Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

MAY 20, 1836.7

Volunteers.

(SENATE.

having heard the observations of the Senator from South militia was taken from the control of the States, and re* Carolina, (Mr. Calhoun,] that a committee of conference lieved from the performance of militia duty, whilst they might yet agree upon some compromise which would be remained in the heart of the country, mixed up with the acceptable to both Houses. He now believed, from what other citizens. This did seem to him to interfere with he had just heard from several members of the other the power of the States over their militia, contrary to the House, that another committee ought to be appointed. provisions of the constitution. But these objections did The Senator from South Carolina had not, he believed, not apply to the bill before them, nor to the amendment denied any of the positions which he had stated. They he had suggested. They had drawn a broad line of did not materially differ as to their constitutional views separation between the force to be raised and the milion this subject. His (Mr. B's) positions were these: tia of the States. What they proposed was, that these that any number of individuals within the States might volunteers should associate themselves together for the associate together, either in companies, battalions, or purpose of offering their services to their country, and divisions, for the purpose of entering the army of the that, when they arrived at their places of rendezvous, United States, for six or for twelve months, upon any they should enrol themselves, and be mustered into sercontingency which might render their services necessary; vice as a part of the regular army; but, until then, that that these associations would be voluntary, and not com- they should remain as they were, citizens of the several pulsory; and would be held together by no tie but that States, liable to the performance of the militia du'y of the sense of honor which binds a man to enter the service States. With these views, he was confident that a new of his country, after he has declared, in the presence of committee of conference might come to such an agreethe world, that such was his determination; and that ment as would be acceptable to both Elouses, and he these volunteers, after having arrived at the place of therefore hoped that one would be appointed. He was rendezvous, and after having been mustered into service, almost ashamed to say that he had never acquainted but not before, became a part of the regular army of the himself sufficiently with the rules which governed the United States; and the President could then, by and with proceedings of a committee of conference. His comthe advice and consent of the Senate, appoint their offi- mon sense, however, had taught him that it was the cers. At one period of the conference, he had believed duty of such a committee to confine itself to the point that the committee would arrive at these conclusions. of disagreement between the two Houses; but he had

One of the objections of the Senator from South Caro- / been informed by gentlemen of great experience that lina was, that the appointment of the captains of compa- the whole subject of the bill was open to them. Acting nies and other inferior officers ought, like that of the upon this principle, they had got into a general discussuperior officers, to be submitted to the Senate. Mr. sion as to the relative value of volunteer and regular, as B. had been perfectly willing, and was still willing, to well as common militia forces. He believed now that adopt this modification. He could not, however, agree, a committee of conference might do some good, and that, nor did he understand the gentleman now to insist upon by steering clear of the constitutional scruples of genit, that these offices could not be filled without the pre-| tlemen, they might agree on some amendments that vious advice of the Senale. Such a provision would ren- would render the bill acceptable to both Houses, and der the law perfectly nugatory. We might not, and thus enable them speedily to adopt a measure so urgentprobably would not, be in session when these appoint- ly demanded for the protection of the suffering inhabitments must be made. The same necessity which the ants of the frontiers. gentleman alleges to hare existed during the late war, Mr. B. said, as he should not be a member of the for authorizing the President to make appointments du- new committee of conference, he would read the ring the recess of the Senate, will exist in regard to the amendment which had been so much discussed in the appointments to be made under this act. Besides, what. old.committee. ever might be our opinion in regard to the power of the “Be it enacted, That the said volunteers shall form President, if the question were now, for the first time, themselves into companies, and designate their company submitted to us, Congress have so often authorized him officers, who, if he approve of such designations, sball to make appointments during the recess, to be submit. | be commissioned by the President, after they shall bave ted to the Senate at its next session, that this constitu- been mustered into service; and that the President be, and tional question must be considered as settled.

hereby is, authorized to organize the volunteers so mustAs to the act of 1812, which had just been cited by ered into service, as aforesaid, into battalions, squadrons, the other Senator from South Carolina, (Mr. PRESTON,] regiments, brigades, and divisions, as soon as the number he thought it went too far. He would not say that it of volunteers shall render such organization, in his judgwas unconstitutional, because he had not examined the ment, expedient; and shall then appoint the necessary subject sufficiently to express a positive opinion. This officers; which appointment shall be submitted to the he would say, however, that it did authorize the exist Senate at its next session." ence of a dormant military force within the several Stales, Mr. LEIGH said the bill, as it came from the other commanded by officers appointed by the President of House, provided that the President be authorized to acthe United States, and liable to be called into service at cept the service of ten thousand volunteers; and the comany moment he might think proper. The individuals mittee finding no provision for appointing field and staff composing this force were exempted from militia duty officers, provided that the President should appoint within the Slales. Upon the principles contained in this them. In most of the States there were corps of men act, the militia of the several States might be subverted, called volunteers; and what struck him was, that it was and a national militia, under the command of national these volunteer companies that were excepted, and that officers, might be substituted in its stead. This would the first provision required that the companies should be certainly be at war with the spirit of the constitution, officered by the States. But the greatest difficulty that which reserves to the States respectively the appoint- struck him was, that when companies were some from one ment of the officers of the militia, and the authority of State, and some from another, in forming the battalions, training them according to the discipline prescribed by who was to appoint the officers of such battalions? And Congress. The militia emphatically belongs to the so in the case of regiments, brigades, and divisions. He States, and not to the general Government; and it might contended that the only mark of distinction between volbe very dangerous for the States to surrender their con- unteers and regulars was, that one received the bounty, trol over this force into the hands of Congress.

| and the other did not. As to the character of the force, Under the act cited by the gentleman, a portion of the the length of the term of service was of no consequence

SENATE.)

District Banks-Fortification Bill.

(May 21, 1836.

te.

It was a voluntary enlistment in both cases-the one with, ference; and, on balloting for a committee on the part and the otber without, the bounty; and they ought to of the Senate, Messrs. CALHOUN, KING of Alabama, be commissioned in the same way as the commissions and NICHOLAS, were chosen. were issued for the regular army. But the greatest dif- ! On motion of Mr. WHITE, the Senate proceeded to ficulty, in his mind, was in taking a body of men out of the consideration of executive business; after which, it the militia, and keeping them subject to the control adjourned. of the President. Mr. WEBSTER said the first proposition to be con

SATURDAY, MAY 21. sidered was, that the militia belonged to the States, who had the exclusive right to organize and train them; there

DISTRICT BANKS. was no other militia known to the constitution. The Mr. KENT moved to take up the bill to recharter the militia, therefore, was the militia of the States, there be banks of the District of Columbia. ing no such thing as a national militia known to the con Mr. BENTON said he should oppose the taking up stitution. If they were to say that there should be men any measure whatever, except a defence or appropriaenrolled and officered by the Government, liable to be tion bill, till the fortification bill was disposed of; and he called into service at its pleasure, that would be a na therefore asked for the yeas and nays on the motion of tional militia, which be supposed no gentleman contem- the Senator from Maryland. plated. By the constitution, they might raise an army, The yeas and nays having been accordingly ordered, and, on a sudden emergency, call on the States to furnish the question was taken, and decided in the negativemilitary aid by their militia. In the first ten years of veas 16, nays 16: the Chair giving the casting the Government, a law was passed under their difficulties with France, authorizing the President, should circum

FORTIFICATION BILL. stances render it necessary, to raise a provisional force; On motion of Mr. LINN, the bill making appropriaand the act went on to provide that, when raised and or- tions for the purchase of sites, the collection of mateganized, this force should be subject to the rales and ar. rials, and for the commencement of certain fortifications, ticles of war. There might then be a provisional army, was taken up; the question being on Mr. Benton's amendas well as a regular army. He had no idea that any man ment, as modified by Mr. PRESTON, to strike out $101,000 could be in the military service of the United States, but for fortifications at Penobscot, and insert “for fortificain one or the other of the two characters--a member of tions at Penobscot bay, $75,000 per annum for two the regular army, or a militiaman, called into service in years." the constitutional way. He would be the last inan to l'Mr. BENTON said the immediate question before the agree that there should be an organized, unemployed Senate related to the prospective appropriations; the force scattered through the country, liable to be called appropriations for two or more years at once, for carryinto service at the pleasure of the Executive; but for a ing on the fortifications. He had moved amendments short service it seemed to him that they might accom- to this effect, in pursuance of instructions from the Milplish the object by providing that the men should have itary Committee; and the committee bad acted under the privilege of electing their own officers, such elec- the recommendation of the Secretary of War, (Mr. tions to be approyed of and confirmed by the President. Cass.) Personally, he (Mr. B.) would wish to make all It was with these views, and to render it more in con- the provisions of the bill acceptable to those who were formity to the general ideas of a volunteer force, that he favorable to its general object, and should be sorry that had made this suggestion when the bill was before them any such should be alienated from the bill by the proa few days ago. He had simply made the proposition, posed amendment. He would go far to keep it in a leaving it to wiser heads than his own to determine the form that should be acceptable to them; but there was manner in which it should be carried into effect.

one class of objectors to this form of appropriation, to Mr. CALHOUN stated bis impressions in reference to whose conscientious and constitutional scruples he could that amendment; and, as he understood it, the members not defer, and whom he held to be estopped--if he of the committee who yoted for the amendment, voted might use a law term--by their own act, and forever for it as preferable to the bill of the Senate. The ques. barred from setting up this objection; he alluded to the tion was put distinctly, whether they would prefer their distributors of the revenue-to the gentlemen who, at own bill of the Senate, or the bill as amended by the former sessions, and at the present one, had voted for Senator from Pennsylvania? and they decided in favor of five years appropriations at once, of what was called the their own bill. The cases cited as precedents for this proceeds of the public lands. To the scruples of these bill were not analogous; and by the act of July, 1812, gentlemen he could not defer, and with their objections the distinction was still broader, which was upon the he could have no compromise; for he could not com. express condition of enrolling;" wbich, by changing the prehend the train of reasoning by which gentlemen phraseology of a single word, it would read, "on the could bring themselves to balk at small and limited apexpress condition of enlisting.” The question was dis- propriations for two years, for objects named in the concussed in committee as to what was the condition of these stitution, after having voted indefinite millions for five men before being called into service, after their service years for a purpose not named, not thought of, not was tendered. They were citizens; and, he would ask, dreamed of, in the constitution, nor heard of until forty could they be tried by a court-martial? The question years after that instrument was formed. was, simply, whether the President could enrol a num There was nothing in the constitution against this ber of men as an army, and leave them in the midst prospective appropriation for building the forts; on the of the citizens! He could not bring his mind to the contrary, there was a clear implication in its favor. conclusion to consent that the officers should be ap. There was a limitation against extended appropriations pointed without the consent of the Senate. The act for the support of armies; but that was founded upon a of the 3d of July was passed under peculiar emergen reason peculiar to armies--a reason which could bave cies at the very close of the session, and he could not no application to the construction of forts; and, if it did, consent to recognise it as a general precedent.

would not militate against the proposed appropriations, After some further remarks from Messrs. PRESTON, but would sanction them; for two years was the limit CALHOUN, SOUTHARD, and WEBSTER,

upon the army appropriations, and two years is the exThe question was taken, and the Senate determined tent of the proposed appropriations for the fortifications. to insist on its amendment, and to ask for another con. So far as the constitution was concerned, the argument,

MAY 21, 1836.]

Fortification Bill.

[SEXATE.

then, is in favor of the measure; and, so far as reason the expense of the works, would probably exhibit an and propriety are concerned, and the practice of the amount far greater than is generally anticipated.” Government has gone, the argument is entirely in its Mr. B. then turned to another part of his subject, and favor. When the appropriation is made for two years | claimed the benefit of an ancient maxim which inculcates together, the work continues without interruption du the wholesome advice, to wonder at nothing! He was ring the winter; and the winter is the time to advance greatly addicted to that maxim, and acted upon it both with this kind of work, and that both in the North and from habit and from reason. It was good for him that in the South. In the South, it is the season of doing he did so; otherwise, he should be seized with a paroxthe work; in the North, it is the season for collecting ysm of wonder at the present moment. For what more materials and making contracts. The practice of Con-wonderful than the contradictory exbibitions upon fortigress sanctions this mode of appropriations. The annu- | fications which this chamber and this session display? al appropriation of $200,000 for arming the militia is Two months ago, it was a question of sharp debate to one instance, and has stood for thirty or forty years. | know who had occasioned the loss of the fortification The appropriation of a million a year, for eight years, bill at the last session; and both sides of the chamber, in 1816, for the gradual increase of the navy, is another repulsing the blame from themselves, and throwing it instance; and these appropriations, though made for a on their adversaries, contended for the palm of pre-emiterm of years, are always under the control of Congress, nence to devotion to fortifications. Then came certain and may be reduced or discontinued when it pleases. resolutions of his own, importing that the surplus reveof this, the naval appropriation was a signal instance; nue ought to be set apart as a conservative fund, sacred for the million per annum voted in 1816, when the to the defence of the country, until all defences, military Treasury was full, was reduced to half a million in 1821, and naval, were on the scale of strength and respectawhen it was empty.

bility which the honor and independence of a great peoIndependent of these general and permanent reasons ple required. On the discussion of these resolutions, in favor of double appropriations for forts, Mr. B. said he found himself left behind by opposition gentlemen. there were special and peculiar reasons for them at this They darted ahead of him! They went beyond the surtime. We were now going on two years without mo. plus! They planged into the integral revenue! Nothing ney for this object. The present year might be con-would content their incontinent zeal, but a resolve to sidered as lost. The length of time which the bill bad pledge all the revenue, and taxes besides, if necessary, been delayed, and the time that it might yet be delayed, to this great object; and so the vote passed, and that extinguished the hope of doing much work this year. unanimously. This was in March, about two months ago; It was rather for the next year than the present that he and now, when we come forward with a list of a few

and now, when we come i was attempting to provide; or, to speak more accurate forts--twelve small ones at points of acknowledged imly, it was for the winter of 1836-37, and for the spring portance--and want a small part of that mass of money of 1837, that he was attempting to get an appropriation in the Treasury, the magnitude of which is so afflicting It was to prevent the stoppage of the works at the end to gentlemen, behold there is a decided opposition to of this year, and a new delay of three or four months the scheme! A systematic opposition is displayed: some next spring, that he was now struggling; for every per objecting to forts altogether; others to those in this bill; son knew that the appropriations for the year 1837 will others to those not in it; others, again, agreeing to forts not be made until the third day of March; after which, in the abstract, but refusing to take them in any form in time would be necessary to advertise for work and ma

which they can be presented. This was the singular terials, to collect hands, and to allow a reasonable pe

exbibition which would excite his wonder, if he permitted riod for competition among bidders, which economy re

himself to wonder at any thing. But he did not so perquired.

mit himself, and less on this occasion than any other; for Mr. B. could not take leave of this part of the sub. he saw and knew perfectly well the cause and source of ject without recurring to the opinions of the Secretary | this whole contradiction. It was the division of the moof War, notwithstanding the singular fate which seemed

ney in the Treasury which was at the bottom of all! to attend that gentleman's reports and recommendations.

| That division--that fatal scheme of dividing money All Senators praised them. Both sides of the chamber

| which was now delaying, obstructing, and defeating so

which was now delaying, opstructing, united in applauding them. There seemed to be an many measures for the good of the country; and this one emulation of applause in favor of all that he said; but among others! It was a conflict between distribution and the moment we come to action, the scene shifts. The defence; it was a contest between antagonist schemesmoment we want a vote, there is a division; one side is between the schemes of taking the public money for the off. The opposition gentlemen are against the vote; defence of the country, and taking it for spoil and disthey array their deeds against their words; and, having / tribution among political partisans. given their applause, they withhold their help. This Mr. B. wished to fix the attention of the Senate and had been witnessed on many occasions besides the pres.

of the country upon the true nature of this contest; for ent one; still he would make the experiment again, and it was portentous and alarming when a contest of such a

it was portentous and alarming wh try the Secretary's recommendation on the particular nature could be got up, and much more when it could point now under consideration. Mr. B. then read from be maintained in the Senate. What was the true nature the Secretary's report of April 8th:

of this contest for the application of the public money? "I think that, when the plan of a work has been ap- and what was the relative merit of the two sch proved by Congress, and its construction authorized, the Defence is an object known to the constitution; and not whole appropriation should be made at once, to be only known to, but is the first and highest object of the drawn from the Treasury in annual instalments, to be confederacy. To establish the common defence-to enfixed by the law. This mode of appropriation would able all to give that defence to each which no one remedy much of the inconvenience which has been felt could give to itself-was the first and paramount object for years in this branch of the public service. The un of the confederacy. The means of accomplishing that certainty respecting the appropriations annually deran. object, are set forth by name in the constitution--navies, geg the business, and the delay which biennially takes armies, forts, arsenals, docks, and all the accessories of place in the passage of the necessary law, reduces the military and naval power. Congress is the instrument alternate season of operations to a comparatively short designated by the constitution to provide these means period. An exact inquiry into the effect which the pres. for the purpose of accomplishing the great object; and ent system of making the appropriations bas had upon for this purpose has power to raise money by loans or

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SENATE.)

Fortification Bill.

(May 21, 1836.

taxes. This is the aspect under which the defence tion to the bill, is confirmed in his place by a legislative scheme presents itself to the Senate. Under what aspect election and an overwhelming majority. The Governor does the distribution scheme come forth? Without name of that State (Mr. Edwards) also received a triumphant or warrant in the constitution! Nowhere can the name | majority, and in his message to the Legislature has of the land bill be found in that instrument; nowhere spoken upon this subject with so much wisdom and pacan. a word be found which by any construction-by any triotism, that he (Mr. B.) could not deny himself the interpretation -- by any torture of the sense--can be gratification of reading the passage to the Senate. made to countenance the idea of distribution, or any rule “It appears that there is an unprecedented accumu. by which to make it. Authority is given in the constitu- lation of funds in the United States Treasury; and this tion to raise money for the common defence; and fortifi. circumstance has given rise to various speculations and cations are one of the means of defence specified in the plans for its distribution. The present, in this respect, constitution: yet this unconstitutional scheme of distribu- 1 is a novel state of things. Never before, since the es. tion now contends with the first object of the constitu- tablishment of our Government, could it be said that tion; it contends with the means of establishing the com we were out of debt, and had at command more money mon defence, and, so far as the Senate is concerned, it !han we felt immediate occasion for. We have bad a contends successfully and victoriously. Defence is delay debt hanging at times rather heavily upon us, and we ed, diminished, beaten off, trampled down in the Senate; have been compelled by it to limit all our views and all

ribution, triumphant and exulting, has long our expenditures. At the close of the last war a milisince floated through. Yes, sir, distribution--distribu tary peace establishment was arranged; and such a tion-distribution, is the absorbing and predominant force, and such only, was retained, as the exigencies of feeling in the Senate. All other feelings seem to be the country were supposed to require. Military works shut out. Florida overrun with the Indians; Georgia were projected for our defence, and the erection of them and Alabama reeking with blood and resounding with commenced. The state of the Treasury soon became cries; the whole West and Northwest destitute of troops, such, that a reduction of the peace establishment was and open to Indian incursion; the ranks of the army deemed necessary, and the expenditures for the fortifiempty; fortifications stopped for two years; the ordinary cations were curtailed. appropriation bills delayed beyond all example; voluntary " The common defence was the principal object of movements of the people everywhere to protect them- our confederacy, and for this the United States are bound selves from danger; yet the Senate, the American Senate, to provide; and this is a work which should be entered deaf and blind to all, can see nothing, can hear nothing, upon, and completed, with as little delay as possible. can talk of nothing, can dream of nothing, but the divi. The sufferings of the last war are not yet forgotten, and sion of the spoil. The surplus, the surplus, the surplus, should not be obliterated from our memories until amis the engrossing theme; and the moment a dollar is pro 1 ple provision is made for their recurrence. Our sounds, posed for the service of the country, they cry out for our bays, our rivers, and even many of our harbors, their dear beloved surplus! and call it a war upon the were destitute of the means of defence. Nearly the surplus, and a wicked design to lessen the fund for dis- whole of our seaboard was exposed to the ravages of the tribution!

enemy, and we suffered much from their depredations, Mr. B. said that he had taken occasion a month ago, and still more from the constant state of alarm and agita. when the defence bills were postponed to make room for tion in which we were kept. When the United States the passage of the distribution bill, to announce its fu. Government has fulfilled its office and duty with respect ture fate, and to claim for that scheme the distinction of to national defence and all other things within its prothe most odious notoriety that ever befell any bill which vince, it is time enough to talk of some other disposition had received the sanction of the Senate. That judgment of the public revenue; but, until this is accomplished, was in a rapid state of verification; and as far as public projects on this subject are, to say the least, premature." sentiment had been developed, the odious bill, with all These (said Mr. B.) are wise and patriotic sentiments; its seductive, alluring, and tempting offers of money, they are constitutional doctrines; they deserve applause was nothing but a stench in the nostrils of the people. / and imitation. They soar above all sordid and mercenaIn vain had the large dividends been figured out in num- ry considerations. They repulse the gilded bait. They bers by our land committee, and offered to the States.despise the seduction of money. They go for the counAll that had yoted had scornfully rejected the wretched try and the constitution; they scorn the unconstitutional seduction. In vain has the exaggerated sum of $1,765,554 | distribution bill, and its tempting array of dollars and been proffered to the State of Virginia; in vain has the cents. Yes! Virginia refuses the $1,765,554; Connectempting bait of $513,472 been extended to Connecticut; ticut refuses the $513,472; Rhode Island refuses the in vain has $167,655 been held out to Rhode Island. $167,655; and when other States come to vote, let The elections are over in all these States, and prove that them contemplate and imitate the elevated, constituif these States have a price, ibat price is not yet attained tional, patriotic, and wise course of these States. in the land bill. The elections prove that the constitu- Having shown that the distribution bill was at the tion and defence of the country are superior to gordid bottom of all the opposition to the fortification bill, and money temptations; for in all these States the men and all the other bills for the service of the country, Mr. B. the party opposed to an unconstitutional, debauching, proceeded to take a brief view of the particular bill and demoralizing scheme of dividing money, and in before the Senate, and of the objections to it. He said favor of constitutional objects by constitutional means, that every work proposed in the bill was contained in are successful in the elections; and successful by increas the reports of the board of engineers for 1821 and 1826, ed majorities, and under the very guns and fire of the and was, besides, especially recommended by the predistribution bill; for the elections took place while the sent Secretary of War. Mr. B. here referred to those rebill was impending here, while the report of the Senate's ports of the board of engineers as recommended to Concommittee was circulating through the States, and while gress by the Secretary of War in 1821, (Mr. Calhoun, ] the table of distribution was exhibited to every, voter, to and showed that they were not only necessary works, show him how much his State was to get. In each of but small ones; the whole twelve proposed in the bill the States, the triumph of the constitution and of defence not amounting to $3,000,000, while two only of those was gratifying and complete, and particularly in Connec- forts beretofore constructed cost nearly $4,000,000. He ticut. In that Siate, the Senator by Executive appoint- alluded to Fort Monroe and Fort Calhoun in the Ches. ment, (Mr. NILES, ) who distinguished bimself by opposi-l apeake bay. The former of these was estimated to cost MAI 21, 1836.]

Fortification Bill.

(SENATE.

$1,259,792; it is not yet finished, and has cost whether it can be defended; and, if so, by bow many $1,739,046, and it is estimated to cost $210,000 more. guns; of wbat calibre, and how to be placed. Each The latter was estimated to cost $904,355; it has alrea- must decide within their sphere; and when the number dy cost $1,388,731, and it is estimated will yet cost of guns is given which will defend a place, the cost of the $531,188 to finish it. Here are about four millions of fort is, for all practical purposes, ascertained. Now, dollars for two forts, and these two in the neighborhood in all these cases, the number of guns and their calibre of each other; while the sum of three millions for twelve, is given; that decides the size of the fort, for each scattered from Passamaquoddy bay to the mouth of gun, according to its calibre, must have so many feet for the Mississippi, has been resisted for so many months. its platform and so many men to work it--from five to

Mr. B. reviewed the objections which were made to seven in time of seige; in time of peace, enough only to this appropriation. It was said the money could not keep the fort be expended if it was voted, and he was sorry to have to Mr. B. said an excessive and overwrought anxiety admit that this was an objection which gentlemen seem- bad been displayed here for plans and estimates, as if ed to have it in their own power to make good. The they were the most infallible and unerring guides upon year was certainly half gone, and, if gentlemen can have earth. Notbing, he said, could be more mistaken. 'l'he their way, it will be weeks or months yet before a dol-estimates heretofore furnished, and that by the board of Jar for fortifications can be voted, if at all. It will be engineers under the administration of Mr. Monroe, when autumn before the work can begin; but in the South the the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Calhoun) was work will proceed all the winter; and in the North the Secretary of War, were generally and exceedingly errowinter is the time for collecting materials. If the billneous. Out of eleven forts constructed upon those estiwas delayed till the year was half gone, it was the fault | mates, and thirteen more in a course of construction, not of the opposition, and gentlemen cannot be permitted to one bad kept within the estimate; not a fort had been take advantage of their own wrong. They cannot now built for what it had been estimated to cost; but generally be allowed to plead the delay to defeat the bill, which a quarter more, or in some instances half as much more; delay they have themselves occasioned.

and sometimes double as much. Nothing had kept It is said there are not engineers enough to superin-within the estimate but two little works, not forts--a tend the works; but the answer was ready to that ob | battery at Bienvenu, and a tower at Bayou Dupre, Loujection. A bill had long since passed the Senate to in isiana. Mr. B. then turned to Senate Document, No. crease the corps of engineers; that bill was now in the 203, of this session, pages 12 and 13, to verify this stateHouse of Representatives, and it was to be presumed that ment; and read the list of forts, and the cost of their conthe House would do what the service of the country restruction, which had been finished, or were still under quired, and not suffer necessary defences to be lost construction. The following is the list: for want of officers to superintend them. The Secretary of War earnestly recommends it, not only with a view to

Statement of the forts on the scaboard of the United States the new works, but because an increase of the corps is

under construction. necessary for the performance of their current duties. Here is his recommendation. " That the corps of engineers should be increased.

Names and where loThe reasons for this measure have been heretofore sub

cated. mitted, and the proposition has been recommended by you to Congress. I will merely add, upon the present occasion, that the officers of this corps are not sufficiently numerous for the performance of the duties commit

Fort Independence,

Boston harbor, - $255,575 $52,723 $202,852 ted to them; and that, if an augmentation does not take place, the public interest will suffer in a degree far be.

Fort Warren, George's

island, Boston harbor, yond the value of any pecuniary consideration connect.

800,000 104,586 695,414 ed with this increase."

Fort Adams, New. It is objected that men of science in engineering can

port, Rhode Island, - | 730,166 962,359 350,000 not be created by a bill.

Fort Schuyler, Tbrog's That is granted. They can. not be created by a mere act. But, in constructing for

neck, New York, 577,000 66,822 510,178 tifications, a few skilful engineers are sufficient--a few

Fort Columbus and

other works on Goy. to locate and plan the works. The superintendence of

ernor's island, N. Y.,

157,769 20,000 the execution requires fidelity and attention, with such knowledge as is readily obtained. With respect to lo.

Fort Delaware, Dela-
ware river, - -

107,136
cations for forts, they have been nearly all selected; all
in this bill were selected fifteen years ago; are detailed in

Fort Monroe, Virginia, 1,259,792 1,739,0461 210,000 the report of the board of engineers for 1821-the

Fort Calhoun, Virginia, 1904,355 1,388,731! 531,188 same which the then Secretary of War (Mr. Calhoun]

Fort Caswell, Oak recommended to Congress.

island, North CaroliIt is objected that we have not plans and estimates for

na,

119,000 411,485 60,000 all these works; but I answer, that there are plans and

Fortifications, harbor detailed estimates for most of them, and conjectural

of Charleston, South

Carolina, estimates for the remainder, with the statement of

. .

324,426 500,000 the number of guns they would require; which is the

Fort Pulaski, Cock-
spur island, Georgia,

286,184 only essential part of the estimate, for the number of

246,183 guns governs every thing else; it governs the size of the

Fort Pickens, Pensa-
cola, Florida,

65,300 629,283 50,000 fort, the number of the men to garrison it, and consequently the whole expense.

Fort on Foster's Bank, Mr. B. said the question of fortifying a port was part

Florida, .

163,343 75,189 160,000 ly a political question, to be decided by Congress; part

Total dollars, ly a military one, to be decided by professional men. Congress decides whether the place is sufficiently im. portant to merit national defence; military men decide 1

Original es

timate.

Cost of con-
struction.

Cost to fin

ish.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »