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[May 19, 1836.
Mr. EWING, of Ohio, said he had not mistaken or Bank of the United States, as may be necessary for the misunderstood the report of the Secretary. That re-l purpose, ought to be set apart and applied to the genport states that no more than $45,000 had been transfer- eral defence and permanent security of the country.” red from the State of Ohio, over and above what had been in this shape it was voted upon by the Senate; and upon transferred to it. The inquiry to which that report was a call of the yeas and nays, every Senator then in his an answer, was, what amount of money received for lands seat, to the number of forty-two, out of the forty-eight had been transferred? That answer, therefore, very un.members of the body, recorded his name in favor of it. fairly conveys the idea that no more than this small sum, Mr. W. said he thought he had a right to ask whethof all that was so received in Ohio, has been transferred; er this vote ought not to have been considered a pledge a statement in direct opposition to that contained in the to the country, on the part of the Senate, that all necesGlobe, which appears to be from the Treasury, or author- sary appropriations for the public defence should be first ized by it.
made out of the public moneys in the Treasury, before Without further debate, the resolution was then any other disposition should be attempted to be made of agreed to.
those moneys? He thought the inquiry could not be FORTIFICATION BILL.
considered impertinent, or improper; and he called the
attention of those Senators who had voted for that reso. The Senate then proceeded to the consideration of the lution to its fair implication, and to the measure now unbill making appropriations for the purchase of sites, the der discussion. This was the first measure for general collection of materials, and for the construction of forti- public defence, wbich had been presented for the action fications; when
of the body, since the passage of the resolution. Were Mr. WRIGHT said, when the subject was last before the defences it proposed necessary, so as to bring it the Senate he had moved an adjournment, with the in- within the pledge contained in the resolution? tention more particularly of making a reply to some To answer this inquiry, it would be proper to look of the remarks of the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. further into the resolution itself, and into the informaCALHOUN) who had then just addressed the body against tion it bad elicited. In addition to the gencral pledge the bill. So much time, however, bad elapsed, that the re-before quoted, it contained a call upon the President, and, ply intended had been principally abandoned; and as he through him, upon the proper Departments of the Govdid not see that Senator in his seat, and understood he was ernment, as to the appropriations necessary and propabsent upon official duty, he should only notice such of er to be made for the various branches of the public dehis observations as were material to the views be pro- fence, naval and military. An answer to that call, most posed to present upon the merits of the bill.
full and satisfactory, had been given, and, for his presOn the 18th day of February last, the Senate came to ent purpose, it was only necessary to refer to the clear a final vote upon a resolution offered, at an early day of and strong letter from the Secretary of War, to whose the session, by the honorable Senator from Missouri, [Mr. Department that branch of the public defences proviBENTON, ) upon the subject of appropriations for the pub-ded for by this bill particularly pertained. The Secrelic defence. All would recollect the declaration of the tary speaks with especial reference to the bill under dismover of the resolution, made at the time of its introduc cussion, and therefore his remarks are susceptible of the tion, that he considered it as antagonist to the two prop most clear and unquestionable application. The bill was ositions then before the Senate for the distribution reported from the Committee on Military Affairs, recamong the States of the public moneys in the Treasury;ommending appropriations for the commencement of the first, the land bill; and the second, the proposition new fortifications at nineteen new points upon the sea of the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. CALHOUN) so coast. The Secretary had adopted twelve, and, for the to amend the constitution of the United States as to au-l present, rejected the remaining seven appropriations. He tborize an entire distribution, for a series of years, of the had recommended delay and further examination merely surplus revenues, from whatever source derived. None as to the latter class; while he had, in the most clear and could have forgotten the protracted debate upon that unequivocal language, urged action-prompt, full and resolution, or the views 'entertained and expressed efficient action--as to the former class. by those who took part in the debate. Upon the Mr. W. said, as attempts had been made to cast doubt one side, the declarations of the honorable mover were and obscurity over the opinions of the Secretary in this sustained and enforced; and upon the other side, the matter, he should speak for himself. He would read policy of a system of fortifications was resisted by some, from the 19th and 20th pages of the report, and the while others admitted and advocated the policy and ex- language was as follows: pediency of such a system, but denied that the land bill It cannot be doubled but that fortifications at the folwas antagonist to the proposed appropriations. The lowing places, enumerated in this bill, will be necessary: subject occupied the principal attention of the Senate At Penobscot bay, for the protection of Bangor, &c. for some four weeks, and a very slight modification only At Kennebec river. was adopted.
At Portland. The palpable and declared object of the resolution At Portsmouth. was to present to the Senate the great and vital ques At Salem. tion, whether the surplus revenues in the national Treas At New Bedford. ury should be given away, as gratuities to the States, At New London. before the public defences were provided for, or wheth Upon Staten island. er those defences should first command the attention Ai Soller's flats. and favor of the national Legislature. The resolution, A redoubt on Federal point. as drawn and offered, related to the surplus, and neces. For the Barancas. sarily presented this question. The modification mere. For Fort St. Philip. ly removed the application of the resolution from the “ These proposed works all command the approach surplus revenue to the whole revenues of the Gov. to places sufficiently important to justify their construcernment, and made the pledge more broad than the tion under any circumstances that will probably exist. mover of the original resolution had proposed. In its I think, therefore, that the public interest would be pro. amended shape, it stood in the following words:
moted by the passage of the necessary appropriations for Resolved, That so much of the revenue of the United them. As soon as these are made, such of the positions States, and the dividends of stock receivable from the as may appear to require it can be examined, and the
Mar 19, 1836.]
. Fortification Biu.
form and extent of the works adapted to the existing vidual Senator, to know whether there is one member circumstances, if any change be desirable. The con. of that body who will deny, or even question, the necesstruction of those not needing examination can commence sity of one of the works now proposed by the bill. He immediately, and that of the others as soon as the plans did not believe he should hear a voice raised in doubt, are determined upon. By this proceeding, therefore, a much less in denial, of the necessity of each and every season may be saved in the operations.”
one of these works. How, then, was the Senate to reSuch, Mr. President, (said Mr. W.,) are the expres fuse the appropriations, and preserve the pledge it had sions and the opinions of the bead of the Department, given to the country, that the public defences were first upon which the call has been made, on this important to occupy its attention, and that provision for these desubject of fortifications. Are those expressions and fences, so far as such provision might be necessary, was opinions equivocal? Has not the Secretary told us that first to be made from the public moneys in the Treashe believed “the public interests would be promoted ury, and the public revenues to be received into that by the passage of the necessary appropriations for them?” | Treasury. Has he not told us, that by making these appropria- Objections to the bill, however, had been made, and tions now, "a season may be saved in the operations?" | Mr. W. said he would detain the Senate for a few moWhere, then, is the doubt? Where the equivocation? ments, to examine some of those objections.
The bill originally contained provisions for nineteen new The first in order which he would notice was, that works. The Secretary selects and recommends, une new discoveries in the art and science of defence might quivocally, appropriations for twelve of the nineteen, supersede the present propositions; that the power of and as unequivocally recommends a postponement of ap. steam, and its application to the defences of a nation, propriations and further surveys and examinations as to were yet little known, and had been little tried; and that the remaining seven. He meets fairly and fully the future experience might prove that this power would whole bill, and gives his opinions and his reasons as to furnish a preferable substitute for the permanent deevery part of it. Whence, then, the pretence that his fences proposed by the bill. In answer to this objection, recommendations are obscure, and his opinions doubt. he would merely ask, in sincerity and candor, whether a ful, as to the works still embraced in the bill? The single member of the Senate had brought his mind to Committee on Military Affairs, since the receipt of the the belief that our important commercial towns, our report of the Secretary, have considered his views, and principal and most useful harbors, and the mouths of made their bill conform to them. They have recom our great navigable rivers, which were susceptible of mended that the appropriations for the seven works, perfect defence by permanent, stationary, and durable for which the Secretary does not recommend immediate fortifications, were to be left to any description of movappropriations, should be stricken from the bill; and the able and floating defences, wbether moved and govern. Senate has unanimously agreed to the amendments. ed by steam, or by the natural elements? Did any man, They have been made, and the bill is now precisely who had in the slightest degree examined this subject, what the Secretary tells us the public interests require delude himself with the notion that a commercial nation, that it should be. Whence, then, (Mr. W.' said, he with a coast more extended and exposed than any other again asked, these attempts to prove that the opinion of nation of the world, and with the means in its Treasury the Secretary was doubtful as to the remaining twelve for the construction of permanent and secure defences, proposed new fortifications? The answer was clear and wis either to wait for new discoveries as to the power and conclusive, and he should only repeat what had been application of steam, or to trust its wealth and comalready said by the honorable Senator from South Caro- merce to the protection of Aoating batteries, instead of Jina (Mr. PRESTON when he gave it. Gentlemen had well-constructed and immovable fortifications? For taken the expressions of the Secretary applicable to himself, (Mr. W. said,) bis enthusiasm as to modern imthe seven works for which he recommended the suspen- | provements bad carried his mind to no such conclusions. sion of immediate appropriations, and had applied He had not doubted, and did not now doubt, that steam, them to the twelve works in reference to which he had as connected with harbor defence, was to be made a given the opinion “that the public interests would be most important agent in the great work in which we promoted by the passage of the necessary appropria were engaged, and he was prepared to go as far as ex. tions for them.” Any one, who would read with care perience and wisdom would warrant in providing for its the report of the Secretary, would detect this error, | use; but he would not, for one moment, admit that the and absolve that officer from all obscurity or equivo important points upon our coast, susceptible of permacation.
nent land defences, were to be left to the uncertain and It should be further remembered that the President, doubtful protection of moving batteries of any descripupon whom the call was made, has especially and fully tion. He had not heard it advanced that the science of endorsed the recommendation of the Secretary of War. defence by fortifications was very imperfect, or that imSo far, therefore, as the information and opinions of the provements were to be soon anticipated; and having executive departments can establish a necessity for the come to the conclusion that these were the defences works for which the bill under consideration provides, we which the country required, at the points named in the are able to pronounce, without doubt or hesitation, that bill, and that the art of constructing them had been, in they are necessary to the public defence.
all essential particulars, as perfect for centuries as it now What, then, (Mr. W. said) he must ask, is the condition is, he was prepared to give bis support to the bill, withof the Senate in its action upon this bill, after the pledge out waiting the uncertainty of valuable improvements given to the country in the resolution above quoted? by new discoveries. Were we at liberty to refuse the appropriations, un. The next objection he proposed to notice was, that less we disputed the necessity of the works? It seem. we want information as to some of these proposed ed to him not. It seemed to him we were estopped by works; that the necessary examinations, surveys, and our own acts, unless we were prepared to assert and estimates have not been made; and that we act in the show, in opposition to the report of the Secretary, and dark in making appropriations without them. This ob. the concurring opinion of the President, that the works jection (Mr. W. said he was willing to admit was speproposed to be constructed are not necessary to the na. cious and plausible; but as to these particular works, he tional defence, within the fair scope and meaning of our thought he should be able easily to show that it was own resolution.
much more specious than solid and substantial. Ile had He must then appeal to the Senate, and to every indi- I understood from the remarks made by the chairman of SENATE.)
(Mar 19, 1836.
the Committee on Military Affairs, [Mr. Benton,] his former opinion, that the money of the Government when this bill was first under discussion, that all these would command engineers of science, skill, and experi. points bad been selected as points proper for the con ence; and that gentlemen were entirely mistaken in supstruction of permanent fortifications by the first board. posing that the corps of engineers, holding military of engineers which ever examined our Atlantic coast commissions under the United States, monopolized all with a view to its permanent defence; that several sub the science, experience, or skill, to be found in this sequent examinations, by competent and skilful engi. widely extended country. But, for the sake of this arneers, had been made for the same purpose; and that gument, he would admit the necessity of an increase of all had selected these points as capable of being defend the corps of engineers; and what would be the effect ed by the erection of forts and batteries, and as of suffi upon the duties of the Senate in relation to this bill? cient importance, either as commercial towns, or safe | An act for the increase of that corps, to the and convenient harbors and roadsteads, to render such ommended by the head of the corps, had long since defences necessary to the protection of our commerce passed this body, and been sent to the House of Repreand the security of the country, and that conjectural sentatives. We, therefore, had discharged our duty plans and estimates of the works required had been re- / in this matter, and he was for continuing to discharge peatedly made at all the points. He now received the | that duty in a matter consistent with our own action. It assent of that honorable Senator to the correctness of was not for the Scnate to wait the passage of one of its his understanding in these particulars, and was therefore bills through the other branch of Congress, before it not mistaken in assuming this as one ground for the im would act upon another and more important public mediate action of the Senate. But there was another measure. Let us (said Mr. W.) follow our own action, and a stronger ground. A call had been made upon the be consistent with ourselves, carry out our own measWar Department, upon this subject; and the answer, ures, and leave the House of Representatives to their full, complete, and apparently satisfactory to all, was proper responsibilities. This objection has no foundation before us. That Department was in possession of all with us, because we have already obviated it by our lethe information which had been collected as to the ne- gislative action, and it does not become us to assume that cessity and propriety of these works. No one would any other branch of the Government will not discharge doubt the competency of the head of tbat Department to the same duty. form a safe and correct opinion upon the sufficiency of A further objection to the passage of this bill is, that that information for the discreet action of Congress. if the appropriations be made, the money cannot be exWhat, then, does the Secretary say in reference to the pended. It is asserted, that the ordinary appropriations fortifications provided for in this bill?
| for the fortifications already commenced are more mo“It cannot be doubted but that fortifications at the ney.than it is in the power of the officers of the Gov. following places, enumerated in this bill, will be neces- ernment to expend, and that lience additional appro. sary."
priations for new works cannot be expended. Mr. W. “I think, therefore, that the public interest would said he did not see that the conclusion followed from the be promoted by the passage of the necessary appropria premises. If it were true that money could not be extions for them.' As soon as these are made, such of the pended at one point upon our extended cos positions as may appear to require it can be examined, want of laborers, he could not see that it necessarily foland the form and extent of the works adapted to exist-lowed that laborers could not be procured at other ing circumstances, if any change be desirable. The con points. The evidence upon which this objection rests struction of those not needing examination can com is a report from the head of the engineer department, mence immediately, and that of the others as soon as the stating that some eighty or one hundred thousand dollars plans are determined upon. By this proceeding, there appropriated for the construction of a fort at Throg's fore, a season may be saved in the operations."
neck, near the harbor of New York, was not expended These are the opinions of the executive officer of the during the last year, because laborers were not procured; Government especially charged with these works of de that invitations to laborers were published and circulafence, and fully aware of all the information in the posted in the city of New York, and in several of the eastsession of the Government in relation to their necessity ern cities, without effect. The report, no doubt, states and propriety. Does he tell us we want more informa truly the facts, as far as it goes; but there are other facts tion before we can act! No, sir. He tells us it cannot required to enable us to form a correct judgment as to be doubted that fortifications at the points mentioned the inference authorized from this failure to procure la. will be necessary. Does he tell us that we want fur. borers. What prices were offered? Were they equal ther examinations, surveys, and estimates, before we to the current prices of similar labor in the cities where can hazard an appropriation? No, sir. He tells us that the invitations were circulated? Was the season of the when the appropriations have been made, such of the year that, when laborers are usually disengaged and at positions as may appear to require it can be examined, liberty to make contracts? Were the character and conand the form and extent of the works adapted to exist. dition of the work such as the mass of laborers were ing circumstances, “if any change be desirable." Does competent to perform, and would be willing to enhe tell us that nothing is to be gained by making the ap- gage in at ordinary wages! These and other inquiries propriations now! No, sir. He tells us that, by this should be answered before we are authorized to conproceeding, a season may be saved in the operations. So clude that money would not command labor in the immuch, Mr. President, (said Mr. W.,) for the objection mediate vicinity of our great commercial metropolis. that we have not information to authorize these appro | Mr. W. said this objection had been repeatedly urged priations.
during the discussions of the present session, and he Another objection is, that we have not engineers to had himself repeatedly attempted to answer it; he was superintend these works; and that, unless the corps of mortified to see how unfortunately, as the objection engineers be increased, the appropriations, if made, continued to be urged with undiminished earnestness must remain unexpended. Mr. w. said this was an ob and confidence. He must, therefore, again repeat what jection to this class of appropriations which had been seemed to him to be a most perfect and complete refu. frequently advanced upon former occasions, and he had tation of the idea that money will not command labor in repeatedly attempted to answer it; in which attempt, he and about New York, to any extent to which money is was sorry to say, lie had been so unsuccessful that the offered and paid. All will remember that since we same objection again met him here. He must repeat I have been here, during our present session, the city of
Mar 19, 1836.]
New York has been visited by a conflagration unequal. He had understood that they cost the State some four led in the history of this continent. From five to seven hundred thousand dollars. He knew that repeated overhundred extensive buildings, in the very heart of the tures had been made by the State to this Government to city, were laid in ashes in the course of a few hours. I purchase them, with the site, and that the Legislature He had recently seen several intelligent merchants from had repeatedly authorized negotiations for their sale and that city, some of whom were among the sufferers by transfer to the United States. Nothing had hitherto the fire. All agreed in assuring him, that by the time been effected, and he had recently been informed that he would probably pass the city on his way to his the Legislature of the State, now in session, had again home, after the adjournment of Congress, he would authorized the sale and transfer. In this case, this must almost want a guide to point out to him where the fire be the first step, and the payment for the site the first had extended; that new buildings were rising upon the item of expenditure. So far, therefore, as that may go, ruins of those destroyed by the fire, with a rapidity | no objection would be interposed that the money, if apwholly incredible; that it almost seemed that an entire propriated, could not be expended; nor would it be said city was rising from the earth, as by the power of magic; that time was required, or information wanted, to accomthat the present month would entirely complete a large plish these objects. He did not suppose that any other proportion of the new buildings. This, Mr. President, point was precisely similarly circumstanced; but he did has been mostly done in the season of winter, and a winter, suppose that in all cases, whether the sites were the too, unequalled in severity and duration. And can it be property of the States, or of individuals, a title was to true that at that point the United States cannot command be secured to the United States, and paid for out of the labor by money? Can private enterprise accomplish respective appropriations; and that the proper jurisdic. so much in a few months, and yet the Government not | tion, to protect the interests of the Government, was to be able to spend a few thousand dollars upon works of be obtained from the respective State Legislatures in the defence, because Jabor cannot be procured for money? | mode pointed out by the constitution. Means, thereSir, the conclusion is contradicted by facts, is contradict-| fore, would be required, as well as time, in all cases; ed by experience, is contradicted by the plainest dic and so far as both were concerned, the application to tates of sense and reason. The Government must not the case of Staten Island would be measurably applicaexpect to obtain labor, but by paying the current prices | ble to all the other cases embraced in the bill... for the labor it requires; and at those prices its mo | What were the next subjects of expenditure? Mr. W. ney will go as far, be as sure to command labor, and to l said it seemed to him that the materials for the construcobtain it, as will the money of private citizens.
tion of a fortification would next require the expenditure But, Mr. President, (said Mr. W.,) there is another of money. The stone, brick, lime, sand, timber, iron, view of this subject. What is the course of these ex. 1 and all other materials, must be purchased and brought penditures? For what are expenses first to be incurred? I to the spot. Was there any objection to making the The points at which the fortifications are to be erected I contracts and procuring the delivery of these materials are fixed in the bill; but you have acquired no title to l during the time required to negotiate for the site, and the necessary grounds, and no jurisdiction from the procure the grant of jurisdiction? He could see none. States over those sites, when you have purchased them. Would not these preparatory steps occupy time enough Both of these steps must be taken, before common pru. I to allow all further necessary surveys and examinations dence will warrant the commencement of the proposed to be made! He was sure no one could doubt the fact. erections. In all cases the purchase of the grounds must what. then, was the strength of the objection that the require an expenditure of money, and the grant of the money could not be expended, or that more time was ecessary jurisdiction must require time for the action of required for surveys and examinations?
e respective State Legislatures. It will not be sup. But (Mr. W. said) there was another view of this obposed that the application will be made for the grant of Ijection of time, which seemed to him as absurd in pracjurisdiction, until Congress place at the disposition of the tice, as it must be fatal in principle, to these works of proper executive department the means to make the public defence. He referred to that class of the oppo. purchase of a site, in case the jurisdiction be obtained. nents of this bill, who urged the necessity of delay in Mr. W. said, to illustrate his meaning, he would speak | making these appropriations, and at the same time of the proposed appropriation for his own State; because pressed upon us measures for the gratuitous distribution he was more fully acquainted with the facts in that case among the States of the very moneys in the Treasury than any other embraced in the bill. He referred to with which these fortifications were to be constructed. the appropriation of two hundred thousand dollars for the land bill, which had passed this body but a few days the purcbase of the site of Fort Tompkins and its depen- since, was one of these measures, and some gentlemen dencies, and for the erection thereon of fortifications to bad been frank enough to put their opposition to this protect and defend the main entrance into the harbor of bill upon the ground that it might interfere with the New York. This site is so plainly designated by the nature moneys proposed to be distributed under the provisions of the ground, and the formation of the harbor, that no of that act. Others, and much the largest number of person who ever passed the point can have failed to see the friends of that measure, had placed their opposition and mark it. Indeed, the State, during the late war with to this bill upon the ground of want of information of Great Britain, and when the national Treasury was des- surveys, examinations, and estimates; and yet they had titute of means to prosecute the war, and much more to not failed to urge, with all the ardor of the former class, defend our coast, took this matter into its own hands, the giving away to the States the very means by which possessed itself of this site, and erected upon it three alone these most important and confessedly necessary works of defence: Fort Tompkins upon the heights, to modes of public defence can be erected, when the indefend the other works from approach by land; Fort formation they seem to desire shall have been obtained. Richmond upon the water, to defend the Narrows; and what is the value of such professions of friendship for Fort Hudson, an extensive water-battery, to act in aid of the defences of the country? What will be the use of Fort Richmond, and to reach an enemy in his approach the information sought, when the means of proceeding to the Narrows from the outer harbor. These works with the works shall have been given away? For what still belonged to the State, but had not been kept in re valuable purpose shall we learn that the positions named pair since the war. The consequence was, that they had in the bill are well selected, the fortifications wise and gone into a stale of dilapidation, and he was unable to necessary, the plans economical, and the appropriations say what their value might now be to the Government. I proposed only reasonable for present objects, when SENATE.]
(Mar 19, 1836.
the Treasury shall have been exhausted in bounties to We are, Mr. President, (said Mr. W.,) if the posithe States, and we have not a dollar at command to be tions assumed by the opponents of this bill be admitted, applied to new or additional defences: Mr. W. said he in a condition unknown to the history of any people who must say that gentlemen who assumed this position sub- have ever before existed upon the face of the earth. jected themselves most strongly to the suspicion that we have no debt. Our Treasury is full to overflowing. a division of the public moneys, and not the prosecu. We are defenceless in almost every respect. And yet tion of works of defence, was their darling object. To we cannot be defended, according to the doctrines of the other class, who openly and frankly opposed the some, because our money will not purchase the labor bill upon the ground that it conflicted with the schemes necessary to construct the defences we need. According for a distribution of the public moneys, he must award to others, we cannot be defended, because we have not greater fairness. They met what he considered to be engineers of skill and experience to direct the expendithe true question, openly and without disguise. He ture of the money, if we appropriate it. An increase of must, however, bere bring to the memory of these op- our engineer corps will not aid us in this particular, ponents of the bill now under discussion, some of the because such an increase will not bring with it the rearguments used by those who opposed the passage of quisite skill and experience; and, as a necessary consethe land bill through the Senate. It was contended quence from these conclusions, we must not increase the (Mr. W. said) by himself and others, that any system of engineer corps, because, without an increase of appro. distribution, such as was proposed by that bill, would priations for fortifications, we shall have nothing for the tend to impede the necessary public appropriations; to engineers to do, who may be added to the corps. Was arrest the prosecution of the necessary public defences; ever, Mr. President, so helpless a condition of any peoand to embarrass the national Government in all its de ple before known? Money in the Treasury to an excess, partments, and in every branch of the public service. It but nobo ly will work for it; defences of every descripwas urged that such distribution would necessarily tion imperatively required, but men of skill and science lead the states into measures involving heavy and long cannot be found to superintend their construction. continued expenditures; that the arguments, estimates, Therefore, we must give away the money, and wait for and Aattering calculations of the friends of that bill, were the defences of the nation, until the Treasury shall coneminently calculated to produce anticipations of future tain other means, until money will command labor, and dividends which could not be realized; that the mem until engineers can be educated to superintend the pubbers of both Houses of Congress were the represent-lic works. atives of the States, and of the people of the States, The honorable Senator put forth another objection to and must and ought to be strongly influenced by the this bill, which was eren less anticipated from that quarwishes and interests of those whom they respectively ter than was the objection which has just been examined. represented; that when disappointment as to the amounts It was, that the bill is in competition with the several to be divided should come upon the constituent body-- propositions for the distribution of the surplus revenue. as come that disappointment must-the necessities of the Remembering the constitutional opinions held and exStates, growing out of these delusive expectations, pressed by that Senator but two years since, on the subwould be paramount to the necessities of this Govern. ject of a distribution of the surplus revenue among the ment, with the representative bodies; and that appro. States, Mr. W. said it was impossible that he could have priations for the permanent defences of the country, expected opposition to this bill from that quarter upon appropriations for the navy, appropriations for the that ground. In the Senator's speech upon the removal army, and appropriations for all other branches of the of the deposites, made in the Senate in January, 1834, public service, would be injuriously restricted, or whol. | are found the following remarks: iy refused, that the sum to be divided to the States, as “There is another aspect, (said Mr. C.,) in which surplus revenue, might be increased.
this subject may be viewed. We all remember how Mr. W. said, when he urged these arguments, he did early the question of the surplus revenue began to agitate not even dream that he should see their correctness the country. At a very early period, a Senator from demonstrated before the close of the present session of New Jersey (Mr. DICKERSON) presented his scheme for Congress. He did not then believe that the evil tendencies disposing of it, by distributing it among the States. The of these plans for distribution would be so soon and so first message of the President recommended a similar boldly developed. In this he had been entirely disappoint. project, which was followed up by a movement on the ed. Already we had met, in open avowal, the influence part of the Legislature of New York, and I believe he had feared; and, upon this first measure of public de- some of the other States. The public attention was fence which had been presented to the Senate since the aroused, the scheme scrutinized, its gross unconstitupassage of that dangerous bill, we had heard opposition tionality and injustice, and its dangerous tendency of distinctly avowed upon the ground that the appropria-absorbing the power and existence of the States, were tions inight conflict with the various plans for a dis- clearly perceived and denounced. The denunciation tribution of the moneys in the Treasury. If he had be. was too deep to be resisted, and the scheme was abanfore merely doubted, he should now be most perfectly | doned.” confirmed in his hostility to these projects, so long as Such, Mr. W. said, were the opinions of the Senator any branch of the public service called for the expendi. upon the subject of a distribution of the surplus revenue ture of the public moneys on hand.
to the States; and could he have expected from him an He would now (Mr. W. said) proceed to examine, very objection to the passage of a bill, providing for the debriefly, one or two of the objections offered by the fences of the country, for the more rapid prosecution of honorable Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Calhoun) a system of defences with which he had once been offito the passage of the bill under discussion. The first cially and closely connected, because it comes in comobjection of that honorable Senator which he proposed petition with propositions for a distribution of the surplus to notice, was, the want of engineers to superintend the moneys, so recently pronounced grossly unconstitutional, expenditures proposed; and he had anticipated :he argu- unjust, and dangerous to the power and existence of the ment to be drawn from the action of the Senate, in the States? increase of the engineer corps to about twice its pre- [Here Mr. PRESTOX remarked that his colleague was sent strength, by the assumption that this increase would not in his seat, but detained from it by official duties, not bring engineers of experience, and would not there and he hoped Mr. W. would consent to suspend his remarks fore, at present, authorize an increase of appropriations. I until Mr. C. should be in. Mr. W. replied that he re.