Missouri present year. Mr. S. adverted to the language of the [Mr. BenTON] would jeopardize the bill by taking it up report of that officer, in which he had said that it could now, when the Senate was so thin, and suggested not be doubted that fortifications at certain points, des- whether it would not be better to let it lie over until toignated in this bill, would be necessary; and that it would morrow. be to the interest of the country that they be constructed. Mr. BENTON said the Senator from Delaware had Here, then, was a decided opinion expressed in favor of shown a disposition throughout to go on with the fortifi. these new fortifications; and let the vote be what it cations, and had manifested that disposition while serymight, he hoped, if it was against the bill, it would not ing with him on the committee; and there was no one to be claimed to be based on the position that it was in ac- whose suggestions he would listen with more respect cordance with the recommendation of the Secretary of than his. But, under the circumstances, he was not War. There was none so blind as those who would not willing to postpone it any longer. see. But for those who desired to come to the light in Mr. CALHOUN was not disposed to elude the quesregard to the fortification at Penobscot bay, they would tion, but wished to meet it fairly. find that all had been done there that could throw any | Mr. Calhoun's motion was then rejected-yeas 17, light on the subject. An examination in detail bad been nays 22, as follows: made, and no further knowledge could be acquired. YEAS-Messrs. Calhoun, Clayton, Crittenden, Davis, They had all the necessary information before them now, | Ewing of Ohio, Kent, Knight, Leigh, Moore, Naudain, in relation to the necessity, importance, and expense of Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Soutbard, Swift, Tomlinthe work.
son, White-17. Mr. SOUTHARD said, as there had been upwards of NAYS--Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, a million of dollars of the appropriations stricken out of Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hendricks, Hill, Hubbard, the bill by various amendments, which changed the fea- King of Georgia, Linn, McKean, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, tures of it, and in order that they might better understand Rives, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, the bill as amended, he would move to lay it on the table, Wright--22. and that it be printed in its amended form.
Mr. BENTON observed that the fairest way of getting Mr. WEBSTER said he wished to see the bill as it at the whole matter would be to take the question sugthen stood, and hoped the motion to print would prevail. gested by the argument of the Senator from Tennessee
Mr. BENTON observed that it was wholly unneces. yesterday; that was, on a motion to strike out all the sary to lay the bill on the table for the purpose of print-new works. This would be the best way of getting at ing it. Any gentleman might in a moment see it in the the sense of the Senate; and he would withdraw his shape in which it then stood, by getting from the Sec. amendment, in order to give the gentleman an opporturetary the items that were stricken out, and drawing his nity of making a motion to that effect. pen through them on the bill which belonged to his file. Mr. WHITE would not submit any motion to strike
Mr. EWING moved that the Senate adjourn: lost out; and if any of the fortifications were to be retained, Ayes 17, noes 21.
he was inclined to think there was as much merit in the Mr. SOUTHARD then withdrew his motion to lay the fortifications at Penobscot bay as any other. His objecbill on the table, and moved to print the amendments. tions were to appropriating the whole sum in gross, to This motion was also lost: Ayes 17, noes 21.
be expended in different years. He had made no mo. On motion of Mr. KING of Alabama, the Senate then tion, and would not make any now. proceeded to the consideration of executive business; Mr. BUCHANAN said the report of the Secretary of after which,
War on the subject of fortifications was one of the ablest It adjourned.
state papers he had ever read. He believed it bad met
with the decided approbation of every member of the THURSDAY, MAY 12.
Senate. The views of the Secretary were practical, FORTIFICATIONS.
and commended themselves to the common sense of all
of us, whether military men or not. The principles esThe bill making appropriations for the purchase of
| tablished by that report were, that it would be vain and sites, the collection of materials, and for the construc impracticable for us to attempt to erect fortifications tion of fortifications, was taken up as the special order along our coast at every point where an enemy might of the day; the question being on Mr. Benton's mo effect a landing; and if we even could do so, it would tion to strike out the appropriation of $101,000 for forti render a large standing army necessary to provide them fications at Penobscot bay, and to insert in lieu thereof all with garrisons, and would thus be in opposition to $75,000 to be applied to the same object in the year | the genius of our institutions. That fortifications should 1836, and $75,000 in the year 1837.
only be erected to defend our commercial cities from Mr. CALHOUN was not disposed to depart from the the attack of an enemy; and these ought to be constructusual course of legislation in this case. Bills for fortified merely for the purpose of resisting an assault by sea; cations usually originated in the House of Representatives, I because it was not to be imagined that an enemy would
Mar 12, 1836.]
or could ever sit down before them on the land side, | and, therefore, under all these unavoidable delays, no and besiege them regularly, according to the European use could be made of the appropriations this season. It custom. The principles of this report would not only appeared to him that these appropriations at this time reduce the number of our fortifications, but their size, would only have the effect of changing the deposites of and consequently the expense of their construction. the public moneys in the deposite banks from the name This, with him, was an important object, as he should of the United States to the names of the disbursing offinever be willing to involve the country in unnecessary cers. It would be nothing more; for the money must expenditures, merely because we had a large surplus in remain in these banks without a possibility of using it. the Treasury.
Mr. PRESTON said that laborers had by this time What, then, did the present bill, as it had been amend probably made their arrangements for employment dued, propose? Simply to appropriate money for the erec ring the season, and no doubt great inconvenience would tion of those fortifications which had been specially rec arise in procuring them; and if procured, it would be at ommended by the Secretary of War as necessary for the an increased expense. There were two fortification defence of our commercial cities. Was there a single bills: one emanating from the Military Committee, desig. Senator who did not admit that it was necessary to erect nating the points of location; and the other from the fortifications at the proposed points! He believed we Committee on Finance, making the necessary appropria. were unanimous upon this subject. Then what was the tions. Heretofore the practice had been for the other question? It was one merely of time. Shall we appropri. House to originate these bills; and the fault of the delay ate the money this year, or wait until the next? For his was not properly the fault of the Senate, but of the part, he was ready and willing to concur in what he un House of Representatives. The Senate now went into derstood to have been distinctly recommended by the the consideration of one branch of this subject, while Secretary, and make the appropriations at once. It was they were left in the dark in regard to the other. The true that he had also suggested the propriety of estab. Military Committee, at the commencement of the seslishing a board of engineers for the purpose of making sion, found us under peculiar circumstances. We were further surveys and examinations before any of the works then threatened with a war, and, fearing the House should be commenced, and had asked an appropriation might not get a bill up in time to meet the emergency, for this purpose. But why should we delay making the had brought this bill forward; but now matters were appropriations for the construction of the works until changed. The temper and judgment which characterthis was done? Several of these fortifications had been ized the report of the Secretary of War was such, that already surveyed; and, in regard to these, all that was he was much disposed to acquiesce in its recommendanecessary, before commencing their construction, was tions, and he very much distrusted his own judgment to reduce their dimensions to the standard of the report. when differing from him in this matter. He differed As soon as this was done, they might be commenced im
from the Senator from Ohio (Mr. EwING] in regard to mediately. At an early period of the session, we had the construction he bad put upon the report; and the resolved unanimously in favor of making all necessary President concurred in opinion with the Secretary of appropriations for the defence of the country. The War against the opinion of the engineers. Treasury was now full; and he could perceive no good There were certain fortifications which had been exreason for postponing until the next year what we might cepted by the Secretary of War in his report, who had as well, and better, do at the present session. Let us suggested the prosecution of them under the peculiar place the money at the disposition of the Department, circumstances with wbich they were identified, and had and let the fortifications be commenced as soon as the therefore acquiesced in the prosecution of some of the preliminary surveys could be completed.
fortifications, while he rejected others. He could not Mr. EWING concurred with the Senator from Penn tell how far the principles laid down by the Secretary sylvania as to the general import of the report of the would be retained in the provisions of this bill; but he Secretary of War; and also concurred with him in the inferred that the general purpose of the Secretary was, opinion that it was a very able state paper. He further that Congress should examine this matter with full deagreed with the Senator from Pennsylvania, that the liberation; and the general conclusion was, that the prinquestion as to the construction of these fortifications was ciples laid down by him should be deliberately applied the proper time for commencing them. Now, from all to all these works. He had come to the conclusion that he could gather from the report of the Secretary, it ap. the Secretary believed those works which he had despeared that there would be no advantage to be obtained ignated might be carried on under the direction of the by commencing these works at this time, and that it Government on certain contingencies, and that future would be a departure from the well-established policy changes might be made which would require a correof this Government to go on with them before making | sponding change of plans to meet them. In regard to the necessary surveys and estimates. It would appear | many of these works, plans of them had been frequentfrom the Secretary's report that there were certainly approved, and the estimates of the necessary labor . works which did not need examination; but, on turning stood a matter of record for the last twelve or fifteen to another page, it would be seen that the Secretary years. Most of those of the first class had been comsays that a re-examination should be made in every case, pleted; and the present bill proposed to carry into com"in order to apply these principles." The Secretary pletion those of the second class, and part of those of told them that the whole plan was originally deficient, the third class. Penobscot and Kennebec were of the though well adapted to the situation of the country at third class, and also the fortification at Provincetown, at the time; but that it was now inefficient, and ought to Cape Cod. He believed Provincetown ought to have
Cape Cod. He believed Provincetowi be changed. Mr. E. continued his objections to making been of the first class, as it was of primary importance; appropriations for new works before the necessary sur | but the Secretary of War had differed from this classifiveys and estimates were made, and contended that they cation; and the President, looking directly to the quesought to wait for the result of the examinations of this tion, had decided with the Department, and differed board of officers to be appointed on the recommenda- from the bureau. The idea of defending the coast by tion of the Secretary of War. If this bill should now steam was not new, but was as old as 1816, although a be passed, it would take some time to get it through the new and more powerful application of it had been inother House. The bill to increase the corps of engi- vented. The springing up of new towns and cities, the neers must also be passed by that body; and it would development of new energies, and the rapid improve. take some time to get them together and instruct them; I ment of the country, had already produced a change in
[May 12, 1836.
the state of things different from what existed when the would be enlarged this year in consequence of the failoriginal plan of fortifications was adopted.
| ure of the fortification bill last session, and there having Mr. P. went into an inquiry as to the length of time been no appropriations for completing the fortifications that would be required to put up these buildings. The last year."" Secretary of War, he said, had recommended that a The bill now before the Senate, providing for the general appropriation be made, so that as soon as works erection of new forts, presents a different question, were found to be necessary at any given point, they wbich ought not to be blended with that of the ordinary should be commenced, with a view to a gradual com- annual appropriations for fortifications. The question is, pletion; and the chairman of the Military Committee whether Congress will enlarge and extend the system of (Mr. Benton] had moved, in pursuance of those recom fortifications. As to the precise extent and comprehenmendations, to change the appropriations to Penobscot siveness of the plan which it may be advisable to adopt, from $101,000, to be expended in one year, to $150,000, or which the security of the country requires, that is to be expended in two years, and the appropriation to not now to be decided, except so far as the present bill be divided into $75,000, to be expended in each year. It may involve that inquiry. This bill authorizes the erecwas proposed to commence from the stump, and finish tion of twelve new forts, and appropriates one million that work in eighteen months. Heretofore, it had been three hundred thousand dollars for the purchase of sites the practice of Congress, in undertaking a series of and the construction of works the present year. For works, to adopt the mode of appropriating a yearly one of these forts there is an appropriation of only amount at every session, by which the subject annually twelve thousand dollars; and as that is so small a work, passed the ordeal of examination by a committee. This it may be thrown out of the question, and the number pledge to make these appropriations for a series of of works reduced to eleven. These are all at important years was different from an appropriation for the fiscal points, for the security of towns and harbors, which will year; and he would prefer that so much for 1836, and afford safe shelters in time of war for our public and so much for 1837, should be particularly specified; and private vessels. The entire expenditures for these forts, when they had acted on this amendment, he would offer he believed, would be something like three millions. some suggestions in relation to the proposed fortifica- The general question of the defence of our maritime tions at Kennebec.
frontier, and the extent and comprehensiveness of a plan Mr. NAUDAIN moved to amend the amendment by of fortifications, is, in many points of view, one which striking out the $75,000 for the year 1837, leaving the only scientific and professional men can be supposed to $75,000 for the year 1836.
be competent to decide. Perhaps there are few, if any Mr. N. then observed that the reasons which in. members in this body, who will feel themselves very duced him to make this motion were drawn from the competent to decide a question so intimately connected report of the Secretary of War, which recommended with the art and science of war. We must, to some that surveys should be made before commencing any extent, follow some other guide than our own judgnew works. He believed, also, that one half of the ap. ments; we must look to those whom we believe to be propriation would be sufficient to keep the workmen in competent to direct our legislation to the engineer deemployment for the remainder of this year, and until the partment and to the executive officers, acting under the middle of the next. For one, he was opposed to making high responsibilities of their stations. appropriations for so long a time in advance.
But as to the objects to be attained by fortifications, Mr. SHEPLEY showed that different reports and ex and how far it is safe and wise to rely on them for the aminations had been made in regard to the fortifications security of the country, these are questions of which we at Penobscot bay. That the Department could never may feel qualified to form opinions, and to act from our make contracts beyond the appropriation, was a regula- own judgments. We are not now called upon to detertion well understood. It was judged this fortification mine these questions, unless it shall be thought that the would cost $150,000, and had been increased to that fortifications provided for in this bill will commit the sum from $101,000. He went into a calculation of the Government to a more extensive system than it is advicost, whether it should be constructed of brick or stone, sable to adopt. Few, he apprehended, would be of this to show the disadvantage and want of economy in mak opinion, who are in favor of any enlargement of the foring limited or partial contracts, which would be unavoid tifications on the seaboard. able, in case the appropriation for the second year. The main question presented by the present bill, as should be cut off.
he had already stated, was, whether there should be any Mr. NILES said it was not his intention to have taken extension of the system of fortifications on the Atlantic any part in the debate on this bill previous to the discus-border, and whether it shall be commenced at the pres. sion of yesterday; and so little attention had he given to ent time? the subject, that he was scarcely aware of the fact that The Senator from Pennsylvania (Mr. BUCHANAN) has one of the forts authorized to be constructed was to be in remarked that the only question was one as to time; but the State he had the honor in part to represent. That fact, this can only be correct by regarding the preliminary with some other considerations not necessary to be dis question, whether we shall enlarge the present system closed, had induced him to present his views on this sub- of fortifications, as conceded; which, I take it, is not the ject. The objection we had just heard from the Sena- fact. The Senator from Ohio [Mr. EWING] seems to tor from South Carolina, (Mr. Calhoun,] that the appro suppose that this bill is a mere humbug; and says it can priations for the new forts were in a separate bill, and have no other operation than to transfer the money apthat the entire appropriations for fortifications ought to propriated from one account to another, because no part be embraced in one bill, and originate in the House of of it can be expended the present year. But the genRepresentatives, he thought had no force in it; for it ap tleman is mistaken in his conclusion, even if his prempeared to him more proper that the new fortifications | ises were admitted. Whether the money can or will should be presented in a separate bill, and be subject be actually expended the present year, is not very to a distinct consideration. The bill in the House is important. The main question is, whether we shall the ordinary appropriation bill for fortifications, and enlarge the system of fortifications, and whether we only provides for continuing the works now under con shall settle the question at this time? If there is to be struction; it can involve no new principle, and no ques- any extension of the plan of fortifications, now is the tion of general interest. The ordinary annual appropri- time to do it. Now is the time to settle the principle, and ations will of course be made, and be supposed the sums 1 to decide upon the new works, so far at least as depends
MAY 12, 1836.]
on our legislation. If the principle is, once establish- | has taken a strong hold of our population, and its selfish ed by law that further defences are to be provided for influence is everywhere seen and felt: it pervades every the security of the seaboard, it is of little consequence department of business, and every branch of industry, whether the works which may be authorized are con- | And, instead of being checked, it is encouraged by legis. structed in one year or in several years. The principle lation; as it has found its way into the legislative assembeing settled, the necessary appropriations must be made blies, and exerts its pernicious influence there. In the as there is occasion for them.
graspings of this spirit, there is, perhaps, no worse diIt has been contended by the Senator from Missouri, rection that can be given to it than in its monopolizing [Mr. BENTON,] that the plan for fortifications is antago- | the public lands. nistical to the bill which has now passed the Senate for! In regard to the revenues from customs, they depend the distribution of the proceeds of the sales of the public on law that Congress cannot, for some years at least, lands among the States, and all other schemes of distri- control. By the operation of the compromise act of bution. This, I apprehend, is correct, so far as the 1833, the revenue from this source is diminishing, and principle of this measure is concerned, as it is incom- / will fall down to its minimum in 1842. At that period it patible with any scheme of distribution of the public has been estimated by the Senator from New York (Mr. * funds which shall withdraw them from the control of WRIGHT) that it will not exceed ten millions. This es. this Government; for although it may be true, as is con- | timate is based on the amount of importations of the last tended, that very little can be expended on new works year, with an allowance for that gradual augmentation this year, yet, if the measure is sanctioned by law, and which the increase of population and consumption of the its execution will require an expenditure equal to the dutiable articles may require. This estimate, I think, surplus there may be in the Treasury, after providing will be found not to vary far from the truth; and this for the ordinary and other objects of extraordinary ex- sum, together with the revenue from the public lands, penditure, it ought to be regarded as a different objec-which at that period can hardly be supposed to exceed tion to any other disposition of this surplus.
two or three millions, and may fall short of that amount, If it is decided to extend this system of fortifications, will be several millions less than the ordinary expendiwe must view the measure in connexion with the pres tures of the Government. The time is not far distant ent condition of the finances, and what they will be when, instead of being troubled w
when, instead of being troubled with a surplus, there likely to be for some years to come. The finances of will be a deficit in the public revenue, which will have the United States, for several years at least, will depend to be supplied by increasing the taxes in some form. on laws and circumstances wbich Congress cannot con. The surplus the present year, and a small one of a trol. The swelling flood flowing into your Treasury the few millions the two following years, must be regarded past year and first quarter of the present, has arisen as the entire resources of the Government, to be applied from causes which cannot be permanent: these causes to any extraordinary objects, either to complete the deare speculations in the public lands. of the present sum fences of the country, or of any other description. The in the Treasury, more than twenty millions have been surplus the present year will not probably much exceed received from the sales of the lands the last year and a fifteen millions, after meeting the usual demands on the quarter. I am aware that some gentlemen seem to sup Treasury for Indian treaties, the Florida war, and de. pose that this source of revenue is inexbaustible, and is fence of the western frontier. to continue at the same rate for all time to come. This Whatever it may be advisable to do in extension of is a great delusion. Should the present rage of specu- the permanent defences of the country, now is the time lation continue, in a few years the most valuable portions to do it, or at least to settle the principle. If it is not of the public lands will be in the hands of speculators. determined upon now, the present resources of the GovThis source of revenue, instead of being inexhaustible, ernment will no doubt be disposed of in some other way. as the imaginations of some gentlemen represent it to Some of the numerous schemes for the distribution of the be, is wasting rapidly. But, were the fact otherwise; / present surplus will be likely to prevail, unless some were the public domain as inexbaustible as the fountains measure shall receive the sanction of Congress, which of the great deep, are the resources of the people also will be inconsistent with any plan of withdrawing the without limit? Is it supposed that twenty millions a year present revenue from the control of this Government. can continue to be drawn from individuals, to be invest. Mr. N. said he desired not to be misunderstood: he ed in uncultivated lands! It is impossible. Gentlemen, would not advocate the adoption of this bill, or any plan in giving scope to their vivid imaginations, seem to over of the extension of our fortifications, merely because we look this difficulty. As well might it be supposed that now have an excess in the Treasury; and for the purpose an unnatural excitement could be kept up in the human of disposing of such surplus, he would not be influenced system by successive and continued doses of opium. In in any degree whatever in deciding the question, wheth. every department of business, a reaction must follower it is the duty of the Government to enlarge the deoveraction. This is not only a law in trade, but is a more fensive means of the country, either as to fortifications general law in all human affairs. If this course of spec or an increase of the navy, in consequence of the preulation in public lands could continue, it would absorb sent condition of the Treasury. That question should the entire capital of the country, and would paralyze all be decided upon its own merits, and independent of all its great interests. But it cannot continue, and the sales considerations of a temporary nature; and the present must soon come back to the amount required for the ability of the Treasury having arisen from temporary progress of settlements. And, so far as the Government causes, can be no argument in favor of any general and is concerned, they will soon fall below this sum, as the permanent system of expenditure, not demanded for the individual landholders who have purchased on specula security of the country. tion will become competitors with the Government in All that he would contend was, that if the present supplying the demand required for actual settlement. fortifications have been regarded as only a part of a genThis must already be the case to a considerable extent, eral plan for the protection of the seaboard, or if, from as large portions of the most valuable lands are in the the extension of our commerce, and the growth of towns, hands of capitalists, and are thrown into market by them. further defensive means are necessary to afford equal It is but a few year sago that the sales of the public lands security to all parts of the country, now is the time to were but from one to two millions per annum; and they commence the additional works which are to form a part will soon be reduced to the same amount. A spirit of of the general system. On the mere question of time, monopoly appears to be the besetting sin of the day; it I the state of our finances now, and their probable con