« AnteriorContinuar »
B. F. Curry and Samuel Gwin.
(JUEE 1, 1836.
The instructions went on to say that if the commis of the time and place of taking depositions against him, sioner deemed it proper to have counsel, the fees paid or to permit any person to interfere with the performfor such purpose would be allowed him.
ance of his duty, though he might, at his option, give Mr. WALL inquired who these instructions were copies of such depositions to any officer implicated, who signed by?
might reside within a convenient distance. Sir, (said Mr. BENTON answered that they were signed by Mr.B.,) the whole thing is wrong from beginning to George Poindexter, chairman of the Committee on Pub- end, and they had better have done with it at once. All lic Lands. He apprehended that these proceedings that was asked by Mr. Gwin was, that as these charges were a novelty in the bistory of this country, or in that against him had been printed, and made a part of the of Great Britain, and he trusted that they never would public documents, his answer should also be printed and occur again. Mr. Gwin, having become acquainted with put upon the record. the manner in which these investigations had been car. Mr. EWING, of Ohio, was not disposed to answer in ried on-depositions to be taken in the dark without behalf of the gentleman who was chairman of the Comgiving him an opportunity of being heard in his de mittee on Public Lands at the time these investigations fence-counsel to be feed against him, &c., had collect. were ordered. If that gentleman were here he could ed a mass of testimony for the purpose of defending answer for himself. With respect to frauds on the himself, and rebutting the charges made against him; public lands, it was right that each branch of Congress and all that was now asked was, that this defence might should enter into investigations to ascertain them, and be printed, and sent abroad in the same manner as the apply the proper remedy; it was right that they should accusations against him bad been.
not be permitted to pass without investigation. He Mr. WALL said he would be glad to know if these should not undertake to say whether these investigations instructions were the act of a committee of the Senate, were conducted properly or otherwise. The gentleman or of the man whose name was signed to them. They who conducted them was not here to explain that matseemed to him to be at war with every thing like justice. ter; but he thought the Senate ought not to exhibit any
Mr. BENTON, in answer, read the resolution of the great anxiety to get out of this matter, because the inSenate under which the Committee on Public Lands vestigation was a very proper one, and, under the cirwere directed to make examinations in relation to al cumstances then existing, the Senate could not have leged frauds with respect to the public lands, and the done otherwise than order it. It was not his purresolution authorizing the chairman of the committee to pose now to inquire whether those investigations were continue the examinations in the recess of the Senate. conducted properly or not; all he rose for was to ob. It seemed, therefore, that the instructions emanated from ject to the reference to the committee of a matter long the Land Committee, and were signed by their chairman, ago passed over. It could not now be referred for the George Poindexter.
correction ofa present evil, but to pass judgment on what Mr. CALHOUN said that he knew nothing at all rell had heretofore been done. ative to the charges made against Mr. Gwin; but it ap- Mr. KING, of Alabama, observed that the matter had
cared to him that the recular course would be to refer now gone by, and he could not but express his regret the whole subject to the Committee on Public Lands. that such unsuccessful efforts should have been made to If Mr. Gwin had satisfactorily refuted the charges made
resist a course of procedure calculated to do the great. against him, or had not succeeded in doing so, the fact est injustice to individuals who held office under this would appear by the report of the committee. The Government. He said then, what he thought now, that best way of doing justice to all parties would be to sub it was an act of great injustice and oppression, to give ject the whole matter to the investigation of a com. power to the committee to enter into investigations
Touching the moral and official conduct of an individual, Mr, EWING, of Ohio, hoped that the reference to that individual being absent, and unable to defend himthe Committee on the Public Lands would not be made. self, without giving bim an opportunity of knowing The charges against Mr. Gwin had been made two years what was charged against him, and of refuting the testiago. He (Mr. E.) was not a member of the Committee mony that might be offered. The Senate, however, pass
Public Lands at that time, and there were very ed the resolution giving this power to the committee, few of that committee who were now in the Senate. if with power to send for persons and papers; and they the reference proposed were not perfectly idle, the went on with their examinations till towards the end of effect would be to renew the investigation into the the session, when they represented that they were unacharges against Mr. Gwin, together with his defence. ble to bring matters to a close, and requested that the
Mr. BENTON was also opposed to the reference. le examinations might be continued by their chairman. The did not want to see any committee of that body sit as chairman himself laid a resolution to this purport on the inquisitors on a citizen of the United States. It seem- table, and, to bis astonishment, as well as of others, the ed to be carrying the business of extra judicial impeach-resolution was sustained by the Senate. ments beyond any thing yet sanctioned by the people | [Mr. K. here read the resolution.] of this country, or warranted by the constitution. They! The resolution was laid on the table and taken up for bad seen enough of these inquisitorial proceedings in that consideration on a subsequent day, when the Senator body. The whole thing was wrong from its inception; it from New York (Mr. WRIGHT) proposed to amend it by began wrong, it went on wrong, and it ended wrong doing that which ought always to be done, to guard the The Senate had got itself into a false position, and could right of individuals, and enable them to come forward not get forwards or backwards without another false and defend themselves, when testimony was offered step. The most becoming thing they could now do, impeaching their characters as honest men and public was to drop the whole affair, and print the paper, in officers. order to allow the defence to take the same direction (Mr. K. here read Mr. WRIGHT'S amendment. that had been given to the accusation. It would sound This, as he said, was the amendment proposed to the strange to the ears of the people of the United States, resolution, giving unlimited power to the chairman of the that the Senate of eighteen hundred and thirty-four, committee to enter into examinations, without giving no. which set itself up to rectify all the abuses in the coun. tice to the party whose conduct was to be inquired into, try, should issue a commission to investigate the charac- and whose morals were to be impeached; and, astonishter and conduct of an individual, and expressly forbiding as it was, this amendment was negatived by a vote the commissioner to give any inforınation to the accused taken by yeas and nays.
JUNE 1, 1836.]
B. F. Curry and Samuel Gwin.
[Mr. K. then quoted the yeas and nays from the jour- sitions that were to be taken. Mr. P. had no objection nal of the Senate.]
to placing these papers on the files of the Senate. If Thus then was this immense power given to a single the individual had any evidence, be bad rather receive individual, to go through the country to make any inqui- it than his allegations, but he thought the whole matter ries he thought necessary, and to incur any expense he ought to be referred to the examination of the commight think proper, (and they had had evidence this ses- | mittee. sion of the extent to which this expense bad beed car 1 Mr. CALHOUN very much regretted that the chairried,) refusing any limitation or restriction whatever. This man of the Committee on Public Lands should object to having been done, it was but an act of justice, on the the reference of this paper. His object was that full part of the Senate, to give to the individual thus impli-justice should be done to Mr. Gwin, to Mr. Poindexter, cated, an opportunity of having his defence placed by and to the Senate. He would not agree that the Senate the side of the accusation. Let the testimony in favor had not the right to inquire into the conduct of public of Mr. Gwin circulate as widely as did that against him, officers when serious frauds had been charged against and then only can any thing like justice be done him. them, as he had heard alleged on that floor. Serious As to any action by the committee, he agreed with the frauds had been alleged against Mr. Gwin, and among Senator from Ohio (Mr. EwING] that it was out of the other charges was one that he had amassed a large fortune question, and therefore a reference was not necessary. in a very short time. This, alone, was very suspicious, and
Mr. PORTER was one of those who voted for these an investigation was ordered. The session was a short resolutions, and the responsibility that he took, on that one, and the committee reported that they could not get occasion, he was perfectly willing to justify. He aver through with the examination before its close, the chairred that the Senate formed no incorrect conclusions man proposing, by a resolution, that he should be authoron that occasion, and that its conduct was not oppressive ized to go on with the examinations in the recess. This and unjust, as alleged. It could have taken no other was agreed to. He did not now propose to inquire course than the one it did, without defeating the object whether these examinations were conducted properly or in view. Many believed that the greatest frauds were not. One thing was now assumed here, and that was, carried on in the sales of the public lands, and an inqui- the innocence of Mr. Gwin, and the guilt of Mr. Poinry was, therefore, absolutely necessary. But what was dexter. Now, something was due to the absent; and an the nature of the inquiry! It was not into the conduct investigation by a committee was necessary before comof any particular officer of the Government, but the in- ing to the conclusion that Mr. Poindexter was culpable. quiry was directed to be general as to all the land offices. Now, as these papers had taken an accusatory course If representations were made now that frauds were com-against Mr. Poindexter, he would ask, was that gentlemitted in any one branch of the Government, would the | man called on for his evidence? Was he notified that Senator from Alabama refuse to institute an inquiry be he was to take Mr. Gwin's place, and that depositions cause a particular officer of the Government might be were to be taken to implicate him? Was this an ex implicated, and the Senate be called on to impeach him?
parte examination? If it was so improper on the part of Was it not common in the Governments of all other the Senate to clothe Mr. Poindexter with these extraorcountries as well as this to institute inquiries into the dinary powers, he would ask were they prepared to conduct of their officers, to ascertain whether frauds sanction the same thing done by the Executive, who had had been committed; and was it. ever heard of before given to Mr. Gwin, or somebody else, the power to that such investigations should not go on because frauds examine into the conduct of Mr. Poindexter? were alleged against individuals? It was said that the Now they were called on to vote in the dark for the resolution was extraordinary, because no opportunity printing of these papers, of which they knew nothing, was allowed the individuals who might be implicated to for the purpose of implicating Mr. Poindexter and the defend themselves by a cross-examination of the wit-Senate itself. He took it for granted that the inquiry into nesses. But was there a charge against any individual? alleged frauds, relative to the public lands, was a proper The inquiry was to be a general one; and would it, there one; and if Mr. Poindexter abused the power with fore, be right to give notice to every individual, who which he was intrusted, it was not the fault of the Senmight be supposed to be implicated, to come forward toate; and the fact whether this was so or not, could be disprove what might be alleged against him? It would best ascertained by the examination of a committee. be very extraordinary, indeed, if it should have been They had been told that there was nothing for the ac. thought necessary to all who might by possibility be in- tion of a committee. Now he thought otherwise. The volved in the inquiry. Mr. P. here read the resolutions character of an officer of the Government had been im. and instructions of the committee, commenting on them plicated; he had been charged with an abuse of office, at some length, and justifying them as proper and ne- and his defence was before them. Now, if Mr. Gwin cessary for the occasion. The motion of the Senator was innocent, he ought to be called so. When he voted from New York to amend, that had been referred to by for the inquiry, his object was to do justice to Mr. the Senator from Alabama, was resisted on the ground that Gwin and to the public; and in voting now for the refthe resolution was a mere matter of inquiry, no person erence, he had the same object in view. Justice, both believing that any judgment was to follow it; that it was towards Mr. Gwin, and one who had formerly been a purely intended as a foundation for legislative proceed member of that body, required the reference. If they ings. It was to proceed like a grand jury; and he rec- condemned Mr. Poindexier, it ought to be with their ollected that it was averred at the time that this investi- eyes open. They all knew what an arduous task a Sengation would tend to the injury of no person whatever, ator in high party times had to perform, and how liable because no judicial proceedings would be gone into the strict execution of his duty was to subject him to without giving time to any person implicated to offer censure. No member of that body would be willing evidence in his defence. If any person was to be tried, that bis conduct should be censured after he left here it was on all hands determined to give him an opportuni- without an examination; and he called upon gentlemen by ty to come forward and exculpate himself before any what was due to themselves, as well as to justice, to further action would be had. Mr. P. thought, there. vote for the reference. fore, that there were no grounds for finding fault with Mr. SHEPLEY said, if the Senator from Louisiana the proceedings of the Senate. The investigation was a [Mr. Porten) understands that the investigations of the general one; and, while it was going on, it would have Committee upon the Public Lands were extended only defeated its objects to give notice relative to the depo. I to inquiries of a general character into alleged frauds in
B. F. Curry and Samuel Gwin.
(June 1, 1836.
the sales of the public lands, that they were designed impeaching individual character, and at the same time for legislative purposes only, and that they did not refuse to the individual all opportunity of being heard. relate to individual character, as his remarks would lead / A proceeding thus commenced in wrong, could be exus to suppose, he is greatly in error. The language of pected to end only as it has done--in wrong. Comthe resolution of the Senate giving the chairman of the mencing thus before a committee of the Senate, the incommittee the power to make an ex parte inquiry during vestigation was continued during the recess of Congress the recess of Congress is, in some respects, expressed by the resolution before referred to, when another atin general terms. But the resolution directs the chair- tempt was made by the then minority to obtain for the man to proceed in the investigation which had been prose persons implicated, an opportunity to be heard, and cuted during the session, and thus refers to the original without success. It is now after two years have elapsed, resolutions by virtue of which the investigation had been that testimony is offered, said to disprove the charges commenced.
made against the officer; and we now are asked to refuse I find, said Mr. S., those resolutions in the Journal, to print this testimony, that it may be placed upon our and to enable the Senate to come to a correct understand- records with that which was thus secretly obtained and ing of the character of the investigation, I will read an placed on record against him. I trust that we may no extract from one or two of them.
longer continue to act a part so unjust. This testimony In the third resolution is found this language:
should be printed with our documents, that an opportu" That the committee be instructed to inquire whether nity may be afforded to judge of the truth of the whole the registers of the land offices and the receivers of public moneys at any of the land offices of the United States, Mr. MANGUM said he voted for the resolutions, and or either of them, have, in violation of law and of their against the amendments; and in doing so, he thought official duties, demanded or accepted a bonus or premi- that he did what was not only proper, but absolutely um from any purchaser or purchasers of the public lands, necessary, under the circumstances then presented to at public or private sale, for the benefit of such officer or him. It must be remembered that, in 1834, the entire officers," &c.
southern country was rife with reports of frauds that had And the following language is found in the fourth been committed with respect to the sales of the public resolution:
lands in the south west. He recollected, that when he "And whether any register or receiver has, at any first came into the Senate, he brought with him such imtime, taken in payment the promissory note of any pur pressions. There was a general impression, that such chaser or purchasers, bearing an interest, to accrue to frauds had been practised, and under such circumstances the benefit of such register or receiver.”
the investigation was ordered. What, then, did this inSir, said Mr. S., it is very difficult for me to under- vestigation propose! It was not to inquire whether A stand how such language can be said not to authorize B or C were guilty, but to inquire whether abuses exinvestigations into the conduct and characters of individu- isted in the land offices, for the purpose of applying a al men. if the object was only to enlighten us in regard legislative remedy. They were informed on that floor, to our legislative duties, it would not seem to be neces that in the State of Mississippi it was worth a man's life sary to inquire whether a register or receiver had viola- to breathe a whisper in relation to these frauds, and that ted the law and his official duties. What were the facts, men would not give their depositions, if the parties in. it might be proper to inquire, to enable us to legislate; plicated were to be present. It was under these imbut whether the man had been guilty of a violation of law pressions that he was willing, at this incipient stage, to and of official duty, was an inquiry directly involving in- give this power to the committee. How could such individual character; and it does not seem to be necessary vestigations affect an individual? The President would for mere purposes of legislation. It was well understood, not remove him from office on ex parte testimony. But at the time the resolutions passed, to involve individual, it was said that the character of an individual would be character; and as the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. affected. Was it believed at the time that the Senate CALHOUN) has remarked, Mr. Gwin was openly charged | would adopt a report without giving every individual an by the chairman of the Committee on Public Lands with opportunity of defending himself? He did not concur a gross violation of official duty. Such was the language in the doctrine that the Senate had no right to enter into of the resolutions, and such were the circumstances in inquiries into the official conduct of officers of the Goywhich it was proposed to enter upon the investigation. | ernment. He beld it to be their duty to ferret out cor
I then thought, as I now think, that it was due to the ruption wherever it was supposed to exist. He was free officer implicated; due to the character of the Senate it to say, that he did not approve of the instructions of the self; and due to truth and justice, that the investigation chairman to the commissioners, as to the manner of their should not proceed in secret, so that the accused could taking depositions, and he was for that reason willing to know nothing of the attempt to destroy his character; vote for the printing of the answer of Mr. Gwin. Alcould have no opportunity even to know the persons though without having seen this paper, he believed that who would appear against him, much less to cross-ex it assailed the chairman of the committee and the Senate amine them, or to introduce any explanatory or rebutting with virulence; yet as he deemed the instructions under testimony. Feeling that the first principles of justice which the depositions were taken, to be wholly irregular, were to be violated in such a proceeding, I offered an he was willing to give to Mr. Gwin an opportunity of amendment to the fifth resolution. It is thus stated on being heard, by voting for the printing of his defence, the Journal:
Mr. BENTON observed that it would conduce to a "On motion of Mr. Shepley, to amend the fifth, by right view of the matter to take a brief view of the striking out all after the word committee, and inserting, whole subject. They all recollected the charges that . have power to cause testimony to be taken on oath, had been made against Mr. Gwin; and although his where any misconduct is supposed to have taken place name was not put in the resolution, yet all knew that touching the matters aforesaid; and in case any person the inquiry was commenced against him, and Girected is implicated, such person to be notified, and be entitled against him. He had said that the Senate had put itself to introduce testimony in exculpation of himself; and to in a false position with regard to this wbole affair, and cross-examine all witnesses introduced against him.'” he would take upon himself to prove it. He would
This proposed amendment was rejected upon a divi take what Senators now said, to the right and left, sion, by yeas and nays, a party vote And thus did the and compare it with what they had done. They now Senate deliberately enter upon an investigation directly stated that this movement was incipient; that it was like a JUNE 1, 1836.)
B. F. Curry and Samuel Gwin.
grand jury proceeding. Here, then, was an inquiry plying the proper remedy. Why, then, did not the instituted against an officer of the Government; and it gentleman go on? Here was impeachable matter sworn was said that the committee, being a grand jury, was to, and let the gentleman proceed with it. He would tell not bound to give notice to the party whose conduct the gentleman that the Senate would be ruined if it went was to be inquired into. Every gentleman, who justi-on much further with these extra-judicial proceedings. fied the course of the Senate, must put it on this ground. The matter had gone far enough already; and, if they The examinationis being thus conducted, the commis went further without the House of Representatives, sioners, who were charged with taking testimony, were they would violate the constitution. informed that it was not expected that they should give 1 Mr. EWING, of Ohio, replied to Mr. BENTON at notice to any person of the time and place of their ta- length, and contended that the resolutions of the Senate, king depositions, &c. And here he would observe that and the manner of conducting the inquiry, were proper the three commissioners, appointed to take testimo- necessary to attain the object in view. He did not believe ny againt Mr. Gwin, were in a state of violent enmity that information could have been obtained if notice with him; and that one of them had since fallen by his had been given of the time and place of taking the dehand. Then, what was the testimony that had been repositions; and instanced the investigations that were turned to the Senate? Why, it was impeachable mat- made by the Post Office Committee; calling upon the ter, charging him with malversations in office, and filled chairman to inform the Senate how these were conductwith the strongest epithets. What, then, did the Sen ed, and whether, in his opinion, correct information ate do when their grand jury returned to them this im could have been obtained if they had notified the parpeachable matter sworn against Mr. Gwin? Why, the ties implicated, of the time and place of taking deposi. very next step of the Senate was to admit that it was in a false position, and that they could go no farther. Mr. GRUNDY, being thus called on, replied that, They directed that five thousand copies of the testimony, when the Post Office Committee were about to enter on taken ex parte, against this officer of the Government, I their examinations, they came to the determination, should be published. What was the next step? Was unanimously, that their best course would be to take it to take measures for an impeachment? Why did they depositions without giving the parties implicated notice not do this? It was the next regular step. There was of the time and place of so doing. This was done in nothing that they could do, following from the docu- every case; but, when the testimony in each case was ments before them, but impeach; and he now declared, concluded, he, as the chairman of the committee, notias a Senator, that, upon such testimony, with nothing to fied each individual implicated of the matter brought counteract it, he should, on an impeachment, vote the against him, and called upon him to defend himself. officer guilty, and eject him from office. Why did they He did not believe that correct information, with regard not proceed? They had impeachable matter enough on to matters before the Post Office Committee, could have hand. Why did they stop?' It was because they found been obtained by any other mode of inquiry. that they could go no further, without implicating them- Mr. SOUTHÄRD proceeded to take a view of the selves. What did they do? Did they frame a law? reasons which induced the Senate to institute the inNo. Did they frame an ex parte impeachment like the quiries referred to. Early in the session of 1834, comone they did against the President of the United States? plaints, in a great variety of forms, were made in regard No Imprimis, they ordered five thousand copies to be to frauds in relation to the lands ceded by the Choctaws, printed, and in the next place referred the whole affair and in regard to the conduct of the commissioners under to the President, in order that he might dismiss the ac that cession. Subsequent charges were made as to excused from office. Why did they send this impeachable tensive frauds that had been committed, not only in Mismatter to the President? What did the President do? sissippi, but in other States; it was not against one man, He sent a copy of the report to every officer implicated. but against the general administration of the land offi. This, he presumed, was the President's course, for it cers. The question then before the Senate was, will it was the just one. One of these implicated officers had do any thing to arrest these frauds, and make the necesreturned an answer to the charges against him, and this sary inquiries for the purpose of ascertaining how they answer was now sent to the Senate. What a strange | can be arrested? This was his inquiry. He had no condition the Senate was placed in. They commenced reference to Samuel Gwin, or to any other single indian impeachment, collected an abundance of impeacha vidual. His only object was to ascertain whether such ble malter, and then sent it to the President, who sends frauds had been committed, and how they could be prea copy of it to the officer impeached, who was not al vented by the legislation of Congress. The votes he lowed a hearing while his trial was going on; and the gave were governed by these considerations, and no answer of that officer was now sent back to them. other. If any thing improper had been done in conductSince the movement now was to refer these criminal ing the inquiry, it did not prove that it ought not to charges that had been made two years ago, and then have been instituted. Every step in that inquiry was shuffled off, and which were now brought home to directed by its legislative action, and every other step them, he had no objection to that course; because he was accidental. Mr. S. read the different proceedings wished to see how the committee would act on them on the subject from the journals of 1834. "The inquiries to see whether they would bring in a resolution to send were general, in order to ascertain what legislation was the papers to the House of Representatives, for the pur | necessary, and the Senate would find, by reference to pose of having an impeachment framed. Sir, (said Mr. | the journals, that an act was reported, a fact omitted in B.,) the Senate has got itself into a false position. It is the discussion of this morning. Suppose, in the course in the same position it was in when it shoved off the of the investigation, they should find that an officer had affair upon the President It could not go on with the received a bonus for the sale of a tract of land, would it business. Could they try the impeachment? He ap- | not be proper for them to introduce a resolution proprehended not. No member, he thought, would lay viding for the introduction of a law to prevent such acts a resolotion on the table, declaring that Samuel Gwin for the future? not to go back to punish the officer who was guilty, and ought to impeached.
was guilty, for that would be too late, but for the purThe debate on the expunging resolution bad circula pose of framing a law that would guard against such ted too widely for gentlemen to venture on that. The frauds in future. The Senate would find, on looking at gentleman from Ohio had said that he would never re the whole proceedings, that legislative, and not judicial, frain from inquiring into frauds for the purpose of an- | action was contemplated from beginning to end.
Louisville and Portland Canal.
(JUNE 2, 1836.
By a resolution introduced by Mr. Poindexter, the testimony. Now, he thought that to do justice to all inquiry was pursued through the Treasury and War De. parties, to Mr. Gwinn himself, as well as others, the partments, and the answers from these Departments did proper course was to refer it to a committee. If the not come in until the 13th of June. On the 22d of June, object in sending this document here was to implicate a Mr. Poindexter offered a resolution authorizing the former member of that body, who had, in the discharge chairman to proceed in the investigations already com of arduous duties, been implicated, every principle of menced. Now, wbat then was the duty of the Senate? honor and justice required that they should be referred The Secretaries of War and Treasury had made their and examined before sending them abroad to the world. communications, and the committee had reported that As to the dangerous doctrine, that this body is not to they could not conclude their investigations that session. look into malfeasances in office, it had been avowed The inquiry was, should they stop there? Every body here for the first time. Never had it been avowed in believed that stupendous frauds had been committed; it the British Parliament, from which we took our prac. was too late to deny the fact now; and he for one thought tice, nor had it been advanced in any of the State Legis. that these investigations should proceed. And as it | latures. Such a doctrine would surrender entirely the would have been impossible for the committee to go to Legislative power of the Senate. the different States where these examinations were to be Mr. C. continued his remarks to some considerable made, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio, Michigan, &c., he had length; after which, no difficulty in coming to the conclusion, that it would Mr. WHITE and Mr. WALKER expressed them. be proper to trust the further prosecution of the business selves briefly in favor of printing, to their chairman, They could have continued the in The debate was further continued by Messrs. PRENquiry in no other mode. He was not here the apologist of TISS, MANGUM, PRESTON, PORTER, WALL, the chairman, but he thought that justice should be done NILES and BROWN; when, to him as well as to others. Well, then, it was proper
On motion by Mr. PORTER to lay the whole subject to make these investigations by depositions. If it was on the table, it was decided in the negative, by the folnot so, it was wrong for the Post Office Committee to do | lowing vote: so. The testimony could not be justly taken in another YEAS--Messrs. Black, Calhoun, Crittenden, Ewing of way. If there had been error in the chairman of the Ohio, Goldsborough, Kent, King, Leigh, Mangum, committee, the Senate was not to answer for it. If Porter, Prentiss, Preston, Southard, Tomlinson, blood had been shed, in consequence of the manner of White--15. conducting these inquiries, the Senate was not chargea NAYS--Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchanan, Cuthbert, ble; they did not direct that the inquiries should be made
Ewing of Illinois, Grundy, Hendricks, Hubbard, King of in an improper manner. They only directed that the Georgia, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Rives, Robinson, Ruginquiries should be made by depositions.
gles, Shepley, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Wright--20. Mr. S. said he would not defend the instructions to the On motion of Mr. BLACK, commissioners; but he would say that if instructions had The Senate then adjourned. been given to them to give notices to the parties implicated, and to take their counter testimony, such proceeding would constitute the commissioners into a criminal court
THURSDAY, JUNE 2. for the trial of individuals, and to make the inquiry a
LOUISVILLE AND PORTLAND CANAL. criminal process, instead of a foundation for legislative On motion of Mr. EWING, of Ohio,." proceedings. These were the views on which he voted. The bill authorizing the purchase of the private stock The result was, that, at the succeeding session, the in the Louisville and Portland canal, was taken up, and chairman (Mr. Poindexter) made a report, accompanied the pending amendment having been withdrawn, by a resolution, that the charges be referred to the Mr. EWING said he was satisfied that the importance President of the United States. Where then was the of this measure had not been fully weighed, and its voice that is now raised against the judicial proceedings nature duly appreciated by the Senate before the vote of the Senate? No man pretended to say then that the was taken upon it the other day. I have (said Mr. E.) Senate had placed itself in a false position. Mr. S. prosince that time ascertained more fully the objections of ceeded at length to defend the propriety of this course gentlemen to this measure, and the opinions upon which on the part of the Senate. It was said that the whole those objections rest, and I am further satisfied that affair was ended by printing the report, and its reference there is the most friendly disposition towards the bill if to the President; but this was a very incorrect view of those difficulties can be removed. the subject; the reference to the President was merely Some gentlemen object to the extension of these imincidental. But on the very day the chairman reported provements by the United States beyond those waters in a bill, with the very view of fulfilling the purpose for which the tide ebbs and flows, with an exception, per. which this inquiry was made, being a bill of six pages, haps, in favor of the very margin of our great lakes. to provide against the commission of these frauds.' Was This is a notion which we have derived from England; it true, then, that the inquiry was fruitless, and that it it is a part of the common law applicable to that coun. ended in a reference of this subject to the President? No, try, but not to this. In England there are no rivers navithe result of that investigation would be found in the bill gable, in fact, above the flowing of the tide. It is very that had been reported, and would be found in the labors reasonable, therefore, that they should not be considered of the Committee on Public Lands, who had made use navigable in law. But that rule is perfectly absurd of this very information, and would very soon place when applied to the mighty rivers of our continent, before them a bill which would show how useful that which sustain a commerce in vessels large as East Indiainquiry had been. Where, then, was the evidence that men, for three thousand miles of their course, and comthe Senate had placed itself in a false position?
pared with which the royal rivers of England, the Mr. CALHOUN agreed partly with his friend from Thames, the Humber, and the Severn, are but rills. North Carolina, but was clearly of opinion that the We constantly forget that we are not still inhabitants of printing ought to be after the report of the committee. an island; it is our habitual tendency to apply insular law Not a single Senator had read the whole of this evidence; to our broad continent. not a Senator knew whether it exculpated the officer But the constitution considers these great western implicated, or whether it implicated the conduct of the rivers as belonging to the Union. The ordinance of chairman; and in the dark they were asked to print the 1787, in that part of it which is an ir repealable compact