Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

engendered, which has the effect of arraying State against rested on every land-holder to make roads, by which access

State, and brother against brother. These are the Bitter fruits of latitudinous construction, to counterbalance which, no good, however great, will ever be found to be sufficient. No, Sir, nothing can atone for an alienation offeeling on the part of the People towards one another andtowards this Government. I must believe, then, that the gentleman from Maryland is mistaken, in ascribing to my colleague secret pleasure in the enactment of the law making an appropriation to the Dismal Swamp Canal. , My colleague could not have esteemed that as a boon, which assisted in sapping the foundations of this Government. , I will answer positively for Virginia, in relation to this subject. Her constituted authorities would have rejected, without one moment of hesitation, the largess, had it been offered to them, and they would have been sustained in such rejection by the People. Let our mountains still uplift their untamed peaks to the clouds—let us have to wade through the mire of our roads, and brave the mighty floods of our streams, in the best way that we are able— yet we will not barter the Constitution of this land for any boon which may be offered ; in violation thereof, we will not be tempted to oountenance a temporary expediency, for that great, and prominent, and safe policy of preserving the Government, as it came from the hands of those who made it, and, thereby, of perpetuating the blessings of liberty to our posterity. I owe you an apology for having occupied your time thus long. When I rose, I had no intention of saying so much; but I throw myself upon the importance of the subject for my apology. He could urge much more upon o, but he had probably said too much already. Let this Government avoid all interference with the internal affairs of the States. Let it revolve in its own orbit, leaving the State Governments to revolve in theirs, and no imaginato however vivid, can paint the glories which await us ** nation—but, let it go on, as it has of late gone on, *ressing itself to local interests and feelings, and there"; engeudering feuds and animosities, and our destiny may tasily be foretold. Mr. SMITH, of Md. said he did not intend to impute "consistency or want of principle to the Senators from Virginia, in the course they had taken in relation to the Dismal Swamp Canal. He merely intended to imply that, although the Dismal Swamp Canal would benefit their State, such was their ideas of the Constitution, that they would not advocate it. Mr. MACON said, that this system, thus far, had shewn how much the great men who projected it, were mistaken, in their ideas of making its effects uniform throughout the "ountry. Such a thing could not be. Gentlemen were *aken altogether, if they thought that, by making laws, they could bind the people together. When any part of the country believes that it has not its fair share of this Tower, it becomes discontented. And if ever the counto was ruined it would be from this cause. Mr. BENTON said that this bill provided for the comPotion of a section of road already begun as a mere ques. * of expediency he should suppose that the Congress "Fit to finish what had been commenced. He saw no ocessity for drawing into this discussion the question of le Powers of Congress to make Internal Improvements : *ause this road had been in progress for a quarter of a oury—and because it was made under a compact which * induced every successive Congress to approve it, and *e appropriations for its continuance. As to the question other Congress had this right, it was easily settled. It is *that two per cent, was reserved from the sales of lands the completion of this work, and it was argued that no opriations ought to be made beyond the amount aris"goom that provision. But, on the other hand, the friends "the road contend that Congress was bound by a strong *al obligation to complete the work. Such an obligation

against the objects of Internal Improvemert.

could be had to them. And the best roads had generally been made by the owners of land either to them or through them. Now, said Mr. B. in the States through which this road is to run, after it crosses the boundary of Ohio, the United States is the sole land-holder, and is bound, both by interest and by equity, to make a road, to render these lands accessible. There were other considcrations which imposed this duty on the General Government, which would not be operative on an individual landholder. The United States is paying no taxes on her lands ; and is exempted altogether }. the necessity of making improvement upon them i, and besides, the advantage derived from this great work had been much greater than the expenditure. At the time at which the compact was entered into by the United States and the Western States, it was found that donations of lands were really, instead of donations, exorbitant sales—because the increase of the taxes was very great. The United Stated derive great advantage from the accession which the population of those States were rapidly gaining, and which was much increased by the roads which the people of the States were continually making by their own labor. These roads and bridges were made to improve the access to the lands of the United States, and in the whole plan the General Government was largely the gainer. Thus it will be seen, that the labor and enterprise of the people of the West on their plantations, roads, bridges, &c., are redounding to the interest of the United States : for, when. ever a project is started for a road or a canal through the public lands, their value becomes immediately enhanced in a very considerable degree. I think, said Mr. B., that sufficient has been said to show that the United States is bound to make this road, both on considerations of justice and policy , and that this bill stands upon the very best footing. Mr. COBB would trouble the Senate with but a few remarks. The gentleman from Maryland has observed, among other improvements, that something had been done for the Savannah river. As I voted for that appropriation, while it is well known that I am not a friend to the system, I deem it proper to explain my motives. The object of that appropriation was, to remove obstructions placed in the Savannah river, during the Revolution, to defend the City from the enemy. In this case, then, there was an obligation, on the part of the government, to make this appropriation and I think I can point to a simular object in Maryland, in which the aid of the General Government was obtained. During the late war certain vessels were sunk in the harbor of Baltimore, to prevent the British flotilla from attacking the city; and he believed that, since the peace, these vessels were raised at the expence of the Government. He did not mention this to find : any fault with it. It was as it should be. And why Bécause the Government had assumed the right to obstruct the harbor for the common defence; and was bound, when they were no longer necessary, to remove those obstructions. And, therefore I think, said Mr. C. that there is no difference between cases of Baltimore and Savannah. Now, Sir, said Mr. C. to take up the subject be. fore us, I did think, and I do still think, that there is a great distinction between this and other objects of internal Improvement. In the House of Representatives, on a former occasion, a resolution had been introduced Another resolution was offered, and which succeeded, which gave the power to the United States of making appropriations in aid of projects coinmenced by the different states. To him the power of appropriation appeared much more dan. gerous than the other. He should say nothing further upon the general question ; but he could not see one tit. tle of reason in support of the right of an individual state to grant a power to the Federal Government which was


not to be found in the constitution. And giving to Congress the power of appropriating money, was far more dangerous than to admit the original power itself of the General Government to make Internal Improvements, independent of the will or permission of the States. In this respect he agreed entirely with the gentleman from Virginia, who had, a short time since, addressed the Senate. The power to raise money and appropriate it was not less important than it was restricted : and every exercise of it ought to be strictly within the terms of the grant in the Constitution. This was a subject of great jealousy when the Constitution was adopted. The most populous States were jealous of every power of which they divested themselves in granting them to the General Government; and it was expressly declared, that every power which was not given to the General Government, by the Constitution, was retained by the States, and could not be wrested from them. It is scarcely necessary, [said Mr. Cohn] that I should go into a further detail of my opinions upon the constitutionality of this question. They have often been declared before, and have now been presented to the Senate in a manner merely incidental, as I probably should not have opened my ão had it not been for the remarks, which I have already noticed, of the gentleman from Maryland. Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, observed, that he did not know whether the sinking of the vessels at Savannah, during the Revolution, had been done by the diriction of the General Government, or whether those obstructions had been placed there by order of the State authorities. He recollected, however, that the Legislature of Georgia pass. ed a law, many years since, levying duties on the tonnage entering the harbour of Savannah, to be applied in clearing out the obstructions to the navigation of that river. . And he also recollected, that, when the act of Congress passed, the Legislature of Georgia repealed those duties. He agreed that, both in the instance mentioned by the gentleman from Georgia, of the hulks sunk in the harbour of Baltimore, and also in the case of Savannah, it was perfectly proper that the proposition, for the removal of those obstructions, should be made by Congress. [Mr. S. then stated some circumstances relative to the removal of the vessels sunk in the harbor of Baltimore, which were inaudible to the Reporter.] Mr BRANCH then inade a few remarks in opposition to the bill, and expressed a desire that the constitutional question should not, in any similar case, be lost sight of. in regard to the hulks in the river Sayannah, he observed that this obstruction took place previous to the adoption of the Federal Constitution : and that their removal was Inore incumbent on the General Government, than the completion of any plan of internal improvement that came within his knowledge. Mr. EATON said he did not think there was time to argue a constitutional question at this late hour. Whether Georgia had received too much or too little from the Gen: eral Government, he did not pretend to say. He wished to consider this subject more thoroughly than he had time to do now,and he therefore moved an adjournment.

Wen N Eso Ay, JAN UARY 23, 1828.


The bill from the other House, making appropriations for the payment of the Revolutionary and other pension. ers of the United States, which had been reported by the Committee on Finance, with an amendinent, having been taken up—

Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, said, that he had been ordered by the Committee to move to amend the bill, so as to strike out the appropriation of $236,000 in addition to the unexpended balance of $564,000. But, after the bill had been reported, some doubts were entertained by the


[ocr errors]

their pensions would supply.

[JAN. 23, 1828.

Committee whether the unexpended balance of the sum appropriated ought to be considered in the appropriation for this year. In order to receive satisfactory information on the subject, a letter had been directed to the Secre. tary of the Treasury, who had in reply transmitted a re. port of the Chief Clerk of the Pension Office, by which it appeared that the sum spoken of as an unexpended balance, was that sum which should have been expended in 1828, and which would be paid over to the pensioners in 1829, in the same manner as the Navy fund was dis. posed of. It was, therefore, considered by the Commit. tee, that the 564,000 dollars remaining in the Treasury, was not, in reality, an unexpended balance ; but that it would be called for in the course of the year 1829. He thought the subject would be better illustrated by the letter of the Secretary of the Navy, than by any other means. [The Secretary then read the letter. Under these circumstances, it would be secn that the Committee would have been justified in reporting the bill without an amendment. But, on further considera. tion, it appeared doubtful whether a sum, not expended out of the appropriation of 1827, could be applied on that to be expended in 1828. The statement of the Clerk of the Pension Office was, that, if all the pensions came in during the year, it would require $1,200,000 to pay them. The Committee thought it better to bring the question before the Senate ; and, as the Department was ready to take the responsibility on themselves, they were willing to let them have it. Mr. BltANCH made some remarks, in which he explained why he differed from the Committee. Mr. HARRISON said, that he had been informed by the Secretary of the Treasury, that an unexpended ba: lance had been increasing for the last two years, until it amounted to $ 564,000, and that it would probably be sufficient for the expenditure of this year. He thought, with the gentleman from North Carolina, that the expcn. diture should not be larger than was necessary. Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, said, the matter was before the Senate for its decision. For the information of the gentleman from Ohio, he would ask the reading of the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury. [The letter was then read by the Secretary.] Mr. PAl{RIS said, that he did not see how the balance could have been accumulating, as had been observed by the gentleman from Ohio. He [Mr. P.] understood that, after two years, all unexpended balances were carried to the surplus fund. He thought with the Committee, that it would not be safe to depend on the balance alone ; and he would state the effect of doing so. Suppose certain pensioners should apply, who had not claimed their pen. sion in 1828. They cannot obtain it afterwards. At any rate, he would not alter the measure so as to cause the least inconvenience. deal their stipend to these men, and they must have it. The case was a very simple one. pended balance of last year, the nominal amount wo swelled ; but it had nothing to do with the real appropria, tion. It appeared that the unexpended balance remained in the Treasury for the payment of those distant pensions, which had not yet been claimed, and which were scattered through distant parts of the country.

Mr. McLANE said, that he thought, with the gentle

man who had just sat down, that the form of this bill was not material, as regarded its operation on the Treasury. The only object that could be had, in this matter, was, to pay promptly the old pensioners who would apply, and for whom the appropriation was made. They ought not to be put to inconvenience. Before another year, they might be beyond the reach of the necessities which If they do not apply, it is

still in the Treasury; and the policy had always been ob.

served of allowing it to remain there, for their use, when

Congress was only the pursers to

By adding the unex

[ocr errors]

their applications should be made. But it appeared that the appropriation, if this amendment pass, will be totally inadequate. The Senator from Ohio is in error. This 554,000 dollars was not an accumulating balance, because the balance of the former year went to the surplus fund. |Mr. HARRISON explained, that he had not used the word accumulating, but had stated that the amount of the balance had increased, being larger than it was at the end of any former year.] Mr. McLANE resumed. He did not intend to misrepresent the gentleman from Ohio. He believed the amount totally inadequate. The Clerk of the Pension Office estimated that 1,200,000 dollars would be required to pay all the pensioners that might apply this year. It was not probable that all would apply—but they ought to be provided for. . The surplus now remaining arose from many pensioners having failed to apply for their pensions. On a former occasion, in consequence of making the fund remaining from a previous year a part of the appropriaon for the invalid pensioners, it fell short upwards of 100,000 dollars, which Congress had afterwards to make up. He was, therefore, averse to diminishing this appropriation. It was worth while to know how these unex. Pended balances were created. The pensions might remain uncalled for from various reasons. The pensioners might be sick at home, or it might be difficult to send for it. The moment they were able, they would empower **gent to receive it; and Congress ought to be pro*d agains such application. If the appropriation was not made, the Committee would have done their duty, and the responsibility would rest upon the Senate. Mr. HARRISON expressed himself satisfied with the lotter read by the Secretary. Rather than that one of * veterans should suffer in any way, he should vote for the bill. Mr. CHANDLER said, that there seemed to be a want formation on this subject. The Clerk of the Pension oice reported that a larger sum than had been proposed ** wanted. It was, he thought, better, therefore, to getfurther information from the head of the Department; *d he would move to lay the bill on the table; but withdrow his motion at the request of Mr. BRANCH, who made a few remarks. Mr. COBB said, he believed the Chairman of the Comhittee on Finance was about to give more than the DeRament asked for. The Secretary said, that but 800,000 ollas was wanted, and it seemed that there was now an inexpended balance Why should Congress give more on was needed ? He was willing to vote for filling the *k with 800,000 dollars, and that appeared by the woments to be enough. - ". BRANCH moved to fill the blank with 800,000 30(ars. Mt. PARRIS hoped the question would be divided. He à not wish to touch the unexpended balance, but allow it to go, when the period arrived, to the surplus fund . He did not wish Congress to touch what they had no right to. * McLANE rose to make one remark. He under. *the gentleman from Maine [Mr. Chan DLER) to say, *the answer to the letter of the committee had been **ived from the Clerk of the Pension Office, and not "...he Head of the Department, who was applied to. * McL would state to the gentleman, that these esti*were not made out by the Secretary of the Treasu. o, but by the Heads of the several Bureaus, by whom o ore transmitted to the Secretary. He made this ex*tion, merely to show that the information had been *d through the proper channel, and that no censure be cast on the flead of the Department. .*.*HANDLER did not suppose that any neglect was i "Poined of. He only went on the ground that, if in"tion was wanted, they had better apply for it to the

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

Head of the Department. He did not intend to impute
censure to any one.
Mr. KING thought there was some error in this matter;
and if it was referred to the proper Department, that error
would be corrected. He supposed that the Secretary of
the Treasury had no more to do with the estimate than
any other officer. He, as the Head of the Department,
transmitted the estimates made out by the Clerks of the
different bureaux. Mr. K. thought the application ought
to have been made to the War Department, under which
the Pension Office was placed. It appeared to him that,
until the Secretary of War had an opportunity of revising
the appropriation, it would be improper to act upon it.
At the same time, he could not but express his opinion
that the appropriation was not by any means inadequate.
Under these views of the subject, he moved to lay the
bill on the table ; which was agreed to.


The unfinished business of yesterday having been resumed, the bill to complete the Cumberland Road from Bridgeport to Zanesville, in Ohio, and to provide for the survey of the same from Zanesville to the Seat of Government of Missouri, was taken up.

Mr. EATON had very few remarks to make. He considered that many gentlemen had argued erroneously upon this subject, because they had predicated their remarks on wrong facts and data. In addressing the Senate, he should depend on facts alone. Whatever the opinions of gentlemen might be on the abstract question of the constitutional power of Congress, this was not a case in which that question could be legitimately agitated. The bill now before the Senate proposed nothing more than the fulfilment of a contract on the part of the United States, entered into many years since, the early stages of which had gone on uninterruptedly. The mists of constitutional scruples had been newly raised, and thrown around this object at a time when they could be least expected. He should say nothing on this head, because, in his opinion, it had nothing to do with the original compact by which the United States agreed to complete this work. He intended to show what that original compact was, and that it was a mistake, in which some of the friends of the measure partook, that the two per cent. fund, so often mentioned, had any thing to do with the agreement between the contracting parties. As far back as 1802, the plan was commenced, under the administration of Mr. Jefferson, than whom no man was more scrupulously regardful of the exact letter and meaning of the Constitution : for, said Mr. E. although I would not bow down in humble admiration of any man whose talents and virtues do not entitle him to the high character of a patriot and statesman, yet it is no humiliation to look up with reverence to the name of Jefferson. In the year 1802, Ohio was admitted into the Union ; and in the act which sanctioned her admission, it was provided, that “one-twentieth part of the nett proceeds of the lands lying in said State, sold by Congress, after deducting all expenses incident to the sale, shall be applied to the laying out and making public roads, leading from the navigable waters emptying into the Atlantic, to the Ohio, to the said State, and through the same : such roads to be laid out under the authority of Congress, with the consent of the several States through which the roads shall pass.”

Thus it will be seen, that the law agreed that Congress should make roads to and through the State. If the words were not clear, the question might be made to rest on the subsequent acts of Congress, in which the same provisions were made in favor of Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois. But there they stood in the law, utterly unquestionable as to their purport and bearing. Of what benefit to Ohio, he would ask, was the completion of the Cumberland Road through Maryland and, Pennsylvania to the


Cumberland Road.

[JAN. 23, 1828

borders of the Ohio That did not fulfil the stipulation business-transactions carried on between the inhabitants that it should pass through Ohio, which had been agreed of the different sections ; and such measures, Mr. E. be:

o an equivalent 2. She stipulated that she would not, in
consideration of this promised extension of roads to and
through her territory, exercise her sovereign power to tax
the domain of the United States lying within her borders.
And now (said Mr. E.) let us look at the extent of the
public domain in the State of Ohio, at that time ; and I
think it will appear that the fund to be applied by Con-
gress to public works far exceeds the expenditure. He
would state a few facts in support of this position. From
the year 1802 to 1815, six millions of acres had been sur-
veyed, and, supposing that half that amount has been
surveyed since, and the whole to have been sold at the
Government price, here is a fund of nearly twenty mil-
lions of dollars. Here, then, is a contract in which the
United States are bound to do one thing, and the State
to do another. The State performs its portion of the
agreement, and the United States is bound to apply five
per centum on these sales. This fund would amount, on
sales of twenty millions, to one million. Therefore, the
statement that the fund had been overdrawn already, was
certainly not correct. Subsequently to the act of 1802,
the direct action of the Senate had been had in favor of
extending the Cumberland Road still farther west. We
find nothing more upon the subject until 1806, when
Congress again took up the subject. They did not then
subscribe to the principle that Congress was authorized
to make a road without the consent of the States. But
it was admitted that, if that consent was obtained, it was
a constitutional exercise of power for Congress to author-
ize and complete the work. And this principle was
sanctioned by Mr. Jefferson, in consenting to the passage
of the bill. [Mr. Eaton here read a passage from a re-
port made at that period.) The President was there au-
thorized to ascertain whether the States in question were
willing to acquiesce in this exercise of power. That hav-
ing been ascertained, Congress went on to make appro-
priations for the work. Therefore, Mr. E. considered
that no violation of the Constitution has ever taken place
in the laws passed by Congress for the continuance of the
Cumberland Road. If Congress had a right to admit new
States into the Union, and also the right to subject those
new States to any conditions not hostile to their Republi-
can character, then this compact was a valid one, and the
faith of the Government was solemnly pledged to ad-
vance in the plan which they had commenced.
When Virginia ceded her western territory to the
United States, she ceded the right of sovereignty and
proprietorship. Afterwards, when Ohio knocked at the
door, Congress was in possession of the power to make
any stipulations and conditions that they might think ne-
cessary. They then said to Ohio, “Forbear to tax the pub-
lic lands, and we assure you that a substantial road shall be
made, joining the waters of the West with the ocean.”
Is there any gentleman present, [said Mr. E.) who will
not grant that it was a great consideration to unite the
two extreme portions of this country by a substantial
means of friendly and commercial intercourse The
Western States were then important, and are fast becom-
ing vastly powerful and wealthy, and claiming their full
share of attention from the General Government; and
was it not a strong measure of expediency to seek out
and carry into effect a plan for drawing their interests
closely to the Atlantic States ?
The gentleman from North Carolina, [Mr. MA.cox,] has
said, that it is vain to legislate on the affections of the
People, and that a stronger influence must be exerted to
draw them together. But, Isaid Mr. E.] to my mind,
there can be no stronger bond of union than that which
arises out of a community of interests. This is produced
by a free exchange of products, and a continual course of

And what did she stipulate—what did she give

lieved, must be adopted, to make the citizens of this ex-
tended continent one People. A perseverance in such a
policy would soon do away all fears of discord and disunion.
There was another point of view in which every friend
of his country would look upon this work. We are now
no more secure against the occurrence of a war than at
any former period of our political existence. Should it
come again, the safety of the country must, in a degret,
depend upon the West. He did not say this, because he
thought the Western People were better soldiers or more
patriotic than those of the East. But we of the West
have no frontier that is assailable to a foreign enemy ard
while the soldiers of the Atlantic States will be called
from point to point to defend the coast from the attack of
an enemy’s fleets, the soldiers of the West will form a
strong reserve to aid in all emergencies: for they are al
ways ready. I do not say this, proceeded Mr. E. with
the positive prediction that they will be wanted—bo
they may be—and your reliance on them may be most
confidential. Then, I ask, will it not be of vital impo
tance to have the means of rapid and easy communication
between the West and the East 2 Will it not be esset.
tial to have the means of bringing together the whok
physical energies of the country and should we not, then,
justly blame any previous neglect that should have thro
obstacles in the way of such an important concern
tion 2
Let us suppose, for instance, that New-Orleans wer
again threatened would she not look again to the *
diers of the West for defence 2 Yes, sir, and she wo
not look in vain. Once the Western riflemen have alread:
beaten back her assailants ; and they are ready to do
again. The drafts must be exorbitant indeed, that su
absorb the courage and intrepidity of our forest soldiers
Wise statesmen will look foward to changes and emo
gencies. We may think that we can take care of to
selves , but the time may come when we shall need as
tance. Against such a juncture it is our duty to provo.
In peace to prepare for war, is an American maxim, wo
experience has shewn us cannot be to often repeate!"
too closely followed.
But said Mr. E., this road is important in a fiscal pool
of view. The reduction of the price of conveyants of
the mail had been correctly stated by the gentlemansno.
Ohio, [Mr. Ruggles.] It was also of great importance
to individual expense, and the facility it gave to our
ternal commerce. He recollected the time when
carried from Philadelphia to Ohio coast ten dollars
hundred weight. It was now reduced to reasonable dio
ges. Cannot gentlemen see that this fact is of great”
portance in a commercial relation as, in proportio
the facility of carriage, the amount of transportation wo
increase. Commerce, exterior and interial, was exto
cd by such means. -
This work, then, is a great national object. You not
a contract with the State of Ohio, which you are bo
to fulfil, and which, also, if my arguments have not!
ed, you are deeply interested in carrying into effect. 1
advantages which she would have derived from the reco
of the taxes on the public domain, would have been
greater than those she will reap from the road ; for
could have employcd it better than it has been empo
ed. The road now wants repair. That it must be mo
no one doubts i yet it has often been proposed in wo
Indeed, in every instance where this road has been Jo
cussed we of the West have fought for it inch by inco o
other States 2 per cent. has been devoted to roads:
Canals, and 3 per cent. has been taken by the Sto
But in Ohio the whole amount has been paid to tic o
vernment, so that she is under no obligation to the [
ted States—which constitutes for her a very strons cl

Jas. 23, 1828.] Cumberland Road. [SENATE.

to share in the advantages to be derived from this road, and strengthens the equitable title which she derives from the compact entered into when she became a sovereign and independent State. Mr. CHANDLER said, that he had yesterday asked how much had been received, and how much expended from the fund to be applied from the sales of public lands on the Cumberland road. The gentleman from Tennessee supposed that nine millions of acres had been sold, which would produce one million of dollars to be appropriated to the making of the road. Well, sir, we have already expended upwards of 1,800,000 dollars. And I ask, said Mr. C., whether we have not done our share of the contract and whether we are to go on after the 5 is expended? if so he should vote against the bill. If he understood the gentleman from Ohio yester. day, it was true that some expenditure had been made beyond the amount of proceeds from the sales of Public Lands; but that there ought to be a little surplus left to repair the road. For his part Mr. C. did not see how Congress was bound to make the repairs to the road. He thought they ought to go no farther ; and he therefore moved to strike out the appropriation of $180,000, and insert $80,000. This he believed would be enough to complete the road as far it yet had gone—and if it were not stopped here when it had been carried through Ohio, there were other Western States who would also look to having a carried through their territory. If this was to be the case, he was willing that Congress should make it as well as it could be made with the five per cent—and no better Mr. EATON observed, that if the gentleman from Maine would look at the report upon the subject, he would find that contracts had been made for the completion of the Road to Zanesville, about 30 miles from Bridgewater ; and if he suceeded in striking off one bundred thousand dollars from the appropriation, only sufficient would be given to finish 13 miles ; and all that had been done on the remaining portion would have been entirely thrown away. Mr. CHANDLER then withdrew his motion. Mr. HEN DRICKS said, that when he addressed the Senate yesterday, he had been anxious to avoid discussion, or entering into a consideration of the Constitutional powers of Congress. He should chiefly confine himself, at this time, to replying to the remarks of the gentleman from Maine, in relation to the 3 per cent fund. It must be known to every gentleman in the Senate, that the constitutional power has been settled by every Congress for upwards of twenty years. He did not, therefore, consider it necessary to touch that portion of the argument. He had said yesterday, that Congress had agreed to make the road from Bridgeport to Zanesville ; and, in Tomsuance of that agreement, that the contractors had gore on in the progressive stages of the work, so that, at this time, 21 miles of the road were in an unfinished condition. If the motion of the gentleman from Maine had prevailed, it would have destroyed the project for this year at least—because 80,000 dollars would have done comparatively no good. The discussion of this subject yesterday took a wide nnge, embracing the Constitutionality of the measure. He had no disposition to fellow the example, or now to anwer the arguments of gentlemen who opposed the bill ; but should call on them to sustain their positions in a fuare debate. The gentleman from Maine did not, howover, participate in these objections. He seemed desiors of obtaining information in relation to what he callothe “two per cent fund.” This information, said Mr. h I will endeavour to give him. The gentleman from Tennessee did not notice the fact of a law subsequent to the compacts with some of the Western States, which di"ided the five per cent. and applied three per cent. to

the construction of roads within the State, and two per cent. to the making of a main road by the United States, through the State. Whether the sum arising from the two per cent, would, in the end, defray the expense of the road or not, he could not say. Thus far, probably it had not. But the country through which the road had already passed was the most difficult section of the whole. Farther West the soil was better adapted to the work, and it could be done cheaper. The grand question is, whether this was a great national work, in which the whole Union was interested. If this was the case then it ought to be progressed in. And the compacts had, as far as compacts could do it, established the right of the United States to make roads through the States. I hope, said Mr. H. to be allowed to appeal to the gentleman from Virginia, who favored the Senate yester. day with his ideas relative to internal improvements, the tariff, &c. I would ask him what he would do with the powers, of the Constitution—for it is scarcely to be supposed that they were given for no purpose—and if Congress has not the power to make a road or a canal, it has no right to exercise those constitutional powers at all. But this was going farther into the constitutional question than he had intended. . To revert again to the two per cent. there was no doubt that in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri, it would exceed the expenditure upon the road. It was not to be supposed that it would be applied beyond the limits of the States in which it was collected. For instance, the fund raised in Maine would not be applied to a road leading to the West. And here he would make another explanation. The gentleman from Georgia, [Mr. Cobb) had also made some inquiries as to the manner in which the estimates made before the work commenced had tallied with the expenditure. The estimates made by Mr. Shriver were remarkably correct. But in some instances, the difficulties of the route, the hilly nature of the country, and other obstacles, had caused the expenditure to exceed the estimates. He made this declaration frankly, because he did not wish that a measure based on just principles, should reap advantage by concealment. The tract of country through which the road was now progressing, was the worst through which it would pass. It was a broken, hilly country, resembling the mountainous districts of Pennsylvania and Maryland. But the plains of the States beyond the Ohio, to Mississippi, were far less difficult, and would call for small appropriations. The gentleman from Georgia says, also, that the road wants repairs, and asks why its advocates do not propose a measure for the erection of toll gates upon it. But, sir, are we responsible for the condition of the road Have we not endeavoured, for years, but in vain, to fix upon it toll gates, to provide, in this way, for its regular and permanent repair 2 And has not the opposition to this measure universally come from those very same gentlemen who oppose the appropriations to carry on the work 2 There is, said Mr. H. a bill now before Congress, the ob. ject of which is to provide for the erection of tollgates, and we shall see, when it is taken up, whether the gentleman from Georgia will go with us in its favor. In conclusion, Mr. H. remarked, that the Cumberland road, was a stupendous work, which could never have been completed by the efforts of the several States. It peculiarly required the direction of the General Government, for it could no more be expected of the States, that they should construct roads for the national welfare, than that they should build ships of war or erect fortifications. Pennsylvania never would have been induced to make this road. She would rather have turned her attention and resources to local improvements; and so it would have been with every other State. In every point of view, the road was of great importance. It had already saved the country near half a million, and had, by the en

« AnteriorContinuar »